Monday, August 26, 2013

A New Plan

This far into my training, I've been following the Hal Higdon Beginner II plan for my marathon. But I've been finding that only one rest day isn't enough for me. This week, I've taken three days off because of IT band pain.

I refuse to be injured. I'm going to nurse my leg so I can complete my training successfully. But this also means I need to look at a backup plan.

I was doing some searching this week, realizing I have 11 weeks to go until race day and have pretty much decided the Higdon plan isn't working for me. I found this one from Women's Running UK.

I like it because it gives specific cross-training workouts, and it allows for more rest days and fewer mid-week runs above 5 miles.

I was unable to do my long-run Sunday because my IT band was still twingey, despite the rest this week. I've been rolling diligently, doing hip and core exercises, and wearing my most comfortable work shoes. Today it feels better, and I plan to head to the gym to test it out when this post is finished.

This weekend wasn't all a bust, though. Matt and I had a race of a different sort.
Matt on his final .1
Okay, he had a race. I got to experience what sitting in the sun waiting for a race to be over feels like.

Matt did a 5k paddle race and a 100m sprint. He placed 3rd in the 5k for his division, and 1st for the sprint!
His trophy is seriously the coolest thing ever!
I'm so impressed! It's pretty cool how similar SUP and running can be.

After the race, we traveled to St. Pete to meet some of our oldest college friends for dinner and to catch a Rays game. It was an extremely packed, wonderful weekend.
I stepped out of my comfort zone and had bacon and cheddar grits with shrimp, avocado, and tomatoes. Uh-maz-ing!
The crew after dinner.
The Rays new mascot is the cutest stingray EVER!
Enjoying the nosebleed section.
When we got home Sunday, I promptly took a nap and then graded all evening.

Wish me luck on my run tonight. I'm hoping I'm back in tip-top shape after six days off.

What is your most persistent injury?
Have you ever dealt with IT band issues?
Do you like baseball?
When's the last time you got to see some old college friends? 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Guest Post Alert!

Not over here, but over at See This Girl Run!

Alyssa was kind enough to ask me to write a guest post, and I was humbled and honored to do it! She is such a bubbly, positive energy on the blogosphere! (This is my first-ever guest post, so I was especially excited to write it for someone who's so inspiring and genuinely likeable!)

Okay, exclamation-mark overload.

Anyway, I wrote an entry just for her blog on building mental toughness. Many of us have been struggling with our training lately, it seems...Summer makes it difficult to stay on track. But this is a great opportunity to find out just how strong we really are!

Check out my post here, and tell her hello!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

You Know You're a Runner When...

Marc Parent has written an article, like many others before him, on how you know when you're a runner. But this article is different...For some reason, I found myself really moved by it. There's a beauty in his humor, in the simple truths he exposes in the article.

(And the defining moment, for him, is totally understandable, easily overlooked, and pretty chuckle-worthy.)

Put this on your reading list. Bookmark it. Read it more than once. Maybe it was just the perfect time for me to be reassured, but this is truly for anyone who has ever wondered when they can classify themselves as a runner.
The article is here.
While Parent does a great job of breaking down some of the finer points, he didn't hit on everything. How could he? Here are my additions to the "You know you're a runner when...?" question.

1. Your running clothes are in the easiest-to-reach drawer of your dresser...

and the drawer is completely overflowing...

It's important to put your running clothes in the drawer you reach most easily to avoid any extra work in the mornings. I recommend hip-height, of course.
...and the most organized drawer you have. (I actually bother to fold my running clothes...and this is just drawer one of three.)

2. You find yourself stretching at random in the middle of cooking...or teaching a class of 8th graders.

3. You zone out into daydreams about your last run...or your next one.

4. You wish money grew on trees so you could go shopping for running clothes/shoes/accessories every day. (My running wardrobe won't be complete until every outfit is as coordinated as this one.)
At first I was like, "This is unintentional and embarrassing", but then I was like, "OWNING IT!"
5. You find a sick pleasure in convincing your friends to try running, especially when they catch the bug and get addicted.

