800 repeats and risotto…

    

Running partner number one…..when one does a long run and a mini chunk of speed work, one must eat lots of Butternut squash risotto.

Mike is heading out of town for awhile so this weekend was a now or never for a long run.  Ok, not never but not for a couple weeks at least.  16 mile and I found myself solo.  The fancy gym happens to have a free run group.  I’m a skeptic of run groups.  For me, they must be small, too big means you never really get to know anyone and might as well be solo.   Sometimes they can spend too much time pre run farting around with drills and stretching.  Love all this after but before, no!  I’m all about get ‘er done. My plan today was to run to the gym to see how long it would take, run back home, then add on another loop for whatever was left to hit my mileage.

Oh and let’s back up and interject my horrible bad day where I dropped my watch on a tile floor and watched it shatter.  Then got to work for a 6:30am meeting I didn’t need to be at.  Grrrrrr.  I was soooooo sad about breaking my nice watch. It was such a nice present.  Good news is it’s being fixed.  Fixing it ain’t cheap, but much less than a new one….which I wouldn’t have done.  So I’m relieved I will be reunited with my watch again in about a week. 

Ok….back to the gym run.  Made it to the gym at 6:45 and I knew the run group met at 7:00, so I went way out of my comfort zone and ran around a bit and then met them.  Have I mentioned I’m sorta an extroverted introvert? Meaning I think I’m a friendly and outgoing person, but I typically avoid  group things and enjoy doing things alone.  The group was small, about 10 people.  There was a little waiting for everyone to gather up and then a warm up couple of miles and then a short run to the neighborhood for speed work.  Yes, speed work.  I was already at about 10 miles after my own run and the  warm up, and doing a big chunk of 800s then running home seemed stupid, but I stayed for one.  Apparently the group exclusively does speed stuff.  This is good….it sucks to run 800s on your own.  I was just in the midst of a long run, so today didn’t really work, but I’ll definitely run with them again.  I’m super proud of myself though.  I went super far out of comfort zone and tried something new. The group seemed like nice folks too.  

And I got my 16 miler!  I ran a gazillion errands plus Jaspy stuff, made cookies, made risotto, walked doggies, and now I’m crashed hard.  Listening to the new Modest Mouse album….that’s probably not that new.  Oh and Jaspy got up at 4:45 and had terrible asthma and was super grouchy all day….so chilling in bed with music and my iPad is heaven.  It’s not the long run that’s hard….it’s the rest of the day.  Tomorrow should be a little less tiring.  Less miles and going to see Minions!!!

Fancy pants…

   
 A bit late but, my angel and his first tournament medal.  Wishing I was running in the other picture as out temps hit the 100s….

Last week the sting of vacation being over was lessened by our family splurge of joining the fancy gym.  It was more money than the Y for sure, for not over the top, but definitely a lot if we don’t use it.  In a week we’ve gone four times!  And I looooove the fancy gym.

Evenings are still pretty busy so joining a fancy gym didn’t change the fact it’s hard to get out, but when I can go it has so much more availability than the Y did.  I love that the yoga is in a real yoga room and not on cold linoleum.  And it’s hot, yay, but more showers.  But the fancy gym has soap…and towels…..and a cafe with real food…..and coffee and smoothies.  And a rock wall that Jasper has already tried.  It’s more like a rock room.  Hello, we can rock climb!!!!  And super fancy pools….and two massive jacuzzis.  So yes, I really like the fancy gym.  And they have people to help you if you’ve not stepped foot in a gym since high school…like me.  I always used to laugh about the fact that while at the Y I had been in the actual gym one time in our two years there…..to test a treadmill before I purchased one.  Since the fancy gym is more money I felt obligated to learn about how to use it.  I’ve also learned that during the middle of the day and Sunday mornings the normal looking peeps use the fancy gym.  Evenings seemed to be reserved for the super fit, so I rush to the yoga room then and try to ignore the grunting going on in the “advanced training” area.   

In the fancy gym, when they orient you to the equipment they ask about your current exercise.   Trainer types are baffled by exercising everyday but yet not knowing how to use a single piece of gym equipment.  I did learn how to use the stair stepper.  I liked it.   So yes, the fancy gym has been great so far.  

It’s also the “try not to be discouraged” phase of marathon training. I do decently in the heat, but I do slow down. I’m trying to tell myself pace will pick up in the fall but we’ll see.   My victory this week was a long run just through my neighborhood ( which means respeating loops) where I kept my head in the game and never got bored.  Sometimes I think the most challenging aspect of a long run is doing it solo and not letting boredom lead to negative thoughts, which leads to cutting it short.    Let’s face it….I’m not exciting company…even for my myself sometimes.  

Bed is calling.  Tomorrow is my once a month painfully early work day which involves an alarm clock setting with “3” as the first number.  Gag…..

Travel and life….

   
   
  
Enjoying RMNP.   Bouldering.   The nicest view in the world, and a mountain post run selfie.  Sunglasses and long sleeves are a must!

