Trusting the Taper

What an amazingly inspirational, confidence building and scary week it has been!  When I last wrote I was making a slow recovery from a lovely head cold and upper respiratory infection.  I’m happy to report that as I write this, the head congestion is completely gone, I have my voice back, and my cough has significantly improved.  I was really worried about being sick during this very important week of training and was nervous that if I wasn’t able to run (or made myself even sicker by running through the illness) I wouldn’t be fully prepared come race day.  Thankfully, I was able to complete most of my runs (more on that below).

As much as I have thought about quitting a zillion times during this training, running a marathon has been a lifelong goal of mine, and the thought of failing when I’m this close to realizing my goal makes me want to try even harder to ensure that I am successful.  Through successful runs, this week has given me the boost in confidence I was hoping for.  Yes, I’m still incredibly nervous about “the big day”, but I know I can do it.  I’m going into this with only one goal…to finish.  I don’t care how long it takes me, I just want to run the whole thing (only walking through aid stations) and I want to finish strong.  I don’t know if I will ever run another marathon (or if I’ll even want to), but I will save time goals for the future.  This race is to prove to myself that I can do whatever I set my mind to.

Training for and running a marathon is no easy task.  It takes incredible amounts of mental and physical toughness, dedication, and perseverance.  I never realized how little I knew about running, especially long distances, until I started training for this marathon.  I have learned so much over the last few months.  I have learned what it takes to train for and run long distances, including nutrition, hydration, gear, etc.  I have learned that my body can handle so much more than I ever thought it was capable of.  I have learned that, for me, successfully covering long distances is more of a mental challenge than it is physical.  I have learned the skills needed to quiet the negative Nancy in my head that yells and screams at me, telling me that I’m weak, that I can’t do this, that I should just give up.  This has been an experience of a lifetime and I am forever changed.  I am stronger because of this, both mentally and physically, and I cannot wait to cross that finish line in a just over two short weeks!

Here is how my training has gone this week:

Wednesday, September 18th (Easy Run – 5 Miles):

As I drove home from work, it began to rain.  I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to go for a 5 mile run in the rain, given I was still pretty congested and my cough hadn’t improved much, but after walking the dog, it looked like the sun was trying to peak out from behind the clouds and the rain had slowed to a drizzle so I decided to give it a shot.  The goal was to run the entire 5 miles without stopping for a walk break.  As soon as I geared up and walked out the front door, I heard a clap of thunder in the distance.  Looking up at the sky, I thought the storm was far enough North that I would be OK.  I walked to the end of the block and began running.  At the quarter mile mark it started to sprinkle and by the time I got to the half mile mark it was full fledged pouring.  Taking cover under a garage awning, I pulled out my phone and looked at the radar.  The storm that appeared to be so far North, was growing and moving Southeast pretty quickly.  After a quick call to my husband, I decided I should get home as fast as possible and finish my workout on the elliptical (evil machine, as I like to call it).  I have never run so fast in all my life.  The rain continued to come down in buckets and the lightening was getting closer and closer.  After what seemed to be an eternity, I reached my front steps, and just in time.  As soon as I reached the top step I saw a flash and then there was an immediate crack of thunder.  Phew…that was a close one!  My heart was in my throat and I was glad to be home safely.  It was a good thing I didn’t try to wait it out, the storm lasted for quite a while.  All told, I got a mile run in, and ended up doing 4 more miles on the elliptical.  I know the elliptical isn’t exactly the same as running, but it got my heart rate up and my legs moving.  Here are my stats for the 1 miler:

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Thursday, September 19th (Mid-Week Long Run – 10 Miles):

I planned to meet a run club friend for some much needed catch-up/girl time after work today, which meant that I had to get up early to get my run in before work.  When the alarm went off at 4:30am I seriously considered staying in bed, but after some hemming and hawing I was successful in guilting myself into getting up, since it was such an important week in my training and all.  After walking the dog, I loaded myself into the car and somehow made it out to Oak Brook through my sleepy “it’s too early” haze.  By the time I got to the office I was awake and ready to spend some quality time with my new bud, the treadmill.  The run went well and I felt really strong, just a little bored the first half of the run, since I couldn’t really hear the TV and I don’t like to read while I’m running (I’m really susceptible to motion sickness from reading while bouncing).  Anyway, I started the run at a nice and easy pace, gradually picking it up the last few miles.  Here are my stats:

