Changing it up, and guess who’s turning 5?

Still going strong at 15.
Still going strong at 15.
At a kid's cooking class, likes to make food but not eat it.
At a kid’s cooking class, likes to make food but not eat it.

Busy week…as we prep for a little boy about to turn 5!  Austin marathon prep peaked last week, and with Mike and Jasper’s birthdays both being during the peak run weeks, it’s extra challenging.  I ended up squeezing in a lonely 20 miler last weekend with a 5am start around my neighborhood and mentally struggled with 10 miles alone in the dark and cold.  Once it got light out I felt ok, and actually finished feeling the best I had in a long time and felt good all day.  I was pretty bummed about a super crappy time on my 20, and vowed to fix that (more on that later). 

The next day I started having some heel pain midday, and freaked out.  Long before I started this blog, I once dealt with plantar fasciitis for a whole year.  I never had to take a big chunk of off time, just little bits here and there, but my foot hurt for a whole year, and walking sucked.    I did NOT want to go down that road again.  I iced and busted out some new shoes I’d been saving.  Over Christmas I did some research on how to spend my Road Runner Sports gift card and learned that a couple of the shoe companies make shoe specifially to fit orthotics.  Cool!   They are often a mail order item only, because apparently not a ton of people buy them.  I got a pair (I got Saucony but Brooks and New Balance also both make an orthotic shoe), and was saving them for when my current pair died, but seeing as how they were more supportive than my beloved Nikes, I thought using them now was warrented.   That seemed to help…as of today the heel pain is mostly resolved.  Whew!   I’m still being proactive, but I think I caught it in time.  You won’t see me barefoot for awhile, as that is the worst thing for heel pain.

So about my slow 20 miler….I’d been thinking for awhile that I need to change it up.  Now this marathon is in the bag….it’s a pacer run and it’s too late to really do anything different, but for my next race I want to improve.   I bought the Hanson’s Marathon Method book, and I’m pretty sold.  I’m not sure if I’m 100% on board with only going 16 miles for a long run, but I don’t think I need as many 20s as I’ve done and I agree with their principal that most of us recreational folks cram miles all weekend then spend half the week recovering.  The Hanson’s method is more mid distance runs during the week with more speed work and less emphasis on one long run.  If you google reviews of it, people seem to mostly say they saw improvements using this method.   The book makes a very compelling argument, and it’s good reading if you are at all interested in the marathon.  I’m sold enough that I’m going to try it after Austin marathon.   My challenge will be getting up early enough for the weekday runs.  I do 6-7 miles on a weekday now, the plan is 8-10 miles most days (there are some 6 mile days in there…plus the speed day is shorter). Anyhow, I’m excited. It will be fun to try something new. I may be fooling myself that I have the mental fortitude to roll out the door even earlier, but if I train myself not to fart around in the morning, I probably could. I guess the pay off is not doing multiple 20 milers and having a little more weekend time.

And on that note….I’m off to bed. 4am wake up for a 4:30 run…to get in 13 miles before work, before two days of rain hits….and a mega busy weekend complete with a party at our house for the little 5 year old. I see some chocolate cake in my future….

Observations from a morning run…

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At least I had good flavors…

After a pretty stressful week, I opted to make the long trek downtown so I could have company for my 20 miler. In the winter, the fact that it stays dark for two hour of my run is a bit of a mental challenge for me when I’m alone. Especially if it’s cold. The weather was fantastic this weekend. Haven’t been able to say that for awhile. And I didn’t know when I’d say it again, being January and all, so I figured come hell or high water, I needed to run 20 miles. My plan was hill loop, trail loop, hill loop, to mimic the early and late hills on the Austin marathon course. I ended up only doing one hill loop and the rest on the town lake trail. I love the trail. It’s my favorite run in Austin. A few observations:

-I’ve run over 30 marathons and that’s not counting the ultras. I don’t say this to brag, but rather to wonder how in the heck is 20 miles still so hard. It’s hard mentally, and it’s always hard to keep it together those last 3 miles. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to run one of these and not poop out so much.

-I got Skratch labs drinks for Christmas. These are the best sports drinks I’ve ever had and the best on my stomach…..and I have tried a lot. Only downside…..they are crazy expensive. I loved all the flavors I tried. There is a matcha green tea that is delicious post run. I better start saving my pennies.

-the muscle in front of my shin got super sore. This happens to me from time to time, but it makes my foot a little numb creating something I have named “slappy foot”. My guess is the muscle swells a little and compresses the nerve that runs into my foot. Since it happens from time to time, I’ll call it harmless? Yeah, sure. To anyone else this sounds insane ” my leg gets sore then makes my foot numb, nothing to worry about!” To a runner, this sounds totally reasonable.

– I bought myself running mittens this year. In addition to random foot numbness, I suffer from cold hand disease. My hands never get warm during cold runs and start to burn and ache and become stiff. I’ll do two pairs of gloves and still get achy hands. This year my mittens over a pair of gloves did the trick. I have enjoyed my first hand pain free winter in awhile. I lost one of the mittens after my run. Not sure if it’s in the house or if I dropped it on the way to my car. I’ve gone completely Smeagol over it, because I already checked and they are no longer sold. I wants the Precious back!!!!!!!

