Monday, November 25, 2013

Screw off, January... And a blog first for me!

Ugh. Winter is here.

It has been sneaking in for the past week or so but has been mostly easy to ignore. Last weekend we had two days in the 50's which really took the sting out of the chilly conditions and early setting sun.

But this week has been a whole new (less than stellar) can of worms.

Kids, the shit has hit the fan. We have had cold temps (and I mean, January cold), high (like 40MPH) winds, enough snow to cover the ground (so not much by Maine standards) and the constant problem of the sun setting at approximately 2:45 in the afternoon.

Gross. I hate you stupid one inch of snow!

I am pleased to say that I have been very busy at work. Which is outside. In the cold.
I start early and finish after the sun goes down. It has been pretty god damned difficult finding motivation to workout. And that makes me grouchy! Whaaaaa!

I'm not gonna lie. I have hit a small slump. This happens around this time every year and it shall pass. I have a profound dislike of being cold and uncomfortable and I find that I really suck at acclimating to the sudden drop in temps. It's pretty hard to find time to run during the day right now and I'm not quite ready to make friends with my treadmill just yet. However, last week I was pumped to finish working at a decent time and hit the road for an hour run at what felt like an absurdly early hour... Only to have it get pitch black dark on me!!! Luckily I was almost home but that is NOT safety first. I need one of those Ragnar required glow in the dark vests, as being struck head on by a truck is not an ideal way to leave this world.  It was scary stuff. Basically, I thought a zombie was gonna sneak out of the night and eat my face off.

This was like.... 4:30 PM. Wow! NIGHT!!

Luckily, I really have not missed any workouts (well, today will be a different story as I was not finished working in time to make it to Yoga....)  The real reason that I have not missed any workouts is that I have only *really* been back at it for about 10 days. I had a good rest! I think I might keep on resting and hibernate for the winter!

In the big picture this is no big deal and I will figure out a way to make it work, I will soon be pumped to be working hard again (and not just working hard eating Hershey bars and drinking beer) and will have found my mojo and killer attitude.

Well it isn't beer but it was delicious.
Last year at this time business was pretty shitty (which was shitty, obvs!) However it did mean that I was done working most days around 2 or 3 and could then devote the rest of my day to amazing athletics. It was great (except that I had no coin!) I enjoyed ALL the nice, outdoor, daylight working out hours!!! WHOOT!
With my schedule being jam packed right now (which is awesome, obvs) I'm rarely finished working before 5:30. Dark-dark-dark-dark- DARRRRRKKKKK FML!!!! (dudes, I'd rather stress about how to find motivation to trudge thru an evening workout then stress about how to pay this weeks bills. these are first world problems at their finest, yo!) Basically, I'm spoiled and whiney. End of story.

Which brings us to a very special moment. Being that I am the worlds worst blogger I rarely ask questions of my readers. So this is the first! Fuck yeah!

So internet friends.... When you are usually the captain of motivation, the one people turn to for a plan of how to stay on track with workouts, and suddenly you get hit with the BLAH's what is your remedy?
Fix me please!

A PS to this: Not 2 seconds after I posted today I read This and was glad to see it isn't just me! We all want/need a lazy season!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

My favorite things!! And a repcap of what I have been up to lately.

I planned to take one solid week off post NYCM. I started promising this to myself/other people/the running Gods sometime in August and I'm actually doing it. Not only am I doing it but I am extending it to 10 days. Maybe 11. Maybe a damn bakers dozen!
Catching my typical post marathon season cold has contributed to my sedentary lifestyle but I certainly know that I was due (overdue) for a break!
My current plan is to go on a get fat and lazy quick training program and to have a certain amount of cake and wine that I need to consume daily then log in my training peaks. As well as my hours spent sitting (which are few, sadly...)
Ahhhhh, all the spare time gives me phenomenal ideas.

