Sunday, August 30, 2015

Relativity & Why I Love Nike+

Sunday was my first long run of marathon training. Okay, not really. I was supposed to do eight last weekend and that fell through (because I'm lazy). But this was the first long run I actually did. And it was my first double-digit run since March.

I think I needed to get this one done so I would officially feel like I was training. My mentality definitely shifted today. I feel much more like I'm in marathon training mode.

I was nervous because I hadn't run long in awhile, but things came back to me pretty easily. I had a pop tart and small iced coffee (no sugar, some milk) at 4:45am. I drove to the library and was running by 5:30. As planned, I met Kristin at the bridge, and then realized I hadn't turned on my Nike+. Oops. We continued on our way, and Kristin left at her halfway point (she was aiming for 9 miles), and I went on.
The moon was insane this morning!
I had a Gu at around 4.5 miles. It was overcast and not too warm, thanks to TS Erika. (The temperature when I started was 77, which felt worlds cooler than it has been!) By the halfway point, I was feeling really good. I remembered that the longer I run, the easier it starts to feel. I took a couple walk breaks for water as necessary, but pretty much just chugged along at a slow, even pace.

It's funny - 10 miles would mean you're nearly done with training if you were training for a half. But when you're training for a full, 10 is just the beginning. I guess it's all relative.
That's not sweat, it's liquid awesome!
I only experienced some soreness in my knees; my feet felt really good the entire time, as did my hips. But I definitely need to be better about cross-training and strengthening exercises.

I love that Nike+ lets me add a run manually, so my whole 10 miles was recorded even though it was off during the first 1.25 to the bridge. I also love that I can get cheers on Facebook. They seriously keep me going and give me something to look forward to after the run - I love checking to see who cheered for me!
The benefits of knowing your route by heart: manually entering your distance is really easy.
The comments made me laugh.
I've been using Nike+ ever since I started running; I know it's not the most "serious" of running apps, but I'm totally loyal to it.

I'd call this week a success. Time for a rest, and then onto the next one!

Did you run long this weekend?
What running apps do you use?
Were you awake to see the Supermoon?!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Today on my early morning run (which should have been ultra early but ended up just being regular early, but we'll get to that), I found myself making some mental notes. You'd think by now I'd know better, but I guess everyone can benefit from a friendly reminder now and then, even seasoned runners.

Actually go to bed when you say you will. This whole I'm going to bed at 9pm but then I play on my iPad for two hours and don't actually fall asleep until after 11 thing is really cramping my style, especially now that school has started.

Don't watch The Walking Dead or Fear TWD the night before a pre-sunrise run. I definitely didn't think this one through.
Oh yeah, I totally want to get up and run in the dark alone after watching this. (PS: Seeing the virus in the early stages and how people react is really interesting. I'm already enjoying FTWD.)
Give your stomach time to wake up. I found out the hard way last summer that the park's bathrooms don't open until sunrise. Today I was ready to run at 4:30, but had to drive out of my way to a 24-hour 7-11 to use the facilities when, surprise!, my stomach suddenly got the memo that I was awake and moving around. I then drove back to my starting point. I didn't actually start running until 5, cutting my 4-miler down to 2.5. Oops.

Pick a route the night before, but be flexible. Last week, I wasted about fifteen minutes in the morning deciding where I wanted to run. Today, I should have just run from 7-11 after my pit stop, but I was set on my predetermined route. Both are rookie mistakes.
Run by time to finish in time. This is actually helpful to remember! I need to be done running by 5:40am at the latest on weekdays, so setting my GPS as a timed run instead of distance is key.

Rely on friends to get you out the door. It's ridiculously hard to motivate myself out of bed at 4:15am, but I've been slowly getting back into the habit by running early a couple times a week. When I can't meet someone face-to-face for a morning run, I rely on the friends in my phone. The constant dinging of my phone as my early-riser friends send me encouragement is incredibly irritating, which is just what I need at that time of day!
I was awake when Kim texted, but I may have gone back to sleep if Montana and Chris hadn't followed up. Thanks ladies!
All in all, this morning's run wasn't perfect by any means, but just getting out there so early - and before a full day of work - is a victory. Habits build slowly, and I just need to keep plugging away until 4:15 doesn't feel so difficult.
All smiles post-run!
And I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that I'm clearly an idiot for beginning marathon training the same week school started. Not only am I exhausted, but my feet are killing me! Oh well...there's nothing to do about it but move forward, and that's what I plan to do.

