Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Boy, do I have a story to tell!

Our plan for Memorial Day weekend was to completely redo our front landscaping as we have let the grass grow over it.  Seeing as it was 90 gazillion degrees outside all weekend, we didn't really do any of that.  So, Dave took his work inside and decide to super-clean out/declutter some spaces.  Yesterday he came down the stairs with a small slip of paper in hand.  Dave did Appalachian Service Project in high school, about 20 years ago.  This was a volunteer project he did in another state.  I don't know where he was when he did this project.  Anyway, he said, "I met a girl" while on this project.  Oooh, awesome!!!  This is his story, as told by him.

Back in the early 90's, my church youth group would head out each spring for a missions trip with ASP.  I can't remember which year this was, but we were staying at a head start school with groups from a couple other states.  In the evenings after our work was complete, we would socialize with the other kids and get to know them a bit.  Well, there was a girl I met that year from Georgia.  I maaay have had a small crush on her at the time, but don't tell anyone!  Anyhow, at the end of the week, I mustered up all my early teenage courage and asked for her address.  She entrusted me with it on one condition - that I would PROMISE to write her.

Did I mention I was reeeeally shy?  I wrote a letter, but never sent it.  Time passed, and at some point it was too late.  I must have filed away her address with other treasures of early teendom, and that's where the story ended.

Fast forward 20 years.

I was cleaning out a box of old papers - letters from high school, souvenirs from vacations, old sheet music, etc.  And I came across that name and address.  Thanks to the magic of the internet, I thought maybe I could find out whatever happened to her.  So I typed in her first name.

Well, that's odd.  Had I done this search before?  Did Google just start reading minds instead of that inconvenient keyboard thing?  And so I clicked on the first search result.

Lennon Parham (born October 26, 1976) is an American actress and comedienne best known for starring on the sitcom Accidentally on Purpose from 2009–2010 and the NBCseries Best Friends Forever in 2012.


Not only had she gone on to become famous, WE HAD BEEN WATCHING HER ON TV, and I never put 2 and 2 together.  So, without further ado, let it never be said that I break my promises:

Dear Lennon,

How has your summer (and the 20 years after that) been?  Mine has been good.

I thought I was going to be a doctor back then, but I ended up writing software - it was a good decision, and actually more interesting than it sounds, honest.  Ten years later, I married my wonderful wife Meredith, and we now have a dog, Sloopy.  I still live in Ohio, though I came down to Columbus for college and stuck around ever since.

I can't remember what you were going to be when you grew up, but it looks like you've done all right.  It's really great that you found something you love to do and are talented at, and have managed to make a career out of it.  I hope you and your projects have nothing but success.

Oh, and sorry I didn't write until now.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Moving Down?

Two weeks ago, while Dave and I were taking a long car ride, we started talking about the possibility of moving.

A little background....Dave and I were babies when we got married; I was 24, he 25.  We paid for our own wedding very frugally and had money left over.  Not only that, I was one of two people in the world (Mark Zuckerberg being the other person) who made money while in college.  I didn't party; I didn't go out; I made my own meals; and I had a paying internship.  I was a hoarder - a hoarder of money.  :)  So after the wedding we had enough dough left over to put a down payment on a house.  Sure, it wasn't 20%, but it was something.  Not only that, but being that we were both working as engineers, we had the funds to buy a very nice house that we built from scratch in a developing neighborhood.  We have been living in our house now for nine years, but we have become a little antsy.  First, we think the house is a little too big.  Yes, we would like to downsize.  The house is around 2000 square feet.  We are currently occupying only the first floor while the second floor is basically being used as storage.  Also, we've become a little disenchanted with the neighborhood.  We've had some run-ins with the HOA, which we hate with the greatest of hatred.  In addition, there has been lots of development in our area which has been both good and bad.  We're just ready for a change.

Although we were talking about all this, we haven't really been taking it seriously.  Until yesterday.

I was riding my bike to work for the very first time and I take a little bit of a different route than I would if I were driving.  Luckily, my commute is small - 6.3 miles by car or 7.5 miles by bike.  The bike path takes me right through the middle of town, parts I have seen 5 million times as I've lived in this community for 30 years.  Every once in a while something will catch my eye that I never even noticed.  Like this gem:

And it's for sale!!!

