Monday, April 30, 2012

Cleveland Marathon Training: Week 16

This was the last week building mileage.  It's all easy running from here, with a little 16 and 14 miler thrown in.  Oh yea, and the 26.2.

This week was my highest mileage week ever.  This was the week that had me panicked.  Back in January when my coach gave me my training plan, I took one look at Week 16 and hyperventilated a little.  44 miles in one week. Holy crap, that's a lot of miles. (for me, possibly not for some of you)

I survived it.  I enjoyed it (with the exception of mile 22 on Saturday when I was just ready to be done).  I kind of rocked it.

Every week I find myself saying to someone: I can't believe how good I feel after running 15, 18, 20, 22 miles.  Really, I feel awesome!  (This gives me foolish hope that I'll be able to walk down the stairs without yelping the day after the marathon.  HA!)

So...why?  Why do I feel so good this time when training for my first marathon left me sore, exhausted and, ultimately, injured?  I have a few theories:
  • I've been running longer.  I ran my first marathon one year after running my first mile.  That may not have been my brightest move.
  • I'm running more. I run more miles during the week to support my long runs on the weekend.  I expected this to be really hard.  It wasn't.
  • I'm keeping up with the cross training.  Denise's monthly challenges have helped a lot with that.  My abs, back, buns, arms and legs are all staying strong.  I also stretch my legs (calves, quads, buns and IT bands) every night.
  • I've slowed down.  I used to race every run...and I had a lot of injuries.  I bought a heart rate monitor (HRM) and learned how to use it.  I was shocked (and a little discouraged) at how slow I "should" be running, but I stuck with it and have increased my speed in just the past few months.
I think all of these changes have contributed to the past 16 weeks of awesome training.  Really, I feel GREAT!  (Have I mentioned that?)  I'm really excited for the race, but I'm almost sad for this training plan to be over.  2 weeks and 6 days.  Bring it, Cleveland.

How is YOUR training going?
Have you ever had two training plans feel like night and day?  What did you do different?

Week 16:
Monday- 5.3mi
Tuesday- 5.05mi
Wednesday- 10mi
Thursday- abs/arms/burpees
Friday- rest (plus burpees)
Saturday- 22mi
Sunday- 2.33mi
Total miles for week 16: 44.68

April Burpee Challenge:
Monday- 23 burpees
Tuesday- 24 burpees
Wednesday- 25 burpees
Thursday- 26 burpees
Friday- 27 burpees
Saturday- 0  (Running 22 miles was enough, thank you.)
Sunday- 29 burpees
Total burpees this week: 154
Total Burpees in April so far: 311!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Shoes: Take Two

Well, folks, the Mizunos were a no-go.  I tried two pairs, actually.  The first pair was a little too short so I got a half size bigger and they just didn't feel right.  Something was off in the front of the shoe near the ball of my foot.  Back to Fleet Feet I went.

Dave took one look at my feet and said I needed a higher stability shoe.  What?!  Ben just told me that I needed a less stable shoe.  He must have been smoking crack that day.  That's ok, we all have "off" days.  No hard feelings.  I'm just sad that I wasted two pairs of shoes.

Dave brought out two shoes for me to try: Brooks Adrenaline and Saucony Omni.  He said the Omni is like the Hurricane that I've been wearing.  I've tried on the Adrenaline at least 4 times and every time, I don't like it.  Yesterday was no exception.  The Omni, however...ahhhh, it felt like home.

I asked about the black toenails. If I get black toenails in the Hurricanes, will I get them in the Omnis too?  Dave told me to take my socks off so he could look at my feet.  OK, dude, you asked for it. I have a birthmark AND a black toenail on the same foot.  Really, it's HOT!  Dave didn't seem phased.  I stood in front of him and he said "Look at what you're doing."  What?  Apparently, I curl my toes.  Just standing there I curl my toes.  Most likely, I curl my toes while I run too.  Aha.  It's all becoming clear to me.  It doesn't matter what shoe I wear.  If I run far enough, I will have black toenails.  Awesome.

Here they are.  I feel confident that these are keepers.
I have 22 miles to run on Saturday.  My last really long run before the Cleveland Marathon.  I plan to start out in my new Omnis and have a pair of Hurricanes in the car just in case.  Stay tuned...

