Wednesday, February 22, 2017

STORMPOCALYPSEMAGEDDON! And week 7 of Boston training.

Week 7 was absolutely jam packed with SNOW.

While we had tricky winters in both 2014 and 2015 this one really has been a bit above and beyond. Especially after last winter, which was essentially non existent (score!)

Over the course of 5.5 days we got about 3.5 feet of snow. Maybe more. Who keeps count once it's over your head??

The roads were a hot mess (and after this pic was taken, the snowbanks doubled in size.)

This is NOTHING compared to what we have now
On Monday I was trying to make the best of it with a bit of fun.

Snowbank leaping

Stuck the landing. And, am actually stuck.
By Thursday I had officially had it. There was more snow then you could shake a stick at. (what does that even mean? I believe I could shake a damn stick at this snow!!)

WTF. Up to my shoulders.
Thankfully, the 16 inches that fell from Wednesday to Thursday was the last of it. There was NO MORE ROOM for the fucking mess, and we were all just plain tired of it. *I was actually getting a touch salty about the whole situation. My lesson schedule goes to bits with so many snow days, and I actually hate not working. I was *this close* to a mega winter tantrum...* Hence, the end of the every-other-day-foot-and-a-half-of-snow party was well timed.

On Sunday (just before I hosted a big clinic with my coach, who flew in from West Palm) ALL THE SNOW fell off the riding arena roof. This was good timing, because horses hate being in there when it falls (#certaindeath) but wow, WOW, what a metric fuck ton of snow!!!!

I can almost touch the roof!!!
Clearly, ALL the running was done on the treadmill which was FINE. What a good winter to have a nice, new, fancy indoor running device!

I had some great workouts last week, despite being sore from snow moving and very grumpy from cabin fever.

My long run was a highlight, and I ran 17 completely uneventful miles while enjoying the convenience of a warm basement, easily reachable snacks and the quality entertainment that Once always brings.

Long run. Complete.
In addition to a totally decent long run I was also pleased with my hill repeats and 1200's (probably the final 1200's before mile repeats make an appearance.)

Hopefully (but I'm not really counting on it) that was winter's last hustle.

I have been shockingly content to get my workouts in in an indoor setting. However, it is a bit comfy and cozy, which may or may not be the best marathon training conditions! Bottom line, for the past couple weeks indoor training has been the ONLY option, and it sure beats taking time off. I'm thankful to have the luxury of treadmill time.

So, this week (that we are right smack dab in, since this blog is late af) has some excitement planned as Eric and I head to Boston for the weekend. While we aren't traveling for running, running will occur while we are there. I love running in different places (and having a couple days off from work!) so I'm excited.

Weekly stats:
Miles run: 45
Longest run: 17, more treadmill time
Other: 1 strength workout, moving 35 fuck tons of snow.
Wildlife sightings: I think the wildlife ran away during the storm.
Low/High temps: 13/40. Plus like 987 FEET OF SNOW, YO.
How am I feeling? Hungry. The hungry feeling has returned. Perhaps I have a tapeworm.
Beer of the week: This is so stupid. Since I was STILL stuck home, no new beers were obtained. RUDE.

Monday, February 13, 2017

More miles, and the Bradlowski's diet secrets REVEALED!

Ahhhhh February... Never a dull moment in the weather department.
As all of my Maine readers have noticed, today everyone is digging out from a substantial storm.
However, this is a recap of LAST week and talking about this weeks storm would be cheating.

Last week, some relative calm before storm after storm moved in.

So week six, what did we do other than move snow?
I was able to get a couple outdoor workouts in early last week, including speedwork. I prefer to do speedwork outside, for no reason other than it is more fun. I ran 4x1200 all at a 7:30 pace which I was quite pleased with.
From then.... Things got messy. 

It actually ended up being even worse than this...

I wasn't terribly excited about the possibility of doing both my Friday hills and Saturday long run inside.. As you can see, there really wasn't going to be an option. (we ended up getting about 10 inches on Thursday, 6 on Saturday and between Sunday and Monday another 16+)

My long run was fairly uninspired. I really was not feeling my best for the first 6 miles or so (ugh female issues..) I ended up toughing it out, and felt a bit better as the miles went along. Workouts like this are tough, because it would be awfully easy to just hop off the treadmill, or stop for a quick second (or a few minutes here and there....) I know that in the long run, a run like that is not going to be of any benefit, so I trudge along. However, I certainly did relax my pace and expectations since I was feeling sub par. I'm not crazy after all....
When things get super sucky, I just take it one mile at a time. I cut myself a little slack. Once I only had 4 miles to go, I knew I could finish and that was encouraging. I did eventually finish, and I felt alright. Hopefully, next week's long run feels a bit more pleasant.

