Another Laid Back Day

I keep thinking today is Sunday. I was all baffled why the car dealerships were open.(They used to be closed Sundays, right? I don’t car shop often so maybe I’m misremembering.)

I had a nice recovery run this morning, if a little warm. I slept in a bit today so it was my own damn fault. 

I came home to this:



Then my husband and I went to get salads for lunch and scope out cars. Not quite at buying point because I want to wait out winter before I have to cry over a road salted vehicle. I did test drive one and really liked everything about it but the price for AWD. 

Tomorrow is a little Fartlek workout, I believe. I need to get up out of bed before the sun roasts me if I don’t want to flame out before my last repeat. 

Hope everyone is having a nice start of the week/month. Daylight savings soon and spring (aka mud season where I live) is around the corner!

Creatures Great and Small

Believe me, I’m not complaining, but it’s s bit of a body shock to go from subzero temps to running in a sunny 82 degrees.

We flew back to Florida Tuesday night, over a North Carolina snow storm. Our flight got in late and I didn’t get into bed until 2am. Which meant I didn’t get up early enough to escape the warmer air when I ran the next morning. It was just a recovery paced run, so I took it easy, but man it was pretty draining. 

I was also tired from a treadmill long progression run on Sunday, a tough leg workout with my trainer Monday. He’s been beating me up big time lately. My core was sore for 5 days after the “push” routine he gave me last week. It was so bad, I couldn’t even get out of bed or get up from the sofa without gravity propelled contortions. Much to the evil amusement of my husband. Then before my flight I did 11 miles on the treadmill with two different tempo paces. My legs were already beat and felt pretty heavy. I’m still ok with my paces and really thrilled I got to do it outside. 

Thursday was dinner with family and a heated discussion over the blue/black, gold/white dress. I was one of the people who saw both. 

I’ve been hanging out with this beautiful girl. She sometimes sneaks into our bedroom for the night. 

 Lady, the rescue boxer



Friday the weather was cooler and I did an interval run that went quite well. We went to the Nation’s Cup Grand Prix Friday night (USA took the win, I ate my weight in food from the Chinese themed buffet). 

A good percentage of the riders in the Grand Prix are former Olympians or up-and-comers. The jumps are at least as tall as I am, and it’s really amazing to see the horses clear them. Ok, I’m only 5’1″, but still. It’s HIGH. 



Saturday was a short run and I just beat a flash flood storm. The rest of the afternoon was doing some unglamorous work stuff with Jerry Maguire on in the background. Cuba Gooding Jr. was such a star in that film. 

We had to chase a small lizard out of our bedroom. Poor thing lost its tail by accident in the process, but we got the wee dude outside otherwise safe from being eaten by the dog. The way the tail wriggled for ten minutes after amputation is sort of creepy. 

Today I ran 16 miles in a very humid 82-84 degrees. The rain from yesterday was evaporating in the morning heat. It was breezy, 12 mph winds, and I was grateful for it. I took it easy at an average 9:28 pace and had to refill my water bottle twice because I was so thirsty. At least I practiced running with a sloshy belly to hopefully help me deal with my race anxiety stomach. I had a light breakfast but didn’t refuel other than UCAN Hydrate. My last mile was my fastest. 

Early in my run I passed a kid’s triathlon. So freaking cute! Some of the kids had training wheels and were determinedly pedaling their little hearts out. I cheered them on as I rolled by. I can’t even imagine doing something like that at such a young age. Really inspiring to me. 

This afternoon we’re at another Grand Prix. I was rungry and took three trips to the buffet. Ate a ton of fish this time. Now I’m ready for a nap. 

don’t know who this rider is





 This is the Gold Medalist from the 2012 Olympics



15 Questions with Simple Hydration

Hi, all! I’m back in Florida again. It’s been a little on the warm side (87 or so yesterday), but I told myself there’s no complaining allowed since it’s still hovering around zero back home. Honestly, I’m just glad to get off the treadmill. I usually like it fine, but lately it seems to make my hips feel tight. 

I wear a wrist heart rate monitor, and it’s interesting to see how the heat affects how I feel running. It’s actually been helpful because before I’d assume it was just me sucking instead  of taking note of real physiological changes due to how efficient my body is at cooling. It’s sort of silly that it takes hard data to convince me of something that is pretty intuitive, but whatever works. 

