Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pig minus 126

And we're back! The Flying Pig is 126 days from today, 18 weeks. Counting today as the first training day and counting race day, it's 127 days. Back to training, back to Hal Higdon, back to cross training with Jake Maulin via YouTube classes.

Day 1 - cross training, defined as any exercise of approximately 30 minutes that isn't running.

I'm doing exactly one marathon this year. I'm too old to do more than one! It's too much work, too much time, too much of a commitment. I don't need any more shirts, don't need any more medals, don't need any more race stories. If the Martians ask me to sweep again, I'll offer to do the half - the full was detrimental to Cincinnati. This year it's just my little Piggie and me!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The day I overdid it

I have weak glutes. Since it's the offseason, I may as well work on that. Saturday was gross weather and I sure wasn't going outside, so I warmed up on the creaky basement treadmill for 15 minutes, then started squats and lunges. I didn't even count - probably 50 of each then finished with another 10-minute walk.

The next day...

My quads were screaming! They felt as sore as the day after a marathon! Crazy!!! Going downstairs was especially painful. My glutes didn't even hurt, which tells me I did everything all wrong :(

Monday, December 4, 2017


Last year Chicago moved their lottery from March / April to November. This year was the same. Last year I was absolutely certain eleven months ahead of time that I wanted to do it. This year I was similarly positive that I didn't want to even try the lottery game. The lottery window opened, a week later they sent another reminder email, the next week one more reminder, then finally a last day last chance to enter email. I deleted every email and let it go.

Chicago didn't go well this year and I've been saying since July that I'm not doing a fall 2018 marathon. It's super expensive between the race entry and a hotel. Even more than the financial cost, I don't want to invest the time or wear and tear.

Detroit opened early registration today and they have a new challenge for 2018 - 1 mile, 5k and full. It's the sort of thing that's right up my alley, but too much time and money. Nothing fall 2018. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, November 9, 2017


I'm fine...

I'm a total klutz. If there is something to stumble over, or a corner to bang into, I'll find it. After Wednesday, I can add in "tripping over perfectly flat, clear sidewalk..."

It was in the low 40s and sunny. The temperature would have been appropriate for either shorts or pants. I had worn my black tights to work, so I ran in them. At the last second I grabbed my favorite running gloves. The plan was slow and easy, work on stamina, don't stress out my body. Basically log 2-3 garbage miles.

Mile 1.6 I was across the street from a school I used to work at. I was running across a driveway that had zero leaves, no water, nothing. Obviously then I tripped over nothing. In the two seconds it took me to fall, the longest seconds of the day when I knew I was going down and there was nothing I could do to prevent it, I thought about how to minimize the fall, and most importantly how to make sure my head didn't hit! I could deal with a sprained wrist, a broken leg. What I can't deal with is a chipped tooth!

I landed on the palms of my hands and knees! Ouch! Immediately a kid at the school asked if I was ok. Um, yes? Define "ok."

I sat there for a few minutes, assessing the damage. My favorite gloves were shredded through the palms, but my hands only got minor scrapes. My very expensive Christmas gift Athleta pants kept all the skin on my knees while managing to not get torn! And I wasn't bleeding (I would have gone to the school for first aid rather than drip blood all the way home).

Hours later, my hands had two small friction burns, my knees had some friction burn and it felt like they're going to bruise. My triceps were sore too, but nothing was that bad considering I ran another 1.7 miles after I picked up myself.

It could have been so much worse. Pants and gloves kept my skin on my body, and sometimes I run with my phone in hand listening to YouTube book reviews (lol Nerd!!!!). This time, I had the old iPod shuffle clipped to my pants. It survived better than I did!

I was wearing brand new shoes, and I think what happened is that they're a lot "grippier" than the old worn out soles. I think my shoe gripped the sidewalk, stayed in place, and inertia kept my body going. Oops!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Page 3

On the last full page now. Feet didn't hurt after the first 0.13 miles. No fall 2018 full marathons, probably use a different program for the Piggie. Hansons is amazing, but I'm on my 4th time using it. Variety and all that. The last time I switched programs from Hal to the Hansons, I ran two consecutive PRs.

Friday, August 25, 2017

44 days

Chicago is in 44 days. No part of me feels ready for it, I feel this every single time I start a race.

There has been a lot of bad - boredom, apathy, heat, forgetting shoes and breakfast... Sometimes my right heel hurts. Experience says there is nothing wrong with it, it just hurts. I know how to manage that. Other times, my left Achilles hurts and I wonder if it isn't getting ready to tear. Some runs, especially at the start of a run, it feels like it doesn't want to support weight, or it just hurts.

Stamina is a problem too, but the best way to build stamina is to build stamina! To say "This is horrible, keep going!" Or "This is a shytshow of a run, keep going." I'm starting to understand the depth of all those inspirational quotes about never giving up, Run when you can, walk when you need to, crawl if you absolutely must, but never stop. Etc.

Other parts of training have been good though. Last Saturday I was supposed to run 16 miles. I did it in bits and pieces, 6.2 at a race in Farmington Hills, +/-3 at the trail where I finally said it's too damn hot! 2 hours later I did the last 7 on the treadmill. Unconventional, certainly not the same as doing all 16 straight through, but they got done after every part of me was screaming to quit after 9.

Wednesday I was scheduled for 9 miles at race pace. My gym membership expired and we bought a new house (with a treadmill in the basement that they're leaving!!!!) but we can't move in yet. It was humid, but not terribly hot. I got through it, with an average pace 1 second slower than goal.

I'm trying. I'll never again be in the shape I was in during the spring of 2015. No fall marathon for me in 2018. I'm too old to do multiples a year! Yes, it completely boggles my mind that it was only 4 years ago when I did 4 fulls in 4 weeks. Crazy girl!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

2 month slump

The race is exactly two months from yesterday. Two months from right now it'll all be a memory. Every training cycle, right around the halfway mark, I reach the point I'm at now - bored, not wanting to train anymore, fatigued by the daily grind of training, sick of the time commitment, sick of so much laundry. It's not fun anymore.

I need to make it a few more weeks, then in the last 3-4 weeks, the end is in sight and I always get a second wind. This stretch though - make it go faster!!

Something to look forward to: Chicago is bringing in a number of former winners to help celebrate the 40th anniversary, including the woman I've been wanting to meet ever since I started with marathons in 2010 - Ms Paula Radcliffe, who set the women's marathon record way back in 2003 and while the men's record has fallen several times since then, no woman has been even close to breaking Paula's time.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

I wasn't meant to run

I've been wanting to switch to trail running, especially for the longer runs, for a change of scenery and to get a break from the constant pounding on cement. My feet haven't been feeling 100% and I need to baby them however I can.

I know there are trails around here, but I have no idea where. Everything seems too short or it's paved. I found one a half hour away that meets my criteria - mostly shady, packed dirt surface, 4 miles point to point, so 8 if I do the whole distance, there are smaller offshoots as well to tack on distance. Pretty much perfect.

On Saturday I had been wearing my 5 Fingers around the house and drove in them, with the Hokas in the trunk. Parked the car, went to change my shoes and realized I didn't bring socks!!!!!! The Hokas rub blisters and cut my feet without very thick socks. Not happy! I was already there, though, so I ran 1.5 in the Vibrams then switches to the Hokas without socks and ran until my feet were crying. 4 miles, not the 15 the Hansons wanted.

