Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 1

Marathon training officially starts today. Here's to lucky number three!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

the half

A couple of weeks ago I inadvertently ran a half marathon. After White Rock, I thought I wanted to really challenge myself and run the Cowtown Marathon 10 weeks later. My thought process behind that was that I really thought I could have potentially done better (even though I was happy with my time) if I wouldn't have gotten sick so I thought Cowtown could be sort of a redemption run. I took a couple of weeks off to rest up mentally and physically and then basically went back to week 1 of my White Rock training plan. A little ways in I realized I just wasn't mentally there yet. Though I wanted to do better, the mental motivation necessary to complete another full training cycle just wasn't there yet. I've always likened marathoning to child birth (theoretically, as I don't have any kids yet) and there just wasn't enough distance from the grueling dedication and pain to make it seem like a good idea again.
So I compromised and told myself I would run the half instead. I continued to slack off on my running but also started the Body for Life training program which is rigorous and doesn't jive well with long distance running. I decided I was happy with the recent running goals I had achieved and would sit out the half and focus on BFL and gaining some strength instead and re-evaluate in May when I finished the program.
I was happily trucking along in this new mind frame when my dad called me, five days before the Cowtown half, to tell me that he and his wife had planned a surprise trip to come up here and see me run. Oops! I felt like I couldn't disappoint my dad (even though he wouldn't have cared if I didn't do it) but I felt like a quitter so I went ahead and signed up for the half. Those five days went by crazy fast (with no running. The last time I had run my foot hurt a bit so my crazy reasoning was well, better not chance it until the big day! I'm an idiot).
The morning of the half I decided to just go with it and have fun. My pie in the sky was to finish in under 2 hours (my half PR from Austin 2009 was 2:08) but considering my absolute lack of training I didn't realistically think it would happen. I had taken a certification exam for work the day before and passed it after studying for several weeks so I was riding high off that success and hoping to carry it through the race.
I knew I would see my family and John and my best friend also came out to cheer me on (she rocks and has been to two of my races) so I hung out with the two hour pace group and kept my eyes out for them. The beginning of the race was really cold and my feet were numb for about the first mile or so. After that I got pretty comfortable and saw Em around mile 4. I was still hanging with the 2 hour pacer and was feeling pretty optimistic. What I didn't realize before entering this race is that Fort Worth is crazy hilly. I mean, it hangs with Austin as far as making me want to curse for all the ups and downs. Around mile 8 I slowed down from the pacer and just focused on finishing. I saw my family around this time and apparently all I said to John was holy s^&*, it's hilly here! I spent four years in Fort Worth for college and loved every minute of it but I fondly remember it being much flatter. I saw Em again around mile 11 and then just kept pushing myself to the finish.
I didn't break my 2 hour goal but I did finish in 2:03 which is a 5 minute PR for me. Considering it was a last minute decision and there was no training involved, I consider it a huge success over all. Next time, though, I will definitely rely on training beforehand. It makes a huge difference in how much I enjoy the race which really is he best part.
As for now, I just finished week 4/12 of BFL and want to continue to focus on that. It's been immensely challenging yet rewarding to focus on weight training since I have never done that before. I also hope that the interval focused cardio will help make me a faster runner. I am still a long distance girl at heart, though, so instead of three HIIT cardio session like the program recommends, I do 2 and a long run on the weekends. It is absolutely beautiful here today so I just got back from 7 miles at the lake. It was gorgeous and keeps me happy.
So that's where I am in the running front. I'm entertaining the idea of DC or Chicago for a marathon this year but with John graduating and us not knowing exactly where we will be yet it is a little difficult to plan now. I'm also just enjoying doing something a little different for the time being. Not to worry, though, I think of the marathon as my Mr. Big and you know how that story will always end :o)

Friday, February 26, 2010

poor planning

Cowtown half tomorrow after seriously poor planning. Here's hoping I survive!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

easy like Sunday morning

This has been an awesome weekend. We started off with a run at the gym on Friday after work. It was my first time to run last week and I really needed it. After all the happy hours and nights with friends I actually felt like my body was begging me to please do something active. The run was pretty rough- my foot hurt through the first half hour and my legs felt heavy and slow. I kept plugging on and after the half hour mark I felt better. I ended up running a little over 5 miles and though the majority of it wasn't fun, it felt good to sweat again. We headed over to our good friend's house on Friday and had a ton of fun with Rock Band and far too much vodka. I woke up late on Saturday and spent the day shopping with Meg. I got some awesome cheap accessories at Sam Moon and a dog bed for Shine. We're working on trying to get him out of our bed so he needs some new accommodations. We took it easy last night and did some reading.

We woke up earlier than usual today and went to the early service at church. (And by early, I mean 9:45.) We did some grocery shopping afterwards and then came home to a mountain of chores. John has done countless loads of laundry and vacuumed and I cleaned the kitchen (including the inside of the fridge!) and did dishes. I also so threw this amazing piece of goodness in the crockpot and made some cookies for the week.

While the roast was cooking we headed to the gym for some more running. The treadmills were full when we got there so I did a 2 mile warm up on the bike until one freed up. This run was a complete 180 from the run on Friday. I felt great the whole time and was really enjoying the exercise (I think this is doubly impressive considering I was on a treadmill). I did a good 7 miles and felt strong and happy at the end. I wish all runs could feel this rewarding and effortless but I guess you have to have the crappy ones to fully appreciate the awesome runs.

I'm still not 100% decided about what I will do about the Cowtown. A lot of it will depend on if John wants to do the half and wants me to run with him. Hopefully I will make a firm decision in the next few days. As for now, I'm going to finish folding up some laundry and read 2 chapters from CPHON for my study group on Tuesday. Hope you all had an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

a change of plans...but not of heart

Holy cats I have been sucked in to the beautiful world of decorating blogs. I have spent numerous hours the past couple of days oogling the gorgeous things and creative genius of the ladies found here and here. Talk about inspiring! These ladies have beautiful homes to boot not to mention the creativity and talent I am totally lusting over. They have inspired me to do a little dabbling of my own this weekend. I am by no stretch of the imagination a creative person but I do have a few ideas and a excited to see if I can make them happen. On a related note, does anyone have any good candle recommendations? My favorite is the Macintosh scented Yankee Candle but I am just about to burn through my big jar and am in the market for some new scents. Let me know what your favorites are!

There are a few potential changes on the running front. Like I mentioned earlier, I have been training for the Cowtown Marathon with a Hal Higdon program designed for an eight week break between marathons. I actually had a ten week break between my runs so I was able to take two weeks super easy before officially training again.

This past weekend was my first long run which was supposed to be a 12 miler. I headed back out to White Rock for the first time since the marathon. It was beautiful outside, sunny and warm in the low 60s. My legs felt pretty tired the first few miles but I chalked that up to the fact that it was my fourth day in a row of running. I passed the 6 mile mark and was still feeling off. I was running at my quicker pace (8:45/mile) which usually feels comfortable but it was hard and I was tired. I just couldn't get my head in the run. I walked for a bit to rest my legs and the thought crossed my mind that I really wasn't having much fun.

Enter serious doubts.

The whole purpose of running Cowtown so close to White Rock is to run faster and be happy with my time. I'm a little afraid that my body is still tired and not ready for another 26.2. More importantly, I'm afraid my head isn't ready either. When I was out there on Sunday, in beautiful weather at my favorite spot, I just couldn't stop thinking that I wanted the run to be over and that I can't imagine doing 2 and 3 hour runs every weekend for the next 6 weeks. Running is supposed to be fun for me and last weekend was most definitely not.

Part of me thinks this was just a bad run but a slightly bigger part thinks I should listen to my body and my brain telling me I'm not ready. I was slightly disappointed after White Rock but I feel like that would be nothing compared to suffering through another training program and putting in the physical and emotional effort of another marathon and not showing any improvement.

My husband is running the Cowtown half which will be his first and so my option is to downsize and do that with him. There is also a Rock-N-Roll half in Dallas in March which I had thought about registering for and attempting to run in under 2 hours (my current half PR is 2:08). I love the distance of the half so those could be fun without being as mentally taxing as doing another full. But at the same time, I sort of feel like a quitter for copping out on the full. Ugh, isn't this supposed to be fun?

Do you have any similar experiences about setting out to do one distance and then changing your mind? What made the decision for you? Were you happy with the change? Let me know what you think...I'll take all the advice I can get!

Monday, January 18, 2010

cleaning up my act

I was talking to my best friend on the way home from work today and she was telling me all about a new blog she had found that she knew I would love. Low and behold, it turned out to be my favorite decorating blog which already lives happily in my Google Reader. Yet another reason why Em and I are so meant to be ;)

I've spent a few glorious hours today not studying for CPHON and instead looking at all the cleaning/organizing/decoration links posted for the So Fresh and So Clean party. So far, I have been inspired to fold laundry, get rid of 31 T-shirts and numerous pairs of funky socks, and deep clean my stove (which, incidentally led me to yell at my dog to "not eat the Lysol"...multiple times). All in all I'd say it was a pretty successful afternoon especially considering how crazy work was today. I'm even considering waking up 5 minutes early tomorrow to make my bed! We'll see how well that goes considering the success of that plan is directly related to my ability to heave the hubs out of bed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

apparently marathons are my crack

I remember when I crossed the finish line of the Houston marathon in 2008, my first, thinking that I was so incredibly happy and grateful to have completed the run and almost instantly following that thought with a resounding I am NEVER doing this again! Fast forward to summer 2009 and I start to get the itch to do it again. I signed up for the Dallas White Rock Marathon with ambitious goals and after a training plan sidelined by injuries I completed the race in 4:24 which was roughly 25 minutes faster than Houston the previous year.

