Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Year of Awesome #3

So, the Year of Awesome is kind of a cop-out as it's something we do frequently, but only when it's not wedding season, which is only like 3 months a year. Last week we went to the movies and saw The Muppets. And we went to a matinee which means we were the only people at the movie without kids in tow.

Dave and I are big Muppet fans. We grew up on the Muppets. My days were spent with Sesame Street, The Muppets, and Fraggle Rock. I loved Jim Henson. I had a picture of him on my walls. I cried when he died. So when we found out there was a new Muppet movie coming out we squeeled with delight.

It didn't disappoint either. If you got kids or even if you don't, you have got to go see The Muppets. Awesome!

What should be our next "Year of Awesome" activity?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Houston Long Run #1

Since I can't make a decision between the full and half marathons in Houston, I've continued to train for the marathon merely for the face I want someone to run with and Dave's training for the full.

This weekend marked our first of three 20 milers. (I actually think there was a fourth but that was before I started training.) Our plan called for race pace plus thirty seconds which would have had us somewhere in the 8:48-8:55 range. But, Dave just wanted to get through it so I set my watch to pace us between a 9:00 and 9:15. I told him I was going to start slow and work my way into that pace. A scant two miles into the run I was already feeling bad and wanting to turn around. Dave did too, yet we knew that the weather was going to be bad later in the weekend so we really needed to continue with this run. Silently, we continued on. Eight miles into the run we were still pacing over a 9:30. I was comfortable and Dave was silent. When I trained with Andrea, we used to talk and talk and talk for an entire 20 mile run. I'm learning with Dave, he likes to do his own thing and not talk. Thank goodness I've become accustomed to wearing my iPod or else it would be a lonely run even with him there.

About nine miles into the run I went through my usual low point. Most people encounter these walls late in their runs or bikes. I always find them to be earlier, like 10 miles of a run or 40 miles of a bike. By mile 12, though, I was in the zone. Dave was continuing to be silent but I could tell he was suffering. Our pace hadn't moved much. We were now averaging under a 9:30. The per mile pace was picking up but we were not where we had hoped. With six miles to go we took a pit stop and I wasn't sure Dave was going to start again. He wasn't having fun. I made sure he was right with me. I was feeling fine and I knew I could pull him through this run.

Finally we made it back to our neighborhood with just under 3 miles to go. There would be running around through the neighborhood. Not something I particularly like to do, but I knew the 20 miles was within reach and I was willing to do it. I was picking up pace (Dave told me I was turning 8:20s) and I made sure Dave was right on my hip. If it's his goal to run this time, I'm gonna make sure he can achieve it. Suddenly he was cramping and we had to stop with just two miles to go. No, we are not going to stop! He stretched it out and we were off again. The longest and quietest two miles ever. I could hear him moaning and it was rough. Finally we hit the 20 mile mark in 3:06:xx for an overall pace of 9:19.

Sure we were short of our pace goal, but the first twenty miler is all about getting it done. We have two more to hit our pace goals and next time we're going to do it differently. Twenty miles at one pace is hard to digest. But twenty miles broken into 6-8 mile segments at increasing pace is easier to wrap my head around. Plus, it's the way I like to run. I still haven't made a decision about the race. A lot of it depends on my stomach (I've been battling an ulcer now for quite a while and the last four weeks I've been sicksicksick) and my shin which is bothering me. The journey continues...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Flying Feather 4 Miler 2011

Physically, I'm coming along just fine. I'm getting my speed back. I'm enjoying running. Mentally, ironman has effed me up badly. Honestly, I'm scared to race. Not even race, just participate in a race. I am so scared of what might happen that I don't even want to try. Even this silly four mile race I was scared to do. I woke up this morning feeling ill and tried to talk my way out of it. Didn't work.

Dave and I were lined up next to the 32:00 pace group. Yes, this race had pace groups. Good grief. I didn't think I wanted to run this fast but I knew if you didn't line up a little faster, you were going to have to work your way through the crowds. Dad was lined up behind us around the 36:00 pace group. We started out and I started conservatively. I am not a big fan of shorter races (anything shorter than 10 miles) because it doesn't give me enough time to work into my pace. I'm a 'start-slow-finish-fast' kind of runner. Quickly I was being passed left and right. And soon by the 34:00 pace group. Wow! Really? I'm sucking this badly. That's when my stomach dropped, I felt terrible, and just wanted to quit. I'm so tired of this. But looking ahead I saw the 32:00 and 34:00 pace group were right next to each other so something wasn't right. I didn't see the 1 mile mark and therefore, didn't look at my watch so I had no idea how fast or how slow I was going.