Sunday. I wore knee socks so I wouldn't be scratched or bitten, so I definitely had socks for the whole drive. 25 minutes into the 30 minute drive I realized I hadn't eaten breakfast! Duh! I had had a chocolate chip cookie then left. The Luna bars I bought last night specifically for the run were on the kitchen counter.

So I did 5.15. No food = no energy. I could have run / walked (mostly walked) the whole distance, but why? To be on my feet for 4 hours? The Hansons say there's no benefit beyond 3 hours. To prove I can go 15 miles? I know I can. Two attempts at a long run, two fails! Wasn't meant to run this weekend, I guess.

Anyone have suggestions for trails near me? Unpaved :)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Page 2

Page 2 of the Hansons. The runs pass slowly but the months pass quickly.

Good: no "red" boxes
Also good: the "yellow" days are consistent. I seem to have converted all my Thursday easy garbage miles to biking. The two Sundays I biked were weather based and bc we had other plans that kept us occupied all day.
Bad: nothing especially alarming

Sunday, July 30, 2017

No pint glass this time

The last Sunday in July is always the Electric Bolt 5k. I've done it twice and gotten second place twice. I really want to score a first place finish one of these days!

Today wasn't it :(

As soon as I started a warm up jog, I could tell I was wearing my slow shoes. Some runs are amazing and others are a lot of effort.

As I lined up near the front (no timing pad so we all have the same start time), I looked around and thought that within the 15-20 people near the front, there were 5 women I would guess to be right around my age, all of whom could potentially/probably beat me. They did.

It's a hard course, very hilly, with a monster hill of a traffic bridge at the end.

And somehow it's always extraordinarily humid. Within two minutes of finishing sweat was pouring down my face, then it got in my eyes so those started gushing as well. I was a mess!

The results went up and I finished 6th out of 13 in my age group. Overall I was 14th out of 84 women. I would have won the 30-34 age group, I would have won the 40-44 age group. I was just in a really competitive group today.

There were some good parts though:
I finished and didn't get injured
I sat down at the finish and watched other runners and walkers finish, seeing the joy and the pain in their faces
Almost immediately after finishing, a man said he had been following my pace for a long time and I had a strong fast start. That was the highlight of the race - No one has ever followed my pace, I'm always the follower, not the followee.
The run is done nice and early so I have the whole day to finish my book and binge a CW show without exercise hanging over my head.
I won't do another 5k until Cincinnati in May 2018 :D

There's always next year.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A great 10

Saturday's prescribed mileage was 10 easy. The forecast was horrendous - upper 80s and high humidity, a "feels like" temperature in the 100s. Yet heat can't be a reason to skip the mileage, especially on a "Something of substance" run. It was pleasantly cool in the morning and I saw several runners outside, yet we had things that needed to be done and couldn't be rescheduled. By the time it was run-time, I needed a different answer than running all 10 outside.

The boyfriend and I went to mom's house for a bit and my solution was to run to the gym - exactly 1 mile, run 8 on the TM then run back to her house. It was so crazy hot the first mile kept me slower and served as a warm up then later as a cool down.

On the TM, I ran ladders increasing from 11:40s to 10:30s then back down again. The TM makes it way too easy to go faster than the Hanson want. On a long slow Saturday they recommend 60-90 seconds slower than race pace.

It felt easy. My legs wanted to go so much faster than my brain was holding back. Halfway, I knew I was in the downswing and would be done in 50-55 minutes. No sweat, that seemed easy. At mile 7, I hit a groove and kept the pace at a steady 11:14 and started laddering the elevation.

When I finished my miles at the gym, I rinsed my washcloth in cold water for the run home. I was hot and pouring sweat, but I felt incredible! The next day my feet are good, my quads are good. My right calf is a little tight so I'll need to roll it. I was pouring sweat so I was wet the whole time and my thighs chafed a little as a result, but with body glide, that, too, is easily managed.

What a great great run!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Forgetting the good

For all its mind-sucking boredom, there is actually some good about treadmills that I had forgotten:

Climate control. It's still 90 degrees and 80% humidity as I type this at 10:30pm. The gym is always low 70s and lower humidity. It's always light, no heat of the day, no thunderstorms.
Predictability. I know exactly what's coming (nothing). No dogs, no squirrels to dodge, no bikers sharing the sidewalk, I don't have to lug around my mace.
Elevation. I run in the flattest city in the state, yet Chicago has that nice incline at the 26th mile. I can now train for that.
Tempo. It's a lot easier to push the tempo when the machine is doing it and my only job is to keep up.
Cubbies for my keys (and a sweat towel or water if I want it).
Besides, it never hurts to break it up with an episode of Jeopardy! mid-run :) I'm going to get my $$ worth this month!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


I love summer, I love all the sunlight, I love that it's light out past 9pm. The only thing I don't actually like is the heat. I've been trying to run through it and toughen up myself. This week, however, has been oppressive. Wednesday had a heat index of 100+, Thursday's forecast was over 90 with crazy humidity. The next week doesn't look any better.

*Could* I run through it? Sure, I could also run at 4am, or I could always run at midnight. Just because I physically CAN do something doesn't mean I SHOULD. Biking works in an emergency but it's not a valid substitute for 7-14 days of training if I'm injury free.

So I called up Planet Fitness to ask about their very short term options. They're not great and I don't want to provide them my bank numbers to automatically debit the dues every month. I don't want to pay their $39 "member fees" on September 1st either. Theoretically it'll be cooler and less humid then anyway. I asked about signing up then immediately canceling, therefore giving myself a 5-6 week membership. That was certainly an option, but...

"I don't actually have a checking account," I said. "Can I pay cash?"

"We have a one month prepay option," Colleen said. Why did they not offer me this in February???? It's a lot more than their $10 a month advertised rates, but it works for me. So I signed up on Wednesday for 30 days and had a glorious run.

It was tempo Wednesday. I did 4 miles at tempo then kicked it up every 0.15 of the last mile. The incline ranged from 1.0 to 2.5. Then as I was leaving, Colleen pointed out the six treadmills that are set to "marathon mode" and have NO auto shutoff function for massive 60, 90+ minute runs. Awesome :)

I can't think of anything more stereotypically American than paying money to run in the air conditioning...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The waiting game

It's very humid, but not nearly as hot as forecasted and there's a nice breeze. There's also a huge storm north of Ann Arbor. I had time to run after work, if I ran directly from work and didn't come home first, but I don't eat much for breakfast so I wasn't fueled up for 7 miles. I'm stuck in a holding pattern. Waiting for the water department to fix the main break so I can use the restroom, waiting for the storm to pass, waiting waiting.

