Sunday, February 28, 2016

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 4

We were on a weather roller coaster this week with warm temps bookending a windy snowstorm midweek. Actually, the one thing that was consistent this week was the wind. In spite of the crazy weather, I was able to do all my runs outside. Welcome to spring in Chicago!

Monday: I started work later this day, so I was able to go to a yoga class at the studio. Megan had us do lots of shoulder openers--who doesn't need some of that? On the way home, I stopped to grab some sunshine and a humble warrior.

humble warrior
Humble warrior with hands in reverse namaste
Tuesday: I had an 8 mile run on the plan. It's always tough to get these longer distances done during the week, but the speed I found last week stayed with me. I ran on the bike path and caught some sunshine again! 8.09m/8:33m/m
Sunrise run
I am the fire
Wednesday: Since the winds were whipping, I was going to do my hill repeats on the treadmill. But I just couldn't. I dropped my son off at school and headed over to the hill where Walter Payton did his training. As it turns out, the wind was at my back for the uphills! I did 10 repeats on the hill path, and for the last repeat, I did a "plus" set--I ran to the top of the hill. Becky has me do plus sets with weight training, and I channelled my inner Becky to push myself on that last rep like I do at CrossFit with her.

hill repeats at Payton's Hill
Channeling my inner #34
After that, I went to yoga. We had a sub, but it was a lovely class and hit all the high points. But how sad is it that I don't remember much specific about the class? Note to self: remember to be more mindful. Or take notes.

Thursday: In spite of the post-run yoga I did the day before, I woke up sore from those hill repeats. I felt fine when I was doing them, so this was a bit of a surprise to me. Because I was so sore and knowing that today was my max lifting day, for my ride I chose to take it easy. I picked a cycling video from YouTube that was basically an endurance ride through Mallorca, Spain. There were no intervals, and most of the ride seemed to be downhill. Odd, I know, but for today, it worked. My guide was a little crazy--the roads were narrow and he rode into oncoming traffic just blowing past all the cars and a bus! This video had rock music, and I liked that so much better than the EDM that most of them use. But there were 2 ads in the video--one at 20 minutes and one at 40 minutes. Seriously. What is up with that? 1:02:02/13.24mi

Riding the bike trainer
Riding through Mallorca in my family room

After I rode, I went to meet with Becky. I was a little nervous about my max lifting day. I was thrilled to PR both my cleans to front squats and my deadlifts (177#)! Becky was thrilled too. She told me that I surpassed her goals for me this cycle.

After weight lifting, I asked Becky if she'd be up for a partner yoga picture. Sweatpink was hosting another Instagram challenge--this one was a partner workout. While they didn't specify yoga, and since Becky can get up in a handstand, I thought we could have some fun with it. And we did. Becky recruited the owner of the CrossFit box to take these pictures.

Partner Yoga handstand and side plank
She assures me she'll never be a yogi. I say never say never.
handstand and tree pose
My strong coach holding up my tree
Friday was a rest day. I woke up even more sore than the previous day. My wrists hurt from those cleans and front squats. My butt hurt from those deadlifts. As I headed into work, I remembered I had CPR renewal in the afternoon. That meant doing chest compressions on a mannequin to exhaustion. And also on those creepy plastic babies. Thankfully this class was a breeze. Although I did break a sweat pounding on the mannequin's chest, at least it wasn't prolonged.

