Monday, March 16, 2015

Five Weeks until Boston! Ohhhhhhh yikes!

Another Maine week has come and gone, and while we are that much closer to Spring the whole weekend was full of raw wind and wet snow. Yuck! GROSS.

I did my long run on Saturday in the midst of an on and off blizzard. It was just above freezing so while it was most unpleasant out it was not cold enough for the roads to get icy. There were a few fleeting moments around mile 16 when I thought that getting run off the road might be preferable to continuing but since that did not happen, I soldiered on, suffering in many obvious ways.

I am still in the midst of suffering the ill effects from my post vacation upper respiratory crapola. Running in the cold air seems to trigger some lengthy and intense bouts of coughing. To the extent where I genuinely feel that I may have coughed some of my internal organs out of place! (while I expect this is an exaggeration it's only a slight one, I certainly seem to be keeping my abdominal muscles strong with the remnants of this pesky bug. I need a breathing treatment.)

My brain is getting really excited that Boston is only five weeks out!
My legs and body (and the weather) however seem to be on a slightly different page at this point. GAH! Could it please be warmer than 12 degrees for more than 24 hours? Maybe no more snow? I really feel like we might run Boston in some kinda blizzaster.

It might be this or 95 degrees. And I'm used to blizzards, bacon and shame so BRING IT...
 I am trying (and only failing slightly) not to fall into the trap of comparing this years training to last years. Last year I was absolutely on track for a PR and made a lot of sacrifices to get in every ounce of training that I possibly could. I chose to make training a top priority, over almost everything else and while I am glad that I did (even though I did not meet my goal) I am not willing to prioritize my running over my business at this point in time.
Clearly, I need to focus on what I am good at now (walking, bathroom breaks, snacking, complaining and running 10 minute miles and drinking beer) VS what I was good at last year (running fast, ninja skills, being a rock star and... bathroom breaks. And beer. That goes without saying.)

Thank the sweet lord baby Geezes for beer.
So where does all of this leave me?
The great news is that my legs and body feel good (with the notable exception of the cough of doom) Currently no aches or pains, and while I do notice the lack of Yoga practice I simply can not get there right now. I am making the best of it and trying to do some quality stretching a few times a week.

Mileage wise I feel that I am meeting my goals. We all know that I'm not a super high mileage runner and, with the exception of my sick week in February, I have been happy with my mileage totals!

My speed goals though? Not even close. As in, so far off that I get a little riled up occasionally! Where did my speed go?
My logical thought is that first and foremost I'm transitioning directly from the treadmill to the road and into my peak training weeks. I am hoping that the gains I'm (trying) to make will become apparent soon..... PLEASE RUNNING GODS.
This is the first year in EVER that I have not tested my race legs mid winter in a half marathon situation to see if I'm on point- so I feel a little lost. And a little slow. Like a turtle kind of nonsense. No clue what to expect in 5 weeks.

My plan at this point is simply to stick to my training schedule and hope that my legs and lungs get on board. I have a few more long runs planned to work on the endurance before time runs out, and if the weather continues to be slightly less sucky road work should begin to feel more normal!

And I will WIN the marathon, just like I normally do!!
So hey you guys? Send me some good training vibes. Maybe some good weather vibes too? I'm ready to get my ninja rockstar mojo back and am happy to enlist the power of positive thoughts.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Hey, I'm BACK!

I'm back! I did indeed vanish again, not only was I too busy to keep up with blogging but honestly you guys- do you really want to hear the following on a daily basis?

"Guys, it's 20 below and snowing like a bitch!"
"Ummmmm you guys? It's cold and there is a fresh foot of snow in my yard...."
"Guess what!? 4th snow day in a row!!"
"I can't find the dogs because the snow is so deep they sink out of sight... Never to be seen again...."
"My view from the treadmill: Limited, because the snow is over the window..."

This was from February 10. The snowbanks are twice this size now.
Since I do not wish to be the boringest blogger who ever penned a boring blog I skeddadled, I hope I was missed greatly.

Since December I have run outdoors 6 times. Two of those times I was either racing or adventure snow running (which is crazy to the max). Twice I ran happily along with Mr. Bradlowski while on vacation (which was lovely, but was vacation running which was for fun and joy and not training.) And more recently- as in yesterday and today- outdoors in my own backyard. Miracle!

This is NOT our backyard but it was while we were on vacation! Vacation running ftw.
Despite the monotony of the indoor running situation, I recognize the fact that if I did not have a treadmill in my house I would simply not have been able to run this winter. So yeah, I am glad to have it. And glad to be off of it, at least until the next storm hits!

So to make this easy and not eye clawingly dull here is the rundown:

February. (You are a horrible person!!)
Weather- Complete bullshit
Running- Challenging but fascinating and always an adventure. Of death... :-)
Health- I caught a vile Floridian death plague and was down and out for a week. Suck-O.
Days until Boston: I think it's 6 weeks away today so that many :-)
Races run: ZERO. As most New Englanders know everything has been cancelled. EV-ER-Y-THING.
Other: Eric and I had a lovely week in Florida. We know how to have a great time and we did! Ironically, it was exceedingly cold while we were there but there was no snow. Nothing can get in the way of our good times! We really had the very best of amazing fun!
Brrrrrrrrrr Florida!!!! Still awesome though.
At this point, despite the monster snowbanks and more bad weather just waiting in the wings Spring really is close. I'm getting excited to run Boston again and will talk more soon (or in a month, we all know the truth!) about my plans, how this training cycle has compared to others in the past year, and how my race week and race plan will be a little different as well.

