Monday, November 19, 2012

Holy giblets and gravy Batman!!!!

It's Thanksgiving week already!  Time is going by so fast it's scary.  I've been so busy at work and at home I feel like the world has started to spin faster and the days are shorter and there just isn't enough hours to get everything done.

So, Here is a crazy, super-condensed wrap-up of the past few weeks:
1. Hurricane Sandy swept through New England and spared my neighborhood but destroyed some surrounding areas.  Basically, forced a rest day and some mid-run re-routes due to downed trees and power lines.  Thoughts and prayers with those that were effected more severely.
2. Did a nice 8 mile group run with friends November 3rd over the hills of Tewksbury and Andover, then had to miss a friend's wedding and a 5K I was registered for because I had to travel for work again.  Off to Copenhagen, DK for a week.
3. No downtime to enjoy Copenhagen this time around so, no running tours of the city.  All work and no play, plus not a whole lot of vegetarian food options for me made for a very long week and a weight loss of about 5lbs. due to starvation.
4. Upon return to the States, I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night hour after hour, not adjusting well to the return during daylight savings time.  Ran another 8 miler with friends the Saturday after I flew back.  Then fell asleep at 3:00 in the afternoon.
5. Sunday November 11th, I ran the Chilly Half marathon in Newton.  Not as great as the Ashland Half a few weeks before.  The course was just as challenging and my body was a wreck from lack of sleep and starving for a week.  I finished in around 2:20 and did not feel good afterwards.
6. Took me the rest of the week to get back to a normal sleep schedule.  I rested Monday and Tuesday, then resumed running Wednesday with an easy 4 miler.  Then Thursday I went to Ayer for a fun run with Kim and Ryann after work.
7. This weekend, I had Goofy back to back long runs planned in between various activities with friends.  First, the Twilight movie Friday night with a friend (not a huge fan, but willing to go so my friend didn't feel weird going alone).  Saturday, I had to clean and do laundry and dishes and squeeze in 7-8 miles and grocery shopping for Thanksgiving.  I went to Trader Joes and Whole foods and still didn't get everything I needed.  Sunday, I had planned to do 14 miles with my Goofy friends that are doing Disney too, then a birthday party in Ayer for Kim, but first more grocery shopping.

Phew, there's a lot more in between all this.  I don't know where to start.  36 days until Christmas, 43 days left in the year, 54 days until I run the Goofy Challenge, 75 days until the Race Up Boston Place for American Lung Association.  I really wish time would slow down just a little bit.  Not just so that I could train for all these upcoming events, but work is getting crazy busy too.  It's that time of year when deadlines approach and metrics reports are due along with self appraisals and performance reviews, benefits enrollment and holiday parties.  UGHHHHH!!!!  I need a vacation, thank GOD I have one coming in the end of December to recharge my batteries.

Normally, I would have been psyched to go to Copenhagen again, but with everything going on and coming due here I really couldn't afford lose an entire week off site, but I had to go.  While I was there, things halted back home and I worked from 7am to 7pm, followed by team dinners late into the evening.  I managed to run in the hotel fitness center twice early in the morning before it was even open, but as the week went by it wore me out and I needed sleep more than running.  So, it's almost like I lost an entire week of work time and training time.  Precious time I will not get back and increased stress and pressure to get things done now that I'm back and time continues to march on.

Saturday morning there was frost on the ground and temperatures were in the 20s slowly warming to above freezing, signs that winter is well on it's way.  I took my time getting motivated to get out and get my run on.  I knew I needed to clean my house a little for Thanksgiving and friends coming over to run Sunday anyway, so I shuffled around the house all morning cleaning and sipping my tea until almost noon and finally got dressed and headed out for my shorter long run of the weekend.  Plan was to do 8 miles, but time crunched and not motivated I cut it to 7 miles.  My foot is feeling good and my pace was OK, I'm just overwhelmed with everything else I need to do over the next few weeks. 

Sunday morning I got up early, got dressed and drove out along the 14 mile loop to place water bottles for my friends.  Got back home and had some tea and breakfast before they showed up.  Andy and Kit arrived right on time around 8:30, ready to run.  Andy taped up his knee and warned that we would have to monitor it as we ran because he was nursing an injury.  They had been doing a walk-run program in preparation for the Goofy Challenge so we planned to run about five minutes and walk one minute.  Not my usual routine, but I'm game to try something new and stick with them so we could chat and catch up a little.
First three miles of my running loops are a real test of friendship, many people will never run with me again after running this route, but true friends come back again.  Kit and Andy made it to the top of "the Hill" to the first water stop like a couple of champs!  We topped off water bottles and continued.  About 5 miles in Andy started to lag behind a little as Kit and I got to know each other better and chatted about various races and the Goofy Challenge.  Around mile six Andy said we may need to cut the run short.  I have a few options to revise the route mid-run cutting the 14 miler to either 12 or a little over 10 miles.  Andy opted for the 10 mile route.  I was fine with that, coming off an injury myself, a recovery week was probably not a bad idea for me.