White Rock was a great race. I ran it with my friend, Kate. I am usually a solo, ipod wearing, blocking out the rest of the world kind of runner but after having a stellar 20 miler together, Kate and I decided to run the Rock together. It was a cold and foggy morning but we settled in and the first 13ish miles were great. Around that time I just wasn't feeling well. I couldn't put my finger on what exactly was wrong but I felt off. Kate was working to break a 4 hour marathon and I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep that pace so we split up right around the halfway point. (Kate went on to finish in 3:56. She is a flippin' rockstar!) I walked for a bit at that point because I was feeling pretty light headed and gross. I got sick a couple of times, which had never happened to me before, but knew I was going to see John at mile 15 so I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I must have looked terrible when I did see John and Megan because my always encouraging and no-excuses husband told me I looked God-awful and asked if I needed to stop. As much as I wanted to, I had been running my mouth about this race so much at work (and took 2 vacation days) that I knew I just had to suck it up. I started feeling better around mile 18 and was glad I ended up finishing the race. My final time was 4:24 including stopping twice to throw up and once to pee (that port-o-potty line was at least 4 minutes long!).

All things considered I was really happy with my time. It was under 4:30 which was quite an improvement from my first marathon of 4:49. But within the first few days after the race the little niggling doubt started creeping in that really, if I wouldn't have gotten sick or had to pee, that I could have done better. And that's not a feeling anyone wants to be left with.

So in order to try and dispel those doubts and hopefully have a better, faster race, I went ahead and signed up for the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth in February. Apparently, marathons are my crack.

Part of me thinks I am crazy for running two marathons within 10 weeks of one another but another part of me thinks well dang, I'm already in shape for it so shouldn't it be easier? I've done some internet research and there are lots of bloggers who have successfully run multiple marathons in a short amount of time, like this girl, and Hal Higdon even has training plans especially designed for multiple marathons in even as little as two weeks apart.

Maybe I'm crazy. Or overly competitive with myself. Or a masochist. I'm not sure. But I am excited for the Cowtown and looking forward to further improving my marathon experience. But after this one I am definitely taking a break. Maybe :o)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolved, 2010 style

1. Run 600 miles this year.

  • YTD: 139.70

2. Do 50 consecutive pushups. (C'mon, tiny, ineffectual arms!)

  • YTD: 4

3. Cook one new meal a week.

  1. Hoppin' John- It was pretty good and I got John to eat black eyed peas!
  2. Almond-Sage Crusted Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breast- It looked gorgeous and John and Megan loved it! I liked everything about it but the texture of the stuffing was a little mushy for me and the turkey was a bit thick and moist. I think most people would love it, I just am weird and like really, really dry meat. It definitely tasted like Thanksgiving in January!
  3. Vanessa's Peach Cobbler- The way John was going on about this I thought the secret ingredient was going to be crack. Turns out it was just one pound of butter. I made half a pan for him and half a pan to take to work for Amy's birthday and everyone agreed it was amazing! V's tip was to use Smart Balance and Splenda in place of the butter and sugar and it was still delicious and totally sinful. Will definitely be making this again and will try it with different fruits as well.
  4. Meatball Soup- this was awesome! It had a great flavor. I added some shredded cheddar o top and it tasted just like a cheeseburger in a soup form. Delish!
  5. Cherry Cheesecake Tartlets-I love Ashlee's cooking blog and these definitely don't disappoint. Cheesecake is John's favorite dessert but it is so heavy and time-consuming to make on a regular basis. These little gems are the perfect solution. So easy and so delicious!
  6. Quick Italian Soup- from the Tom Thumb coupon book. Yum!
  7. Chicken Cheddar Rice- from the Tom Thumb coupon book. Again, really good but not very filling.
  8. Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies- These are so good! Mine came out kind of blobby and fluffy but they were delicious! They also tasted surprisingly light for having as much butter and peanut butter as they do.
  9. Pulled Pork Sandwiches- used a seasoning packet and the crock pot...yum! We also had tons of leftovers which was awesome.
  10. Weight Watchers Turkey Chili- I used ground beef b/c we didn't have any ground turkey and it was surprisingly not as good!

2009 was a great year and I have nothing but great expectations for 2010. We've been looking forward to this year forever (in 5 months I will call the hubs nothing but Dr. John) and I can't believe it is finally here. We rang it in with good fun and great friends and I am looking forward to another 365 days of happiness!