Hartford Marathon Training Week 2

I’m in the midst of marathon training week 3 and it’s still going great. Oh and before I forget since this is mostly a running blog I really need to mention this, but if you’re squeamish skip to the next paragraph. After 7 years of running I have finally lost a toenail, the whole thing! It was gnarly, didn’t hurt a bit thankfully and oddly enough there was some semblance of a new toenail underneath. As proud as I was deep down I was also that ashamed to show my feet in public so I hid them in closed toed shoes all day. I am too embarrassed to get a pedicure, but I might have to swallow my pride because I refuse to hide my feet all summer. I love flip flops far too much!

Here’s a look at week 2 of Hartford Marathon Training:

I’m sticking with the same recommended paces as last week, but Map My Run is set to only tell my my time so I don’t actually know my pace until the end of the run. I’m not chasing the unicorn yet.

Recovery runs: 10:00-11:00 pace

Easy runs: 9:45-10:30 pace

Steady state runs: 9:15-9:45 pace (just do moderate effort up Skinner Mountain)

Stride workouts: 25 seconds at 8:30 pace building to 7:30 pace

  • Monday, 6/15 – 40-50 easy run or OFF

I ran 5.06 miles in 51:41 for an average pace of 10:12 min/mile. 

  • Tuesday, 6/16 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run

I ran 6.01 miles in 1:02:52 at an average pace of 10:28 min/mile.

  • Wednesday, 6/17 – 60 to 75 minute Pace Booster Run: Run 20 or 30 minutes at Steady State Pace in the middle of the run (Up skinner mountain for example)

Rough day…Carlos woke up at 2:30 which is rare. He climbed into bed with us and I was left with about an inch of bed. Needless to say I didn’t sleep very well the rest of the night until about oh 6am. I begrudgingly dragged myself out of bed at 6:30. Somehow I managed to also drag my tired bum up Skinner Mountain. I ended up running a total of 5.66 miles in 1:01:56 at an average pace of 10:57 min/mile.

  • Thursday, 6/18 – Off of Yoga

I worked the overnight shift at the hospital on Wednesday. So between having a terrible night sleep the night before and working all night I was completely off in more ways than one on Thursday. I pretty much snacked throughout the day. Despite my best intentions I did not do yoga or anything else for that matter. I was exhausted!

  • Friday, 6/19 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run or Cross train

I ran 5.66 miles in 57:02 at an average pace of 10:04 min/mile. 

I am still on cloud 9 when I think about the race. It really was an incredible experience. Check out the race video

  • Sunday, 6/21 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run or Cross train

Nope! Nada! Nothing!! My legs felt fine, but I took the day off anyway. It was raining like crazy all morning. Thank you mother nature for not raining on Saturday. I cannot imagine navigating those trails all wet and muddy.

We went to breakfast for Father’s Day then visiting family. My afternoon was consumed with cleaning the refrigerator and grocery shopping. Damn housekeeper didn’t show up – again!

Vegan Power 25K

I had an amazing day today! A couple of weeks ago I stumbled on this website about the Vegan Power Ultra 50K in the Berkshires about an 80 minutes west of where I live. I was in no way ready to consider a 50K trail race, but there was also a 25K option which is about 15.5 miles. I’m an aspiring trail runner. I love to hike, I love to run and trail running to me is a beautiful combination of both. I really want to learn more and do more trail running, but the truth is I’m apprehensive to hit the trails for more than a few miles alone. I haven’t done much trail running as a result. So I was going into this race prepared only in the sense that I knew I could cover 15.5 miles, but unprepared as a trail runner. Sometimes the best way to introduce yourself to something is to just jump in with both feet.

I drove up to the race site last evening to pick up my packet and to hear Kathy Stevens from the Castksill Animal Sanctuary speak.

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Kathy Stevens

Sadly I arrived a bit late and missed some of her talk. I’m not all that vocal here or in my life in general about my plant based diet. I mention it, but definitely do not push it on anyone. This was the first vegan running event I’ve ever attended. I am not part of any vegan group in my area. I’m honestly not sure if there are any. None of my friends and no one in my family is vegan. It gets a little lonely sometimes. Anyway I’m hoping to share more about the vegan side of this event in a second post, but right now I’m just full of excitement over the run.