Several hours later, there is a fire hydrant two houses down that's gushing water. The department of water is still "working." Thank goodness Sears has clean toilets... Radar looks mostly clear, time to run. As long as there's no lightning, I'm good. A light rain feels better than 97% humidity anyway.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Page 1

The Hansons program is now online in a great calendar ready format. Obviously I printed it and carry it everywhere with me in my planner. Because I keep obsessive records, mine is color-coded, green if I did exactly what they recommended, yellow if I did something roughly equivalent, red if I didn't do anything. I had three yellow boxes on page 1, two when I counted wrong and thought I had one more week before training started, one when I waited for it to cool off, which it did by storming all night. Look at all that pretty green :)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Change of plans

My schedule for the weekend is:

Friday - 5 miles easy
Saturday - 4 miles easy
Sunday - rest or cross train (I always bike)

It was insanely hot this morning, sunny and well over 90. I figured I'd wait a few hours for the sun to pass its peak.

Woke up from a nap to the sound of distant rumbling thunder and the temperature has dropped 20 degrees. It felt great, but I don't run in thunder or lightning. We're now going on 3 straight hours of rain with no sign of a break on the radar.

What to do???? Bike tonight then run Saturday and Sunday? Write off today and proceed as normal Saturday and Sunday? Days like this make me wish I had a gym membership, I could have run in the heat or during the storm. Stupid weather :(

Deep breath. ONE 5-miler isn't going to make or break my season.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

God bless eBay

Going back to 2008, I've been enamored with the UnderArmour Endure sports bra simply because it works. The neck line is high, the molded cup design is great for holding everything in place without creating the dreaded smushed uniboob look, and they have a fairly long shelf life with normal use. Well, I was going through two a year on average, even with washing on the gentle cycle and line drying, but from what I was reading online, that was a longer life than many styles / wearers.

Then UA stopped selling them and I'd been searching in vain for a suitable replacement every since. One day I received an email from Running Fit about their sale. I looked at the bra selection, didn't love anything.

Just for fun I hopped on eBay and searched for "UnderArmour endurance." Hey, I found one before there before new with tags, only a slight pen mark on the back. This was my lucky day! There is a military supply store out of Virginia that was selling a 3-pack for $49. The msrp was $55 each. The seller had thousands of ratings and accepted returns. Done!

Four days later they arrived. Three glorious Endure bras, brand new with tags. I have no idea where the seller found these or has been hoarding them since they were discontinued. I tugged one on and as it displaced my back fat, I was reminded of what a good proper high impact bra feels like. Then I went for a run and it did its job perfectly!

They were only available in white, which would be my last choice, but color is completely insignificant. The only things that matter are fit and stability, which the Endure has in spades. God bless eBay!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Week 3

Week 3 of training is over. I guess. Depends how I count. The third calendar week is done. I've had only two alternate workouts when I had misread the calendar and thought I had an extra week. One 3-miler became a bike ride and another 3-miler became 2.5. Since then, every day hs been exactly what the Hansons prescribe.

Overall, things are going really well. Every run has had some component of speed, which is a huge improvement over training seasons past. I still feel slow and lacking stamina, but I take it one run at a time. I've been more deliberate with running at different times of day and in different temperatures/humidity levels. I want to be ready for whatever Chicago throws at me!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I can't count

Satan called... Wants his weather back.... Welcome to late spring in Michigan where the temperature jumps from 72 to 95 in one day. Monday was crazy stupid hot, like I was sweating just walking to the car. Who in her right mind wants to run in that????

The Tuesday morning forecast was "cooler" so I made the irrevocable decision to rest on Monday and do Monday's miles early Tuesday before work. The few times I've managed it, I like it! It's practical - only shower once, then my brain is rested and happy without a run hanging over my head all day.

I laid out all my clothing the night before, woke up and actually got out the door! Normally I spoil myself and take it way too easy. I don't like to run until after I've had a big breakfast, a few cups of coffee, a trip to the restroom, 2-3 glasses of water. Only then do I want to run. Marathons don't happen in the late afternoon though.

I had a small granola bar, small cup of water and opened the door into a sauna. It was "cooler," which is to say 75 with 80% humidity. Knowing the forecast was pushing 100, I had to get it done! Thankful it was only 2 miles. At 1.4 I had a side stitch from dehydration. Breathe through the nose, deep breaths, don't walk.

I did 2.5 miles all in the 9:30-9:40 range, each was faster than the previous.

Then after work I looked at the training program again. I looked at the dates again. I'm a doofus! Training really and truly did start last week. I lost 1/2 mile today and on Friday I biked instead of running 3 miles. But I did a double workout on Saturday, so it all works out?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The "two a day"

Saturday's forecast was hot hot hot, like over 90. Yeeech! I stayed inside and biked two episodes of Jeopardy!, did my ab work and it was all good. Then I ran to the grocery store and discovered that while it was ridiculously hot, there was also a nice breeze.

Fast forward several hours. Still hot, still breezy. After 7 I decided to do another workout, because why not? :) Got dressed in minimal clothing (shorts, tank, ankle socks), drove to one of my schools and set a realistic goal. It was my first really hot run, so I figured a reasonable plan would be 3-4 miles sub-11. Ease into hot weather running.

It was hot. I didn't have any water and yet I got it done. It felt reasonably good, so I went to the upper range of my plan, then I realized the car was an extra 0.35 miles past 4, and if I'm doing that, round it up to 0.5.

Final total: 4.5 miles at a 10:26 average pace. Not bad 👊🏻

Friday, June 9, 2017


Week 1 has been amazing! I've gotten all my mileage done and then some. My calendar is neatly filled out with the mileage and pace and everything is good.

Then for some reason I looked at it again. I looked at a 2017 calendar. I counted backwards from race day. I actually start training on June 11, not June 4. Oops :) Ah well, I'll just redo week 1 and it's all good. Evidently I'm super excited to start Chicago this year :) :) :)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Chi-3, Global running day!

It's global running day and it was low 70s, low humidity and full sun. You bet I was running today! The Hansons prescribed 3 miles easy.

Mile 1 - 9:40
Mile 2 - 9:32
Mile 3 - 9:22 going into the wind
0.1 - 8:49

Then I did 100 crunches for good measure.

Not bad considering my goal was to stay sub-10.

Now get out there and run, readers!!!

Monday, June 5, 2017

The No More Mediocrity Tour

Every time I've used the Hansons program it has started on a Wednesday, 18 1/2 weeks before the race. They now have a really nice printable calendar with all the workouts that I printed today and what do you know? It now starts on a Monday. So I guess I'm training now.

The first workout was scheduled for "2 miles easy." In my new world, that meant a half mile warmup then 1 mile at 8:43 and 1 mile at 8:53. Along the way I named this training cycle, much like bands name their tours - No more mediocrity. I figure I'll hit a big PR or get injured. Good times...

The paces I did today aren't sustainable in the long term, but I don't need to start at 11s either. I've been way too easy on myself for way too long. Hard runs, lose weight, abs, PR.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The pig, the bad and the ugly - Part 2

As I taped every one of my toes at 5:45 in the morning, the only thought going through my head was the absolute certainty of "I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS!!!!!" I knew I wasn't ready for the race and it was going to be a long slow painful trip through Cincinnati. I didn't do a very good job with training, then with a month out, I realized I wasn't going to be ready and mentally gave up on training. I tweaked my lower back at the Martian and babied that perhaps a bit too much in the two weeks between races. Coming back from injury. Blah blah blah. Plenty of ways I could justify the forthcoming time.

