Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Marathon Training Updates

I've not really been talking much about any of my training lately. I don't know that it's all that exciting. I'm training for a marathon so that means I'm running. And running. And fitting in cross-training and weights. I don't even want to tally up the time I'm spending doing these things. Anyone else ever feel like training starts to take over their lives? I'm not even to my true long runs yet.

Anyhoo ... This past weekend was a good one overall. Saturday was a bit full, but I made up for that on Sunday with lots of reading time on the patio. Saturday morning was actually finally cool enough so that I could sleep in for a change. It was so nice not having to get up and out the door by 6 am on the weekend. In fact, I didn't head out until 8.

My goal was to shoot for 13-14 miles depending on how I felt. The temps were hovering just below 60 degrees and the skies were overcast. I was a happy runner. I may have been a bit too happy though. My intention was to take it slow and do 10 solo miles then stop by the house where Jason would join me for the last 3-4 miles.

I am so used to the 10-11 mile range both physically and mentally. I've toughed it out with decent paces even in the grueling summer heat. So with the cooler temps, I ended up going a lot faster than I should have, than I needed to. I need to really keep in mind that I'm going farther with my distances now. I'm not stopping at that comfort spot I'm so used to. It's a learning curve for me for sure.

 I've only hit 14 miles 3 or 4 times before. So, 10 miles was at an 8:12 pace and I felt great. Until I got to the house then realized I had another 3-4 to go. Honestly, had Jason not been going with me, I probably would have cut myself short at 12 miles because the fatigue was setting in. Again, I'm a complete work in progress here.

Thankfully Jason is way better at pacing so he helped slow me down and got me through the last 4 miles and once I was done, I knew I could have done 15 so that was a nice feeling.


After the run I stretched, put my feet up and tried to recover properly. I felt good, better than I had expected even. I wasn't tired. I was only minimally sore. However, I had been having major GI problems and was having a hard time wanting to eat anything at all. Not a good thing when you need to re-fuel.

The rest of the day my stomach never felt quite right, but I made myself eat especially when we went to lunch with my sister. Then we had a couple of different house gatherings to go to. This is when my fatigue set in like a ton of bricks. It hit hard and I wanted to just do a face plant and sleep wherever I landed. Let's just say I was out cold by 9 pm (probably earlier) and slept until 7:30 the next morning.

Sunday morning was again cool so no rushing to get out the door. I wasn't sure if I was going to feel up to a run after Saturday, but I felt surprisingly good. I set out for a run planning to just listen to my body for pace and distance. I did much better slowing down, so it ended up being a really good recovery run. After some house chores and a grocery store trip, I spent most of the day sitting outside reading as it turned out to be a gorgeously sunny day.

Monday I needed a break from running. I was able to get in biceps and triceps during lunch and a bike ride after work was in question. The dogs were at the groomer and pickup time never seems to go as scheduled. Luckily, they ended up being ready early so that I could pick them up and get home missing rush hour traffic. This also meant that Jason was able to come straight home so we could head out for a bike ride.

We haven't ridden outside much this summer at all to be honest. I've been way more comfortable on the trainer now that I'm clipped in. I'm really a big chicken and just not all that comfortable on the bike to begin with. But each outing I do get a little bit more comfortable.


The only problem with an evening workout, especially a bike ride for some reason, is that I have a really hard time winding down and sleeping. So my sleep was fitful. And it didn't help that Maddie and Heath woke us up around 3:45. Just a big fiasco as Heath knocks down a gate to come up, Maddie has now figured out that yes she can get over it too and she comes up. Only she won't just lay down. She's like a shark that can't stop moving ... ever ... always in motion.

When the alarm went off just after 5 am I wasn't sure I could peel myself out of bed for my run. I suddenly decided I no longer wanted to run. Period. Have you ever done that? Well, I did, but I talked myself off the ledge and got myself out the door. It's getting so hard to be motivated when it's just plain dark out and you don't have a partner in crime to kick you in your pants. This time of year, I find that I get myself spooked really easily. That's great for the old heart and causes some mini sprint sessions.

My legs were heavier than expected from the bike ride, but it could have also been more from lack of sleep and the humidity that has settled back in. At one point I thought I'd be ok with 3 miles because it felt like I was just running in place. It took 5 miles for my legs to finally get on board with the whole running concept. But they finally did and I ended up with 8.6 miles. Tomorrow I have hill repeats on tap. I'm trying not to think about that bit of torture though.

Anyone else spook themselves running in the dark this time of year? Anyone ever just suddenly decide, hey, I don't want to do X workout anymore, ever, I'm done? 


