Weekend long run during the week

Tomorrow is the family party, since there’s still quite a bit of prep to do I didn’t want to leave my training run until then. Also, I didn’t want to be wiped from training and then not enjoy the evening. Instead, I decided to put my miles in today. A week day.

I was scheduled to do 13.1, a half, but I ended up finishing up with 10.8 miles. The reason was two fold, I misjudged the total number of miles home so arrived sooner than I thought. There were really no safe places to tack extra miles on when I arrived back at the house too early. The second reason was that I felt some slight pain in my legs and just felt tired. I’m frustrated that I didn’t get the full mileage count but I’m pleased that I tried something new and different-running in an unfamiliar place.

I did learn that there is value in planning out your run ahead of time and knowing your course. I spent quite a bit of time running in circles in neighborhoods. Weaving in and out of culs-de-sac to add mileage. I can only imagine what the neighbors thought of this person running loops in their neighborhood. By the end of the long run, I am typically so tired that thinking of where I need to go and trying to calculate distance is a bit challenging. And makes the long run less training focused and more thinking focused.

I did giggle at a few of the views that I took in. Signs are something I am always drawn too, and two really caught my eye. I am curious to know how many people attempt to get onto 495 on a horse. Also, the street sign was perfect timing. I was mid-run and really struggling. The subtle reminder to suck it up wasn’t lost on me, even in my exhaustion.

I also managed to be in two places at once! A very interesting experience, though not nearly as strange as one might expect if one has ever viewed Star Trek or any Harry Potter film. Basically I found a spot where I was standing in two towns at the same time. IMG_3003Sort of a cheesy nod to Nicholas Sparks A Walk To Remember. 

I tried to make the day an adventure. I tried to enjoy the sights that I don’t typically see. I viewed the day as a win, even though I didn’t hit my exact miles. I made the time to get up and run. Making sure that I put in the work and effort that needed to be done. My average per mile pace wasn’t fantastical-13:15 average but I stayed consistent in my pace. Fluctuating no more than a minute from my slowest to fastest mile.

I finished the Ellen audio book. It was my favorite listen. It had it’s moments of humor and insight, but it also had moments where it just rambled unending and nonsensically.IMG_3008 They were comedic monologues that didn’t really flow with the rest of the book. Her guided meditation was really NOT helpful. However, I am enjoying the concept of audio books while running. I am grateful that I discovered the app Hoopla.

Hoopla is a free app that allows you to borrow audio books, e-books and other types of literary media from your local library. You are permitted eight books a month. Which is perfect since I’m usually done an audio book within a couple weeks of long runs. The use of Audible.com was going to be too cost prohibitive given the $15 monthly subscription PLUS the cost of the book itself. Hoopla was definitely a great alternative.


Beautiful flowers I passed a few times. 

It wasn’t until I got in the shower that I realized that my waistband of my underwear had rubbed a raw spot on my back. It’s unusual given that I have had these drawers for a few years and have worn them a few times for long runs. It was pretty warm and I was sweating pretty profusely, I’m thinking that the combination of the sweat and movement yielded a sort spot on my back. I must admit that chafing results in colorful language when its met with warm water.

Overall, I was pleased with the day. I took away quite a few lessons. But mostly I got some miles in without too much interruption to the rest of the family.

What has been your experience when running while on vacation/away from home base? Do you find it fun or stressful?

Happy Running!


Travel Day

Today we traveled to Massachusetts for the family celebration of my sister-in-law’s wedding. From our house to MA, it’s roughly an eight hour drive. Sometimes more when the state of Connecticut decides it wants to be jerk-face and cause a bunch of travel issues.

The drive today wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t our best time but it wasn’t our worst time either. initially I had planned to do a few miles when we arrived. However between getting set up for the party and just being exhausted from travel I ended up forgoing running.

Instead I made a conscious effort to do a lot of stretching. While I didn’t feel any specific stiffness, I know that after 8 hours of sitting that my hips would be stiff. While the rest of the family set up the tents, I played soccer with the dog and did some hip stretches and some skipping.

Before leaving for the trip, I had mapped out a route of Map My Run. However when we drove the route so I would have a better sense of where I was going we realized a new plan was in order. The route I picked was on roads that lacked sidewalks or shoulders and had numerous blind curves.  Not really the ideal route. Jesi and I spent about a half hour driving around to some alternative routes, finding some areas that while lacking sidewalks had much rider road ways with better visibility.

On a non-running related note I tried clams (steamers in local talk) for the first time. They were ok-they were well cooked and I had excellent teachers. But they were a bit bothersome to clean and they did have a unique taste to them. BUT I tried something new! I was adventurous.

