Sunday, January 25, 2015

Napa Training Weeks 12 and 13... Progress

Week 12 I felt like I turned some kind of corner... like all the miles finally are coming together. I had a GREAT week! I then spent this past week worrying that I had overdone it, peaked too early. Now I just need to settle down and grind out my last 5 weeks. Here's the summary...

Week 12
Sunday - 13 miles. It was sleeting. I ran with a headband to keep my ears warm and a baseball cap over that to keep the sleet out of my eyes and felt absolutely ridiculous. I told myself this was the last crappy weather run I had to run this week.

Monday - Rest. Spent the day at work.

Tuesday - 5 miles... on the hamster track.

Wednesday - 5 miles... on the hamster track.

Thursday - Rest. Flew to Charleston.

Friday - 15.4 miles. "Pace" run except that I had to guess on my pace and distance since my Garmin malfunctioned. I was only suppose to run 13.

Saturday - 26.4 miles. Charleston Marathon... except the course ended up officially being 0.1918 miles long. We were all given new official times. If you missed my race post, it's HERE. My new official time ended up being less than a minute off my PR.


It still blows my mind. 9 months ago I was absolutely dying the last 6 miles of the Derby Marathon and now I've run less than a minute off that time on what felt like an "easy" run. What was different? I am better trained? Probably... but I felt ready last year. Did I fuel better? Most definitely. Did I pace better? Probably not. I ran with a pace group last year too, albeit we started at a faster pace and I couldn't maintain it, but it's not like I started crazy fast. In any case I am feeling better about Napa all the time.

Week 12 Total Miles: almost 65

Week 13
Sunday - Rest. Spent the day at work.

Monday - Rest. Another day at work.

Tuesday - 6 miles. I was a bit nervous my legs would be tired and sore so I hit the hamster track.. and my legs felt fine.

Wednesday - 6 miles. The Garmin lives again. I recharged it and cleared the memory, then took it outside and it worked perfectly fine. I have no idea what was wrong with it in Charleston. So this was suppose to be another easy run and I generally don't wear a watch on my easy days but I wanted to see if the Garmin was working so I wore it. Then I found out that my "easy" pace for 6 miles was 9:12. Maybe I'm getting faster after all.

Thursday - 5 miles. Hamster tracked it at night after working all day. I was so tired I fell asleep on the couch waiting on the kids to get ready for bed.

Friday - 2 miles. The two runs I had left for the week were a 5 miler and a 13 miler. I decided to do 13 on Friday while the kids were at school so I'd have more time to do stuff on Saturday. My legs decided not to cooperate. One mile into my run my left hamstring started pulling. After the miles I put in in Week 12, I was nervous all week that I had overdone it and had been pleasantly surprised thus far. When my leg started hurting I thought about just running 5 but then decided not to push my luck and just turned around at the mile mark and ran 2. Maybe I'm being overly cautious but getting injured over 3 miles just didn't seem worth it.

Saturday - 13 miles. Hamster tracked it in case my leg gave me problems but it was fine. I'm beginning to wonder if running in the cold makes my hamstring seize up more or maybe it's just in my head cause I don't like running in the cold.

Week 13 Total Miles: 32

So now my recovery week is over. I've got 3 more weeks of hard training before a 2 week taper. I still feel like I have a lot of things to work on pace wise and nutrition wise. As of yesterday, I'm 2 pounds away from race weight but I'm freakin' starving and I still can't eat enough carbs in a day while keeping my calories down. If you know of a low calorie high carb food, please tell me!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Charleston Marathon

I finally had some time this evening to look at my official results and the whole surreality of this weekend is setting in...

I just ran a marathon as a training run, a day after a hard 15.4 mile run. I never felt tired. Nothing hurt. I had to restrain myself from running too fast. I ran my second fastest time ever, just 3:08 off my PR. I got on a plane less than 6 hours after the race, came home, and went to work this morning like any other day. Now that I've had a chance to reflect, it all seems so surreal. Did I dream this? No, I have a medal and photos and internet results. It really happened!