What have I done with all my spare time??
-Well, I have worked a lot which is hardly restful.
-I have kept up with the laundry folding for the first time since May.
-I have had time to catch up on blogs and internet crapola.
-I have been watching The Walking Dead (fun stuff) (late to the party) (and why are ALL the characters so dumb...? why do they even survive one season??)
-I have been sleeping. The post marathon exhaustion and being sick have put me to sleep very early.
-I have been eating mass quantities of veggies- while this hardly seems exciting I rarely dare to eat lots of fiber while running high mileage. So it has been rather delightful.

Veggies.... Mmmmmmmmm!
I have also been reminiscing since I am have almost made it to the 4 year anniversary of my first step of running! Shit, I'm old.

One thing I can attest to is that in the past 4 years I have become (for better or worse) one of those runners who puts legit thought into gear. My clothing has stood the test of time- for the most part my favorites have been favorites for the long haul. I tend to avoid fads, and the "next big thing" and stick with what works and things I feel comfortable recommending to my friends and family.  As far as the "extra" stuff- it has only been the last 6 months or so that I have become more satisfied with my nutrition. Read on for more details on that...

Long gone are the days when I could eat a handful of pretzels, throw on my 5 year old hybrid hiking shoes and purple yoga pants and happily run along.... *sigh, nostalgia*

A side note, I might be the only one who feels this way but I rarely put much stock into other bloggers "gear reviews" mainly because most of it seems to be given to that blogger to review or some kind of sponsored post. (ok, maybe it's just a few of the "big" bloggers who do this weekly/almost daily but I don't hustle to take their advice... mostly because they seem to rave about one brand then "overnight" change loyalties. it confuses me.)
All of the gear I recommend was purchased with my own hard earned cash. Henceforth, all opinions are my own (and therefore are the best opinions you will find on the internets ;-))

Everyone knows my duds consist mainly of Oiselle. This was the case even before I made it onto their team! I have some of their shorts and capris from wayyyyy back when and they have held up for hundreds of miles, tons of washings and general abuse. My favorite fall top is the Flyte long sleeve, it's an awesome running shirt for chilly days and cute enough to wear on a date. Which I do.

My favorite top. And the newest strappy bra, which is absolute perfection!!!!
I wore smartwool socks until this past April when I started having a helluva time with blistering and foot chaffing- ugh so nasty! I still like them for short runs but they are a big, huge NO for anything over 10. My long run socks are now the Balega Hidden's and they are the Bee's knees. 2 marathons and multiple long's and no problems. They are quite incredible.

I run in calf sleeves unless it is 110 degrees out and I'm not thrilled with any of the options (looking for suggestions but am not hopeful!) Zensah's are short enough but too loose. Pro Compressions used to be perfect but now they are running very large (as are their socks- I'm a once happy customer turned unhappy) 2XU's are the perfect amount of squeeze but are a bit too long and really bug the back of my knee after a while (like, 16 or more) CEP is ALMOST perfect but the ankle area is itchy- and I'm like a little kid who has sensory overload, forget it! (in all fairness, I wonder if I just have a flukey pair?) UGH. I have more trouble with my dumb calf sleeves than anything else!!

Y'all know I'm a Mizuno fan to the core. the Wave 16's have been my go to shoe all season and I have nothing but excellent things to say about them. They are super light, just enough cushion, they don't slip, slide or make my fussy heels hurt and they are so pretty...! I am really enjoying the Sayonara's as well- such a fun shoe for speed work or shorter races. (if you call a Half short) I REALLY REALLY want to try the Prophecy, they sound absolutely amazing... But at just over $200 they are going to have to stay on the wishlist for now. Bottom line though- I've suggested Mizunos to all my up and coming runner friends and they took my advice, for the happiest feet on the planet! I seriously doubt that I will ever run in any other shoe, they have performed admirably for me over the years.
And no, I do not work for Mizuno. Bummer.

