Friday, May 30, 2014

Run 2014: Week 11

Tuesday, May 20th: 3.10 miles in 29ish minutes
     I'm not sure what happened to the data from this run. Apparently it didn't get saved so I don't have any exact information on my average pace or anything. This run was uneventful. I don't really remember anything about it.

Thursday, May 22nd: 2.04 miles in 17:56, average pace 8:47
     This was a quick and easy couple of miles before we got cleaned up and caught our flight to Washington DC! It was easy and simple. I went without my brace because I didn't want to have to pack it sweaty. It went okay. I could definitely feel it and I don't think I'm ready to run braceless yet. But it was alright really.

Saturday, May 24th: 9.13 miles in 1:34:02, average pace of 10:18
     This run took place in Arlington, VA along the Potomac River and went pretty darn well! We ran most of it on a paved bike/running trail and it was really good. There were tons and tons of people out; way more than are ever out in our town. It was fun to people watch though.

The run itself was fairly normal. We carried our handhelds and that did alright for that distance. A little more water would have been nice but it was fine. We also each had a Clif ShotBlok. And those were good. I do think that the extra calories help on the long runs.

My pace was slower than I would have preferred but that was by design. If you look at the graph we were remarkably consistent. We just stayed slow since we still had sightseeing and things to do later that day. It was an enjoyable run though!

Overall Thoughts:
     It was a good week for running. This was technically the last week for our training plan. That's why the week day runs were so short and the long run so long. It had been designed as a taper week. That worked to our advantage though. We had no problems getting our runs in on Tuesday and Thursday. Saturday's run was a very doable length and didn't feel too difficult.

My ankle has been doing pretty well. It has improved some over the last couple of weeks. I can't feel it when I'm going up and down the stairs anymore. And the pain has been really mild even on my long runs. I wore the brace the first day in DC with all the walking but then determined that I didn't actually need it during the day. And I haven't been wearing it during the days at home for five or six weeks. So I'm pleased with the progress I'm making on that front.

Also, we're thinking about buying larger handheld bottles for running. We have our Nathan's packs still but they're completely over kill for 10-14 miles. We don't need 2 liters for a run that length so I'm going to start looking at those. Any favourites that I should look at? I'd love to know what you all like!

Fort4Fitness: 21 weeks
Huff: 33 weeks

Monday, May 19, 2014

Run 2014: Week 10

Tuesday, May 13th: 5.39 miles in 53:07, average pace 9:51
     I'm kind of noticing a trend here. I tend to say that Tuesday runs are hard. And for some reason they are. This was the slowest pace we've had in a while. It felt comfortably difficult. Like some of my faster runs have felt. My legs were a little tired at the start but they shook out after a but and I settled in to the run. My ankle wasn't terrible. Just felt normal. All together it was fairly unremarkable.

Thursday, May 15th: 3.15 miles in 28:02, average pace 8:54
     And then suddenly this was a really really good run. It felt easy and smooth and my pace was fantastic. Even better? My ankle didn't hurt at all! I have no idea why that happened but I'm definitely not complaining. It was a 45 when we left for our run so I was all bundled up again. I'm ready for this weather to even out again. Going from shorts and a bra on Tuesday to capris, quarter zip, gloves, and ear muffs seems a bit extreme. Over all it was a very good run though. I'm pleased with it!

Saturday, May 17th: 8.26 miles in 1:23:06, average pace 10:03
     This run went so well! It was hard and I was definitely tired by the end of it. But our pace was quite good for this long of a run and that included all of our road crossings. We broke out the Clif Shot Bloks for the first time and I think they helped. We each had one package over the course of the 8 miles. I certainly felt energetic enough and my stomach handled them fine. It was interesting weather; about 55 and partly sunny. I actually ended up wearing shorts, compression sleeves, a tanktop, and my arm warmers and it was the right combo. This is the first time I've made it through the whole run without stripping off the arm sleeves. My ankle hurt some during this run but it plateaued at a low level and stayed that way the whole time. My right ankle felt a little tweaky run while we were running on the grass but that's not too surprising. It has to work harder on ground that's not level.