Backtracking, LOTS of interesting stuff happened in the two days I was in Charleston.

Thursday, my Garmin quit working properly. I was suppose to do a 13 mile pace run. I was excited to be running in shorts and a T-shirt. My Garmin showed a green satellite but would not track any distance or pace. I tried restarting it three times then gave up and decided to use it as a stopwatch. Plan was to run 65 minutes out and then run back. This way I'd be guaranteed to have run at least 13 miles.

I stayed with my niece in North Charleston. I told her I just needed a road that I could run on that would go on for at least 6.5 miles. I was told to turn left out of her driveway, left at the end of her road at the duck pond, then take the next right and right and I would be on one of the main roads in town that would take me into downtown Charleston. I ran as instructed and ran all the way downtown. Once I got downtown though, it got more treacherous as there were more people on the sidewalks and cars pulling out of narrow alleyways. I had to keep stopping and finally said "screw it" at 63 minutes and turned around.

The run back was harder. It got up to almost 60 degrees and I ran into a headwind. I got back to the duck pond, hung a left, then hung a right into the road that T-d into the pond. Where was her house? I stopped my Garmin at 2:16 and started walking. I was at the pond. Obviously I just turned down the wrong street. Her house had to be close.

NOTE TO SELF: When leaving on a run from someone else's house in an unfamiliar city note the address of where you started.

I hadn't done this. I had no idea of her street address or the name of the street she lived on. Of course I didn't have a phone with me either because I don't run with a phone. Don't panic. Don't panic. Her house has to be on one of these other streets by the duck pond.

It was while I was walking that a young man on a bicycle rode past me. He then turned around and came back to me, got off the bike, and started walking with me making conversation. Basically the whole encounter started with, "Do you work at a Chinese restaurant?" "No, I don't." Some other small talk, then he asks me out on a date. Ummm... I don't think so. "No, I'm married." Plus I'm fairly certain I'm old enough to be his mother. After that statement he got on his bike and rode off.

Now where the heck is my niece's house?!! Then I realized the pond is an oval. Her road T-d into the short side of the oval rather than the long side. I had to hang another left and then a right to get back to her house. I did this and there it was. Phew!

After she came home we drove the route I had run. Ended up it was actually 7.7 miles to my turnaround point. So 15.4 miles total for the day. A bit longer than 13 but then again, I don't think I ran 8:45 pace for all those miles either. I ran a good effort though.

Later that evening I also had a chance to meet up with Melani, one of my online Sole Sisters. It was great to be able to finally meet her in person. We decided to grab some food at a restaurant near her hotel downtown.

Easier said than done! There were lots of restaurants...  seafood, steaks, burgers, pub food... Mediterranean food... Lebanese food we didn't recognize... all things that would be great post-marathon but not before. We walked and walked and walked until we were all the way down by the waterfront. We finally asked a hostess if she knew of anywhere that served pasta. Joe Pasta was the answer. Joe Pasta is located about 3 short blocks from Melani's hotel. Somehow we missed the only place downtown that served pasta. By now we were both starving, our feet were tired from walking, we were miles from her hotel (or at least it felt that way!) and both of us had a marathon to run in the morning.

We hailed a bicycle powered rickshaw taxi and got a ride back to Joe Pasta. Food at last!

Melani and me

Saturday morning my niece, her friend Patti, and I all got dropped off at the starting line where we ran into Melani and her friend Tracey... and my stupid Garmin would not work again! It did the same thing as the day before. It showed the time but no distance. I decided though that this was not a big deal because all I had to do was finish 26.2 miles at a nice easy pace. This was my easy long run for the week and, especially after running longer than intended the day before, I did not want to do anything to my legs.

Plan was to run with the 4:30 pace group. That's a 10:18 pace. I'd been running closer to a 10:30 pace on my long runs recently but I thought 10:15 was doable, especially since this would be a supported run with aid stations. There was an aid station every 2 miles. I planned to eat a GU every 4 miles up to mile 20 and drink Gatorade at the aid stations in between to practice my fueling.

