Monday, December 28, 2009

Slippery Slope to 2010...

This week's runs have been a bit harder than the rest. This was a big week - 54 miles - and I had a hard time keeping my head in the game for some reason. I'm not sure if it was the hub bub of the holidays (though we did a decent job of keeping that to a dull roar) or what, but I"m hoping this week is a bit better... though my legs are pretty thrashed from a hilly 10 mile pace run then a hilly 20 mile long run. I did it and I hit my goal times, but didn't feel as good as I felt on my last 20 miler. Granted last time I only ran 10 easy the day before not 10 HARD w/ a crap load of hills.

I was excited to do the 20 miler after my punishing hilly 10 miler. I had dad drive me to a neighboring town so I could just run home instead of finding a loop or out and back. We did this for my last 20 miler and it worked out nicely to do point-to-point on roads I had never run before. So we are driving driving driving and I'm wondering if it's really that helpful to see exactly how far I'm running when we start to DESCEND.. big time.. into New Milford. Yes ladies and gentlemen my hilly 10 mile pace run was to be followed by a 3 mile mountainous climb out of town at the BEGINNING of my 20 miler. I decided I wasn't going to be psyched out by this. Instead of jumping from the car to avoid going any deeper into town I took a deep breath and reminded myself that my goal was to go nice and easy and keep my heart rate down to train my body to use fat as fuel. I'm walking those puppies and I don't care what anyone thinks... so that's exactly what I did. I ran until my heart started beating a little harder than I wanted it to (haven't located my chest strap for my Garmin yet) and then walked. Walked and walked until I got to the top then ran on the flats and walked some more. It was fine. I hung in there and listened to my book (Freakonomics this time) and thought about all my friends out there running 'w/ me' (thanks guys) and plugged along. By the end my left knee was done and my right arch was yelling at me a bit, but I persevered through the pain and the rain that had started. All in all the run was BEAUTIFUL and frankly I'm surprised I don't see more people out there running it's so pretty... maybe in the summer. I ran through hills, by creeks and lakes and ponds and it was all heavily wooded like someone had paved a nice little road through 20 mile long state park just for me (and a few cars) to travel on. It was quite serene...

As I'm quickly coming to a close on this training session I'm starting to plan for next year... lot's of things rolling around in my ol' noggin'. I did join the Bethel Cycle Tri club and am meeting w/ the crew in early January so we can talk about what races everyone is doing. I'm looking forward to tips from everyone as to the good races in town. I also just registered for a masters swim class (12 weeks) put on for triathletes and am hoping to get some much needed guidance on my swim. There are some goals around that part of the sport for sure!

I can't believe that 2009 is coming to a close.... 2010 is going to be EPIC!

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Garmin must be broken

Seriously people. My Garmin must be broken. I needed to do a 6 mile pace run today. My goal pace for Miami is 8:20... okay it's out there now. I'm trying to qualify for Boston. Putting goals out there for all to see is great, but I'm always afraid of falling short in front of everyone. There it is for you all to see and know and wait to see if I can do it...... crap.

Anyway. I needed an 8:20 pace run today. It's hilly here. My run starts off - no matter which way I go - with a significant incline so I do my warm up up hill. Today I just started pushing and when I checked my watch (this is after my up hill warm up) I was running sub 8. I slowed down a bit, but I must admit there was satisfaction in the realization that I was running fast. Now I always thought that I would FEEL fast if I could run fast, but the fact of the matter is I don't. I feel .. well, the same. I don't feel like the cars driving by think.. wow, she's running fast. I think I look pretty much the same as I always did, but who knows.

I have a hard time maintaining a certain pace so I decided to just run hard and see where it put me. I checked my watch periodically and I would be lying if I told you I wasn't stoked when I was running UP HILL at race pace. I couldn't believe it. More than once I did think to myself, "this can't be right, my Garmin has got to need charged or just be broken.".... guess we'll find out on Jan 31st since I don't have anyone else to check it against.

At the end of my run ... and out and back so equal amounts of up hill and down hill... I averaged 7:49... SEVEN FORTY NINE!!!! Most of you know that back in the day it was all I could do to maintain a 9:30 for any length of time....

I'm working my ass off, eating the best I possibly can and trying my damnedest to get in bed early and get the rest I know my body needs for recovery. Hydration is a whole other issue, but I'm trying to stay on top of it. I'll be damned if it doesn't seem to be paying off. Maybe I'll actually pull this off.