Friday, September 12, 2014

Fun for Friday - 10 Things About Me

Well we made it to Friday! Of course around here (as in my blog) that means Fun for Friday. This week I'm "borrowing" an idea from Tara at Running 'n' Reading and sharing 10 Things About Me.

You should stop by Tara's blog and say hi. She happens to live in the same city (though we've not met yet), she's a runner who also is running the 3 Bridges Marathon in December as her first full as well (though this is her 2nd to train for as the Little Rock ended up being called this year because of weather), and if you like to read, you're in luck there too!

1. My mom chose my first name based on a soap opera character she liked. My middle name, Rosa, comes from my great-grandmother.

2. I hated having red hair as a child. One uncle called me Red, there was a boy in school who always called me Big Red (as in the gum). Now that I'm older, I wish the red showed through more.

You can sort of see the red here, it seems to change based on lighting these days
3. My favorite flower is the rose, and it probably has a lot to do with my middle name.


4. I'm terrible at parallel parking. I think it's mostly because I don't do it often. When I went through Driver's Ed, I was an amazing parallel parker. You would not know that now though.

5. The last meat that I ate was lobster. I gave up all other meat my senior year of high school (1993) but would occasionally have lobster or crab, like once in a blue moon because I certainly couldn't afford it. I think the last time I had it was 1995 or 1996.

6. I used to think I hated tofu because I had no idea how to prepare and cook it. No one ever told me to press it. Talk about a revolution in my life when I finally figured that one out.

7. I'm crazy stubborn. When I get something in my mind, it means it will be done someway or the other. Case in point was putting screws into shoes so that I could run outside when we had a random snow. The gym was closed but running was on "the plan."


8. I love to travel, but am not a good traveler. I get crazy anxiety, which makes me really testy. I hate riding in the car for any longer than an hour. I get car sick, air sick and sea sick. But gosh darnit I want to travel!

9. I really hate super cold weather. However, there's something so peaceful about snow. I guess I can say that since we don't have to contend with much of it here.


10. While I like to dress up, I've really started to embrace NOT dressing up. I think the turning point was when I had my blood clot and had to stay home for so long. PJs, house shoes, not doing hair or makeup? Fantastic idea. I used to be the girl who tucked in t-shirts for crying out loud. Now on the weekends I sometimes get annoyed at the mere idea of having to do hair or makeup and figuring out an outfit to wear.

Of course you know I'm going to now say, "Your Turn!" So let me have it. What's something about you I may not know?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why Runners Run in the Road

Yesterday was all about running, and today will be as well. However, today's post was not inspired by some great runs I had in Boston. This one is inspired by a run I had on Saturday - my 13 mile run - when I had some super sweet chick yell at me. Oh being a runner can be so fun.

I was probably 10.5 miles into my run. It was a good run for me. One of the better long runs I've had in a while actually. There was just enough of a breeze to help with the temperatures. I had found a good rhythm and was humming right along. At that point, I knew I was going for 13 miles, the longest run I've done since spring. I was happy.

I was coming up a street that happens to be part of the Little Rock Marathon route. I don't usually run up that particular road, but I was just zig zagging along enjoying myself, so I ended up headed that direction. I should back up to say that the majority of this particular run had been done on the river trail system and I was just coming off a stretch of road where I always run on the sidewalks.

Now, taking a right onto this different road means terrible sidewalk to the right and missing one on the left. This means you hit the street. No big deal. I've done this route a million times. I had to stop at a busy intersection then got going again. There was a car coming towards me. I was all the way to the left of the road as I could be without hitting the curb.

I smiled and that's when the passenger started yelling at me, "Sidewalks, run on the sidewalks." Um, ok, if there was one that I could get to and not trip and fall, sure thing. I yelled back, "You run on the sidewalk."

Of course I was a bit taken aback at this point. She continues yelling at me, "Sidewalk baby girl, sidewalk." Ok, no. Nope. No way. Not your baby girl here. And you don't know that I was JUST on a sidewalk. You don't know why I am currently not on one. And don't be trying to give me a PSA on how and where to run.

I won't say what my response was, but it included a double, middle finger wave. Although, probably a bit less effective when you have a water bottle strapped to one hand.

My last miles were pretty speedy I'll admit as I was seething and going over the incident repeatedly. Now, I have often figured many non-runners didn't understand why crazy runners ran in the road. I didn't realize that some people took it so offensively. Seriously, you would have thought I was committing a grievous crime. And sure, you can play Devil's Advocate that she was thinking of safety reasons. And I get that. I don't trust drivers one bit to be honest.