Saturday: 5 miles, no goal pace. Still a little sore, I headed out into the sunshine and wind with no expectations. I actually felt pretty good and buzzed around the neighborhood at a brisk pace. 5.25m/8:34 m/m
Windy but sunny. #nofilter
Sunday morning I set out to run the 12 miles on the plan. My tummy was acting up and after multiple bathroom visits, I finally headed out. Sorry about the TMI. But this was a huge issue for me this morning. The wind was whipping, and I decided to head out into it, so that the wind would blow me home. I started out on the bike path, but took a detour to a different park after I passed a super creepy guy riding very slowly on a bike. My tummy was still unsettled. About mile 4, I knew that disaster was imminent. Then I saw this sign:

Do you believe in signs? You know I do, and I decided not to ignore this one. The church was locked but there was an elderly gentleman and his wife at the door. I knocked and they let me in. His wife gestured towards the sanctuary. "Come in!" she smiled at me. I asked to use the restroom, apologizing profusely. She looked confused, but her husband pointed me in the right direction. When I came out, I thanked them and again apologized. He asked me how far I was running, and when I told them 12 miles, they looked shocked. I explained why, and they nodded, still looking at me like I was crazy. Hopefully, they prayed for me. I continued on my way towards the park, and began to make my way around the lake. I stopped to take a gel at mile 7, and struggled to catch my breath after that point. It was getting fairly warm (60F). At mile 10, yep, another side stitch, just like my last 12 miler. I slowed down and breathed it off. By mile 11 it was gone, but I was toast. I finished up just before my driveway. When I saw my time, I knew why it was so hard. I need to do a better job pacing myself on these long runs. I've got to slow down. 12.02m/8:55m/m

Crow pose
Crow on the run
So I've got 2 weeks to go until my Sarasota half marathon. Today's run showed me that I'll probably run into problems with the warm temps if I don't slow down. Note to self: that race is a training run.


How was your week? Any crazy weather conditions to contend with? We're supposed to get snow tomorrow. Any signs on the run?

I'm linking this post up with Holly and Tricia, who are most likely basking in the glow of their RnR NOLA race this morning! Be sure to check out their posts and congratulate them!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Runfessions for February's my favorite time of the month. Yep, it's time for Runfessions! I love being able to clear my soul, my conscience and get ready to start the next month with a clean slate. I'm feeling a little bit snarky this month, so you'll have to hang on tight for this one. Chalk it up to winter...

I didn't share this on the blog, but I signed up for the New York City Marathon (NYCM) lottery. Actually, I didn't even tell my husband. Since he just booked our tickets to California, I didn't think it would be a good idea to mention another trip, especially one for a race. I also was a little reluctant because this year it cost $11 to sign up for the lottery. I also had second thoughts about doing another marathon this year. So many doubts, and I just ignored that little voice inside me that told me to stop. After I submitted my payment, I started to sweat a little bit. This week I received an email that my credit card information didn't go through and I needed to reenter it. Do you believe in signs? I runfess that I felt a sense of relief when I got that email. The chances of me getting into NYCM were pretty slim, sure, but still, what if? I mean, I'd go if I got in, but still... Let's give these poor feet a break. Maybe I'll stick to my original plan of some more halfs this year. There's always next year, right?

You all know that this winter I've been loving riding my bike on the trainer using YouTube cycling videos, But I runfess that I don't like the accompanying music. Most of the videos use EDM. I just don't like it. My son and I tried to stream my playlist from Spotify, but with Apple TV, you can't stream Spotify and YouTube at the same time. So I'm stuck with whatever the videographer is serving up. One of the videos has EDM remakes of pop songs, like Avicii's Wake Me Up and Rihanna's Shut Up and Drive. There was also an EDM rendition of What Does the Fox Say, and I swear that if my bike wasn't locked into the trainer, I would have ridden out of the room to get away from that song. I kept telling myself, just keep pedalling, just keep pedalling. It's only 3 minutes right? Three minutes of torture is what it was! That wasn't a good song in the original format, and the EDM version was just that much worse. Ring-ding-ding-dingeringading.