A few pairs that I have lying around. Some have been delegated to barn activities!
Missing at least a half dozen pairs, I gave them to the barn "kids" this summer.
Nothing says love like giving a teenager a pair of kicks with 500 miles on 'em!
I use a Garmin. I have a Road ID, as everyone should. Except for that, not too many bells and whistles. I recover in whatever compression I have on hand (as previously discussed, I have a lot), I foam roll with a cheap-o Wal-Mart roller, and that's recovery in a nutshell.

My very fussy belly has caused me much grief over the years. This time last year it occurred to me that I might never be able to find something suitable to eat during a long run, and was going to have to suffer either with extreme GI upset or the horrible bonking that comes at mile 16 of a marathon when you have not been able to get any calories in. I won't go thru the whole boring list, but I had tried freaking everything. (literally. everything.)
I. Was. Desperate.
I was having moderate luck with packets of baby food (the barfing stopped) but my belly still got really crampy, and sloshy with the lack of substance. Not to mention I would have to work at sucking down a huge pouch of that stuff for a meager 50-60 calories. So depressing.
And then, the magic day arrived. I bought a Picky Bar on a whim to eat during a long run. I cut it up into chunks, tossed it in a baggie and snacked on it along the way.
Fucking miracle. Complete perfection. Problem solved.
Andddddddd... I thought it was a fluke! So the next week off I went ton a random 18 miler and same story. I basically fell over and cried happy tears.
So people, do you have a crabby stomach? Or do you just like a delicious (and nutritious! and calorie dense! and chocolatey!) snack, get these. NOW. Sometimes I eat them just for fun because they are so very tasty.
And no, I do not work for Picky Bars either which is too bad really....

I purchase in BULK.
So that, in a nutshell is my gear wrap up from 2013. With the notable addition of picky bars I'd say it is very similar to what I was using/wearing in 2012 (I'm a creature of habit, evidently!)
(now, if I was a real blogger this would have been a "my fav things" giveaway. no such luck! I'm keeping alllll my things for myself!)


Monday, November 11, 2013

October Recap, so late it isn't even ok!!

It was crazytown up in herrrr all thru the month of October. Sometime during the middle of August Eric and I looked at the list of dates we were planning to be busy and basically said "shit."
The good news is that we got through it and it was fun!
Oh, on a side note- my recovery post NYCM was a breeze. Since I never "pushed" the pace I was quite mobile the day after and feeling very good by late on Tuesday. Apparently I have turned into one of those asshats who can run a 3:35 like it is NBD. That is just rude.... I kinda hate myself right now!

So, what did I do in October?

Miles Run: 104 which included a zero week #score

Races run: 2

BQ's: ONE! (also, one marathon PR. cha-ching!!!)
Number of races where it poured on me: ONE. See below.

Smuttfest slogfest

Number of times that I randomly placed 2nd in a half marathon: 1.... which may never happen again?
But hell, I'll certainly take it! I could get used to that top dog thang. Clearly I'm famous now.

Oh the FAME! The FORTUNE! ...what...?

Number of times I puked on my shoes: ZERO. Damn I'm making this a habit!

Number of horse shows attended 4 days post PR marathon. One, ouch.

Recycling pictures. A true sign of lazy blogging...
Number of trips to massage therapist and chiropractor: 4 (it clearly could be worse!)

Core/Crosstraining: Fuck that. Oh I'm lying, I actually made it to yoga on a semi regular basis. I promise that after my post insanity break that I will recommit to strength and all that crap. Blah blah.

Now that we are well into November I've had a bit of time to think about how nuts-o it was in October. I actually kinda enjoyed it and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. I don't think that marathons that close together make for an excellent second attempt but I was no worse for the wear which is nice.
I've had a few days off since and I am enjoying a little break! I am also looking forward to getting back into the swing of things for the winter season though. However, history has taught me that for every serious training cycle you need to chill out for a while if you want to stay healthy. so that is what I'm up to (for the moment....)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hey! I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 26.2! (part 2!)

It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters!!!!
Or runners slash hobos... Oh yeah!