16 miles inside.... Tricky.
Earlier this winter, when I was getting ready to start training seriously again I asked what you, my loyal 11 readers, would like to know more about (since I am such an interesting woman!!)

What Eric and I eat was of curiosity, and since he is a vegetarian and I am not, it is actually an interesting topic!!

First and foremost, it should be made clear that I am NO expert on health and nutrition! I slug beer, drink bourbon and occasionally toss entire donuts straight down my throat. We don't Whole 30 (good for you, those who do. To me, it doesn't seem like a sustainable lifestyle, but what do I know?) But we do try to eat a simple, balanced and fresh group of foods.

Our meals are based on two things. How we feel after eating them, and how easy they are. Neither of us enjoys feeling like garbage and we don't have hours each day to create gourmet meals. (So, not much/any fast food. And not many/any recipes from Mastering the art of French cooking.)

Eric is a real veggie, he doesn't have cheat days where he eats bacon, and he never has had meat of any sort (to the best of his knowledge.) I myself, while not a ravenous carnivore, enjoy steak and a good thanksgiving turkey. I did go through a phase when I was 14 of not eating meat, I was repulsed by the idea of eating muscles (I got over that... although seriously *yuck* haha.)

The NUMBER one question that we get (which will not shock ANYONE) is how on earth either of us, on a mostly plant based diet, could EVER be getting enough protein. *sigh* I know, it's hard to imagine that it could be done...It's actually quite easy, and with the quantities of eggs, beans, Greek yogurt, quinoa and such that we consume, we seem to be surviving. *barely* *send donuts*

Kale and chard with garlic and olive oil, avocado, and stuffed mushrooms. A standard dinner option.
Another misconception is that all we must eat are things like pastas, grilled cheese, french fries,  and fake meats.
While many of those things make an occasional appearance, it's very unusual to see these on the menu with much frequency.
So what do we eat regularly? Especially since I am not a short order chef!

We eat a lot (a LOT) of Mexican themed food. We stuff burritos (or bowls) with homemade spicy black beans, and a variety of other fillings such as sweet potato, quinoa, eggs, avocados, loads of garlicky spinach or kale, salsa and Greek yogurt.

We often substitute mushrooms as a "meat" and have a variety of sides, usually in the green leafy veg family. (we go through pounds of spinach a week. and avocados, as mentioned...)

When we do have pasta it's usually the after thought in the recipe. Our pasta meals are much heavier on the beans/greens/veggies than the pasta itself. I made a lot of nice homemade sauce when the ingredients are available, which is always tasty.
*and occasionally I just cook up a pot of pasta, heave in some artichokes, olives, lemon and feta and we woof it right down. try it, pro tip...*

I LOVE to make grain or rice based salads, which are all seriously filling meals. Quinoa pairs so nicely with grapes, nuts, beans and oil and vinegar dressing. Wild rice salad is delicious with chopped kale or shredded brussles sprouts, beans, shredded carrots and creamy vinaigrette.
Even easier, is to throw some diced avocado, garbanzo beans, scallions, feta and lime into a dish and call it good. Easy. (there are a TON of good recipes on the internet.) Salads don't have to be limited to lettuce....

Anyways. I'm really not much of a food blogger but it is interesting to see how different people eat. And this is how the Bradlowski family does food! 

One of my big goals for the year was/is to waste less, and thus far we have been doing very well! Meal planning is pretty essential to this, and it's a skill that I am working on improving. I'm getting a lot better at freezing things right away, and planning a week of meals with similar ingredients. (I know that for some of you, this is second nature... Not for me, but I'm working on it!)

Like I said before, we aren't "super clean" perfect eaters. Who the hell is?? And why!? Live a little.
We wrap up every day with a couple cookies or chocolate squares. As you may have noticed, I wrap up every day with a beer. We are pretty much guaranteed to have a pizza a week (home made, so better than Amato's!) We have cheese and crackers every day. When we eat out, we get whatever and have zero worries. We both really like Holy Donuts, and Eric loves oreo's so much that we never buy them! (and I like caramel creams so much that I buy one bag a year, eat it in like, 3 days and then don't want one for another year. #sohealthy)

Another fun fact. I don't really eat breakfast foods. For breakfast I have a slice of toast (which is pretty breakfastey) and then good things, like dinner leftovers. Weird, but true.