As timed moved on, however, I started to get more comfortable and the pace was picking up. I arrived at the two mile mark, checked my watch and I was at 16:40ish. I was still behind the 34:00 pace group so something wasn't right. Obviously, they were pacing too quickly. I continued to gain speed and by the three mile mark I was right with the 34:00 pace group and my watch said 24:40ish - still ahead of a 34:00. I was still feeling great, the breathing was controlled, so I decided to pick up speed again. I got ahead of the 34:00 group and was gaining on the 32:00 pace group although I never caught them. Finally it was over in 32:12. So again, the 32:00 group was pacing fast too.

You know, an 8:03 pace is not where I want to be, but having had the mental struggles and the lack of speed training, I've had, I'll take the 8:03. This race was a victory of me. I'm proud of myself for overcoming my fear and racing the way I like to race. I really do not like the shorter races, but maybe doing more of them will help with my confidence and speed. Onward and upward...

Yes I am wearing capris (or as I like to call them, knickers). Leave me alone!!! :)

Update: My official time was 32:11 and wouldn't you know my dad finished one spot behind me at 32:12. Sandbagger! (Him, not me.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Update

You know, I obviously knew I had a good base going into running training, but I had no idea that things would come back as quickly as they would. While I was flying through a run this week I thought, maybe I'll just stick with the marathon instead of switching to the half. Let's back up...

Monday we celebrated my dad's 60th birthday so there was no working out.

Tuesday we had basketball tickets. Again, no working out.

Wednesday was track day. This week's workout was:
1 mile at 7:02
2 miles at 7:35 pace
2 X 800 at 3:23
warm-up/cool-down/rest intervals

Difficult to follow as (a) it was dark outside and (b) I was wearing gloves.

I hit the first mile spot-on: 7:00. The next two miles were 7:24, 7:26. Then I did the 800s. I did the first one in 3:26 and was NOT very happy I did not my interval. So I blasted the second one to a 3:19. Overall, the run was 7 miles.

Thursday we went to the gym and did "Core" class. This was one of the hardest classes I've ever attended. It was a half hour of abs and nothing else.

Friday I was too sore to do anything. I couldn't cough, couldn't laugh. My abs were killing me.

Saturday I ran with the training group. I did a quick 7 miles: 58:45, 8:24 pace.

After the run on Saturday I was feeling pretty confident with the way things were going so I thought, maybe I would give the full marathon a try. I know I said I wouldn't train for another race for at least a year, but following the "Run Less, Run Faster" program is a lot less of a commitment than Ironman training. Plus, Dave's training for the marathon and because he's gotten faster we can now run together. For the first time in three years I would have a training partner.

Sunday: the full marathon program called for 18 miles at an 8:48. Sure, I hadn't done anything of that length since August, but hey, why not? So we set out and within a few miles were right on pace. That fun was short lived as I was struggling around mile 8 and threw myself a little pity party. This pity party continued for the next two miles. But then I got into the groove and was feeling great. As the miles ticked off, Dave kept saying, we're running too fast, but he never asked me to slow down either. Finally we reached an intersection where I needed to decide if I was going to try to finish the 18 miles or split off from Dave, run to my parents' house, and do about 15 miles. I knew I could finish the 18 miles, but I also hadn't run that far in several months. I didn't want to risk injury this early in the training. I also knew that running 15 miles set me up for the marathon or the half marathon, whichever I decide to do at Houston. So, I turned from Dave and finished the 15 miles at an overall pace of 8:43. Woop!

Will I run the marathon? I don't know. I have until January 6th to decide (and pay a fee). Here's what I know:
  • Can I run a PR marathon? No.
  • Can I qualify for Boston? Probably not. Plus, I'm totally screwed by the age group as I will be 34 for two years. In 2012 Boston is on my 34th birthday and in 2013 it is before my birthday, hence I will be 34 for two years of the race.
  • Can I run a good marathon and be happy with my performance? You know, I'm not sure I can answer that. Honestly, I always want to do my best. But will I be happy just doing the half marathon? I don't know the answer to that either. For now, I think I'm going to switch over to the marathon training program and see how it goes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Year of Awesome #2

Number two for the 'Year of Awesome' was attend a sporting event. I'm sure this will happen more than once as Dave and I are sports fanatics. Last night was a great event as we had tickets to the Ohio State-Florida men's basketball game. We have been attending the OSU women's games for years as my aunt and uncle have season tickets and they give them to us, but this was the first time in a quite a while that I attended a men's basketball game. OSU is currently ranked #3 and this was one of our big games of the year. And it didn't disappoint. Even though we had nose bleed seats, we still had a great view and it was a great game. Go Bucks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Year of Awesome

Having spent two years training for Ironman and 8 years before that training for marathons, I'm pretty burnt out. I promised myself and the husband that I would not "train" for the next year. I would not create a race schedule. I would do races for fun, run with people, and just relax. Now that I have a lot more time, Dave and I decided to call this our "Year of Awesome!" The plan: do something each week that gets us out of the house, is unique, could scare us, and generally is awesome.

