Monday, January 23, 2017

Boston Training week THREE! DONE!!

Week three.
Done and dusted.

What was exciting this week?

I had a few workouts that I expected to feel challenged by.

The first was another brutal Sufferfest bike ride, followed by a short 3 mile run.
GOOD LORD. The struggle is real. I find biking to be a horrific challenge, but I am sticking with it, determined to suck less, eventually.

This is how I feel.
I hit the road for 12x400 repeats.
Compared to stupid sufferfest, this was basically an evening stroll.
Well, perhaps not quite that easy. However, I am well accustomed to the challenge that running presents and I find it much more manageable than that of biking.

400's are so much easier than biking.
I then enjoyed my official beer of the week. A recent favorite of mine, this beer is an amazing collaboration and EVERYTHING that a barley wine should be. Coming in at $15 a 4 pack it isn't cheap, but it is completely worth it. (readily available at the Rooper's in Oxford, FYI.)

The very best of good beers
My Friday long run came in at 12 miles.
I felt good about this workout, and was pleased with how my legs cooperated. I made a really foolish rookie move and neglected to bring any snacks. Despite that noob mistake, everything went well.
I hit some big hills. My photo shows my vantage point from the very top of one such hill, with a point in my run just visable across the little white blob that is the lake. The bottom pic shows the flip side, I'm on the other side of the lake looking at the hill where I just was. You can see a little (white, snowy) field in the middle/right of the shot, which shows where I came from.

Top of the hill, bottom of the lake (which doesn't look lake a like....)
We then went out for burgers and a Bissell, another quality choice. 

Beers and burgers at the Gastropub, a post long run staple.
A couple more runs occurred over the week. Eric and I enjoyed a base pace run together, and were very pleased with our 8:40 AP results. Considering that both of us were running on tired legs, this was a particularly solid effort.
I also had a gentle recovery run, coming in at a 9:45 AP, as a recovery run should.

Three weeks in and I am feeling good. My mileage, and the challenge of my workouts is steadily growing. I am begining to notice the positive results of consisent work.
This week was particularly pleasant because several key workouts were done outside! Bonus!

My jaw/chin continue to heal nicely, but I am not cured.... I continue to have some unpleasant pain in my ears, which of course comes from my jaw injury. My chin looks good but is still a gross combination of quite sore, and completely numb (this combo resonates quite poorly with me. I try not to think about how it feels, as I find it disgusting.)
All this being said, I know it could be so much worse.
THAT being said, I am OVER it and wish that my face felt like it used to.

Weekly stats:
Miles run: 30, per the plan.
Longest run: 12. A very sensible step up.
Other: 1 bike, 2 strength work outs.
Wildlife sightings: ZERO. Which is very, very strange. WTF?? Come out DUCKS!!!
Low/High temps: 8/42. A mostly mild week.
How am I feeling? Good, a little tired after a couple of my bigger workouts. After a recovery day, all better with good energy. Lots of weird dreams, everything from having a pet snake, to running from a terrifying killer, to dealing with the fallout of an atomic bomb (which was kind enough only to blow up half the house. ok.)
Beer of the week: Double or nothing. A terrific maple barleywine by Lawson's (geniuses) and Otter Creek. Go get some. 


Monday, January 16, 2017

Week two of Boston training: Quite uneventful!

As the title of this post should lead you to believe, compared to last week, this week was downright quiet. Thank heavens.

I took ZERO workout selfies. I am sure everyone is very sad about this.
I will entertain you with pictures of random things.
I will be SURE to bring back the sweaty selfie next week. 

On Monday, I had a little run in new shoes. Another pair of Clifton 3's, they have been serving me well. The old pair had well over 400 miles on them, so it was time.
New shoes!
I also cashed in a lovely Holiday gift and got my hair done. I look better now. 

The one and only time that my hair will ever look decent. After professional help.
Tuesday was a rest day.
I got my stitches out! (no pics of that either, you're welcome)
To recover from that ordeal, Eric and I went out for a quick drink with my Dad and sister. We met up with a friend of ours, and her Mom and Daughter.
We are geeks, and like to show up at every opening of every pub in our area. This was such an occasion, and X Vault opened with a bang, as essentially the whole town showed up. It shows promise as another local venue worth visiting. (in short, good drinks, interesting menu, nice ambiance, typical chaos of opening day!)

X Vault, opening day
Wednesday was weirdly warm, temps hitting almost 50.
The snow melted, and with that the reemergence of the strangest piece of yard art in town.
The penis frog.
Well. Hello, Mr. Frog.....
WHY? But really, WHY? Where would you buy a dong frog, and more importantly, WHY would you??

Thursday and Friday were uneventful. A couple treadmill runs, and a round of 8x400's which reminded me that I am, in fact, not in great shape (no kidding.) I did my long run (10) plus hills on the treadmill on Friday. Again, uneventful (sweaty though.)

On Saturday I had an easy recovery run (right about at a 9:40 pace which was actually a tad quick.)
Andy (Eric's twin, if you don't remember) and his kids came over, and we headed out to see Rogue one. It was excellent. We also made the kids play Pokemon with us, and it was great fun.
Then we headed to Vivo (in Bridgton) for some great dinner. Vivo never lets me down in the food department.