#24 - At the start before the spit hit the fan
The boyfriend and I didn't even leave until 6:15 - the race started at 6:30 and we had a mile walk to the start. The first wave went off and we were still over a quarter mile away, walking in the opposite direction because I had to cross the start timing mat. I hopped in an opening in the gates and tried to get myself psyched up for the run. I was going to start slow slow slow and do what I could.

Some parts felt good, most of it was painful. Despite my crying hissy fit all week about the forecast (low 30s....), it wound up being perfect - upper 30s at the start, mid 60s at the finish, with the lowest humidity in the five years I've run it.

The course was different. I couldn't say where exactly we were going that was different, but I knew there were normal parts we missed. Where was the church with the lyrics to Amazing Grace, then the mother of all downhills? Where was the relay exchange behind Kroger? With the different route, I thought maybe we won't have to go up on the highway? Maybe we won't be in the part of town that has zero shade? No such luck.

Mile 7 "Bacon" is wearing wings
I ate a lot, I drank a lot. A group of college aged kids had tequila shots around mile 21. Why not? May as well have fun, right? When else would I take shots on a race course? (or off a course, for that matter? I rarely rarely drink, certainly not shots)

Mile 16, I texted the boyfriend to say I was at 16 and in a lot of pain.

Mile 22, we passed a younger girl, maybe 12 or 13, sitting on a blanket in the front of her yard. Three black and white guinea pigs were with her, perfectly content to sit in the sun next to their sign "Run Pigs Run" I wish I had taken a picture.

Mile 23 I texted the boyfriend, asking him to come meet me. Walk against the running traffic until he ran into me, and we'd walk/run to the finish. He declined, not aware if he walked past the gates the last 1/4 mile, he could hop on the course
and come meet me.

Mile 25.9 a group of baseball tailgaters had shots of beer. Had they been on my side of the street... :)

Mile 26.1, a man was a tiny bit in front of me and it seemed like a good idea to try and pass him. I got close, he sped up. I got closer, he sped up again, and he finally edged me out. Where was that energy and determination the past 26 miles???

The bling is always great. Maybe not my favorite race shirt they've ever done, but I give the Piggies credit for designing a new theme every single year.

They had 2018 registration on site. I declined. I wasn't ready to commit to another until after Chicago. Of course I'll do it. It's the 20th anniversary, and I "need" to keep my 4-way streaker status in tact.

This post is really disjointed. Just like the 2017 Piggie.
The 5-year finisher medal isn't an actual medal, it's an attachment for the ribbon 
Backpacks this year!!!! And for once the Little Kings shirt isn't green! 4-way shirt is cotton this time - love it!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Pig, the bad, and the ugly

Getting to Cincinnati can be a harrowing experience. Every year I've done the race though, I've left at noon and had no problem whatsoever, even with having to make multiple race expo and packet pickup stops before the 8pm race.

This year...

We were in the car at 11:55 am. It was raining. I-75 south is closed for 2 years - it took us until 1:20 to get out of Michigan. Toledo has been under construction longer than I've been running. Dayton has been under construction since 1894. The INTERSTATE cinches down to 2 lanes in Cincinnati. It makes ZERO sense. I started watching the clock, thankful I was already dressed for the Friday night race.
Yes, those are C3-PO leggings :)

We didn't make it downtown until 7:30. Yes, it took 7 1/2 hours to drive 250 miles. Our only stop was 15 minutes for gas and a lunch drive through. Talk about the *#&^ing miserable nightmarish hell of traffic!!! It didn't help one bit that the Cincinnati Reds had a home game and we had pick up and the finish line right next to the stadium.

I had to adjust my plans at the last minute. If I didn't run the 1-miler, we may as well have gone home right then because I had to complete all 4 races to finish the challenge. There was no time to go to the expo. Thankfully they offered Saturday morning pickup for the 10k and 5k right at the start line. I had booked a room right across the bridge in Kentucky, with plans to park and leave the car, walking back and forth. Unfortunately, I didn't know exactly where it was and I was feeling the time crunch, so I paid for parking and got myself to the 1-mile starting line 15 minutes before it started. Yes, it was still raining.

My arbitrary goal - after not doing a mile race since the 2016 Pig, and after very little speed training - was a sub-8. By my watch, I ran 1.01 miles in 8:00.47. By their clock, it took me 8:01.30. I'm still waiting for them to adjust it to "chip time."

Saturday was a ton better. I walked across from Kentucky, picked up my 10k and 5k stuff and had to use gear check for the shirts. Not a fan... The volunteers were all very nice, and it was as organized as one could hope, just a hassle I don't usually have. I wore both race bibs and carried the 10k medal in my waist pack so I didn't have to use gear check between the races. Then I had to walk up to the expo to get my marathon gear, my 5-year wristband, poster, etc.

My arbitrary 10k goal was sub-60. Actual was 62 and change. Along the course we were offered pretzels, cookies, licorice, orange slices and tissue! On a 10k!! I only took the tissue - it was cold!

5k, I just wanted to finish. I ran into "Mad Dog" at mile 2. He's also on his 5th year of the "5-way challenge." We ran together for almost a mile until I decided I needed a piece of candy and took a sugar break. I finished in 32 something. The important thing is that I finished.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Summer goal

I read something before that stuck with me: my marathons are slow because my 5Ks are slow. Of course it's not that simple, but at the same time it is really that simple. 5Ks are horrible, they're too short for an easy pace, but way too long for a full out sprint. They require diving in the hurt locker and staying there no matter how miserable it is. One of my weaknesses is doing painful runs. I'd so much rather take it easy and enjoy it. Such perfunctory mileage, though, is what has me mired in mediocracy.

New plan!!!!!
1. Train for Chicago (duh), do a better job than I did this spring, work on stamina. There is NO excuse for blaming bad weather in the spring and summer.
2. Run a 5k PR. I'm currently sitting on a 26:08 at the Pi run of 3.14 miles. The plan is to tack on a little speed work to most runs. I need to get acclimated to consistently running sub-8:00. Today, for example, I'm going to do a nice easy gentle 2-mile run, then go for speed. Once I get my pace under 8, I'm going to maintain it for a short short time - 0.05 or 0.1 miles. Next time, increase it a little. Repeat. Or if I'm running 5 miles, run miles 1, 3 and 5 at an easy pace, and miles 2 and 4 at a sub-9. Or something. I need to be more deliberate about incorporating speed into most of my runs.

It's exciting to have a new goal. I've gotten bored with the same old same old marathon training. I want to win my age group for once. I have 2 second place finishes, both at the Electric Bolt 5k, but I really want to win, and I'm finally ready to put in the effort and make it happen.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Piggie goals

The Flying Pig seems to be a race of extremes for me. In 2015 I set the audacious goal of running a PR in 3 of the 4 races. The times I set in the 1-mile, 10k and full are still my PRs, two years later. In 2016, my entire goal was to finish and keep the streak alive.