Tomorrow I strike out on my long run in a unknown area. Figures crossed it will go well!

Have you ever trained in an unfamiliar location? How did you plan your route?

Happy Running!

Didn’t do half…or did half. It’s all about perspective I suppose

I was supposed to do six miles this morning. I was supposed to get up at 4:30 so that I would have more than enough time to do the full six miles. However a late bedtime and three snooze buttons later, I realized that I wouldn’t have enough time. Rather than not run at all, something I would have liked to have done in favor of sleep, I decided to work with what I had.

I ran my usual morning route of three miles, but I did go a little extra…I went to the next block. I felt a small degree of victory that while I didn’t run the scheduled amount, I at least ran more than half.

It definitely showed the importance of a good nights sleep. According to my FitBit I only got 5 hours and 18 minutes of sleep, with 11 minutes of restlessness. This is a couple hours less than I typically get. I definitely could feel it when my alarm went off. The first mile and a half really was a struggle to keep going. I honestly wanted to quit before I got to the end of the street. My eyes were just heavy and my bed was so warm, I swear it was calling my name.

However, I started listening to Ellen DeGeneres’ Seriously…I’m Kidding. After the drudgery that is the introduction/forward and listened to her chapter on advice from a super model (herself) I found myself a little lighter on my feet. On the way back I actually found myself laughing out loud. (To the neighbors on Market Street, I apologize if I woke you or freaked you out laughing).

On the upside, I had negative splits. They weren’t as fast as yesterday BUT they were negative. Also, if I had stayed in bed I would have missed the amazing full moon and the stars. It is rare in the  city to see the stars so vibrantly, but this morning for some reason I managed to see the stars shining brightly.

The struggle to get up and push through really is, in some ways, more important than the mileage. Training myself mentally to get through that which I don’t really want to do will pay dividends come race day. While I’m frustrated that I didn’t get my full six, I will try and focus on the aspects of the training today that will get me where I want to be. Tomorrow I will improve on those areas that may have been overlooked today. All I can do is keep moving forward….and get a little more sleep.

Happy Running!

Only hit snooze once this morning

I successfully made it out the door before 5am this morning. I only hit snooze once this morning, despite wanting to hit it a second time. It was a good pre-dawn run, I killed my negative splits this morning. Starting mile one at 12:10 and finished my third mile at a 9:56 pace.

That last mile I was huffing it pretty good, I only stopped briefly at the intersection at East Street to double check traffic before I proceeded through.

I am feeling that getting up in the morning for pre-work runs is getting easier. I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I conquered such a large task before I even put on my dress clothes.

The one thing I am beginning to struggle with is my route. I run the same route in the morning, mostly because I now that it is well light yet not very well traversed with car traffic. I also know exactly where I need to turn around and I am comfortable knowing where the sidewalk cracks are.

However, the things that make it such a great route in the morning are also making it redundant. I am challenged by my concern of trying a more adventurous route that I don’t know very well in the dark. Will I be able to get the miles I need in? Will I be able to see? What is the traffic (pedestrian, dog, car) like?

Truth be told, as much as I dislike the redundancy I am not ready to change the route until I am comfortable meeting my miles in the time allotted each morning. Instead, I think that I need to re-frame my struggle with redundancy and look at it as an opportunity to gauge my progression.

As pleased as I am with myself that I am getting up consistently in the morning, I now need to start pushing myself a bit harder in the morning. Worry less about getting it done before work and focus on the quality of the run itself and finding ways to improve. Today’s successful negative split has shown me that I have the speed skills there, I just need to practice them.


Rest day abs

Rest day Monday was a bit different this week. With the downpours we had today there was no lawn mowing or lunch time walking. Rather than be totally immobile, I did the Nick Symmonds core routine that I discovered on YouTube.

I have been looking for something to mix things up. While the 14 day plank challenging is going well, I’m not as challenged by it as the name would lead one to believe. Not to mention, who better to take advice on core routines for runners than an Olympic medalist?

I found the routine to be challenging enough that I was not able to complete it in the “5 minutes” that Nick apparently is able to complete it in. Not only does it have elements of core work it also has some flexibility aspects as well. Toes to hands nearly cost me my front teeth.

I think more than anything the requirement that I had to stop and think and focus made the routine exciting. It was new moves and different combinations that caused me to stop and think, resulting in more focus on the areas that I am working to improve. I would highly recommend trying the routine. Make sure that you have plenty of floor space, since a few movements require quite a bit of flailing around (for lack of a better term).

