weekly recap: 7/20 – 7/26

Week 5 of marathon training has come and gone. It was a bit of a rough week, fitness wise, so my plan is to cull out the positives and learn from the negatives.

Sunday  rest day

 

Monday3.1 miles

I loved this run. Loved. It was hot and humid and yet everything about it was wonderful. I finished strong, feeling great, and with a pace time of which I was incredibly proud. The sky made being up so early absolutely worthwhile.

 

Tuesday3.1 miles

Due to the way the week was going, I made this a late afternoon run. It was slightly overcast,

which did help me out, but I’m surprised how I loved this run more than Monday’s. I was faster, too! Funny thing is that one of my laces broke at the halfway mark.

I figured that would have thrown me all out of whack, but I was able to get it done, no problem.

 

Wednesday – Sunrise yoga

We were going to enjoy our practice outside, as has been our habit, but for some reason, the bugs were biting. I was able to snap this quick picture before we headed back inside.

I didn’t love yoga quite as much inside, but I definitely needed the stretching. My legs were incredibly tight and it was great working it all out.

I also got  a very special mail delivery:

I do believe this will be the pair of shoes in which I run the Walt Disney World Marathon. I haven’t taken them for a test run yet, because I need to get them laced right and I don’t want to start in them too soon (I plan on alternating shoes from here on out), but their time is coming.

 

Thursday - rest day

I shouldn’t really consider this a real rest day, since we spent a few hours at Crocodile Crossing, working hard at the obstacle course.

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But no running, so rest day it is.

 

Fridayrest day

I really wanted to get out there for my scheduled 11 mile long run, but I was tired, sore and there was absolutely no way to get myself properly hydrated after our adventures on Thursday. I made the decision to postpone to Saturday, although I was annoyed with myself about it. In the meantime, my stepdad, nephew and I went to see Lucy (I think I liked it, but several days later, I am still processing the whole thing), while my mom took little man to see Planes: Fire & Rescue (they loved it). Afterwards, we had hibachi for dinner and spent some time feeding the koi.

Saturday6 mile long run

This didn’t work out quite as planned. I was exhausted and overslept, and I was still incredibly sore in the ribs and arms. I decided all I could do was my best, and just deal with it. If I could make it to 11 miles, great. If not, I would just have to make it up another time.

In the meantime, Mr PugRunner and our nephew went out to run a 5K in historical downtown. Mr PugRunner hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, so I was proud of him for going. They said it was a nice race, although the weather was disgustingly hot.

I made a huge mistake by staying in the neighborhood. It was really too easy to let myself get mentally worn down, where as when I am in another location, I feel more motivated and am more visually and mentally stimulated. I also learned a valuable lesson about pacing. I went out way too fast, riding the high from my stronger runs earlier in the week. I realize that my long runs will be slower, but I was trying to be a hero. Note to self: don’t.

My confidence plummeted afterwards. I really, really wanted to be able to mark another successful training off my schedule, but it wasn’t meant to be. I am now going to be scrambling to fit in those 11 because of the upcoming Tour De Pain. It will happen, and I hope I can get myself back to feeling strong and prepared.

Later that night, we went to Everbank Field for the unveiling of the world’s largest video screens and new stadium upgrades. More on the event this week, but for now, a quick glimpse of what we got to enjoy.

 

So far, for July, I am up to 49 miles, and I still have a few days to go, including a long run and maybe another short training session. We shall see. I am a little shaken by Saturday’s outing, but I will move past it as soon as I have another good run. I know that you can’t have the good without the bad, and I am relying on that to get me through.

I am also giving myself permission to slow it down significantly when I do finally get that long run in. It will make a lot of difference and help me be more consistent. I am actually looking at getting a pace band for my next half marathon, to help keep myself on track for those longer distances.

 

Do you alternate running shoes or just use one pair at a time?

Have you ever run with a pace band or tattoo? Do you recommend it or not?

release of fear

When I was growing up, there was a pretty irritating phrase I heard semi-regularly.

“Can’t is won’t.”

I probably don’t have to tell you how much I dreaded hearing those words.

Not that I didn’t try hard or that I was a slacker. But there were things with which I really struggled (especially in the physical/athletic categories), and I wasn’t always a big fan of trying the things that scared or intimidated me. I would probably consider myself cautious, with a big dose of self-consciousness.

I would have thought that the older I get, the more cautious I would become. A lot of things change as we age. For myself, I know that as the years pass, I experience more anxiety about situations, feel more motion sickness in vehicles or on rides,  get more claustrophobic in tight spaces. However, I have also found myself becoming just a wee bit more brave and more willing to try things.

