Revving Up

Happy Sunday, my friends!

It is a new week, and it has been around 3 months since I last posted. A lot has happened, so let’s catch up.

  1. My sister is through chemo and will have surgery in two weeks. She’s in high spirits, all things considered, and has seen significant improvement in the size of the tumor. We are crossing our fingers the tumor is dead and the chemo worked like it was supposed to. She had very little trouble with the chemo – other than the expected tiredness and occasionally having a hard time remembering things, but all that seems to be getting better for her. I am so proud of how she dug in deep and used her feisty fighty little Irish attitude. This trait we share has served us well in times of need (and, I must say, kind of a cornerstone for this running habit of mine…), and though I take a lot of heat for it in times outside of need, I’m grateful we both have it in times like this, so I wouldn’t trade it for all the world. I’m so proud of her and she’s my hero in more ways every day.
  2. I finished two more half marathons in two more states, NJ and MA, bringing my total now to half marathons in 16 states (I’ve lost count of how many, but over 20 half marathons total now). I drove to both, which were fun adventures in New England this spring. I absolutely love New England, and I would love to do more half marathons there. The coastal towns, especially: Newport, Monmouth, Boston – all just gorgeous and quaint towns with awesome people. I can’t wait to go back. Although the races this spring were not fast for me, they were both great fun, I loved both towns and the people there, and I will write posts on them shortly.
  3. Because of the great experience I had in the NJ half, I signed up for the NJ full for next year. Unfortunately, though, they moved the date of it, so I’m thinking about switching to the half and just doing a local full instead in the spring. Though… I did like the course for the half, so I’m not sure if I want to change it because it could mean a better experience… we’ll see. Apparently, this race had a positive impact on me!
  4. I’m planning to train for a local fall full, but we’ll see how well the training goes before I totally commit to it. I should start training for it in the next couple of weeks. If I don’t end up doing an official full, I’ll just follow the training plan twice like I did for my first full.
  5. I’m still running and still regimented about it, sorta. I’m at around 30 miles a week this month (except for the first week of June when my schedule was beyond crazy and I only managed 9 miles). A lot, a lot, a lot of treadmill miles still – more than I’d like – but treadmill miles > no miles, so I’ll *try* not to complain too much. I’m still getting one long a week (1:30:00 or more – I did 1:45:00+ yesterday), one speed interval (which are short, 2:00 intervals now, but I’m gradually adding to them) and at least one hearty tempo run (at or below 8:30 or target marathon pace). Any other run in the week will likely be an easy recovery or a second tempo-ish run. When I start my training, though, I’ll have one long, one speed, one tempo and the fourth will be a hill repeat or second tempo, depending on the schedule with the kiddos. The 5th run (if there is one – I might swap this one out for a cross-train activity like spin or swim) will be the easy, lower mileage recovery run.
  6. I’ve changed my goals/perspective on training from mileage-based sessions to duration based sessions, so you’ll see me talk about my training differently going forward. I do still have pace goals in mind and I’m tracking mileage, but considering it takes me over 4 hours to finish a marathon, I decided that I need to get my body acclimated to moving like that for that period of time. I think focusing more on running for periods of time rather just by distance might help me break through mental barriers I have when I hear “22+ miles”. I now have goals of a particular mileage within a duration rather than miles at a particular pace. So, instead of saying “I’d like to run 8:30 for 15 miles” I say “I’d like to run 2:15:00 and have more than 15 miles in that time”. It is a bit mental gymnastics, I know, but these duration goals seem a little more attainable to me. I’ve discovered, (and it took me three full marathons to finally admit it), that being good at the half distance just isn’t enough… I have to gradually step up to the distance, especially if I have time goals, which I do. When new runners ask for advice, I always tell them to start with a duration goal and add to it gradually. Maybe I should start taking my own advice. I have seen improvement in the training – recovery is getting better, but it isn’t good yet at the speeds I want to go, nor is my strength. Now that I’ve identified where I need improvement (core strength and overall endurance/stamina strength), I think the duration goals make a little more sense. Crossing my fingers I’m right this time 🙂
  7. I have a solid core workout routine established. Now… if I can only make myself do it three times a week. It only takes about 20 minutes, so you’d think I have plenty of time to get it done, but I never manage to get it done because something always comes up so I find myself late for something I thought I was early to. I’m really working on managing my time better at home so I can cut that waste down quite a bit. So far, my record is 2 1/2 times (or… I did it twice and started a third day only to run out of time, which, unfortunately seems to be a theme with me lately…) For this marathon training cycle, my standing goal will be three sessions a week, usually on running days.
  8. I’ve decided that I do need some cross-training – such as swimming and spinning – so I’m trying to work that in every other week so I can keep my running muscles fresh. I’m out of practice with swimming and I’m bummed about it, so I’ll be starting over with swimming. I’m invested, though – I bought new goggles and a second suit, so I’m serious about it now. On the Spinning front, last week I did two spinning sessions and averaged about 19 mph for both sessions combined, which surprised me and made me very happy, especially since it had been a very long time since I went last – probably about 6 months. I’d like to capitalize on that. Also, I’ve discovered hot yoga and I liked it…. it kicked my butt, though. I expected it to be tough, but I wasn’t expecting to be as sore as I was after. I’d really like to add it to my routine, but… Again… it is just a matter of carving out the time to get it all in and still have a life and get house work (and yard work) done.
  9. Speaking of yard work… thanks to my HOA, I’ve been spending a LOT of time on yard work this spring and summer so I have a little less time for writing these days as I’d like. I hope I’m caught up enough now to actually balance this a bit. But… I can honestly say that the yard work has given me extra workouts that have worked parts of my core I probably couldn’t have been able to reach otherwise, but Lordy… that is hard work, especially in the 100 degree heat we’ve had here recently.
  10. I have 2 fall half marathons lined up in 2 states: OH in September (USAF Half) and MO in October (Kansas City half) to bring me up to 18 states. I’m hoping to find a couple in drivable states (at this point, PA, TN, DE, KY) I can ninja trip before the end of the year, but we’ll see. It would be pretty awesome to end this year on a nice round number like 20 states… Nevertheless, I’m targeting the Alaska half next June, so there might not be as much travel in the early part of 2016 due to saving up for that trip.

I think that about does it for now. I’m going to start my week with a core workout and an easier run on the treadmill to get closer to ensuring that 30+ mile week this week, and my goal is to get the NJ Half Marathon write up done!

Until then…