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I had one major goal for today and it was to not get injured! The 25K runners lined up around 10AM. We were to run the just over 5 mile loop course 3 times. As we set off on the trail we merged in with the incredible 50K runners who had been running since 7AM. I was in awe of how some seemed to sprint gracefully past me. I began at a very conservative pace and quickly fell to last place. I never race with my Garmin or turn on My Fitness Pal. What will be will be!

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I ran the first loop with a very patient and kind runner, Marie. We chatted here and there. I was so focused on not tripping that I barely looked up for that entire first loop. There was an aid station about halfway through the loop in the forest and another at the start/finish area. I wore my Camelbak so I didn’t need to stop for water. The aid stations had watermelon, honeydew and an orange slices. I’ve discovered I prefer a fruit salad over gel during a race. It tastes so refreshing. I can’t quite stomach my Vega gels anymore. Vermont City and this race have spoiled me. I’m pretty sure the Hartford Marathon aid stations will not have watermelon.

Loop one was great. I ran at a slow, steady pace the entire way. It was exhilarating in a way that road running is often not because I always have my music playing. I was very internally focused and yet in tuned to the sounds around me. This was a nice change for me.

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After grabbing a few pieces of watermelon, Marie and I started the second loop. I stayed behind her. I think there was some comfort in letting someone more experienced lead the way. I tripped and fell not too far into the second loop. It was pretty much inevitable. I had evaded it numerous times throughout the first loop. My monstrous size 9 feet inside my even bigger size 9.5 shoes are not exactly ideal for trail running. I fell on my left hip which I guess in this case, fortunately has some cushion to it. I jumped back up, brushed the dirt off my hand and kept going. My footing felt a little better after that and I began to get in a zone. I took off from Marie and really spaced out for a while. I felt a sense of freedom and peacefulness that I don’t feel on the road. I wasn’t deep in thought or harping on the 8 million things I always think I have to get done. Dare I say it was almost meditative? For most of loop two I was completely alone save for a 50K runner passing me here and there.

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Follow the red tape and flags…I repeated over and over like Dorothy on the yellow brick road.

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My mouth was literally watering at the thought of the watermelon and honeydew awaiting me at the aid station as I completed my second loop. There were friends and family of the other runners hanging out at the start/finish. They cheered for every runner coming through each loop. It made me smile. I missed having my guys there, but Carlos had a birthday party this afternoon. Orlando was awesome enough to ditch an entire day of side work to take him to the party so I could run this race.

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My legs were getting heavy by the third loop and I felt clumsy. I had more than a few slips and trips but luckily no falls on the last loop. I walked up most of the inclines and through the muddy areas. I ran and walked. I pulled off the trail for a pee break. Seriously, better than a port-a-potty any day. I stopped to take a few photos. I moved to the side so other runners could pass. I basically hiked the third loop. I loved not giving a damn about my time or pace. I enjoyed soaking up the experience. I loved every freaking minute of today.

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I did it!! And now I need a shower!

I completed the 25K uninjured in 3:46:12. I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone on a few different levels today. I met some really great people including the 25K female winner who will be running the 50 mile North Face Endurance Challenge in Utah this September. She’s young, full of energy, and self-motivated. It was so inspiring to spend time chatting with her. I absolutely love to see young people going after unique opportunities as well as traveling and exploring the world at the same time. So refreshing!

Trail running is challenging. It requires agility and quick thinking while demanding your attention to your surroundings. It is so different from road running. I am a complete novice, but I went into today with a positive respectful attitude and as a result I received a great deal of learning and support along the way. I truly admire everyone running and spectating today. It was such a polite, kind and supportive group.

The race was put on by Berkshire Ultra Running Community for Service (BURCS) and the profits were donated to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. BURCS was founded by three distance runners from the Western Mass area. This is more than just a running group. It is a vehicle and voice for bringing awareness to social and environmental issues as well as seeking a way to bring about positive change. The group also strives to make running events enjoyable and they definitely did that today.

I am putting this race on my calendar for next year. I’m not making any bold statements right now, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having a thought or two about running the 50K. I’ll make that decision next year. For now I am just lounging on the sofa with a huge smile across my face as I think about this truly spectacular day.

Is there something you really want to try, but you’re nervous, scared, afraid to do it alone? Well do it anyway!

Favorite Things 6-17-15

A few things I’m excited about today:

Khan Academy – this website is amazing. It’s totally free and very user-friendly. Right now Carlos is using it primarily to learn computer coding. He also loves listening to the history lessons. I enjoy those too. It covers a wide variety of subjects including math, history, finance, economics, arts, literature and computing.

