Friday Five Goals

20140725-105010-39010149.jpgLink up with the terrific DC Trifecta today! Mar on the Run, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What, and Courtney of Eat Pray Love DC. Click on the links and give them some love.

This week’s Friday Five is goals. Goals are good. I have goals. Therefore, I must be good. Logic. :P

1) Continue strength training to help make me a stronger runner. I’d like to be able to lift heavier than I am now and give my arms a little more definition. Heck, I’d like abs too, but that may be reaching.

20140725-142138-51698705.jpg2) Get back to playing my guitar. It’s so pretty sitting in the corner waiting to be asked to dance. I just tried playing American Pie. It was pathetic. :(

3) Write some fiction. This one has been very frustrating. I do have a loose idea for a new suspense novel, but have yet to start typing. It could be a lot of fun to write, but I’m having trouble getting the courage to start.

4) Um, not that I don’t have a lot of mini goals, but I’m struggling here for anything of interest. Weed the garden, clean my closet, mail the excess books to the women’s prison library. Stop negatively assessing my body. Read more books (my ability to concentrate on anything longer than a magazine article is small lately). Get my review of the MebGo Skechers shoes written (quick preview: love them)? Do you really want my boring To Do list? I’m just not all that interesting. Maybe I should add this goal: get a life!

5) Qualify for the Boston Marathon. Hopefully this will happen in October. At the moment it feels like a long shot :( I just feel awfully tired every time I have run this past week. The idea of 20 milers makes me want to hibernate.

Have a great weekend!

You Know You’re a Runner When…

20140723-113844-41924677.jpg…you go to a fancy-schmancy outdoor charity event and see one of those safety mats that cover electrical cords between the seating area and the buffet and think, “Ooh, timing mat.”

I had to resist the urge to run back and forth over it and check my time. For what, I have no idea. Quickest trip through the seafood station?

Wouldn’t it be funny if events tracked how often people returned to the buffet? I bet there are people in my family that would get banned if that happened. They’re like locusts.

I thought this sign was funny (not sure who took the original photo). They haven’t met my extended family — it doesn’t take them 4 hours to clear out a restaurant’s inventory. True story.

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Baystate Marathon Training: Lovely Toes

20140721-114908-42548059.jpgI ran the first double digit run in about a month yesterday and it went fine. I wish I could say I felt energetic, but honestly it felt like work. Aerobically I’m feeling fit, but my legs just feel tired.

I was too lazy to tape up the two toes that always get beat up, and I paid for it. They look worse than they feel.

It was also my first week of over 40 miles since the first week of June. My husband kind of rolls his eyes at me when I complain about not having a great workout because he wisely knows that most workouts are not going to be stellar.

I think my head is in a not-so-good space because I feel like my speed has plateaued, but I’m not sure that’s a fair assessment given that the past two months are post-marathon in which I probably raced more than was smart. I tend to be hard on myself and I am trying not to look at other runners’ running successes and comparing myself unfavorably. That does me no good whatsoever. My best strategy is to keep my head down and follow my training plan. How other people run/train has nothing to do with me.

Just 13 weeks until Baystate. Feeling crazy for marathon training again.

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Not Quite a Recovery Run

20140719-121119-43879949.jpgToday’s Silks & Satins 5k race was a lot of fun. My friend did far better than his estimate; he thought he’d run in the 9:30-10:00 mile range and he ended up doing 8:18. He was also ridiculously consistent in his pacing (durn young whippersnapper — I could learn from him in regard to trusting my internal pacing). He didn’t time it, but I wore my watch and let him set the pace. He was breathing only slightly hard and felt he could’ve pushed pace more.

The race did not have a timing mat at the start, but it did have loose corrals by 1 minute pace differences. I hit start on my Garmin at the gun, then hit the lap button when we crossed the start so we could see how much it affected out overall time. Our official pace was 8:27. We did decent running the tangents and most of the difference is from time lost from the gun start to when we actually crossed the start line, which took us 17 seconds.