At the starting line all of us realized this was a little race. There were less than a 1000 marathoners and a little over 2500 half-marathoners. We started at the same time. No corrals. We just lined up in the street by whatever pace runner you thought was appropriate.

Melani, Tracey and I started together right by the 4:30 pace runner. Beth was running the half and Patti was running slower so they started somewhere behind me. The first couple miles were congested as usual. I ran a nice easy pace and I kept looking for the 4:30 pacer who had been right next to me but then I thought got a little behind me. At the 2 mile mark my watch read 22 minutes. Hmmm... I wanted to run easy but this was a little too slow. I picked it up a little. I got separated from Melani and Tracey at this point.

Somewhere between miles 4 and 5 I saw someone ahead of me with a blue pace sign. Maybe that was the 4:30 pacer? I caught up with them and realized it was the 4:15 pacer. Then I heard from the runners around me that all of them felt the mile markers were off. Everyone was reading the course to be anywhere from 0.3 to 0.5 miles long - so probably why I thought I was slow at the 2 mile mark. This was throwing the pacers off too. They said they were trying to run 9:43 pace but several miles later I heard that they were up to 30 seconds off at times.

OK, new plan. Stay with these guys for as long as I feel good but absolutely DO NOT run faster then them! I felt great but I knew that I was not going to get a BQ today so this was NOT the day to push it and try to PR and blow out my legs 6 weeks before my goal marathon. DON'T DO IT!!!

I fueled exactly as planned. I felt like I was constantly squeezing a gel in my mouth and the miles went by pretty quickly. I was surprised by how good I still felt. At mile 22 the two pacers looked at me and another guy and said "Well, I guess you two are it." We were the only ones left in the pace group. They said if we felt good we should go on ahead. I then had to tell them this was just a training run and I had to stay with them so I wouldn't do anything stupid.

At mile 24 the pacers said we were actually a minute ahead of pace. At mile 25 one of the pacers decided he had to hit the port-a-potty. Now what? Rather than stand there and wait, I proceeded on. Run easy. Don't do anything stupid. No kick. No nothing. Just run across the finish line with a smile.

4:13:37. Seconded fastest time ever, the day after running over 15 miles, and it felt easy. I know I could have PR'd yesterday if I had pushed it but this was not the time to push things. I am SO glad I came to Charleston! The course was perfect. The weather was perfect. This was just the confidence booster I needed. Plus, if I still have this Boston bug next year then this would be the course for a BQ attempt because it's flat and FAST!

Beth (my niece) and me

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Napa Training Week 11... On the Edge

Admittedly, mileage-wise, I've made myself a pretty aggressive training program this time around... and last week I found myself leaning over the edge of overtraining.

I ran 54 miles in Week 10. I had 58 miles planned for Week 11. I learned that sometimes you just have to step back.

Sunday - Rest.

Monday - 5 miles. Nice easy run.

Tuesday - 12 miles. The weather is getting nasty and I hamster tracked it. Still a nice easy run.

Wednesday - 20 miles. I had 24 on the schedule. The air temperature was almost zero outside. I hit the hamster track again with 4 gels. Plan was to fuel up every 5 miles. Miles 1-15 were nice and easy. I got a little bored. I picked up the pace a bit. 16, 17, and 18 were great. At 19 my left hamstring started pulling and throbbing a little. By 20 I was getting hot poker jabs of pain in my hamstring which put a cord of fear in me. My left glute and my lower back were killing me too. I stopped after 20. I've come too far this training cycle to risk injury. Admittedly, I felt pretty defeated going home without those last 4 miles.

Thursday - Rest. I spent the day taking my daughter to the orthodontist, scheduled a massage, then spent a couple hours at work in the evening, all the while hoping my legs would recover well.

Friday - Unplanned rest day. I had planned to run 12 miles. My legs still felt fatigued when I woke up. The next week was suppose to be a drop down week but I switched things around so it will be another big week. I felt like I could run 12 miles, debated running 12 miles, but in the end decided to step back and give myself another rest day.