I runfess that sometimes my runs aren't about miles and splits. Sometimes I like to just run. Most people call them junk miles, but my friend Susie just wrote a really nice post on "easy miles". Thank you for that! What is it about those "easy junk" miles that makes them so pleasurable? Besides losing myself in the music? Besides all the junk I see along the side of the road?  See what I did there? Most of the time I see empty liquor bottles and used condoms. I pretty much know the story behind those objects. But sometimes I see stuff that makes me go hmmmm. Like this wooden thing--is it artwork? An art project? Not quite sure. And who would throw it out? I mean, someone spent a lot of time crafting this thing, whatever it is. When I ran by on Sunday, I kicked myself for not stopping to take a picture. I drove by on Monday and it was still there. Even the scrappers didn't want it. Hard to believe.
Runfessions roadside find
It's geometric, symmetric and diametric. 
I runfess that I'm still feeling a little bitter disappointed about being passed over for the RockNBlogger selection. While I'm happy for all the winners, well deserved all, I don't understand the selection process. Of course, they did pick Suzy Favor Hamilton to represent them while she was working as an escort in Vegas. Sigh. With that comment, I've probably killed any chance of ever being picked. I really wanted to do a few RnR races as part of my "year of destination races". I mean come on! And there's no chance of me turning tricks on the side. Trust me on that one. On the bright side, I'm not locked into any of their races, and I can run whatever I choose. That's a win. And I won't have to do the Chicago race in the steambath that is July in Chicago. Another win! Maybe Marcia and I can do a Thelma and Louise thing--RnR St Louis, anyone?

Road trip! Looks like we've got an outlaw in the backseat...
I runfess that my luck with the police has finally come to an end. On Saturday, I was driving to work. I was also on the phone with the office, discussing a patient. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the cherries flashing. Crap! Unfortunately, this officer couldn't care less that I was a nurse practitioner on my way to care for sick children or that I was talking with the office about sick children. He only cared about giving me a ticket. And yes, while I was breaking the law by talking on the phone, come on man! Cut a fellow service professional some slack, will ya? And go fight some real crime. Of course, I was right across the street from Dunkin Donuts when he got me. Just sayin'. I was so angry I cried when I drove away. I may even have uttered the mother of all swears. A few times. In my car, where no one could hear me. Humbled, I signed up for traffic school today.

Anything you want to Runfess? Any ideas what the wooden thing is? EDM--love it or hate it? 

I'm linking up with the Runfessions hostess, Marcia, at Marcia's Healthy Slice. Go over to her page and spill the beans!

I'm also linking up with the DC Trifecta: Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for their Friday Five. It just happens to be a Free Friday, so hey, here we go!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Confidence: The Best Benefit of Running

We all know a ton about the health benefits that go along with running, but that's not what I want to talk about today. I'm thinking about those intangibles, the dividends that you can't measure with a Garmin or a scale. Stress relief, a sense of well-being, and that runner's high are some of the off road benefits that come to mind. And then there's self-confidence. Out of all the rewards running has given me, and there have been many, the boost to my confidence is probably the biggest and best.

Confidence: The Best Benefit of Running

I don't know why, but I grew up with very low self-esteem. As a young child, I was a leader and had no issues with confidence, but once I hit adolescence, my self-esteem went into the toilet. There is no single incident that comes to mind that triggered my loss of confidence. But it was like someone flipped a switch. Instead of being popular, I didn't fit in anymore. I was a late bloomer, awkward, and clueless about social skills. I wrote about this last year on the blog, so there's no need to recap it here. Just to show you how much better I feel about myself now, on that post, there's a picture of me at age 13 in all my awkward geekiness. You'll have to click on the link to see it, though. Posting it once was enough!

Moving on....

How does running help with self-confidence? 

I can do hard things. Pushing out of your comfort zone does not feel good. But knowing that you can push yourself hard--maybe even run a marathon--makes you feel mentally tough. Raising teenagers, seeing 27 patients in a day--those activities for me can be as mentally challenging as running a marathon. My ability to push myself on the road through those tough miles makes me confident that I can handle anything life throws my way.

Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment--Thomas Carlyle. Every run you complete, every finish line you cross gives you a sense of accomplishment. You don't quit on your training or a race, and that helps you persevere through a tough day, a stressful job, a life challenge. Even though you might want to quit. There's no glory in a DNF or a DNS. That applies off the road as well. You know the old never quit and quitters never win....