It’s a little cooler today, mid-70s and overcast, and I’ve got a little goal pace interval workout to do once I finish my coffee. I’ve got some work to do this afternoon, then tonight we’re going to the Nation’s Cup horse show and that should be fun. 

Running the Publix Ft Lauderdale A1A. 1/2 marathon with Simple Hydration

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’m on the Simple Hydration Run Team. For almost a year now, I’ve been using my Simple Hydration bottle for all my longer races and for my longer outdoor runs. I’ve also been using it for the runs in the heat here in Florida. I love how easy it is to carry and use. It’s designed so well that I don’t even notice it while running. 

Today I am featured on the Simple Hydration blog where I answer 15 questions, both running related and not. I hope you click here to check it out, and while you’re on the site, take a look at the great Simple Hydration bottle!

Aquaman, Hell Yeah

I may have mentioned once or a dozen times that my husband is a distance swimmer who successfully crossed the English Channel in 2013 in 10 hours 38 minutes. (shameless bragging ;) I’m so proud of him.)

He’s been swimming competitively since he was seven years old, and so naturally his favorite super hero is Aquaman. Unfortunately, Aquaman gets a lot of flack for having “lame” super powers. My husband is quite butt-hurt about it.

Personally, I always thought Aquaman was cool. When I was younger, I wanted to be a marine biologist… until I took my first biology class. I guess I just wanted to feed the turtles, swim with sharks and play with the dolphins and seals. I wouldn’t mind having the power to call to marine life, but since my swimming skills lag somewhere just ahead of my science ones, I guess having my husband as a fish will have to suffice.

However, don’t mind me if I’m imagining him more like this version of Aquaman, as played by Jason Momoa, formerly Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones, and soon to debut in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman movie.

IMG_3535

Yes, please.

Hill Circuit Workout (aka: peel me off the floor now)

I am not happy to be in these cold temperatures again, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do to get the training done.

I would’ve preferred to do today’s workout outdoors, but the streets are treacherous still and the park I like to run isn’t plowed (mostly snowshoers and cross country skiing done there right now), so treadmill it is. I moved the workout from Tuesday to today because of travel, which also meant I was doing it after I did a strength workout with my personal trainer. Luckily, today wasn’t a leg-focused day with him, but the workout exhausted my upper body and core.

Then I did what my running coach called a hill circuit. It was 8 times 90 seconds hard up a 6% incline, 45 seconds jog, 30 seconds stride and then a 2 minute recovery jog.

IMG_3534

Suffice it to say, I was worn out pretty good by the end of this one.

I feel like I run hills better (meaning I am faster while working about the same effort level) on the road vs the treadmill. Same goes for the strides, although these I ran slower than usual because I didn’t want to burn out and not be able to do the hills right. So I’m mostly ok with how this went today, but also feel like on a different (non-strength) day and outside it would’ve been a better performance. I would’ve liked the hills to be more in the 7:45 range and the strides in the mid-6s or so.

The NYC Half is in less than 4 weeks. The first half has some hills through Central Park, then the second half is flat. Should be interesting. I’m really unsure how to approach it just because when I focus on time/pace, I seem to get an anxious stomach. My coach will have suggestions for me as we get closer to the race.

What I can say is that I’m excited to be running a race through NYC. I have friends coming to cheer for me too, so it should be a fun weekend.

Speaking of treadmills, did you know they have them for horses? I spotted this one at the horse show last week.

IMG_4067

Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon recap

IMG_3797My training schedule called for a 16 mile long run on Sunday, and since I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the week in Florida, I decided to use a half marathon as a training run. We’re staying about an hour north of Fort Lauderdale where the Publix A1A Marathon & Half was held. This year was the 10th anniversary. The race metal is a doozy and weighs a ton. The swordfish spin over the night/day background, which was fitting as the race started an hour before sunrise.

My husband is awesome for traipsing around after me at these races. I told him he didn’t have to come for this one, but he did. He’s complaining that I am mean because I “made him” run around nine total miles today and, in his opinion, running sucks. It couldn’t have been that bad since he grabbed a Starbucks in between jogs. I’m jealous that a guy who never runs can just up and run nine miles. Swimming really does get you in aerobic shape.

After getting up at 3am to make it for a 6am start, we made our way south. The race is point to point, so we parked the car near the finish line, which was three miles from the start. My husband jogged three 10 minute miles with me as my warm up. I know it’s often advised to do a few miles warm up before a race, but I’ve been too nervous about doing extra miles before races longer than a 5k. But this was to be a training run. I ran several tough workouts this week, including a steady state run on Monday, for a total of 51 miles including the race. No taper whatsoever. I had a goal to run an even pace and maybe finish the last few miles faster if my stomach felt up to it.

