Sunday, September 28, 2014

Relentless Forward Progress

Sometimes RFP is all we can ask of ourselves. I set off Saturday morning for a three hour long run. I had hoped the run would bring me to about 15 miles, and at last week's paces it would have. But some days are tougher than others, and I finished 2 hours 55 minutes at 13.5 miles for my long, slow run. (If I'd done those last five minutes I may have hit 14 miles, but I was wiped!)

Sarah ended up being the only person who could meet me, but she stayed for the entire run when she had originally just planned to run 10. I committed a blogger faux pas and took zero pictures. The run itself was uneventful; despite having my favorite pre-LSD meal, I was more tired than I expected but I got it done. And that's all I can say about that.
Sushi is always my go-to before a long run or race.
The minute I got home, I stripped off the non-essentials and jumped into the pool. Because the run was long, it was already in the 80s and super sunny when we finished!
Archie joined me for his own little birdbath, then attempted to dry off on my head.
video


I enjoyed chocolate milk (am I the only one who likes to put ice in my milk to make sure it stays as cold as possible?) with breakfast, then relaxed while Matt and his dad installed a new window in the room that, once cleaned up, will be our office.

Two eggs over-easy, bacon, and chocolate milk. The breakfast of champions!
Men at work.
The other shelves Matt built a couple weeks ago. After we put up all those decorations, we discovered another box filled with books, so I have to get back up there and remove the decorative stuff so the books have somewhere to go!
One reason I like running long on Saturdays instead of Sundays is that I know I can be lazy afterward without pressure to be productive. Laundry, grocery shopping, grading...all that can wait! We spent the evening watching The Family
Next week my long run will be shorter, and I've already mapped out the route for my next LONG-long run. I'm feeling more confident about upping my miles again, which is good; yet I can't help but get nervous about finishing the marathon before the finish line closes. I know taper will help my legs, but right now they're just so tired! It's hard to imagine running 26.2 miles at the pace I'll need to finish in time.
Perspective.
That's a real fear; I'm putting it out there, because maybe that will help me come to terms with it and work through it.

Have you ever been worried about not finishing a race before cut-off?
What's your favorite post-run meal?
Raw sushi: yay or nay?

ABK

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rosh Hashanah & House Stuff

Our living room is coming along. Matt has been diligently sawing, sanding, and painting shelves...and now they're finally hung!
Sometimes his perfectionism frustrates me, but I was definitely grateful for it when I saw the finished product!

Matt hung the shelves for our baseball collection first.
Then we hung our race bibs and medals!

The view from our couch.
I love that the living room now showcases the hobbies we care about most: SUP, running, and baseball. Clearly there's still more to do, but I know seeing these hanging everyday will make my motivation skyrocket!

We had Thursday off this week for Rosh Hashanah. Matt and I attended temple Wednesday night...it was the first time we'd gone in the nine years we've been together. I didn't realize how much I missed being part of a congregation until we went. The old prayers, the music...just knowing you can look at the strangers around you and feel so connected...it's priceless.
 The rabbi spoke about inscribing ourselves in the Book of Life, but also about making sure others are inscribed as well...in the sense that we need to remind people that we love them and that they're important. That they belong here and deserve to be here. It was actually a pretty heavy message, but also uplifting.
Thursday, we went for ice cream with Elizabeth and Roniel. I wanted to run after, but I knew cross-training was the order of the day. I did a deck-of-cards workout while watching Seinfeld. (My thighs are killing me today...hope they're feeling a bit less sore Saturday morning!)
Vanilla froyo with crushed M&Ms (they just taste better crushed when in ice cream!), hot fudge, and whipped cream. Tummy ache in a cup!
I used a deck from my bat mitzvah - the theme was Casino Night!
I focused on core work.
You know all that rain we've been getting? The other night I looked out our back window and this is what I saw:
Seriously...could that be any more perfect?!

My long run is on the schedule for tomorrow...I'm seriously pumped!

How has your week been?
Does your school district/work give you Jewish holidays off?
Do you attend church or temple or anything similar?

ABK

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bear With Me...Get Ready for Random

I tried to get photos of the shelves Matt's been making and hanging around the new house, but none of the photos are really that interesting. So here's one of him actually working as he builds floating shelves from scratch.
His expression says: "Please stop taking candids of me."
We've had good weather for outdoor work, and that includes running. I've been taking as much advantage as possible.

Since my first run on the golf course, which I did without music, I've been trying to ditch the tunes for short runs/the beginning of long runs. I figure I'll want to be able to enjoy the atmosphere of the marathon and, toward the end, I may want a pick-me-up. If I listen to music/podcasts for too long, I get sensory overload. So planning to run some of the race musicless seems like a good idea.

But you can't do something new on race day, so I've been running the first couple miles of long runs, and all of my short runs, without music.