What's your favorite running shoe?
Have you ever run in the Omnis? 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I got to look at this for 2 miles today. :)


Monday, April 23, 2012

Cleveland Marathon Training: Week 15

Week 15 didn't go exactly as I had planned, but sometimes life happens and plans need to be altered. Last week I found out that my grandmother, we call her Meme (pronounced MEM-ay) is loaded with cancer.  Her prognosis is a few weeks or less.  Meme lives in Massachusetts so I can't just drive on over to her house any time I want.  Airfare isn't cheap (uh, and remember my dog just had surgery?) and I can only afford to fly out there once; I'd rather go spend time with her while she's alive than wait for the funeral.  My parents and I booked flights to go visit Tuesday through Sunday.

Since this week was a recovery week, I wouldn't have to worry about high mileage runs and I could get away with packing just one running outfit since I'd have time to wash it between runs.  My mother-in-law was already planning to come visit Wednesday through Friday and she said she could come down a day early and watch the girls while Randy was at work.  Everything worked out and I was able to hang out with Meme for 5 days.

When we visit Massachusetts, we stay with my mom's parents.  I call them Memere and Pepere (pronounced: mem-AIR and pep-AIR).  They live in a valley.  What surrounds a valley?  Hills.  We are lacking hills here in the middle of Ohio and to say that the hills in MA kicked my butt would be an understatement.  I wasn't sure how I would get 14 miles done on those hills so I devised a plan that seemed to be the lesser of two evils: I would run from Memere's house to the high school and run the track until I couldn't stand it anymore.  Then I'd have at least a few flat miles.

I left Memere's house at 7am and headed toward the high school which is about 3 miles away, but I took a detour to add a little more distance.  It's all uphill to the high school.  On my way, I passed some important landmarks:
St. Joseph's Church, where my parents were married.

Leicester Middle School--formerly Leicester High School, where my parents met. (awwww...)

After I passed the middle school, I had one more hill to climb before I reached the new high school.  My dad and aunt were waiting for me at the track when I got there.  They were walking and I started running.  Last August I went to MA for a cousin's wedding and I ran on the track.  It was excruciating.  Circles of insanity!  I barely made it to 3 miles before wanting to throw myself off a cliff.  This year, I'm mentally (and physically) stronger.  I ran around the track 18 times.  I played a game while I ran: I started on the outermost lane, when I got back to my starting point, I moved to the next lane.  There are 6 lanes so I "only" ran 3 cycles.  Much better than counting every lap.  By the time I was finished my circles of insanity, I had just over 8 miles.  Whew!  More than halfway done!

I left the track for some residential streets.  I was running on an incline but nothing major until I turned a corner and stopped dead in my tracks.  There before me was a mother of a hill.  My first impulse was to turn around and go back the way I came, but I reached way down, pulled out my inner badass and headed for the hill.

This was taken about halfway up.
I made it to the top, but couldn't run the whole thing--my badass attitude only gets me so far.  At the top of the hill the street runs into a country road that is not safe for running, so I turned around and ran back down toward the valley.

This run was tough but I was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was!  I didn't realize how much I needed a few hours of fun.  The week hanging out with Meme was great.  We had some nice chats, made each other laugh--she's still got some spunk!  But all week, it was hanging over my head that I would have to say goodbye to her on Sunday.  This will be the last time I see her.  I really needed to let go of that anxiety for a few minutes and focus on something else.  Fourteen miles and some big-ass hills did the trick.

I love running.

How was your training this week?

Week 15:
Monday- 3.4mi
Tuesday- cross train: abs/arms
Wednesday- 5
Thursday- rest
Friday- walk 3mi
Saturday- 14mi
Sunday- rest

Total miles for week 15: 25.4 miles

April Burpee Challenge:
With all the travel hustle and bustle, I fell off the wagon at the end of this week, but never fear, I got right back on when I got home. :)

Monday- 16 burpees
Tuesday- 17 burpees
Wednesday- 18 burpees
Thursday- 0
Friday- 0
Saturday- 0
Sunday- 0

Total burpees this week: 51
Total Burpees in April: 157

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cleveland Marathon Training: Week 14

Whew!  Week 14 is in the bag!  I have to say, I was nervous about this week.  In week 14 last year, the overuse injuries started.  This year, I'm doing things a little differently: I'm staying consistent with the cross training and stretching and I'm running easier, not at top speed for every run.  I'm also running a lot more miles during the week.  It has been explained to me that running 10 miles during the week does not balance out and support a 20 mile run on the weekend.  I've always been afraid of high weekly mileage, but here I am, finished with my second 40+ mileage week and I'm feeling great!

