Training Recap-week 7

Last week was less emotional, still a little stressful, but it seems like work might be calming down some, and that will be really nice. Still battling my own demons, but had some really great workouts and that always helps.

Monday–Rest Day

Tuesday–Kettlebell and warmup mile. Solid warmup mile, then some crazy Sean circuits including at 600+ pound prowler push. I did it! Only once, because honestly there was always a wait for it and I didn’t want to have the down time in my workout. So I worked with the slightly lighter one, but knowing that I can (and did!) push the heavier one was the highlight of my day.

Wednesday–Tempo Run. The intervals felt tough tonight. I was thankful for Netflix to distract me.

Thursday–Easy run. Took advantage of primo weather and ran outside around Oakmont. Thursday runs are usually on the slower side for me, I’m usually by myself and I’m tired so I don’t push much, I just go by feel.

Friday–Kettlebell and warmup mile. Pushed pace on my warmup mile. Excellent class with Mindy. Her classes are sleepers–they never look that bad on paper but leave you questioning your life choices. Fun circuits with things I like and things that I haven’t done much or at all. Highlight–learning to double snatch!

Saturday–Easy run. Switched my ‘recovery’ mileage to Saturday as I was working an OT shift and had to miss the group run. Didn’t get it done until the late evening on the treadmill, but I did it. Treated it as an easy paced progression run starting at a 5.0 on the treadmill and bumping the pace up each mile.

Sunday–Long run. Ran with Adrian and D for the first 15 of my 18. Love love love running through the city. Ran all the way up Liberty hill without stopping, and all the way up the hill to the 31st street bridge! Kinda fell apart once I split from my friends, but got the miles done. Longest run in over a year. Feels really good to be getting these numbers back. This run put me over 100 miles for February so far, so gotta love that.

Cutback this week, and my body is ready for a little bit of a break. More soon, friends.

Tired

The feeling of the week is tired. We’re behind at work, so that means OT. We can use the money, but I do have hard limits–I can’t start earlier due to both their timing restrictions and the nature of my job, and I won’t stay late because that’s when I work out and my training is too important to me. So I work through my lunch break. Damn I never realized how much I need that time away from my desk to re-charge. I’ve been skipping it for that precious OT–not just because we could use the money (my racing habit and new house are not cheap) but also because I want to help out, I’m in management and if I want others to pony up then I feel like I should be doing it too. It’s starting to take its toll on me. I rearranged my weekend runs so I could take the Saturday shift they are offering (again, good showing for management to be there, even though one of my leads is able to come in) and I know that I’m seldom able to come if offered in the future because of races and whatnot. Mentally, though, I’m drained. Hopefully this weekend (and the bank holiday on Monday) will go a long way towards getting us caught up and giving me a reprieve.

I’m not whining or complaining. I’m not playing the martyr. I’m making a conscious decision to work the OT. I could say no. I could take my lunch break (and pretty soon, I probably will). I’m choosing it because the extra income would be nice right now and we don’t have OT offered all that often. Just like I make the conscious decision to train hard, and I make the conscious decision to get up early to write and study. I own that these are my choices and in effect, I’m doing this all to myself. I just need to find some way to recharge. I’m thankful for my workouts because they’ve taken care of the stress element–I’m VERY glad to go run or throw around kettlebells after my shift. I’m also very glad that I’m coming up on a cutback week (what? did *I* just say that?) because I think a little bit of rest will be good for my body (even though I feel good and it’s going well).

I’m hanging in there. I’m tired, but I’m hanging in. All things are temporary, I’ll get through this. I get a little extra sleep tomorrow morning, I get to run with friends on Sunday (thank goodness, I *really* didn’t want to do all 18 miles alone). It will all work out. Staying the course for now and taking the small victories and moments where I can. Thanks for listening to my rambles.

More soon friends. Happy weekend.