It's really liberating. And I actually love the sound of my feet hitting the packed shells and sand along the golf course. It's just me, the crunch of my steps, and a few squawking birds and croaking frogs.
Something like three teeny pinpricks of rain hit me on this run, but the cool air and breeze were welcome!
Monday I ran three miles without music, which is my longest silent run ever. My brain started to kind of wander into its own weird thought process. I was thinking about Archie because...well, why not? Particularly, I was thinking of how we got his name (Archibald Michelangelo), and that led me to think that his name has the perfect ending.
Why not zone out thinking about this cute little fluffer?! For those wondering about how big Archie is, this photo is actually shows him LARGER than he is.
My little sister in my sorority, Jenn, has a dachshund named Roxy. She has this habit of calling her "Rox-YYYYYYY" with a really drawn-out and high-pitched "eeee" sound at the end. And now, when I think of Archie's name, I attach that same "eeee" ending sometimes.

And that, in turn, got me thinking about all the things I've learned from Jenn, beginning with:

1. The best pet names end in "ee" sounds and sound best when spoken at a squeal.

2. Date 'em and dump 'em. Jenn had (past tense, because now she's engaged) a tendency to date a guy, zero in on exactly what she didn't like, and date a new guy who didn't have that particular quality. Boyfriend too shallow? The next is sure to have more depth. Boyfriend too clingy? The next will know how to balance his priorities. She is the master at trading up. I've never known a girl who knows herself so well and is so good at refusing to settle, and she definitely never falls into the trap of trying to "fix" a guy who isn't right for her. I think most women can learn from this!

Jenn, me, and Leah (another sister). Jenn knew Matt before I knew either of them, and knowing she liked him was a definitely mark in his favor when we met.
3. Never back down and always be confident. Jenn can be confrontational; she just refuses to take crap from anyone, and she's smart as a whip and willing to go toe-to-toe with just about anyone. It's nice to have that kind of ferocity in your corner! She's definitely taught me to stand up for what I know is right.

4. Why speak one language when you can speak three? Yes, three. Jenn is from the Netherlands, so she speaks Dutch; she also speaks perfect English, and because she has been living in Panama for the last few years, perfect Spanish as well. Her dogs know commands in all three languages!

5. Be honest. Sometimes she may be blunt, but I've definitely learned that being honest and tearing off the proverbial bandaid is better for everyone most of the time. This kind of honesty leads to unshakeable trust, and that's pretty priceless in a friend.

So, that's what I thought about as I ran along the course Monday evening. Totally random, but a nice reflection. Oh, and did I mention that Jenn took up running? (Between her fiance - who also runs - and me, she kind of had to!)

I'll leave you all with a video of Archie being his usual adorable self. I hope your week is starting out swimmingly!
video
What do you think about while you run?
Do you listen to music, podcasts, or the sound of your own footfalls when you run?
Who is someone you've learned a lot from?

ABK 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Right Way to Spend Saturday

Tropical Storm Edouard has been kind to us runners! We've had rain storms for days in a row; when it's not raining, it's cloudy. Rain + clouds = lower temperatures!
With humidity it felt like 78 to me, but it was a shock to see this temperature on the app!
True story: I took a three hour nap Friday night and then went to bed at 10:30. I actually think this helped get me up and going at 4:30am when my alarm went off for my run. I may make Friday-night-naps a thing.

Due to my week off last week, I only scheduled 8 miles for my long run this weekend. I woke up at O'Dark Thirty and started my run in steamy post-rain darkness, but when sunrise started, the clouds overhead opened up a bit and I was treated to some light drizzle.
Cloudy and drizzly...just how I like it!
I ran without water in order to avoid chugging. I ate a ginger chew along the way and a Salted Watermelon Gu. (It was yummy, but I much prefer the Salted Caramel flavor.) By the end, my mouth was super dry. I would've stopped at a McDonald's on my route and gotten some ice to chew, but I felt kind of bad/awkward about doing it.
You know it's rainy when my run-selfie is blurrier than usual!
The run went really well. At the end I started to take a short walk break every mile because I was hitting the wall - I probably need more fuel next time. Actually, I need to eat a better dinner the night before. (I had a tiny bowl of pasta Friday night, and that was it. I just didn't feel very hungry, but I paid for it Saturday morning.)

I passed quite a few running groups as I was finishing; it makes me wonder why they all start their runs so late!

That evening, Matt and I headed up to St. Pete with his mom for our last Rays game of the season. I love going to games after a long run; it means eating ballpark food is totally acceptable! (The Trop lets you bring in food, so we brought Jimmy Johns to save money and keep it healthier...But you know I had to have dessert!)
I had to break $100 to get Dippin' Dots. Worth it.
We got free Joe Madden Potato Heads. Our baseball collection is exploding...
Matt also got some more autographs pre-game.
We played the White Sox and won it 3-1. Afterward, we did the "center field shuffle" and exited the stadium through the field. It was a nice way to end the season.
I'm really excited for training this week. My plan for my long run next Saturday is to just go for 3 hours and see how far it takes me. I'll use the same 8-mile loop that will let me stop for water without having to carry it with me. I'm also putting out feelers for my local running friends to come join me for part of the run so I'm not alone the entire time. I'm really looking forward to it; I think changing my plan from miles to hours is taking some of the pressure off of the idea of the long run, but I think realistically I'll still hit 16 or 17 miles.