Oh, I might add that it was like 10 degrees out this a.m. and I couldn't feel my feet until right before I turned around!!! Guess running on numb stumps works for me!!

Thanks to all of you that are giving so much support on my FB updates. The count down is on... only 6 more weeks... I think I can I think I can I think I can.....

IF I qualify for Boston there is another goal on the horizon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Actually feeling like a runner...

So I've been RUNNING for YEARS. I did my first marathon in 1999 and I ran off and on for about 7 years before that, but I never felt like a runner. I know a lot of you know what I'm talking about and if you don't run you probably think I'm nuts. When I would train for a marathon (which I've done twice) or a half marathon I would run quite a bit, but when people would say things like, "oh you're a runner." I never really identified w/ that label or felt that I deserved to be called a runner. I liked running w/ my friends. I knew it had benefits and I knew I could eat whatever I wanted when I was training and maintain my weight, but I never loved it. I would always say, "NO, I run, but I'm not a runner." I suppose I felt that way because after my event was over I always pretty much quit running. I always had the goal to be able to run 10 on the weekends, but never stuck with it.

I'm training for a marathon right now so maybe this is all crap, but I am actually feeling like a runner. I still don't feel like I look like a runner, but I feel like one. I run... a lot... by myself and I LOVE IT! I love that time and look forward to it every day. I do whatever I can to carve that time out during the day ... even if I'm having to run hard to get home before it gets too dark b/c I didn't get it done during the day light hours. Hell, I ran 20 miles by myself and it was no problem.

Maybe it's my current life of constant input and I really just like the alone time and feel justified in taking it in this fashion. As opposed to going to the coffee shop for 1 to 3 hours alone 6 days a week. I'm starting to think I want to do ultras... maybe start with a 50k and move to a 50 miler... 100??? Maybe ... I'm leaning this way more than I am to triathlon. THOUGH I MUST CONQUER THE 70.3!!! And I still have Ironman dreams.

Running with just myself takes me through so much. I think I'm enjoying it more bc I'm not just putting one foot in front of the other anymore. I'm thinking about my form and my speed. I'm mixing it up w/ just running, making myself run slow and three different types of speed work.

During any given run I solve all of my problems, work through issues I'm trying to resolve with the kids, totally space out and think about nothing, focus on my form to alleviate little aches that might creep in, focus on my breathing and how I feel, focus on the topic in my book, take in the scenery and sounds (I only use one earbud so I can hear cars), I think about my friends and wonder how they are, I send out love to them, I write lists in my mind (which I immediately forget when I get home), but mostly... MOSTLY I have gratitude! Gratitude for my husband and all he affords me and adds to my life, gratitude for my parents and the fact that w/o them most of this running wouldn't be happening, gratitude for my health and ability, gratitude for my position in life.

All is good.... and I just want to run.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stew Leonards Santa

So there is this crazy grocery store here called Stew Leonards it's like an amusement park slash grocery store... it's always crowded and it's great for kids - IF you can stand the crowd. Anyway... dad and I stopped there on our way home the other night and noticed that they had a santa. Now the crowds at Stew Leonards are NOTHING compared to the ones at the mall so we decided to do some shopping w/ the kids and let them talk to Santa while we were there. FIFTEEN minutes and DONE! Perfect. I got to snap a picture myself and didn't get hassled to spend ridiculous amounts of money on a photo....


Not too bad for 15 minutes and no charge. I am a HAPPY HOLIDAY CAMPER!

PS Lily wore piggies b/c she said Santa would like it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snow in CT...


Snow in CT sure is different than snow in Madison... besides just the obvious difference in sheer volume. The snow here is wetter. It snows, then warms and rains. I hear ice is the big problem here. Not so much in the deep freeze temps of Wisconsin. I'm also not so confident in the road clearing prowess of the CT team as I was in the WI team. Not to mention it's uh, flat in Wi. It's curvy and hilly here.

Shoveling this snow is harder... despite the lack of volume. It's freakin' heavy. Good thing we got a slammin' snow blower in the house deal... though we haven't yet needed to fire it up. Maybe today.

The big question today is do we continue on w/ our shopping plans or bag em b/c we don't know what the roads are like? In Wi I never would have changed my plans over this amount of snow. This certainly adds another layer to outdoor running. Passing a car on the road is one thing ... passing a snow plow w/ his blade down is another entirely. Takes the splash of the puddle to a whole new level. Okay imagining someone (not me) running along and getting a 'shower' of snow from the snow plow actually made me chuckle a bit! Guess I'm off to the gym today and am REALLY REALLY hoping I can run long (20 miles) on the road on Saturday... Training for a winter marathon takes some tenacity in these parts. Good luck to my Wi training partners.. ugh.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Getting settled...