4AM. It was go time.
I had slept quite well and felt very relaxed as I moved thru my normal pre race routine. Get dressed, make and pace food, drink a few inches of coffee and some water, put on ALL THE CLOTHES to keep out the very chilly weather.

Eric and his Aunt Mare were kind enough to get up at half past ass o'clock with me and drive me to Giant Stadium where there was bus transport to the stop. This was a piece of cake, I jumped out of the car, got right on a bus and we were off!
We hit some truly remarkable traffic in the last few miles of the trip. Since I do not know the lay of the land very well it is hard for me to say what caused this, other than the obvious- 50,000 runners all trying to get to the start! I absolutely was not complaining about the delay as it meant more toasty warm bus time. It was chilly (about 43) and there was a steady wind blowing, with some stronger gusts from time to time. So, not terrible by any stretch but not the worlds greatest day for an outdoor picnic with 50 thousand of your closest pals!

Eventually (around 7:20) we arrived, disembarked and went through some serious security. Compared to the fairly relaxed feel at Boston this was a big change (thank you!) They gave you a clear bag for your things, you went thru airport like security screening, cops, the military, bomb sniffing dogs, helicopters everywhere (and a friend in the know mentioned that what we did not see what really the stuff keeping us safe. wow.) I have no problem with extra security and felt very safe!

I was in the orange village and it was quiet and peaceful for exactly 0.2 seconds and then everyone and their brother arrived. Even though I had a couple hours until race time it went quickly. The organization was top notch, getting into the corrals was easy, it didn't really feel like much time at all until we were heading to the bridge to get the party started! During this time, my feet had frozen solid but otherwise I was ok. I highly recommend overdressing, bringing a small blanket and plenty of handwarmers.

The start was really exciting and even though it was really windy on the bridge the sun was coming out and turning the day into a beautiful one. My plan was to maintain a reasonable and maintainable pace for the first half and then either step it up or back it down depending on how I felt. Solid plan, right there. Immediately off the Verrazano there was a taste of things to come- about 50 drummers playing away on the side of the road. Incredible! And loud.

Security was tight.
The first 5K- Just trying to warm up the feet. I believe I ran the 1st 5K in 25:01. Pretty maintainable speed.

The first 10K of the race was just crazy! I never expected Brooklyn to be so jam packed full of excited spectators (1st timer here...) At that point the weather was just great though so people were out in droves, there was music around every corner, the energy was amazing and it was enough to keep my mind off my funky feeling cold feet. I can see how it is easy to get too pumped and go way too fast thru here! Two things on my side though were my cold toes and the wind- while it certainly was not overwhelming there was a constant headwind which made running a conservative pace feel much more difficult than it was. I finally warmed up around mile 5 and peeled off all my extra clothing, and braced myself to get super sweaty.

It never happened.

Thru 10K in about 48 minutes. I had warmed up. I already felt minor aches from my upper hamstring but I had expected that.

Around mile 10 I was still feeling pretty good. Definitely not in the effortless, miles flying by way that I felt at Smuttynose but things were decent.  At this point it also began to get cloudy, the breeze took on a more frigid feel and a few drops of rain fell here and there. And I basically froze my face off. Hands, arms, thighs- damn cold. But better that then 95 degrees and dying so I put it out of my head and concentrated on getting to 16 where Eric and his family were waiting. I ate some picky bars, drank a little water, and thought warm thoughts. I knew that before mile 16 my goal was to get to the halfway point and evaluate how I was feeling.

I made it to the half in 1:43-ish. Faster than it felt. Legs definitely not having an easy day.