Saturday - 5 miles. I woke up with my legs feeling fine. Big sign of relief. I originally planned to get my run in and then get my massage. It's still freakin' COLD outside and for some reason my fitness center was closed. I seriously thought about finding a friend with a treadmill or even getting a Y membership (they were advertising no registration fees until 1/19/15) so I could run indoors. I hemmed and hawed until it was time for my massage. 60 minutes with Katie. Not your relaxing rub and buff massage. 60 minutes with Katie is 60 minutes of towel biting torture with her elbows and god-knows-what-else digging into your backside... but she really knows how to unknot your legs and glutes and will work on exactly what you want. She did my left hamstring, glute, and shoulder. Just what I wanted. Didn't even touch the right side. Once the torture session was over, I bit the bullet and ran outside.

Week 11 Total Miles: 42
3 good days, 1 "meh" day, 1 unplanned rest day, 2 rest days

I will be the first to admit I am a fair weather runner. For YEARS I would start running every year while we were on Spring Break in Florida - so the first week in April, then stop running sometime in October. I turned into a year round runner when I joined my fitness center where I could run on an indoor track.

So I switched around my training plan a bit because I couldn't take the cold weather anymore. Rather than do a drop down week in Week 12, then run my own Goofy - 13 mile pace run followed by a 26 mile long run - in Week 13, I decided to do the 13 and 26-milers in Week 12. Why? Because I found a warmer place to run. My niece lives in Charleston, SC (MUCH warmer than Indy right now!) The Charleston Marathon is January 17th. It sounded like the perfect supported long run. So I'll be off to Charleston at the end of Week 12 to do both my pace run and my long run. I won't be running the marathon for time but it will be my long run for the week. Plus, I'm hoping to meet up with one of my online Sole Sisters and catch up with my niece!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Breaking Even

I have really been working on my nutrition the last several weeks, reading up on things like racing weight, carb loading, race nutrition, and caffeine fasting (yikes!)

When it comes down to it, weight and exercise turn into energy equations.

I have learned that my basal metabolic rate (BMR), the number of calories your body burns just by existing everyday, is 1295 calories. You can figure yours out HERE.
After figuring out your BMR, you can add calories depending on how active you are daily.

One pound equals 3500 calories so in order to lose a pound of weight you need a 3500 calorie deficit... so say you want to lose a pound in a week, you would need to burn 3500 more calories than you consume or have a 500 calories energy deficit per day.

That being said, I also learned that theoretically, I can improve my marathon time by 15 minutes with no change in fitness by losing 10 pounds. Why? Because losing that weight means your body can use the same amount of energy it used before to propel your mass that much faster.

Anyway, one of my goals have been to lose 10 pounds before race day. I'm halfway there.

Another thing I've learned is counting carbs. For my daily exercise activity level (average 60 minutes a day) I need 5 grams of carbs per kg weight. For me that's 295 grams. I have always said that I've never met a carb I didn't like. Still true. What is tricky is getting enough carbs without having the daily calories skyrocket.

When I first started watching my nutrition I just worked on being more conscious about what I put in my mouth - more veggies, fruit, and whole grains. Avoid anything fried. I have even, gasp, cut back on the Diet Coke and started drinking sparkling water instead - really, I think I'm addicted to the carbonation.

This week I've actually started writing down and tracking my calories and carbs, getting my numbers from either the food packaging or for the nutritional information... and I've come to a conclusion - fast food can really kill your numbers...

It was an eye opener. Yesterday we were replacing the garbage disposal in my kitchen. The water was turned off, the power was off for a time, and my husband had a whole collection of tools all over the kitchen floor. We took a break to make another home improvement store run and decided to pick up dinner at Panda Express.

I usually get the same thing every time I go to Panda Express - a Panda Bowl of Beijing Beef with chow mein noodles. I looked up the nutritional information before we went and had a heart attack...
Beijing Beef: 690 calories, Chow Mein: 490 calories
That's a whopping 1180 calories! Time for me to find a new favorite dish at Panda Express. Also turns out that the Beijing Beef is the highest calorie item they serve, go figure. I ended up with the Black Pepper Chicken at 200 calories with steamed white rice (380 calories) for 580 calories.