Two bedroom. Two bath.  Around 1300 square feet.  Sits on nearly an acre.  Two car garage.  Full basement.  Back deck.  Newly renovated.  Backs right up to the school fields.  Bike path goes right through the front yard.  And the price is amazeballs.

I immediately texted Dave.  Then I sent an email to my realtor.  Now we have a showing tomorrow afternoon.

And then I panicked.

How in the world are we going to sell our house?  Are we crazy to downsize?  What if we need more space in the future?  I've never lived anywhere else!  I've never sold a home!  I've never lived in a house that we didn't build, what's wrong with this house?  Why are they selling?  Why would we want to move when we have a perfectly good house?  Why would I want to move a whopping four miles away?  (Seriously, see my graph below.)  And on and on and on.

So what do you think? Would you move just to move? Would you ever considering downsizing? Have you ever sold a house? Are we insane?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Week In Review

It was a busy week last week with running, biking, and boothing.

Monday - Track day.  You can read about that workout here.

Tuesday - Finally, I got back to doing a little Crossfit.  Unfortunately, it involved rope climbing which is, obviously, not readily available in my basement.  So I substituted using my TRX and doing rows on it.  The workout (and kinda made a little easier with smaller reps and weights) was 3 X (10 TRX rows and 10 back squats at 65 pounds).  I was quite sore after this workout.

Wednesday - It was going to be a busy weekend (and it was) so I decided to get my long run out of the way.  Dave decided he was too sore to run with me so he rode his bike.  This was the last long run before the half marathon in two weeks.  12 miles averaging 7:56/mile.

Thursday - Bike day!  Dave decided to do his tempo run today so I biked 5 miles with him and provided him water and encouragement.  I also rode my bike for a few errands including the bank and grocery, which was a whopping 2.8 miles round trip.

Friday - I needed to get all my runs in before the weekend so even though I was crazy tired and sore, I had to do my tempo run today.  I started with a mile warm up and then did 5 miles at a 7:22.  It was so hot today that I went through two water bottles on this run.  I also created a nice little belly shirt for myself by tucking my shirt into the top of my sports bra.  Oh yeah, I was looking HAWT!

Saturday - We photo boothed for 15 hours straight.  Good gosh I was tired at the end of the day!

Sunday - Dave still had his long run to do and he was already throwing pity parties before we left, so I rode with him to help him.  It's so nice to have someone to go with you, especially on the bike, to provide you water and nutrition so you don't have to carry it yourself.  For me, it allows me to practice eating and drinking on the fly.  I also run much better with someone with me because I'm not in my head talking myself out of the run or the pace.  I'm hoping this summer that Dave and I can split training days so I can have him run with me especially on my long runs which start very, very soon.  First 20 miler is June 23rd!!

Weekly Totals:
Bike - 19.8 miles
Run - 24.5 miles
Other - 0.25 hours weight lifting.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm an Anomaly

I have always said that I only have one pace and that pace is marathon pace.  My times only vary from approximately a 7:00/mile pace for the 5K to an 8:00/mile pace for the marathon.  When I started working with a coach and she would review my pacing and heart rates she would send me emails saying I was a complete anomaly.  Yes, I can run a whole marathon in zone 4.  And not only does my speed increase over the longer distances, my heart rate tends to drop as I get faster.  Weird.

Currently I'm not working with a coach so I needed a plan to follow.  I chose the Run Less, Run Faster program because (a) you only have to run three days a week and (b) it works.  The RLRF program follows the FIRST training program.  I've got to be honest, I didn't read the book, but my husband did and he's a smarty and he said it totally makes sense and it totally works.  He went from being about a 1:50 half marathoner to a 1:43 just by following the plan.  So, I thought I would give it a try.  The plan starts out with a test of three miles and then your training progresses based on what you paced in that three miles.  My three miler was actually a 5K in which I ran a 21:35ish.  Based on a 21:35 my paces should be as follows:

Half Marathon: 7:40 (1:40:30 finish time)
Marathon: 8:00 (3:29:45)

Here's the kicker.  That time I ran in the 5K was a PR for me but I had already run a half marathon (1:38) and full marathon (3:29:28) faster.

