Tuesday, April 28, 2015

14 Days Running

How unfortunate is it that I persevered through scorching weather and the first time in weeks the temperature is below 75 happens to be the first day my streak is over?

Alas, that's just the way it goes sometimes. My two weeks of running daily has come to an end.
April's runs. Obviously I decided to do this streak partially because of the first week of nothing this month!
The streak definitely paid off, though. Running has become a habit again; I mostly ran alone, so that reaffirmed that I don't need to run with friends to be motivated (although sometimes it's nice!). I feel focused and dedicated. I feel ready to keep running through the end of the school year despite the pressures and time constraints. (Usually I take all of May off, and I'd like to avoid that this year.)

I love that streaking makes running a no-brainer. There is no choice, no chance to waffle...you just run!
Celebratory crazy-eyes after my last run on Monday! I dug deep for four miles on the bridge to cap off the streak.
I also think it helped me deal with the stress that comes with the last quarter of the year. I had my TPE (teacher performance evaluation) this week and I doubt I'd have been nearly as calm and prepared if I hadn't been running regularly.

So cheers to my streak for helping get me on track! But my legs and I are definitely ready for some rest!

 May is nearly here! I have no questions today, just happiness and relief!
Share something that made you happy this month!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday Shenanigans

Sunday was supposed to go like this: Matt would get up early and go to his SUP race, and I'd sleep in and go watch once the race was underway.

What actually happened was that Matt backed his car out of the garage and came back inside to wake me up. "There's a strange car in our driveway." A completely trashed strange car, it turned out, with garbage all over the inside, an industrial sized bottle of Grey Goose in the front seat, a high school senior tag on the windshield, and no driver in sight.

Boggled, I told Matt to call a towing company and go to his race.
I really enjoyed live-updating everyone on this debacle!
About half an hour later, the towing guy showed up. I explained that the car wasn't ours, we had no clue whose it was, and we wanted it towed. The guy was like, "This is a first for me." I asked him for a card to leave for the owner if they returned for the car, but in my mind all I could imagine was a hungover high-schooler checking random driveways like in Dude, Where's My Car, because how likely would it be that they'd remember where they parked it?
Who knew this movie was so close to real life?
About forty minutes after that, I was ready to go to the SUP race. I just had to tape the business card to our door...and then I heard it. Voices. A very distraught, shrill girl, and a completely confused and panicked boy.

I listened out of sight for a minute, trying to overhear them and figure out if they were safe to approach. I gathered that he had told her to park the car in our driveway because our house has a security system and a big hedge that blocks the driveway from the street, so it was safe. (Maybe they were at a party and didn't want to park in the street? I don't even know.)

I glanced out. He was shoeless and his mannerisms reminded me of Phoebe Buffay's brother Frank on FRIENDS. She was bleached-blonde, extensioned, over-tanned, tattooed, and generally pitiable. 
I went out. The boy asked me, completely guileless, "We parked our car here last night. Have you seen it?" As if this were the most natural thing in the world!

I told him my husband had had it towed and gave him the business card. I finished getting ready for the race while they stayed in the driveway trying to figure out what to do. I overheard the girl saying, "You're paying the fee! You're the one who told me to park here!" Good for you, girl.

I went out once more to give them bottles of water and to kind of check them out and see if they were safe to leave while I went to the race. They actually asked me for a ride to the tow yard! Of course, I declined. When I left the house, they were still in my driveway.

As for the SUP race, I got there after the start but with plenty of time to see Matt finish. We had lunch out afterward and by the time I got home, the hungover teens had gone.
I felt kind of bad about it, but really, we could've called the cops on them and made things much worse; had they left a note, we wouldn't have had the car towed at all. But hopefully this teaches them a valuable lesson and, in ten years or so, they'll look back on it and laugh.

And I just keep thinking, oh man, I'm old.

Did you get up to any shenanigans when you were in high school?
Do you ever have to deal with wayward teens?


Sunday, April 26, 2015

I Don't Sweat, I Sparkle Glitter 5k

This was the perfect race to end my race season! Not only was it a themed race (the first I've ever done), but it was untimed and therefore totally pressure-free. Coming up at the tail-end of my streak, when my legs are starting to feel tired, meant the untimed aspect was especially appreciated. And considering it's been summer for about a month already here in Florida, I really loved that my slower pace today wasn't officially recorded.