Today, I didn't fare as well. I took my daughter and her boyfriend to Steak'n Shake and ordered what I thought would be a nutritious meal: Chili 5 Way - It's chili over noodles with extra beef, chili sauce, cheese and onions. I've been short on carbs all week. I figured it would be a nutritious high carb meal. Unfortunately I didn't look up the nutritional information until after I ate it.

Chili 5-Way: 1170 calories!!!  99 grams of carbs
Well, at least I guessed right on the carbs.

I give myself 100 calories burned for every mile I run. That means I'd have to run 11.7 miles to burn off my lunch. 11.7 MILES TO BREAK EVEN ON LUNCH! Luckily, I had a 13 mile run today but think about it... how many other people had a Chili 5-Way today and then went home and sat on the couch? Think about all the people that consumed about half their daily caloric intake in one dish then didn't burn it off. And that's just the chili. I drank water. If you had a shake, like I sometimes do, a vanilla milkshake is 610 calories. It's no wonder obesity is an epidemic in this country!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Napa Training Week 10... Some Unexpected Cross-Country

After all the holiday mayhem Week 9, this week it was time to buckle down and get my miles in. I ended up getting everything in, but not without some effort and some unexpected off road running.

Sunday - 5 miles.

Monday - 9 miles. This was my pace run. I really worked on controlling myself better in the beginning and tried not to go out too fast. I don't think there are any pace groups at Napa so, ultimately, I will be responsible for myself. I also told myself that there will be slow miles and there will be fast miles so don't freak out if one of my miles is too slow; just keep your head as there are plenty of miles to make up time.

I'm still going out a hair fast. Plus, I swear there must be some GPS dead spot where I run mile 4. My Garmin always says I'm running WAY slow the first half mile of it when I feel like I'm running the same pace but I end up picking it up and then when I hit the mile mark I'm always fast.

I was originally suppose to run 11 miles. 7.5 miles into it I was about to go down a big hill when I realized I wouldn't make it home before dark if I did. I was running on a hilly shoulderless county road with cars going 50 mph. Even in the daylight the cars can't see me until they crest the hills. I decided to turn around. Half a mile later it was pitch dark and the only scrap of anything reflective on me was the Nike symbol on my jacket. I knew for a fact the cars couldn't see me.

The last mile ended up being a hairy cross-country run through the edge of farm fields and people's lawns with blinding headlights coming at me. After I made it home I thought about driving to the old Westgrove school to finish the other 2 miles but then decided I'd just make up the miles later in the week.

Tuesday - 22 miles. This was my long slow run. All I had to do was finish.

I had my Garmin hidden under my jacket sleeve so I just head the beeps as the miles went by. Towards the end I had to walk some of the uphills because I could feel my heartrate skyrocketing. This felt much harder than the 20 I ran in Week 8. When I finally looked at my watch though I realized I had run 22 miles in 10 minutes less than I had run 20 two weeks ago so that's probably why it felt so much harder. Overall very pleased with my run.

I went and celebrated Christmas with my in-laws after my run.

Wednesday - Rest. I spent the whole day at work then went to a New Year's Eve party after work. Finally got to bed around 2 am (I know, what else is new?)

Thursday - 6 miles. I ran the Run for Literacy 5K and got my second unexpected off road run of the week. I showed up and found out it was a cross-country race...

It was cold. It was windy. It was my second speed workout of the week. Enough said. I did a 3 mile warm down afterwards on pavement that was about as fast as my race. I did manage a first place age group finish. Then I had to go to work.

Friday - Rest.

Saturday - 12 miles. It's freakin' raining again. I'm beginning to think it rains every Saturday. I hit the hamster track again.

Week 10 Total Miles: 54 miles
5 good days, 2 rest days

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Napa Training Week 9... Holiday Mayhem

All I can say is thank goodness this was a drop down week...

Sunday - 6 miles. Went to see my father-in-law at the hospital in the morning and squeezed in my run in the afternoon.