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Sunday, September 22nd (Long Run – The Big 20!):

I have to admit, I was more than a bit nervous about being able to complete this run, given my bad 18 miler experience, but I really needed this run to be “good” in order to boost my confidence for race day.  At the advice of my runner friends, and looking for a little company to help me through my longest run, I decided I would join the Chicago Area Runner’s Association (CARA) in their annual 20 mile fully supported training run.  For the bargain basement price of $38 (for CARA members) you get a fully supported training run that includes pace group leaders, multiple aid stations (water/Gatorade and one with Power Gel), gear check, a finish area celebration complete with a free beer and a finisher’s technical tee.  This was hands down, the easiest and best decision I have made with regard to marathon training yet.

What an amazingly awesome day this was!  I awoke to an absolutely perfect morning.  Low humidity and temperatures forecast to be in the 50’s and 60’s had me excited to get this run under way.  I arrived on-site with plenty of time to park, get to the race site and check my bag.  I was able to quickly locate my pace group leaders (I went with 12 min/mile since this was a training run and I wanted to prove to myself that I could run the whole thing without using intervals, plus I was unsure of myself after my difficult 18 miler), and we began chatting about the upcoming run and the best way to stay warm while waiting for the start on race day (she suggested a garbage bag or Tyvek painters suit).  Before we knew it, it was time to get started.  We lined up, said hello to other group mates and we were off.  I quickly found a buddy to chat with and we hit it off right away.  We chatted about everything from running to family and before we knew it 6 miles had flown by.  The rest of the run was much the same, slow and steady, I chatted with group members and leaders alike to keep my mind busy and off the miles I had left to run.  We even got a good laugh when we came upon a small two-seater airplane that had performed an emergency landing on Lakeshore Drive earlier that morning (thankfully, nobody was injured!) and about a mile later we saw the Oscar Meyer Wiener vehicle.  It was like we were playing long run bingo.  Oh the things you see!

The bottom line is, I felt great for this entire run.  I never felt winded and my legs were strong the whole way.  I am proud to say that I was able to easily run this 20 miler in its entirety (except quick walks through the aid stations to down a gel or a cup of water) and it was awesome.  I even had enough energy to pick up the pace a bit on the back half of the run and finished by sprinting up a hill and across the finish line…a far cry from the agony and defeat I felt just two weeks earlier at the end of my 18 mile run.  Sure, after “running” for 20 miles and pounding the pavement for almost 4 hours, my legs were tired and sore, I just never felt like I couldn’t go a step farther.  A HUGE confidence booster!  Also, I’m sure it was due to the slower pace, but I only ate 4 gels during this run and never really felt like I was running out of gas, and I didn’t experience the stomach cramping this time either.  Super YAY!  The only “bad” thing about this run was the beating my feet took.  I didn’t realize the extent of the damage until I got home and took my shoes off.  Apparently my sock had slipped below my ankle on my left foot, which lead to some pretty ugly chaffing.  My right foot fared much worse though.  I got my usual blister on my big toe, only this time the blister formed under the callus leading to a beautiful blood blister (can you sense my sarcasm?).  Luckily, the calluses on the top of my second and third toes saved my toenails from too much damage, but they sure were sore for a few days!

Overall, this was a great experience and helped me to get a better idea of what I should do on race day.  I now have a plan for race day, and am really looking forward to experiencing the Chicago Marathon and everything it has to offer.  Here are my stats:

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Tuesday, September 24th (Easy Run – 5 Miles):

It was another early morning for me today.  Knowing I had a 6pm appointment and wouldn’t get home until late, I decided I would get up early to get my run in before getting ready for work.  Since this run was just an easy 5 miler (hard to believe that just a few months ago, 5 miles was just shy of a long run), I decided to hit the streets of Oak Park instead of heading to work and running on the treadmill.  Luckily, the dog got me up at 4am so I had plenty of time to eat something before heading out.  I tried a PowerBar Performance Energy Blend (Apply Mango Strawberry flavor) for the first time, and I’m in love.  It was delicious and sat well in my stomach, leaving me with a fulfilled but light feeling.  The run went REALLY well, surprisingly well actually.  After running 20 miles just a day and a half before, I thought my legs would be tired and sore for sure.  Surprisingly, they felt great and again, everything just seemed to click.  My breathing was right on and I even managed to run negative splits (and the whole thing without stopping!).  It’s amazing what a good long run can do for breaking down mental barriers!  Here are my stats:

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Wednesday, September 25th (Mid-Week Long Run – 8 Miles):

Another solid run in the books!  The weather was great again this week, which is helping me get through runs a lot easier these days.  The low humidity and cooler temperatures really seem to help keep my breathing in line.  I felt pretty good again for this run.  Not nearly as good as I did on Tuesday’s run, but overall pretty decent.  Because this was a longer run, I wanted to be sure that I didn’t go out too fast and run out of gas after a few miles so I kept the pace nice and even at around 10:30 min/mile for a good majority of the run, choosing to pick up the pace for the last three miles if I felt good.  Happily, despite running consistently (no more intervals!) at this pace, I still felt good for the last three miles and ran negative splits for those miles (10:14, 10:12 and 9:45).  My legs were a little on the tired side today though.  Here are my stats:

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Friday, September 27th (Easy Run – 4 Miles):

Tonight was another good run for me.  It was a bit warmer today (close to 80°F), but not humid which helped to keep my breathing in line.  I felt pretty good as I set out on this run, a little tired, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  About a mile into the run my legs decided that they were going to rebel and give me trouble.  My quads felt heavy and my shins were sore, causing negative Nancy to make an appearance.  Instead of focusing on my uncooperative legs, I pushed through and forced myself to focus on and enjoy my surroundings instead (the trees are starting to change!).  I was so focused on everything but my legs, I couldn’t tell you when they decided to wake up, but they did!  The last two miles or so of my run felt effortless and I finished with a smile.  Here are my stats:

9.27.13

So this week was the official start of my taper.  They say that it is important to “trust the taper” and your training program.  I’m beginning to get a little stir crazy and as my mileage decreases, and have already worked out my post marathon training plan in anticipation for my next half marathon in January.  I am also getting more and more nervous as the big day approaches.  I got my official participant guide in the mail on Wednesday and just about hyperventilated when I saw it.  downloadThis is becoming very real for me, and I am wavering between confidence and fear of failure as the day draws closer and closer.  Last night was girls night out (GNO) with my run club friends.  It’s always nice to spend time with these ladies, but having an opportunity to express my hopes, fears and share encouraging words with other runners and friends, who have been through this before, helped ease some of my fears a bit.  By the time I left the gathering last night, I felt ready to take this monster goal head on, knowing that I had all of those lovely ladies standing behind me, just as I stand behind them as they strive to reach their goals.  Thank you for all of your support OPRC girls…and to those running Chicago with me, best of luck, you will do great!!!

While running my 20 miler last weekend, I found myself thinking about the movie Spirit of the Marathon.  When I first watched the film many months ago, I found it to be incredibly inspiring.  Being the dork that I am, I found myself tearing up and literally screaming at the computer screen, cheering Deena Kastor to the finish.  I remember thinking that I would surely break down in tears at the finish line, my body crumbling into a heap.  As the day approaches, I wonder what the finish line has in store for me.  Will I break down in tears, or will I cross the finish line the same way I crossed the line of the 20 miler…calm, encouraged, and happy?  Whatever the day has in store for me, I am growing more and more excited.  That being said, I leave you with this great Chicago Marathon inspirational video I found while perusing YouTube today (look at all that spectator support…awesome!!!).

That will be me in a little over two weeks…eeek!!!  Until next time, happy running everyone!

Dog Days of Summer

It is almost September, and after a week full of hot and humid summer days, I am more than ready for my favorite season (fall) to arrive. I absolutely despise the treadmill (I mean dreadmill), but have been forced to complete several training runs on one during the last week. Back in early July, after a particularly bad hot/humid weather training run (I should say run/walk…but mostly walk), I decided that even though I hate it with a passion, I would suck it up and do training runs on the treadmill when the weather was 90 degrees or more. This week there were three days above 90 degrees! Needless to say, I had to make nice with my nemesis this week, no matter how painful it was. Here is how my training week went:

Wednesday, August 21st (Mid-Week Long Run – 8 Miles):