Dinner at Vivo with the Fam!
The kids brought me the best gift!
A bottle of wine the size of my leg. I am #soblessed (but really, I was super pumped.)
My new baby!!! I love you, big wine!!!
Sunday was a reasonably exciting workout day.
I did a 40 minute sufferfest bike video.
I then ran 2 miles.
And *swam* in the pool for 10 hours, and managed .25 miles.
If anyone was curious, I am a dreadful, dreadful swimmer and my whole *swim* consists of me attempting not to die. Not cute.

So! Week two done, and it wasn't very exciting in the exercise department. Week two rarely is, if you really think about it. Week three is going to be very similar but I'll try to come up with some better stories about it...

Weekly stats:
Miles run: 27, just as prescribed.
Longest run: 10. Which feels long now. It won't soon....
Other: 1 bike, 1 strength work out (bad) 1 swim (ugly)
Wildlife sightings: 18 wild turkeys and one Penis Frog
Low/High temps: Negative 9/Plus 47. Go home winter, you are drunk.
How am I feeling? Good, I can eat solid food again.
Beer of the week: CRAP! I drank a few beers, obvs, but nothing new... I did have a delicious mojito at X Vault though, so we shall consider that to be the winner.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week one of Boston Training: PR or ER!!! Or, just ER...

This week started out just fine and dandy. (if only such things could last.....)

Monday was the big day, a nice fresh and glorious beginning! Week one, day one started off with a bang.
OR, a boring 5 at a 9+ pace (as prescribed.)
No duck sightings either, so overall a bit dull.

Tuesday was a day of complete torment.

Sufferfest, UGH!!
A 40 minute sufferfest bike ride, which is a horror.
I find the challenge of cycling to really be above and beyond that of running. Most likely, because I do not have the correct muscles. I yelled the F word quite a few times. Also, biking makes my butt hurt.
I also did a bit of strength work.

Wednesday was another run, on slush and slime covered roads.

Excited to run on the slime
Despite the crap conditions, I went for it and did my week one "mile test." Just a quick sprint to see where the fitness is at, you know? I managed a 7:25 which seems right. Yes, the smegma covered roads didn't help but neither did my exploding heart or lead filled legs. I should be able to do a bit better on this test in a few.

Thursday I had quite a bad accident at work and landed myself in the ER for the morning.

Whoops. All jacked up.
 I apparently was due, as it has been 23 years since my job has sent me, bleeding, to the hospital (although there were times in my 20's when I could have made the trip... but didn't because #stupid)
Anyway, I sustained a great blow to the face and earned myself my first ever CT and my first ever stitches. My brain is fine. That's all that matters. My jaw is jacked up and I can no longer eat anything other than mush. (but not broken. thank heavens.) My chin got stitches, and now I feel like I have a little blue beard which is creepy.
At the end of the day, when you walk away from a horse accident alive, you are happy. A few inches in either direction and I'd probably still be in the Hospital, or worse. It was a bit of a freak thing, so I can't give a good lecture on safety first or similar....
My Dad and I had a lovely morning in the ER, playing with the striker bed.(even in the ER I get bored easily..)  Eric brought food (which I couldn't eat, because chewing...) My Mom didn't get summoned to the Hospital because I never really had a major meltdown (I have a real issue with needing to go under the knife- avoided for the time being!!) But she made me soup and eggs and soft things. Everyone was glad that I was mostly in one piece.

I took Friday off because that's what one should do, after being in the hospital.
I ate soft foods and ibuprofen. 
Soft foods and my liquid diet.....

Saturday I went on a little baby run...
Wait for it....
Not exactly the right one, but we aren't gonna be picky at this point. So yes, we were upgraded to a 2017 model for our troubles and got a 2016. UGH.
The treadmill seems nice. Nicer than my face. There's gonna be nothing but slow ass running until I talk to my other Dr next week. (or maybe even no running. I'm not an idiot.)
I still could not eat other than frigging beer and coffee protein shakes and many healthy liquids.

Beer of the week, important part of #liquiddiet

One more run on Sunday, on the new treddy since it was a whopping 15 degrees out. I had a bit more fun during this run, as I was feeling somewhat better and played with some of the features.
I did a couple loops around some fjord in Norway. Pretty entertaining.

It's wicked dark, but this is my treadmill.
The weekly wrap up:
Miles run: 22.4
Other: 1 bike, 2 rounds of strength work
Trips to the hospital: 1
Duck sightings- ZERO
Low/High temps: 4/38
General feeling toward life: Mostly good but busted up face time was sucky. Feeling quite exhausted for a couple days post injury. Bad sleeping skills.
Beer of the week: Sebago whistle punk DIPA, a really pleasant and floral DIPA that still packs a punch. Nice hops, a bit of a throwback in today's world of super fruity/juicy IPA's.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The final week. Before the first week of actual training.

Last week (the week that ended on New Years) was the final week of the fall hiatus and I sure took advantage of it.

