Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Surprise Races!

You all know I've been training for this 10k in October. It's my goal race for the season in the sense that my year of short/speed is coming to an end and it will probably be the last race I run in 2016.

Well, that was the plan anyway. But two races kind of snuck up on me this week and I couldn't say no!
Overused, always accurate. Fun story: when I first saw Elf I wasn't a runner yet, so I didn't get this line; now, I feel like he knows my soul.
The first surprise race is a nighttime 5k this Friday. As in, three days from now. The race is a bit of a drive for us, but I'm excited for it because 1) Sean (remember him?) loves it and swears it's great 2) the after-party/dinner is supposed to be fantastic (even though I won't be able to partake), and 3) this year is the race's 5th anniversary so there's a finisher's medal!
I plan to run it HARD and see if I've kept up my fitness from May's 5k; if I can keep paces in the 8:40s again I'll be totally surprised and stoked, but that's kind of my goal/hope.

The second race is after the 10k. The other CRT (whose office I share) and one of our 5th grade teachers have been talking about training for their first 5k. They've been excited to run it but I can tell they're also a little nervous. This week, they jokingly challenged me to join them, and I immediately agreed.

They hadn't signed up yet, even though they've been training since summer, and I had the feeling they might chicken out, so I signed up and forced their hands.
First races are a big deal and I know they can either hook you and make you love running, or they can kind of scare you off for awhile. I want this to be a good experience for them, so I plan to run it at an easy and fun pace (because it's a themed race and I'm not sure if it's worth busting my butt over, but we'll see how I feel!) and meet them at the end with big cheers and smiles.

I want Elizabeth to run either race with me, but I really wish she could run the first. She's never run a a race before, and it would give her a race experience before our 10k (she's not sure how she'll be in a race atmosphere, understandably!) and because there's a finisher's medal, I think it would really make her feel excited and accomplished. Either way, I'm still (gently) working on her to join!
I want this to be EVERYONE'S reaction after their first race!
I've missed running 5ks; I can't justify running a race every weekend like I used to, but I'm really glad these two races popped up on my radar so I can fit in a few more before 2016 draws to a close.

Do you have any last-minute races coming up?
If you're a more discerning racer, how do you decide if you're going to participate in a race?

ABK

Today I linked up with Erika @ MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Weekly Workouts 9/19-9/25

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: Elizabeth and I ran 5.3 miles over the bridge. It was really humid and warm, and I felt completely useless. I had to walk a lot and just felt really sick and lightheaded. The run took us an hour, which was much longer than I had counted on for the mileage, and my right calf was tight the entire time.
We ran up the bridge both times and then walked at the top before the descent; I also needed a walk break in mile 4. Obviously our splits speak for themselves. 
If Elizabeth hadn't been with me, I would have quit early. This was one of those days where having a workout buddy really paid off. I think my issue was partially low blood sugar (I had a Coke as soon as I finished the run and felt better.)

Wednesday: Wednesday I was still having some weird lightheadedness. I went home after work and did this video...
...followed by lots of stretching and some planks, etc. I was really just focusing on getting my calf feeling right.

Thursday: We had to run in the morning because I had another 5-8pm training. We did 3.4 miles at 5:15am and I felt really good. I took a salt tab before the run, and I think that made a big difference! I need to remember this and keep taking salt pre-run until the weather breaks.
I like that morning runs are all about fitting in as many miles as I can before I have to get back home...there's less pressure for mileage and more of a focus on time.
Friday: When I got home from work, there was constant thunder but it didn't quite look like rain. I got changed and went outside to run around 6:30, but literally made it five steps before lightning streaked across the sky directly overhead. NOPE.
LOL...that quick turn-around!
I really was excited to run and was feeling really good, but had to take my workout inside. I did some core and ab work, then squats, lunges, and some pushups and kettle-bell swings. Just a general full-body workout. It felt good, but I wish I had a treadmill!

Saturday: Rest.

Sunday: Elizabeth and I took a new route and ran 9.5 miles. The run felt awesome. It was 75 degrees with 91% humidity, but I felt great! My calves were still tight for the first 2.5 miles or so, but once they warmed up my legs felt strong. Considering I have a few little races coming up now, I need to figure out how to warm my calves up so they're not tight early in the run.
The one thing that sucked about this run is that our tracking failed at the very end. The Nike+ app has been going through some changes, and it's been awful. It glitches all the time. Today, it was working on my phone and watch without trouble, and I saw our splits about halfway through and heard the voice feedback at the end as it gave us our final pacing updates, but when I went to turn it off, it froze up and completely deleted our splits! I know early in the run we were at a 10:58 pace; at the halfway point we were at a 10:45; and by the end we were at a 10:35 overall pace, so I know we had some good negative splits. I'm pissed that the app ate my data.
I've contacted customer service and I'm glad I'm not the only one having issues - usually Nike is pretty good about changing things when many people complain.
I'm not the only one having this issue; the comments on the support pages and app store reviews all reflect that the new update is garbage. I've used Nike+ since 2009 and am comfortable with it; I like it better than using a Garmin. But if they don't clean up the new app, I'm going to have to stop using it.