My long run this week was 20 miles.  I took the little ladies to Michigan for a family birthday party so I was on my own for the long run.  I really could have used the conversation with my friends Saturday morning.  My grandmother is having serious health problems and my emotions go back and forth between fear, sadness and acceptance.  I was in acceptance mode for the first 3 hours of the run.  I hit mile 17 and BAM!  Waterworks.  I cried for the next 3 miles.  What the heck is wrong with me?!  I was a disaster for the rest of the day.  (In my defense, the day before I held it together very well.  I was due for a melt down.)

Sunday morning I wanted a few recovery miles.  It was pouring so I waited until the rain lightened up a little.  I like running in the rain, but a downpour is just asking for chaffing.  It was lightly sprinkling when I left.  I got about a block away and the rain picked back up.  Oh well.  I was already wet, might as well keep going.  The rain wasn't cold and it wasn't uncomfortable.  It was soothing and within minutes I was calm.  I let go of all the anxiety and tension I had been holding on to.  I think I smiled for the whole run.  I saw two other runners out in that mess.  One looked totally miserable, it might have been because she was wearing cotton.  I felt light and free and content.  I even did a split leap over a large puddle.  When I got back, I ran up the driveway and my mom was waiting at the door with a towel.  The perfect ending to my soggy run.  I am so loved.  This coming week is going to be a rough one with traveling (without my little ladies) to say goodbye to my grandmother, but I'll manage.  Bring on the rain.

Week 14
Monday- 4mi
Tuesday- 9mi
Wednesday- Cross train: abs, arms, buns
Thursday- 4.96mi speedwork 3x800
Friday- rest
Saturday- 20mi
Sunday- recovery 2.76mi
Total for week 14: 40.72mi

April Burpees Challenge
April 9- 9 burpees
April 10- 10 burpees
April 11- 11 burpees
April 12- 12 burpees
April 13- 13 burpees
April 14- 14 push ups (after 20 miles, my legs weren't up for burpees)
April 15- 15 burpees
Total burpees this week: 70
Total burpees in April: 106

How was your training this week?
Do you run in the rain?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Seen on my run 4/14/12

20 mile run at Stony Creek Metropark this morning...
Great view.  This is exactly what I needed.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

Meet the newest addition to my running shoe family!

Mizuno Wave Inspire 8
I love new shoes!  They're shiny and pretty and they smell so good! (What?  I know I'm not the only person who spends a considerable amount of time sniffing new shoes.) 

I've never run in Mizunos before; I'm looking forward to our first miles together in the morning.

My current shoes, the Saucony Hurricane 13, still have some life left.  I have two pairs each having about 300 miles on them.  They still feel fine to run in, but most likely will not make it to the Cleveland Marathon in May so a new pair was in order.  Ben at Fleet Feet watched me run on the treadmill for a few minutes and thought that maybe I don't need quite as much support as the Hurricanes offer.  Fine with me.  I'm not totally in love with the Hurricanes anyway.  I'm currently sporting my second black toenail with them.

The color--obviously, the most important feature in a running shoe--is growing on me.  My first choice is always pink (the brighter the better!), but many of the pink options this season do not come in wide.  Since my mother graced me with her duck-like feet, I need a wide.  There is a little bit of magenta on the sides so it's acceptable.

I'll be trying out Yasso 800s for the first time tomorrow.  Maybe my Mizunos will make me really fast!

What are you running in?
Ever sniff your new shoes?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cleveland Marathon Training: Week 13

Race day is only 6 weeks away!

I left the pace field behind this week.  All runs were done without me knowing what pace I'm running.  The only fields on my watch were distance, elapsed time, time of day and on some runs, heart rate percent of max. 

On Monday, I used the heart rate monitor to make sure I kept the run nice and easy.  Turns out, I didn't need it.  I ran by feel and my average heart rate for the run was 64% of max (for easy runs, my heart rate is supposed to be below 70% of max).  Humph.  I guess my body knows what it's doing. (imagine that!)

Tuesday was my first rest day in almost a month.  With all the stress of Jackson's surgery, I was exhausted and needed to rest. Other than my Burpees Challenge, I did nothing.

I got my mid-week long run in on Wednesday (with hills!). It was a great stress relief and I felt well rested. Again, I had no pace to look at and it went really well. Thursday was an evening group run.  I ran with Anne and Amanda--we kept a pretty fast pace (that I couldn't see at the time), but I had no trouble holding a conversation, so I guess it wasn't too fast.

Most of my long run was solo on Saturday.  I had my friend Erin with me for 8 miles and was on my own for 9 (but there was plenty to look at).  We met at a metro park with a hilly path--I was all about the hills this week.  The path is a 3.8mi loop.  The farthest I've ever run on this path is 12 miles; 3 laps around.  The fourth lap was brutal, but I refused to walk the hills--oh, I wanted to, but what I wanted more was to be able to tell Anne that I ran ALL the hills.  Past experiences at this park have not been awesome because of having to walk the hills.  I'm thrilled that, this time, I felt strong and I was alone!  There was no one there to drag encourage me up the hills.  It was a hard workout, but I felt so triumphant when I finished.  I can't wait to go back.

Week 13
Monday: 5.42mi
Tuesday: rest (other than burpees)
Wednesday: 9mi
Thursday: 5.01mi
Friday: abs, arms, burpees
Saturday: 17mi
Sunday: recovery 3.36mi
Total mileage for week 13: 38.79mi

April Burpee Challenge
April 2- 2 burpees
April 3- 3 burpees
April 4- 4 burpees
April 5- 5 burpees
April 6- 6 burpees
April 7- 7 burpees-- after 17 miles of hills!
April 8- 8 burpees
Total burpees for the week- 35 burpees
Total burpees for April- 36 burpees

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Seen on my Run 4/7/12

Lots to look at today!

There were a TON of deer!

 I saw a few wild turkeys.

And a hoarding hole! (technically, this was seen after the run near the parking lot) 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Honey Roasted Almonds

A couple of weeks ago, I bought some honey roasted almonds at Whole Foods to put in my lunch salads.  They were really good but cost a fortune.  I was sure I could make them myself for a much better price so I did some searching for recipes and found this one at


2 cups almonds, with whole skin on
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Place almonds in a single layer in a baking pan and put them in a cool oven.  Set oven to 350 degrees and roast for 12-15 minutes until color is tan or light brown. (this step smells amazing)

2. Mix sugar and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

3. Stir together honey, water and oil in a medium sauce pan, bring it to a boil then stir in the roasted almonds.  Cook and stir until all liquid is absorbed (about 5 min)

4. Transfer almonds into the bowl with sugar and salt, toss until evenly coated.

5. Cool in a single layer on parchment paper.
6. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Psh...2 weeks...these suckers didn't last 5 days!  Randy and Ellie loved them and ate them as snacks.  (Aleena doesn't care for the texture of nuts.)
romaine, apple, dried cherries, honey roasted almonds and goat cheese

Me, I like to put fruit and nuts in my salads for lunch.

What are you cooking up this week?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April Burpee Challenge

I'll be the first to tell you: I hate burpees.  My little ladies have been making it a little more fun.  They have been joining me for my Burpee Challenge this week.  Today is April 5th, so 5 burpees were on deck.  Let me tell you, peeps: 5 was hard.  Ellie took video of my burpees--that I am not sharing only because I took video of Ellie and Aleena doing their burpees that is way cuter than my video.  Check out Aleena's "ta-da" at the end.  :)

I think the PJs make it even cuter.

I love that my little ladies like to do my exercises with me.  It makes me feel like I'm setting a good example even though I let them have a pouch of zero-nutritional-value-rot-your-teeth-out fruit snacks most afternoons.  (In my defense, I buy the fruit snacks with fruit juice as the first ingredient; not high fructose corn syrup.  Just don't ask me what the second ingredient is.)

What fun, healthy activities do you do with your kiddos?  Do they enjoy exercising with you? 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Yes, folks, they've made a come-back and my little ladies have quite the collection.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thankful Thursday 2 Days Early--I make my own rules

This is Jackson.  He is almost 7 years old.  We adopted him 6 years ago this month.  He was our second adoption from Columbus Dog Connection.

Jackson is big, about 85 pounds with a big bark and big teeth.  He's pretty intimidating looking and has taken on the role of guard dog, especially since the little ladies were born.

All his guard doggedness (what, you never make up words to meet your needs?) can get really tiresome, especially during naptime--which of course is when UPS and FedEx are in the neighborhood.