The thing is that runners might be crazy, but we're not stupid with a death wish. If a runner is running in the road, there's likely a reason. And hopefully they're being hyper aware, running against the traffic and well to the side of the road.

Where I live, the sidewalks are pretty pitiful at best. Old trees mean roots that push up the concrete. Some areas there are stones or bricks, aesthetically appealing but dangerous to walk on let alone run on. People park on the sidewalks (though this is not legal). There are dumpsters, trashcans, yard debris, overgrown bushes ... not to mention sidewalks will just randomly end. Now you see it, now you don't.

If you're not a runner and you get annoyed at us crazies running in the road, or you're a runner and you've experienced hateful drivers, you can share this post for a PSA on WHY we run in the roads.













Runners, have you ever had anything like this happen? Do you brave wonky sidewalks or do you run in the roads (or a combo)? Non-runners, would you still try to run on those sidewalks or would you brave the road instead?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Boston Recap Part 3 - The Running

Today will be my final installment of my Boston Recap posts. If you missed the previous two, you can catch up on The Food and The Enjoying. Today's post is about the running. If you're a runner, you cannot go to Boston and not run. I think it's some sort of law in fact. And quite frankly, I think even non-runners might be inspired to run in Boston.

When we had left Little Rock, we were enjoying heat indices of 100+ with humidity and dew points that created a fantastic sauna effect. Definitely ideal running weather right? Boston was the complete opposite for weather. The air felt crisp like fall. It was in the 50s when Jason set out with me to run Friday morning, almost chill-bump inducing. In other words, I was downright giddy to run. 

Jason hasn't been running much lately, so not only was I getting to run in much better weather, getting to enjoy some fantastic new views, but also getting to do so with him. I was a happy runner for certain. 

Our hotel was less than half a mile from the Esplanade, an 18-mile path that runs along the Charles River traversing both Boston and Cambridge. I knew I wanted at least 7 miles. I knew Jason shouldn't run near that distance though. We took it slow and steady just taking in the views and enjoying the gorgeous weather. 

Just around mile 6 it was time for Jason to call it done with running. He was fine with walking while I ran ahead. We planned where to meet back up, so all was good. I kept running and exploring and by the time we were back a the hotel, I had a solid 9-miles done and enjoyed every single step. 



On Saturday morning, I got up to get in a run in Peabody. Scott told me one route he and Jessica typically took, so I mapped that out on MapMyRun just in case I managed to get myself lost. Thankfully, I did not. Again, the weather was just spectacular.

I had thought I would end up with a slow run because of the miles from Friday coupled with all the walking we had also done. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the views, but I had a pep in my step and ended up getting in a fantastic feeling 8 miles at an 8:07 pace.



Sunday morning Jessica and I were planning on running together. We have never had the chance. When she had visited me 2 1/2 years ago, I was on the injured list with plantar fasciitis, so we weren't able to run then. But this time around, there was nothing stopping us.

We basically went the same route I had run the previous day with the exception of the return and we ran a bit further into Salem. To me, that was the funny part about all of the running I was doing there - so many towns. At home, unless I cross the river, I am always in Little Rock. Crossing the river puts me in North Little Rock. That's it. But in Boston I ran 2 cities and in Peabody, I ran 3 cities: Peabody, Salem, Beverly.


Jessica may have a few choice words about the run, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I was so happy to have the chance to finally run with her. And I can't wait to run with her again (hopefully sooner rather than later).

So there you have it, my Boston vacation recap is now complete. I can't believe it's already been more than a week since I was there.

Do you make it a point to run in new cities? How many towns do you run in during any given run?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fun for Friday - Best Part of Being Home


Today I thought I'd take a break from my Boston Recap Posts. If you missed them, you can catch up on The Food and The Enjoying. I'll share about The Running next week. But my mind is seriously still on vacation mode.

It's so hard to get back to reality isn't it? It's hard to jump back into our routines, which we normally crave of course. Funny how we want routine to an extent but then pine away for release from that norm (aka vacation).

We usually think, "why can't I be on permanent vacation?" Who wouldn't want to sleep in a bit later, have an extra glass of wine on a patio overlooking spectacular views each day or strolling through parks leisurely rather than being in an office? But honestly, don't we also tend to want to get back home, back to our norm? Maybe not work exactly, but what we're used to like our family, friends, furbabies, own beds ... our routines.