Average people have wishes and hopes. Confident people have goals and plans. I read once somewhere that runners make good employees. We set goals, we follow a plan, and we meet those goals. As a long distance runner, you are most likely goal oriented and have the confidence that you have the ability to follow through on a plan. 

I can and I will. The sports medicine doctor that I work with says runners make the worst patients to treat because we are used to pushing through the pain, be it pathologic pain due to injury or the discomfort of running a tough race. While it's never wise to push through injury, that can-do attitude translates off the road to never taking no for an answer. Can't isn't a word in a runner's vocabulary. It's not in mine because my coach makes me do burpees when I use it.

Self-confidence is the best outfit. Rock it and own it. When you feel good about yourself, it shows. Confident people are attractive people. Would you rather talk to someone who holds their head high with their shoulders back or someone slumped over who won't make eye contact with you? I'm always amazed by the differences in the teenagers I see in the clinic. Some are quite charismatic. They look me in the eye when I talk to them and freely share their goals and dreams. Others won't look at me and mumble responses to my questions. These are the kids that break my heart. I want to take out them to the road and introduce them to the magic of running.

Yeah, running is hard. But can you think of any other activity that gives you so much more than physical benefits? I'm so grateful for what running has done for me. I'm a better person because I'm a runner.

On and off the road.

Has running helped your self-confidence? What intangible benefits have you gained from being a runner?

I'm linking up today with DebRuns. She hosts Wednesday Word and today's prompt was confident. Be sure to see what all the other bloggers have to say about this word.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Big Sur Marathon Training--Week 3

Last week's recap ended after that long run in the polar vortex. That brutal 12 miler on Sunday really wrecked me, and I was as sore the next day as I have ever been after a marathon! Anyways, I did a lot of foam rolling, and by Tuesday, was ready to hit the road again. Here's the recap of my week.

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 3

Monday: Scheduled rest day

Tuesday: I had a 6 miler on the plan. It was still pretty cold but the sun was shining and I wanted to catch the sunrise. These winter sunrises have been spectacular! This was not a bad run at all, and I even stopped to do a side plank. Because there's always time to strike a pose. 6.25m/8:50m/m
Snowy Side Plank
snowy side plank
Wednesday: It was sunny and 32 and I made the decision to take my speedwork to the road. My treadmill is not calibrated correctly, and my treadmill mile splits have been messing with my head. I know, mind over matter, right? But I really wanted to go outside. So I drove over to the retention pond with the 2 mile loop where I did all my speedwork training for my last 2 marathons. Unfortunately, the park district didn't plow the path from Tuesday's snow, and I didn't think it would be safe for me to run fast there. Disappointed, I headed back to my neighborhood, and made the decision to run on the streets around the big park where I take all those running selfies. I had mile splits x5 to do, and away I went. When I took off my hamstrings both gave me a little twinge, as if to say, hey, WTF do you think you are doing? But they cooperated, and even though the people who live on those streets probably thought I was a freaking lunatic, I got it done and then some. 6 loops around took me back to my car and what I saw on the Garmin astonished me: 8:04, 7:55, 8:02, 7:59, 7:53. You betcha. And now I have a new place to do my speedwork.

Speed work--Big Sur Marathon Training Week 3
Boom! Don't mess with me! 
After that I went to yoga. The theme was twisting, and naturally, we did a lot of twisting poses. I was really stiff at first, but it was good medicine after running like I did. My instructor introduced a pose which was new to me. It's called Brigid's Cross. I could not find a picture of this one anywhere! I can only describe this pose like a reclined revolved triangle on the mat, a pose which is a challenge for me standing up! It was tough. I felt really good after class though. 