Where to begin…..we just got back from our every two years or so trip to Colorado.  I always say I just need to be rich enough to have a winter home and a summer home.  Don’t know that I’d love winter at 10000 feet, but summer is heaven.  It was Rocky Mountain National Parks’s centennial.  RMNP is about my most favorite place on earth.  We only spent one day there and got up to 12,000 feet and it was too cold for us to be hiking around in what we had on.  Critter count includes a mama and baby moose a herd of elk.  No bighorns this trip. 😕🐏.   We spent some time kayaking at Grand Lake which is right past the western edge of the park.   I love this little town.  I also loved kayaking and will be doing it here very soon.   It was like cycling…..I’m sure you can go hard and make it a killer workout but I went nice and slow and just enjoyed being out.   We also spent a day at Winter Park resort.  Yes, it’s expensive to buy a day long lift pass but so worth it to have unlimited trips on the alpine slide. Jasper declared it better than Disney.   A small victory for nature.  We stayed in the town of Winter Park and I can’t recommend this place enough.   We love it there.  I felt the altitude pretty bad on day one of our trip and about half day two.  The trip was only 4 days including our travel days , so it was quick….so feeling bad for about 24 hours was a bummer.  I ran all three mornings while we were there.  9000 feet altitude which may not seem like much to some but I could tell a difference on hills.  I was pretty ok on the flats though.   

And speaking of running, right before I left I got a library book on heartrate training. I used a lazy person’s formula and did a calculation and not a physical test to find my max, then I figured out my “zones”.  As suspected ( and if my lazy calculations are accurate) I spend all my time in the “Working a little but not too much zone”.  Then I heard a podcast about how much our running declines as we age , and heartrate training really sounded attractive. More to come……I barely have scratched the surface on my reading about it.

Other stuff:   We hit the Denver Nature and Science museum while there.  This was the best science museum I’ve ever been to,  why Austin can’t have something like this with such a university and tech presence is beyond me.   We spent 3 hours and we still had to skip stuff.  If you ever go to Denver make a stop here a priority!

In family sport  news, Jasper is doing black belt training in his taekwondo.  This really just amounts to 3 days a week, more money and even more money buying the weapons.   Then right after I signed him up, I read an article about how we over extend our kids and three days a week of a sport is too much.  Fair enough, but I want to give him the chance to acquire a skill and be good at something.   Plus he is pretty enthusiastic and at age 5 enthusiasm that lasts more than a few minutes is rare and I’ll roll with it. 

As a family we dropped our Y membership and joined a fancy gym.  I realized we no longer did youth sports through the Y and they didn’t have the best availability for the classes I liked.  I’ve never been a member of a fancy gym.  It’s a little intimidating.   Most the people there looked fit.   The kid pools were vastly superior to the Y’s so  we’re excited…..I just hope I can survive yoga classes.  And their spam…
Well a few days worth of shows are calling my name.   Time to relax then dream of mountain air and pines until the next visit.   

Trail fail, fireworks and a podcast…

   
 
Epic fail.  The best way to describe my route scouting I did this weekend.  There is a new paved trail system not too far away from me so I wanted to run there, run a bit in the new trail and run home for a long run.  I needed about 15 miles.  I scouted out a partial route on a morning run during the week and used google maps for the rest.  Getting to the new trail meant using an old trail to avoid a major super highway road that would be a death wish to run on.  Hit the first trail and all was well until it opened into a large field with tons of overgrowth.   I couldn’t see the trail at all and it was was bushwhacking…with lots of nettles and bugs.  Made it through and turned around to see there was no way I could go home that way.  I’d never find the trail through that field.  A quick check of my phone put be back on course.  Got to the the new trail and it ended very quickly (not done yet, maybe?).  It became rocky and hard to run on and then opened up to a flooded out area. I was over 7 miles in and decided to refill my water at the park and head home.  Only the water fountain was turned off.  WTF, City of Austin?   I’ve encountered this a few times this summer.  Why are water fountains on playgrounds shut off in the hottest months?

I decided to run the sidewalk on the access road to get home quicker and not make this a 20 mile run….but the sidewalk ended.  Not wanting to run on a freakin’ highway, I crossed, knowing a major road on the other side had a bike lane I could run in….on blacktop, in 80 degrees , without water.  It was a long run home, but made it.   So no new trail and a dehydrated run definitely not done at planned pace.  Oh well…life is an adventure, right?  At least I never got bored.    And the moral of the story is maybe running with your phone is a good idea.   While never that far from home, I was worried it would take me forever to get back.  I left Mike a message that I’d be later than planned.  This is of course assuming that he would notice I was gone and be concerned….it very possible he wouldn’t have noticed 😬

I followed up Sunday with a 10 miler and am ready for a cut back week.   

Saturday Jasper swam for three hours straight and conveniently fell asleep at 530.  We woke him up at 6:30 to eat and were able to go see fireworks since he had a little nap.  I admit to being totally spent when they were done at 10:00 pm…..when 4:30 am is your wake up, that’s a late night.

Finally, this is the best podcast I’ve heard in awhile.  I’m almost convinced to try heartrate training since I now have a heartrate monitor that doesn’t require one of those icky chest straps.   Mind you I said almost…..I’m at least going to get the book mentioned on the podcast and investigate more.  Here’s the link

Up next…..running in Colorado over the weekend!