We kicked off our Year of Awesome with our personal hero of awesome, Bert Kreisher. Who? One of our favorite shows is on the Travel Channel, Bert the Conquerer. In it, Bert travels around the country competing and completing unique tasks like jumping off a building in Vegas, bungee jumping at a mall in Canada, competing in the wife carrying contest, etc.

Two weeks ago I was walking through the mall and saw Bert's name was on the marquee for the local comedy club. I didn't even hesitate; I bought tickets on the spot. The show was raunchyraunchyraunchy but soooo funny. And now the year of awesome ball has started to roll...

We've started to create a list of things to do. Some things include:

1. Go to the comedy club. Check!
2. Go bowling.
3. See a play.
4. Go to a shooting range.
5. See a movie.
6. Go snowtubing.

What would be on your list of awesome? What should we add to our list?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week in Review

Last weekend, after one 2-mile run, watching the New York City Marathon and the Hood to Coast documentary (more on that this week), I was ready to get running again.

Monday Dave and I met up after work, went to the gym, and attended our favorite class "Simply Strength". The best way to describe this class is 'aerobic weight lifting'. It's one hour continuous, vigorous activity with small weights. I think this is a great class for endurance athletes because you're not going to build bulk, but you're going to gain muscle and get a good workout. Monday was the first time I have done any weight lifting since May or June. Right from the start, this class was kicking my butt. How could I be just one week out from being able to do an ironman to not being able to do 20 squats? What the what?!?! That's the sign of a great class.

Tuesday I woke up and could barely move, but the first track workout of my new training program was on the schedule. Much to my surprise I totally rocked it. You can read about it here.

I took Wednesday off. I needed it. Between the weight lifting and the track workout, I could barely get out of my chair and walk to the bathroom at work. :)

Thursday was supposed to be a tempo workout, but I decided to do my week's "long" run since my running friends would be at Highbanks Metro Park on Saturday to do 6ish miles and that would be my tempo. Hills = tempo, right? The week's long run was 8 miles at 8:27s. Dave also had 8 miles on the schedule so we headed out together right around dusk. I was suited up for the weather and, although we would be on the bike trail, I was still wearing my reflective vest and headlamp. Just three miles into the run I tripped on a pine cone, rolling that damn right ankle, and I went down again. Luckily this time, I pretty much fell on my side and only banged up my knee a little along with a few cuts and a bruise on my left thigh. I continued the run but I couldn't see a thing. It seemed so dark outside. I was struggling to maintain pace but I wanted to see what I was doing and not fall again. With less than three miles left, I saw Dave coming towards me. He had turned back around to run with me. What was amazing was Dave's headlamp was like three times as bright as mine. Next week, I'll be getting a new headlamp. Overall the run wasn't bad. I chose the first and last mile as warmup/cooldown and managed the rest of the miles between 8:11 and 8:41. Another successful run.

Friday we wound up getting together with friends and got to bed really late so Saturday I did not join my friends at the metropark. What that meant, though, was that I was going to have to do the tempo run. The run was 7 miles with 4 of them at 7:50s. I have spent two years running 9:00-10:00s and now I was going to have to pull off 7:50s. That's a big jump. And I freakin' nailed it again. Three for three this week! I hit the first set of two miles at 7:51 and the next two miles at 7:49. That 7 miles I pulled off at 59 minutes. Boom!!!!