Basically, this was a fun run with a medal at the end!
The shirt is adorable and perfect for the beach; I also loved that we were instructed to take any bib, since numbers only matter for photo purposes.
I met Kristin and Claire and we carpooled down to the Sugden Park, where we met up with Meg and Kristen as planned. It had been Meg's idea to run this race with the girls; we found out the night before that Trisha was running it too, so we had a mini Ragnar reunion!
Trisha, Kristin, Claire, Kristen, Meg, and me!
I also got to meet Amber from the Sub30 Club! I knew she'd be at this race and told her what I was wearing, but it turns out 80% of the runners had on my same outfit. She was able to spot me by my tattoo!
Amber lives not far from me, so I'm hoping to see her at more races!
The race started at 8am, when it was already toasty and sunny. Part of the route (a loop we ran twice) was shaded, but this was sure to be a hot race. Originally I thought there were waves for runners, walkers, and kids...but it turns out everyone started together. That meant my plan to run by myself and meet the others at the end was shot.

After the first half mile of following Claire as she dodged and wove around crowds and strollers, I decided to just let this one go and have fun. I ran the first loop with the others for the most part, but ended up ahead after the water stop at the halfway point.
Meg got this one of us before the first mile mark.
The crowds had opened a tiny bit at this point and I was able to get into a more comfortable pace. My legs were tired (I'm looking forward to ending my streak in the next couple days!), but I just kept trucking. I didn't listen to music, and the busy route kept me distracted. Despite my slower-than-usual time, I felt like this race flew by! I didn't mind the double-loop because I knew when I was nearing the end and could look ahead to it. (This bodes well for my full, which is also a double-loop course.)
I'll say this for the crowds: they made for easy negative splits.
This was the first race that I didn't try to power through the finish line; I actually slowed down on purpose to allow some kids the chance to overtake me and finish ahead.
After the race, Kristin, Claire, and I went for breakfast. (Meg had a makeup trial run for her wedding to get to!)
Skillets is amazing...I had a gluten free pecan waffle with strawberries, an egg, and bacon. Yum! (This pic is for you, Meg!)
I've never done a themed race before and enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere. It raised money for a good cause and was definitely a different kind of run than I'm used to. I'm not sure I'll be shelling out major cash to participate in a color run or anything like that, but this Glitter 5k supports the Glitter Foundation (which raises money for art and art therapy for children) and was reasonably priced, so I definitely can see myself doing it again next year!
Have you ever done a themed race?
Have you ever done a fun-run with kids before? It gave me hope for the future to see so many kids taking after healthy/active adult role models; plus, kids run with such joy!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Announcement Time!

The minute I crossed the finish line at Space Coast last November, I knew I wanted to run another marathon. Obviously, the following months included time for recovery, a handful of half marathons, time off, and now my streak.
I love that my dashboard on Nike+ shows 7 days of runs!
One of the nice things about the streak is that it allows me to mix things up while forcing me to be consistent. I've been doing easy runs up to four miles and shorter, more intense runs that focus on my form and incorporate some speed work. And obviously, I'm running one-milers at a nice, slow pace on days my legs need it.

The streak has reminded me that I like putting the time and effort into running, that training is fun, and that I can make the time if I really want to. I'm finally starting to flirt with the idea of long runs on weekends again, which is a good thing because...
Last night, I officially signed up for my next full marathon!

There are a few reasons I chose this race for my next full instead of returning to Space Coast. For one, it's way closer to me, which means easier planning and no hotel fees. Another factor was that Space Coast is already $95 and BDR is only $60 at the moment. Finally, the course is totally flat and the marathon is in December instead of November (which means no Thanksgiving weekend madness and cooler weather).

Basically, I feel emotionally connected to Space Coast (and I know I'll return someday), but at this point in time, BDR just seems like the perfect fit.

I am so excited; I'm less nervous this time around and I know what I'll do differently in my training. I have four more days of my streak - including a 5k on Saturday - after which I'll take a day or two off, and then base-building begins! 

