Thursday, April 17, 2014

Checking In...

Oh hey there, apparently this is my blog where I write about running and life. Lately there has been running, and living but not much writing--sorry about that.

Let's see here, I already dropped the news on you last week that I moved. Well, I spent most of last week doing the many tasks required in such a thing-- you know, packing, moving things, unpacking, signing things, buying things, cleaning things, and generally NOT sleeping. Good news, that part is over. I still have some settling in to do, but the hard parts are pretty much behind me. I've been enjoying my housewarming presents from people-- most of which involve food and/or alcohol, my friends know whats' up.

Other than that I haven't been overly busy, I have been enjoying the downtime. Giving myself time to relax, go do things with friends, and generally work on feeling like myself again. On that front-- I've made a lot of progress. People who know me and talk to me regularly have seen that I'm more and more like myself as time goes on- it feels good. I haven't felt alone in all of this, which says a lot about the amazing people in my life.

Sure, life is still complicated in many ways but well...that's life. Finding the beauty in the mess is important.

I have so many awesome things going on, time with friends and family, oh and going to Boston this weekend for that little race you may have heard of? Dear God, it's finally here! I am looking forward to this weekend for many reasons that I can't even begin to explain- I'm pretty sure I will be smiling...the entire time.

As for running and working out- yeah it's been happening. My cross training time has been pretty much non-existent with the other things going on, but sometimes you just need it. Running wise, I'm feeling relatively good, some days my leg bothers me more than others but right now there isn't much I can do right now. So I am resting, and resting HARD. I'm taking taper more serious than normal because I know the healing time for my leg will pay off come Monday.

Speaking of running- Monday I had one of those runs that was just freaking insanely amazing. It was pouring rain, and I loved every second of it. Turned into a great progressive run, and left me feeling incredibly confident for some big things this fall. As much as I am excited for Boston (believe me, I AM!), I am also excited to heal and get back to 100% so I can train my ass off this summer for big running goals in the coming months. I'll save the new goals for the year until after Boston though. Boston goals will be coming at you tomorrow.

I'm aware that I have been more absent in the blog wold with social media, blog reading, etc.- know that I will get back to a normal routine, and I do promise to respond to the emails those of you have sent me ( I really do appreciate the amazing support). I didn't forget about everyone, just needed some time away :)

So....if we were catching up,
what would you have to tell me?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Endings & New Beginnings

I mentioned the other day that I have been going through a lot lately. I guess I could have done some big long emotional post about this, but in all honesty I had no desire to do so.  I'm just going to give the facts of the situation because some of these things are obviously going to come up at times.

  1. I'm choosing happiness, better days are ahead. <----most important fact.
  2. Tonight will be my first official night in my new 'home'.
  3. That new apartment is mine alone. It's a small studio in a cute part of town, and it's just what I need.
  4. Yes, moving into new place alone means I am no longer living with J. 
  5. Giving up & moving on are NOT the same thing.
  6. There won't be a wedding anymore.
  7. This was my choice, and I truly believe it is the best for everyone.
  8. Ironman Cozumel is no longer happening (for me) this year. I'm actually happy about this right now.
  9. I never really talked about our relationship much on the blog before, so this won't change things.
  10. The reasons for #'s 2-7 are not really anyone's business but ours. Everyone in this world deserves to be happy, and each of us need different things to find that happiness. 
I'm ready to feel like myself again. This is something that didn't just happen overnight, it's something that built up with time. During that time I became a different version of myself, I wasn't very happy with that person I became. I don't want to be so busy building a life that I forget to live the one I already have. I have so many goals and passions of things I want for the future, and I am beyond hopeful for those things. 

What I can say with 100% certainty is that I have the BEST support system a girl could ask for. Between sending me messages of support, bringing me candy, helping me with transition to new place, reminding me what it feels like to really smile again, drinking with me, running with me, giving me things to look forward to, all of it. I'm in a good place right now, while yes some big changes are taking place which is hard... I firmly believe that I made the best decision and that better days are ahead.