Other than that, this long run was perfect! Again, I still need to figure out what to do about my calves early on during runs - if it takes 3 miles to warm up, then I need to bear that in mind on race days. Still, this was an improvement to how I felt Tuesday, so I'm happy! It was a great way to end the week!

ABK

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Five

Today I'm linking up with Mar on the Run! et. al. for the Friday Five. Let's dive right in, shall we?

1. Pumpkin Spice: I know it's become so popular that now there's backlash against it, but certain pumpkin spice things still get my attention. And I love pumpkin pie and pumpkin rolls. I really want to try this Cheerios flavor before fall is over.
Sorry to disappoint you, Anthony Bourdain.
But I draw the line at PSLs. And can we all just acknowledge that pumpkin has almost no flavor and "pumpkin spice" is really just a fancy way of saying "cinnamon and other spices used in pumpkin pie"?

2. Coconut Oil: A few weeks ago a company called Skinny Co. (yeah, another really terrible company name that turned me off a bit) reached out to me to see if I'd want to try and review their coconut oil products. I said yes...but maybe I shouldn't have. Most of the products I received are skincare, and last time I tried coconut oil on my skin, I broke out like crazy.
I can try the razor burn moisturizer and the mouthwash (even though I think "pulling" is total bull...along with most of the other supposed benefits of CO).
I know it works for some people, but not for me.

I did want to try it for my hair and to cook with, but I didn't receive anything along those lines. So I think I'll hand these off to my sister and let her test them out and see what she thinks. The products are really beautiful and smell delicious.

The company supports Fair Trade and sustainability, and the oils are 100% CO without fillers. Do they boost metabolism, improve thyroid function, and maintain healthy blood-sugar levels? I don't think the FDA has approved those claims. But it does smell good!

3. Running/Reading/Writing as Punishment: Elizabeth and I had this discussion recently:
I know some runners like the "our sport is your sport's punishment" mentality, but I've harped on running-as-punishment or running-in-PE multiple times on my blog. No wonder so many people think they hate running! Our first experiences with it are usually negative!

It's the same for reading and writing. How many of you have been told to "write a letter apologizing/explaining why what you did was wrong" in school? Or to read silently because you had lost a privilege? It's hard to get creative, I know, but I hate seeing things I love used as punishments!

4. Technology Updates: The new iPhone OS is really a bit busy for me, if I'm being honest. I feel like the entire phone has gone Snapchat crazy. However, I DO love that texting facilitates replacing words with emojis, and that the female runner emoji is finally here!
Debating running at 5am for a second day in a row.
In other technology news, Pottermore has finally released its Patronus quiz! I'm a proud Ravenclaw and think I was sorted perfectly, and I think my wand matches me really well.
I'm a little disappointed in my Patronus, but the quiz was really cool and - nerd alert - I'm going to research the Chow a little bit to see why it fits me, because I trust PM and its sorting process.

5. Time Management: This seems to be the time of year where things all pile up. Work, workouts, writing, reading, the studio...it's just so hard to divide my time! I feel fulfilled when I'm really busy, but I also feel like I don't have any downtime. This week, Elizabeth suggested we (along with another friend of ours) have a girl's night and as I was saying, "Yeah, I need girl time!" I realized that actually, I haven't had quality time with Matt in weeks! I actually need husband-time, and usually it's my friendships that suffer when I'm super busy. I need to prioritize and fix that.

Bonus: How weird is it to get a phone tripod just to take better running/post-running photos? Because I'm seriously considering getting one of these babies so I can branch out from selfies:
It's like $10 on Amazon and would easily fit in my running bag!
Do you like pumpkin spice flavor?
What's your favorite fall flavor? I actually love candy corn because I'm disgusting.
Do you use coconut oil for anything?
What do you think your Patronus would be? It's not an animal representation of yourself - it's a protective shield made up of your best, happiest memories.
How do you prioritize family/friends/alone time when your schedule is packed?

ABK