Overall thoughts:
     I'm pleased with how this week went. Thursday and Saturday's runs were awesome and Tuesdays was completely fine. I'm feeling encouraged with how this process is going for us. Obviously we still have lots of mileage building to do before we're ready for 32 miles but I'm finally feeling like it's manageable. Hitting eight miles and doing it well feels like much more of an accomplishment than running five or six miles. I'm starting to really look forward to our longer runs. I really enjoyed the 12 to 14 mile length last time so I'm excited to see how I feel once I get to them.

     After Saturday's 8 miles both of my ankles settled back in and have been fine. I need to make sure to be faithful with my stretches this week but I'm happy with how my ankles have been maintaining even though we've been building miles. I don't really expect them to improve but I'd just love for them not to get worse.

All together, it's been a good week for running!

Fort4Fitness: 22 weeks
Huff: 34 weeks

Friday, May 16, 2014

Welcome to 27

 About a month ago I got a hair cut to celebrate my birthday. It went from this:

Easter 2014

to this:

To say that I'm pretty darn pleased with it is an understatement. And then a couple of days later I did something that I've been wanting to do for a long time. Did you notice? There's just a hint of it in the photo above.

I put color in my hair. You guys, I've been talking about doing this for years. I have never done anything but sun-in in my hair before. Ever. But I've wanted to. I've thought about it and pinned a million photos. I didn't want to spend a a bunch of money and I didn't want to make a mess. And I didn't want to risk it coming out crazy. But this year in honor of my 27th (!!!!) birthday I decided to bite the bullet and just do it. And I LOVE IT!!

To be honest, I was going for a nice medium blue. And, well, I got green. Not too surprising given how light my hair is. But, seriously, I'm in love! It's a gorgeous shade of green and it's really subtle. Not too in your face but very definitely a fun color.

I did a chunk of hair on the right middle side of my hair and a small section in the left toward the front, just behind my ear. The section by my ear didn't show up as well as the bigger chunk. I think it's because my hair is much darker on the bottom.

It has faded a little bit over the four weeks since I did it. Which I kind of expected. I actually just did the ever classy kool aid dye and it worked out pretty well. And best of all it was super cheap. I don't have any photos of the process but I'm still planning a post detailing the process that I used. It was really simple although I got terrible cricks in my neck.

All in all, I very please with how it turned out! It's fun and colorful, and it makes me smile every time I look at it. Happy birthday to me!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Week in My Kitchen: 5/15/14

Joining up with Heather from Beauty That Moves to share photos from my kitchen this week.

A sampling of photos celebrating real foods and all the work, and fun, that happens in the kitchen everyday.

*  *  *  *  * 

  • Brat sized hotdog buns. 
  • Multitasking in the kitchen. 
  • I always forget to pull the meat out to thaw. 
  • Sauteed greenbeans, sauteed green peppers and onions, sauerkraut. 
  • Buns, green beans, green peppers and onions, and sauerkraut all ready to be consumed.
  • Taking advantage of a cool wet day to make bread.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Run 2014: Week 9

Tuesday, May 6th: 5.23 miles in 49:59, average pace 9:33
     This run was hard. I was tired and didn't feel like going out. But I went out and got it done. I'm pretty pleased with my pace too especially considering we had four road crossings in five miles. Those made my average pace take a hit. But I'm not about to fuss with the app on my phone while trying to cross the road. It's just not worth it. My ankle hurt around mile two but it plateaued shortly after and was bearable. All in all, I think it was a pretty successful run.

Thursday, May 8th: 3.06 miles in 28:33, average pace 9:20
     Um. Yeah. This one was fine and sucky all at the same time. When we set out for our run it was 88F with 53% humidity. So the weather was atrocious. I felt like I was going to melt from the heat. But aside from being hot it wasn't a big deal. My legs felt a little tired but not horrible. My ankle hurt some but not as much as it had on Tuesday. I didn't have anymore trouble breathing that I usually do and I'm pleased with our pace especially considering the heat. So yeah. All in all not too bad!