For those of you who have reached out to me lately, I truly appreciate every kind word and the time it took to send a message or comment. Life has certainly been busy with work, moving, training, taking time for myself and dealing with everything that I haven't had a heck of a lot of 'spare time'. The next few weeks are going to be crazy, finalizing moving this weekend, Boston next, and NJ the weekend after.... I honestly think it's just what I need to get back on my feet with things. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Boston Training: That's life.

Last week was the final week before I start a semi-taper for Boston. I haven't really trained excessively this cycle due to injury so a taper isn't the most necessary thing right now. I could tell you what my workouts were but it was nothing over the top. I biked some, I used the elliptical a little, and did some core work. As for running, I had some good runs (Tuesday running with coworkers, and Wednesday had awesome hilly progression run) and some bad (i.e. Friday's run ended up being only 2 miles due to dizziness and pain in my leg), and I had some runs that were plain old necessary (Sundays hilly hungover emotional 18 miler).

I would have loved to have more work in last week(training wise), but I also had to take the time to take care of myself. Sometimes I think we focus so much on training and numbers that we forget that health and happiness still have to be a priority. Stress of life eliminated my appetite and found myself struggling with energy from not enough food. If you know me, you know I LOVE food so this is not something that happens to me often. Thankfully my appetite is coming back (slowly) and should be back to normal just in time to carb-load for Boston next week. I'll just consider this whole appetite issue an extended carb-depleting phase?

Life is complicated (I'm sure you knew that), and last week it got really messy for me. While in the long run it will be a good thing, and believe that better days are ahead- it doesn't make it any easier. I will talk about this a little more soon, I'm not trying to 'vague update' but right now just isn't the right time to go into it.

Last week wasn't all bad, it definitely had some positive things going on. Mainly I'm just really grateful for the amazing friends and family I have, and even some unexpected support from outsiders. Certainly know how to make a girl feel loved.

As for this week, technically it's my first week of 'taper' but it won't be much different from the last few. I have some workouts I would like to do and some medium long runs but nothing over the top. 2 weeks from today I will be running my first Boston Marathon, so basically I'll be spending the next 12 days trying to contain my excitement until I leave for Massachusetts.

I also don't think I'll be taking my jacket off for a long time. My friends Tom & Deb gave this to me yesterday, pretty much one of the best presents ever. Can't wait to spend a weekend in Boston with them and the rest of our friends (and a million other people). Until then I am just going to focus on the positives and keep my head up :)

Tell me something good...anything at all... what's been a highlight for you lately?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Syracuse Half Marathon Recap

This race was a week and a half ago now, sorry for the delay. I'll blame it on training, life, work, weekend away, and ALL the food. Because, well..that's life.

I decided right after Lake Effect that I was going to do this race as a tune-up for Boston (good timing for it, a month out from the race). I knew a lot of people doing it, which meant I would get to see some friends who I don't see often, and run
Heather & I 
Shortly after registering, my 'injury' started getting to be a problem. My goal of a faster time slipped away a little but I also knew I could use the race as a good workout.

That morning was one of the most stressful race mornings- woke up, prepared for the 90 minute drive....only to find that it snowed...again. The roads were covered, and it was crazy windy creating poor visibility(in the already pitch black of early morning. I white-knuckled it the whole ride and considered turning around many times.

Somehow I managed to still get there on time and get everything taken care of pre-race.  I have to say, had the logistics of the race not been as good as they were...this wouldn't have happened. I was able to park right around the corner from the Oncenter convention center (where expo was, as well as start and finish line). I got inside, grabbed my bib, checked my bag, ran around the whole convention center looking for shortest bathroom line, and got outside for start without ANY issues. Everything was so close and centrally located...I have to give them an A+ for that.

I decided going into it that I needed to throw out my original goals, the roads were slick and the conditions were far from ideal. My only real goal was to stay upright and finish. In my head thoguh I really wanted to keep it under my current marathon pace (1:36ish), but I knew between injury and weather conditions- might not be in my control.