For example, last month, I went to Universal to celebrate a girlfriend’s birthday. I’m always up for some roller coasters, but I tend to stick to what I know. The birthday girl wanted to go on Revenge of the Mummy and Hollywood Rip-Ride Rockit, and even though I was nervous, I was game. They were both absolutely terrifying in different ways (I thought we would burn alive on The Mummy, and, well, Rip-Ride Rockit was perhaps the most outrageous roller coaster I’ve ever been on with its 17 story, completely vertical incline), but I overcame my nerves and went for it (Watch this clip of Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Hart if you want a really good impression of the ride. I like to think that Kevin Hart sums up my reaction pretty well. Except I’m taller. Warning – bad language, NSFW)

And so it began.

A few weeks ago, in yoga, I joined in with some acro poses. It’s something I would NEVER EVER EVER have attempted before (I always worry about screwing these things up and failing epically in front of people), but for some reason, probably delirium from being up at the crack of dawn, I threw caution to the wind and went for it.

As you may recall, the end result was this:

Certainly not my most graceful moment, but I got up there. Even better, I felt kind of awesome about the whole thing.

Which brings us to Thursday.

Our teenage nephew has been in town, and on Monday, I was brainstorming some ideas for things to do during the day while little man was at baseball camp. I’m not going to say it wasn’t the glass of wine that made me consider Crocodile Crossing.

This aerial obstacle and zip line course has been operational for several years, now. And it’s something that I always thought was downright insane. I mean, who in their right mind, would voluntarily dangle from a wire over a pit full of (probably) hungry alligators?

Upon further investigation, I found that there were two options: the Nile River Course, 60′ high, taking about 90 minutes with an advertised nine zip lines or the Sepik River Course, at 20′ high, taking 45 minutes with three zip lines. The latter honestly didn’t sound quite so bad, and, more promising, didn’t have a zip line directly over the alligator feeding pen.

Since our nephew was in, I reserved our spots. And proceeded to freak out on the inside for the next few days.

On Thursday morning, we suited up in comfortable clothes and lace-up shoes and headed over to the Alligator Farm to give it a try.

After we checked in and signed our waivers, the attendants gave us a padlock so we could stow our belongings in a complimentary locker. While we were allowed to wear sunglasses (at our own risk), we had to stow all phones, cameras, electronics, keys and loose articles. After that, harnesses and gloves were distributed and one of the staff members, Bobby, helped us get strapped up.

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There was a pretty thorough training session, where we learned about the equipment, how to attach and detach our carabiners to the safety harness, how to operate our pulleys, and how we should go down the zip lines. We also learned that the Sepik River Course actually went up to 30 feet, instead of 20, and had five zip lines, not three. Under Bobby’s watchful eye (and sense of humor), we practiced on a low-hanging zip line, and when he had signed off on our admission wristbands, we were free to climb the first ladder and get started.

The first few obstacles were no big thing. There were some plank type bridges, suspended with cables between platforms positioned in the trees. Some were more stable than others, and we were moving along quite nicely.

And then we came to the “tightrope.” It was about 30 feet of cable, stretched between two trees, with no supports other than the safety wire and an overhead cable. My nephew made it across and I sent up a quick prayer and followed. For me, it was terrifying. My legs were shaking and my hands were cramping. At about the halfway mark, my knees started sweating. From below, Bobby shouted up that most participants felt this to be the hardest challenge, and that was encouraging, so I kept going. Not like I had an option, of course. I got to the platform, with my entire right leg twitching, and needed to take a breather to get back to normal.

Since I couldn’t take any pictures up there, I’ll share this video so you can get an idea of some of the obstacles we faced. Some were harder than others. I had the roughest time on the things that involved a lot of rocking or on the ones that involved a tightrope style method of crossing. Staff members also took some photos from the ground.

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Yes. I am sticking my tongue out in concentration. No shame.

 

It took me a minute to work up the nerve for the first zip line crossing. There was a bit of a back log behind us, due to another climber getting stuck halfway through the ride and needing a rescue, and I just needed a minute to compose myself. However, once I let go, I had no problem whatsoever, not even with the braking and hoisting myself back up to the platform.

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Things were great (relatively speaking) until we reached the 16th or 17th obstacle. It was comprised of a thick rope that stretched across one platform, then another, then wrapped around a tree trunk and back to a zip line platform. There were no cable railings, just a safety wire at neck-height and another cable that was way too high to grab for support. The rope had a lot of slack to it, and swayed a lot. My nephew, who was ahead of me, actually lost his footing and slipped off. Somehow, he managed to bounce right back into position, but it added another layer of nerves. I made it across the largest portion of the rope to the first platform, but when I tried to proceed to the second, things fell apart. I couldn’t get myself positioned comfortable. The safety wire was requiring me to keep my knees bent, in order to keep my balance, but I couldn’t take those first steps, and I started to fill up with tears. I didn’t want to quit but I also had no idea how I was going to continue.

As my nephew and the group behind us tried to work things out (the person in front of us was taking her time on the zip line again, because she had dropped her glove and needed new ones to continue), Bobby came over to watch us from the ground. Since we had been having some fun with him at training, I shouted down that I couldn’t do it. I was stuck and needed someone to get me down.

