Hmmm, advanced math formulas? Physics to unlock the secrets of the universe? We'll never know.

This week has been frustrating in many ways.  I will  not detail it out though.  I guess deep down, nothing is that big of a deal, and while it feels like I accomplished nothing, I guess I really have.  At any rate, I am glad the weekend is coming soon, and I can “reset”, so to speak.

I plan to savor my running next week, because the next week Mike is out of town for something like 9 days.  It’s then I get my single parent wake up call of “how do people do this all the time!”  I WISH I could just take the whole week off work, as that would make things easier, but that’s not really a smart thing to do, and I would feel very silly, knowing, once again, that plenty of people are single parents, can make it to a job, and still maintain their home/ life.   I’ve thought up many scenarios to run, and before you label me OCD…you are probably a little bit right.  But, what is wrong with wanting to do your hobby that is pretty much the only time you get to yourself to decompress?  So, my options are run up and down my street with the baby monitor on curb to check every few feet that Jasper is still asleep, run with the stroller when he wakes up, but have about 15 minutes to feed him, shower, and get out the door for daycare drop off, then work, or drop him off at 7:30 when daycare opens, run, very quick shower and go into work a little later, then try and make up the lost work time at home in the evening when he goes to bed.   What would you do?

Ok work calls…..I just inhaled a massive pile of whole wheat spaghetti I brought from home.  Like that combined with 4 hours of sleep won’t put me in a coma this afternoon.

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Marathon training week 1…

Our training weeks start on Saturday.  I’ll try and make these posts interesting somehow, but if they get painfully boring with me just putting a running log online, I’ll switch it up.  The picture is just wishful thinking that I was running in the mountains.

Saturday:  14 miles, 8:30 to 9:30 pace

Ran 13 at a 9:32 pace.  Before you judge me, I had severe handicapping with a stroller, a 25 pound little boy and a moody border collie.  And 95% humidity.  Given the circumstances I’ll take it.  Bought myself a new running outfit I probably don’t need after the little boy and I went out to breakfast together.  Meanwhile I’ve been wearing the same khaki pants to work for 3 years….hmm, where are my priorities?

Sunday:  7 miles, 8:30- 9:30 pace, Ashtanga yoga class

Mark and I tend to run our Sunday run fast.   Sometimes it’s the only day of the week I get company so I make the most of it.  We did 8:22 pace, but it was hot and humid and we both felt like we working.  Ashtanga was a few hours later and fantastic as always.  I will be too sore to lift my arms tomorrow.  Did anyone else follow track and field nationals or Western States 100 this weekend?  I had Jasper all day yesterday and kept sneaking glances on my iphone of both.  I had really, really wanted to run Western States at one time, but following track and field makes me really want to get fast and run a super fast 10K someday.

Monday:  8 miles 8:30-9:30 pace

Did it in 9:07 pace.  I like this plan so far in that the easy days are really easy.  I needed it.  I am sore head to toe from yoga.  I can’t imagine if I took the full Ashtanga class.  The one I go to is only 1/2 the series.  Ouch.

Tuesday:  4 miles, 7:42-8:10 pace, 20, 30 minute bike trainer ride

I was up for an hour and a half  last night with Jasper.  The bike ride did not happen.  But I cheated a little and ran a warm up mile for 5 total, but 4 at pace.  These short runs aren’t such a bad thing when sleeping doesn’t happen.

Wednesday:  10 miles, 8:30-9:30 pace

I am so glad Mark is a good friend.  He came to my house at 430.  We had a crappy night, where I really had a series of short naps…nothing that was real sleep.  I probably wouldn’t have run at all if it weren’t for him, let alone do 10.  But we did it.  8:57 pace.  I am loving base building paces.

Thursday:  4 miles, 7:42-8:30 pace

Nothing.  Uggg.  This is one of those weeks where things just aren’t going smoothly.  Maybe tonight when Jasper goes to bed.  Yeah, right.

Friday:  Did 5.3-ish.  8:38 pace, but that was with Pancake.  Oh, and probably the worst night of sleep I’ve had since Jasper was a newborn.  Maybe I should make this a sleep blog  since that’s all I ever talk about.  I was just happy to do the run.  When Jasper is still up when my alarm goes off, that is not a good sign.  I may have to start deducting my latte fund from his college fund since I have a pretty expensive habit now.