Thursday I rode an hour on the bike. I found an cycling interval video on YouTube made by CTXC. Their videos are pretty good, except that for the majority of this video I "rode" behind a guy in white shorts again. Ugh! He did have a black panel that was strategically placed, so I should be grateful for that, right? After I finished, I sat in hero's pose to stretch out my quads. Still feeling twisty from yesterday, I threw in a twist. I hoped to twist that image of the guy's white bike shorts out of my brain. Oh, and I also needed to loosen up for my workout with Becky. 
Twisted hero's pose
Twisted hero's pose
After that, I went to see Becky. This was a drop down week for me, meaning lower weights. But higher reps, naturally. I did cleans into front squats and deadlifts again. Then she put a resistance band around my waist and my knees and had me squat onto a bench while she pulled on the resistance band. Hello hamstrings!
squats with resistance bands
Squats with resistance bands
Friday was another scheduled rest day.

Saturday was predicted to be sunny and warm! The winds, which were hurricane-like on Friday, were down to a gentle breeze. I was out early to get my run in before I had to go to work. It was 48 degrees and I caught a beautiful sunrise. I also caught some speed. Hello, old friend! I'm glad to have you back again. 5.52m/8:27m/m

Sunrise run!
This run made me so happy!

Sunday I had 8 miles on the plan. The weather conditions were so much better than last Sunday's--it was 37F, no wind, but overcast. I decided to run to the retention pond. I started out fairly quickly and tried to reign it in, but my legs wouldn't have it. My foot felt good, so I went with it. I finished up at my house with a huge smile on my face! This was a quick one! 8.42m/8:34m/m.
Mid run triangle pose
Mid-run triangle pose
Mantra for the week: "Trust the process".

No kidding.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the week and my progress. Although I'm not running Big Sur for time, I'm happy to know that I can still knock out some fast mile splits. I had a slow start to 2016, and I was worried that the inevitable slowing down with age was starting to happen. Not yet. Whew. 

I really have to credit my coach--I have to believe that all this hard work she makes me do is paying off once again on the road. I do trust the process because this has happened every damn time we do a strength cycle. Hard work pays off.

Now, if I could just get that PF to go away, things would be darned near perfect. Is that too much to ask? While it's not any better, it sure isn't any worse, and for that, I am grateful.

How was your week? Any successes or achievements? Is the weather getting more tolerable by you?

I want to welcome everyone from Kristen's Blog Hop! Today's my showcase day, and I'm excited to share my training log with you. This is what it's all about for me. Running is my metaphor for life. Work hard, dream big. And never ever give up.

I'm also linking up this post with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap! As always, they are the hostessses with the mostest! Check out what everyone else has been doing. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review: It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

Andie Mitchell's story is like so many of ours...growing up in a dysfunctional home, an alcoholic father, an enabling mother. Those are the experiences that molded and shaped so many of us. Some kids come through a turbulent childhood relatively unscathed. Some kids develop behavior issues or turn to substance abuse. But Andie Mitchell chose solace in food. Even as a young girl, she was overweight. She experienced ridicule and had poor self-esteem. In her memoir, It Was Me All Along, Mitchell shares her tumultuous childhood and her journey to the realization that she needed to change her lifestyle.

The book starts out with an amazing description of cake. Not just any cake, but Sour Cream Fudge Cake. The description of this cake makes you realize how much more food was to her than just nutrition. Food was like a drug for her, just like alcohol was for her father.
"I can remember carving the first slice, taking the first forkful. The rush of whipped sugar speeding through my bloodstream. It felt like teetering on the ledge of the roof of a skyscraper, exhilarating and terrifying..."
And then she ate the whole thing.
"What begins as hating the cake for all its multiple layers of lucious temptation spirals quickly into hating myself and all my fat cells. I let myself down. I lament not having more control...
It was a turning point. After many failed attempts to lose weight, after deciding to accept herself as the "fat girl", Andie made the decision to save her life. And lost 138 pounds while doing it. She also learned more about herself. I particularly enjoyed her comparison of losing weight to running a race. A long slow race. A marathon, in fact...
"Because for once, I realized that weight loss wouldn't be like taking up jogging as a new would be like running a marathon, where miles ten through twenty-six just purely, uncompromisingly suck." 
She picked the perfect metaphor. And as she says in the book, once she realized this, she knew that this was going to take "real strength". But she stuck with it, and hit her goal of 133 pounds. Amazing, right?