Do you avoid scary shows/movies before a dark run?
What's the earliest you've ever begun a training run?
Do you have trouble going to bed at a decent hour, even when you have to be up early?


Friday, August 21, 2015

Duck Mode

How is it possible that every year, I forget how absolutely chaotic the last week of summer is? We've been back in training all week and things have just been crazy! I'm glad this was the first week of training in an unofficial capacity. I wanted a 16 week plan and tagged this week on, making it 17, while allowed me to ease in.
This is a six-day work week. I have open house Saturday, and school officially opens Monday. Needless to say, I'm pretty exhausted.
This is me, and every other teacher, during teacher training week. (And pretty much all year long.)
I completed my first run of training on Tuesday. I got a new phone Thursday, and the setup and process of wiping, unlocking, and restoring my old phone ended up taking four hours, so I didn't run.
We had a summer assignment to take a photo of ourselves reading in an odd place. I'm enjoying What I Talk About... so far!
But tonight I got in a nice 4-miler with Kristin. We ran up and down a university parking garage, then ran two easy miles out in the rain.
There's something emotionally cleansing about running in the rain. We have our first hurricane of the year looming!
I definitely needed it.

I'm really looking forward to this year, but I kind of dread the first week of school. I'm always afraid I won't learn the kids' names, even though I usually memorize them within the first two days.

A panoramic of my classroom, all ready to go!
Anyway, I'm totally in duck mode right now, and that makes me grateful for running! But I think I'll be even more grateful for sleep!

Do you have any weird work-related fears?
Do you like to run in the rain?


Monday, August 17, 2015

There's Something About Going Back to School...

...that makes you feel like you're finally enjoying vacation.

Last week I officially went back to work. Well, kind of. Thursday was our first day back and the majority of the day was housekeeping/welcoming stuff. Friday I spent some time getting my room organized. Over the summer we got Smartboards, so I had to try a new setup for my desks because of where my whiteboards now hang. That's okay; change is good.
Year seven is underway! My classroom is by no means finished in this photo.
This weekend, Matt and I drove to Manasota Key, where Kristin had rented a house for her birthday weekend. We had a great time with her friends and family. We even fit in a nice morning run.
We spent the weekend pretty much just relaxing on the was just what I needed.
I need to pause here to extol one of Kristin's more singular virtues. Because her whole family eats gluten free, she often gives me foods they've tried and enjoyed, like teriyaki sauce or donuts. This week, we've been really excited to have finally found gluten free Cheerios. When I successfully discovered the honey nut flavor, I bought her a box. When she found the regular, she got me one.
I found them in Publix and literally texted this picture to Kristin and my sister while I was still standing in the cereal aisle. I ate a bowl as soon as I got home.
Monday, Kristin surprised me with this:
We have both been sifting through EVERY box on the shelf to see if any GF ones are hidden in the back. (I left my pillow at the beach house, so she was going to drop it in my car in the morning.)
Our obsession makes a lot of sense if you've ever been forced to abstain from eating foods that carry some emotional or cultural connotation. Matt says I'm an easy friend because I can be wooed by a box of cereal, but I'm not the only one. Kristin's husband joked that he was nearly moved to tears because the Cheerios brought back memories of his childhood.

One of the highlights of last week was receiving a special surprise from an old student I keep in touch with. While out of town for art camp, she came across a book in a used bookstore that reminded her of me, and she got it and dropped it off at work for me.
So thoughtful!
The oddest thing is that I literally put What I Talk About When I Talk About Running on my wish list not five days before she gave it to me! How did she know?! I can't wait to dive into this one; I've heard great things.

This week begins marathon training for real. I'll be battling the exhaustion that comes with suddenly being thrown into a super early, day-long work schedule after time off, but I'm determined to start training on the right foot.
You've gotta love a fitness enthusiast teacher who will text you in the morning to make sure you're awake to work out!
Is there a particular food you could eat non-stop and never get sick of it?
What's the most random act of kindness a friend has done for you?


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Training Plan & Exciting News!

This week, I tinkered with SmartCoach and came up with a plan I'm really happy with. Originally, the plan called for four 20-milers, and two of those were on back-to-back weekends, so that was one change I made. I also built up my mileage more slowly in the early weeks, and added a couple races.
I love working backwards so I can see how my paces will slowly get faster throughout training.
I'll be running the 10k Race for FISH again...this will be my fourth year running it! I couldn't say no.
I also added a half marathon in November. It's the Fort Myers Marathon, which I ran a couple years ago while sick...that was really rough. It was also the race that was supposed to be my first full, but luckily wasn't.
A bunch of my friends saw I had signed up for this and thought I was running the full. full in December is enough for me!
I think it will be nice to have a half marathon a month out from the full; it will really help me get an idea of how my paces are going.