Training Recap–week 6

Training is my happy place these days. Not every workout is perfect, but it’s the part of my life that is going smoothly. I’m so glad to be back doing what I really love.

Monday–REST DAY. Have I mentioned how much I appreciate my rest days this time around? I really appreciate them. I love the grind, but my body is so ready for the rest. I don’t hurt or ache really, but I’m definitely fatigued.

Tuesday–got to run my warmup mile outside for a change thanks to a break in the weather. Class was a killer–got tricked into using the black bell (26kg) for 4 rounds of an intense circuit, and lived to tell the tale. It was ugly, but I did it.

Wednesday–speedwork. It was nice out, but I turned to the treadmill. Had a really lousy day and wanted to make sure I would hit my paces (which I’m really sure I would not have outside). I’m glad I did, this was a really solid run.

Thursday–easy miles. It was NOT nice out, it was pouring rain. I had a rough week and so I ran outside anyway. It was really good for me. Cut it a mile short because my stomach was bothering me, but while I was out there it felt good. Didn’t feel as cleansing as I’d hoped, but I felt very strong for being the crazy out there running in the rain.

Friday–solid warmup mile and my last KB class with Kristi. Killer deck of cards workout, gonna miss those. Very thankful that I can work with the trainer that is taking over on Fridays–all of the trainers are excellent but not all of them are good for my personal efforts.

Saturday–long run. Half Marathon Kickoff training run. THIS is one of my favorite runs. Can’t really explain it, but I seriously love this day as much as I hate the Marathon Kickoff. Got there early and did my extra miles so I could finish it off with my friends. BRF paced the 11:30s which I did a decent job keeping up with (avg. pace was a little slower for me but no biggie). And I ran all the way up Forbes without stopping! I’ve never done that, and I had no idea that Saturday was going to be the day. Hopefully I can pull that off during the marathon. 16 very solid miles. Loving that my average pace is improving without me trying that hard on my long runs.

Sunday–met up with my friends again for my recovery run. I’m so thankful for my RunCrew. I know that I would’ve struggled with this run if I’d been alone (I was in a rough place mentally/emotionally going in), but instead I enjoyed it.

That about sums up last week. Resting today then back to the grind. More soon.

Training Week 5 Recap

Last week was another solid training week. First off, I am loving my rest days this cycle. I love the hard work of training, but my body is happy to have a day off to recover after 5-6 days of grinding. I did skip my Tuesday class last week (*sad*) because my hamstrings were tight and it was affecting my knees, and I wanted to be able to get my runs in. Class, from past experience, could have helped or made it worse, so I erred on the side of caution.

Wednesday and Thursday Pittsburgh was thrown into the Polar Vortex, so I got up and did my Wednesday run on the treadmill before work. Knee was doing better after some quality time with Orange Spiky (my favorite and most terrifying roller) the previous day. I ran fasted and it went remarkably well. I’ve not had much success running fasted in the past, and I wouldn’t do it running outside, at least not without a little more experimenting. But an occasional treadmill run is worth experimenting with.

Thursday I did my 5 on the treadmill again after work, then realized I only needed 1/2 a mile to hit 130 miles for the month, so you know I went back to the treadmill and ran another half mile. 130 miles in the month of January. Unreal. Loving this ultra journey. Solid run, nothing remarkable except my cumulative mileage.

Kettlebell and warmup mile on Friday. Very nice warmup mile, and really solid class. Even bumped up weight in the last round of the circuit. I felt really strong.

Saturday was my longest run in over a year. I’m really struggling with the Saturday group runs with all the stopping and starting and breaking up the mileage, so I wanted to do this as close to unbroken as I could. I ran with BRF and another friend out at North Park–not my favorite place to run, but I wasn’t alone and I didn’t have to keep stopping. The run went really well. I was strong and pretty consistent. Did start getting fatigued near the end, but held it together well. Spent some QT with the BRF after the run, grabbing lunch and checking out the new Pro Bike + Run location (heavy emphasis on the Bike…). Pittsburgh was thawing out, but not when I was running-temp was between 9 and 12 when we got started.