– I’ve become slow enough and an old enough that when runners in their 20s go by me on the trail I have to wonder if they are thinking “this old lady should really just hang it up. I can’t even call what she’s doing running. “. I got passed by a lot of people this weekend. They were thin and wearing shorts and zipping by. I felt old and slow….then again my mittens and fanny pack of GUs didn’t really help my look speedy.

And in non running news, Jaspy fell in love with prairie dogs today at the zoo. I spent my evening watching you tube videos of them. They are very clever little creatures. I approve of his latest obsession.

Time to throw on some compression socks and get in bed……

The 30k and recipes…..

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I’ve been trying to get him to wear this for a year….so cute!

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What I wake up to every morning. I’ve created a runner…..

Life is humming along at its usual rate of insanity. The end of the holidays quickly gives way to two birthdays and the peak of marathon training in our household. So I feel like we’re still full steam ahead even though the holiday rush is over.

I got in a 20 miler last weekend, that left me feeling like I had work to do. I managed a 40 minute nap that afternoon and the difference in how I felt that evening was pretty pronounced…..as in so much better. I’ve made a vow to lay down just a few minutes on super long run days, so I’m not feeling faint at 5pm.

Yesterday was the Rogue 30k. This run has a long history in the Austin area and has had many names and locations. On the plus side, I love the idea of giving marathon runners an opportunity for a dress rehearsal. I also love that this has always been a “runner’s race”. Meaning, no matter how fast or slow, everyone doing it has been putting in the early mornings, the 30 degree long runs, and squeezing runs in on days they would rather sleep in. They “get” it. Nothing wrong with the themed fun run type races, but at this one I feel like I’m among my people. Having it at a high school is nice for warmth pre race and real bathrooms and a nice place to change and warm up when you are done. On the minus side, there just hasn’t been a super interesting course in years for this race. And maybe that’s just the way it is. Finding a place to put almost 19 miles of course has got to be tricky. Yesterday was loops in a large suburban neighborhood. There were many déjà vu moments, because we repeated a lot of little intersections. It felt like a run I would do on my own trying to squeeze out a long run in my neighborhood. And maybe that’s ok. I chatted with my pacing partner the whole way and basically got a supported long run out the of the deal. There were simple shirts and medals and that’s just fine. Maybe simple is the way to keep it a runner’s run, and it’s definitely good a marathon prep. The fact the weather has been atrocious for a week and we got a window of 36 degrees and no rain made it fairly pleasant. I was happy to check the box last night that this one was done. 1-2 more tough ones and its game day.

Finally a plug for The Runners World cookbook. I got it for Christmas and have made several things and everything has been delicious. The recipes are all very easy and very healthy. We’ve repeated a few things already that have been incredibly good. This would be a great cookbook for anyone who wants some fast dishes to prepare that are healthy without being over the top “health foodie”. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. And unfortunately Chef Jasper is only interested in making sweets. So there are still cookies in my house and I am still eating them. I wish I could talk Chef Jasper into some salad recipes.

Another year, another mile…

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Yes, I’ve already used this photo. But it’s one of few running photos I have. “Frankenstein legs ”

2015 running started with a treadmill run. It was 33 and raining out and there’s a treadmill in my house…..and a small child awake at 6:30 (and that’s sleeping in for him). So that at sealed the deal.

I’m not one for resolutions. But this year I will get a game changer that will give me the opportunity to do a little more. When Jasper starts school in the fall my commute time will go down quite a bit and I just may find the extra time to try spin class, take a baking class, and do yoga somewhere besides my bedroom. I’m really, really looking forward to spending less time in my car and more time on life.

After the Austin marathon I have an April marathon in Washington. It’s super hilly, and means I will spend some time doing actual training. After that the racing goes quiet for awhile and then I’d like to spend late summer training properly for a marathon. I was thinking maybe a December marathon in 2015 so I don’t do 20 milers in August, but that is a long way off, so who knows. I do know that I’d like to add a couple shorter races in, as I ran my best when I did occasional shorter races. Yes, part of me pitifully hangs onto being a real runner and wanting to run times closer to running than walking, but at the end of the day just staying injury free is about all I can ask for.

We have a lot of trips planned this year! Disney World in March (while marathon training…..that should be interesting ). And Jasper has requested a beach trip this summer. Plus Jasper and I have our Washington trip in April where we are praying to the rain Gods to rain now and not then.

Other running goals: find a pair of shoes that aren’t so orthopedic, branch out and try some different post run smoothies, don’t kill my GPS watch this year, get my little doggie partner, DaVinci, past 2 miles, keep building new routes in my ‘hood since I forever seem to have somewhere to be 20 minutes after I finish a long run.

And on that note…..I gotta inhale breakfast and take a shower then get Jasper to Mt Playmore for at least 4 hours of indoor bouncing and climbing.

Happy New Year.