The course itself is fair, LOTS of turns, a few rollers but nothing crazy (worst part is mile 2). The course was well marked, although most of us were not running inside the cones (it was safer running in the tire tracks from cars because there was less snow).
Source one ran inside the cones.
I remember being afraid running down this, slick conditions! (source)
 I was actually surprised at the people cheering along the course, much more than I expected for a snowy cold Sunday morning in Syracuse. The only part of the course I really disliked was the 'Creekwalk' section. It's a sidewalk by the creek (imagine that!) but it wasn't plowed or cleared. I almost fell multiple times through here and I heard others complaining about it afterwards as well. Granted- that section probably would have been nice, had it not been the section I looked like I was trying to be an ice dancer.

As for my paces, well these are the splits from the race timing company. I never felt fabulous but I never felt like dying either. I managed to pull negative splits for the first 15k, but after that I was just toast. C'est la vie.
5k- 22:15 (7:10 average)
10k- 44:00 (7:05 average)
15k- 1:05:43 (7:03 average)
Last 3.8 Miles 27:22 (7:12 average)

I finished in 1:33:05 (7:06 average) which is 3 minutes slower than my PR but still a solid time. Anytime I can run around that pace for a half, fine by me. I used to dream of a time like that- and now that's my 'bad day', we call that PROGRESS.

One of the best parts of the day was getting to see friends--Carrie, Joe, Thomas & Family, and of course Heather! Heather and I hung out after the race for a while, and then she kindly let me be a bum and shower at her office gym (I had a birthday party to go to in the area after the race).

I really can't say anything bad about the race- it was incredibly well run. As I said the logistics were awesome, the course was fair, chip timing, big pre-post race warm area (in the convention center), lots of food and drinks post-race, and the medals were nice too. I see this becoming a bigger race in the next few years (this was only the second time the race was done and it's already a good sized race). For a 'new' race, they really know what they are doing and it's nice to see good quality races in the area. Obviously can't blame the race for the weather- I mean, it's March in Upstate NY....could be 80 degrees and it could be below 0. I will certainly do this one again, maybe next year the weather gods will be a little nicer?

Anyone else run Syracuse Half this year?

Seeing as it is April 1st, I'll ask---who did you prank? Or were you the victim?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Boston Training: Bye Bye March

3 Weeks out now, that's pretty insane. This week was one of the better ones I have had for running since this whole injury thing started. I feel like I am in 'survival mode' right now, just get me through the next few weeks with whatever runs/workouts I can get in between now and then. The fact that I was able to get back to back runs in Tuesday/Wednesday and get 20 in Friday was good confidence booster. Either my pain tolerance is going up, or the problem is getting better. Fingers crossed its the latter. 

PM: 10 min warm-up on bike (2.75 Miles), 15 Minutes Core work, 1400 yd Swim
PM:10 TM miles (7:54 pace)
PM: 8 TM miles (7:42 pace)
PM: 45 Minutes Bike (14.8 Miles), 750 yd swim
PM: 20.13 Miles (7:42 pace) [2.13 Outside, 18 on TM]
--Rest/Walking around Toronto--

Total Running Miles: 38.1 Miles
Total Biking Miles: 17.6 Miles
Total Swim Distance: 1.2 Miles
Total Strength Training/Cross Training Time: 15 Minutes (womp. womp)

All in all this week was pretty good, I did end up with 2 rest days which wasn't planned but well...that's life. I did majority of my running on treadmill this week, some part due to weather and others to convenience. My core work and strength training has really taken a hit the last few weeks. The time I normally spent doing that, has been reallocated to the 'stretching/icing/PT' side of things for my right leg.

Saturday we slept in (that 20 after work kicked my rear), and then hit the road for our mini getaway to Toronto for the day/night. Photo proof I own clothes other than running clothes, and that I am capable of doing something with my hair other than a ponytail or hat for running.

We did  lots of walking around, and even more eating. Three words for rib poutine. A great meal, some cocktails and then seeing Chicago (the musical) Saturday night. Honestly a weekend away with J, with no cell service...was fabulous. Some time to unplug and spend time together without interruptions.