Monday - No run. Got up at 4:30 am to go to work. It was crazy busy. I got home to find my husband crashed out on the couch; he'd been at the hospital all day for his dad's surgery. I crashed out on the other couch and it was lights out.

Tuesday - No run. Up at 4:30 am to go to work again. Got home and went to see my father-in-law (who happens to be at a totally different hospital).

Wednesday - Rest day. Up at 4:30 am to go to work. It's Christmas Eve. We usually spend Christmas Eve at my in-laws and Christmas Day with my parents so I don't cook either day, therefore, we have hardly any food in the house this week and I have been too busy to go grocery shopping. I got home from work and we decided the whole family would go to the hospital to see my father-in-law.

We thought we'd eat at the hospital. By the time we got there though, the cafeteria was closed. We got done visiting and now it was after 8 pm. I last ate around noon so I was ready to chew my arm off. My husband said that there would be lots of places open in Castleton to eat... so we drove around... to Fazoli's, Applebee's, Olive Garden, McDonald's... all closed. The only place open was Rally's. I've never eaten at a Rally's before. We perused the drive-thru menu and decided pretty much everything on the menu would kill you. Chili cheese fries or fried grilled cheese bites were sounding pretty damn good though! I ended up with the greasiest double decker fried fish sandwich I'd ever eaten. The kids got chicken bites that they swore tasted like shrimp. It was the only place open and their double drive-thru was packed with cars. Our drive-thru girl started taking our order then said to wait... and we waited... and waited... and waited. Finally my husband said, "Hello?" and about got his head bit off. I think the drive-thru girl was about to snap. Merry Christmas!

We got home in time to attend the 11:30 pm candlelight service. I got to bed at 2 am.

Thursday - Rest day. Christmas. I was so happy I didn't have to get up early to go to work. We laid around the house all day then went to my parents for supper.

Friday - 6 miles. OMG it finally stopped raining! It's rained all week. It's pace run day. No high/low pace alarm on my watch today (or ever again!) I decided to try to run by feel. It didn't work out exactly that well. Goal again is 8:45 pace...

Mile 1 - 8:17. OK, I know it's too fast but I was nervous about being too slow since I hadn't run all week so I was secretly pleased. I am trying to check my watch only about every quarter mile.

Mile 2 - 8:13. OK, now I'm running too fast but my brain is also saying "Hey, you have almost a minute in the bank."

Mile 3 - 8:19. Umm, I know this is too fast but it feels pretty good. Heck, I've had days when this was my 5K race pace but I don't feel like I'm working hard like in a race today. I shouldn't be doing this... but I'm kinda seeing how long it will last.

Mile 4 - 8:24. Now I'm running back home and running into the wind. The last 2 miles will be the toughest because I'll be going uphill into the wind. It's starting to feel hard.

Mile 5 - 8:49. It's hard now... and I'm starting to get that feeling where it feels like all my insides are going to fall out.

Mile 6 - 8:54. I had to work to keep it under 9:00. Not how I wanted to finish the run.

So goal was 8:45 pace. Ended up averaging 8:29 for 6 miles but I was all over the place. I still have lots of work to do. Happy I averaged under pace though since I hadn't even made pace on my last couple pace days.

Saturday - 12 miles. Nice easy run. It's freakin' raining again so I hamster tracked it.

Week 9 Total Miles: 24
3 good days, 2 missed runs, 2 rest days

I made out my January run schedule tonight. I'm staring down some HUGE miles the next couple weeks. I can do this!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Napa Training Weeks 7 and 8... Going Long and Seizing the Moment

The past two weeks for me have been all about focus... trying to focus and get all my runs in during the holidays... it's hard. What I've learned is that I just need to seize the time that is mine and put on the mental blinders when distractions come my way.

Week 7
Sunday - 9 miles. Last day of "Nutcracker" for G. I got up painfully early to get my run in before heading off to the theater. Once I got outside and moving it wasn't too bad and it was nice to see the sunrise over the farm fields but, ughh, I'm NOT a morning person!

Monday - 4 miles. Got up at 4:30 am to go to work. Got my run in at the fitness center in the evening.