The course is super flat and the temp started 48 with 5mph breezes. The race was self-seeded and it was impossible for me to get in the right section for what I wanted to pace. I wasn’t crazy about the mass start. I was hoping to finish right around 2 hours. I ended up stuck between the 9 & 10 minute mile pace flags. No worries — this was a training run. (I repeated that phrase a lot to myself during the race to keep me reined in.) The first mile would’ve been problematic except that after the initial start line crossing, the road was wide enough to allow the runners to spread out and hit their paces fairly quickly.

The first few miles ran through Fort Lauderdale’s cute shopping district. It was still dark out but there were little lights strung overhead. It was pretty. I tried not to laugh when a couple guys worried over the “hill” that was maybe a 15 foot climb over a bridge. We turned left to run along A1A where we could see the ocean as the sun rose. A guy with a steel drum played “Under the Sea” and I quietly sang along. Around mile 4, we turned into a park and spent the next couple miles in beautiful greenery away from cars. This was probably my favorite section of the race.

I saw my husband around the halfway point, which brought us out of the park. Not long after that, we saw the front runners headed back. The lead guy looked kind of in pain. I like out-n-backs because I like seeing the lead runners do their thing.

We ran along with the water on our right for a bit before heading through a less attractive portion of town. Lots of road construction and half the roadway was still open to traffic. This caused some slight bottle-necking at points, which would’ve bugged me more if I’d been running for time. I saw a guy in an RnR NOLA race shirt from last month and I said hello. Then I passed him and trundled along.

We ran with the full marathoners until about mile 8.5, where the half did a gentle turnaround. I was feeling good, relaxed and happy. So I decided to play with gently reeling in runners. I’d wanted to try that three weeks ago at RnR NOLA, but I felt wretched at the same point in that race. Right before the turnaround, I’d seen a girl in a hot pink shirt. She was probably a mile ahead of me, heading back towards the finish, when I first spotted her. I made it a goal to not completely lose sight of her. I also picked other closer runners to catch up to.

I wasn’t really paying attention to my watch at this point, instead enjoying the run. I saw a guy dribbling two basketballs heading the other direction. There was another guy carrying a tray with a bottle of champagne on it. The beach and ocean was to my left — so beautiful. I felt strong, my breathing calm and steady, my legs doing their job. It kept popping in my head that I’d run three miles before the race and felt great. What had I been worried about for those warm up miles?

Right around mile 13, I caught up with hot pink shirt and passed her. I negative split my race and finished feeling like I could’ve kept going for a long time. This was my second fastest half, but sooooo much easier than my 1:53 PR 3 weeks ago because my stomach behaved. I finished in the top 9% in my new age group of 45-49 with a 1:54:17.

IMG_3795

happy with these splits

The race’s finish line was pretty impressive. We didn’t stick around, but there was plenty of post-race goodies to enjoy. I recommend this race for anyone looking for a winter half PR.

Sunday’s run was a fairly easy paced run. No stomach issues. Lesson of the day: my race problems are probably in my head. I need to keep working on it and get my sub-1:50 half I know I’m capable of. I’m still getting faster in training. These old legs still have more speed in them. I just need to foster the confidence to not let nerves ruin my race efforts. Clearly, this remains easier said than done, but I’ll keep trying.

Escape from the Frozen Tundra

So, we stayed home for a week and then decided to go back to Florida for a bit. There was more snow being dumped. I’m over winter.

We have some family stuff to do here, but in between I’m studying up for my coaching exam. I’ve been reading about heart rate training, which has been more interesting than I thought it would be. I just wish the text had been updated — the book was published in 1998 and I’m sure new science could be applied. But likely for my purposes, this book still is effective.

We’re hanging out at the horse show this afternoon. I had a couple nice outdoor runs, including 10x400s today that, considering I only got about 2 hours of sleep last night for no discernible reason, went better than expected in the range 1:36-1:42. I only felt kind of sick on the last one, but recovered quickly. Hopefully if lactic acid build up is the issue my stomach’s been having, this workout will help my body learn to better clear it out.

Regardless, it’s so nice to be in some sunshine.

My step-MIL competed today. She did awesome and made it to the jump-off. She rode clean until the last jump, but she looked terrific.
IMG_3755