So there you have it, how Eric and I fuel our ELITE athlete training :-)

And here is the weekly wrap up:

Weekly stats:
Miles run: 40.1
Longest run: 16 ON the TREADMILL WOOF
Other: 2 strength workouts, snow removal, chipping my horse trailer out of an ice block.
Wildlife sightings: 36 wild turkeys, faffing around in the street
Low/High temps: 1/46. It was mostly freezing and snowing and a suckfest.
How am I feeling? SO over winter. And sore because I fell down my outdoor steps.
Beer of the week: I'm still drinking last weeks beers because who can go out when it's stupid snowing EVERY DAMN DAY????????????

Monday, February 6, 2017

Mid Winter Classic 10 Miler, in which I make it to the start on time.

After another good week of training, I was looking forward to the Mid Winter classic. The weather was looking promising, and I was not disappointed to be doing the majority of my long run in a "race" situation, with other people. Hooray for friends to share the struggle with!

Infamously, several years ago, I completely missed the start of this race due to poorly timed conclusion of my pre-race-miles.
Doing this once was fine, and pretty funny, and has gone down in history as one of my finer moments. However, I didn't want it to become a *thing*.
Hence, I hustled out for extra miles PRONTO, the moment Eric and I arrived in Cape Elizabeth. I ran 5 miles, I didn't even stop to pee (lines, SUCH lines for the potty!!), I took ZERO pics with the many friends I saw. But DAMNIT I made it to the start!!
(I regretted my no pee decision for the next 90 minutes.)

Proof: I made it to the start ON TIME!! #alreadywinning
At the start I met a super nice lady who reads my blog. I believe that makes 10 people who look forward to the junk I spew onto the internet. When she told me she was a reader I believe I apologized. I should probably stop doing that and START offering my autograph, or similar. Either way, I love meeting people and exchanging stories about random running things.*Hi Lauren!* (I think your name was Lauren...?) (I am confused because I had a conversation with a Lauren who I know. And then, new Lauren. So many people named Lauren.)

On to the excitement.
My plan was to use the actual race as an "energetic" training/long run. I was shooting for anything between an 8:40 and 9:00 pace. I felt pretty confident that I would be able to hit the faster pace, since the crowd is a great motivator. I was very strict with myself. There was to be NO racing, and no hitting some random/junk pace like 8:10's that would do nothing but to ruin the following week's training.

I started towards the back, in what we will call the *bodily functions* zone. A robust amount of spitting, snot rocketing, and loogie hocking was enjoyed by all. One guy was literally farting like a tuba, which made me laugh out loud (I am 10...)

The crowd thinned out a little (it's never too bad here) and I think I ran in the same group of people for the majority of the race. Not the farting guy, though. He, encumbered by endless gas, faded after the first hill.

Chugging along at mile 5 in my strangely clashing attire
I set my watch to keep "average" pace, and kept a closer eye than normal on the numbers. At the half way point, despite great restraint, my pace was just under 8:30's.
I mulled this over for a bit, knowing that any faster would clearly be a mistake. I evaluated my legs (feeling good) my breathing (relaxed) and my mental state (no more questionable than normal) and concluded that, as long as I did not go ONE second faster that all would be well.

From mile 5-6 was the only seriously miserable stretch of windy road. It was blowing something crazy, and I was quite happy to leave that ugly mile behind. It was really not too cold, but if the wind had maintained that intensity I would certainly have become exhausted. I also really had to pee at this point, and couldn't really find an appropriate place to drop trou and go for it.

Thankfully, the last couple miles actually had a vigorous tail wind, which was excellent. Push me to the finish, yo!!

The final stretch to the finish was full of wind and bullshit. Hello. WRONG.
However, the finish came up quick and I ran through it and straight to the bathroom because having to pee had become a crisis!! Coming in CODE YELLOW!!!

Happy to have made it through. Also, so neon.
My official finishing time was 1:23:43, an 8:23 pace (I swear my watch is jacked, it was showing me 8:30's with confidence!) I felt like I had run a long run (duh) but I was not exhausted, sick, or miserable. An 8:23 pace was dangerously close to junk mile zone, and I concluded that I would know the next day if I had made a critical error. 8:30 seemed ok, 8:23 seemed risky...
(The day after report is in: my pace was acceptable. I actually feel much better today than I did last week after 13. YAY!)

Eric came quickly along, as he ran swiftly and finished hot on my heels.
We had to skedaddle pretty much instantly, which meant that we didn't get to enjoy much socializing. It was still great to see our friends, even if it was brief!

Home we went. We ate much food, and watched the most insane Super Bowl in History.

I re-hydrated with two amazing beer choices.
TWO beers of the week!
HOLY crap, these are must have beers you guys!
Lord Hobo's DIPA is one of the best I have had, hoppy, juicy and it's a 9% so it is a sipper not a chugger.
To the right is Bissell's Angels with filthy souls, a limited release porter. It is super good (and this year's batch is far superior to last year's, in my opinion.) It's a little chocolatey, with a tiny hint of maple and coffee. Good stuff.

