Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Excellent Easter

The three day weekend was amazing and much needed,  I have to admit it was pretty tough coming back to work Monday morning!

Saturday night, Jordan and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Bravo.  I had a cup of lobster bisque and their chopped salad, two of my favorite things.  My other favorite things are their bread and a glass of Merlot.  YUM!

Easter Sunday started with an egg hunt at our house.  Jordan, Penny, and I each received a basket.  My basket was perfect for a marathon runner.  Good job, husband!
Penny found her basket first: Spring Treats, a Spring scarf, and a silly carrot toy.
Scarf model
It all starts with an egg
Normal 24-year-olds wake up at 7am to hunt eggs
Very excited

He finally found his

My basket - running visor, gels, electrolyte brew.  I LOVE YOU!

We went to church at 8:30 and I came home to make the ham and asparagus.  While everything was cooking, I decided to get a workout in.  I thought it would be a good idea to do a 5k tempo on hills so that I would be ready for Pittsburgh.  I did a warm up, and started the hilly 5k.  What I did was go up and down a hill 5 times, turning right around at the top.  So the entire run was either uphill, or downhill.  A family of mostly elderly men was sitting outside drinking coffee in their church clothes, I knew they thought I was really weird.  It felt good to do a hard run before I ate my big Easter dinner.  I did the 5k in 20:21 (6:34 pace) for a total of 7 miles plus an ab workout.

Easter dinner was delicious at my in-laws.  They have high food standards, and every dinner I have ever eaten with them has been excellent.  I was thrilled that my big old ham was met with approval.  My favorite was the stuffed artichoke :).  Always a veggie fan!  The almond torte cake was a close second.

Last stop, visiting with my family at my grandma's.  It was so nice that both festivities were only 5 minutes from each other.  We were too full to eat anything here, but had a nice time just hanging out....then we left to spend our last night with Lola.....
Bye, Lola!

But don't worry....we will soon have another visitor....

Monday morning turned out to be super sunny and HOT when I left work.  I had an easy 5 miles planned - less than three weeks until the marathon so it is time to start backing off!  However, the sunshine made me run faster than I should have, averaging 7:31 pace - not my easy pace.

Tuesday after school I lifted weights then headed off to Hounds practice.  I had a hard workout, trying to stick with the fast girls.  I did a 4k in 16:00, then took a 20 minute 'break' on the trails - I call this a 'break' because the hills made it feel pretty hard.  Coming back up to the track, I did a 2k in 8:17 - definitely fell off pace.  I totaled 11 miles.

Today I did an easy 5 in the middle of a storm (8:15 pace - much more reasonable than Monday).  Tomorrow, I am hoping to do some 800s at the park to compare them with how I ran them before my last marathon.  Hopefully, my legs will be ready!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Injury Scare and Easter Break!

Earlier this week, I was pretty bummed about running.

On Tuesday, it hurt to walk and I did not even run (I did get to lift in the morning).  I was pretty bummed out, but I tried to remain positive and spent my free time after school laying on the couch with Penny and watching some quality TV programs (Real Housewives of Orange County).
Not afraid to admit I love this show.
 At first it was fun, but it got old quickly.  I swear I cannot sit still for more than an hour.  My wonderful husband bought me a Chipolte burrito bol and we watched Country Strong.  I LOVED the music in that movie!

Wednesday, I headed out to North Park after school.  Tendons in my right foot all day were bugging me.  I have had foot issues in the past, so I was worried.  They were sore the first half mile of the run, but after that, I felt great.  I was not able to take it as easy as I would have liked, because I was so happy to not be hurt.  I did 7 miles at 7:44 pace.

Thursday, I ran an easy 6 in the morning before school.  Was sore but was really happy to be out early.  I made a deal with myself that if my twenty mile run I was planning to do on good Friday went fine, then I would forget about the few days I was hurting.

Penny had a vet visit Thursday night.  She got three shots and was so nice to the vet.  He was very impressed by her and we were very proud parents.  I made sure to get her a few Easter Basket treats as a reward.