There's also a 15k I ran two years ago, but I can't find any information on it...If they decide to have the race again, I'll definitely sign up.

I love that the paces on my plan look really doable. I know I can meet them if I'm diligent. I just hope when race day comes, I can keep the pace I need for my goal. (I'll share more about my A, B, and C goals when I'm further into training.) This is my second marathon, but it's the first I'm planning to really race. The first one was all about finishing! I'd like to really train with a race-plan in mind this time.

(Even as I'm looking at my plan now, I feel really confident, but I seem to be forgetting that even four miles is awful right now because of the humidity. But I know I'll get on track!)
We were dripping after this, and a little slap-happy. Matt's plan for Chattajack called for 60 minutes in HR zone 1, so we kept it really easy, which was totally fine by me!
I took my new shoes out for a run yesterday. I do like them; I could tell from the get-go that they're lighter than the Kayano. That was the main reason I switched; they're lighter and cost a bit less. The GT 2000s are basically the same shoe as the Kayano except that the heel drop is slightly lower (21mm vs. 24mm). I'm hoping the cushioning proves to be enough for marathon training. If not, I'll use them for shorter runs and switch back to the Kayano for long runs.
Nice and grassy after our first run together.
Finally, my exciting news...Meg messaged me the other day regarding BDR. When she was thinking about what race to run this fall/winter, Kristina suggested BDR because she's running the half and I'm, obviously, running the full. At first it seemed like a pipe dream, but Meg couldn't shake the thought of it! So yes, she's decided to run the half! I'm so excited to have another blogger friend at the race and to enjoy the whole weekend, especially a seasoned marathoner!
The medal design was released this week...I haven't earned a medal in months! I'm looking forward to adding this one to my wall.
It turns out quite a few of my friends will be at BDR, so I'm hoping to see a lot of familiar faces along the course!

I officially start training next week. I can't wait!

What does your fall race schedule look like?
Do you like running tune-up races before your goal race?
 Is there a race you try to run every year?


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Life After Vacation

I've been running again. Oh man, does that feel good. Of course, I'm still in the shoes I wore for the marathon, and my knees are beginning to feel it. I went on a wild shoe chase to find a new pair because the line I'm switching to is impossible to find locally in the color I want.
I'm switching from Kayanos to the GTs for a couple reasons...I'll write about it once the shoes are in!
Don't judge me for being picky about the color; I really think neon makes me feel faster and more confident!

Anyway, because ASICS is probably getting ready to release the new editions of the shoes, I had to order them; they should be here by Monday. I hate running in worn out shoes, so I'm keeping my mileage low.
This week I only ran a total of 8 miles, but I'm already feeling ready to build in more workouts.
I chose a training plan, too, but I need to tweak it a bit. It calls for four 20-milers, and while I do want to run more than one this time around, I really want to taper smarter this year and avoid burnout. I also want to fit more races into the fall...last year I skipped a couple of my favorite races and I think I'll try working them into training this year.
I went with Smart Coach again, but a more rigorous program. I'll talk a bit about my goal time once I get it all in order.
Some days I have no idea how I ever ran a marathon; my runs this week have been so sluggish. I just have to chalk it up to humidity and cut myself some slack.

I bought a gently-used Forerunner 10 from Kim and can't wait to begin using it for intervals and tempo runs. I'm still pretty loyal to Nike+, but I'm excited to have a simple Garmin for speedwork. (If you recall, I have a 440 as well, but it was too complex for me! Matt uses it now for SUP training.)
On the school front, I had my first meeting of the year on the 8th; it was fun to see the leadership team and to take a look at this year's big changes. I'm excited (and a bit nervous) to be going back.

I'll be going in to school this week to start setting up my classroom a little before actual training begins. I got a new Smartboard in my room and can't wait to play around with it!
My new Smartboard!
I got my back-to-school haircut! I wanted to do something drastic with my hair so...I did. I'm still getting used to it but I like it! When my hair is down, like I wear it 80% of the time, it looks totally normal. But...
I think when I go back in to get it trimmed again, I'll get the shaved part tighter to my head. I want it to look like a mohawk haha.
Maybe I should dye the short part...I think dark purple would look awesome.