I have included the link to the YouTube video below, just click the screen shot!

Happy Running!

Author’s Update: Wednesday August 9th-My abs still hurt from this. That is the first time that I have ever done an ab routine that stays with me two days later. 




Post Race Day Ramble

I surprisingly felt pretty decent for having completed a race and a long run all in one day. I was feeling a bit tired though but physically I felt ok. I enjoyed a quiet day reading and sleeping.

To be honest, the stress with my mom has exhausted me more than training has. The weight of her purposeful silence and cold shoulder is bogging me down. Try as I might, it still takes up space in my head. I feel that I have done nothing wrong (I’m sure her perception of herself) and that my actions-saying that I have a lot planned lets pick an alternative weekend-doesn’t require an apology. After 37 years though I can tell that she is waiting and expecting an apology because I have always apologized. Whether it warranted it or not, I always apologized to appease the situation.

My perception of her reaction is that I am taking time for myself, doing that is right and important for me. To her that is selfish. It is selfish that I take hours out of my week to run. Not because it takes away from my wife or my house or my other adult duties. In her mind, it is selfish because it decreases the amount of time I have for her. Her statement that she has “been kicked to the curb” is hurtful on a multitude of levels. The least of which is that I see her a minimum of twice a week. While they aren’t long extended visits, I am present in her life.

Our relationship has been increasingly tense and strained as the realization that she is no longer the center of the universe. (I know that is an harsh statement, but it is true) I have never been permitted to live my life the way I wanted to. My goals and dreams have been thwarted more often than not but what she thinks and wants. My marathon running and training is no different. Her request and subsequent frustration that I would not drink a beer the night before a long run is an example.

I’m not sure what the solution to this latest issue is. I’m also not sure how much longer I can handle her childish and surly behavior. I am not perfect and as a daughter I have made a number of mistakes, but in this instance I have done nothing more than acted in a way that most parents dream of for their children-independently.

Hopefully my training miles will help me figure out how to move forward. I am incredibly grateful that my wife has been so understanding and helpful-not only as a marathoners wife but as a wife. She has been my rock and I don’t know what I would do without her.

Happy Running!

Running to a race

I did something new! Well actually I did two new things. And I blame Regina for both.

IMG_2903Today was the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival. It’s held annually at the community college. I had participated one year with a friend but hadn’t sense. Regina had mentioned it a few times over the last couple weeks. While decided on the course for my weekend long run and talking to Jesi, I found myself suggesting that I could run the 2.5 miles to the race, participate in the race and then do the rest of my miles.

It should be noted that name of the race is a tad deceiving, at least to those of us who run marathons, the distance for the race is a 5k. I’ll try to stay on topic and not venture off on a tangent about the perception and reality of a name like distance festival.

I literally told myself that the idea was dumb. That it wasn’t worth doing and that I should just do my long run. I blamed the lack of funds for the entry (it was only $35 for day of entry so not an exorbitant fee). I came up with a few different reasons why it wouldn’t work. At the heart of the matter was my concern that I wouldn’t be able to do it. That I wouldn’t be able to make it to the start line in time. That I would pay the entry fee and not get a t-shirt. Because if you don’t get a shirt it didn’t really happen. IMG_2910

But the more I thought about it, the more I kept warming to the idea. I decided to do it. I got up early and decided that I would use the run to the race as practice for making the bridge on time. I used it as a timing exercise of keeping a consistent pace but also not running too fast/hard since it was my long run day.

It was an incredibly successful day. I finished 30th in my age group and 189 out of 417. IfIMG_2906 it weren’t a component of my training I would have run faster and harder but I was enjoying the experience of knowing that I ran to a race and then was going to keep running afterward. Marilyn and I ran together-she placed 5th in her age group. We had a lot of fun together. It was a good training pace for me and a great racing pace for her. The post race party was a great time and I enjoyed watermelon and a cookie. I figured the MCM serves oranges at mile eight so I thought it was practice for that.

For the run as a whole, I averaged 13:08 and did 12.5 miles (instead of the scheduled 12). I did the entire run in 2 hours and 45 minutes. I got home feeling incredibly accomplished and tired.

I have come a long way in my running and training. Being so adventurous as to just run to a race on a whim without much planning was a huge thing for me. To stick with my training miles and push myself harder than I thought I could go makes me incredibly excited for how this years race will go. If I were honest with myself, my training while progressive better through the years, has never been as solid and focused as this year. No matter how this year goes I will know that I have done everything I could do to ensure success. It really is about the journey and the training, not so much the race destination.

Happy running!