Friday morning I had off so I went out to the lake early to get my 20 miles in.  I thought it was a great thing to get done before the weekend officially started.  The weather wasn't great (It started to rain about halfway through and was windy the whole time - nothing new) and I had a somewhat boring run.  However, I was thrilled to have completed it with no pain, and to have sped up towards the end.  Splits: 8:02, 7:50, 7:56, 7:54, 7:55, 8:03, 7:59, 7:54, 7:44, 7:56, 7:49, 8:00, 7:54, 7:42, 7:42, 7:40, 7:33, 7:45, 7:24, 7:22.

Average pace: 7:48

What is even more amazing is that I went home and got ready to go to Stations at 12 pm in just 20 minutes - shower and makeup included. 

That night, we took my twin out to The Perrytowne for fish and beer.  I have an horrible inability to drink beer.  It is too filling and I just get tired of drinking it.  I am a wine person 100%.

We then took him to our favorite place.

Twins love frozen yogurt

My husband and I at our favorite place

Two cute dogs...I look 14 without makeup and real clothes on.

Hope everyone is having an AWESOME EASTER!!! 

Today was a quick 5 miles at 7:53 pace between running errands.  We are about to head out to Bravo's for a date night.....yes!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Past Week and Bad Race - Boohooing.

This rainy weather has been dragging me down lately.

This past Tuesday, I went to hounds practice in the POURING rain.  It was incredibly rainy and windy and I was very proud of myself for just showing up.  It was a great change of pace to have teammates to run with.  I love Tuesday practices!  (I lifted that AM at the gym in case you were worried)
Anyways, I did 1,000 meter repeats on the track (the oval was completely submerged in water in some parts.)  They were not pretty.  I had in mind to do at least four, so I guess I can feel some satisfaction that I did seven of them!  The results: 3:55, 3:57, 3:58, 4:01, 4:01, 3:59, 4:03,  a total of 11.5 miles.  Not very fast repeats, but I have to keep reminding myself of the rain and wind.....I was thrilled to be done and head home to a crockpot filled with warm turkey chili, and my husband and dog.

Wednesday:   Ran a good paced 10.5 mile run at North Park, felt really good doing it, didn't feel long at all.  Total pace was 8:06 pace.  My 'easy' pace is supposed to be 8:27.  Maybe I need to listen better next time.

Thursday: Did an early 6 mile run around home, was very slow and tired.  Wednesday should have been done easier, I think.  Did not get home until 9 that night because I had a work training until 8pm, then had to drive home.  Not much time to recover/relax!

Friday:  Did an easy four mile shakeout later on in the day with some striders.  Did not feel particularly good or happy to be running.  I think the less time i have to rest/more I work the worse I feel.

Saturday I had signed up for the Genesis 10k race.  It was an awesome course along the rivers in Pittsburgh, and it was very easy to get to on a Saturday morning.  On a nice day when my legs were feeling good, I think I would have loved it.  However, warming up I noticed that the wind was very strong, but the rain was holding off.  Sadly, I am a bad runner in the wind.  Maybe it's because I am short, I don't really know.
The race got off to a decent start, I stayed in third, and actually ended up finishing third as well.  The course was basically and out and back loop, and the wind hit us worse the first three miles.  Here are my splits, you can see that I fell apart.  I think I tired myself out fighting against the wind...
6:21, 6:10, 7:16, 7:07, 6:52, 6: 46, last .2 at 6:46 pace,  I do think some of these mile markers were off a little!
I was discouraged after this race, because up until this point, everything has been going awesome with racing and training.  After one crummy race, I'm starting to second guess all the work I have done and wonder if I can really break 3:10 on a tough course?  To top it off, i feel abnormally tired and my feet feel achy from this race.  I did an easy 5 the next day (Sunday) but still feel yucky today, so I am taking a rest day...which of course is making me very grumpy.

Although this was a bad race for me, I did get 3rd and won money racing for the first time ever!

I think I look about 11 in this picture?
Sigh.  Hopefully, I get over my running funk soon.  I know I will want to get back into training hardcore tomorrow, but I have to remember that my peak mileage is done, and my training plan is starting to back off since it is less than four weeks away...