So then in my last half marathon I ran a 1:39:52 (7:37 pace), which moved my 5K time to a 21:25 (6:53 pace).  It's not so much that I can't run a 5K in that time because I probably can, it's that it changes all my speed workouts to just incredibly fast speeds.  400s are in the 1:33-1:34 range (6:15ish pace); 1600s are between 6:36 and 6:39; tempo runs are between 7:11 and 7:26; long runs are usually between 7:57 and 8:07.

All of this very doable.  But here's where things get complicated...

I mentioned in the middle of a recent post that I signed up for a marathon in late summer/early fall.  So far, I've had a great season of running and really think there are some big races ahead of me.  I really think I could have a breakthrough performance in the marathon this year and that's why I signed up.  My goal?  3:25 or better, which is a 7:49 pace.  That's totally doable.  But throwing that into the RLRF program looks like this...

Marathon: 7:49 pace
Half Marathon: 7:27 pace
5K: 6:47 pace
Tempo: 7:04-7:34 pace
400s: 1:31-1:32 (6:04ish pace)
1600s: 6:30-6:33

Seeing those on paper scares me.  While I think it makes sense that you *should* be able to run that fast at the shorter distances to run that pace for a marathon, my body seems to think otherwise.  Is my head in the way of running faster at the short distances?  Is it weird that I can run a marathon nearly as fast as any of the shorter distances?  Is a 3:25 unrealistic?  I don't know, but I'll be finding out very shortly.  Training starts in two weeks.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Heard

I was watching the local news this morning while eating my breakfast.  Now, I don't put a lot of stock in our local news as it's usually terrible and I was crazy tired, but this was the story I heard.  They were doing a piece on the state legislature and how they were introducing a bill to be tried out in three counties that would test welfare recipients for drugs.  That makes sense.  So far so good.  Here's where it gets a little crazy.  Those individuals on welfare would receive a questionnaire that would ask them if they have used drugs and then if they answered yes they would have to submit to a drug screen.  The drug testing would be paid for by the individual but if they passed it then it would be reimbursed.  Um, what?  Let me get this straight.  We're going to ask somebody if they do drugs, then test them, and if it comes back no they get their money back?  First of all, you're going to ask them first?  If they say no then it's all done?  And if they say yes and then pass the test, we're okay with them lying?  I'm so confused.

To make sure I wasn't crazy this morning, I looked up the story.  Lo and behold what I heard is absolutely true.  Check it out here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Week, Another Track Workout

On paper, last night's track workout should have been easy. 

2 X 3200

The weird thing about the Run Less, Run Faster program is that they give you track workouts out to two miles, yet don't give you paces for that distance.  So Dave and I decided it should be short tempo pace which landed us at an 7:11/mile.  Shoot!  Compared to what we've been doing, this should be a cakewalk. 

Except it wasn't.  It seemed really hard, in fact.

We warmed up a mile and then got started.  As good as I am at pacing in a race, I'm pretty crappy at pacing on the track.  Heck, Dave wasn't even wearing a watch and he was pacing better than me.  We hit the first 1600 in 7:08 and then the second was at 7:02.  Too fast! 

After a 400 rest interval we tried again and did much better the second time.  The first 1600 was just over pace at a 7:13 and the second was dead on at a 7:11. 

I have to admit, track workouts give me anxiety.  The paces seem way outside of my abilities and frankly, scare me.  But, I know that these workouts are making me faster.  I better get used to them too, as I have a full summer of them preparing for the marathon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Foto Friday

Here are some official pictures from the half marathon last weekend.

I look like I am having a lot more fun than that guy.

Chip time!!!!

Why, you're medal is so big!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

No Rest For The Weary

With four weeks to go until my next half marathon it was time to get back on the track for some speed work.  Dave joined me this time and I waited until we actually got to track to tell him what the workout was.  I was afraid it would scare him enough to not come with me.

1 mile warmup
3 X 2000 between 8:24-8:28 (approximately a 6:40 pace)
400 rest interval in between
1 mile cool down

It quickly became clear how tired and sore I still was from the race this past weekend.  Yet, I went out and busted the first interval at a 8:12, hitting the mile in 6:30..  Good gosh, Meredith!  Slow down!  The second one I tried to pace better and finished in an 8:26, with the mile at a 6:42.  The last one was the biggest struggle.  I hit the mile in 6:45 and wasn't sure I would have the energy to pull together to hit the target.  But, I mustered all the strength I had and finished the last lap in 1:34 to eek out a 8:24.  Success!