What factors do you take into account when signing up for a big race?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Running Favorites

Jess over at Fairweather Runner tagged me to share some of my running favorites! I actually had to put a lot more thought into this than I expected.

Favorite Running Place I don't have any really pretty routes that I just love. I don't live in that part of Florida I guess. I have favorite running places for different purposes. Lately, I've been loving running on the golf course behind my house. The winding, sandy paths are easier on my knees than concrete and some of the views are quite pretty. It's a nice place to run when I want to relax and zone out.
I mean, it's pretty gorgeous for a stupid old golf course!
(Secondarily, my favorite places to run are actually anywhere out of town. I just get extra motivation out of traveling I guess!)

Favorite Time of Day I really hate waking up early, so usually I prefer to run in the evenings. But summer's come early to Florida, so morning runs (before the sun is up) are a little less painful! My favorite time of day to run is evening in winter, but early morning in summer.
4am on my street last week. I'm already repeating, "Summer miles make fall smiles" to myself over and over.
Favorite Weather Overcast, misty, 50 degrees. Nothing beats that!

Favorite Fuel I absolutely love Glutino toaster pastries before a run! After being diagnosed with Celiac, Pop Tarts were the #1 thing I missed. (How weird and random is that?! I didn't even like Pop Tarts that much when I could eat them!) When Glutino finally came out with their toaster pastries, I drove 40 minutes to Whole Foods and bought an entire case! Luckily, my local grocery store now stocks them so I don't have to hoard them like a doomsday prepper
Some of my breakfast marathon morning...gf pop tart included!
Favorite Accessories My Pro Compression PC runner socks. I love the sleeves, but the marathon socks are too thin to run in. The PC runners are slightly thicker/cushiony and fairly tight/supportive. Plus, they're so colorful! I never get squishy, sweaty feet in these babies, and I've never had a blister in them either!
I've convinced quite a few people to try these and they all love them!
Favorite Reward Nap time. I almost said food, but honestly, nap time trumps even the most delicious post-run feast!

I'd love to read about Meg, Heather, and Lizzy's running favorites!

How do you reward yourself after a workout?
What's your favorite thing about running?


Monday, April 20, 2015

A Happy Camper

 I spent this weekend in the great outdoors! Matt and his race team signed up for a 10-mile SUP race near a campground in St. Pete, so we spent the weekend camping and at the beach. (I didn't have internet access all weekend, so I'm sadly behind on your blogs! I'll be catching up this week.)

I was diligent about applying SPF 50 but I still ended up with an interesting burn pattern. I was able to keep my run-streak going, and it was nice to run somewhere new!
The change of scenery made for an enjoyable morning run.
Saturday we went to the beach so Ben and Matt could check out the conditions. The weather all weekend called for strong winds; Kendall and I got some sun while they tested the waters (literally). Then, we returned to the campground to play some games and clean up for our evening out.
Our comfy campground
Thinking hard playing Sequence.
We caught a Rays vs. Yankees game Saturday night...it was my first game of the season and it was downright dreadful. But Ben said he overheard someone recognize my All-Star jersey/me, so that was pretty cool.
Ben, Kendall, me, Matt, and James looking happy despite the atrocious game we were watching.
Sunday was race day for the boys! Kendall and I set up canopies on the beach and settled in for our 2+ hours of spectating. An hour so later, the wind had picked up so much that our canopy blew over! We had to pack it up and ended up spending another day in the sun.

The conditions were brutal. High winds over the water meant huge waves throughout the entire course.
Nearly finished!
Obviously, those waves were rough on the racers. Matt finished 7th in his division; dozens of people dropped out mid-race. At one point I was worried the rough waters would be too dangerous; I've never felt so relieved to see him coming into the finish!
He looks a little tired, no?
I cooled off with a snow cone the size of my head!
This was the first time we've camped in ages. I loved not having to worry about contacts and glasses the entire time. We had a blast, but we were definitely super busy; next time I'll want to relax more.