This year is somewhere in between. I'm not in shape for running PRs, but I'll finish everything, no doubt about that. I don't have specific absolute time goals for each race, more of an overall total time goal. In a perfect weekend, that goal is 6:45:00, in a realistic world where bad weather happens, 7:00:00 is ok too. I got that number from approximating:

5:00:00 marathon (start at a slow 11:00 pace in the hope of not falling apart later)
+ 1:00:00 ish for the 10k
+ 30:00 5k
+ 8:00 1-mile
That's 6:38:00, allow 5-7 minutes here and there. For example, the 10k won't be under 1-hour exactly. We'll see.

They already emailed - register for the 2018 race at the expo and get a free tshirt. Why yes, I NEED another Piggie tshirt... You know I'll do it so I get the lowest registration price. I'm going for the 10-year medal next. Don't I get tired of running the same race year after year after year? Nah, it's a good one :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The No Stress Marathon

Saturday was my 3rd full Martian. After the flooded course in 2013 forced a 2-loop alternate route, I swore I'd never do it again. But then Mandy offered free entry for sweeping, and it seemed like a good deal. The course was changed with more distance in the neighborhoods and less on Hines, but it was still beyond boring. It was a good experience though. It helped that the weather was perfect at low 50s and sun :D

Originally there were 4 of us selected - with a separate team for the half - but one of the girls had to pull out due to injury. That left me, Brenna who was doing her 3rd marathon and was around my age, and Connie a 60-year old barrel of fun.

I started with a big trash bag to collect clothing, in the hopes that a charity will get them trash free and be able to use for donation or resale. After that, we each had a grocery size plastic bag and collected errant race trash - stray cups, Gu wrappers, a CD, a Frisbee...

There wasn't much trash. The water tables were responsible for their own areas; we needed to get the in between space. Over the entire race, I went through 3-4 trash bags.

At the start, we were held back 15 minutes after the last starter, but at mile 16, our support team in the Jeep wanted us to catch up with the last finisher who was wearing a Veterans Marathon jacket! Then....why did you delay us at the start....? The Jeep guys even wanted to drive us to the last finisher, but that's cheating. Besides, if I got in the car, I would have had a near impossible time getting out.

We caught up, with some of our fastest miles between 16-20. Along the way we met Frank Bartocci. I'd never heard of him, but he's a pillar in the running community and we got to spend the last hour with him on a podunk little course. Small world! This guy is in his 70s, hasn't just done the 50-state challenge, he's done it 9 times, is a member of the 100-marathon club, the 300-marathon club, the 500-marathon club, co-founded the Savage Seven series in Florida of 7 marathons on 7 days. At one point I mentioned the Dean Karnazes book I read about running 50 marathons in as many days in as many states. Small world - Frank said he was consulted as to whether or not Dean qualified for the 50-state status. He ultimately said no because there are certain requirements for official races that Dean wasn't always meeting (ie so many runners need to start, there's a minimum number that needs to finish; start and finish lines can only be so many miles apart, etc). Frank was fascinating and I wish we could have spent the whole 26.2 miles with him. He was on his way to Toledo to do another marathon on Sunday. He did 100+ marathons last year, and is on pace to do it again this year.

We girls all finished, after assuring him that we'd been hired to finish last, and absolutely would so; he wouldn't have that designation. There's no shame in being the caboose anyway. Originally we were asked for a 6:30 finish, we all crossed the line in the 6:14 range. All we had to do was finish, so there was no stress, no defeat in averaging a 14:10 :) Great experience, I hope to do it again next year!!!!
Bling bling bling. The medal glows in the dark

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why I love the Pig

The Flying Pig makes a big deal out of "streakers" or those runners who have completed multiple marathons. One of their distinctions is the Squadron, for runners who have completed 5 or more marathons. Getting to this level was the primary reason I dragged my injured untrained self through it last year. This will be my 5th finish, which I'm well aware of, but because they are so awesome, I got this email on my birthday, no less. A+ for communication Mr. Piggie :)

We have so many loyal Flying Pig Marathon participants that we want to reward your loyalty by expanding our Flying Pig Squadron.  Our records indicate that you have completed four Flying Pig marathons and are close to becoming a Squadron member! Squadron members will receive special recognition, plus a commemorative medal for each five-marathon milestone.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Shamrocking again

I haven't gotten fat - wearing multiple layers
of clothing bc it was 12 degrees
I've wanted to wear my StormTrooper pajamas in a race for a long time. I finally had the chance at Shamrocks and Shenanigans in March. The boyfriend was off work and I had my $30 RunningFit voucher that wasn't being used for the Martian, so with a dry, sunny forecast, it seemed like a good idea.

Here is his fb write-up of our time:

Yesterday morning it was cold. That's Michigan in March, right. 
We were dressed for it. I couldn't wait to run this race with Liz [me. He calls me Liz or Lizzie], but leading up to it, I got sick so my training was minimal. 
With the fact I had a busy week, I just never had any legs to stand on, much less to run on. 
As the race started, I felt fine. Kept a good comfortable pace but my energy was short lived. I worked to get up a hill and when I did I was sweating from being overly dressed. 
I took my gloves off, I unzipped my vest a bit, and removed my shades. They kept fogging up and my vision wasn't the greatest. 
I saw people around me starting to walk. Liz pulled away infront of me. 
I had no music to keep time with and worst of all I had no chewing gum to help my rhythm. 
Seeing more people start walking, I kept telling myself I can slow down but absolutely no stopping. 
I was hitting that mental wall but I kept moving. As the Big House came into view and more specifically that block M. 
I felt a bit of an energy surge reenter my body. 
How cool was this? The sun was shining ever so bright and now I was next to Liz, the only thing missing was theme music. 
As we made our turn to head back, Lizzie said it's downhill for a while. I found this harder to do than the hill, because I didn't want to end up on my face.  But as we got closer to the finish I made a point to look around downtown Main Street. About 1300 ran the race. As we approached our last hill for the second time. 
I mustered up my reserve tank and galloped like a thoroughbred. My strides were long and I knew it was either this or a struggle to get up. 
When I came around the corner with the finish in sight. I slowed down. My legs were taxed beyond anything. I raised my hands over my head. I had accomplished my goal of never stopping. 
I took my medal and found a curb to sit on. 
When Liz came over I handed it to her and she placed it around my neck. 
It may have only been 3.1 miles but the mental victory felt like a real marathon. 
Liz was a great running partner. She could have easily gone ahead but she stayed back to keep me company. 
Doing something that she enjoys doing with her made it all the better. 
Now to hit the bike and start preparing for the next one. 

It was by far my slowest 5k and that's totally ok. I could run ahead of him and have a mediocre 29-minute race, top 15 placement, but nowhere near top 3. Or I could stay with him and support him through his first race, through the longest distance he's ever run, and he was determined to run the entire way, no walking whatsoever. It was a no-brainer :)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week 12

Week 12 with the Hansons begins on a Wednesday. First though, I had to finish week 11. The last run was scheduled to be a "strength" workout on Monday. The weather was gross though - 30s, 100% cloud cover, etc. It was a great day to be in pajamas by 3pm, especially with the Tuesday forecast of 55 and sunny. I swapped Monday's miles with Tuesday's rest day and it was a good decision, even though it meant doing "something of substance" runs on consecutive days.

Tuesday - Mile repeats at 10:05 pace with 1/4 mile break in between. Final average pace was 11:00. More importantly - it felt amazing!!!