So hope for the best kids, soon the roads will be completely clear, the snow gone, it will be hot and buggy and muggy and humid and we will all have something different to complain about! (and I can't wait...)


Monday, February 2, 2015

January recap, all the storms, all the excitement!

January certainly went out with a bang, 20 something inches of snow in the Blizzaster of 2015 and one million feet of snow since (those million feet are not getting any attention because they are not falling in Stormageddon format.)

Day after the snowzaster. Cleaning snow off high things from the bucket of the tractor. #mainelife
Since February roared in all crazy pants, spewing snow and chaos here and there I had no choice but to bail on the Mid Winter Classic. I was *bummed*, especially when I woke up and it was about negative 16 degrees with a gentle 40 MPH wind. Yeah..... While it might not have been such harsh conditions on the Coast I still had to stick around town and try to take care of work stuff that just can't get done on snow days. Honestly, I missed seeing my friends but my heart wasn't broken to miss the frigid conditions.

So it's time for a quick January recap!

-I got the sick and had to lay low for a bit. No big deal and my mileage got back to a normal point for the final two weeks of the month. My total mileage was about 120 which I am happy with- I'm not the Captain of the 60 mile weeks so this is a fine number of miles for January. 

-I ran Derry. I remembered why I'm not crazy about it but it certainly was a good training day!

Biiiiig finish! Woof....
 -I became oh-so famous! I thought I might see a slight increase of blog readers post Chronicle article but I did not.  Kind of a relief since my blog is less than stellar about 95% of the time. Who knows how I would handle the pressure of the big time!

Well, I FEEL famous anyways!
-However, Maine Running Photos shared my Derry recap and about a gazillion people read that blog. Funny right, runners read running blogs and horse people not so much.

Hundreds of people enjoyed my 95% crummy blog. Time to up my game (and face)
 -I made it to Yoga a few times, I wish I could find time in my schedule to go at least twice a week but it just is not in the cards right now. I have many late afternoon and evening lesson to teach and I really can only sneak out early one day! (and to be honest- that is tough. I really have to work hard on NOT booking up that time....) 

Hopefully February brings some better weather, but it looks unlikely.

Keith Carson... You better watch it buddy- this is not OK!!!!

Well, I have my dreadmill, my Dance Moms, and Uptown funk on repeat so I will make it!
The first 2 weeks of Feb should be leaning towards higher volume and then I'm getting the hell out of town and heading south mid month for a week. I have that penciled in as a big fat ZERO week but we shall see. I'm actually tempted to bring some running shoes and, if the mood strikes, enjoy a little warm weather running!


Monday, January 26, 2015

The Hills are Alive (with Runners) At The Derry 16 Miler.

My biggest observation while running yesterday, was that the hills of Derry have certainly not become any flatter over the past 2 years.Someone should really look into that...

This particular race, The Boston Prep 16 miler, is a course that I have raced upon twice at this point. I was feeling hopeful that since I was targeting it as a training run that perhaps it would feel nice and easy. It did not.

For a January day I could not have asked for better weather! Despite the 5 or so inches of snow that Derry had received the previous day the roads were fairly decent. But the big story? IT WAS 30 degrees. A veritable heat wave. While it didn't impact my feelings of appreciation towards the overall solid weather, it merits mention that the conditions were variable. Sunny and warm. Windy and snowing. Just plain windy. Cold-ish. And back to warm. Needless to say, I never got used to one particular weather condition!

I changed my layering system but decided on this outfit which was PERFECT.
 I had a plan for the race, and the plan was to chill out and not be a jerk.

I wrote myself a helpful pre race note.

When the gun went off I literally stood still and watched everyone run by and then I hopped in and off I went. This added 90 seconds to my finishing time but it also meant that I did not get in the way of anyone aiming for a PR. See, my goal was to NOT be a jerk! #winning

Just waiting.... Waiting for the end of the line.....
The hills of Derry immediately punch you in the face and basically never give up. Once I was thru the first mile, and sea of runners my pace evened out to about 8:45's. Knowing that the course from mile 10-13 is absolutely monstrous I felt this was acceptable, as my goal pace was 9:15's or just over, and needed to include 2 (pre-planned) water break walks and 2 (pre-planned) walks up the monster effing hills.

Until mile 10 things were just fine. Not too fast, not too slow. All was well. There was some dude driving around in his car bumpin' tunes which was awesomeeeeeee.

Then came the hills.... I have mentioned in the past that the hills in Boston are just not as horrible as the hills in Derry. However, I think I learned something valuable this weekend. While the hills are huge the course is also shorter- so the feeling you have after summiting the mountain and reaching the 13.1 mark is, in fact, very similar to how you might feel after getting face punched by Heartbreak Hill. (kinda bad. not that talented.)