The plan…

I suddenly find myself at the start of training for my next marathon.  It may seem soon, but keep in mind a couple months of it will be “base building”, which in theory should be pretty doable for me.  I have a tremendous talent for running slow.  I am going to copy Mark and document the whole deal here.  Why?  Well, not because I think reading about me running around my neighborhood is all that interesting, but because this is one big experiment.   I’ve never trained for a marathon with a full, real plan following it every day of the week.  I’ve never alternated short and long runs as much as this plan calls for, and I’ve never had specific pace per mile for every run.  Maybe this experiment will work, maybe it won’t.   Going for a marathon PR when my fastest days are behind me, and I am almost a masters runner is a very lofty goal, but I like having goals so there.   Plus, maybe someone else who’s training for something can learn from this plan.  Mark is a certified RRCA coach…it’s not like he just made up something that sounds good.

In addition to his plan I am adding in some trainer rides and yoga.  I rode again last night, and while I won’t be doing it every night, once or twice a week for 30min to an hour is pretty doable.  And as my friends know who get sick of hearing about it, I swear the yoga has improved how I feel in the long runs.  I don’t want to go to overboard though…spending time with family in the evenings is still priority, but after Jasper goes to bed, I am sure Mike won’t mind getting rid of me occasionally, so here goes week 1.

Don’t say I told you so…

 

Well, I’m one week into marathon recovery.  My ultrarunning friends probably laugh at such things, but I promised myself I would really watch what I was doing post marathon.  So I’ve been doing pretty easy runs since Friday.  It’s nice to be back in my routine.  I just do better all day if I get a run in the morning.  I made my return to Ashtanga yesterday, and I won’t go on and on about how awesome I think it is, since I do that all the time, but let’s just say I was super happy to be at it again.    I can’t stress enough that I feel it really helped me in this marathon.   I just feel like I “shuffle” a lot less since I started working on strengthening muscles I never really had.

Anyhow, my life continues to be exciting, as I am now like most other Americans with children and feel the need to buy massive quantities of food from a warehouse.  For years family and coworkers alike nagged me to join Costco.  I honestly just avoided it because it was yet another task in my life.  I am big on trying to minimize tasks any way possible, within reason of course.  One thing I did was just shop and one grocery store, and if I paid a little more, it was worth it for the time savings.  Well I went yesterday mainly because I wanted a giant bag of Craisins.  I put them on just about everything, and Owl started eating them too, so I was sick of running out.  Plus,  it’s so hot I was sick of being outside and wanted to do something inside.  Jasper is fairly tolerant of grocery shopping and kinda likes it at times.  So I made a go at it.  There is only slightly less involved in getting a Costco card than applying for a high level government job with major securing clearance.  Jasper was cool with shopping, but not with sitting there while we filled out tons of paperwork and had our photos taken (seriously, a photo ID to buy a tub of Goldfish crackers?)  He had a full blown tantrum, rolling on the floor, throwing his frozen yogurt.  Finally our shopping began and I now own a 5lb bag of Craisins.

Happy Father’s Day to Mike.  We have a baby sitter tonight, and get to go to a real movie theater.  Hopefully I will stay awake.

 

Here’s my cute olive eater.  Well, I am biased.  Jasper’s favorite food is black olives and he definitely did not get that from me.

I ran today for the first time since the marathon.  I took 4 days off.  That seemed to be the magic number.  I wasn’t sore this morning, but I didn’t feel sluggish either.  Well, aside from the fact it was already over 80 at 530am, but I will try not to make every post about “Summer in Texas sucks.”  I rode my bike on the trainer while I wasn’t running and it was great.  I need to find a way to do it more.  I put on a podcast, and time flies by.   Anyhow, there won’t be a ton of running news from me for a while.  Not a single race on my calendar until October.  Mark and I will be training for our November marathon, but that’s it.  I’ll try to come up with some interesting topics to write about and hopefully I won’t manage to make them uninteresting.

Well, lunch is about over, and work calls.  Up this weekend is my return to the running group, and my return to Ashtanga.  I did make it to a Vinyasa yoga class this week, and it was great.  Ashtanga just hasn’t fit into my schedule in a couple of weeks, so I suspect I’ll be sore.  Mike is brewing beer for Father’s Day, so I will be entertaining the little boy and trying to convince him he doesn’t really want to go out and play in the 105 degree heat.

Estes Park marathon…

Well, I survived my first race at 8000 feet.  It went as good as it could have.  Jasper was sleeping terribly on this trip.  He just didn’t do well not being in his room, and it got dark there very late, and it seemed to keep him up.  The night before the marathon, he got up every 2 hours, including a 3 am crying fit that went on for about an hour.  I was feeling so negative about everything at that point, I considered not running, and not writing anything on my blog because I felt like all that would come out was complaints.  I managed to sleep about another hour, and woke up feeling much better about everything.  The race was so small, that I could get there pretty late so Mike was able to drop me off.  So, at about 630 in the morning, Mike took me to the local high school to start, and my adventure began.