Wednesday - Tempo run. As happens in Michigan, the temperature dropped 15 degrees overnight and it was cold! It was sunny though and an important run, so I bundled up, slapped on the Hokas and went. Those dumb clown shoes have never felt so good!!!! It was like little clouds under my feet.

I did a great job maintaining consistent 10:15s, except when I turned onto Wick Road and found myself in the middle of the boys' track team. There is a certain amount of pride and ego to be able to say "I'm old enough to be your mom, and having no trouble keeping up with your pace!!!" Yeah, the stretch with them was an 8:40....

Thursday - Bike 45 minutes with speed drills, abs

Friday - 70 and sunny. Not wanting the weather to change before my run, I went immediately after work. The Hokas felt so amazing on Wednesday, I grabbed those again. Stupid stupid stupid. I had forgotten about my experience last year where the Hokas and thin socks rubbed a dime sized blister on the underside of my foot. 2.3 miles in, it was feeling great, the only run this season that's felt easy, then the same blister started rubbing. I tried tightening the shoes, I tried loosening them. I finally walked back in defeat. I slathered it with Vaseline, put on thick socks and the Mizunos to finish the miles. Nope. They were garbage miles anyway, so I got on the bike for 20 minutes.

Saturday - mid 30s, 100% cloud cover. Heavy rain early. Barfy horrendous weather. No part of me wanted to go outside and run. I procrastinated until 4pm, then finally forced myself outside. Much to my surprise, it felt AMAZING!!!!! Seriously!!!! My long slow runs should be 11:15 or slower, but my watch kept reporting upper 10s. At the crossroad, I could have turned for the finish, or kept going for a 1.5 mile loop. Keep going!!!! I got close to 10, felt amazing, and decided I could totally do 11 well under 2 hours. So I did. The last 4 miles I was running INTO a strong wind and my legs were still saying Faster! Faster!!! I listened to them. Final average pace: 10:37 :D

Then I went to Charlie's diner for comfort food, as I do most Saturdays. The owner said my food was on the house. So nice of him!!!

Sunday - bike 70 minutes

Week 12 was the best I've had since 2015. I always bemoan to my friend that I'm not going to be ready for Cincinnati. She always claims I am. For one day (Saturday), I finally believed her. At least a little.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ground control to Major Bemis

Sometimes I can't improve on someone else's words. From one of the Martians in charge:

Hey Hey!

Good news!!  I think we have put together an amazing team of 4 to sweep the Martian Marathon on April 22

You are invited to be a group of this awesome group of 4 women sweeping the 26.2 course! Girl power!

Here is the big picture:
You will stay behind the last participant the entire way…..let me repeat that…the entire way….
No matter who it is. If you get very attached to the last person for 22 miles and they suddenly have a surge of energy and pass someone…guess what…you drop back and stay behind the new person.
No matter what…even if you think that person you have devoted your life to for 22 long miles is your potential soulmate and you can’t live without them…get their bib number, drop back….and we’ll work on connecting you back up later.
You have two jobs. 
Keep those back of the packers movin’ and shakin’ AND along the way to pick up race trash between aid stations. This will mostly consist of GU wrappers and cups. There will be various other things as well…and you can use your discretion….a McDonald’s cup….sure …if it’s easy to carry to the next aid station to drop…..a blown out tire lying on the road…..ummm…go ahead and leave that one…

Are you IN???


Monday, March 20, 2017

The whining zone

For the past month my kids have been testing. I tell them they need to get their whining and crying done before we get to the office and start working. I needed a whining crybaby zone myself this weekend.

Saturday was scheduled for 16 miles. Zero part of me wanted anything to do with that. The forecast was mid30s with 100% cloud cover nasty gloomy yuck. When I woke up, it was even worse. Big fat snowflakes were raining down taunting me, rubbing it in my face. Every tiny part of me that's tougher than weather shriveled up and cried uncle.

A few hours later it had stopped snowing, the ground was wet, it was windy, and damp! I knew exactly how the run would go. My feet would get wet and stay wet for hours, I would be sweating within the first mile then the wind would kick up and I'd be chilled to the core. Then I envisioned how far my 16-mile route goes and I started crying for mercy.

I couldn't skip it though. Back to Mom's, back on the treadmill. I set it slooooooow. I played two episodes of Survivor on her computer, I was bored, I sweated through a hand towel. I ditched my headband when I could wring out the sweat, I ditched my shirt when it was drenched. I sweated through a second hand towel. 

Two and a half hours later I finally said I'm done. I don't know the exact distance, it doesn't really matter. I ran for longer than my most recent half. Going slow seems to have worked out well, I was dehydrated, but my body wasn't in pain like it so often is after my long runs. It was horribly boring, and yet, running while watching Survivor isn't that terrible.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pace schmace

In the Hansons program, there are three Something of Substance runs a week - race tempo, long slow, and speed. It seems like every week Mother Nature has been conspiring against my tempo days with snow or sub zero temperatures or 50mph winds. I've tried to make do with a hard bike sesh. It's not the same.

This week, I said I HAVE to get it done, even though the wind chill was 11. Mom has a treadmill, so that was the new plan. Yes, it was miserable. The first mile or two were easy enough, then it became a total suck fest. Mile 5, I slowed down a bit for a break. It was hot and boring, too noisy to watch anything on my phone. Just music and a street with very few cars.

It made me reconsider my whole idea of a 10:15 pace. It made me think what if I started ridiculously slow, like 11:30 or 12-minute miles? I inevitably get there at the end of the race, what if I started there and sped up? My m.o. has historically been start at a decent pace then fall apart at the end. If I start so slow, though, am I setting up myself for defeat? Then I question the whole idea of training. I'm dragging myself through 18 weeks of pain in the hope of a sub-5 finish. Last year I did zero training and hacked out a 6:03 finish. Somehow that hour difference isn't seeming worth it.

Sigh, I don't know anything. Granted, it was my first TM run in well over a year. Is that justifying the suck factor or is that a legitimate excuse?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Chattanooga half

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to go on a little vacation, change of scenery, break the routine, etc. A quick trip to runningintheusa revealed there was a marathon in Chattanooga, Tennessee the weekend I wanted to travel. The week of the race, the half was still $75 and I had most of my Christmas money unspent. To Tennessee!!!!!

We left early Friday and traveled and visited and saw everything for two days before the race on Sunday. The way we travel and cram in every site we can possibly see, I was completely exhausted before the race started haha Pickup was quick and easy at the minor league stadium. Shirt, drawstring backpack. They offered pre-race pickup as well.

Sunday morning was in the low 30s at the start, but the forecast promised sun and rising temperatures. Did I want to be cold at the start or too warm at the finish? I compromised with a long sleeve shirt, skort and knee socks. At the last minute I tossed my gloves to my boyfriend on the sidelines because I knew I wouldn't wear them very long and they were my good ones that I want to keep.

The plan had been to start at marathon pace (10:15). I stayed with pacer Sergio for a few miles and it started off well. They always do. Chattanooga is hilly! Not as many hills as Cincinnati, but a lot steeper! I walked UP the hills. Coming down was just as bad because I wanted to go really fast, yet it was so steep I subconsciously landed on my heels as a braking mechanism then the PF tingle wanted to say hi every time I did that...