Bless him, he told me no. That it was fine. That I didn’t have to even make it to the next platform – if I could just reach out my foot at the halfway point and get on to the zip line platform, that was all I had to do. Just a few feet on the scary rope. That next to the tightrope earlier, this was what most people considered the hardest obstacle, and it was easy from this point on. And if my nephew put his weight on the rope at his feet, and the person behind me stood on the rope behind me, it would create enough tension to give me the stability to do it.

And so, shaking, and on the verge of tears, I did.

The feeling of general badassery was strong.

As promised, after that, it was “easy.” I think the only other challenge that gave pause involved logs and planks, suspended at weird angles that led, not to a platform, but to a ladder. The bolts holding the cables that suspended the wood pieces were at random places on the cable railings, so my forearms got pretty well bruised and banged up. However, at that point, I was feeling no pain, and I was actually able to look down a little and enjoy some of the sights. Another staff member (affectionately named “Not Bobby”) started pointing out things like a huge albino alligator and a Siamese crocodile nest. He said the mama croc was a bit feisty, but not to worry. She could only jump 11.5 feet, and we were safely at a height of 12. Such a kidder, that Not Bobby.

I hustled over the gap, just in case.

Everything went smoothly, until the last zip line. I made it down, braked beautifully, found my feet, and then managed to unhook myself entirely. I guess I was so excited to be finished (there was just the ladder to the ground) that I was jumping the gun. Bobby, down below at this point, kind of chuckled and gave me my safety warning : “Ma’am, if you do that again, I will have to remove you from the course.”

I apologized for my lapse, reattached myself, and…. removed myself from the course with a huge grin.

We were sweaty and stinky and ravenously hungry, but we had done it! And, despite the moments of panic, it was fun! It took us a bit longer than the advertised 45 minutes, but we barely noticed up there in the trees. My nephew was an absolute pro – he looked like he had been doing this course his whole life, and I was really thrilled that he had had a good time.

Had you asked me yesterday, I would have said there is no way I would do this again. This morning, despite the pain I am feeling from the waist up (clearly my legs are in rockstar shape, thank you running and yoga), I might consider it. I might even consider the longer course. At no point was the height an issue. There were times when I was standing right on the edge of a platform, and it felt no different than standing on the edge of a curb. Even when crossing some of the obstacles, I was less afraid of falling than I was of getting stuck, suspended from my harness, dangling helplessly in wait for a rescue. Throughout, everything felt incredibly secure and safe, even though we were self-guided and receiving assistance from the ground.

As a side note, I do think 10 is a little young for the course. Each participant has to be able to hook and unhook their own carabiners and pulleys. While we were allowed to offer tips and helping hands, at no point were we allowed to touch anyone else’s equipment, even if someone was stuck or in need of assistance. There were also some things that were tough for me to reach, even considering that I am tall with long legs. Definitely a discretionary thing, but it was a lot more complicated than just taking a nice, scenic zip line ride through the trees.

The downside is that I had to bail on my 11 miler this morning. I was exhausted, worn out, sore and hugely dehydrated. There was no way I could make up for all the fluid I had sweated out on the course and I didn’t want to risk getting hurt or making myself sick, so I made the decision to postpone. It was the right choice, but I’m a little disappointed in myself, too.

It’s truly amazing how my attitude has changed. How I am more willing and likely to take on bigger challenges. How, instead of saying “I can’t”, I’m starting to say “What the heck? I’ll try.” That I’m wearing shorts in public. I don’t know if it’s because of the strength I’ve gotten from running, or because I’m just more comfortable with and secure in myself. Whatever it is, it’s pretty awesome.

I don’t think I’ll ever be on board with, say, camping, or rock climbing (although, obviously never say never), but I do know that I’m no longer really afraid to sign up for SUP yoga, and that if it’s the zombie apocalypse and I need to cross an elevated steel cable in order to escape having my brains eaten, I have a pretty decent chance of making it.

Are you the adventurous type?

Have you ever done a zip line/aerial obstacle course? If not, would you?

weekly recap: 7/13 – 7/19

I didn’t feel particularly productive this week, but maybe it’s one of those things that is quality over quantity.

Obviously, being away on vacation kind of throws a bit of a wrench into things, but I did bring my running gear so I could make the effort. Here’s how I did on Week 4 of my marathon training.

Sundayrest

 

Monday - 3.1 mile trail run

This was a bit of a slower run, because I went out close to 8:00 AM (after spending the morning admiring turtle nests on the beach) and was finding my way around. I posed with a rather friendly crocodile

And then embarked on what I could only define as a trail run.

My very first.

It was a little eerie, but I ended up loving the scenery and the huge blue crabs that peeked in and out of their hidey-holes as I went past.

(I did NOT love the snakes I saw).