Not so much. As it turns out, losing the weight was the easy part. Learning to live as a thin person was a much bigger challenge. To me, this was the most interesting part of Andie's story.

I've had friends who lost weight told me they still saw themselves as "fat". This is what Andie describes in the book. She describes the mixed feelings she had about being thin and being praised for that as if she was less worthy when she was an overweight person. It was interesting to me, as a thin person, to read this perspective. Because I hate being called skinny. I don't find it to be complimentary, and it bothers me that people comment on my body. You'd never go up to an overweight person and say, "oh you're so fat!" Right? Andie experienced life on both sides, and learned that being thin was not all it was cracked up to be. Plus she feared gaining weight. She also missed the reckless abandon that comes with not caring about your weight.

The rest of the book chronicles her recovery from food addiction and learning how to eat healthily. I was really impressed with her journey. Andie's story really helped me understand why people who lose weight cannot keep the weight off. There is so much more to dieting than calorie restriction. Learning to love yourself, for one. The person you were before, and the person you've become. And as Andie says:
"....fat or thin, it was me all along."
Today Andie is a food writer and blogger. You can read her blog: Can You Stay for Dinner. She also has a cookbook coming out March 29 called Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook.

Have you struggled with weight loss and learning how to live as a thin person? Do you eat to live or live to eat? How do you find a middle ground between eating for pleasure and eating for fuel? What recipe holds a special place in your heart or provokes a happy memory for you?

Here's the link up badge! You can find the link up at the end of the post. The link up stays live for 2 weeks, but the comments stay live forever! Don't forget to link back to this post, and please read and comment on the other reviews. Remember, sharing is caring! I'm so grateful to all of you who participate in the book club!

Next month we are reading what I've been told is an amazingly inspirational book! Find A Way by Diana Nyad is the story of her swim across the Florida Straits from Key West to Cuba. I cannot wait to pick this one up! The review and link up will be posted on the 3rd Friday of March (March 18). Let me know if you have any questions!

this post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Staying the Course: 10 tips to Get You Through a Tough Run

Did you watch the US Olympic Marathon Trials last weekend? It's always inspiring to watch elite athletes run to the finish of a marathon. This year was particularly grueling because of the heat. Shalane Flanagan collapsed at the finish line. You could tell that she was struggling. Yet she got herself across that finish line. What can we learn from Shalane and other elites about staying the course during a tough race? Or a tough training run?

10 Tips to Get You Through a Tough Run

I had plenty of time to think about this on Sunday's long run. Thus far I haven't had to dip into my mental toughness regimen as I begin marathon prep, but last Sunday was the day that I had to dig deep. Let me set the stage: starting temp was 16F and the wind was blowing at 10-15mph. My PF was barking at me from my run the day before. As I headed out, within a mile, my right shin tightened up. I'm certain that it's related to my hobbling as I run out that PF pain in my left foot. I could hear my right foot flapping on the ground, and a walker even turned around as I approached. Hello, it's just me, gimpy runner! Don't judge. I hoped knew it would get better.

I stopped twice to stretch out my shin. This is when I pulled out my first mantra of the run. I relied on a couple of mantras to get through this painfully cold run. What do you do to keep going when your brain is telling you no?

Never judge a run by the first mile. Or two. Or three. Or four. Yes, because that is how long it took for my shin to loosen up on this tough run. I knew it would, once my PF calmed down (running stretches out the plantar fascia) and I settled into my stride. At mile 4, my leg felt loose and I smiled to myself as I watched my splits improve. I just didn't think it would take so long.