It got nice and hot. Initially I had hoped for a 2:08-2:10 finish. The reality was a 2:21. Ah well, first race post-injury. It was plenty faster than the halfs I did in October and November 2016. There wasn't a ton of scenery to look at - the bf walked around downtown while I ran and he saw a lot more than I did.  There weren't thousands of spectators either, but it was a good one. Very well organized, especially considering it was only the 2nd year, ample water on the course, more than enough Gu (I only took 1, I didn't want to take more than I needed and have full marathoners be without later in the race), tons of course marshals and cops directing us and stopping traffic. Very organized finish - Coke!!!!! at the finish line, water, chips, pretzels, cookies and mini candy bars! Then I could use my bib for a hot meal from a food truck, my choice of pizza, burger, chicken fingers or tacos. I got the chicken because it was the shortest line.

Good weather, great medal, and another state under my belt! (Full of half in 8 states now). I don't know if I'll do it again, but I'm glad I did it this once :)
Look at the medal! It's the primary reason I did the race, yes? ;)
Started by the Chattanooga aquarium, ended near a minor league stadium
The site said it was a tech shirt, it was cotton :( Nice enough design, front is a small logo on the chest.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Call me [Martian] maybe

I've done the Martian marathon for the last five years, the full twice and the half three times. It's a given in my world. Last month I volunteered a RunningFit race specifically for the $30 voucher to be used at the Martian. It's good for any event they sponsor, but why would I do anything else...?

Then I started thinking...idk...I've done it 5 times...the medal is nice, but I already have a rack of them...the shirt is nice, but I have a drawer full of race shirts and plenty more in the basement that I never wear. Besides, even with the voucher, the Milky Way 26k (5k and half) would be $50 out of my pocket and I spent most of my Christmas money on a race in Tennessee. Maybe...I skip it this year? I do the Pig for the bling and to keep my streak alive, I do Chicago for the experience of running with 40,000 people amid 1.7 million spectators. The Martian is a good training run, but I'm not feeling compelled this year. I'm not in shape to set a new PR and while its close and convenient, I can log my miles elsewhere for free. Besides, if I skip the Martian, then I skip Heroes on Hines half - which I would only do for the Hines double bonus medal - and I've just saved over $100.

Then they posted on Facebook, looking for sweepers. They need 4 people to walk the full behind the last finisher, at a 15:00 pace, encouraging the finishers, collecting errant Gu wrappers along the way. In exchange, the race is free, and includes a race shirt, volunteer shirt and the medal. I'm going to apply. They prefer a ready made team of 4, but I'm still going to apply. If they pick me, I'll walk the full, and if not, let it go. I either get a free marathon entry, or I sleep in late and save my legs. Win-win :)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

In like a Lion

It's March 1 and Michigan is living up to the adage "in like a lion, out like a lamb." Within a 10-minute stretch driving home from work, it went from sun to full cloud cover, the temperature dropped 20 degrees and it was hailing! I figured I'd wait a little - I worked early today so I was done at 2:45. My cutoff to decide was 4pm. Any later and I'd run out of daylight. 4pm... The trees were swaying in 30 mph winds, intermittent rain still. Good day to bike. Not the same exactly, but I don't want to be out with the risk of downed trees or power lines. I'm warm and cozy and safe with my bike.

Monday, February 27, 2017

What a difference a week makes

Last Saturday was absolutely perfect - upper 60s and sunny. I LOVED being outside in just a skort and tshirt. Best winter day ever! Yet... It wasn't altogether perfect for my first long run. It was 20 degrees warmer than anything I had run in all year. I started conservatively (slow), but the whole time I felt like I was running through molasses. I should have taken water. I should have eaten more. It was beyond frustrating because 10 miles used to be... easy...

Fast forward a week. My Friday miles didn't happen. I'm normally done working at 2:45, it was 3:30 this week. Driving home, the sky was navy blue and a bolt of horizontal lightning lit up the sky. By the time I waited it out, it was dark. I don't mind rain, but I didn't want to be 3-4 miles away from anything and start lightning again. I opted for safety and did a deceptively hard bike ride - 10 speed drills at 100+ rpm for 30 seconds, 30 seconds recovery.

Saturday was everything I loathe about winter. It was 100% clouded over, cold, and windy. I procrastinated and procrastinated. I didn't want to do my run, I didn't want to be outside in that nastiness for almost two hours. It would have been so easy to skip it, no one is monitoring my workouts, no one cares if I skip a run, even a long run. Yet I knew I needed to do it for myself. No one said marathon training was easy...

The wind chill was 28 degrees, which makes dressing difficult. I have clothing for the really cold and for the fairly mild, but nothing for when it hovers around freezing. I didn't want to dress too warm and sweat so I was cold the first miles until I warmed up. It was 40+ degrees colder than last week! 40!!!! Weather in Michigan...

Getting started was the worst part. I was running directly into the wind, and two minutes in, ice pellets started pinging against my face.

I went out way too fast with a 10:05 first mile because I wanted it to be over!!! Eventually the wind subsided a little and I settled into a groove around 11:00 pace. Keep going keep going. The ice stopped as well. Just keep going.

Mile 8.5, I needed a bathroom, but there weren't any, and even if I found one, I would momentarily warm up then have to go back outside and it would be so much colder. Don't think about it. Run run run strong. Finish.

My final time was 1:50, I was hoping for a 1:55. Even better was how I felt after. Took a shower, picked up dinner and I felt great! After the warmer 10, I had felt like death warmed over. Skipping the Friday miles made it so much easier, but they're so important. The whole idea behind the Hansons program is cumulative fatigue - feeling tired, running on dead legs. I had to exercise caution though, especially when there's a bike righting my living room. I felt really defeated after the warm run, but this cold one restored my confidence in my comeback race, even if the process was so miserable! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tempo Time

Wednesdays are my tempo runs - those done at race pace. I finally decided on a 10:15 goal, faster than my PR, yet slow enough that I can maintain it for a long long time. If I'm feeling great after 18-20 miles, I can always go faster. I don't want to make the mistake of starting too fast and falling apart at the end, especially since I know the weather in Cincinnati - it'll be hot and humid, or hot and rainy, both of which are good for a more conservative approach.

This week Wednesday was almost 60 degrees, dreary and overcast, and very humid. It was great practice for Cincy. I loved wearing a skort and tshirt in February! The humidity was such that before I was done, I was wishing I had worn a tank.

The numbers:

The last mile I looked down and was running a 9:40 pace! It felt great and sometimes I let the pace speed up the final mile, but I wanted to be spot-on with my pace for all 5 miles. I tried and tried to slow it down and didn't get quite there. All around an awesome run :)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ending the week with Bart

The Hansons training program, in my opinion, runs from Wednesday to Tuesday. Week 1 starts on a Wednesday then every Tuesday is a day off, which signifies the end of the training week, yes? Cruelly, the very last workout of every week is speed work. Get my legs good and tired, get me mentally ready for my day off, but first! Speed work! I know it's intentional, just always a struggle.