First off, this race gets an “A” for organization.  It is very small, but well done.  It was only $60 or so to enter, and shirts were not included.  At first, I kinda balked at this, but I actually think it is a good idea.  You could buy a shirt at the number pick up, and get exactly what you wanted.  They had tech shirts, women’s specific tanks, Ts, and long sleeve Ts (what I got).  It was only another $15 for a shirt, bringing your entry to $75, still way less than most marathons.   They also aimed to be “cup free” on the course, and gave you this goofy pouch thingie with a clip to stick on your shorts to fill up at the aid stations.  It looked like a giant condom.  No thanks…luckily I brought a water bottle.   There was also a 5K, 10K, marathon relay, and  half marathon going on at the same time with different starting points, but somehow they pulled all of this off.  So, there were actually quite a few runners, but only 100 or so in the marathon.

I was concerned about this course because the hardest looking hill went from mile 2-6 continuously.  I didn’t want to zap all my energy in the beginning.  Once we started, I realized mile 1 was pretty hilly too and panicked a bit.  I just didn’t know how my body would react to this much exertion at altitude.  I settled in though by mile 2 and went into cruise control to start the big hill.

This race is not one to do for a fast time obviously.  It is really a “pure” running race…..smooth surface, amazing views, and a chance to just zone out and be happy you are out there.  The entire race provides views like the picture I included.  I simply tried to enjoy the views while I worked my way up the big hill.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I was moving pretty good.  The marathon folks said the elevation would add 30-40 seconds a mile and I would agree.   Even without the elevation, the hills alone would significantly slow anyone’s typical marathon time.

After I got to the top of the hill, I only had 4 miles until I got to see Mike and Jasper.  Mike and I mapped out places and potential times that I could see them on course.  I also coasted a nice long downhill to get to mile 10, trying not to totally bust out my quads too early on.   I was so excited to see Mike and Jasper, and see Jasper’s huge smile.    I would see them again at mile 23.5.  Things continued to go really well until the next major hill at mile 15.  This one was about 5 miles long and not too steep, but unrelenting.  I discovered the elevation stripped me of any extra “gears” to dig deep and get up the hill.  I felt like I was moving, but my garmin said otherwise.  I just hung on, looking forward to seeing my cheering squad at mile 23.5.  I finally hit the top of the hill about mile 20 and spent the next couple miles getting my legs back, and the spaghetti feeling out of them.  Just where they said they would be I saw Mike and my little Owl.  I blew them a kiss, told them I was tired, and proceeded onto the home stretch.  The race finished at the local high school on the track.  Coming onto that track, I was spent.  I ended up in 4:04, which for this race I was pleased with.  It put me as 5th woman overall, but  this was quite a small field.  However, as a flatlander crashing the altitude dwellers’ party, I was happy with how I did.

This is a really nice little race if you want a challenge with a beautiful vacation added in.  The aid stations were really nice with fresh fruit and power bars at most of them.  The volunteers were very helpful, standing at any intersection, making sure no one took a wrong turn.  The scenery was there for every step of the way.  This is definitely not a boring course.  I really enjoyed it and would do it again, but I look forward to running at sea level again.

Recovery is going well.  I took an ice bath afterwards, had a protein drink and a chocolate milk.  I did a little light walking with Mike and Jasper later in the day.  The plane ride home was painful, and I am still pretty stiff.  I went to yoga today, since I took the day off to get some errands done (side note….vacation with a toddler creates A LOT of work once you get home).  I suspect I will still be sore tomorrow, and I promised myself I would take most of this week off running, but overall, I feel pretty good.

When the going got tough, I just tried to remind myself how much I enjoyed running somewhere so pretty, and having my personal little cheering squad waiting for me.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Greetings from 7000 feet…

I’ll post tons of pictures later. But here we are at Rocky mountain national park. Traveling with Jasper this go round has been interesting. There are moments of pure joy watching run up a trail with the Rockies in the background, and other moments of cringing and thinking, “what was I thinking?”. Traveling with a toddler is hard, no doubt, and especially one who doesn’t sleep well under normal circumstances, let alone in a strange crib in a room that doesn’t get dark until after 900. So yes, lots of awake time at night. The mountains still have tons of snow. Some of our favorite trails are still under several feet of snow. We do very short hikes with Jasper, as he’s not real hip on the carrier anymore, and he prefers to walk but then does stuff like drop his brand new shoe into some rapids, which are quite robust due to a massive snow melt. The elk are everywhere, and Jasper LOVES them. We have about 600 elk photos so far. Also sighted were bighorn sheep, lots of deer, and a little rabbit living by our cabin Jasper named Bunny FooFoo.