The high today was 92ºF, the first scorcher of the week. I’m glad I was prepared and brought my gym bag to work with me. This was my third ever run on a treadmill and I was dreading the fact that I had to not only run on the darn thing, but I had to run 8 miles! Every minute on a treadmill seems like an eternity, and I wasn’t looking forward to spending well over an hour staring at the same blah 4 walled scenery. After a nice carb loaded lunch, I was feeling physically well prepared for the run, but just couldn’t get my head into the game. Also, in an effort to increase my endurance and speed, I tried a new vitamin supplement from GNC, the AMP Endurance Vitapak, for the first time today. The sales lady said that even though the box indicated it was “Mega Men Powered”, I would be fine taking it, since it didn’t contain testosterone (or anything male specific). Stupid me for trusting a sales person without doing my own research. I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. My muscles were all twitchy and I seriously felt like I could bench press a Mack truck. In addition to dreading 8 miles on a treadmill, I was a little nervous to get my heart rate up even more by running, but knew I had to buck up and just get it over with. I took the run slow and steady, and felt really good the entire time. My breathing was solid and my legs felt great. I only took a short nature break at the half way point (I drank a TON of water trying to flush those awful vitamins out of my system)…no walking or intervals this time!! 🙂 Here are my stats for the run (this time includes my .25 mile warm-up walk, ~2 min nature break, and .25 mile cool-down walk):

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Thursday, August 22nd (Easy Run – 4 Miles):

Luckily, the weather broke overnight on Wednesday and I awoke to a much cooler and pleasant day. After 8 miles on the treadmill yesterday, I was looking forward to getting outside so I could enjoy the changing scenery. My quads were a little sore today, I’m guessing as a result of 8 miles on a treadmill yesterday. Also, I’m sure I run differently on a treadmill than I do on the road since I didn’t change the elevation or speed, plus the surface is very different. Overall, I felt good for this run and was able to successfully push through the “oh my goodness, is it over yet, I just want to stop” moment(s). Since my sinus infection last week, I have been trying to focus more on feeling good and getting through my runs easily than pushing my limits for faster times. This run was no different and I feel OK about my time. Right now I need to focus on building the mileage, not speed. That will come after the marathon! Here are my stats for the run:

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Saturday, August 24th (Long Run – 16 Miles):

This run was hanging over my head like a dark cloud all week. Thanks to my sinus infection resulting in a week of pure laziness after a stepdown week, I had serious doubts that I would make it through this run at all, let alone feeling strong and confident at the end. After exchanging those horrible vitamins for the Women’s Ultra Mega Active Vitapak (the clerk was shocked that I was sold a product for men and indicated that the yohimbe bark [mainly marketed as an E-D suppliment!!!] was likely the cause of my tweaky [not twerky…lol] reaction) I made sure I carbed up and went to bed early. I made plans to meet my friends for yoga and coffee on Saturday morning at 8:30am. This meant that I had to get my 16 miles in SUPER early to ensure I made it to yoga on time. I was so nervous about this run that I didn’t even wait for the alarm to go off at 4am. Instead, my eyes flew open at 3:30am and I decided I should just get it over with already. I slipped out of bed, ate a cinnamon roll and was out the door a little before 4:30am. It was an absolutely beautiful morning – nice and cool. Not sure if I’d even be able to power through the whole run, I decided to start off slow and stick to my long run interval plan. Running in the dark was awesome. It was so quiet, and nice to not have the sun beating down on me. The first 8 miles flew by and I felt great. Before I knew it I was at mile 10 and I started to feel more confident. I brought 4 energy gels with me and stuck to my every three mile plan…until I started to fade a little around mile 12. I thought that if I took the gel then, I surely would have trouble getting through the last 4 miles, so I waited until mile marker 13 to take my last gel. The last 2 miles were pure torture. By then, the sun was out and it was starting to heat up a bit, plus I was just mentally “done” and wanted nothing more than to be physically done too. I was so unbelievably happy when my watch beeped at mile 16. I was so tired, yet so happy that I had just run 16 miles…the farthest I have ever run, to date!!! Here are my stats for the run:

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Yoga was amazing and really helped me to loosen up my sore and tired muscles. Of course, it’s always nice to be with friends too! 🙂 Going forward, I am going to try to get my long runs in super early to take advantage of the dark/cooler temps and also post run yoga. I’m convinced I would be walking around with a limp of some sort if I hadn’t gone to yoga!