Keep it loose. Since I was hurting so much at the beginning of this run, I found myself tightening up. Unconsciously, I was clenching my fists. There was no way I was going to finish this run if I was all tensed up. I kept remembering what my childhood piano teacher used to tell me. She reminded me to play the piano as if I had an egg in each hand. I use this mental exercise a lot when I'm running. I don't want to break the eggs, so I keep my hands loose. Try it.

Eye on the prize. I had to remind myself why this run was so important. I can't quit in the middle of the Big Sur Marathon! I also thought about Kristina, from Live Love Laugh Run, and how I don't want to disappoint her. We plan on running this race together, and I sure as heck am not going to quit on her! That thought kept me moving.
I don't HAVE to run. I GET to run. I'm so lucky that I get to do this, and I know it. Big Sur is a bucket list race for me, an adventure of a lifetime. As I ran, I also felt thankful that in spite of the brutal weather conditions, there was minimal snow on the ground, and that meant the forest preserve path was clear. I did most of my Chicago Marathon training on that path, and there's a lot of good juju on those trails.

Keep smiling. There were a few brave souls out there running and walking. The walkers were bundled up as if we were in the arctic circle. They all smiled at me and stiffly waved. Smiling really does lighten your step. I also smiled (but ran a little faster) because even though it was really cold, there were still a few cars backed into parking spots in the preserve. Of course, I'm not the Valentine these men are looking for.

10 Tips to Get You Through a Tough Run
I also saw this. Shoes hanging from a tree. Any ideas about how or why they are there?
Breathe in strength, breathe out weakness. At mile 10, as I was reflecting on how this was a solid training run, I got a side stitch. Seriously? Well, I wasn't going to stop to walk it off. It was just too cold to slow down. I reminded myself to inhale for 3 and exhale on the side opposite of the stitch. Repeat and repeat. After about a mile, it finally went away.

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. These tough training runs are actually a good thing. They force me to deal with glitches and problems that are likely to come up during the marathon. I don't know about you but I don't like surprises and I certainly don't like surprises that are going to hold me back!

Head up, heart strong. I actually channeled my inner Shalane during this run. I pictured her slowing down at the end of her marathon yesterday, in obvious pain, yet never giving up. She never quit. Sure, she came in 3rd, but she's going to the freaking Olympics! I'm no Shalane Flanagan, but I'm a tough mother runner, and I can do this.

When you feel like quitting, remember why you started. I never believed that I couldn't do this run. But the conditions were so tough that I wanted to quit so many times. Yeah, it sucked. I really wanted to go home and get back under the covers. I won't lie. But then I'd glance down at my Garmin and see my pace, which made me smile. I actually picked up the pace on the back half of the run, because at that point I wasn't hurting. My legs felt great. That made me smile too.

There's pizza at home. I don't usually dial into thoughts about my post-run meal until the last mile or 2. But that's usually when I need the extra push to get home. My last mile of this run was my fastest, believe it or not. I was hungry. I was tired. I was cold. I couldn't feel my face. And I was ready to be done.

There's a lot of time to think on a long run. So make the most of it. Are you going to be negative and bring yourself down? Or are you going to make it positive? It isn't always easy to push through a tough run, but remember this: 
"Baseball is 99% mental." -Yogi Berra
What? Ok, running isn't baseball, but it's a great analogy. Do the work on the road and off. Keep your head in the game. Stay the course. You got this.

What do you tell yourself to stay focused and positive during a tough run? Any favorite mantras?

I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word. Today's word is stability. What's your take on this word?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Big Sur Marathon Training--Week 2

Ok--it's February and it's supposed to be warming up, not the other way around! This week's Big Sur Marathon training was remarkable for the frigid temps that hit as the week wound down. It's really Murphy's Law--I had my longest training run to date planned for Sunday--and the polar vortex returned. But you know I don't let the weather stop me...

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 2

Monday I went to yoga. I have no pictures but trust me when I tell you that it was another amazing class. Monday's instructor has such a calm, quiet way about her, and I felt really good when I left.