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry – Carlos and I are reading this at night before he goes to bed. I’ve never read it, but it seems to have received a resurgence of popularity lately so I was curious. We are only about 4 chapters in, but we are on pins and needles just waiting for Jonas to get to the Ceremony of the Twelves.

My new bike rack! – We all finally have bikes, but we live on a busy street which is not ideal for biking. Now we can load our bikes and hit the local bike trails. Of course my bike has a flat tire at the moment, but it will be fixed by the weekend.

The Iron Cowboy – Have you heard about him? 50-50-50. James Lawrence is doing 50 Ironman Triathlons in 50 States in 50 Days! He’s an animal. You can track his progress and even run his last 5K each day with him. He is in Texas today. You can follow him on Facebook and even track his progress through Garmin live tracking. Carlos and I are really hoping to join him either in Massachusetts or Connecticut for his last 5K.

Strawberries – it’s picking season here. They are so much better than anything in the store.

Hoka One One running shoes – I’ve never been one to splurge on expensive or trendy running shoes. I laugh when I say trendy because I’m the least trendy person out there and I think these are trendy only in certain running circles. After running in them for a few weeks now I can honestly tell you I’m in love with them. I feel like I’m running in the clouds. They are soft, light and add an airy bounce to my step. My shoes were $110 because I purchased last year’s model. They were a gift from my sister after the Vermont City Marathon. Most seem to run between $130-$160. However, my toes don’t hurt anymore and my feet feel great throughout the run. I have a very challenging race on Saturday so that might be the ultimate test.

Hartford Marathon Training Week 1

I really appreciate the comments about my last post. I think getting all that off my chest helped me feel a little relief. I also had a great phone conversation with my boss on Friday. While this may not be my dream job she helped me understand how to make it work for me and my life. She encouraged me to call her anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Despite the stress I was feeling, I had a great first week of marathon training.

A note on the paces: Goal paces for now (you can go by feel here and just notice how you match up to the paces suggested)!

Recover runs: 10:00-11:00 pace

Easy runs: 9:45-10:30 pace

Steady state runs: 9:15-9:45 pace (just do moderate effort up Skinner Mountain)

Stride workouts: 25 seconds at 8:30 pace building to 7:30 pace

  • Monday, 6/8 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run or cross train

I ran 6.02 miles in 1:01:43 for an average pace of 10:15 min/mile. I also did a short lunchtime run with my friend. We ran 2.04 mile at an average pace of 15:07 min/mile.

  • Tuesday, 6/9 – 60 to 75 minute Pace Booster Run: Run 20 or 30 minutes at Steady State Pace in the middle of the run (Up skinner mountain for example)

It was a very hot and humid run. I ran 6.41 miles in 1:15:09 at an average pace of 11:44 min/mile. I did a warm up 2 miles or so before running up Skinner Mountain. I wandered around for a few minutes at the top and then ran down and continued on for a mile and a half cool down. Later in the evening while our boys were in Karate, Kate and I ran 1.86 miles at an average pace of 14:48 min/mile.

  • Wednesday, 6/10 – Off or Yoga

I really wanted to do a nice 30-45 minutes of yoga, but a late start to a busy day made for a late night. I managed a few sun salutations and that’s about it.

  • Thursday, 6/11 – 40 to 50 minute Easy Run

I ran 4.56 miles in 46.51 min at an average pace of 10:17 min/mile. 

  • Friday, 6/12 – 50 to 70 minute Easy Run with Stride Workout: 12 to times 25 seconds starting at 5K and progressing down to Mile race effort with 1 minute recovery jog between

6.36 mile run in 1:3:35. Average pace means nothing here because I was interrupted by 2 phone calls before I started running the strides. I also forgot my Garmin to keep track of my pace during the strides. I loved doing the stride work though. I am determined to train treadmill free so this was my first attempt at any kind of speed work off the treadmill. It was actually kind of fun. 

  • Saturday, 6/13 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run or cross train

I worked Friday into Saturday and then held a yard sale most of the day. NEVER AGAIN! I made $40 and ended up donating most of it to the Goodwill. What the Goodwill wouldn’t take I left on the front yard and all but two things were taken. It was a ton of work, but the best part is that my basement is almost all cleared out.