6. You're more upset with the time off you have to take for an injury than the injury itself.

7. Black or lost toe nails and chafed skin are badges of honor.

8. You have no shame in wearing sneakers or compression socks in public.
Yes, I wore these to school with bright violet shoes. I'm the coolest teacher around, clearly.
9. Your muscles ache when you take too much time off.

10. Even your bad runs are good runs.

11. You find a way to incorporate core-work and cross-training into everyday activities.
This is my classroom computer chair. Core strengthening, baby.
12. Most of the items on your bucket list are running-related.

13. You have seen your city cloaked in darkness, when most sane people are asleep.

Hello, 4am.
14. You are totally comfortable taking awkward pictures of yourself (and strangers) at the gym and in public places...for the sake of your running blog, of course.
At least three gym-rats were giving me the stink-eye as I repeatedly took this selfie until I had the perfect "perplexed-and-resigned" expression.
If I'm being totally honest, I guess I'll admit that maybe this one was more for me than you guys.
15. But in all seriousness, maybe I finally knew I had "arrived" when people started asking me for running advice (without my first bringing up my own obsession), and sharing their awesome running accomplishments, because my running journey had inspired them to start.
From the first person I ever infected with the running bug!
Seriously the best kind of message to get from a non-running friend.
Yeah, that's definitely my #1, A-ha!, enlightenment moment. If so many of my amazing friends think I'm a runner, who am I to argue?

When did you know you were a runner?
Ever find yourself stretching randomly in public?


Sunday, August 18, 2013

MTWR 6 & Sunshine Award!

My laptop is in the care of Best Buy's Geek Squad right now. For the last few months it's been telling me my memory is too low to do anything, and I've been working off a remote disk drive. Yesterday, after installing some Windows updates, the laptop refused to connect to the internet.

So today I'm blogging from Matt's laptop. If things look wonky, that's why. This is a post in two weekly marathon training update is the first, and the Sunshine Award is the second.

Today I was scheduled for 12 miles. I got out an hour later than planned, just as the sun was coming up. What I've learned in Florida is that the heat won't get you necessarily, but the humidity will. As I dumped water on myself and wished I had brought all four bottles in the fuel belt (I only brought three), I realized being wet wasn't helping.
Post-run, I immediately stripped off my shoes, compression sleeves, and socks...
The humidity stops water from evaporating from your skin and then you just end up steamy and wet. Evaporation, as we all know, is what creates a cooling sensation.

I also started today's run with intervals, and probably shouldn't have. I never found a good groove; I finished the end of the run without taking breaks, and that helped. I fueled with blueberry-pomegranate Gu Chomps this time, and they were delicious!

...And dunked myself in our pool.
My  Nike+ app helps me keep track of the mileage on my shoes. I got a nice reminder today...but the proofreading made me cringe. Seriously...someone is being paid to make these kind of mistakes.

Once you see it, you'll know what I mean.
This week went pretty well, all things considered. I'm feeling back on track and a lot less slumpy. I just have to keep holding myself accountable!

So onto the Sunshine Award! I've seen this floating around the internet, of course, and have even been nominated before. I didn't follow up on it that time, because to me it's a little chain-lettery, but this time I'm inclined to pass it along.

Why not? It's fun, spreads some joy, and allows others to know how much you appreciate them!

The award is circulated to bloggers to let them know that reading their posts brings some sunshine into your life!

(I have no clue what the white blocks around the words are all about here...Oh well!)

The Rules:
1.  Include award logo in a post or on your blog (above).
2.  Link to the person who nominated you - The truly awesome Heather at Run Like a G!
3.  Answer 10 questions about yourself.
4.  Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated. There are so many to consider, and so many of them have already been tagged! Let it be known, if I comment on your blog and/or you're on my "What I'm Reading" list, your posts ALWAYS bring me sunshine!

Heather's Questions for her Nominees:

1. What is your favorite thing about running? Testing my limits, finding my sanity, and proving to myself over and over that my body is an amazing machine! I love that it's a challenge!

2. What FRIENDS character are you more like? (Fe/male) I was a lot like Phoebe when I was younger, but I think now I'm definitely more like Rachel (with a smidgen of Ross's geekiness!)

You know you wanna be this cool.
3. If money wasn't an option, what country/island/place would you explore for a week? (ONLY ONE!) Mauritius! It's a small island nation off the coast of Africa and looks just heavenly. (Plus I love their blend of cultures and the way they work together. Their politics are my dream-world for the US.)
Basically, this is at the top of my bucketlist right now.
4. Bodybuilding - yay or nay? Not for me, personally, but I support those who follow that dream!

5. What do you LOVE about your body? (Only sunny answers!) I love my big ol' brain...and my legs. Running has truly taught me to love my legs.

6. Tell me your favorite season and give two reasons why it is your favorite season. I love autumn. The weather starts to get cool, but the days are still long enough to enjoy.

7. Do you believe in love at first sight? Not really, but I do believe in sparks.

8. If you could have an exotic animal as pet, which would you choose? I already have an exotic pet...Archie the little lovebird! But if I had to have another, I'd go with a snake.

(Do yourself a favor and watch this video. It'll make your Sunday that much brighter! I swear, this bird wants to be a basketball player; he gets it in the garbage can 9 out of 10 times.)

9. Have you read Harry Potter? YES! I reread the series every summer. I get something new from them every time I read them. HP is definitely my favorite series.

10. What is your favorite cereal? Gluten Free Rice Krispies...but sometimes I splurge on Cocoa or Fruity Pebbles. Mmm sugar!

10 Questions for ALL of you!
1. What is your ideal weekend?
2. When you were in school, what was your favorite subject?
3. Name one teacher who you remember - for something positive - and tell me why you remember them.
4. What was your first race?
5. What is your favorite takeout food?
6. What's the earliest you've ever gotten up to go for a run?
7. What's the latest you've ever headed out for a run?
8. What is something you've accomplished that you're proud of?
9. Who is your biggest cheerleader/motivator/supporter?
10. If you could go back in time and change one event from your life, what would you choose, and why?

Answer the questions in the comments, or feel free to repost to your own blog. I'm tagging EVERYONE!

Have a great Sunday!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Running on Fire

This week I started (and finished) Scott Jurek's memoir Eat & Run. Although I took exception to some of it, I highlighted more than I expected. I think some of his mantras and keep-going attitude rubbed off on me this week.
Even if you're uninterested in running ultras, this is worth the read.
Yesterday I had one of those mid-week mini-long runs of 6 miles. I’m still having trouble fitting more than 4 miles in before I have to get back home for work, so I saved the run for after a full day of teaching.

My calves burned the entire time. I was going to cut it short but I decided to push through. I was really glad that I did the entire thing. I walked at the halfway point, just to have some water, but then continued and ran the whole time.

I think the burning calves were caused by the cross training that I did earlier in the week.

Here's a picture of all the people on the treadmills during rush hour at our gym. I'm glad this was on my cross training day, so I didn't have to claim one for myself!
It's hard to take a non-blurry picture while on the stair-stepper! Whodathunk?
I would still rather be sore during a longer midweek run than on my real long run on the weekends, so I think that I'm going to keep doing cross training early in the week (on Tuesday or Wednesday).

This might be TMI, but I also have another UTI…seriously the worst illness to have while running. I felt like I was going to wet myself for the first three miles of this run. I seem to be getting them more and more often. This might have something to do with how often I'm working out and how much I’m sweating.
Post-run collapse...But inside I was grinning.
Anyway, I was on my first dose of antibiotics when I went for my run last night, and that definitely didn’t help. I didn't feel very well or have a lot of energy, but I pushed through.

I was playing with the idea of only doing 4 miles. I bargained with myself, wondering how many miles I could add to a scheduled shorter run to make up for it. But in the end, I stuck with it; the run was tough, but that made it good.

The hard runs are what train us for greater distances; finishing this one will do more for my marathon training than hundreds of Good, easy runs ever would.

Needless to say, I'm really, really glad I finished.

Oh, also, I listened to Pandora on this run and "Come On Eileen" definitely gave me the boost I needed around mile 4.5.

(Look for a guest post from me in the near future on Alyssa’s blog, See This Girl Run, on building mental toughness!)

How do you find the silver lining of a tough run?

How do you fit in longer mid-week runs?
What's the best 80s song to run to?


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gear Report: Nathan Fuel Belt, Kayano 19, and Blog Recommendations

Before I even begin today's post, I need to thank you guys for keeping me accountable. Because I was so excited to use my new fuel belt and share a brief review, I had to get out of bed today to use it!

I'm glad I did, because I also caught glimpses of three shooting stars leftover from the Perseid meteor shower that was super bright Sunday and Monday.

I know it seems like I post photos of new shoes at least once a week, but I really mean it this time.
I can already feel the neon making me faster!
I went back to Fit2Run with my Adrenalines in hand. After giving them a shot since July, I just knew they weren't right for me. The employee who took my return was surprised I hadn't been fitted for the Trance, as they're really the equivelant of the Asics Kayano. Still, I told him at this point I just wanted what I knew worked for me.
The 19s are slightly more narrow in the toe, so I sized up to 8.5 rather than an 8.
I walked out fifteen minutes later (after an extremely awkward fitting during which I had to apologize for my I've-been-wearing-work-shoes-without-socks-all-day-smelly-feet) with a gorgeous pair of Kayano 19s. I am thrilled!

So preeeettyyyy.
This is it, guys. I know these are meant for me!

Anyway, this morning I woke up at 4:25, ate a few SportsBeans, and read some blogs until I was awake enough to get moving.
I ran with my new Nathan Speed 4R fuel belt. I only put in two bottles because my run was only going to be three miles. I definitely noticed a little sloshing, and I think one of the bottles was leaking a little because I didn't close the cap all the way.
I went for basic black, but there are pink and blue options, too.
I like that there's no closure on the nipple of the bottle; it has a one-way system built in and all you have to do is squeeze the bottle to get a perfect jet of water. The belt didn't wiggle; it definitely sat where I secured it. The pocket is the perfect size for my keys, and will be great for fuels on my longer runs.
Nothing like a fuzzy under-the-street-light shot to really provide a clear picture.
My arms never clipped the bottles and they were easy to remove from the belt while running. The extra weight will take awhile to get used to, and I definitely noticed it once I took the belt off, but during the run I didn't feel it affected my gait. (I was a little slower today, but that could be remnants from the long run hamstrings are still a little tired.) The water didn't stay super cold, but I guess that's to be expected.

I wore my new shoes, and felt absolutely awesome.

I kind of love that they look like rainbow sherbet.
Finally, I'm happy to mention that I've updated my What I'm Reading list to include the blogs I've been obsessed with lately! I just added the new ones to the top; the blogs aren't in any particular order. Believe me, they're all worth checking out!

Do you run with water/fuel?
Recommend a blog you're loving right now!
What are your thoughts on this new trend of super-bright running shoes?


Sunday, August 11, 2013


Last week, after a disappointing 7 miles total, I set myself some goals that ignored the plan I've been following and focused more on what I felt was right for me. The goals I set were:

Goals for this week: 
    1. Run at least three weekdays, at least 4 miles.
    2. Complete my long run.
    3. Complete a real crosstraining workout at the gym.

This is what training looked like in reality:

Monday, Aug 5
4 miles. Did 4x1 intervals run/walk. Super humid and pretty slow, but so glad I went.
Tuesday, Aug 6
XTrain. 15 minutes “fat burner” setting on stairstepper, 2:00 plank, abductors/adductors (55 lbs x 20 x 2), leg press (50 lbs x 20 x 2), ab machine (50 lbs x 12 x 2)
Wednesday, Aug 7
4 mile progression run on treadmill. Last mile at 8:55. Definitely a morale booster.
Thursday, Aug 8
Friday, Aug 9
Rest (Summit – all day travel and exhaustion)
Saturday, Aug 10
Rest (recovery from Summit)
Sunday, Aug 11
9 miles on treadmill. 4 or 5 SportsBeans pre-run, 2 Gu Chomps at 2 miles (with water and walk break), 1 Chomp at mile 4. Felt AWESOME. Fast & Furious on TV helped, too haha. Ran in Kayanos. Definitely the right shoes for me.
I missed one of my 4-milers, but it was necessary. I was going to run it on Thursday, but had to be up and on a bus by 5am to go to Orlando for an all-day event for school. We didn't get home until well after 9pm. I ended up taking three rest days in a row, which was a little much, but I didn't want to run the day before my long run.

I finally got a fuelbelt that I'm super excited to begin using, but I somehow forgot to turn my alarm on. I woke up with the sun and thought blearily, "Why is is bright out?" Yeah. So I had to do my run on the treadmill.
I refused to let this long run fall by the wayside. I got it done, even if it meant using the treadmill.
I usually get really bored on the treadmill, but I was lucky. I forgot my headphones, but refused to let that stop me. I asked Matt to bring them to the gym at his leisure, and I'd do the first few miles without them. This ended up being okay, actually. I wasn't distracted by trying to skip songs. Plus, The Fast and the Furious was on TV! (I'm such a sucker for those movies.)

I was scheduled for 8 miles. Matt brought my headphones at mile 4. I felt so good, I did an extra mile. I could have even done 10, but I began to have some knee and hip discomfort, and there's no reason to push myself and possibly cause injury at this point.

Feeling so strong left me feeling really positive. I'm excited to tackle 12 miles next week!

I'd been so worried about this run - testing fueling again and doing it on the treadmill instead of outside - that the relief of it being a success has really broken down a wall I was mentally fighting.

Despite keeping the treadmill at the same MPH the entire time, my pace still fluctuated. So weird.
I ate 4 or 5 SportsBeans about 15 minutes before the run. (They're caffeinated.) I was going to run 4x1 intervals but felt too good, so instead I chose to take water breaks every two miles or so. At the first two-mile mark, I ate two Chomps (caffeine free) and had some water; I ate a third Chomp at mile 5.

These things are EASY to eat, tasty, and WORK! Definitely my preference for fuel.

I was still feeling really strong; added an extra mile and pushed my pace.
I did have some "intestinal discomfort" around mile 7. I'm just not used to eating on the run yet. But I didn't have to stop, and the feeling passed.

It was really fun to watch people come and go. I got there just as rush hour began, so there were people on the treadmills on either side of me. As they came and went, I kept on trucking. And my pace was easily under 10 minute miles the entire time, even including my walk breaks. Love it.

The glow of success!
This run also solidified for me that I need to return the Brooks for my Asics. My feet just felt so perfect in my tried-and-true shoes. Now I know that Kayanos are my sole-mates for life!

Did you have a long run or race this weekend?
What are your plans for next week?


Friday, August 9, 2013

She's Alive!

This is a non-post post because I realized that I wrote a rather downer post earlier in the week and then kind of disappeared.

I've been running and crosstraining this week as planned, but I've been SO busy with work and getting back into my school schedule that I haven't had the time (or energy) to write. (And my runs are so rushed I haven't had time to take any pictures!)

Hopefully next week things will settle down and I'll truly be back!

Here's a picture of me barely hanging onto my sanity less than 24 hours before students came back. 

(They've since actually returned and now that I've met them I'm VERY excited for the year...Although I do really miss my kids from last year still.)

And here's what I've been up to running-wise:

How was your week?
If you could send me your usual go-to pick-me-up/energizer, what would I find in my mailbox?


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Personal Responsibility

Since returning from California, my running has been in a weird place. A mostly bad place. But I'm trying to replace the idea of "bad" runs with "disappointing" runs or "tough" runs. Any run is a good run because it gets you out there and helps you make progress. Right?

I know my trouble is 90% mental and 10% environmental. Here's why. In California, I was easily running my longer mid-week runs, so I know I'm physically capable. However, I missed my long run while away, and when I got back to Florida I was back in the outdoor-running-state-of-mind.
After one successful 5am run this week, I laid out clothes for the next...and they've stayed there for 3 days.
I miss running outside. The treadmill is boring and tedious, and I admit, I feel less like a "real" runner when 90% of my runs are indoors. But summertime in Florida refuses to cooperate with me. Even when it rains, it's so steamy and humid that I have trouble breathing. My legs have felt heavy and sore on every outdoor run since returning home.
Only in Florida do you see skies like this behind you while skies ahead are bright.
I don't have the option to complete morning runs indoors because my gym doesn't open early enough. I don't want to go to the gym after work because I'm too exhausted.

Running outside - and alone - at 5am is kind of terrifying. And, despite the early hour and lack of sunlight, there's still 90% humidity.

I need to start carrying water on shorter runs in this climate, but I've been putting off getting a fuel belt because I'm afraid I won't like it.

This week I really suffered for my lack of hydration and being on my feet all day. I've been living all summer in flipflops and running shoes; after my first day back at school in work shoes, my feet cramped up and turned into crazy claws for 15 minutes, until Matt fed me a high-potassium smoothie.

The long and short of this is that I have no one to blame for my slacking but myself, and maybe I needed to take some time off because the anxiety and change in schedule that accompanies the beginning of school have left my energy stores empty. But I also don't want to make excuses or allow myself to continue on this path and then have to bow out of the marathon.
Ready for open house to begin! Check out those under-eye circles!
It doesn't help that my last three runs in my new shoes have been less-than-great. Like, uninspired. I go out excited and within a mile feel tired and heavy; there has been some low-grade pain in my legs that I think could be from the shoes. I've been slower than I planned, and had to cut my runs short so that I'd have time to get home and shower to get to work on time.

As much as I want to love them, I have to wonder if I just need to get new Kayanos instead of sticking with the Adrenalines. But maybe it's all in my head!

(This is why I hate shoe-buying.)

As of right now, I'm not at all on track. This needs to change. I'm the only one who can change it. Being behind and knowing I have a plan to follow is stressful, so I'm taking my training into my own hands and ignoring my actual training plan for now.

Goals for this week: 
    1. Run at least three weekdays, at least 4 miles.
    2. Complete my long run.
    3. Complete a real crosstraining workout at the gym.

Once I'm back in the habit, I know getting up early to run will be doable and even easy at times. But this week I've had zero energy. And I hate to admit it, but admitting it will force a change.
Above and below: my post-Open House classroom looks more lived-in and normal!
Besides, I don't want to lie and say things are going well when they're not. This blog is a place for me to ruminate on running: the good, bad, and the ugly.

Now that I've gotten the whining out of my system, it's time to move forward.

How do you motivate yourself out of a slump?
Share some words of wisdom/inspiration!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Back to School

It's August 1st, and I'm back to school. For the next two days I have to be in at 8:00 for training, and when the kids come back I begin at 7:30.

Despite being out late last night for another celebration (this time for our friend Meg), I got up at 5:45 to run this morning. 
Pre-run pitch-darkness
Post-run: sweaty and sunny!
My trick? I barely slept from back-to-school anxiety. I woke up naturally at 5:30 and read some blogs, which helped get me motivated. 

This is a nice way to start the month...but it's not going to last!
It was a rough run but I'm glad I went! It was definitely the right way to begin the school-year. 

What time do you get up for work?
Tell me about your job!