Tuesday - Rest.

Wednesday - Rest. I was suppose to do my pace run but was still too tired so I moved my schedule back a day. This meant I'd have to do my long run after a night shift but I just couldn't get myself out the door to do my pace run on Wednesday.

Thursday - 9 miles. This was suppose to be my pace run. I decided to play with the settings on my Garmin and had it alarm at 8:35 pace and at 8:55 pace so that I could keep tighter reins on my pace. NEVER AGAIN!!! The watch beeped at me every 30 seconds and made me crazy. It ended up just being a HUGE distraction. First 3 miles went 8:45, 8:45, and 8:51.

I don't know whether it was the distracting watch or what but after 3 miles I just didn't feel like I could keep pace AGAIN! This is stupid. I KNOW I can run 8:45 pace for longer than 3 miles but on pace days I just seem to fall apart. Rather than throw in the towel though, I decided to try and salvage the workout by alternating jogging a mile, then picking up the pace the next mile. So, jog mile 4, mile 5 - 8:36, jog mile 6, mile 7 - 8:59, jog mile 8, run next 800m in 4:10, jog next 800m to warm down. I got all 9 miles in, just not all at pace.

Friday - 19 miles. I worked Thursday night from 7 pm to Friday morning 7 am then came home and slept for 4 hours. I got up at 11:30 am so I could eat and wake myself up a bit before heading out on my long run. I figured I'd be tired but this was suppose to be a nice slow run so all I had to do was complete the distance. I didn't even bother to wear my heart rate monitor as I figured I'd be running slow and gave myself a 4 hour block to finish the run. I just ran at what I felt was a comfortable pace. The only reason I wore my Garmin was that I was trying out a new route that took me on some less traveled county roads... but the splits my Garmin started spitting out were unexpected...

I figured out right away that I was probably running too fast to keep my heart rate under 150 but I felt so good I decided to just go with it...

I wore a fuel belt and practiced fueling at 5 miles, 10 miles, and 14 miles. I wanted to practice eating on the run. First thing I tried were Clif Shot Bloks. Nope, not going to work. I had a hard time chewing and running at the same time. Went back to gels for the rest of the run. I also had a hard time drinking out of a squeeze bottle and running at the same time but I figured I wouldn't have this problem in a race.

Mile 7 I got chased by a dog.

By Mile 10 I was telling myself I really should slow down. At 13.1 miles I peeked at my watch and saw 2:04:45. After that, the run got hard and I told myself that I didn't need to push myself today. The last 2 miles were pretty tough. All things considered, I was thrilled with how this run went down. I would have never dreamed of running this fast on a long run after a night shift but the moment felt right and I seized it!

Saturday - 4 miles. I ran the Joy of Giving 5K with G to finish out the Crossroads of Indiana Race Series. G was done with "Nutcracker" and had a free Saturday. She told me that if she could dance for 4 hours she could run 3.1 miles. Ummm...yah... I've done both too and it's not the same. However, I thought it would be fun to run with my daughter so I agreed to run with her. For the record, G's never run 3 miles before...

Mile 1 - 9:25, hmmm... actually not a bad pace
Mile 2 - 11:28, G started having to walk shortly after the mile mark
Mile 3 - 11:28, she struggled through that last mile but finished

Her official time was 33:36.3. I finished right behind her in 33:37. She was pretty much a whiny train wreck after the race so I had to take her back over to her grandparents' house before going back and running a warm down before the end of year awards ceremony (which will be a different post).

Week 7 Total Miles: 45 miles
4 good days, 1 "ehh" day, 2 rest days

Week 8
Sunday - Rest. Spent the whole day at work.

Monday - 10 miles.

Tuesday - 5 miles.

Wednesday - 10 miles.

Thursday - 20 miles and a story...

How often do we let distractions alter our runs? The distraction that almost bagged my long run this week was a UPS delivery... and it wasn't even MY delivery.