Afterwards my friend and I then took the kids strawberry picking. Needless to say I was in bed by 7! No run, no workout unless you call lifting bins and furniture and then doing squats to pick strawberries. I’m calling it a cross training day!

  • Sunday, 6/14 – Lake Wyola Road Race

Some things just don’t work out the way you plan. At the last minute I had no one to watch Carlos during the Lake Wyola Road Race (totally my mistake), but I was minutes away from picking up my three friends who were also running. So Carlos and I became spectators. We actually went on a short hike across from the starting area and then chilled at the finish line cheering for everyone coming through. I’m never disappointed by time spent with Carlos. He was such a good sport about the day. The girls did an awesome job running Wyola. It is a challenging race. It’s a 4.8 mile race around the lake. There is a short flat start that quickly turns into 3 miles of uphill before finally heading down gentle rolling downhills. It’s one of my favorite races. I’m not sure my friends are quite so enamored with the race, but they did it! I last ran Lake Wyola in 2013 and hope to return next year.

I set out for a run later in the evening when Orlando came home from working. I got a bit lost in my thoughts and 10.05 miles later I returned home. I ran 10.05 miles in 1:43:57 at an average pace of 10:20 min/mile.

I opted for a Monday through Sunday plan. I think it’s easier to start my training week on a Monday which allows me the flexibility to do my long run on either Saturday or Sunday. I’m enjoying running a lot right now. I’m eating in a way that makes me feel good. I’m still working on getting back into the groove of an early morning routine. I’m not really as focused on my pace as it might seem, though I am making an effort to build it up again. I’m very curious to see how I improve over the course of the training. Overall I was very pleased with the running I did this week.

The How

I will probably regret writing this tomorrow. I was tempted to call my sister to vent but I always sound so whiny on the phone. Plus she is far too sophisticated to listen to me complain. I’m a mess inside. This job is sucking the life out of me. I miss my Life. I miss reading a book for pleasure. I miss writing a little bit each day. I miss reading blogs. I miss spending school vacation days with Carlos and today was only day one. I’m feeling awful about this summer. I’m frustrated at the expense this job is causing because of the need for childcare. Orlando is working like crazy after being laid off all winter which leaves zero time for me to workout other than my forced wake up call at 4 am. If I want to run I have to fit it in around his schedule. It isn’t happening if I wait until he gets home at night. I miss yoga class. I miss having time to cook new recipes. I miss time. This is no way to live. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, find a balance. I feel like I’m wasting precious time. I feel stifled and worn out. I feel like I’m not living the life I’m supposed to live and I’m fearful I won’t figure out how to pursue my passion before it’s too late. I feel like screaming because I’m so frustrated. I see others doing it and I am not envious, but I wonder how they did it while still paying the bills, supporting children and saving for retirement. I’m happy for them, but I want to ask them how they did it.  We all deserve to live our dreams and pursue our passions. But how? I’m stuck on the how. How do I make it happen? 

Monday

I just felt like popping in here to write about random thoughts and things that are happening.

  • Carlos will finish second grade on Wednesday. It’s been an exceptional year for him. He’s really blossomed at Montessori school.
  • I jumped out of bed when my alarm went off at 4am today because phase 1 of marathon training began this morning. I have struggled for the last few months to get up early. Not today! I’m super excited and motivated for the Hartford Marathon. I’ve got a huge goal and I’m ready to work.
  • This morning’s workout called for a 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run at a 10-11 minute/mile pace. I did 60 minutes at 10:15 min/mile pace. I ran along the river for some of it and it was so peaceful. The air had a tinge of humidity in it, but there was a cool refreshing breeze blowing. I couldn’t help but smile.
  • I am running the Lake Wyola 4.8mile race on Sunday with a few friends. This is one of my favorite summer races. Huge mile long hill in the beginning, but a really lovely rolling descent on the back half of the course.
  • Still loving my Hokas
  • I’m having a yard sale on Saturday. This has been a long time coming. Carlos is 8 and a half. I’m pretty sure I’m not having anymore children so I think it’s time to say adios to the baby clothes! I get all sentimental looking at them though.
  • Carlos and I walked to the library after school. We haven’t done that in a while. I love walking and talking with him. We took out Lois Lowry’s “The Giver.” Neither of us have read so we are going to read it together before bed each night.
  • You know what else we do before he goes to bed…we each write a thought or two for each day in our Happiness Project journals. You can write in these journals for 5 years. It will be interesting to see how are thoughts and gratitude changes over the years.
  • I went to a conference last week and they showed this documentary called Alive Inside. As I walked into the auditorium they were handing out tissues. It’s definitely a tear jerker, but so incredibly touching. I your life has ever been touched by Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia this film is so important. It chronicles the very simple idea of music as a healing force for those who seem unreachable. Why do we keep dismissing such profound treatments?

  • Carlos and I found my high school yearbook when we were cleaning out the basement. Holy hair! I graduated from high school in 1991 so I grew up during the age of Aqua Net. What the hell were we all thinking? I remember getting up at like 5 in the morning to get my hair to exponential heights. You couldn’t pay me to take part in that trend again if it were ever to resurface.
  • My friend, Kate, and I are going to create a summer bucket list of things to do with our kids. We are keeping it local.
  • Carlos and I have been hiking again. On Saturday we climbed Peaked Mountain in Monson, MA. It was not an overly strenuous hike. The trails were nicely groomed and the views were spectacular. There is a little mailbox at the top with a log for climbers to sign.

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  • I almost forget today was crazy hair and pajama day at Carlos’ school. Car would give anything for a mohawk except he wants one that sticks up all spiky in the middle. Unfortunately that will never happen! So we sprayed his hair blue. He didn’t wear pajamas because he sleeps in boxers…all year round!

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  • I just realized my husband is totally MIA in this post. Orlando is blessedly very busy working after his long winter lay off. I am genuinely jealous of his layoff. Each year I try to convince him to embrace the inevitable time off. He is a mason. New England winters have been the worst lately. We always plan for the layoff so once I get over the initial burden of unemployment taking their slow sweet time to send the first check it’s all good. Once the weather improves he’s back in action full force and we don’t see much of him until things start winding down again in the fall.

Hope you’re day was a great one!!

Post Marathon High

After the marathon I enjoyed spending time with my friends and family. First lunch with my family an BFF Amelia and her adorable family. Then I took a much needed long hot shower. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill. The energy in Burlington was electric. And yes I wore my medal the entire night!!

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On our way home from Burlington we stopped in the tiny state capital of Montpelier. We wandered around so I could stretch my achy legs! I really love Vermont and these two handsome guys.

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The Vermont City Marathon seemed to have the complete opposite effect that Montreal had on me. I have been on the post marathon high since I finished and it’s been two weeks. Maybe it’s the psychological effect of having another tangible goal in the near future. Since I registered for the New England Double I am automatically registered for the Hartford Marathon in October. Just knowing I have that race to run has made me incredibly excited about training. I usually take a few days off of running after a marathon in exchange for nice walks, not this time. I couldn’t wait to go for a run.

Part of that enthusiasm was due to my new running shoes. My sister had purchased a pair of Hoka One One running shoes while I was running the marathon. She suffers from neuromas in both feet. These are essentially caused by thick skin that grows over a nerve in the ball of the foot typically between the 3rd and 4th toe. They are very painful and she is almost always uncomfortable no matter what shoes she wears so she keeps a sharp eye out for comfortable footwear. She was raving about her new Hokas and offered to buy me a pair as a congratulatory gift . I really wasn’t in the mood to try on shoes, but she convinced me and after taking a little spin in the purple Hokas I was sold. My sister’s husband bought a pair as well.

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Team Hoka One One

I feel like I’m bouncing on air when I run and my toes don’t hurt anymore something I had come to believe was normal.

I have been running, made a return to strength training and I am hiking whenever I can. I have enjoyed a few trail runs too. I love them. They are so refreshing and tranquil. Moving more translates into eating better too. I’m not perfect, but the last couple of years have proved to me that I don’t have to be perfect to continue to achieve goals and overcome obstacles. I just have to keep trying and doing my best.

I emailed the following to my health coach and I think it sums up perfectly how I’m feeling and where I’m heading:

Vermont City lit a match under me. I have placed way too much emphasis on the outside of my body. I am never going to be a super model. I’m going to continue to age and my body will inevitably change through that process. After reading about the 92 year old woman who finished the San Diego Marathon I came to the conclusion that I would much rather still be running marathons when I’m 92 than be thin. I enjoy being active and in the middle of a race I could care less what I look like. However, I really would like to see what my body is capable of doing, how far I can push it and what else I can accomplish.