Dave made it through two thirds of the workout until his stomach said enough.  He was able to pull through two more 400s and then call it a day.  He hasn't been training as much so I'm proud that he did that much of the workout.  Of course, I expect he's going to be doing some more training with me this summer.  Wink, wink.

Today I'm pretty sore.  My lower calves are screaming.  There's no rest for the weary, though.  Tomorrow is tempo work.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Capital City Half Marathon 2012

Maybe I should title this post "I wear tiny shorts."  (Hey, I'm a former gymnast and I can wear them so I don't care.)

Or maybe I should title this post, "Damn, I've gotten fast!"

I never know how to start a blog post eloquently so let's just jump in.  I ran the Cap City Half Marathon yesterday and I effing rocked it!  I am five weeks into my half marathon training that I started nine weeks too late for a half marathon I'm racing in four weeks.  Does that make sense?  What it boils down to is that I didn't train specifically for Cap City.  Regardless I was going out there to race and see where I was at in my training.  Based on my 5K I ran a few weeks ago I have been training to be able to run approximately a 1:40 half marathon.  So when I lined up yesterday I figured that's about what I could do.

I was in corral A at the start and I had intended to line up around the 1:45 pace group since I usually start slow and finish fast.  But the pace group lined up in the very back of the corral and I didn't want to start back there so I moved up.  The gun went off, we pushed our way to the start line, and I started to run.  I love seeded races because you get up to speed right away and don't have to weave around people who had no business lining up at the front.  I found a groove and was feeling good.

Mile 1 - 7:47.

Hmm, that was a little quicker than I expected.  Whatever we'll go with it.

Mile 2 - 7:40
Mile 3 - 7:39
Mile 4 - 7:40

Gosh, I have mad pacing skills.  Always have.  If you ever need help pacing, I'm you're woman.  (FYI, I was not wearing a Garmin.  Seriously I can pace this way just using a watch and my internal rhythm.)

Mile 5 - 7:37
Mile 6 - 7:39

We're now in the Ohio State campus area and the crowds were out and cheering.  Lane Avenue was a slight uphill until we reached High Street which is a nice long downhill into downtown.  I should mention, it's been hotter than balls this week and Saturday morning was no exception.  It was MUGGY with a side of humidity.  I was drinking water like it was my job and was wearing equally as much water.

Mile 7 - 7:35
Mile 8 - 7:32

Now we are back downtown and I'm looking to see Dave.  I also noticed I'm starting to catch a lot of people, including people I know and people I haven't been able to match in terms of racing times in a very long time.  This is fun.

We have now joined back up with the quarter marathoners and frankly, they're in my way.  I move far to the left, kinda in traffic, and I'm still flying in this race.

Mile 9 - 7:28
Mile 10 - 7:39

I'm starting to feel tired and this pace is wearing on me.  Only a few miles to go, Mer, you can do this!  We're now in German Village and I'm looking for my friend Lauren who sits across from me at work.  I've been running with two other fast women for the last mile or so and I'm using them as my guides.

Mile 11 - 7:27

At this point I am soaking wet, not only from sweat, but from the water stops.  The cups were too big and overfilled and I sloshed water everywhere.  I am also WAY out of practice for taking gels and salt tabs.  I dropped my last salt tab (gosh darn it!).  I am going to need some practice before my marathon (um...what did you just say?).  And because I am soaking, my iPod craps out at this point.  While I don't have to run with music and generally don't hear most of it, it is a nice distraction.  I tucked the earbuds under my sports bra and away I went until the finish.  I'm going to need a solution for the iPod before the marathon too.  Mile 12 had us running on cobblestone for a little bit.  Come on race directors!  You can't find another route over real road?!

Mile 12 - 7:39

Last mile and it's uphill to the finish line.  This is the part where Dave dismantled me last year.  I was not going to let this uphill get to me this year and I was so close to breaking 1:40 that I had to push.  I worked up that hill, saw the finish line and went as hard as I could.  It was going to be a close one.

Is that my ass hanging out of my shorts?

Last 1.1 miles - 8:23 (7:37 pace - perfect pacing today!)

Official finish time was 1:39:52.  I believe this is my second fastest half marathon ever (on just a few weeks of training) and only a minute off of my PR (1:38:40).  