Rather than dwelling on the fact that this time last week I was living it up in Boston, hanging out with some fantastic friends, enjoying cooler weather, I thought I'd share what's good about being back home (though, I won't like, it'd be pretty fantastic if my friends just happened to move here and live next door!).

The best part about being back home after a vacation (or trip of any kind):


Your bed. There's just something about being in your familiar bed with your sheets and pillows that's comforting and cozy.

Your kitchen. While we typically end up vacationing to where we have access to a kitchen and homemade meals, it's really nice to get back into your own kitchen. Those meals you thought were ho-hum feel fresh again.

Your shower. I don't think my shower is anything grand mind you. I actually really dislike it most of the time. But when I get home from a trip, it's suddenly better somehow, even the lack of water pressure and dingy looking fiberglass that won't seem to come clean.

Your messes. Yep, somehow your stuff lying around that annoyed you before? It's, well, yours. It's quite simply, your stuff. It's all familiar.


What's your favorite part of being back home after a trip? 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Boston Part 2 - The Enjoying

Picking up where I left off with the Boston Part 1 - The Food post, now I'll talk a little more about the Enjoying that we did, and that includes some sight-seeing as well.

Thursday, Jason and I pretty much hit the ground running after checking into our hotel. After a relaxing lunch, we hoofed it to Fenway Park to do their facilities tour. I'll be honest, I wasn't super keen on this but am really glad that we did the tour. It was very informative and behind-the-scenes. While watching a game would have been fun, you would miss out on some of the features of the park itself including the history.



Friday morning we woke up and ran (which I'll talk more about in my Running recap post), then it was time to clean up and check out of the hotel. Thankfully, they were very accommodating and held our luggage for us as our friend, Scott, was going to pick us up later in the day.

After stopping by the Farmers' Market and picking up some food to enjoy, we walked over to a nice, shaded park area to eat. Then it was off for more walking as we made our way through another park on our way to begin the Freedom Trail Tour. We decided to just walk the route ourselves. It was nice doing so at our own pace, however, I know we missed out on some history and interesting facts about Boston.






The walking tour was way longer than I had anticipated. I had run 9 miles and we walked another 5 or more easily AND we never even got through the entire tour. After a certain point it was time to throw in the white flag and head back to the hotel for Scott to pick us up. I thought we'd never make it back. Yes, we could have taken public transportation of course, but we're stubborn.

Scott picked us up and took us to his and Jessica's house in Peabody where we waited on her and her sister, Jolene, to arrive from Jess' Barre N9NE class. I had planned on taking the class, but was so worn out and feet so swollen from the walking, I simply couldn't. The evening plan was that a blog cohort and all around kickass woman, Meaghan, was also going to come by for a Pizza Party Throwdown. Scott made his pizza dough, I made mine and we all dug in.

Another part of the evening included wine drinking and Snotty Wine Faces. This is something Jess and Jo started, and I was told I should practice because there were going to be pictures ;-) Somehow Jess and I look ticked off, but we weren't I can assure you. Who is ever ticked about drinking wine right?

 


Saturday morning, Jess had some classes to teach then it was off to visit Salem, which was really more of a car tour, but totally ok with that considering the walking we had already done. I loved seeing all the old homes in the area. Living in a home built in 1890, I tend to be slightly partial to old homes. We also drove by multi-million dollar homes on the waterfront, you know the kind you only dream of.

As I mentioned yesterday, we had lunch outside at Finz. It's located in Pickering Wharf where there are a few cute little shops. Jess and I both held back on buying some jewelry at one shop, but we did load up at one store called Picklepot. Jess and I both envisioned row after row of pickles, instead they carried tons of spices, spice blends, salts and one refrigerator of pickles.



Sunday we hit the road again, this time to Gloucester, where Jessica and Scott both grew up. We got the guided car tour, which was super fun actually. Because the forecast was calling for rain, which did not come by the way, we hadn't brought beach attire. Of course it turned out to be the ideal beach day. That's how it goes some days. We did walk down to the water, that's sort of a must when you're near any beach.


After getting our feet sandy, it was off to eat lunch, on the waterfront of course. Back at the house, we spent the evening visiting and playing Cards Against Humanity. It's not a game I thought I would enjoy, but we had the best laughs over it. Highly recommend.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Boston Part 1 - The Food

I won't even begin to lament on how hard it is to get back to reality after a vacation. Everyone knows that feeling. It's even harder when you had an amazing, whirlwind of a trip. I feel like it just flew by in a blur upon reflection. Of course, at the time, we were fully immersed in just enjoying.