Tuesday, my husband was expecting a UPS delivery. It never came. He left town on business on Wednesday. I came back from running on Wednesday and found a delivery notice on our door. The package needed a signature so they were going to try and redeliver on Thursday between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm. Well, I had to leave the house by 6:30 pm to go to work. The ONLY thing I had planned as a "must do" on Thursday before going to work was to get my 20 mile run in and I was giving myself a 4 hour block to do it. If I wanted to get done before 10:30 am I'd have to start at 6:30 am. Not going to happen, especially on a day where I'm staying up all night to work the night shift. If I started my run after 2:30 pm I didn't feel like I could get done in time to get to work.

I was mad. This wasn't even really my problem but somehow I felt responsible and it just really messed with my mind. Finally I decided to just leave a note for UPS on the door saying I'd be back at noon and that they could leave the package at the door if they wanted. That was the best I could do.

It poured rain all week so I did all my runs indoors at the fitness center. I get there and realized that it's actually almost 9 am. Crap. No way am I going to be back at the house at noon either. I spent the rest of my run ruminating on what I should do.

10:30 am passed. Would UPS really even come back to my house if they tried to deliver when I wasn't home and saw the note? They could just leave another delivery notice and try again on Friday. I have the day off on Friday. I'll be sleeping all morning after my night shift but I'll be home.

11:30 am. Should I just run 10 miles and go home and see if UPS came by, and if not, wait for the delivery. No no no! This is not my problem. If it comes down to it they will try to redeliver tomorrow. I will regret it if I cut this run short. Hal Higdon says the long runs are the most important runs in the training program. Bag anything else but not the long run.

Noon. OK, still running here on the track. This is MY run. It's suppose to be my long slow relaxing run. Physically I feel really good. Mentally I'm just mad about having to worry about this whole delivery issue. Nothing I can do about it now. It's after twelve o'clock. UPS has either come or not. This is MY run. MY RUN.

I got all 20 miles done. I ran slower than I did the week before but I didn't feel tired at all at the end of my run like I did the week before. Most of all though, I was proud of myself for finishing the run and not letting the UPS distraction alter my plans.

1:00 pm. I got home and my note was still on the door. Nothing else. No package. No redelivery notice. I was so worried about this delivery that I actually put off getting in the shower. I was going to wait until 2:30 pm. If they weren't here by then, I'd get in the shower.

2:00 pm. UPS finally shows up... then they piddle around in my driveway for 10 minutes because THEY CAN'T FIND THE PACKAGE!! Somehow they misplaced it between Wednesday and Thursday. They want to know if they can bring it to me later...

So, moral to the story - don't let distractions alter your running plans! I would have been really mad at myself had I cut my run short because UPS didn't even get here until after I finished my run. And really, had they come while I was running, they would have tried to deliver it again the next day and I would have been home so it really was not a problem. I just need to stop blowing little distractions into big distractions and STAY FOCUSED!

Friday - Rest. I kept thinking all this week that if I got my long run in and my night shift over with, I'd have the whole weekend to relax and get all my Christmas stuff done. I woke up after sleeping all morning with a cough, fever, and body aches. Ughh! Now I'm really glad I decided to do my long run before my night shift rather than after it like I did last week otherwise it wouldn't have happened.

And then more serious stuff... my father-in-law went to have a diagnostic heart catheterization Friday morning. He had had what he thought was a chest cold he couldn't shake and no known history of any heart problems. His procedure was at 9 am. I woke up at 11 am to see how it had gone and found out he was being transferred to another hospital for open heart surgery. Totally not what anyone in our family had expected. Surgery is scheduled for Monday. Needless to say this has disrupted all of our holiday plans as most everyone has been at the hospital. Another reminder to seize the moment while you can cause you never know what will happen tomorrow.

Saturday - Unplanned rest day. There was 5 miles on the schedule but I still felt bad and decided to listen to my body rather than the numbers on the training schedule. Went to see my father-in-law and tried to finish up everything for Christmas.

Week 8 Total Miles: 45
4 good days, 3 rest days

Drop down week coming up this week... just in time for Christmas. I'm going to need it.

Please say a little prayer that everything goes well for our family on Monday!