Sunday, I got up at the crack of dawn to run with some friends. 10 solid miles in the city. 33 degree starting temps felt like a heatwave after the rest of the week. Felt really good during most of the run, though fatigue started to catch me near the end. Definitely felt more sore after the run (and some quality couch time with my cat) so I’m glad I have a rest day. Need to work on more solid recovery practices–this has always been my weakness.

I am LOVING this ultra journey. Loving. The high mileage makes me so ridiculously happy. I feel good going into each run, and for the most part I’m recovering well and quickly.

Training Recap: Week 4

This was a really really solid week of training. I hit every work out. Three of four runs were outside, which is always a good week in my life. Pro Bike + Run group run on Wednesday was great–warmer weather than we’ve had with a slightly different route. I crushed (most of) the hills. Saturday’s run was in cold and blowy snow, so it was slow going but I got it done. Flew solo due to a commitment in the morning, though the group run was cancelled anyway. Flopped my mileage so I could run my longer miles with people on Sunday. Explored a new to me rail trail and it was great! So happy to have somewhere else to run closer to home.

I’m trying to be mindful of my weights in KB classes and choose bells that are still challenging, even though I’m running a lot. 1) I want to be stronger. That happens when you challenge yourself. 2) Ultras are made on tired legs. If I’m going into my runs a little sore and/or fatigued it will only prepare me for the challenge that lies ahead of me. (That said, there is a huge difference between being a little sore and fatigued and being really sore and fatigued…keeping my schedule as is and keeping an eye on who is filling in so I don’t completely wreck my runs…)

I’m over 100 miles for the month already, and I still have a few more runs left. I LOVE this! I’ve grown to really appreciate my rest day, and when I tried a runstreak it did not end well for me. But I feel like a streak of 100+ mile months is something fun to shoot for, and will be easy this year.

I’m recovering really well from the runs/workouts. Fatigued and ready for my rest day? Definitely. Sore? Not too much. I might be done by the end of a run, but the next day I usually am ready to go back out. Distance really is my happy place. I feel really good and I think I’m built for this ultra-life. Bigger mileage starting this weekend and I’m kinda pumped to see how it plays out. I have my long run distances mapped out through my first ultra for the year, so I’ve started to see when I can schedule races around them to make it more interesting. I also need to start comparing them to the scheduled group runs to see how I can get the extra miles I’ll need.

So another successful week in the books. More soon, friends.

Better late than never…

So I missed blogging last week. Still working on my time management efforts-I’m trying out some tweaks to my schedule so hopefully that will see me posting on a more regular basis. It was also kind of a rough week for me, and even though I know the importance of writing during the rough times I still avoid it. I guess in a way that’s why I backed off it so much last year.

This is a post I really should have written about a 1000 times last year, honestly, but I’m finally doing it. And I’m coming from a better perspective on it, but it’s something I keep coming back to. In reflecting on last year I’ve had to work very hard (too hard) to see how far I’ve come and to take pride in what I did accomplish, because when I look at the list of goals I set for myself I was only able to scratch off one of my running goals. I missed the mark on everything else. And that’s difficult for someone like me to accept. It shouldn’t be. It should come with the territory–I like big, scary goals. If it doesn’t scare you at least a little, then you’re not thinking big enough. So reason would have it that I’m going to miss the mark sometimes if I’m shooting big. And the progress I made was pretty awesome–if I didn’t go for broke aiming for things that scared me I wouldn’t have come as far as I did. So it amazes me, realizing all of these things, that the feelings of failure still hit me so hard, and that’s a lot of what I was struggling with last week. Always my own worst critic. For the most part, I’ve been able to take a step back and realize that I have a choice: I either go big and chase scary things and risk missing the mark, or I play it safe, hit the target every time, but never really find out what I’m capable of. Is that really even a choice? Go big. Risk it and find out. Maybe I’ll miss, but I’ll be closer than I was if I didn’t try. That said, I’m sure that this isn’t the last time it will come up for me, so I’ll take it as it comes.