My friend commented on how funny my foot rhythm was and noticed that I wasn’t breathing hard. I have a weirdly high cadence. It’s especially high now because I am recovering from an injury, although I had no issues at all with it today. Hopefully the cadence will calm down a little now that I’m on the mend. I guess it doesn’t bother me, but I wonder if there is some point when the cadence becomes too high and detrimental. Today it averaged 203 spm and I suppose I’d like it to get back under 200.

The weather was perfect, 62 degrees and overcast. The course is very flat and my friend generally runs on hills, so he got to see how well hills prepared him to run faster. I’m so glad he asked me to run this with him.

It was also nice for me to run the same course at a conservative pace only a minute and a half slower than in 2013. Last year I was dying during this race — I realized today that I didn’t recognize any of the houses or landmarks in the second half of the race. It was just a haze last year.

I liked doing the 5k this way, although I think I need to get over my fear of running hard for the distance. Maybe not right now since hard efforts are iffy on my hip (although not as bad as down hill). But at some point I really would like to teach myself to not be afraid of suffering a little more for pace.

Observing my friend run faster than he’s used to (his last race in May his average pace was 9:36 for a 3.5 mile race) was inspirational. I can do better.

Great day today. 7/61 in my age group. Not bad for an easy day. 14 miles tomorrow!

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This race is named after the jockey silks & satins uniforms. The race is held near the track, which opened for season yesterday. The horses below were warming up for their races.
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Friday Five: Favorites

Today I’m linking up with the DC Trifecta: Mar on the Run, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What, and Courtney of Eat Pray Love DC. Please check out their super fun blogs that make me wish I could be their (annoying) little tag-along fourth wheel.

This week’s theme is favorites. I almost ended up with all food things. Probably because I am hungry.

1) Breakfast. I never used to eat breakfast unless on vacation (think giant brunch-sized meals) until I started running and going to the gym regularly. I can’t eat too much before I work out, but I do get some decent fuel into me and feel all the better for it. Now I look forward to my banana and coffee and whatever else I am eating in the morning. Today it was with an iced gingerbread Clif Bar and a beet & sweet potato purée.

2) Running races with friends. Tomorrow I will be running a 5k with a friend of mine who is a sporadic runner. I’m excited to share my love of running and to not be racing. The race benefits Special Olympics and it was a good event last year. 5Ks are hard, so I’m happy to do this one at my recovery run pace. My hip thanks me for having to take this one slow.

3) My heating pad. We’ve become good friends since I started running. It’s also my lazy-assed way of warming up before a run, although that is changing with my new warm up/cool down routines. [Un-favorite: the ice pack. I swear at it. A lot.]

20140718-141603-51363304.jpg4) Cleaning out my closet. I wish I had a couple dumpsters in my driveway right now, one for donations and one for trash. I’d just overhaul my entire home, including things of my son’s that I’ve been asking him to organize/get rid of for the last six years.

I’ve been slowly working through my closet and donating things after I realized I couldn’t put away my clean clothes because there was too much in the closet. Part of the problem is that I haven’t changed much in size since high school, so I had a lot of things in good shape that still fit. But I finally got some sense to part with much of it. Goodbye high-waisted khakis from 1989.

20140718-143514-52514652.jpg5) Running while on vacation. I’ve got 3 trips coming up in the next month and a half, and I’m eager to get out on different routes. I’m most excited about the trip to England at the end of the August. I had such a great time running there last fall, and I can’t wait to do some of my marathon training by the English Channel. There’s one big hill I want to tackle that last year I only ran down. Ok, maybe I’m not too excited about running up it, but I will be once I’ve actually done it.

Speedwork at Last!

My chiropractor says he thinks my hip injury is out of the woods. That we can still see the woods in the rearview, but are out of the thick of it.

Today I ran 8 miles with two fast miles (average 7:30 pace) thrown in the middle. They went well considering I’ve not done speedwork in awhile. They were probably a little faster than I should’ve done them (target was 7:45… over-enthusiasm). However, everything feels fine and pain-free. I’ve got a whole slew of strength/flexibility/mobility/form drill workouts I’ve added in my daily routine, and while it means more time at the gym, it seems like it’ll be worth the effort. My personal trainer and I actually started in with weights this week after a break from them, and it went better than I expected. I thought I’d struggle more, and not that I was lifting anything even remotely impressive, it wasn’t down from what I was lifting previously. Yoga chaturangas, push ups and planks kept me in decent shape.