I had a lot of doubts going into this week. I just didn't know if I was ready to jump back into pushing myself again. I wanted to continue my pity party. But, I loved this week. The runs this week were a huge victory for me. And here's the crazy part, it wasn't that hard. Sure, I was working, but it was amazing how easily I was breathing, how quickly I was recovering from the intervals, and how natural the pace seemed. It's got me excited again about running. Screw triathlon! I'm a runner!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Foto Friday

There is really only one place in Columbus to run long. Or at least, so it seems on a Saturday morning - HUNDREDS of runners! Last week, it actually looked really cool with the steam rising off Antrim Lake.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Back on (the) Track

Today was a bit of a rough day. All day long it just felt like I couldn't do anything right. By mid-afternoon I was toast. I came home from work and crawled in bed. Less than an hour later Dave came home and that meant one thing, it was time for my first track workout in two years. I am currently signed up for the Houston Marathon, soon to be half marathon, and it's only 9ish weeks away. Back in May I ran a 1:44ish at the Capital City Half Marathon and I wanted to at least be able to duplicate that effort. So I picked up Dave's "Run Less, Run Faster" book and found a plan for a 1:45 half marathon. The first workout:

2 X (6 X 400) at 1:39
1:30 between each 400
2:30 between sets
cool down

Yes you read that right...TWELVE FREAKIN' FOUR HUNDREDS!!!

Needless to say, this workout scared me. Being that (a) I had a rough day and (b) this workout felt out of reach, I had a total meltdown on the track just a half mile into the warm up. I cried and cried and cried. And then I got my shit together. I love to run. I could totally do this.

And I did. I freakin' nailed those 400s...

1. 1:38
2. 1:35
3. 1:35
4. 1:34
5. 1:35
6. 1:35
7. 1:36
8. 1:36
9. 1:37
10. 1:36
11. 1:37
12. 1:37

Twelve 400s all under a 6:40 pace. I am so excited about this workout. I am so proud of myself for getting it done and not giving up. It's baby steps, but I'm starting to feel like the old Meredith is back.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Foto Friday

If you haven't noticed, I am a proud owner of a nice iPhone 4s. I have been enjoying being able to shoot HD video and have a great camera always at the ready. And my favorite app is Instagram.

This picture we took on the way back from the race last weekend. This is from the first snowfall as we were driving through West Virginia.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

Yeah, we had a lot of time in the car last week...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Versatile Blogger

Melissa at Double Jogger Diaries tagged me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I am supposed to say 7 random things about myself and then tag other people. It's really hard for me to come up with 7 things as I've been blogging now for six years and I think this blog is an open book, but here we go...

1. I have never had a manicure (although I got fake nails put on for my wedding - I looked like a tool), pedicure, or message. I am kind of repulsed by the thought of others touching me.

2. I miss my long hair insanely. But then I see a picture of Michelle Williams or Stephanie Gosk (NBC reporter) and I think, "yeah, I kind of like my short hair."

3. I'm not going to lie, I pretty much dread every workout. It's a real struggle to get out the door most days. Honestly, I don't love to run, bike (especially biking), swim, or weight lift. I like them enough to take the first step. But I know I will always feel better after a workout.

4. In all my years of running, I've only had one small blister (first marathon) and never had any black toenails or lost a toenail. I have, however, had three broken bones (foot, shin, finger) from running.

5. I studied engineering because, well how should I put this delicately, I dated guys who I thought weren't exactly going to be able to support a family. (This was before Dave.) I thought I was going to have to be the breadwinner (turns out, I was wrong about those guys). I always thought I would get married later in life and would establish myself as a career woman. But, instead, I got married straight out of college and married a wonderfully smart guy who can support me and a future family if we decide to have one. If I were to go back and select a college major all over again, though, I would still choose engineering. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of it.

6. I have never slept in the buff. I have never sat around or walked around the house naked. Shoot, if I could shower with clothes on I would. I can't stand to not be clothed.

7. The most beautiful beach I've ever been to in the world was Orange Beach, Alabama. And I've been to beaches in Hawaii, Bahamas, and Mexico. Surprising, huh?

Okay, I'm supposed to tag bloggers and whatnot. But, I'm not going to. If you want to play along, please feel free and do so. And tomorrow, one of the most awesome videos ever.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

October Totals

October was a mixed bag. By now you know I was secretly still training, but I also was dealt a hand of illness and injuries leading into my non-race. Up until this month I was really good at writing down all my workouts and keeping track of hours and miles, etc. But going back to work full time and having 8 or 9 photo booth events this month kinda put the squash on that. Here's what I think is correct:

Swim - 10,500 meters ~ 6.5 miles

Bike - 200.99 miles - Seriously, 0.1 miles short of 201?

Run - 50.76 miles - Considering what bad shape I was in with my back, I'm a little surprised at this number.

I haven't got a clue what I'm going to do in November. Run? Swim? Sit on the couch? Although, I am less than 100 miles short of 3000 miles on my bike this year. I might have to find a way to do that. The season is officially over and what's next is anyone's guess.