Anyone want to do a long run Friday?  I have off!

Onto a more fun topic...we have a special canine friend staying with us.  We are dog sitting my father-in-law's dog Lola, who is 14 years old.  Penny and Lola have completely different activity levels - but I love having her here with us.  She is so sweet!!!

Two Friends!

Lola is usually laying/cuddling, Penny is usually running from room to room like a maniac.  We are a lot alike!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Having a rough Monday? Look at this picture.

Today was a great Monday for a couple reasons.

1) I had an awesome, 7 mile run finished by 6:50.  What was amazing was that it was 70 degrees in the dark when I started and at least half of my run had some sunlight!
2)I saw this adorable creature napping on her brand new therapudic dog mat:
Mat purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond, one of my favorite stores.  Sad?  Yes.

3) We have been busy preparing for an inspection at work.  We were given a four week window as to when the inspector would visit, starting today until May 6th.  I was so pumped our inspector came today!  The sooner she came, the less time for agonizing/worrying.  I really think it went well and I'm happy it's done!

4) My training class for tonight was cancelled, of course I have to make it up, but Jordan and I can have our meatball cake leftovers and have a cozy date night.

5) 40 minute walk with Penny and Uncle Chris (my twin, but Penny's uncle!).

Happy Monday, Everyone!  Less than 5 weeks until the Pittsburgh Marathon!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Past Week

After a good performance at the half marathon, I of course got sick Monday.  I even had to call off work.  No running that day.

I woke up Tuesday full of ambition to run.  I made it one mile on the treadmill before I had to stop.  I felt very lightheaded and started to see black.  Not a good sign.  Especially since I had a 12 hour workday ahead of me (we had a parent night).  Thankfully, I started to feel a little better through the day.

Wednesday I lifted in the morning and headed out to the lake afterschool.  My legs felt fresh and I happily ran 8 miles at 7:50 pace around the lake.  It felt easy, but I knew it was too fast for an easy day, but not really enough for a workout.

Thursday, I had ambitions of doing a workout but it really wasn't happening as I felt a little worse again, and the run Wednesday probably took a little out of me.  I ran 7 miles at the park at 7:45 pace.  I was dissapointed I didn't go a workout, but I tried to remind myself that I ran a pretty good half marathon and I was sick Monday.

To make up for my lack of a workout Thursday, I did hill repeats Friday after school before feasting with my husband at Red Lobster.  I did 6 hill repeats that were .38miles long between 9:07 - 9:27 pace.  The hill was steep and I felt really good after completing this workout.

Red Lobster is great, especially during Lent.  I had amazing lobster bisque with my favorite Yellowtail chardonnay.  I had the half serving of Parmesean encrusted tilapia, which was enourmous!  I had a great lunch the next day:).  And who doesn't love their cheesey biscuits?  Yummmm. Good thing runners need carbs.
Showing off my pretty new pink purse Jordan got me!
TGIF - we need cheesy biscuits

Saturday I went out to the lake with my dad and he biked while I ran an easy 7 miles at 8:09 pace.  It felt really good and it was nice to see the sun and all the people with hydration belts training for marathons.  The rest of the day I ran lots of errands then we went to a surprise party that night.  Woohoo.

Sunday was the big long hilly run.  I was aiming to run 22 miles at North Park, but picking a route that would give me the most hills.  Usually I try to avoid hills when doing a long run, but I REALLY want to be prepared for the hills at Pittsburgh.  The sun was out, and it was a warm 56 degrees when I finished!  I actually felt hot and went through my whole waterbottle.  My new hydration pack is awesome!  My old one got chewed apart by Penny, and it was too big and moved up and down when I ran.  This one is designed for girls and didn't move at all during my run.  A woman actually stopped and asked me where I got it because she was really small and had trouble finding one that fit.  If you are looking for a good belt (and are not a boy) this is awesome - room for gel and your car keys, too!
Nathan Triangle Hydration Pak ( Blue/Fleet Grey )
Mine is Pink

 The run was awesome.  The sunshine made it that much easier, along with some new Lady Gaga,
Justin Bieber, and P. Diddy song on my Ipod.  I took the pace out with a goal of staying around 8:05/mile (except when I climed a monster hill).  The first half splits: 8:07, 8:02, 7:59, 8:06, 8:04, 8:06, 8:37 (Up the swimming pool hill) 8:17 (still up the hill!) 7:58, 7:57, 8:04, 7:48, 7:41, 8:00(Boathouse hill), 7:37, 7:29, 7:51, 8:15(Big,mile long golf course hill  but pushed the pace so I wouldn't slow too much) 7:18. 7:29, 7:38(boathouse hill), 7:13.