So much lazing around, eating cheese and bacon and cake.

Well... Not exactly. While it wasn't complete debauchery, I imagine it is also the final week of having 3 days off and only running 14 miles.

It also snowed an absolute crap ton.

Which meant a ton of work cleaning it up..

Too much snow
While a dedicated day of snow removal is good and all, I like structure, and am ready for some to return to my running life.

I have 15 weeks, which includes taper, to prepare for Boston. I schedule a 2 week taper so that is 13 weeks of actual training. One of those weeks will be a slack off week, where I take a massive cut back. I do not plan to schedule this for "week 3" as I, lazily, did for Hartford. Oops.

My plan does not really differ much from the past couple years of marathon training.Once I get into the thick of things,  I tend to plan a day of speed, one of hills, one of half easy/half base, a long run and a very very easy day.

In an ideal world I would keep up a fine regimen of strength and cross training.
Perhaps ride my bike, with great skill, a few days a week.
Plan my meals with macros. I hope macros have a high percentage of peanut butter.

In all likelyhood, none of those things will happen. Ain't nobody got time fo' macros.

What can I actually promise you, of fine reader??
An honest blog. You won't get any bullshit from me.
I also won't try to sell you things.
I'll fill you in on (per the requests) Ducks, food, grass, beer, my glorious outfits, all bobcat sightings and (everyone's favorite!!!!) "What I think about while running"
Yep. I'm gonna tell you. ALL about what I think about. LUCKY!!!
I'm also all kinds of out of shape right now. So there may be tales of struggle. REAL STRUGGLE.

Right, so that's it for now. I'm off to make some gains, have a protein shake and lift heavy weights.
(no. I am not. But I wanted to see if anyone actually reads to the end....)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year! 2016 recap.

Warning! This is a late 2016 recap. People who are on top of things had theirs done weeks ago.
Mine is here today. It is done before my taxes are, so it's still winning.

2016 was the year of the medals!! If Eric or I could find way to add a medal to the pile of loot, we did. (I think I finished the year with 17 or 18 medals. Looking at Instagram last week, I saw that some people have like, 60!!! Holy shit people, that's a crap ton of race money! And a lot of 5k's that give out medals, hahah.) But seriously. For me, this is a lot of bling.

The proof is in the picture below. While, obviously, I received only one medal at Boston, my little trophy wall deserves mention. #muchathlete

I got ultra creative and made my Dopey Challenge medals into magnets. (so maybe #muchartist!!)
I ran the New England double (VT City AND Hartford) for another 3 (well, 4, cause Eric and I made VT city a relay too! But then I went and lost that medal..)  (so... #muchfail?)

Finally we had Lumiere's Challenge to round out the year. PHEW. #MUCHdisney
Clearly a LOT of winning happening in our home. 
Medals, medals galore

Dopey was definitely a highlight of the year. The whole event was a lot more fun than I had anticipated, and the three of us had a really good time.
If/when we return to a Disney race it will be this one!
(as everyone knows, we returned for Lumeire's challenge in November. It was fun, but not on the same level.) Maybe it's because Andy wasn't there....

Dopes at Dopey!
Boston, and the lead up to the race, definitely fills in the #1 slot of 2016 racing.
My training was the best I have ever had.
My two lead up races (Hampton and Eastern States) were excellent.
Despite inconvenient race day temps, I ran smart, and finished strong and healthy.
There was nothing better than having a great group of friends there too. So much fun!
Add in the fact that it's also a fun family weekend and it can't be beat.
Boston weekend: #1 for 2016!!
The big winner

Hartford was good too, but in a different way.
I was so pleased to finally, FINALLY, chip a few minutes off the old 3:33:xx, which had been my go-to time for 2 years.
I also had the best 23 miles of any race, possibly in my running lifetime.
I did not have the most delightful training though. The heat, my busy schedule and generally feeling "blah" for the final 3 weeks got me down.
That being said, a 10 minute 2018 BQ time might balance out the general dislike.

Gritting my teeth at the Hartford finish
In general I felt that had a smart and solid year.
I claimed age group PR's in the 10k, 13.1, 26.2 and (I think) the 20 mile distance.
I raced two strong marathons and finished two others, just for fun.
I had two very dedicated and focused training cycles.
Eric and I ran some new races, and saw some new places (like Burlington, which I LOVED!)

This year I really enjoyed both training, and racing. I am comfortable with who I am as a runner, and with how I do my running. As with any sport it took me a while to get here, and I still have a lot to learn. I feel that I'm doing at least a little something right though. I hope to continue to be lucky enough to enjoy my hobby for many years to come.

I do not know how many miles I ran last year. At some point I will look.

In MUCH more important news....
In 2016, I also drank some very, very good beers.
Since good beers REALLY is what this blog is about, here are a few of my favorites. 

WINNERS. Like, real winners not just "here's your finishers medal" winners.
And just like that, it is 2017.
Today was the first day of Boston training.
This winter is shaping up to be a monster!
And guess what? Still no treadmill, or ANY sign of one! *shocking*