To be completely honest, even though I was running according to plan and doing everything well, at the 13.1 mile mark I hated everything and got really bummed out. I felt icky (I had the added challenge of some lady issues: as in, my reproductive organs were vigorously trying to claw their way out of me. very uncomfortable.) I felt like the hills had been awful. I questioned my choices in life. I got really sad that I had only run 13.1 miles at a training pace and had gotten to the "life questioning" point. How dreadful!!! Overall, it was a sad moment full of sadness. It was really windy and my eyes were watering which made me feel like I was crying and even in my state of obnoxious wallowing this seemed extreme. So I had some water and shuffled along. Told myself to get a grip.

I shuffled for a little while, still in the deep throes of self pity and suddenly, the mile 15 sign popped up out of nowhere.
At that point I immediately snapped out of my funk and was totally fine. I realized that my legs still felt good, and that it wasn't even windy anymore and I only had ONE more mile to go!!! I remembered that I AM AWESOME!!!! Overcome with joy (like the weather, ones emotions can change pretty quickly) I bounded along, passing people happily, delighted by the wonderful turn of events. I ran that last damn mile in like, 7:54 hahahaha....

Oh great! A hill to the finish!
Per the norm I was glad to be done. I had to curl up into the fetal position for a while due to the aforementioned female issues but otherwise felt fine.

About one minute from dropping to the ground and curling into a ball of pain.
The plus of a hard training run this early in the season is that I can see where my weakness are. Other than the clear need for both endurance and speed work I was happy that all systems (except the ovaries) felt great. No shouts from the legs or twinges from the knees. Good stuff!!

My final results were 2:26:08 with a pace of 9:08 which is great, and included the water stop walks and two (or 10. maybe 10) additional walk-uphill moments. (and the 90 seconds of procrastinating at the start.)

Overall, despite having *all* the feelings for a few miles this was executed exactly according to plan which is remarkable considering that I felt like I was spiraling down the drain for a few minutes.
It was great to be able to pick it back up, pull my head out of my ass and get it back in gear. That is a moment that I will remember for the next time I feel like a terrible runner!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

I declare THIS to be: Day 1 of Boston Training

Before I start yakking along about my Boston training thoughts, it merits mention that I'm playing a famous person this week! (more on this later... I promise.)

That's ME!!! Holy shit you guys, I'm *famous*!

Here is the whole article.
Anyways.. Back to reality!
Boston is on the minds of most marathoners at this point, myself included. Yes, even me. I keep getting those emails from the BAA reminding me not to be a slack off *sigh*!

As I'm gearing up for the season, looking at my first "race" this Sunday and starting to carve out time for long runs people ask me "when do you officially start Training?" (which makes me weep and gnash my teeth! is my current training plan not enough!!!! why do you people want more!!?? hahaha I'm kidding, that actually never crossed my mind until this second.)

We all know that my marathon training plan last season, from July to October was done in the most creative manner possible and, thankfully, with reasonably good results. What I took away from that training cycle was this.  While I can have marathon success with a very minimalistic schedule, and come away uninjured and happy with the outcome I'd like a slightly more structured plan leading up to Boston.

-Well, because I have a modicum more time.
-Because Boston is a very sneaky, tricky, rotten little course (we are fighting.)
-Because when my schedule allows, I actually enjoy a training regimen.

Although the winter season can be challenging with storms of snow, shit and chaos I still find it easier to fit in a decent number of workout hours than in the summer. When I'm literally working my ass off every minute of the day chasing around lazy brown ponies (good exercise.)

The itty bitty snowbank from our latest teeny shit storm. Yeah, I like to jump off stuff.
The thing is, all running that I do is training me for Boston. (or the winter season. or for whatever next Spring might bring!)
While I'm not trying to be a vague pain in the ass I have trouble defining when Boston training will start, or did start.
It's similar to asking me when I am going to start prepping horses for the 2015 competition season, Basically, everything I do gets them ready for this season and beyond. At the same time, I vary the levels of intensity in my training seasonally because horses can not peak all the time. I'm not riding "show prep" right now because with months to go, we are building not peaking.

I find that I feel the same way- I spend a good amount of time building and prepping the legs but am careful not to go hard every week, or race too much, or do the same thing daily causing burnout, fury and angst. I'm also not a fan of the 18 week training plan (because, seriously? that's a crap ton of weeks.)

I sound like a politician here don't I, evading the whole blog topic!!

So to answer the question I have spent this week getting organized, planning what weekends are going to have long runs, when I want to have peak mileage weeks, and when I want to be lazy.
So NOW! It starts now. We can just make this the official date for the sake of having fun. It's roughly 12 weeks until race day which gives me a boat load of time, a few weeks to get it together, a week or two to goof off and ample time to decide that I have too much/not enough time to get ready. Boom. Done sucka's.

My honest feeling is that as long as I have been running like a normal person, targeting some long run and some speedwork that I'll be just fine.

(that zen like attitude will not stop me from moaning and whining a little bit during my high intensity weeks but whatever, overall "you are fine, chill out" is my motto, per the norm!)