Sunday's drive home was much quicker (we left earlier to avoid border traffic), but came home to LOTS of snow. So maybe we didn't go away somewhere to the beach, but it didn't snow in Toronto and it did at home...that's a winning mini vacation in my book. I was tired when we got back and ended up laying in bed from 2 pm on with a migraine. Cue the Netflix marathon, sweats, and laziness. I had hoped I'd get in a bike ride or something, but the bed won over and I'm okay with that.

As for this coming week- well I have some thoughts about what I'd like to have happen (potentially another long run), but nothing set in stone. I'm not 100% healthy, heck with my leg and other things I don't even think I am 80%, I need to change that. So if that means taking it easy on more days to try and figure out whats going on with my leg, or means laying in bed with a migraine and resting to avoid getting sick... so be it.  My goals for the year extend beyond Boston, so now really isn't the time for me to play hero.

So time to buckle down and get through this last real week of training before taper. This is the home stretch, I may not be where I would like to be at this point but I am far from giving up :) End of February and all of March was spent being injured and changing everything for it- I can't say I am sad for it to be over. I think that April is going to be a much better month, and things are going to start looking up around here. Plenty of things to look forward to:)

What are you looking forward to in April?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

3 Years Marathoning: From First to Favorite

1st Marathon
God I look young. No wonder
Swifty wrote a song about being 22.
Three years ago today I completed my first marathon, it's crazy to look back at that day. Yes I am the nerd who also remembers the date. I honestly don't remember a ton about it, it WAS memorable but maybe I'm just getting old and forgetful.

I remember standing at the start not even realizing what was about to happen. I remember unpinning my bib, holding it (and the pins) in my mouth while taking off my long sleeve and proceeding to re-pin onto my tank top(all while running). I remember stopping to tie my shoe and falling over. I remember crossing the finish line, and not knowing how to feel. It all seemed surreal, like it went by so fast and then boom, DONE.

After my first I wasn't sure if I would run another, and I wasn't in any frame of mind to think about it (I was in the frame of mind to eat....all the food). Obviously I didn't stop there, I ran #2 & 3 within 6-8 months later. [Can read about 1-5 in--->this post]

Cleveland (#5) was a new race experience for me last year, it was my first marathon without a BQ goal. Although it was a super hot day, and I was 4 minutes slower than my PR I still loved it. It kind of sat with me for a few months, 'hey I really like the marathon'.

Wineglass (#6) was definitely a great experience. Huge PR, but more than anything I was happy to see my experience paying off. I was happy to see the lessons I have learned put to good use. At this point, I knew it was officially my favorite distance.

Deciding to run CIM 9 weeks after Wineglass, well...there was many reasons behind this. My love of the distance plus you all know how bad I wanted my 3:15, but the other reason was: I have changed.

Let me elaborate: In high school and college I was the about the power and speed, short distances and jumps were my thing. When I first started road races a few years ago, I got decent (by my standards) relatively quick at the 5k's and shorter distances. When I added longer distances in, the progress didn't come as quick but the experiences and lessons learned certainly did. Somewhere along the way I became a distance runner, something I swore I would never do. Somewhere along the way I became happier running 20 milers than going out and chasing 5k times.
1st Marathon done, not quite in love yet.
Here I am, training for my first Boston and finding myself more emotional about something that happened 3 years ago. No I didn't love the marathon after my first, hell I'm not even sure how much I liked it. But I am grateful for that first, because had I not taken that chance and done it- I wouldn't be where I am now.

 I am proud of the way running has changed my life(in so many ways) the last few years. Is it all because I ran a marathon (and then a few more)? No, running a marathon doesn't define you as a runner; but falling in love with the distance certainly has changed me. Doing what you love, yeah...that changes you. For some people that's 5k's, some it's half marathons, some it's marathons, and some it's not running at all. We all prefer different distances, and that doesn't make one runner better than another. Part of me ran my first marathon to prove something, I thought I needed to in order to be a 'real' runner. I can tell you for a fact that's false, distance doesn't define you. Making the choice to go out and run, that makes you a runner. I've learned a lot through all of the distances I have ran, marathons just stick with me the most.