Saturday, May 10th: 5.37 miles in 51:01, average pace 9:29
     This was a good run. One of the best that I've had in a while actually. It felt easy-ish and my pace was really good. My ankle didn't bother me too much. It definitely hurt some but not horribley. It was a nice comfortable 60F and breezy. It was just really enjoyable. I didn't spend the whole run dying to be finished. I also was able to push the last .37 miles and those were completed at an 8:22 pace. I felt like I was flying. It was awesome!

     Bonus run: Neon Vibe 5K
     This was a fun run. It was one of those color runs where they throw colored cornstarch on you and you end up a mess. Justin and I ran it with his brother Joel and it was fun. As a run it actually went quite well. My ankle hurt from the get go which wasn't too surprising since I had already run that morning. But my legs felt fine otherwise. They weren't tired or sore or anything. Since it was a fun run they didn't time it and I didn't track this run since I wasn't about to carry my phone in all that cornstarch but it felt pretty fast. Just guessing, I'd say I think it was somewhere in the low 9 minutes per mile. It was fast but doable. We started at the front of the second wave and passed all but maybe twenty or so of the people who started ahead of us. All in all, I think it was an enjoyable run. Do I think it was worth $45 and would I do it again? Definitely not. But it was fun and easy.

Overall thoughts:
     This was a pretty good week for me.  The first couple of runs were hard but Saturday's runs were both great for me. I feel like I'm finally starting to settle in to things again. The longer runs are starting to feel doable and I'm spending less time feeling like I'm about to die. I didn't do a fantastic job getting my ankle stretches done but I did them several times throughout the week. My ankle hasn't been horrible despite me not being faithful with the stretches. I need to continue to work on that.

I was very proud of myself for going out and getting all of the runs in. Especially Thursdays run when it was 88F outside. That one would have been really easy to make an excuse for. I really really wanted to but I had just talked about how I at least needed to go out and run some every time so I pushed through it. And that one wasn't that terrible at all. I'll continue to work on that as the summer progresses. I'm sure I'll have plenty of days where I want to bail out of the training plan but I'm determined to stick with it.

In summary, I thought this was a very successful week for me on most counts. This week will be a strange one in terms of weather. Tuesday is supposed to be 80F and the high on Thursday is 54F. So it'll be an interesting week to go running!

Fort4Fitness: 23 weeks
Huff: 35 weeks

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Week in My Kitchen: 5/8/14

Joining up with Heather from Beauty That Moves to share photos from my kitchen this week.

A sampling of photos celebrating real foods and all the work, and fun, that happens in the kitchen everyday.

*  *  *  *  *

  • Catching up on the kitchen and Call the Midwife at the same time. 
  • Flowers from the little nephews.
  • Using my crockpot for once to make one of my favourites recipes, chicken tacos. 
  • Tweaking my yogurt technique based on the advice in this book. I think it was a success.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Run 2014: Weeks 6, 7, & 8

The past couple of weeks got a little busy and I got a little slackerish. And those two facts combine to produce three weeks crammed in one blog post! Before I get to the runs, here's what I mean by 'a little busy'. In the past three weeks we:

celebrated my birthday (April 18th)
threw a housewarming party (April 19th)
I went to PA for four days (April 21st - 24th)
we went to Indy for three (April 25th - 27th)
I spent two full days with the grandparents, aka completely unproductive day (April 28th & May 1st)
celebrated Justin's birthday (April 30th)
hosted Justin's brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews overnight (May 3rd-4th)
and celebrated Mother's Day with Justin's family (May 4th)

I know that for most of the western world this is normal but for us it is extremely, extremely busy. Throw all our cooking and running in on top of all this and you have crazy busy Justin and Jennifer. Suffice to say that neither of us were thrilled and we're very much eagerly anticipating our next weekend.  All that aside, here's a run down of the last three weeks of runs with as much detail as I can remember!