Monday, August 26th (Easy Run – 4 Miles):

Like I said, I think post run yoga was a life saver for me this week. I was only a little sore on Sunday, but was feeling great when I woke up on Monday. Sunday brought the first day of another little Chicago heatwave (actually, most of the Midwest was affected) and when I left for work on Monday (at 7am) it was already 80ºF! Guess what that means…yup, another treadmill training run! Awesome. The only thing that made this training run even remotely “fun” was the fact that my sweet husband joined me to work out in the gym at my office building. The run went well and again, I felt strong. My breathing was in line (actually, it almost felt too easy) and my legs felt solid with no residual tightness or exhaustion from Saturday’s long run. Maybe the treadmill isn’t so bad after all. Here are my stats for the run (this includes my .25 mile warm-up walk – I accidentally hit the emergency stop button during my cool-down walk…oops!):

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Tuesday, August 27th (Mid-Week Long-Run – 8 Miles):

Today was by far the hottest day of the week and there was no way I was going to run outside. By the time I finished with work, the temperature was still 95ºF with a heat index of 99ºF! As much as I wasn’t looking forward to another 8 miles on the treadmill, I was glad I had the option to even use one on day’s like this. I don’t have a treadmill at home, so I count my blessings that my office building has a gym for us to use. If it weren’t for this gym, I would either be suffering through (due to other commitments this week I couldn’t just push it back) or skipping my workout completely. This time, the workout seemed to go much faster. Maybe I’m getting used to it, maybe it’s because I’m in a climate controlled environment, or maybe it’s because I have been feeling so good when running on the treadmill. I don’t know. All I know is this 8 miler felt great. My breathing was nice and even, my legs felt awesome and I didn’t even have to eat an energy gel. Oh yeah, and I didn’t stop running at all…not even for a millisecond! This really has me looking forward to the cooler and crisper fall air that should be arriving fairly soon. I’m keeping my fingers, toes, legs, arms, eyes (and any other cross-able body part) crossed for a beautiful 50º or 60º marathon day. A slight breeze would be an extra treat too! Regardless, here are my stats for the run (aw yeah, a sub-11 minute mile long run!):

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Unfortunately, my training week was cut short when I was randomly hit with vertigo yesterday. I opted to take the night off, instead of running dizzy and risking hurting myself. Tonight is the monthly girls night out with my run club friends and tomorrow I am finally getting my hair done (loooong overdue), so I will be getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to run the 5 miles I was supposed to run yesterday, before heading to Hawthorne Race Track for the Hell Run! Sunday will be a rest day in preparation for my next half marathon on Monday (fingers crossed the current forecast [high of 74ºF] is accurate). Stay tuned for those race recaps…they are sure to be fun! Until then, happy running my friends!

Playing Catch-Up

Well friends, it’s back to reality after my little staycation.  I don’t know if it was the busy week I had last week or just pure staycation induced laziness, but it seems I have quite a bit of catch-up to do here…so here we go!

Wednesday

Wednesday was my first time back to speed work with the club after a few weeks off and oh boy did it kick my butt!  I arrived a bit late and decided to skip drills, fearing that any lateral drills would bring back the leg pain I struggled with a few weeks ago.  Instead, I ran a few warm up laps and then joined everyone for stretching and stiders.  This week we did 4 stiders and moved on to a modified fartlek workout.  The goal was to run a consecutive 30 minutes – alternating 3 minutes fast, 1 minute slow until the workout was complete.  Well, all I can say is…epic fail.  I went out way too fast for the first two sets (sub 9 minute pace even with the slow jogs) and by the third set I was walking the 1 minute slow.  It kept going downhill from there resulting in a complete stop to use my inhaler (like a dummy, I didn’t puff up before the workout) and another complete stop to fix the bandaid on my giant blister (it was coming off and causing more damage).  After that, I finished the workout.  I can’t say I finished strong, but at least I didn’t give up.  By the end of the warm-up (2 laps) and workout I had logged 3.25 miles…not too shabby, I guess.  Because I took a “rest” day on Monday, my marathon training runs were pushed back a day so that meant I had to get 4 miles in for the day on Wednesday.  To finish up my mileage for the day, I jogged another .75 mile barefoot on the turf and went home with my tail between my legs.

6.26.13

Wednesday’s track workout stats.