Do you have a color-preference when it comes to shoes?
Do you like to take risks with your hair, or do you play it safe? I always figure it grows back, so why not play around with it?!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What I Hate to Hear from Non-Runners

Running isn't for everyone; I get that. I think it's more important to find a physical activity that makes you happy so you stay consistent and get some exercise than to pick up one particular type of exercise.

Not everyone is going to want to run, and that doesn't have to be justified to me or anyone else. So that's why I can't stand it when people feel the need to justify it, and then spout off something like, "Well, you like running" or "You're good at running" or "Well, you're a runner."

All I can say to that is...not always.

I didn't always like running. I know I've mentioned it here before, but I was legitimately that kid who walked the mile "run" in gym class. These days, I love running in general, but some days I still really, really don't. If you don't want to become a runner, fine, but don't justify it with "You like running, you wouldn't understand" because I was the epitome of a running-hater, so I know that logic doesn't stick.
Sometimes I don't love running for weeks at a time! Getting this reminder in my inbox is always a little hard to swallow.
I wasn't always good at running, and I'd argue that I'm still not very good at it most days. There was a time a couple years ago when I was only running 5k and 10k races, and I was getting speedy. Back then, I felt good at running. These days I feel like every run is a battle. (Must have something to do with 90% humidity.) You don't have to be good at running to enjoy it; is anyone good at Zumba, or weight-lifting, or spin, or...anything else when they first begin? Of course not! But still, people find a way to enjoy the workout even if they're not good at it yet.
And anyway, what does being good at running look like? Are we talking about being good like Meb? Because really, in that case, who is?
I wasn't always a runner. I didn't consider myself a runner when I first started. But like I've already said, you have to start somewhere if you want to achieve something great, and that somewhere isn't going to be at the top.

I think I blame the mile run in gym for people's aversion to running. I mean, coaches never teach you to build up to a mile. Twice a year you it. It's like, Good luck, kids! We're not going to talk about pacing yourself, intervals, or even how far a mile really is! Go get it!
No wonder so many people say they hate running! And as someone who used to, I can't help but think if those people just gave it a chance, they'd be singing a different tune. But hey, to each his own! I just want the lame justifications to stop!

What do you say to these kinds of excuses?
Did you always like to run?


Saturday, August 1, 2015

A New Month

Sometimes, you just need to step back from the internet. Well, maybe not you...but I certainly do. I think it was good timing that the end of July was filled with celebrations with friends for our anniversary and then a big trip to St. Croix. I really needed to spend some time just enjoying life and away from the computer.

Of course, now it's the first of the month, and that means it's time to start fresh. The training plan I've decided on for the BDR Marathon is a 16-week plan, and I have about 19 weeks until race day. I used a 20-week plan for Spacecoast and felt burned out, so I think having a shorter plan will really help.
While I get back into the swing of things post-vacation, I'll ramp up my running a bit so I can start the official plan on August 23.

I'm going to do my best to catch up on all the exciting news in blog-world. I'll leave you with some photos from St. Croix. We had a great time getting Scott settled in (he's moving there to begin PA school) and exploring the island. Our flights back were insanely hectic...I'm so relieved to finally be home!
Scott and Matt at Freedom City, a SUP shop and grill. We had dinner on the beach at nice!
This is Scott's balcony, where we had breakfast every morning. You really can't beat that view.
Matt and Scott got their diving certification and practiced in this mountain-top pool. Nothing like diving while atop a mountain, right?
We checked out Point Udall, the eastermost point in the US.
Another at Point Udall.
These flamboyant trees (also called flame trees or royal poinciana) are my new favorite. They're SO bright; I want one in our yard. This was taken at the Botanical Gardens.
The Cruzan Rum Distillery was a delicious treat, and I'm not usually a rum drinker!
We hiked a 2.7 mile mountain trail and scaled some jagged rocks to relax in the tide pools in Carambola, then hiked back.
The locals in St. Croix are ridiculously friendly. Scott met a few students from his PA program (they hiked to the tide pools with us), so when we left him we really felt like we'd helped him get comfortable and settle in, which was the goal!

We couldn't have enjoyed our vacation without the peace of mind of friends watching the house and Matt's mom watching Archie. I'm so grateful we were able to take this trip. It was just what I needed to get my mind ready for school-planning and marathon training.

Have you ever traveled to St. Croix or the US Virgin Islands?
Have you ever gone SCUBA diving? I opted out of that particular fear of water was just too much to deal with.