Distance doesn’t scare me in the same way. I’ve always said I’m built for distance, not for speed. It feels like coming home. And I worried at first that I wasn’t going big enough because I wasn’t scared. It hit me though. There is definitely fear there. I’m pushing for things bigger than I’ve said publicly (I’ve shared them with a close few, including my coach, but I want to keep some things to myself for the time being), and honestly, Burning River scares me. It didn’t until I pulled the trigger on registration, but holy smokes once I did…BOOM. I joke that if BRF could do it (and PR no less) a month and a half after hernia surgery, that I can definitely do it…but for as much as he hates it, he’s a better trail runner than I am. Most of the people I know who have done it are better trail runners, and while I know there is a significant amount of road in the front half it still scares me that I might go out there and not make the time cut off. But I’m registered. And I’m going to train my ass off and put it all out there and see what happens.

Another weekend of training. I’ll get caught up on my training recaps on Monday. I promise. Have a good weekend, friends.

Coming home…

I’ve always liked back-to-back races. I’ve always said that I didn’t really like running until I discovered distance. And coming back to distance seriously feels like coming home. I don’t have to be fast, I just have to *go* and I’m good at that. Wednesday night as I was finishing my tempo run on the treadmill, I was on my 5th straight day of running and I felt really good. I said to my coach–maybe I’m built for this ultra-life. Last night, I did my miles outside and it was definitely slow and slogging (for me) but I was still happy. My legs felt great.

I’m just starting this training cycle, and I’m only a couple weeks into this new schedule, but man–running more feels like coming home. I fell in love with running when I trained for my first half marathon (Pittsburgh, 2011). Once I learned ultras were a thing–before I even ran my first full marathon–I knew that I wanted to do that. My mind latched onto 50 miles, and while I’ve delayed it for awhile, I’m ready to tackle it now.

I know I’m in the honeymoon phase–that this isn’t always going to be fun or feel easy, but it still feels like it’s what I was meant to be doing it. I want to make the most of it all and get as fit and strong as possible. I want to soak it all in.

More soon…

Happy New Year!

So once again time got away from me…but I’ll catch you up quickly where we left off…

The race I was going to tell you about was the Bobcat Trail Half Marathon. A real true legit trail race. With a generous time limit, I knew I would finish, even if it was ugly. And with rains the week before the race, I can assure you that it was. I went out by myself, and honestly I loved it. It was cold. It was muddy. I fell a bunch and there were parts that scared the crap outta me (creek crossing up to my thighs? crossing a ravine on essentially a 2×4? single track next to some steep drop offs?) but I did it. When I got scared, I took a breath and pushed through. It was a beautiful and challenging course through Burr Oak State Park in Ohio, and I would love to do it again sometime when it’s not muddy af. But I am SO glad that I did it.

After that I did the Penton Turkey Trot in my hometown on Thanksgiving. This is the race, as some long time readers may recall, that I nearly drowned in on my first attempt. I finally felt ready for redemption. It was AMAZING! It is seriously going to rival Pittsburgh for my favorite Turkey Trot and will be tough to decide each year. The course for Penton is a cross country course–little bit of real trail, grass, some road. It was so much fun! Then I tried another trail race at the beginning of December and while it didn’t go as I’d hoped/planned, I’m glad I went out and tried. Trail is tough, it’s unpredictable, but man is it rewarding.

Finished 2018 out with one of my favorite 5ks–the Harmony Silvester. Hilly and awful, I love it. This year it rained and I had a stitch the entire time, but it was good. Even with the stitch I actually ran all of the hills for the first time ever, and I sprinted up the last hill to the finish (slow sprint, but I put it all out there). Started 2019 with the Resolution Run 5k with some of my friends, and it was another good time.