Here's the real kicker.  The only real goal I had established for myself was to place higher in my age group than last year.  This is a BIG race - 13,000 between the half marathon, quarter marathon, and 5K, with most of those runners doing the half.  Last year I placed 25th in my age group out of 627.  My goal was to finish 24th or better.  This year....9th out of 848 in my age group.  Holy mother!!!  This is far and away my best finish in a big race.  I am so excited about everything that happened yesterday.  I can't wait to keep training and see what's yet to come.  This girl is back in a big way!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Track Day!

Saturday's high temperature was about 45 degrees.  I did my run in capris and a long sleeved shirt.  Yesterday my car read 84 degrees at noon.  Welcome to Ohio.

Yesterday was also track day.  Ugh!  I dread track day.  It always seems so hard.  But yesterday I tried to think of it like a swimming workout.  Swim workouts I am able to break into tiny segments because it's 4 X this and 10 X that.  In my head this seemed like a good theory.  At least it got me out the door in crazy temperatures to do the workout.

The workout was one mile warm up 10 X 400 at a 1:35 with 400 rest intervals and then a mile cool down. I hit the first half of the first 400 around 42 seconds and thought, oh crap, I'm going too fast.

Interval 1 - 1:27

Mer, slow down you're going too fast!  But, I kept up the pace and hit all of the next seven intervals around a 6:00/mile.

Interval 2 - 1:30
Interval 3 - 1:28
Interval 4 - 1:31
Interval 5 - 1:29
Interval 6 - 1:28
Interval 7 - 1:28
Interval 8 - 1:29

After eight intervals I had had enough.  My arms were tingly.  I felt like I was going to vomit.  I was dizzy.  I couldn't get in enough water.  I called it a day, did my cool down and headed home.  We'll see how this speed translates when I race this weekend.  Oh yes, there's a race this weekend.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Insane in the Membrane

I haven't signed up for the marathon yet.

Okay, first of all, I'm dumb.  I thought I needed to sign up by the 2nd before the price went up.  What I didn't read very closely is that it was April 2nd, not May 2nd.  Dummy!  The price is what it is.  But, the full marathon is at 75% full so I do need to be making a decision soon. 

So what's the problem?

Well, I'm insane in the membrane.  Insane in the brain.  I haven't done a full marathon since 2009, which was Boston where I scored the perfect race and the Nike Women's Marathon where I just fell apart.  Since that time, I've struggled to get my junk together in the big races including two failed ironmans and the National Marathon which I bailed and just did the half.  I used to be able to block everything out, to almost have amnesia when it came to racing.  I was always hell-bent on doing better and better and better.  But there was something magical about Boston 2009 that I sort of doubt I will ever be able to replicate and therefore I think I give up too easily.  I'm running scared. 

I also feel like I need to do this marathon to get the freakin' monkey off my back.  To know that I've still got it.  To know that the marathon is still a great race for me. 

However, and here's the runner snob in me, I don't want to do it if I can't turn out a big time, a Boston qualifying time, a new PR.  Look I've run many marathons and I've run Boston several times.  I don't need to do a marathon to do a marathon.  And this race is BORING, certainly not one I would do for the experience.  It's not even in a different state, so it's not like I'm checking anything new off my list.

I don't know; I'm really torn.  On one hand, it's only a fraction of the money I've spent on ironman races that I never finished so I could totally eat this money if I decide I don't want to do it after signing up.  But on the other hand, I cringe at spending the money and not doing it.  I'm repulsed at the thought of training for a marathon even though it's not much more training than I'm doing right now for a half.  I'm just gonna keep my eye on the website and make a decision when I NEED to make a decision.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

April Totals

I got crackin' in April on seriously training for my upcoming half marathons.  And in the process set a pretty sweet new 5K PR.  I also went back to the pushup challenge, this time doing "real" pushups.  Here's some numbers.

Bike - 3.77 miles for a total savings of a whopping 36 cents.  The weather was pretty crappy this month compared to March (except the week we were on vacation) so there wasn't a whole lot of opportunity to ride my bike.

Run - 87.78 miles. February and March were all about base miles.  April has been about speed.

Pushups - 290 of the HARDEST PUSHUPS EVER!!!

In case you were wondering, no I haven't decided on the marathon yet.  I have until midnight tonight before the price goes up.  Tick, tock, tick, tock.