Today, I'm thankful for my big, loud poochie-pie.  Last Wednesday afternoon, I noticed a lump on Jackson's leg.  We went to our vet, Dr. Wisecup, the next morning to have it checked out.  The lump was a pretty good size, 2cm x 2cm, and must have grown very quickly if it was already that big and I was just noticing it.  Jackson has very short fur and the lump was visible from across the room.

Upon inspection, Dr. Wisecup recommended removing the mass because of its size and location.  There isn't a whole lot of extra skin on the legs (ankle area) so if the mass grew more, he wouldn't have enough skin to close up the incision.  Dr. Wisecup wanted to do surgery on Monday (April 2). She tried to aspirate the mass so she could figure out what kind of tumor it was, but poked Jackson 3 times and couldn't get enough material out of it to determine what it was.  It seemed that surgery was the only option, as doing nothing was not an option.

Drop off on Monday morning was awful.  I think Jackson knew something bad was coming.  He was shaking and whining in the vet's office.  My big strong dog was scared.  I tried to hold it together, I really did, but ended up bawling like a baby as the technician took Jackson from me.

I stress-ate all day.  I ate anything I could get my hands on.  I finally heard from the vet's office shortly after 1pm.  Jackson was awake and barking and causing a ruckus (that's my boy!).  He would be ready to come home at 1:45! When I got to there, the surgery technician gave me our discharge instructions then finally brought Jackson in.  The first thing I noticed was how stoned he looked, poor boy could barely keep his eyes open.  The second thing I noticed was the bright yellow bandage on his leg.

When we got home, Jackson parked himself on the dog couch and didn't move much.  He whined for much of the afternoon on Monday.  I don't think it was because of pain, I think he just felt yucky from the anesthesia.  As the night went on, the whining lessened and he started to lay more comfortably.

He slept all night Monday night and after breakfast, pain meds and antibiotics on Tuesday morning, he got back on the couch and has been passed out snoozing peacefully ever since.

The tumor will be biopsied and we should have results early next week.  We're keeping our fingers crossed until then.

For now, I'm thankful to have all of my babies--both furry, and human--under one roof.

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cleveland Marathon Training: Week 12

I was pretty sore starting off the week after my big PR on Sunday. (Anne keeps reminding me that good things don't come without a little pain.)  The very very very very very slow recovery run on Monday helped as my legs were feeling a little better on Tuesday--ahem, I didn't yelp while walking down the stairs.

No rest for the wicked. Week 12 beckons. :)

Tuesday, I focused on arms and abs.  I did absolutely nothing to work the legs, but got a lot of leg stretches in at the end of the workout.  Wednesday was my mid-week long run.  I planned to run after I dropped Ellie off at school.  Turns out, my friend Angie had the same idea!  My solo 9 miler turned into a buddy run!

Thursday, I met my Turtle running group for 5 miles.  The 9mi on Wednesday and the 5mi n Thursday is my highest back to back mileage ever!  Funny that last year, I was so afraid of running 2 days in a row and now I'm running 14 miles in 2 days and I feel good!

Friday, I dragged my weary self out of bed for some core.  Spent a lot of time stretching my abs, back and legs when I was done.  I also used my snazzy new foam roller on my calves.

Saturday, I met Anne, Angie, Kate and Jen (who joined us for the first time) at a metro park.  I was scheduled for 18, but Anne asked if I wanted to do 20 with her.  The idea didn't totally freak me out, so, why not?  Jen ran 7 miles for the first time ever, yay!  Angie and Kate stuck with us for 10. Anne and I felt pretty good for most of the 20 miles.  We started to get pretty tired around mile 18 and there wasn't much conversation between 19 and 20, but we made it!  We shaved 27 minutes off our 20 mile time from last year too.  WOOT!

Sunday, I ran a short and slow recovery, my legs felt surprisingly good.  I foam rolled when I got home and did 1 burpee.  Our twitter group started a new challenge for April: a burpee challenge!  I hate burpees, so this will be good for me.  If you're on Twitter, follow these tweeps and their burpee progress: @amanda_mowry, @denisermt, @runningrealtor1, @seekaterun1, @runningmom2boys, @forrestgump49er and me @runmama2girls.

Week 12
Monday- recovery 3.28mi
Tuesday- abs and arms
Wednesday- 9.02mi
Thursday- 5mi
Friday- abs, arms, stretch, foam roll
Saturday- 20mi long run, foam roll
Sunday- recovery 2.75mi, foam roll

Burpee Challenge
April 1- 1 burpee

Total mileage for week 12- 40.05 miles  (My first ever 40 mile week!)