After we got home Sunday evening, I fit in a speedy 2-miler. Matt was walking on the golf course to stretch out his muscles after the long drive home and got a couple pictures of me as I finished up.
If you're not on Instagram, you're missing out on the post-run collapse picture he caught.
So, the streak is going strong! Today's run will be the halfway point and I'm feeling great: motivated, strong, and actually enjoying myself. I'm glad I had the chance to run during an inconvenient time (camping) because it helped reaffirm my dedication; I feel like the streak is working.

Are you a fan of camping?
Do you prefer the beach or the woods?


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Going Streaking!

This weekend Montana ran her first half marathon! Way to go, girl!

This week, I've started my two-week run-streak. I decided to cap the streak at 14 days because it seemed the right amount of time to get into a habit but avoid injury. Last time I streaked, I had some shin splints in the third week that eventually went away, but I'd rather avoid the risk. 

So, why streak at all? I know that many seasoned runners see streaks as pointless and even detrimental. They don't allow for rest days and they aren't part of a training plan. 

The thing is, I'm not currently in training for a race (my race season is over!), so a streak is a great way for me to stay motivated and active. It's more about getting back in the mental game than anything physical; some may spout off about "junk miles," but when I'm not training for a specific race, I don't think junk miles exist. It's really nice to be running just to run.
Usually I take time off in April/May and then really have an uphill battle in June because of summer temps; I'm hoping this streak helps me get acclimated earlier.
The minimum distance for a run-streak is one mile a day, so rest is kind of built in. An easy mile alone (or followed by weight-training or core work) is an active rest day, which I think is probably better for me than the lying on the couch all day doing nothing kinds of rest days I usually take. 

Run-streaks are a big confidence booster. They are a reminder that we really can make time to exercise if it's important to us. They help to realign our priorities and keep us accountable. 
I can't regulate my speaking volume on a run; I shouted awkwardly at a passing runner because she was wearing a race shirt from a half I ran. Oops.
I also like that, because I'm running every day, I need to be more mindful of what I eat. My 2pm sugar cravings have to be satisfied with run-friendly foods instead of my usual handful of fun-sized candy bars (which our curriculum office always has on hand).

While streaking isn't for everybody, it definitely has its place in the running world; obviously I don't streak frequently, but once in awhile the commitment and consistency of a streak is exactly what I need!
Now, how do I combat that crash in the afternoon before I'm home and have healthy snack foods on hand...?
I'm three days in and I feel great! We're camping this weekend, which will present the first test of my dedication, but I'm determined to get my runs in, even if they're short!

Have you ever done a run streak?
What are your thoughts on junk miles?
Do you have a "race season"?


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shark Tooth's 10k - 2015

When I originally signed up for this race, I was hoping to break my PR. As the day of the race drew closer, I knew it would be unlikely. My 10k PR right now is 58:xx; it's a time I earned through hard, dedicated training. I know I won't break that PR on a whim.

So there were some things going against me this year. For one, after taking necessary time off for travel and surgery, I allowed myself to completely stop training. I also had a wedding to attend the night before and indulged in a few glasses of wine and some food that's not usually part of my diet. (My stomach absolutely hated me Saturday morning.) Those two factors are completely on me.

The 94% humidity and blazing heat, however, was not something I could control.
Yeah, 94% humidity. Thanks, Florida. (I wish I could see the "feels like" temperature! It was not 73!)
Despite the race selling out before Kristin could sign up, she decided to go with me to cheer me on anyway. That's not a normal expectation I have of my friends, and I realize how incredibly lucky I am that she wanted to drive up to the race at 5:15 on a Saturday!