It felt good to move a little faster today. Fingers crossed my chiro is right that I’m done with this injury.

20140716-205853-75533724.jpgAfter my run, I went to the farmer’s market. There was so much fruit there, so I bought blueberries, black raspberries and cherries, plus a bunch of sungold and grape tomatoes (I eat them like berries), micro radish greens and some sort of peppery cucumber that I can’t remember the name of. There was some chick selling 8 oz of beet, kale, celery and apple juice for $8 that I declined to try. She was charging $1 for a “shot” sample, which was no more than a tablespoon. Seriously, it can’t be that wonderful. I got a similar fresh made drink like that in Ireland for about $4 and it was twice the size. It’s not like any of the ingredients were all that expensive. It’s not like I live in LA or NYC and it wasn’t served in some froufrou place. I don’t get it. Maybe if it said it would make me run faster and even then I’d only splurge on something like that on race day. And I spend stupid money on all sorts of things running related.

20140716-210644-76004642.jpgCase in point: like many runners, I’m a fan of Meb. I’d been eying some of the Skechers GoMeb sneakers, and last weekend I found a pair in my size and the color I wanted of the Speed 2 shoes marked way down. They arrived today, and I’m going to test them out tomorrow on my 40 minute easy run. I doubt they’ll replace my beloved collection of Newton Running shoes, but they did feel nice on my feet. If nothing else, they sure are pretty.

I needed another pair of running shoes like a hole in my head. So I won’t tell you about the four pair of running shorts I also bought this week except to say they were on sale and I’m sure they will make me run better.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

20140713-112216-40936511.jpgSpeaking of procrastinating, I was nominated several weeks ago by Running to Her Dreams for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, and it’s taken me until today to get around to posting about it. Since RTHD nominated me, five more bloggers kindly added me to their list of inspiring bloggers — Helly on the Run, Run Salt Run, Running Around the Bend, I’m a Runner & So Can You and Fit Recovery.

Thank you to all of you for thinking of me. I feel honored and unworthy.

Here are The Rules:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you
  • List the rules and display the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated
  • Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you

I already follow the bloggers who nominated me, and, man, am I ever glad that I do. I’ve learned so much from each of them and my day is always more interesting by being able to read their posts. My favorite thing about these kinds of blog awards is finding fantastic new bloggers to follow. To that end, I want to link back to some of my favorite posts by each of them in the event that any of my readers haven’t discovered these wonderful people yet and want a glimpse into what makes them so special.

Running to her Dreams takes the most beautiful pictures of hearts she finds in nature. Her images are so inspiring that I found myself running all over Iowa, Pennsylvania and Ireland last summer taking pictures to send to her blog. She also leads a successfully balanced, jam-packed life (hello job, parenting teens and graduate school!), and finds time to run too. She was on fire the day she wrote the post Enough is F-ing Enough.

Helly completed the R2R2R in the Grand Canyon trek in May. Not only did she take some stunning pictures, but she impressed the hell out of me because the closest I’ve come to going to the Grand Canyon is flying over it and the story my husband tells me about when he almost died doing the climb out. You can read about Helly’s adventure here and here.

Salt is ridiculously fast for a relatively new runner and getting faster and can yoga-pretzel herself like nobody’s business. To say I am envious would be an understatement. She also seems like a really fun person, so I can’t bring myself to hate her, darn it. She ran her first marathon in May and kicked its ass. Read about her triumphant race here and here. She had such a great experience that she had her finish time tattooed on her forearm. I didn’t do that with mine because it would just depress me for all time.

I can’t think of enough positive things to say about txa1265 of Running Around the Bend. He writes some of the most thought-provoking posts and has a strong social justice ethos. It’s rare to find a male feminist as vocal as he is. To top it all off, he has an incredible weight loss and running story. I am impressed by how many miles he puts in each week. And his love for his wife and sons is lovely to read about. It was really hard to pick just one of his posts, but I am going to reshare this one about the unreality of blogging that delves into body image issues, among other things. I feel strongly that this is an important post. Definitely take time to go through his archives, though.