Tuesday was a very early wake up call. I had a class at work, and had to be there by 7:45. There were 6 miles on the plan and I was out the door by 5. I haven't run in the dark for a very long time. To top it off, it was snowing. This was a slippery, slow run, but I felt great. 6.24m/9:14m/m

Snowy tree pose
It was 5 am. It was snowing. What else was there to do?
Wednesday I had hill repeats on the plan. I planned to go to Payton's Hill to do these but Mother Nature had other ideas--even though it was sunny, there was a -10F windchill. Since this was really a focused workout, I didn't think I'd get much out of battling the wind, so I took my repeats to the treadmill. I did 1/4 mile hill sprints x 10 at some unknown incline (my old 'mill doesn't tell me that information) and for recovery, I walked backwards for about 1 1/2-2 minutes. Becky talked with me about this last week, and she wanted me to do these backwards intervals slow as I drive forward, engaging my quads. As it turns out, there are all kinds of benefits to walking backwards on the treadmill that have nothing to do with fitness. Like improving your balance. I almost fell off when I first started. But after a couple of intervals, I was snapping along with the music. In a couple of weeks, I'll be ready to dance on the 'mill like this guy:

After I finished, I went to yoga. We had a sub, and her class was a little different from what we were used to. But it was a good class, and she had a theme for us, which was connection. She referred back to that theme throughout the class. On the way home, I couldn't help myself. I had to stop and make a connection to the brilliant sunshine. Too bad it was so brutally cold!

Cold king dancer
A cold king dancer
Thursday started with a ride on the bike trainer. I had some issues with my Apple TV, YouTube, and the Wahoo Fitness app. I started to get frustrated because I couldn't get anything to work and I just wanted to ride. So that's what I did while I troubleshot everything. I finally got things working, and did an interval workout. I'm not sure where I rode, but the video I used was a good one. I'm pretty consistent, apparently because once again I rode for 1 hour total, 13.03 miles. 

Bike intervals
Intervals complete
After my ride, I worked out with Becky. She continues to up my weights, and I did front squats and deadlifts. I'm not sure how heavy the deadlifts were this week, but they were heavy. I'm not yet maxed out but I have to be close. After I lifted, I did a circuit of evil wheel aka ab rollouts (my abs still hurt) and split squats with my back foot on a box and a barbell. That required a lot of hip stability, and it is something I need some work on. Sometimes these "easy" exercises she has me do are way tougher than the weight lifting. 

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 2
Friday was a rest day. 

Saturday was another bitterly cold day. The night before when I looked at the forecast, I made plans to run inside. When I got up the sun was bright and I couldn't pass it up. How bad could it be? I put on my layers and my ninja face mask, and headed out into the cold. You know what? It wasn't as bad as it seemed. I'm so attuned to what I need to wear for different conditions and I was completely prepared. I started off a little stiff--I was still sore from Thursday, but this was my fastest run in weeks! Who knew? 5 miles/8:34m/m

Ninja runner
Like a winter ninja. No snow.
Sunday I had 12 on the plan. The weather forecast was not at all favorable for a long run (16F and snow) but the alternative, the treadmill, was even less attractive. Since there was no snow when I started, I headed to the bike path. This run was mentally tough--the cold and the wind really tested my resolve. I also had shin splints and foot pain when I started out. But once I loosened up, I felt much better. I couldn't feel my face when I got home (and now that song is going through my head) but after a hot shower and lunch, I felt much better. This was a solid run, and really gave me the confidence I needed to move forward! 12 miles/9:02m/m

Big Sur Marathon Training Week 2
I can't feel my face....
Overall, another great week of training. For the most part, my foot is feeling better. It still hurts, but between the night splint and those heel raises, I've got it down to a dull roar. Some days it doesn't even bother me. I'm relaxing into my training and feeling very confident. One month to go until I leave for Florida and run the Sarasota Half Marathon. It's happening!

Happy Valentine's Day
Thanks to HoHoRuns for this fun image!

Have a great week!

How was your week? Any fun training stories to share?

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap!