Tournaments and motivation…

  My angel awaiting his turn at his first taekwondo tournament…..of note, that uniform is really hard to keep clean. Whites and 5 years olds don’t mix well.  

A challenge of keeping a running blog that is my running life just isn’t always that exciting.   The trail runner bloggers do much better with exciting reports and lots of pretty photos.  For me, about 90% of my runs are done right outside my front door and just around my neighborhood. They’re often done alone and early to check the box and then get on with the day.  I think I’m good for about three weeks of this then need a change.  This weekend was two runs with company and outside my normal routes.  It was quite lovely.  I added a bit extra in honor of Western States 100 weekend, aka to me as one last ultra on my bucket list that is now impossible to get into.

Saturday was spent doing all the usual little things and Jasper had his first taekwondo tournament. I’m super proud of my angel just for entering. I know he was really nervous doing his moves in front of a judges panel.   For kids his age it was more about getting experience and building confidence.   They all got a medal for something.  And, I am NOT one of those people who gripe about every kid getting some kind of medal and that we should let kids experience losing. At some point in life yes, but when a 5 year old is brave enough to stand up in front of a crowd and give their best effort, they need to be rewarded.   It was really fun and hopefully he has the confidence now to do it again…he was one of the youngest competitors.   I’m a believer that every kid can find some sport they can do to build their confidence.  If all else fails there’s always running.   As someone with absolutely zero athletic abilities, I was able to find a sport that  anyone can do.    Jaspy is lucky though, as he is a natural athlete.  The kid definitely did not get it from me…

Saturday I also watched  Western States updates online which was really fun.   Whenever I follow a race or watch one it’s definitely a motivator for whatever goal is on the horizon.  I feel ready to put some hard work in for marathon season now.  This is supposed to be a pretty big week so on that note I should crash and start the day right when the alarm goes off at 4:30, and not battle sleep demons.   

Onward….

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Summer fun = humid running…

    Having fun at the movies (I think Inside Out is my new favorite Pixar movie).   Our latest Pinterest craft, a Tortoro made from old socks….and someone enjoying his new summer haircut.

Summer is flying by.  The last couple weeks saw real summer humidity.  The mornings have been muggy.  Which means my confidence in making that BQ has dropped.  I was feeling pretty good about things when I did my 5k but I’ve struggled to hit my paces the last couple weeks. Today I had a pretty good hill run, so maybe I’ve acclimated to 90% humidity.  But man, the summer is a confidence buster.   I’ll still take it over cold winter running any day though.

I’ve become a full time Strava convert.  Totally loving having my run instantly go to a log.  I’ve been manually adding my doggie miles because DaVinici was blowing my average pace with his stops, so pride got the better of me and I don’t start timing until I’ve dropped him off at home.  I admit I’m a total sucker for seeing “fastest mile” etc.  who knew I was a closet log keeper after all these years.  After almost three weeks now, my end verdict on the Apple watch for runners is this:  if you are into simplicity and just want pace and distance and don’t use a lot of fancier features, this is a great watch.  I’d say if you’re looking to get a new Garmin, I’d skip it and get the Apple watch instead.  You can use it all the time, if you want heart rate it does that without the chest strap, and you get your basic garmin functions.  If you want to swim or use more detailed interval split type features,  stay with Garmin.  But I bet the next generation of Apple watches will do more Gamin-y type things.  For me though, this works great, and I’m sticking with it.  I’m pretty simple though.   now if I could just hit the paces I want and see them on my watch that would be awesome….

This week marks 16 weeks out…..the real work is starting.   And inbetween trying to have lots of summer fun…we made some fantastic M & M cookies off Pinterest that we are too fast for me to take a picture, so hopefully this week we can manage to keep our treats around a little longer.

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Geekin’ out…

      

Post school gummy worms, Italian ice, and check out who’s photo bombing me while I play with my watch…

I’m on day 6 of being an activity tracking geek.  Loving it!  First off, I love Strava.  Why didn’t I discover this sooner?  (Sorta like Pinterest).  Yes, you have to run with a phone, but I love my post run maps and I even have a route that apparently has segments on it others have ran, so I get ranked.   I’ve been wearing my new watch and have yet to try its accuracy sans phone. There’s actually not a ton of info online from folks who have run with the Apple watch a lot.  Lots of general reviews and they all say the same thing “this is not a watch for serious runners”.  I would disagree and say it’s not a watch for serious run loggers.  You get pace, distance, heart rate, calories, elapsed time, and average pace.   That’s a lot, but some folks track each interval, each split and it definitely can’t do swimming for triathletes.    My only wish is that you got each mile’s time as you go.   You just get  your average  mile pace at the end and for pacing just need to keep an eye on pace as you go, or watch the cumulative time if you were wearing in a race.   So after 6 days, I think I’m switching to the Apple watch for running.  If I had to pace a marathon again it may be tricky,  but for my own  racing it should work fine.  And I think I’ve converted to a phone runner wither.  I really like the run just dumping right into a log.  Of note, until all the cool run apps came out, I never kept a log.  It just seemed like another task, but with the apps it sorta a fun thing to do.  So yep, full geek mode.

I’ll still never be one to “analyze my data.”   For one…it would be depressing.  “oh look, I really was slower after a giant piece of cheesecake last night”. But my new geek toys are fun.

The weekend’s running was a mixed bag.  Jasper woke up at 4am Saturday and I wasted and hour and a half trying to get him to go back to sleep.  I ended up late getting out for my run and had to cut it a little short.  I ran two of my hill loops which is almost too hard of a run.  It was just too hard to hit a good pace with hills that frequent.  Then today I headed out and without warning a huge downpour hit.  I’m ok with getting soaked once I’m already out, but it was raining so hard it was difficult to really run efficiently and I slowed pretty dang good.    I did make it to afternoon yoga class, and Sunday is a tough one, so I’m pretty beat tonight.   This week is mostly treadmill and the more serious speed work starts.  No more cutting off speed chunks, and “just running it home easy”.  

So more geek time this week, some Pinterest cookie making, and Game of Thrones finale tonight!!!!!

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Project…

  

A while back Mike asked me if I wanted an Apple watch and I said “no” when I found out it doesn’t have GPS.   Plus, I didn’t think I wanted the clutter in my life of activity tracking.  I’ve stayed out of the FitBit world thus far, and only do Daily Mile since friends do it.   The other day I came home from work and found a package waiting for me…..a new Apple watch.  Mike said his work offered a one time deal on them to employees too good to pass up.  When someone gets you an incredibly generous and awesome gift….you do not poo-poo it since it has no GPS…hence my new project.  I figured I needed to at least try and get this watch to work for me.  

I’ve stayed up way too late the last couple nights watching tutorial videos.  The watch has a pedometer which supposedly will learn your pacing if you run with your phone a few times which has very accurate GPS.  I am not a phone runner wither.  One thing I love about running is its elegant simplicity.  It requires shoes only.  Why clutter it up?  I sometimes listened  to music in my ultra days and I do watch movies on the iPad when I treadmill, but outside solo running is my zen time and I don’t want my phone.  So the last couple days, I stashed my phone in a waist pack, but wasn’t that bad (not a fan of armbands), and headed out with the Apple watch on and my GPS watch on to compare it to.  Yes, you got that right….I had two watches and a waist pack which is a fancy way of saying a fanny pack.   And I wonder why I was never popular in school….

The watch is quite simple to use.   I’m still playing with it quite a bit as it does so much.  It seems very accurate for pace and distance, but I’ve only run and walked with it for two days now and I brought my phone.  I’m also going to try Strava as a running log as it syncs with the health app that goes on the phone.  Do I care how many steps I take a day?  No, I really don’t.  But like I said, since I found myself unexpectedly gifted with something really nice, I figure I’ll make the most of it and try it.  I’m going to continue to run with my phone for a few more days then try it without and see if it really “learned ” my running.  If it does, it will be a really awesome watch as there is no waiting for syncing with satellites which any garmin user knows is the huge flaw in all GPS watches.  I’ve still got some learning but it’s a fun little project in the evenings.    I’m not throwing out my GPS watch quite yet, but I’m thinking I may get this thing to work for me. 

Of note.,..this fancy watch isn’t really claiming to be a tool for long distance running.  It’s more like a fitness tracker.  And Apple couldn’t possibly have thought there are a lot of people out there that wanted a watch to pace them on a 20 miler.   They did enlist a model to promote it who did a blog on their site that chronicles her training for a marathon.  She ended up using it more than planned and it will also track treadmill miles…..nice!  

So yeah, something I didn’t think I would like has turned into a fun little project.  And an excuse to wear a fanny pack….

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Pinterest, swim suits and training time…..

    

Two of our projects this week…..homemade Popsicles and stuffed toys from old gloves. 

Jaspy and I have been busy Pinteresting up a storm.   First I made power bowls for dinner from a Pinterest recipe and they were so good, we inhaled them before I took a picture.  Lots of steps though with lots of different roasted veggies and the homemade avocado lime topping.  Super good but not a fast meal.  Next we made vegan  strawberry cream Popsicles.  I thought these were incredible, but Jasper hated them because they were icy, which probably means all Popsicles will be a fail to him.  If you’ve never done whipped coconut cream before, try it.  It’s so delicious.   I prefer it over regular whipped cream.  Then he wanted to make homemade stuffed animals.  I am NOT crafty and have pretty poor sewing skills.  But we tried.  This one was actually based on a library book, but we’ve got another one we are trying off Pinterest tonight.  I love that we are keeping busy so far this summer!

I am super excited because fall marathon training is about to start.  Today I hit the hills for 14 miles and could tell I hadn’t done them in awhile.   Ouch.  I’m still keeping up at least one 5k workout a week since I have another one in September that I registered for.  The 5k training seems to have helped.  I’ve done a couple marathon pace runs on shorter distances and can finally say I was successful.  Now I need to work on keeping marathon pace for longer runs.  I’m about the most untalented runner out there so it’s very exciting to see that a few weeks of changing things and adding the speed work has actually made a difference.  I think this whole 5k training thing will happen again.   It works!

Jaspy started his new school this week that he’ll also go to for after school care in the fall.  The stress level was noticeably down this week since my often 90 minute commute dropped to about 45 minutes without the trip to his old school. The new school is 2 minutes from our house and Jasper is much happier not sitting in traffic for an hour after he gets off school.   I’ve had a little more time in the evening to get the dogs a nice walk.  We still get home and have to jump right into dinner time in order to get to bed at a decent hour, but the shorter commute still helps overall.   He’s done well at the new school too…it’s more “classroom” like, but I think he was ready for the change.   

We also started non stop swimming.   We swim 3-4 days of the week all summer.  My hair will be fried, my face broken out from constant sunscreen, and I’ll start the hunt for a swimsuit that isn’t a complete disaster.   I’m pretty old and have never had a swimsuit that I thought was flattering, but a girl can dream, right?  And the really bad part is, the older you get, the less flattering anything looks, let alone swimsuits.  Sigh…..

So this week it’s time to sit down with a calendar and plan marathon workouts.   I love doing that.    Fall seems so, so far away when we’re hitting the pool everyday and planning water park trips, but it really is time to start doing the work.    Plus the work may help in the swimsuit fitting dept.

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Smiles for Sammy 5K report and a Recipe for Runners

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My angel making slime is much better than a picture of me running…..trust me.

So today was my first 5K is probably something like 10 years.  I’ve had an occasional 5K that I’ve walked or tacked on to the end of a long run for a charity a friend was involved with or something, but I had not raced one in forever.  Here’s what I think are the commandments for a 5K:

1.  Thou shalt select a race close to home.  I picked this race based on location.   About a 10 minute drive.  Why drive half across town to run 3 miles?   Are most 5K courses pretty simple?   Sure…..but it goes so fast, who cares?

2.  Thou shalt warm up and cool down.  I maybe threw in a little more warm up than necessary but I ran a few miles at home and then a half mile out from the start with a fast half mile back right before the race started.   Then I jogged a bit after (admittedly should have done more), but totaled out a full day’s run.

3.   Thou shalt throw the charity a few extra dollars.  5Ks are generally inexpensive and mostly put on as fund raisers.  I say if some folks are good enough to provide a run give them a few bucks extra for their cause.  There are always people there who are not runners at all but are walking because the charity is close to their hearts.  This run was raising money for support systems for families who have children who are born with terminal conditions and typically don’t live past age one.

4.  Thou shalt remember it’s not a marathon and ignore the post race spread of piles of multiple types of Dunkin Donuts.  Apparently they were a sponsor but 3 miles doesn’t earn me multiple donuts.  Successfully avoided temptation….heck yes.

So there you have it.  23:55, first old lady.  But, I do believe I was the only only old lady.  Sigh.  Not where I was two years ago, but definite progress. Even splits and every mile started with a “7”.  I’m gonna try for one more of these this summer….it was fun.  And I hope leaving immediately didn’t mean I missed some super awesome ” you were the first old lady” prize.

And now a recipe.  I forgot to take a picture, but this was good.  Lighter sesame chicken.  Here’s the recipe.  It was delish.   Not exactly fast, but simple, very healthy, and would make a great pre-race meal.  Mike and I both inhaled it.  I would also think if you have kids that like fried chicken they would like this.  I think you could also use tofu to make it a veggie dish.  We will definitely repeat it.  God bless Pinterest!

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The Lollipop Guild and speed work…

    

So maybe I’m a little late to the game, but I’ve been so into Pinterest lately.  I avoided it on purpose because I heard it was addictive and it is!  My fave have been pinning kids’ crafts with Jasp.  A computer activity  we both enjoy; how novel!   We’ve stretched it into a multi day good behavior reward.  First reward is picking a craft and getting the materials for it.  Phase two of the reward is time set aside to make the craft…..no easy feat on a weeknight.  This week we made lollipops and Frozen (Anna and Elsa) slime.   The lollipops turned out awesome!   I see some dental work in my future if I keep eating  them. 

I’ve been on the treadmill all week but did two good speed sessions.  The treadmill is actually better than outside for speed work.  You can’t cheat!  I did a really simple workout first:  warm up, 20 minutes at tempo pace ( I define that as faster than marathon pace but not death pace), and a cool down.  Simple, simple, and still felt like I was doing something.  Today was 800s. Those were harder, but felt so good to go to work knowing that a hard workout was done.  This 5K training stuff is kinda fun.  Once again I added mileage with a  warm up and cool down.  Since I’m solo, I add a little extra yoga in the evenings.   Today I can say I’m completely spent and readyfor my off day tomorrow.  That is the sign of a good training week!

It’s been a super busy this week too.   Two taekwondo classes and kindergarten orientation.   Jasp and I got to see his school and he got to spend time in a kinder classroom while I sat through parent orientation.   We are definitely excited to transition.  Fall should be a whole new ball game schedule wise, but bring it on!

Pancake also had a vet appointment.  The vet was very impressed she still runs at 15, but the stress of the appointment really took a lot out of her.  Nothing an extra spoonful of peanut butter couldn’t fix.  

Time for me to haul this tired butt to bed.  I’m looking forward to an outdoor run this weekend and hopefully some outdoor speed work next week!

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