Thursday

After Wednesday’s speed work I was looking forward to resting my legs with an easy two miler with my CARA Beginning Running program participant.  Unfortunately, the weather got the best of all of us and the program was canceled for the day.  What a crazy storm!  It didn’t seem too bad to me as I was driving.  Sure, it was a torrential downpour and it was a bit windy, but not a storm I would consider to be “severe” by any stretch…until I drove North of Lake Street.  Somewhere between Chicago Ave. and Augusta I came across my first huge tree branch laying across the road and as I continued North to my house I came across flooded streets, huge tree limbs and even whole trees down.  I wove my way home, admiring the beautiful double rainbow that had formed, to find a lot of tree damage and the power out.  All of my neighbors were in the street surveying the damage and helping to clean up the street.  Since the sun was out and the radar looked clear, I visited with my neighbors for a minute, took the dog out and went for a run.  Why not, right?  I had to get my marathon training run in for the day and the power was out so there wasn’t much else to do.  The devastation was unreal.  I was dodging huge tree limbs and whole trees just about every other block.  I was shocked at the extent of the damage and that it seemed to be in such a concentrated area.  After my run I returned home, cleaned up and sat in my car trying to cool off and charge my phone since we were still sans power.  After a restless (and hot) sleep, I was awakened at 4am by the sound of loud voices, diesel trucks and chainsaws directly outside my bedroom window, as the ComEd guys worked to restore our power by removing the tree limb that had fallen on our power lines.  Generally speaking, I would be complaining about all of the noise, but if the noise meant that air conditioning was in my near future, I was all for it!  🙂

6.27.13

Thursday’s sweaty run in post storm humidity.

Friday

After an air conditioned morning nap (I went back to sleep after the power was restored), I dragged myself out of bed and spent the morning being lazy.  My Mother-In-Law picked me up close to Noon and we took the “L” downtown for a fun girls day filled with lunch at Berghoff’s and a visit to the Art Institute to see the new Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity exhibition (very cool by the way!).  It was a great day and I had a ton of fun.  It’s always nice to spend time with my Mother-In-Law.  I know I’ve said it before, but I really lucked out in the in-law department!  It was also fun to feel the excitement in the air, since the Blackhawks rally was also being held downtown on Friday.  When we got off the “L” there was a sea of red as people made their way from the rally that had just ended in Grant Park.  It seemed like we were surrounded by Blackhawks fans all day…it was really neat.  After our fun outing I returned home and squeezed in a quick one miler.  I felt really good, but was glad I only had to log one mile since my feet were killing me from being on them and wearing flip flops all day.

6.28.13

Friday night streak run.

Saturday

I felt like I lost my Saturday in a black hole.  Looking back, it seems like I got a whole lot of nothing accomplished and it took me all day to do it.  I woke up relatively early and managed to get sucked into a movie while I ate breakfast.  I knew I had a few errands that I had to run so after the movie I peeled myself off the couch and geared up for my long run.  This week was a step back week so I only had to get in 5 miles, but I was feeling really lazy and not into it at all.  The first 2 miles were easy and I felt really good, but I started to fade in mile 3.  I suspect the energy bonk was due to the fact that I didn’t eat lunch before heading out and I wasn’t really hydrated enough.  I seem to have trouble with keeping myself hydrated at home.  I think I’m going to set an alarm on my phone to remind myself to drink water during the day when I am at home.  How do you remind yourself to stay hydrated on the weekends or when you are at home?

6.29.13

Saturday’s “Long” Run

After my run I got ready for the day and set out to get all of my errands done.  First, I had to stop at The Runner’s Soul in Elmhurst to pick up packet’s for Thursday’s Elmhurst 4 on the 4th race, then I had to stop and return a suit I bought that was too big and finally I had to get a pair of black shorts to complete my club uniform for the race.  The weather was gorgeous so I took my time driving with the sunroof open and I didn’t even mind that I had to park at the opposite end of the strip mall (the lot was PACKED) and walk to the store to make my return.  In fact, I was even happy to walk down to DSW in search of a new pair of colorful and fun shoes to wear with the white eyelet dress I found buried in the back of my closet a few weeks ago.  I then had the bright idea to try and find a new pair of running shoes since my current pair has about 300 miles on them, so over to Sports Authority Elite I went.  I found an awesome pair of black running shorts and spent some time talking to a clerk about which shoes would be right for me.  After checking my arch and watching me run, he recommended the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 since it provided support for my “normal” arch and my slight pronation.  I was starving by the time I left the store with my shorts and brand new kicks in a fun dark purple/lime green combo.  In high school I only wore Nike, but since I started running again two years ago, I have been a loyal Saucony fan.  I felt guilty buying this pair of Brooks and honestly, haven’t even taken them out of the box since I brought them home.  I’ve even been debating returning them and am finding myself making up excuses to return them (i.e. they feel heavier, the toe box feels really big, they are kinda dark for my taste, etc.).  Do you have a favorite brand of running shoes?

Sunday

Since I was on a mini staycation, I decided Sunday would be a good day to do a deep clean of my house.  Working full time, going to school and running has really limited the amount of “free” time I have to do things like cook, clean and finish household and/or craft projects.  Taking the summer off has allowed for a bit more free time, but after months of spot cleaning, the house was in need of a serious clean.  After eating a bit of breakfast, I rolled up my sleeves and dug in.  After scrubbing, dusting, mopping, and vacuuming the majority of the day, I finally gave up when the first and second floor of the house were sparkling.  After a quick shower, I geared up and headed out for a quick one mile streak run.  Despite feeling tired from working all day, I felt pretty good and was happy to see a faster pace for this run.  It must have been the beautiful weather!

Sunday night streak run.

Sunday night streak run.

Monday

Monday was the last day of my mini staycation and I still had a ton of “to dos” left on my list.  I was excited that my husband would be returning from his Canadian fly-in fishing trip after a week and a half of zero communication (in the 5 years we have been together, we have not gone a single day without at least talking on the phone), but I promised I would work on making a set of roman shades for our kitchen while he was gone and I hadn’t even thought about starting them!  So I got up early, ate some breakfast and decided to get my run in early so I could get to work on my to do list.  I wasn’t really feeling into running when I left the house, but after a mile and a half I got into the zone and felt good.  My legs have been feeling a little tired lately so it’s been hard to maintain a faster pace on runs longer than 2 miles.  I find myself slowing down and am disappointed with my slower average paces, but I have to remind myself to listen to my body.  If my body is telling me to slow down, it must be for a reason.  Also, I keep telling myself that the slower pace is OK, since it is well within the suggested easy run training pace for my goal 5K time (10:30-11:22).

7.1.13

Monday Easy Run

After my run I mowed the lawn, showered and ventured out to JoAnn Fabrics and Home Depot for supplies so I could finally get started on the roman shades.  I returned home with supplies in hand (and flowers for the front of the house too) and got to work cutting the fabric.  I did a good job cutting the length but was too busy singing and dancing (if you can even call it that…lol) to my recently rediscovered Ray LaMontagne Pandora station and cut the width to size instead of adding the required 4 inches for the hem.  Ooops…good thing we got the fabric on super clearance and ended up buying the rest of the roll so there is plenty left over even after my silly mistake!  Anyway, after I regained my focus, I successfully cut both panels and even got the hems sewed on one.  I’m looking forward to finishing them this weekend…I think they are going to look awesome!

Tuesday

After a busy first day back to work after my mini staycation, I rushed home to get my training run in so I could spend some quality time with the hubs.  The weather was awesome and I felt great the entire run.  My legs still felt a little tired so I took it easy, focusing on continual movement instead of a faster pace.  I knew I could have pushed it and run faster, but I also wanted to take it easy in the hopes my legs would “wake up” for tomorrow’s (Thursday) race.  After my run, I settled in with my husband to catch-up on some shows we missed while he was playing in the Canadian wilderness.

7.2.13

Tuesday night training run.

Wednesday

My office closed a little early today so we could get a head start on our holiday weekend, so I was able to get home about an hour earlier than usual which was nice since I had a bit of preparation to do for tomorrow’s race and run club gathering.  After taking the dog for a short walk I geared up and went out for an easy one mile streak run.  Because of tomorrow’s race, I didn’t want to push too hard and basically used the run only to keep the streak alive.  I felt good and wasn’t winded at all so I guess I was successful in meeting my goal for the day.  After my run I started on making the cinnamon coffee cake muffins for tomorrow’s run club gathering after the race and ate my usual pre-race Noodles & Co. Wisconsin Mac and Cheese.  Now the challenge will be to keep my hands off the muffins until after the race tomorrow…they smell so GOOD!

Wednesday's streak run.

Wednesday’s streak run.

Stay tuned for a race recap tomorrow!  🙂

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#RWRUNSTREAK Update:

Miles to Date: 100.34

Consecutive Days:  38

Miles to Goal:  29.66 (this is so not going to happen :()

Days Remaining:  1