I do my speed work at the track. It's enough to consistently monitor my pace, I don't need to pay close attention to my distance as well. Much easier to just run laps. Unfortunately the squishy squishy high school track is locked so I have been forced to use the cement track at a different school.

This weekend was super nice weather, even a tad bit too hot for running in the middle of the day. It was great!!!!!! Today started cooling off, and the clouds were getting heavier as my run went on. It was mid40s and very windy, which was 100% ok with me - I'm training for a race in THE WINDY CITY...

I started with a 1-mile slow warm up, which took me from stiff lurching to a fairly comfortable easy run, then I started with a version of Yasso 800s. I ran the two laps at the appropriate pace (4:30 per set, or 9:00 pace), with a quarter mile recovery after each. To be honest, they were easier than I expected and I finished each one with a pace between 8:53 and 8:57. It hurt so good :)

Then I immediately began my 48-hour break until Wednesday's run aaaah :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The timely question

Tomorrow is my first "tempo" run, a training run done at race pace, so it's time to make a big decision - What exactly is my goal pace??? I shot for 9:30s when I trained for Chicago in 2015, but that seems too fast for my comeback tour. I haven't run more than a few 9:30s since I've been back. 10:30 is comfortable, but is to too slow? Is 10 flat too fast? Decisions decisions...

Update - I decided to take a moderate approach and set a goal pace of 10:15. Faster than my last go-round with the Pig that resulted in a 10-minute + PR, but not so fast that I'll flame out early like Chicago 2015. I have to fully expect it to be in the 80s and humid. If things are going well after 18 miles, I can pick up the pace. That happened to me before. Once...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Weather, lazy, falling apart

I try to not let the weather deter my running, unless there's several inches of snow on the ground, or ice, etc. One year I always ran, regardless of how cold it was. Recently, though, I've become a baby with the cold. Call me crazy, but I don't want to be outside when the wind chill is under 20 degrees. I improvise and do "equivalent enough" workouts.

Thursday I was scheduled to run 5 miles, I did a YouTube spin class for an hour, dripping sweat off my forehead onto the floor. It was more anaerobic than an easy run.

Friday I should have run 4 miles. I made a stop after work and it was crazy cold and dark, so I ran in place for 42 minutes, mixing in high knees, high kicks back, and speed drills.

Saturday I volunteered at a RunningFit event in exchange for a $30 voucher off the Martian. By the time I got home, it was dark and under 20 degrees so I did Jake Maulin's endurance ride. I had forgotten how tough his rides are!!!! It was good, then as I was stepping off, I felt a slight twinge in my right upper quad/hip area.

Sunday, I still notice it. The Hansons want a 4-miler today, but it seems more beneficial to rest this twinge, heating pad, roll it, and not let it continue to be a factor. Maybe do an easy easy bike to loosen my joints. If it's not one thing, it's another. Getting older is for the birds!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Dating a runner

I met my boyfriend in the throes of PFland, where I did a decent amount of biking and the occasional short run. Exercise was forced to the back burner and he got to know me, at least not-a-runner me.

Then I started running a little more in the fall.

Then I got back with the Hansons and oddities started popping up more frequently....

Why is there a pile of dirty laundry in the hallway next to the bathroom? (My running gear gets washed more frequently and separately from work clothes)

Why are there 5 pairs of running shoes next to the front door? Why are three of them the same shoe? Why do you have two pairs same brand same color???? (Different shoes for different needs)

Why is there black tape on your foot, even after you shower? (KT tape is expensive and seems to help control the callus)

Why in the world are you running in place for an hour? (Bc it's too cold outside!)

It all makes sense to me :) And yes, I go on trips specifically to run. Doesn't everyone??? :D

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

If it's not my foot, it's my foot

After the year long curse, the PF is basically gone. Occasionally it'll remind me with a little hello, I'm still here... But overall it's not a factor. Not wearing heels helps, rolling my feet immediately after every run helps.

I've always had a callus on the ball of my right foot. Every other year, I don't even notice it until I'm running 10, 12, 15 miles, and even then, I slather my foot with a little Vaseline before I run and it's all good.

This year, however, every single run.... Taping it with KT helped, when I remembered to do so. I pumiced the heck out of my foot in Saturday, then in the course of my 5.5 Monday miles, it came back with a nice little blister. Wth??? I drained it and today is a scheduled day off, but something has to change. I have a new pair of shoes in the basement, will try those. I'll also remove the inserts I've been using. I figured they would either have no effect or make it a little better, but maybe they're making it worse. We'll see.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Week 2 in the books

Week 2 on the comeback tour is a wrap! The Hansons program starts off deceptively easy, and every run I've thought "I can go further. I should go another mile or two." Then so quickly I remember the forthcoming weeks of 8-10-8, of 10-6-6-16-6, and I remind myself to take it easy and enjoy the "easy" weeks. It feels good, at least so far. Throughout all the pain and apathy of 2016, I always did just enough to maintain a modicum of fitness, knowing I absolutely did not want to start at ground zero. It worked. My heart and lungs haven't felt over-exerted, my muscles are good, my foot is 95%. Occasionally there is a twinge in the heel. I quit wearing heels months ago, I've been better about rolling my feet and my legs, even when they don't hurt. Wow, what a concept.... Pace wise, I'm in the 10:15-10:45 range, which is completely appropriate for the first few weeks (My target pace is a flat 10).

Week 1:
Wednesday - 3 ("ran" 30 minutes in the basement, it was 8 degrees outside)
Thursday - off
Friday - 3 ("ran" 31 minutes. Still cold)
Saturday - 4 ("ran" 42. Yup, still)
Sunday - off
Monday - 2 (did it)
Tuesday - off

Week 2:
Wednesday - 3 miles (took my run stuff to school and went immediately)
Thursday - 3 (no problem)
Friday - 3 (feeling good)
Saturday - 4 (whee!!!!!)
Sunday - off
Monday - 4 ("ran" 45 minutes. Rained all day long. I think Noah's ark floated down the street)
Tuesday - off

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A bizarre beginning

Wednesday was day 1 of Flying Pig training. After breakfast and coffee (ok and nap...) I opened the heavy inside door and felt the cold and wind through the storm door. "Oh hell no!" I slammed the door shut. It was 6 degrees outside and crazy windy. Gyms are all a bunch of butts (I refuse to give them my bank account information to auto debit, I'm more than happy to give them a wad of cash to prepay the whole year, but no one wants my business). Biking is decent if I'm injured, but not an everyday solution to training.

What to do....

I finally dressed like I was going outside - shorts and fleece lined pants, long sleeved tech shirt and fleece jacket, then went in the basement where I propped my phone on the washer and turned on a YouTube video to pass the time.

I set an alarm for 30 minutes and ran in place... Running 3 miles would take about the same time. Close enough? Kinda sorta. It's obviously not an everyday training solution, but it wasn't terrible either. I elevated my heart rate and sweated a ton, which I wouldn't have done in the cold. I focused on techniques that typically go by the wayside - "running" with my mouth closed and breathing through my nose, engaging my abs, raising knees higher, kicking heels higher.

It was a ton more enjoyable than a dreadmill. Free, no commute. I could do so much worse. I "ran" on the cement floor, I might look for a piece of plywood in the basement for next time, to soften the impact. We'll see.