Thursday morning we were up super early for a 6:45 am flight to Boston. The upside of an early flight is that you have most of the day to still enjoy your destination. We landed in Boston just after 1 and were checked into the hotel by 2. The trip involved staying Boston Thursday night, sightseeing most of Friday, then moving on to our friends' house in Peabody for the remainder of the trip.

We ended up staying at the Copely Square Hotel, which was a wonderful choice for us. They were very accommodating as well by letting us check in early and also holding our luggage on Friday after we had to check out.

During the day, they have an area with lemonade and flavored water set out for guests, in the morning it's coffee and tea. For the evenings, they host a Wine Down gathering where you can get complimentary wine while relaxing in their comfy lobby area. The best part was that the wine was actually very good ;-)

The room was smallish and cozy, but that was fine as we weren't planning to spend our time in the room. The bed was comfy and that's what usually matters most. It was a tad noisy. But I've found that older hotels can be that way. And while it was an older building, it was nicely redone.

The best part was the location. It was fairly central to anything we were planning to do. Plenty of food choices, easy walk to parks or the Charles River. We even hoofed it to Fenway Park with relative ease as well as the Freedom Trail.

On Fridays, we learned, there is a Farmers' Market set up in Copely Square. While we couldn't load up on fresh veggies necessarily, we did grab some tasty sandwiches and a picnic cheese spread that included herbed goat cheese, fresh bread and homemade trail mix, which we enjoyed in a shady park, people watching.


But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

We immediately headed out to find a place to eat as we were starving having basically missed lunch because we had to re-check into La Guardia after taking a bus to a separate terminal. That was fun and efficient ... not. We did see Bill Murray so that has to count for something I suppose.

The weather was absolutely amazing. It was sunny, low humidity, hovering around 70 degrees, perfect patio weather basically. It felt like fall and we were in heaven. After passing by a few restaurants, we settled on Trattoria Newbury . We started with their eggplant rollatini, which was absolutely amazing. I went with the Mediterranean salad and Jason had a sandwich. Everything was fantastic, including the atmosphere.



After eating, we both felt much better and continued on walking around Newbury then made our way towards Fenway Park. Unfortunately there were no games, but Jason really wanted to do the tour, which I actually will recommend surprisingly enough. We had some time to kill before our tour started so we walked across the street to Boston Beer Works.


I chose a Blueberry beer (can't remember name and they've already changed out their online menu) and Jason got an IPA. The blueberry beer was amazing. It wasn't overly sweet, just a nice, mild blueberry undertone. They actually dropped in some fresh blueberries when serving the beer. Jason was impressed with his beer as well, though I didn't try it out.

For dinner we walked over to Papa Razzi Trattoria as it was recommended and also close to the hotel. There was a Boston dine out happening so Jason chose from their 3-course menu. They had a fantastic sounding bruschetta, so I ordered that from the regular menu along with their Insalata di Campo (baby greens, dried cranberries, tomatoes, Gorgonzola, balsamic vinaigrette). Again, everything was simply
perfect, including the Peach Napoleon with a lavender honey drizzle.

My good friend Jessica's husband picked us up Friday afternoon and we headed to Peabody (I've lost count of how many cities we ended up in). We made homemade pizzas for dinner. I vote for Pizza Party Fridays from here on out by the way. I'll talk more about the fun had that night, but sticking with food for now so the post doesn't become a novel (too late right?).

Saturday we had a late lunch on the water in Salem at a wonderful spot called Finz Seafood and Grill. We didn't get any pictures of the food, but we did take some of ourselves at least.



Dinner was back at Jessica and Scott's house. She put together a yummy appetizer platter while we sat and chatted and enjoyed wine before diving into dinner: burgers for the boys, veggie burger salads for the girls. Again, no pictures, just lots of fun and probably half a bag of M&Ms for dessert.

Sunday we headed to their hometown of Gloucester. We had hoped to have a beach day, but the weather was looking iffy. Of course it turned out to be wonderful, but that's ok. We still had a great time and ended up eating at another nice waterfront restaurant called Latitude 43. Dinner was back at their house. Scott, who's of Italian decent, graciously made his red sauce to share. I also made some ciabatta to contribute to the meal. Dessert was basically more wine and some various chocolates we had picked up along the way.

What was so wonderful was that we enjoyed some new restaurants and meals, but also enjoyed eating in with friends who just happen to make some awesome food.

Wow, that was longer than anticipated and I hope you made it through at least half of the post. I will have 2 more posts: The Running and The Enjoying.

Have you been to Boston? Do you prefer to eat out exclusively on vacation or a mix of making dinner in with friends (if possible)?