By the end, I felt very tired and really pushed to finish at a faster pace despite the hills that were wearing away on my legs.  Interestingly enough, I concentrated most on going on the downhills at a good pace and not 'braking' with my legs.  I did that last year at Pittsburgh, and my quads were destroyed going down the last final miles.  Hopefully this doesn't happen again.

I felt very happy to have ran this far and finish out faster than I started.  I am starting to not be as afraid of the hilly course!

The rest of the day I spent hours in the kitchen preparing dinner for my family, in honor of my mom's birthday!  We had olives, bread, and oil for appetizers....

Roasted veggies in Italian dressing and herbs

Meatball Torte: Homemade bread and homemade meatballs.  So good!
Turtle Tart (Carmel sauce, pecans, chocolate in a pie pastry with homemade whipped cream!)
Happy dinner guests!  Thanks for coming!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cook Forest Half Marathon

Great weekend pretending I was in college still.

Jordan and I left our house at about 7:15 Saturday morning.  Not super early (race was at 11am) but I still felt yucky and a little under the weather when Penny woke me up that morning.  Throat scratchy, head achey, and just generally miserable.  I decided I should wear winter boots, fleecy pants and a hoodie to the half marathon.  The worst part was saying good bye to penny for 29 hours (she was going to sleep over my parent's house.)  Jordan took this picture of us so I could look at it on my sad.

Goodbye Cuddle
We were on the road after a stop at BP to get Jordan some coffee.  The highlight of this stop was when he spilled about 2 drops of coffee on his hand and let out a blood curdling scream for not apparent reason.  The gas station man looked seriously alarmed so we got out of there in a hurry.  A little bit much for 7:15 am, Jordan.

The roads in Pittsburgh were snow covered when we left and actually looked really pretty driving.  I wondered how bad it would be in Clarion, because throughout college, Clarion's weather was traditionally worse.  I texted my best running buddy Kate who is on the team and already up at Cook Forest, and she said there was no snow.  Wahooo!  I was very grumpy and tired on the drive up and was happy to let Jordan drive, although he was probably not happy I was sleeping the whole trip.  I finally awokened when he stopped at the McDonald's in Clarion to get breakfast.  The sun was out and there was no rain or snow in sight, it was chillly, but I like that for a race.  I took this as a good sign.  We set out for the 20 minute ride to Cook Forest, and ventured into no cell phone reception land.

Getting there at 9:50 I had the perfect amount of time to pick up my timing chip, T-shirt, say hi to a couple of friends, and meet Kate for our warm-up.  My grumpiness had subsided and I was excited to run.  A little nervous about my race tactic (Go out a little harder than usual - maybe all this negative splitting means I go too easy) but I was happy because I was with my friends and husband and would have the rest of the day/night to hang out/relax in Clarion.

The race started at the top of a hill, which was nice, except that meant the last mile of the race was pretty uphill.  I was very intimated by this hill because a girl in front of me told me it was horrible.  The whole race I was worried about just making it up the hill, which was a waste of my time. 

The race conditions were great, about 38 degrees, some sun, no rain.  The race started and I was surprised at how spread out we got to be quickly.  The first downhill mile there were a good bit of runners around, but by the time we got down to the river a little after mile one I was alone.  At mile one, I would realize I pretty much would be running this race alone.  I passed people occasionally through this race (10 people after the first two miles, I think) but the majority of the time I was alone.  In a way, this is nice - no worrying about people coming up from behind you and passing you, as long as you kept up a good pace.  But, sometimes it is easy to lose focus and slow down if you are just out for a run by yourself.  I tried to just focus on keeping my Garmin splits around 6:40 and enjoy the river scenery.