Andy of I’m a Runner… does a phenomenal job at race recaps and posting information about races in the Northeast area. His enthusiasm for running and encouragement of newbies is contagious. He recently ran the Boston Marathon and was one of the people whose bib number was stolen by bandits — not one person but by multiple people. He wrote a great post about it here. I want to add that I really dislike race banditing. Maybe I should do a post about why it makes me ragey.

bgddyjim of Fit Recovery is a more recent find of mine. I first found him commenting on Running to Her Dreams’ blog on the post I shared a link to above. He is a cyclist and sometimes runner who also inspires me with his long term sobriety. It’s great for me to see someone healthy and out in the world and see that I can do it too. He wrote a great post about happiness that I should take notes on called Noodle Salad. That post name should be enough to send you over for a read.

Ok, on to seven facts about me.

20140713-122855-44935131.jpg1) I planted every single bush, bulb and plant in our garden (plus some of the trees). I’m not the best gardener because I loathe weeding, but I do love digging holes for some reason. My husband and I also hand-selected the majority of the stones for our walkways and patio. The trip to the quarry was one of my favorite field trips ever.

2) I had a massive crush on Luke Skywalker when I was in 5th grade, before I realized he was a whiny pudwapper. I carried around a little picture of him from Dynamite Magazine (anyone else remember that one?) in my pocket until a friend caught me staring at it one day. And now I am wishing I hadn’t shared this little factoid.

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This might be the actual photo I ogled in my youth. No, it is not currently in my back pocket.

3) I intensely dislike Bounty Select-a-Size paper towels. It puts me in a snit when I go for a towel and I end up with a halfling. My son thinks it’s hysterical that it bothers me so much… and that I occasionally buy them by accident and find out when I need to clean a spill. He thinks it’s so funny that I refuse to let him buy paper towels because I know exactly what he’d do. This is what I get for teaching my son to be a smartass. #parentingskillz

20140713-131852-47932188.jpg4) I played the oboe for about three months while in middle school. I chose the oboe because the band teacher said it was the most difficult instrument and that appealed to me. Plus it guaranteed I got first chair since no one else wanted to play it. I quit because my parents kept complaining I sounded like a sick cow whenever I practiced. Frankly, I think that’s insulting to sick cows.

5) The first time I thought that running might not be so awful was when I was a freshman in high school. We had to do a short sprint on a track in gym class, and I badly didn’t want to come in last place for a change. I focused on the sound of my feet hitting the ground and had little awareness of the other students beside me. I was surprised to come in first place in my group. Hell, pretty much everyone in my class was surprised. I’m not sure why I didn’t try to do any running after that minor success (maybe I thought it was a fluke?), but it is a nice memory.

6) Shortly after the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out, the magazine Entertainment Weekly had a story quoting star James Franco, who argued that co-star Andy Serkis, who played the ape Caesar using motion capture technology, should be eligible for an Oscar. I wrote this response to the magazine (and it was printed in the January 20, 2012 issue):
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I’m kind of looking forward to seeing the latest installment of Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I’ve got a date on Tuesday with a bucket of popcorn and a hot simian.

7) My husband’s family all think I’m a little odd. I can’t figure out why. ;)

And… if you’re still reading, here’s my list of nominees, some of whom have already been nominated by others and some of whom, ahem, haven’t posted in a little while (so post again already!). They’re a hodgepodge of different kinds of blogs (I’ve been blogging awhile and only recently veered into running blogging). Check them out!

Running blogs
278 to Boston
Attempted Runner
Boring Broad Runs
Colby & Tina of It’s a Marathon & a Sprint
Maybe Marathoner
Piratebobcat
Run Doodle Run
Run Far Girl
Run, Karla, Run!
Running & My Random Life
Running Boston & Beyond
The Girl Who Ran Everywhere

Other Inpirational blogs
Guitars & Life
I’m Just Fine
In Bad Company
Life: Everyone Has One
The Project