Marathons have left me proud, humbled, defeated, happy, excited, driven, broken, and some of those all in the same race. I've had the good ones and the bad ones and still come back for more. Either I really love it, or I am a sadist. I'll vote for the former.

Marathoners: Do you remember much about your first?

How do you define yourself as a runner?

What distance do you just love? 
For me: Marathons, and then 2nd place is tie between halves and 5 Mile

Monday, March 24, 2014

Boston Training: Still on the Roller Coaster

Another week down, and all of the sudden we are 4 weeks away from the big day. I think the excitement is building, but so is the mental battle I have going on of "what am I really going to be capable of?". I have no idea what the next few weeks will bring with training and this 'injury' so its' hard to anticipate anything about that weekend.

Overall this week wasn't high distance or time on anything, but I was happy for what I DID get done. Focusing on what DIDN'T happen is only going to frustrate me more so I am trying to avoid that. Still some solid training as I technically got 2 workouts in (10 mile tempo, and 13.1 mile run @ faster than MP). Also got in the pool twice, which is well...a miracle.
PM: 60 Minutes Bike (17.6 Miles), 2000m Swim
PM: 10 Mile Tempo Run (7:14 average pace)
AM: 60 Minutes Strength & Stability (w/PT)
PM: 4.38 Mile run (7:59 pace)
PM: 35 Minutes Elliptical (4.8 Miles), 1600m swim
PM: 3.73 Mile test run (8:03 pace)
AM: Syracuse Half-Marathon

Total Running Miles: 31.2 Miles
Total Biking Miles: 17.6 Miles
Total Swim Distance: 3600m/2.2 Miles
Total Elliptical Miles: 4.8 Miles
Total Strength Training Time: 60 Minutes

This week was humbling but it also had some really positive things as well (still on that damn roller coaster). Monday was my first time in the pool in MONTHS. It felt good to be in there, regardless of my distaste for swimming laps. Before I knew it, I had swam the half iron distance, and even swam it faster than my Musselman swim time last year. Tuesday's tempo wasn't bad, and actually left me feeling relatively confident that MAYBE my leg was getting better. Not a bad way to start the week.
Scenes from the high portions of the week--Monday swim outside and Tuesday muddy tempo on the canal...also my new perfect spring headband I won from SCB :) I'd show you stuff from the rest of the week but the lows aren't as fun to capture on film. (read: I look stupid when I cry.)
Here's the humbling part- Wednesday was the first time(since being injured) that I actually had to cut a run short because of my leg. It was the first time the pain didn't get better as I went, and everything simply hurt...bad. Maybe it was just an off day, maybe my legs were beat up from the mornings PT session- I don't know but it left me very defeated and down on a lot of things. (I'm human!)

Saturday I decided on a test run on the treadmill- and to my didn't hurt. Well, it wasn't 100% but it was certainly improved (mainly just tight calves). Maybe Wednesday's run was the "it has to get worse before it gets better?". The half Sunday wasn't my fastest but certainly still a good time for me, I'll recap that later this week.

This week I have some planned runs & workouts but as I have been for the last few weeks, I will readjust as needed. I am getting a massage by someone who specializes in athletes with injuries on Tuesday- I think my legs really need the work on them so fingers crossed that it helps.

The next 2 weeks are really important for training- no matter what my goals are for Boston. It's going to require some creativity with the issues I am dealing with, but you bet I'll find ways to push myself. Good news, as the race gets closer the motivation gets stronger. Obviously I wish I had more than 4 weeks left for training but then again, in 4 weeks I get to spend a few days in Boston with my man, our friends and some family--that is something to be pumped about. I assume over the next few weeks, the excitement will only grow for the race and that weekend more and more each day.

When do you start getting really excited for your big race?

When was the last time you really surprised yourself with a run or workout?
That 2000m swim Monday after months out of the pool really surprised me, in a good way :)

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