The race course itself was pretty flat, with some rolling hills.  To prevent bordeom, I used a wide range of distractionary games.  One was not increasing the distance between me and the first place girl.  Another was eventually passing a guy about 30 seconds down the road.  The other was thinking about the race in increments between each water station, and at the turn around, looking at the other runners.  That was a particualry nice tactic because a lot of awesome runners cheered for me and told me I was in second.  They were so nice.

My splits for the first 8 miles were: 6:32, 6:40, 6:38, 6:40, 6:45, 6:48, 6:45, 6:43.  I was happy with how consistent the splits were, because the miles did vary according to the hills in them.  I hit the turn around point in 43:46 and I knew I would not try to come back faster overall because of the last mile being hilly.  I was aiming to keep up the pace I was running until the hill, and at mile 8, I started to feel very tired.  At this point, I had to just keep saying "one more mile..." and keep the distance the same between the girl in first place and I.  At least I wasn't really slowing down comparatively.  The dread for the hill was also getting me down at this point. Miles 9-12: 6:42, 6:54, 6:44, 6:51.

So the last full mile included two challenging hills.  The first one was shorter but very steep, then there was a downhill, then the final hill was not as steep but long.  The first hill was torture, I felt like I was barely moving and couldn't recall how long it went for or if there was another steep hill.  It was very discouraging running up it and not knowing when it would end.  I was thrilled to reach the top, and recovered a bit on the down hill.  I was so excited to see my husband on the next hill, who looked genuinely surprised to see me so close to the winner.  He ran a little up the hill with me and it felt so much easier.  Once I reached the top, the finish was a short downhill away.  I crossed the line in 1:29:06 (6:48 pace) and was VERY HAPPY with that time.  Jordan was so excited that I got second, which made me even happier.  I was 12th overall, which was surprising.

Kate and I with our prizes!

Big second place winner
 The rest of the day was spent doing some Clarion favorite things.  We ate a late lunch at Vinny's and took a little nap at the hotel.  We then wandered around aimlessly as different stores, drove around the campus, and had a late dinner at Cozumel.  We had drinks there with my old roomie Lisa and her bf Tom.  It was a fun time and I definitly deserved those margaritas.

Penny had fun laying in laundry at my parent's

The next day Kate and I ran an easy 5 miles around Clarion, and it made me miss the old days.  Jordan and I ate breakfast, packed up, and headed home with a quick stop at the outlets.  A great weekend :) .

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Past Week

I have been a very bad blogger and haven't written in a week.  So I need to catch up.

Monday: Ran five miles easy in the AM, did some abs afterschool.

Tuesday: Lifted in the AM.  Was so happy, the sun was shining and our running group practices were moved to the Schenley Park Oval, the best place in the world to run.  Running there means summer and nice weather to me.  I had an awesome workout that night because I had super fast ladies to run with.  We did 3x3k on the oval with 2 minutes rest.  Some of them ran 4 repeats, but I gladly stopped at three to be more rested for the race Saturday.  We hit the 3ks in 12:02 (6:27 pace), 11:52 (6:21 pace), 11:53 (6:22 pace).  I was thrilled with our splits and also that I was able to keep up with the other ladies because they are training for sub 3 hr marathons.  They definitely can do it.

Wednesday:  Off day!  My exercise was meeting Lauren at Aladdin's Eatery for dinner.  It was a much needed dinner for a busy week.

Thursday: 6 miles easy around the highschool.  Did not lift to get ready for the race.

Friday: Easy 4 miles around home. I didn't run with a watch so I could go whatever pace I liked.  Friday night, I made a delicious meal of Parmesan crusted tilapia, cheesy noodles, homemade biscuits, and green beans.  I needed lots of food to get ready for the race the next day.  We made a stop to our favorite YUM to complete the pre-race fueling.  We were both feeling a little under the weather, so we bought vitamin water to guzzle.

We were both very tired and lazy this week

Post about the weekend in Clarion coming soon!