 

Tuesday - 3.1 mile night run

After a long day in the car, I absolutely. Had. To. Run.  Mr PugRunner was going to be out of town for four days and I wasn’t going to get much of a chance once he was gone, so I had to take advantage, even if it was at a time of day I normally avoid.

I started paying a lot of attention to my form that night and focused on taking more steps per distance than on longer, bigger steps. Imagine my shock when my first split turned up as an 11:39! I was completely motivated by that, and kept pushing, finishing with an overall pace of 11:36.

I couldn’t have been happier. I had managed to cut about a minute off my pace. It was hard, but it was doable. My confidence took a major upswing.

 

Wednesday - 1 hour of sunrise yoga

Enough said.

 

Thursday - rest

 

Friday - rest

 

Saturday - 3 mile run

Even though Mr PugRunner was out of town, his brother and family were staying with us on their way home for vacation, so they were kind enough to let me scoot out for a pre-dawn three miler.

I remembered the high of Tuesday’s run, and went out with the same goal in mind: keeping my steps small and pushing myself through each 2:30 interval. The end result had me completing my scheduled distance with an 11:56 overall pace. Slower than Tuesday, but still under a 12-minute mile. This run showed me that my time wasn’t a fluke and might actually be something sustainable.

 

I wish I had a longer distance on the calendar for the week, but it seems that my long runs fall every other week, with an exception here and there.  For the week, I completed nine running miles, and so far, for the month of July, I am at a grand total of 40 miles. I will admit to being a little stiff this week, but I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep, and getting knocked down to one yoga class rather than two is something that is starting to make a big difference.

In Week 5, I am looking at another single yoga class and an 11 mile run. This will be my first double digit run since January, and I’m a little nervous about it. Hopefully, I can keep my mental edge and my pace by focusing on my form and by breaking the run into a few parts to keep it manageable.

How did your week go?

Do you prefer road running or trail running?

vacationing in vero

One of the things we look forward to in the summer is getting to vacation with my brother- and sister-in-law and their kids. We normally spend a few days in the Orlando area, usually going to Disney, but this time, they mixed it up and chose Vero Beach as their destination. Plans were made and early on Sunday, we took the drive to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

This particular resort, somewhat surprisingly, was very unassuming, positioned on the corner of a rather typical intersection, neither really set back nor glaringly obvious. Once inside, however, it was like the main road didn’t even exist and we were transported to another world.

We arrived in time to enjoy brunch at one of the hotel’s several restaurants. Offerings included custom omelets, pastries, Mickey waffles (of course), chilled seafood, roast turkey and some other yummy things. Little man was most ecstatic that he got to have macaroni and cheese and a little dessert before noon. It’s the little things.

Our room was huge and lovely, with a private balcony overlooking the Atlantic. I was a big fan of reading in bed, with the french doors open, listening to the waves and enjoying the breeze.

On that first day, we loaded up the beach bags and headed down to the water. The waves were a little rough, but it was perfect for little man to try out his first boogie board. He did great!

The storm clouds gathered and dissipated, and we moved to the pool across the walkway, so that we would have a shorter sprint if the heavens opened. The cousins played on the twisty water slide and swam, and finally, we headed back up to the room so we could get ready for dinner at Squid Lips. It was a really fun and casual restaurant with a gorgeous view of the water. There was live music and a beautiful coastal breeze, and the food was pretty delicious, too.

We lingered, enjoying the company and conversation, until it was time to call it a night. That fresh salt air can wear a person out, and mostly everyone was heading out super early the next morning on a fishing charter, so they need some shut eye. Since I was staying firmly planted on dry land, my plan was to stay up late on the beach to see if I could catch any sea turtles hatching from their nests.

Vero Beach is apparently home to a huge contingent of nesting loggerhead and green sea turtles. The beach was dotted with staked off nests, just waiting for little hatchlings to emerge.

The babies usually emerge at night, heading down the beach, attracted to the moonlight dancing on the waves. The resort asked that if you visited the beach at night, to refrain from using flashlights or artificial light, and to keep the drapes on your room closed after 9:00 PM to avoid distracting the babies from their journey to the sea.

I didn’t last long. The sunset was obscured by the clouds, and as a result, the moon wasn’t all that bright either.

I planned to get up early and check out the beach in the morning while the other were heading to the boat, to see if anything had happened overnight.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I noticed two sets of tracks, clearly visible from our window!

I wasn’t able to investigate right away, because I wanted to say goodbye to the family as they departed on their fishing trip, but we later learned that a mama loggerhead turtle had come up to nest in the night. The new nest was marked and the eggs will hatch in 45-60 days.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet. I went for a run (more on that in my weekly recap), and then my sister-in-law, nephew and I went to see Transformers: Age of Extinction. It wasn’t the best, but it definitely helped pass time on a low-key rainy day. In the meantime, little man was having a hard time on the charter. Just like his mama, he got violently seasick (three times).

Catching some fish helped make up for it. No matter whatever else is going, that kid can always whip up a beaming smile.

We had planned to attend the character dinner at the resort, to meet Pirate Goofy and Pirate Donald, maybe followed by s’mores at the campfire. Unfortunately, our reservations were at 8:05, and quite frankly, we were, to quote little man, “plum tuckered,” so we canceled our original plans and ventured out to a tiny but tasty Italian restaurant (whose name escapes me) down the street. We took our time, enjoying the meal, and also enjoying the view. A storm was rolling in and the clouds gathering over the water were just magnificent.

As we were driving back to the hotel, the storm cleared enough to yield to this stunning sunset. I actually made Mr PugRunner pull over, turn around and then let me out to run (barefoot) up a bridge to capture it.

Since s’mores were cancelled and lightning was still coming down, rendering a late-night beach walk dangerous, there really was nothing left to do but go to bed.

However, with the morning came a new set of turtle tracks! Little man was awake, and so, in our pajamas, we scampered down to the beach to check things out.

We were there before any of the biologists came to investigate: the first one rode by to mark the trail, while the second one offered more insight into the nest.

 

It was so amazing to see those eggs. Apparently, each turtle lays about 100 of them. They are soft and papery, rather than hard, and buried beneath the sand. The biologists dig down just so they know where to set up stakes to mark the nest as protected. Getting an inside look at that was indescribable. I only wish that we had seen some of the babies, making their way out to sea.

All too soon, it was time to pack the car and make the drive home, but we definitely plan to return. It was too peaceful and beautiful not to. We enjoyed this particular hotel, but there are other properties in the area that would be great to try as well, and I hope we get the chance to do so.

Do you have any vacation spots relatively near your home that you visit?

Do you vacation with family?

showing off the bling

Since we began running last year, the PugRunner family has accumulated quite a bit of hardware. While I know medals aren’t important to some runners, they are incredibly meaningful to me. Each has a story and many memories behind it, and I love seeing them hanging on display.

The only problem was that we didn’t have anywhere to really hang them, or our collection of race day bibs. I’ve been saving those methodically, divided into piles for each of us, marked with the name of the race, date and time, while the medals were hanging on the supports of a bookshelf in our bedroom (little man’s were pinned to the bulletin board in his room).

I went so far as to pick up some supplies at the craft store to make my own medal racks: unfinished wood boards, sawtooth picture hangers, and a variety of decorative hooks and paint, but inspiration never really struck. In my head, I kind of knew what I wanted, but for some reason, I couldn’t visualize how to make it happen.

And so everything sat, untouched, in the coat closet.

A few weeks ago, I had had enough. There were some decorative things I started doing in the house, and I decided it was time to figure out the medal situation. Off to Etsy I went.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for, so I just started poking around and in minutes, this popped out at me from York Sign Shop.

I had no need to look further. I absolutely loved the idea of having one hanger for me and Mr PugRunner, and so I ordered this, as shown, with an extra row of hooks and a beveled edge, and then sat back to wait for the mail.

Within a week, it arrived, perfectly packed and absolutely exactly as I envisioned.  I was so happy to start filling it up. I ordered some of my favorite running photos, picked up a few gallery frames, and set to work on a huge wall in our loft.

I created a “running” subway art piece to frame,

and surrounded the medal holder with some of our framed photographs.

As you can see, we’ve pretty much filled it up (Mr PugRunner has one more hook on his side, and I have doubled up on a few hooks on my side), so I think I will have to go ahead and order us each one of these smaller medal racks to hang under the frames on either side. They can be customized with our names or maybe a powerful saying for each of us. I will think on it.

Little man still likes his medals in his room where he can see them.

I am so in love with how this has turned out so far. And I can’t wait to continue adding to it!

Do you ever go on crazy redecorating jags? In the last month, I can’t tell you how many wall frames I have bought to create new galleries and collages. Tell me I’m not alone.

If you keep your race bibs, do you label them with info from each race, or just leave them alone?

weekly recap: 7/6 – 7/12

Week 3 of marathon training? Check!

I think the most notable achievement of the week is cracking 800 miles. Who would have ever guessed?

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Definitely cause for celebration!

Sunday – rest. Quite frankly, I don’t think we did anything all day. It was nice.

Monday - 3.1 miles.  This was a pretty enjoyable run. I felt good, despite the humidity, although it’s the run that got me dwelling on my pace. Finished with a smile, regardless.

Tuesday – rest Normally, this is my yoga day, but I had to take little man to camp and there was a conflict of time. It would have been nice to sleep in as well as have a day off, but what can you do? Sidenote: I greatly missed class.

Wednesday – 60 minutes sunrise yoga; 60 minutes strong vinyasa flow And we shall dub Wednesday “Double Yoga Day.” I went in for my usual class at 6:00 AM, and was grateful to be back. About twelve hours later, I was back with a runner friend for a different class with a different instructor. It was… intense. I loved it, even though I could feel my core shaking the entire time and I was dripping embarrassing amounts of sweat (yoga is all about no judgment!). I don’t know if I can fit in a third weekly yoga class, so I might end up alternating between this and my Tuesday class. Decisions, decisions.

Oh, and in between the two? I treated myself to a bit of a makeover.

I can’t remember the last time I had my hair colored or cut. Mr PugRunner and I were discussing some plans for next week, where I would have a significant chunk of time on my own and didn’t know exactly how I should spend it, so he suggested I get my hair done. I took that as a sign that perhaps I needed to pay a bit of attention to my gray roots and split ends. This was a lot of work for my stylist, but she did an awesome job. I even promised to attempt to blow dry, flat iron and wear it down. When I wasn’t running, of course.

Thursday – 3.6 mile run. This is where I increased my intervals to 2.5:1 instead of 2:1. I didn’t see any huge difference, but I guess improvements are never instantaneous.

Friday – 9.1 miles. I’m not sure I was emotionally ready for this long run, but go big or go home. I hydrated and tried to prepare myself as best I could and then headed out to my favorite bridge to get started. By the end of two hours, my distance had been logged, so mission accomplished. It wasn’t the run I had visualized, but it happens. I got a bit of a late start due to forgetting my Garmin on the way out of my neighborhood, and so that threw me mentally. I mixed up my route to keep my mind off that.

I had gotten some really great advice from a Twitter/Instagram friend of mine, Swmslo. She recommended that I break the distance into three 3-mile chunks, taking a break at the end of each for hydration and nutrition. Her reasoning is that I’m not simulating a race, but just completing the mils and so it’s ok to take some time to collect myself and recharge for a minute (or five). Brilliant. I kept my water and Honeystinger waffle in my car, and made that home base. I ran over the bridge and back, then did some flat distance before grabbing a drink and a bite. Back over the bridge and out to the boardwalk and the beach for a little sand running.

I’m going to be racing on the sand in a few weeks, so it was nice to have the practice, even if it’s not my favorite. I turned around and looped over to the pier for a bit,

and then back to my car, via the bridge, for another refuel.

This is kind of where disaster struck. I rested for a minute after my drink and nibble, but no sooner had I run three steps then my stomach revolted. I judged the distance to the nearest restroom, and even at a full sprint (or maybe especially at a full sprint), I would never make it. I actually got in my car and drove the mile to take care of things. And made a note to scratch waffles, which were always a favorite of mine, and go back to gummy bears.

After that, my energy was gone, but I wasn’t giving up. I had about 2.2 miles to go, and I was getting it done. From my new home base, I meandered around on some more boardwalk and sand, and then decided for one last go at the bridge. My energy was flat out gone (as evidenced by my pace at this point), and ironically, I was RAVENOUS. I was suddenly so hungry it hurt to breathe. I have never had that happen while running, and I can tell you I did not like it. (As luck would have it, halfway through my recovery bagel, the thought of another bite made me want to vomit, so there was clearly no winning).

Saturday – 1 mile. What? WHAT? I figure that I am going to toss in some late afternoon full-run miles to simulate conditions for the upcoming Tour De Pain. Can’t hurt to be prepared!

Oh, and on a creative note, I whipped up this medal holder for little man’s room.

I purchased an awesome double bib/medal holder for me and Mr PugRunner and will be writing about that next week, after I finish hanging it, and of course little man wanted one of his own for his room. He loves it and can’t wait to add some more bling.

How was your week? Are you racing or doing a long run this weekend?
How do you display your medals and/or bibs?

thursday thoughts

This may be a bit of a ramble. Because Thursdays are good days for rambles.

Things have been going well. Even though we are  entrenched in the summer months, with all the heat, humidity and storms that go with it, my training has been solid and consistent. I get up with the alarm (mostly) and log my runs. I adhere to my training schedule. I have (finally) gotten into a consistent routine of cross training I try to be mindful of my hydration and fueling.

And that should be it. Everything is all pointing in the direction of that 26.2 in January. All I need to do is keep on keeping on, doing exactly what I’m doing and it will be fine.

But…

There’s always a but.

I feel like I’m not giving enough. And I feel out of my league. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. Obviously, the distance I’m planning to complete is staggering. It’s new. Something I’ve never experienced before. I have no way of knowing what’s going to happen on that day, and we all know I crumble when it comes to uncertainty.

On top of that, I have myself convinced that I’m not being serious. Because in addition to worrying about finishing on my own two feet, I have myself worked up into obsessing about how long it’s going to take me to do that. It’s particularly unfair to myself because there is really no way to judge my pace in the midst of summer, but I don’t feel like I am challenging myself.