I’ve done short little taper runs and I think I can hold my own in the elevation. I feel it some, but it seems doable. The scenery will get me through this marathon. It really is incredible here. I am lucky I get t do something like this with my family. I am thankful Mike and Jasper put up with my nonsense. And, even though it’s a big undertaking overall I am happy I can say I am sharing experiences like this with Jasper. Not everyone is fortunate enough to see a beautiful herd of elk in a meadow with a backdrop of massive snowy peaks. I can’t think of anyone I would rather share such a moment with than my family.

Like a fine wine…

I am shoving a leftover Freebird’s veggie burrito into my face, as I am on a quick lunch break at work.  We leave tomorrow at 6am for chilly Colorado.  I think I have just about everything packed, but at this point I am too tired to care.  Anything I forgot we’ll just have to get there, so if I end up having to wear some kind of gift shop t-shirt everyday so be it.  Actually, I have one new, super cool outfit.  I got home yesterday and Mike had got me lululemon long yoga pants and a longsleeve shirt just out of the blue.  Is he awesome or what?  I know…I am spoiled.  First he agrees to let me ruin a vacation by running a marathon and then buys me an outfit I will probably never change out of for the whole trip.

I bought Mark Tim Noakes’ Lore of Running.  This is the bible for those interested in training and physiology.   And, like the good friend I am, I didn’t give it to him right away and spent a couple of nights skimming it and hopefully minimizing the cookies crumbs dropped in it by accident.  It seems to favor Mark’s RRCA coaching training of a base phase and a sharpening phase.  It also says it’s not so much your age that slows you down as your years of serious running.  If that is the case, I am have definitely had my best years behind me.  It also reviews the careers of several runners and they all seem to have in common that they only all out raced a couple of times a year.  The marathoners actually did very few marathons, and Dr Noakes says that those who are serial marathon runners really plateau their performance.  I am inclined to agree with all of this, but being that I am a hobbyist at best, I may not heed all the advice the book offers.  I did take home a few points I will adopt though:  I plan to just all out race one big one a year and the others will just be fun runs.  I plan to really stick to a recovery period after races, and have true recovery days, and I really want to stick with the whole base/ sharpening phase thing.  If you really are interested in taking a more scientific approach to training, this is the book to get. 

Ok, my burrito has been shovelled in, and lunch is over soon.  I will begin my afternoon caffeine push in a minute since the Owl was living up to his name again last night and enjoying his 2am awake time.

It was one of those weeks.  I’ve been wanting to sit down at the computer all week, and never got a chance.   I’ve had a million things I wanted to write about, but nothing materialized.  So here goes my attempt to string all the random thoughts together.

I was busy this week due to a national conference my department at work puts on.   It’s actually one of the things I really like about my job.  I don’t do any of the hard work like coordinating all the speakers and booking venues, I just work the check in, man the information table, and while the speakers are going, either go in and listen and goof off with co-workers.   The downside is every year we are at in from 6am to 6pm.   The evenings are hectic, and add to it the exhaustion of going all day on 4 hours of sleep, thanks to the little boy who thinks he’s a newborn again, and I am crashed out by 900….and not getting much of anything done at home.

So yes, Jasper hasn’t slept well in two weeks now, and while I don’t want to do a big pity party post, at the start of hour 3 of his awake time last night, I had a moment of “how much longer do I have until this gets better?  A year and a half isn’t enough?”  So, I sit here this evening hopeful that tonight will be the night it gets better.  That’s about all I can do.

My week actually started pretty good with a terrific Ashtanga class on Sunday.  It seemed like I am getting it a little more since my last class, but Monday I was still super sore.   I am officially hooked.    I am going again this weekend, which is probably not the best idea since I have a marathon in a week, but oh well.

And yes, I have a marathon in a week!!!  Reality check time.  I am honestly super nervous about traveling with Jasper.   I just want a nice vacation, and I don’t want to spend it not sleeping.  This is my third marathon since I had Jasper and it would be nice if it could be the first one I actually went into rested.  So far for the other two I had to get up a few times the night before.

Tomorrow kicks off training for the San Antonio marathon.  But for me I have a taper week, a marathon, and then a couple of recovery weeks.   I plan to take full advantage of them and enjoying sleeping in to the late hour of 530.

Ok…hopefully more this weekend, but signing off for now.  New geeky running books call….