We are getting in our groove here in Connecticut. The kids are adjusting just fine to their new school. Ironically they went from a class of all girls and two boys to a class of all boys and two girls. The kids don't comment on it, but I thought it was interesting. Lily has commented a few times on the way to school that she wants to go back to Wisconsin and her old school. She won't say why, but I think it's because the easel and paints were a mainstay at her old school and she would paint every day. Here she can't paint very much.

We found a cool state park about 2 miles from here and we go there a ton. The kids love to 'go to the woods'. They love to clamber up the rocks and hike on the single track trails. I just like being outside in the fresh air. It snowed today so we'll see if we continue to go out there as much.

I'm running a ton... alone. When contemplating it prior to having to hit the huge milage I was dreading it, but really it's kind of nice. I'm not sure if it's my current state of life. Full boar, huge volume and CONSTANT that I don't mind running alone in silence w/ my book and my thoughts or if it's just the book. Certainly running 20 miles alone is not as fun alone as it is w/ your best girl friends, but I'm surviving much better than I thought I would. My 19 miler today was suffering (around mile 12), but I got through it and in the end didn't totally hate it so that's good. :) I blew through Born to Run in just over a week's worth of runs... even taking a day off of listening to it to conserve it for my longer run. Now I've moved onto "This is what I talk about when I talk about Running" and I think I pretty much used it up today on my 19 miler. Both great books. Born to Run may be my favorite book right now. Next up The China Study. Omnivore's Dilemma will probably be next. I've tried to read it twice and it's nice and LONG! This could get expensive. Guess it's cheaper than a swim coach at this point.

I did go ahead and join the local cycle/tri group. I'm a bit nervous b/c it's mostly roadies and I don't race bikes. I know they want participation, but they also want people to do well and improve. Guess there is no harm in that right??? :) I haven't been in a pool in a year and didn't ride much at all last year... could have a tough season ahead of me. At least I kept running though it all.. THANK YOU RIDGE for making me keep up w/ that all year. What was it that Betsy said? "Friends don't let friends train for Ironman alone." ???

We got a dog. The first two days I had serious buyers remorse thinking I might have just put myself over the edge, but he has settled into the family nicely and has figured out where he is supposed to go to the bathroom. He's still got an affinity for my slippers, but he's not an aggressive chewer so I'm able to get them off of him before he does too much damage. We've had a few minor toy casualties, but it's helping the kids keep their toys picked up a bit better. Okay maybe not that much better. Jason loves practicing his "Cesar Milan Dog Whisperer" techniques and actually helps out quite a bit w/ the dog considering his age. The kids love having him around (aside from the times of the aforementioned casualties).

I'm having a hard time getting into the Xmas vibe. I'm not a huge holiday person, but I'm trying for the kid's sake. I made them fun little advent calendars that they are totally jazzed to open every morning. They get a chapstick tomorrow and I can't wait to see the look on Lily's face. (she loves her some chapstick)... and yes there is some candy in there. They got chocolate coins today. We talk a lot about Santa.. mostly in the terms of ... if you do / don't do that Santa is not going to be happy. I find myself breaking into the Santa Claus is Coming to Town song daily... as their reminder to mind their Ps and Qs. Papa is also one of Santa's secret agents and he calls him daily to give him a report on how Jason and Lily are doing. I hadn't even thought of doing this until a lady mentioned that she uses it quite a bit. I think Jason and Lily will probably get some toys, but most days I am tempted to give them coal and sticks. They might get coal and sticks w/ their toys... I got sticks one year... may as well pay it forward. YES!! My mom and dad REALLY gave me STICKS from Santa one year. (I'm sure I got something else.. but damn Gma doesn't mess around). Do I need to remind you that Xmas is also my Birthday... nice mom.

We got our first snow today and I couldn't believe how wet it was and the fact that it didn't really stick initially. We aren't in Wisconsin anymore Toto. Mom and I are going shopping tomorrow and Tom said we would wait and see what the roads were like? WHAT!!! Okay it's seriously mountainous (East Coast Mountainous anyway) here, but seriously!?

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays... we're getting there! :D