It’s not a secret that I’m on the slower side, but it feels I have fallen into a habit with that. Maybe I’m at the limit of what my body can do. At some point, there is a wall where it’s just not possible to go faster, train harder or sweat more, right? Or maybe I am making excuses and need to step it up. Because obviously, when taking on 26.2 miles for the first time, one should always add extra challenges, am I right? More uncomfortably, I could be afraid. I feel like I did push it last year, and I ended up hurt for my trouble. I don’t want to risk being sidelined again in the name of a time.

If self-sabotage was an Olympic sport, I would be a guaranteed contender.

I’ve made some little compromises with myself. For one thing, the only way I’m going to get faster is, unfortunately, to run faster. So I am going to try playing around with my intervals. I think it’s still early enough in my training cycle to get used to something new, and ultimately, it might help me break through that wall that’s been frustrating me. Right now, I’m doing 2:1s, but I am going to give 2.5/1s a shot.

I am also registering for a half in October that I didn’t really plan on running. I need to submit a half time to runDisney for my corral placement, and the only one I can use is my ZOOMA time from January. Since I got hurt mid-race, I feel like it’s not representative of what I really might be able to do. While I know I wouldn’t be in one of the top corrals, I also don’t want to be in one of the last (I’d like to buy myself a little cushion of time in case of GI issues, nerves, etc).

There is a fine line between being proud of myself and satisfied with what I have accomplished and wanting more. I guess it’s that good ol’ competitive spirit. I’ll never know if I can be better if I don’t try to be better, and I will only regret it if I don’t make that effort.

Do you train at a consistent level or are you always pushing for the next milestone?

What are some little ways you’ve boosted your confidence when you’re feeling down on your abilities?

would you rather… ?

I think it’s time for a little bit of fun. Jesica, over at RunLadylike posted a really fun survey, that she found through Amanda at Run To The Finish, who was inspired by Amanda of Diary of a Semi-Health Nut, who all, in turn, inspired Kristin at A Mom On The Run, and so on. It’s always great to read everyone’s answers and see how runners differ across the board.

So let’s get started!

Would you rather…

1. …run a 5k or a marathon?
I’ve never run a marathon, so this is hard to answer. I don’t really love 5Ks, but they’re done and over relatively quickly and I can get on with the rest of my day. I really think 10Ks are my favorite, followed by half marathons.

10Ks are my happy place

2. … run a flat race in the heat or hilly race in the cold?
Flat race in the heat, any day! I don’t mind hills, exactly (I do live in a pretty flat, at sea level state, so I do my best to incorporate elevations where I can) but the cold is a huge deterrent for me. I just can’t breathe properly and my limbs get incredibly stiff. It’s a good thing that our winters are short or my training season would be pretty limited.

13.1 miles later and I still think I’ll never be warm again.

3. …get new running shoes or a new running outfit?
Both, please! Right now, I am just about ready to start cycling in a pair of new shoes, so I have my eye on these beauties.

2747173-p-MULTIVIEW

 

 

But I wouldn’t mind a new running skirt, either ;)

4. … run a marathon without headphones or Garmin?
Without headphones. I like having music, but I run without my iPod a lot. I go out very early in the mornings, sometimes alone, and it becomes a safety issue for me. Then, when the sun comes up and it’s less of a risk to plug in, my superstitious nature kicks in and I keep the headphones out because I don’t want to jinx my progress by changing things. Sometimes, I can be pretty ridiculous.

5. … race because of the convenience (location, price, travel) or the swag?

I have to be really motivated to run a race. I would rather register for something that excites me than just because it’s local and reasonably priced. In some cases, the incentive is the swag.

 

I HAD to have that medal.

In others, the destination is the motivator. A lot of my bucket list races are out of town, and I think that makes for a fun trip, especially since Mr PugRunner and little man enjoy races, too.

6. … PR but result in an injury or finish strong and missing a PR?

Finish strong! Having spent several months injured, I want to avoid that again at all costs. While PRs are awesome, I try to keep my eye on the big picture and staying healthy.

7. … do 100 squats or 100 push ups? [Now take a break and go do them. ;)]

Um… Real pushups or “modified”? Because I can do modified push ups all day long. Does that count?

8. …. run without socks or without sports bra?

Obviously without socks. For the good of everyone, including myself. As I have mentioned before, I only wear socks for running, and even then, I really dislike them. No contest here.

9. … run on a treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour?

Bring on the block! I can’t deal with treadmills. I wish I could, but I am uncoordinated and terrified of falling off. Also, I find running in place even more monotonous then looping the same block over and over and over and over. At least outside, I have a chance of seeing something like the sunrise or an errant alligator or a cute puppy.

10. … run a Ragnar Relay or Marathon Relay team?

Ragnar, for sure! I don’t even know why! All those people,  sweating profusely and crammed into a van, catching cat naps along the way? Sounds awful! And awesome!!! Must make it happen!

11. … do a naked run or naked yoga?

If by naked, you mean fully clothed, then yes. Both of those. For sure. But I think the real answer would be run naked. With a bag over my head.