Week 6:
Monday, April 14th: 4.10 miles in 37:07, average pace 9:03
     This was my first alone run of the year. Justin was feeling really crappy and so I went on the prescribed run while he stayed home. I'm pretty proud of how well I maintained the pace on my own. 

Thursday, April 17th: 3.11 miles in 27:08, average pace 8:43
     This must have been a pretty unremarkable run. I can't remember anything specific about it. 

Saturday, April 19th: 5.25 miles in 49:12, average pace 9:22
     This was the first run that was long enough to actually get us out of the neighborhood! We ran up to the closest park and ran a mile around the golf course. It was a definite step up from our normal loops. I can't wait until most of our runs are out on the trails. Those are my favourites.

Week 7:
Monday, April 21st: 3.99 miles in 38:44, average pace 9:42
     This was also a solo run. Except this time I was in PA visiting my grandma. I drove 8 1/2 hours to get to her house on Monday and then went for a run down the mountain, along the creek, and back up a few hours later. It felt great to stretch my legs. And to be able to say that I ran the whole way back up the driveway at the end of four miles. Go me!

Thursday, April 24th: No run
     This was the day that I got back home from Grandma's. I had been hoping to go for a run but my mom was staying the night and we didn't get back home until around supper time. While I could have gotten a run in I decided to skip it and hang out with my mom and Justin instead.

Saturday, April 26th: 6.11 miles in 1:01:32, average pace 10.04
     This run took place down in Indy at my parents house. Yes, I am insane. After being gone for four days to PA, Justin and I loaded up and went down on Friday to visit my family for the weekend. This was a hot but fun run. We set out around 9:30am and it was already close to 70. We ran about 2.5 miles over to a park, a mile through the park, and 2.5 miles back. We carried our 10oz Nathan's Thermal Sprint (no longer made but this is the current model) and I did alright but Justin was low on water by the time we reached the park. It looks like we'll be switching to our Nathan's Racing Vests (Justins & mine) sooner than we thought!

Week 8:
Tuesday, April 29th: 2.80 miles in 25:59, average pace 9:17
     This run got cut short due to a storm front that was blowing in. And then it didn't rain. So that was pointless. On the other hand I had decided to skip wearing my ankle brace and see what happened. That was a not fantastic idea. My ankle hurt a lot. So now I know the ankle brace is important.

Thursday, May 1st: No run
     We just weren't feeling it. We were exhausted and supper took way longer to make than we thought it would. By the time we had eaten I think it was almost 7pm and we just bailed out. We went to bed not long after that.

Saturday, May 3rd: 4:07 miles in 37:36, average pace 9:14
     This was an alright run. I wore my brace so that was okay. It was just hard. It felt like I was putting in a lot of work compared to how fast I was going. I felt alright though. Like I could have run further if needed. I was just really glad that I didn't have to.

Overall thoughts:
     My greater impression for the last few weeks is that the majority of my runs have felt difficult. I'm thinking there's two reasons for this. The first is that I've done a crappy job over the last couple of weeks of actually getting all the run in and also just doing my ankle stretches and exercises on a regular basis. And the second is that we're still aggressively building miles. When you're running single digits the jump from 4 miles to 5 is significant. A jump from 14 to 16 is not as much. That's just the reality of running, your growth is exponential. I do remember this stretch being difficult in 2012 as well.

Looking at all this, I think there are two things I can focus on improving. One, do my stretches and exercises daily. I know they take a full half hour and I know I get bored. Do them anyway. I won't die of boredom and they do help my ankle feel better when I stay on top of them. And two, stop skipping runs. Period. Unless I'm vomiting or something extreme there is no reason that I shouldn't be able to at least get a few miles in every day that I am supposed. Sure maybe I'll be feeling particularly exhausted and I'll only run three miles instead of five. But that's still much more useful than running zero.

Fort4Fitness: 21 weeks
Huff: 33 weeks