The Queensboro Bridge is my own personal Heartbreak Hill. I had no idea how tough it was going to be, I had no idea how eerily quiet it was, I had not a clue that it is made of the hardest surface known to man. It made me want to cry. I started having knee pain, foot pain, ankle pain. My hamstrings cramped up multiple times. I could not believe how stupid that stupid bridge was.
As I came closer to the end I started to hear something and at first was sure it was traffic. The noise grew steadily louder, and louder, and as we reached the end of that accursed bridge and ran around the corner I realized it was the crowds on 1st. The noise literally HIT me and took me by immense surprise. Over the din I heard Eric and Family shouting to me and caught a glimpse of them thru the utter mayhem. I was so glad to have the distraction of the enormous crowd because with the amount of pain I was in, at a smaller race I might have walked. No way did I want to have to admit to THAT though!

I had made it to the 16 mile point in 2:08. I wished to die.

I like getting to the point where there are only 10 miles to go. I must admit though, that these were not an easy 10 for me. I decided (per my game plan) to ease up a bit and see if things felt better. Not one part of my legs felt good at this point and nothing I did gave me any relief. So, as any legit runner would I said "suck it up, buttercup" and kept on running. Shockingly, my pace did not falter too much in the second half although I clearly slowed down somewhat it was not a huge embarrassing disaster.

After 16 my thought was on getting to 20 since my mindset is always "anyone can do a 10K!" It felt like 16-20 took a really, really long time.
But I made it to 20 in 2:41 My pace was slipping but I felt like even if the last 10K took an hour I'd still finish a minute over my goal time. So, still no disaster!

You know what WAS a disaster!!!??? Those damn last 4 miles. They went on, and on and on!!! This course is harder than anyone gives it credit for (thank heavens for the crowds- without them it would be kinda no fun!) My legs were SCREAMING!!! I just wanted to be finished and never run another step ever, ever again. I saw Eric and Fam at mile 24.5 when I was shuffling along in the most zombie like way imaginable. They said I looked great. They LIE!

Look at my FACE. I'm like "fuck this!"

But then I see Eric and Family and I'm like "WHEEEEE I LOVE RUNNING!"

There was no way that I could kick it up for the finish (or even muster a smile for the camera.) I finished, stopped, put my hands on my knees and groaned for about 10 minutes. Or more like 5 seconds because the medics yell at you to keep moving! Knowing that all my race pics were going to look like I was near death I snagged a finisher picture (smart move) then I did a 2 mile death march to meet Eric. This was not fun, not fun at all. I actually cried a little because I hurt like I had been hit by a train.
But I finished, in 3:35:57. Not my fastest, not my slowest. Exactly what I had planned on.

I do look pretty darn good. *humblebrag*

Once Eric found me I was shivering violently even though a super nice stranger had given me a hat and gloves. (dear stranger, I know I thanked you at the time but that was the best thing anyone could have done for me!!) Eric zipped a sweatshirt around me rendering my arms trapped, and meaning that he had to pour water down my throat when I was thirsty. Hah! With not an empty taxi to be found we proceeded to walk 20 blocks (yeah....) to a hotel room that our friends had so I could take the hottest shower ever. OMG. Amazing. Life saving!!

NYCM Finisher!!! In a warm hotel!
It took me a couple hours before I felt human again but once I began to recover I felt great.
It wasn't an easy race and October wasn't a restful month! It was completely worth it though, this might have been a once in a lifetime experience and certainly is one I feel fortunate to have had.

Eric and I headed out for burgers and to have a look at times square on post running legs. There were many people walking around with medals, and lots of finishers coming back (freezing cold!) adorned in the orange ponchos. It was so much fun!

Very shortly after we sat down for more food and a beer we heard from our friends who had finished too! They walked (gimped) to find us and we celebrated our success and running prowess! There is nothing more amusing than sharing race war stories and we did just that. a really perfect way to finish up the day!

Hahaha! Finished! ....thank heavens....
And now, just one more thing to wrap it all up.

Here it is!!! The sign that inspired my greatness! Thank you random stranger!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hey! I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 26.2! (part one)

Thanks to a brilliant sign that I saw somewhere along the course, this entire 2 part race recap might be dedicated to Taylor Swift. Apparently I am a 15 year old girl with troubles in love....? After I saw the sign that, if nothing else, inspired the title of my blog today, I continued to sing that song for miles and miles and miles. Not really a bad thing, to be quite honest.