13. … give up running for a 3 years to get a BQ or never BQ but run as much as you want? 

I really hate to admit it, but Boston just isn’t on my radar. At all. Sometimes, I get myself psyched up and think “BOSTON! YEAH!” but I think that’s more the Fear Of Missing Out rather than actual desire. So in answer to the question, I would rather never BQ but be able to run as much as I want.

Feel free to answer all or some of these questions in the comments, or go ahead and share your own on your blog. Make sure you link back to me so I can see your responses, too!

weekly recap: 6/29 – 7/5

This past week was a little challenging, as far as training was concerned. It was really a case of too many things on my to-do list and not enough hours in the days, with the addition of a long, holiday weekend. I definitely felt overwhelmed, but definitely worked to fit in everything as best I could.

Another thing to note: I am starting to pull in a few different training plans. Having choices makes me feel a little better about the whole marathon thing. All of the plans focus on three days of running: one regular 3-5 mile run, one speed work run and one long run, with recoveries and rests built in. According to the two schedules I have, I am already several weeks along in the training process, and that makes everything not quite so daunting.   So much of this is going to be mental for me. I hope I’m up to the challenge.

Sunday - Sunday was a complete write off. Working with about 4 hours of sleep and a 2 hour drive home, I was more than happy to put on some yoga pants and enjoy time on the couch.

Monday - Rest day. I was still catching up.

Tuesday – I really thought I would be good and get up extra early to run before my yoga class, but it didn’t happen. The class wasn’t as intense with the weights this week, but it did run for an extra 15 minutes. When I got home, I was feeling a bit on the flexible side, so I had little man take a few pictures for me.

Despite that, I was still feeling a little guilty, so after dinner, I went out to fit in a 3 miler. It was brutal out, but somehow, I managed to get my fastest pace in quite some time. Funny how that works.

Wednesday – Sunrise yoga. We started the class with two people and ended up with five, which was really nice. I enjoy the quiet, smaller classes, but I also love the energy from more people. The practice was amazing, complemented by the beautiful sky, and when it was over, the instructor wanted to play around a bit. Normally, this would be the time where I stand back and let everyone else do their thing, cheering quietly from the sidelines, but for some reason, I was in an experimental mood. And then this happened.

one of my proudest moments

Which falls into the category of OMGHOWDIDTHISHAPPEN???!!!? I was terrified that I would do some lasting damage to the instructor (I was putting what felt like a lot of weight on her ankles), but she swore up and down that there was pretty much no way I could hurt her. So I let go of the fear and the doubt and I tried. In the interest of full disclosure, I did freak out pretty quickly and had to drop my feet, but no one actually fell, and I did it! Coolest. Feeling. Ever. I can’t wait to see what happens next week.

Thursday – rest

Friday -  I got up a little late, but headed out for 3.1 miles anyway. I was a little disappointed to miss out on either of the two semi-local races, but there’s always next year.

Saturday – Long run day! Five miles on the bridge. I guess everyone was recovering from the 4th of July festivities because no one was out there until my last mile or so. I didn’t mind. It was nice to have some thinking time.

 

Our schedule is going to be even crazier next week, so hopefully I can get everything done. With some shifting and shuffling, I should be ok. One foot in front of the other, right?

How do you choose a training plan?

Tell me about some kind of challenge you rocked recently.

 

happy 4th of july!

We have already started celebrating our long weekend and it’s been a blast, so far!

Things are going to be pretty busy around here for the next few days. We have a ton of family in town for a local event, and so it will be nice to get to visit, if but briefly.

We started the holiday weekend by going to the annual fireworks display near our house. Our tradition is to arrive early and have a leisurely dinner at the nearby restaurant, then stake out a spot along the lake with camp chairs and glow sticks and snacks. There is a DJ playing music, people dancing, vendors selling refreshments and all kinds of fun.

The weather had been sketchy all afternoon, with drizzles of rain and rumblings of thunder. On the plus side, this meant that the crowds didn’t show up til way later, AND that it was pretty cool and breezy with no trace of mosquitos or other blood-thirsty bugs. It could not have been more pleasant, really. When the show started at about 9:45, it was wonderful to just kick back and enjoy the lights and music.

After the show, we headed back to the restaurant for dessert while the traffic cleared out. It was super late by the time we headed home (And even later because I left my phone on the table – fortunately, the server was an honest kid and the hostess is my friend’s daughter, so it all worked out).

It was about 2:00 in the morning by the time I finally fell asleep, but I still managed to squeeze in a 3.1 mile run, even though it was way too hot and late in the day by the time I got to it. Next time, I’ll suck it up and set the alarm.

We will spend the rest of the day with my parents and cousin, and hopefully get to see some more fireworks from our house tonight.  I really can’t think of a nicer way to say Happy Birthday to this country of ours.

How are you celebrating the 4th of July?
Do you go see the fireworks in your town or do you prefer to watch on TV?

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