Last year, Matt and I arrived just in time for packet pickup and a bathroom break; this year, I had plenty of time to use the bathroom, get my bib, and get situated.
Although I knew Sean and two teachers from work were running this one, I didn't see them pre-race. (I saw them all at the end, though.) I started off on my own and stayed that way the entire time.
I didn't see him, but Kristin caught Sean's start.
I had no expectations for this 10k. I just wanted to use every bit of the experience as a reminder about why shirking my training is stupid; laziness doesn't pay off. Don't get me wrong, this race wasn't a punishment, but it was a lesson. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I was determined to learn something from it.
The first couple miles were fine, but I lost steam early on. I had my breakfast around 5:30 and my stomach was too upset to eat a Gu pre-race, so I didn't have much in the way of fuel by the time the race began at 7:15. I dumped water on my head at the water stations, but it was so humid that it just sat there...no evaporation means no cooling action.
A huge bonus of this race was that they used a local photographer, so prints were only $2! Here I am at the start.
When I got to the sidewalk that I recalled from last year as the last straight shot before the finish, I thought, "Okay, two more miles; I can do this." But those last two were the worst of the race; there was no shade at all and I could feel myself hitting the wall with each step.
The road along the beach was blissfully shady...
...But shade didn't last long.
I was able to avoid walking - my one real goal - by slowing my pace. I acknowledged that I was suffering from lack of training, questionable choices the night before, and the heat; I let myself learn that lesson, but I still enjoyed the struggle and the challenge. I guess there's something to be said for the masochistic aspect of running.
Mile 5.5...I managed to smile!
Kristin was there at the finish line cheering me on! She had found Sean, too; he was two minutes slower than last year but came in 3rd in his AG, up from 4th last year. So that gives you an idea about performance and the heat this year. Everyone agreed it was hotter than last.
Not great, but good enough to earn me 13/30 AG.
My official time was around 1:09 but honestly, I barely paid attention. I was just glad to finish!
 After the race, we went out to breakfast and enjoyed an easy ride home; I guess snowbirds are finally going back up north!
Don't be fooled by the Mother Runner headband; I forgot one and Kristin let me borrow it!
Eggs, grits, and bacon is my favorite post-race breakfast!
 One thing I really like about this race is that the course is shaped like a shark's tooth! The nerd in me finds that simply fantastic!
All in all, the race was as difficult as I expected, but rewarding as well. I was so grateful to have Kristin there; knowing she was at the finish line really did keep me moving forward, and this was one day I really needed that motivation!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

This Weekend

This weekend was a good one, all things considered. I had my week post-op at the eye doctor; my right eye is 20/20 but my left eye seems to have regressed to 20/40 (it was 20/20 the day after surgery). They told me the patches of dryness on my left eye may be interfering with my vision, but that my vision would continue to crisp up and improve; I'm trying to be a lot more diligent about my artificial tears.

That evening, we went to our first wedding of 2015. Our friends Adam and Lila tied the knot in a gorgeous little beach wedding. It was such a beautiful ceremony; I was glad we went even though I had such an early day Saturday. We even had time for a few dances before we had to leave. 
Lila and her dad walking down the aisle.
It was a gorgeous (albeit windy) evening for a wedding!
Our place-cards were little beach chair picture frames! So cute.
It was nice to have a reason to get all dressed up!
Saturday, I woke up at 4:45 and Kristin and I drove up to Venice for the Shark's Tooth 10k. It was a really hard race this year, as I knew it would be, but I'm so glad I went and beyond grateful that I had a friend there to cheer me on and make the drive enjoyable. I'll put up a full race report shortly!
Spoiler: I finished the race, but it took me about four minutes longer than last year.
While I was at my race, Matt drove down to Miami for his first paddle race since getting injured. (He bruised a rib during a surf-session about six weeks ago and had to take time off to heal). The race had both 5k and 10k options, and he chose to race the 5k. It was the perfect comeback for him - he was able to go all-out without any pain and came in first overall for the 5k. 
We decided to spend Saturday evening relaxing. We watched Transcendence, which I really enjoyed except for one major plot-point: the terrorists who cause the main conflict of the story end up being accepted by the "good guys", and no one ever tells them, "None of this would have happened in in the first place if..." Otherwise, I found the movie interesting and entertaining.
I liked the moral questions this movie raised about AI, technology, and our treatment of the earth, but it wasn't pedantic or preachy at all. Plus, Johnny Depp!
After the excitement of Friday and Saturday, it was nice to relax most of Sunday. I'll be starting my run-streak tomorrow, and I hope to start making the transition back to running in the mornings. That means an early bedtime and a 4am alarm...Gotta love this summer weather!

What did you do this weekend?
Do you change your running routine when hot weather arrives?
Would you want your brain copied into a computer so you could live forever?