Anyway, I digress. Nothing new there.

My Fall race schedule reached an peak of insanity this past weekend when I headed to NYC to run the marathon. YAY!!!!
Despite knowing that achieving a fast race was doubtful I felt good in the days leading up to the trip, I was not nervous at all and was looking forward to the adventure with much gusto.

My loaded up race bags and my lucky charm cheetah.

We arrived in NJ where we stayed with Eric's family, to some of the nicest, warmest weather that we have had in weeks! What a lovely surprise. It's always great to stay with family because we are so well taken care of (thanks guys!!)
The excellent weather continued into the next day. There is nothing I like more than walking around on a nice day (this might have been a bad thing...)

We headed off into the city pretty early as we had quite a few things to do. I headed out the door first thing for a few shake out miles then got down to business.
My request was to take the ferry since I had not done that before, and I'm a geek who likes to see new places from all angles. I immediately decided that the seas were too high for my liking but I was brave and managed not to get seasick (reason #1 why I am not a pirate...)

High seas. Amazing skyline.

While walking to our Oiselle brunch date we went on a small detour thru Central Park to take a look at the finish line and take in the final 0.2 of the course (hilly.) I was pretty excited to get a look at the finish since at the end of a race I usually am too depleted to notice, or care!

Ohhhhh yay! The finish line!!!
The next stop was brunch with a large number of Oiselle ladies. So many, in fact, that is was impossible to say hi to everyone but I tremendously enjoyed the company of the woman I chatted with. We enjoyed some serious food and talked serious race strategy (like winning, duh...)
Incase anyone had forgotten how I fail at subtlety and coolness here is a good story to remind you... We walked in and who do I see but Kate Grace, who is one of my favorite runners and is pretty much my superhero. "Oh MY GOD!!!!! I squealed like the silly fangirl that I am "You are SO FAMOUS and I LOVE you!!!!!!" Yes, way to keep it cool Sara, way to keep it cool...... *sigh* She was incredibly nice though and posed for pics which made my day! I'll try to develop a more mature and chic attitude for famous athlete meetings in the future (this is a lie.)

Ahhhhh! My hero!!!!
Post brunch we caught a cab to the Expo, and were able to get in and get my bib much more easily than we had hoped for (lots of dire warnings about big crowds had us a little concerned!)

All signed in and ready to win a marathon! Oh, wait...
I am a huge expo fan so when I end up at a giant race with a big expo I really enjoy walking around and taking a look at everything (another great way to rest those legs!! ...not...) I tend to find some sweet deals and today was no exception, I scored the final pair of Wave 16's in the house (Mizuno for the win!), snagged new compression sleeves, found a shirt in my size on sale, and snagged the last xs pullover in the entirety of expo land. Go me!

Yeah I'm that girl who takes pics with her lucky charm. Admit it, you're jealous of my coolness!
After that, it was clearly time for food (which required a bit of walking) and then in an absurd stroke of luck we were able to locate one of my BEST friends up in Times Square! (a bit more walking...) The walk was completely worth it as she and I have not been within 100 miles of each other in months, then find ourselves in the city on the same day. What are the odds? It was awesome to catch up with her, get swept along in a sea of 60,000 other walkers as we abled down the street, then I scooted away as she was about to bring her kiddo into Toys R us (terror) A quick but excellent visit!

Wisely, at this point we decided to hit the road and roll on back to NJ. We went back to the Ferry terminal where I took a moment to show off my fabulous race swag! (and yes, the seas were still mighty high on the Hudson...)

$75 well spent. I am quite fond of my new pull over!!

We enjoyed a large family pasta dinner, I ate all the kids Halloween candy and proceeded to head to bed, with plans to get up at the ass crack of dawn.

And yes, this is a cliffhanger. To be continued!!!