Of course, that makes me nervous for how long the full marathon is going to take me, but I'll worry about that when I get there! After all, long runs are supposed to be slow, right?!

What time do you usually start your long run?
Do you prefer loops or out-and-backs?
Do you collect anything? Besides running stuff, of course!

ABK

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trying New Things

Sometimes the best way to beat impending burnout is by mixing things up. 

This week I've been doing quite a bit of that. Monday I ran the golf course behind my house for the first time and eschewed music, and the results were excellent. I kept a good pace, even for an easy run, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
A winding path replete with sprinklers...New favorite route!
In fact, mentally, it was the best run I've had in a long time.

Wednesday, I met Kristin to run FGCU's campus and we finished the two-mile run with another first for me: running up and down the parking garage. I admit, I almost tossed my cookies at one point on this run. Even with a slower overall pace, the end of this run really had my heart-rate up and my legs thrumming.
That blob of color is the garage; I'll definitely need to do this one again, especially if it's ever storming too hard to run in the elements.
I'm going to check out a fancy neighborhood nearby for my long run Saturday. I think the new venue will put some pep in my step. And if I park in just the right spot, I'll be able to stash water and visit a McDonald's, so I'll be able to avoid wearing my fuelbelt.

I think, though, that I'll draw the line at trying something this new anytime soon:
This flyer was on Matt's car after one of his SUP races. Now I always scope out the racers and wonder who left it!
And speaking of newness and changes, this illustration has been going around Facebook. (I wish I knew where it originated so I could give proper credit!) In 1994 I was still doing that whole "running around because I'm a kid" thing, as opposed to running as sport. I didn't start running until there were Nike+ chips and Nano iPods! But it's interesting to compare the difference.
I am so guilty of this, and totally unashamed!
Is the advent of running gear and technology a good thing? I definitely think so for the most part, but there must have been a real freedom to running when none of that was available. I wonder if runners got lost a lot.

Have you tried anything new lately?
Would you ever do a nude race? Even though I could do this nude race with clothes on, I don't have much desire to run with a bunch of naked, sweaty people.
What were you up to in 1994?

ABK

Monday, September 15, 2014

Go Time

Sudafed might dry me out and exacerbate my dehydration, but at least I can breathe again!
Miles of paths, literally in my backyard...why have I not done this before?!
My legs definitely enjoyed all the time off, and a run through the golf course was a great change of pace. I loved the variety of terrain - paved paths, crushed shell, soft asphalt, grass - and the sprinklers. 

I was really excited to try my new Pro Compression socks, too. I usually run in Thorlos but they've been so hot lately. I was nervous to try these because, while I love the sleeves, I was worried the socks wouldn't be cushioned enough.

I'm literally going to order at least six more pairs like...this week. They're JUST cushiony enough where it counts, but my feet didn't hurt (and they've been really achy lately) and they felt snug and secure without feel hot at all.
And an added bonus? Colors!

It feels good to be back, and my eye is back on the prize. I'm feeling reignited. I'm ready to go!

ABK

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I Still Exist

The time I usually spend reading/blogging I've been spending writing. Which is great, because I'm a writer at heart and when I get bit by the bug and my writer's block fades, I'm truly happy. But it also kind of stinks because there are only so many hours in the day. So when I'm done teaching and grading and running, I can either finally get my words down on paper (er...word doc), or I can blog. And right now blogging has had to take a back seat.
Making progress...I took some time off writing this summer because of all the traveling, etc.
Last Saturday we went to a Rays game and I indulged in a treat I haven't had since childhood.
Banana split flavor > everything else.
We spent Sunday and Monday with friends, so I pushed my Monday run to Tuesday and I got to experience the first hint of fall weather. 75 degrees, almost no humidity (so like, in the 80% range instead of 90%), and clear. I had one of my fastest runs this training cycle, which was greatly appreciated.
Totally psyched for cooler weather!
I missed my run Thursday because I'd pushed it to evening to meet a friend, but when she had to back out, I couldn't motivate myself to go.
All prepped for my next long run...I'm trying a few new flavors!
I've been really tired, which caused a mini angioedema flareup, so I slept through my morning run Saturday and moved it to nighttime. It was cool out post-rain shower, but still so humid I was covered in sweat and so damn thirsty. My mouth and throat feel so dry when I run that I end up chugging water...I could probably still run like that, but the fuelbelt is so awful when my stomach gets full. And then mentally I just can't seem to deal. 
At least it was pretty.
Mm, sweat.
All that is to say, blah blah blah, wah wah wah, I need to suck it up. Marathon training is hard. Running a marathon is going to be hard. The entire point of training is to build mental and physical toughness and grit so you can get through it. Some days I wonder if I'm cut out to run a full marathon, but I can't imagine not getting to that starting line, so if that's what I intend to do, I need to get serious about my training.

And I need to get back to your wonderful blogs! I miss you guys!

Link me to a post of yours I just can't miss, because I'm tempted to just mark my entire Bloglovin' feed as "read". I have something like 68 unread posts lol.

ABK