Anyway! Another week in the books and a good week it was.

Weekly stats:Miles run: 39
Longest run: 15
Other: Monday Chiropractic, 2 strength workouts.
Wildlife sightings: 12 turkeys, 1 pig, several horses, a donkey and the most ENORMOUS Great Dane EVER. Luckily, he is behind a fence and I don't need to sic the ladies from the town office on his unrestrained ass.
Low/High temps: 8/36. It was, overall, colder. One small storm. $100 more dollars spent on sanding.
How am I feeling? Good but poor because of all the sanding and my expensive beer habit.
Beer of the week: Lord Hobo Consolation Prize AND Bissell's Angels With Filthy Souls

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Boston Training Week 4, Poetry and Plans.

Somehow, week 4 is already over.
How is this possible?? (because, time marches on. It's not complicated.)

To solidify my position as the worst blogger EVER, I have nothing exciting to report.
I'm gonna have to start making shit up. (or not. boring is ok.)
The days are getting longer, and I am able to hit the roads most days after work as long as I don my Christmas light vest.  So that's exciting....??

Blinky flashey vest. Fashion.
Oh hang on, I can totally create some drama!!

Last Tuesday we had a yucky storm. About 4 inches of loose, icy granular snow piled up, and it was really hard to walk in (poor little ME!!!) At the end of the day, my calf and shin were pretty sore. Rather than attempt my workout, I took a rest day and iced and stretched as one should.

 I said to Eric "If I feel better tomorrow, I will make sure to be extra smug on the internet about "listening" to your body..... healing up... being the first person ever to take a rest day.."

I know everyone reads here for groundbreaking info.
I will now bring you a profound training suggestion this evening, in rhyme.


I seem to have recovered nicely, as I took my own sage advice.

While last week might not be the kind of thing that proves interesting for my readers, it was a meaningful week of training. Lots of little #gains, and (for sure) many #macros eaten.
I was pleased to have another mild week, and only to be stuck indoors one day. Win.
Oh, and we know where I get ALL my macros.

The usual way to get macros.
Perhaps the coming weeks will be more exciting?

Upcoming is the Mid Winter classic 10 miler. A "race" that I will be using 100% as a supported long run. I have not yet forgotten the miles, and miles and MILES of solo running prior to Hartford. I'm ready to enjoy running with company, and with people passing me little cups of water.
The MWC is often freezing, snowing, shitty. (and Eric has a cold, so it might be freezing, snowing, shitty, SICK??? WOOF.) It is a rolling course, and the race hosts a good number of very fast middle distance runners. Don't try to chase them. And don't try to bandit, or accidentally borrow your friend's bib. They frown on this.

In early March I am considering the Hampton Half, a race that falls at a perfect time to push the pace a bit, without worrying that you're cashing in your race chips too early. I haven't yet signed up though... I definitely wish for another supported long run (and theoretically, this will fall at the end of a major cut back week. Fresh legs!) I'm not sure why I am hemming and hawing, I love the race, the location, the beer.... Who knows. I'll decide soon. 

I plan to run (as in: I have signed up for) the Eastern States 20, in late March. I have completed this race twice, and it is a wonderful pre Boston workout. The challenge? I usually find myself peaking in fitness, and with such flat terrain it is hard to run easy. But, hard though it may be, it is possible. I find this race to be a great morale boost at a time where you might need a lift. It's bone flat, beautiful, you're usually running tired, and usually manage to hit some good paces.
(it's the opposite of the Derry 16, which will make you feel like an ass hat.)

I would not mind a late Feb half marathon to give me (another) run with other humans. I have yet to find a suitable possibility. Feel free to throw out suggestions. 

So there's my road map to Boston. Hopefully the weather cooperates and I manage to avoid the winter plagues that are marching around....

Weekly stats:
Miles run: 34, as planned.
Longest run: 13.
Other: Hmmm, not a great week here. One strength workout. Snow shoveling. Bleh.
Wildlife sightings: 36 turkeys, 2 piliated woodpeckers, 1 cow, 1 cat, your mom
Low/High temps: 22/43. For January? Mild AF.
How am I feeling? Like things are progressing as one would expect. There are few "surprises" in marathon training but it is nice to feel like the training is progressing as planned. One sore leg day. Smug day off.
Beer of the week: Old Stock 2016, super good. I think it would age beautifully, if only I could keep it long enough (that being said, I have an Old Stock 2010 in my fridge...)