Looking ahead…I’m nervous about some of the stuff on the horizon for me. But if your goals don’t scare you, you’re not thinking big enough. I didn’t have trepidation at first, which concerned me, but now that I’m actually into my training–oh yeah, it’s there. Which is good. Feel the fear, do it anyway, and I fully intend to. I’m registered for both 50-mile races. Getting back into distance has been fun. I mean, I for sure have the “oh god, why am I doing this” moment when I’m setting out for a long run, but honestly 15 miles feels less daunting to me than 3 miles sometimes.

One of the things looking back on 2018 that makes me a little sad is that I didn’t blog as much. I think it’s because I struggled so much emotionally with running and training and it was easier to back away than to ‘use my words.’ That said I know better. I know that writing about the hard things makes them easier, that being vulnerable is always better than holding back. I wish I had written more. So this year I’m going to. My goal is to post twice a week, and regular readers can feel free to nudge me if I haven’t posted at least once in the past week. I want to document this training cycle–even when it’s ugly, even when it’s boring, even when it’s hard. Because I know that it will be, and I know that if I write about it I’ll come out stronger on the other side.

Cheers to the new year, friends. More soon.

Race Recap: Amherst Skeleton Run 5k

So, I’m a a little crazy. We all know that. I love to run races. I don’t always race them, but I LOVE to take part in them. So I decided it was a good idea to run a 5k the week after my full marathon. Mind you my marathon was not a PR race, and I recovered quicker than I expected–I ran with my crew that Wednesday night and kicked so much ass. So I went to Ohio to run this race with my best friend and her husband. I initially had no plans to ‘race’ it. Just run it. But then there was the threat of her competitive streak coming out so I offered that she could pace me. And she took me up on it.

I’m used to running with people, but not actually having a Pacer. I’m used to being able to do what I want, essentially, which means I seldom push myself as hard as I could. I back off, as is my MO. Not something I’m necessarily proud of, but its how I operate. We didn’t really discuss strategy, which was a mistake. We went hard at it for the first mile plus. And then I started to panic, and couldn’t regulate my breathing. I took a minute and got myself back under control and DID manage to pull off a 5 second PR on my 5k time. Getting there.

What kills me is that I know I could have done better if I hadn’t panicked. And there was no good reason for me to have panicked. Physically I was fine. Mentally…that’s another story. I got in my head, and I, quite literally, choked.

Still it’s a fun little race, and I’m glad I did it. I’m glad my bestie paced me (even though I wasn’t thrilled at the time).

my bestie and I nearing the 5k finish

If I had written this post a week ago, right after the race, it would’ve been different. But it’s been a big week. A lot has happened (mostly good) and I am able to see connections in hindsight. More soon.

Race Recap: PIT Fly By 5k

Missing some race reports, but clearly if they’d been particularly noteworthy I would’ve found it in me to post…so no sleep lost. This weekend I completed race #30 for the year (so far)…10 more to go to meet my goal.

This is a fun race, I did it last year. 5k with a medal, and you all know I love the bling. Flat and fast course at the airport. I did not PR this year, I was about a minute off, but it was better than my past few 5ks had been so I was happy with it. I *might* have PR’d, but my phone fell out of my belt at one point and I lost some time doubling back to get it. That doesn’t account for the whole minute, but there also came a point that once I knew I wasn’t going to PR I didn’t dig as deep as I could’ve if I’d been close. ┬áSo oh well, is what it is. Overall I’m happy with it. I’ll probably do this race again because it’s fun and kinda different.

After the race I made a whirlwind trip to Ohio for the day for a much needed visit. Really low mileage last week, and its making me vaguely crazy. Definitely need to log some more miles this week. That said–I’ll be happy when marathon training is over. A few more weeks and the race will be behind me, which I’m really looking forward to. I’m excited to move onto the next set of goals and adventures. Big plans in the works for 2018…

Happy Monday, friends.