We made our way back towards my house and continued the walk breaks.  Andy was a trooper, pushed through what looked like intense pain to keep on moving forward.  Kit and I detoured down every side street on the way back for a little extra mileage and to let Andy catch up.  We made it to about a mile away from my house and Andy's knee said stop.  I ran ahead and got my car and picked them up not far from my house.  Gave Andy some ice and ibuprofen and went back to my house for some pumpkin pancakes.  Overall, I'd say we all did an awesome run each accomplishing slightly different mileage with slightly different outcomes, but all in pretty good spirits at the end.

I felt really good and could have easily done 2 more miles so I'm not too worried.  Next weekend I will do 10 and 16.  The 16s and 18s are where I really start to find my happy place and they will let me know if the training is going well or not and if the race will go great or not so great.  I look forward to testing my body once again and seeing my limits and crushing them as I go past where I never thought I could or would go.

This week is going to be crazy busy, meetings at work, metrics and memos.  Plan for running is 5 on Wednesday, then a 5K Thursday morning, 10 Saturday and 16 Sunday.  In between that, I have to bake two cheesecakes, cook a few veggies sides, then roast a turkey and prepare the rest of the fixins, do dishes and laundry and clean my house.  And then Thursday afternoon I totally plan to enjoy and feast followed by full on food induced coma.  No plans for Black Friday, although it might be fun to get up early just to mess with the crazy shoppers and watch the mayhem for pure entertainment value.  For mental and physical preparation for the week, I am getting a 90 minute massage this afternoon.  It is LONG overdue and I CANNOT wait for it.  Words can't describe how much I need to relax and how excited I am to get some much needed 'me time' before gearing up for the end of the year crunch time plus ramping up my miles for Goofy.  It's going to be AWESOME.

Friday, November 2, 2012

How did it get to be November?

Where did the time go?  This year is flying by.  So much is happening so fast.  It's crazy.  Out of control crazy!  I seriously can't believe it's November already and it will be the holidays soon and then a New year!  Or maybe not......I fell asleep on the couch last night watching a bunch of 2012 end of the world scenario shows.  Really scary and hard not to pay attention to.  If the Mayans are right we only have 49 days left.  I'm praying that they are wrong because I still have a lot of things left on my "to-do" list.

Anyway, last weekend was my first goofy training weekend.  I ran 8 miles on Saturday in Ayer with Shannon, Kim, and Ryann.  Felt great and could have kept going.  My foot is really getting a lot better.  It doesn't hurt at all anymore aside from occasional random soreness.  I'm still taping it when I run and sleeping with the foot brace on and wearing special shoe inserts and more supportive shoes at work.  I think I'm almost back to normal.  It's rough, I'm teetering on the edge of going right back to doing too much and falling back into the sedentary lifestyle of resting all the time and not running at all.

Sunday, I ran the inaugural Ashland Half Marathon.  It was cool and cloudy and felt like we might even get a little rain.  The race started at 10:30 on the original start line of the Boston Marathon.  Before the race, I got there early and decided to hand out flyers for the stair climb.  I walked around the parking lot and put flyers under windsheild wipers and gave them to people sitting in their cars to stay warm.  I think I may have convinced a few people to try it out.  I hope so.

The race started and right away I knew it was going to be a challenging course.  I heard someone talking about hills before the race even started and sort of shrugged it off.  They weren't kidding.  The hills seemed never ending.  I felt really good though.  I was keeping a pretty consistant pace despite the terain.  My first 3 miles were all under 10:00, then I got to the first big hill.  Even on that hill I ran a 10:10 mile, faster than my pace in Chicago without any hills.  I stayed right around 10:00 miles plus or minus 10 seconds for the first half.  It started to rain a little, but it felt refreshing and nice because it was sort of warm out to begin with.  Almost tropical.....a little foreshadowing for the hurricane headed to the northeast perhaps.

When I passed the halfway point and still felt amazing I decided to push a little harder and see if I could get a negative split.  I started doing 9:00 miles.  Then I got to mile 10 and another monster hill.  Slowed to 10:13, recovered with a 9:47 in the next mile and then picked it up to an 8:58 for the last mile.  Seriously though, that was a very challenging course, but really fun and beautiful area.  Got to run along some of the Boston Marathon course for a little while (I noticed the mile markers and paint in the street for water stops).  Ashland goes by in a blur during the marathon so it was nice to take in the scenery and enjoy the area a little.  I finished the race in 2:08:29, not a PR but faster than the half I ran before Chicago and considering the hills I was VERY happy with that time.  Here's the course map with elevation:

Monday, the weather forecast was calling for a 'Frankenstorm', Hurricane Sandy plus a Nor'easter hitting the coast at some point during the day.  I went to work and almost as soon as I got there I got an email from my boss saying "go home".  I worked a half day and then headed home.  It was just raining lightly and a little windy out.  I walked over to the grocery store next to work before I left though and the winds were definitely picking up.  It was difficult to walk.  Probably wise to go home.

I got home around noon and started making cookies with the intention to deliver them to the emergency workers in Lowell to help fuel them for the busy day/night ahead of them.  Unfortunately, by the time I finished the cookies the storm had really intensified and the news stations were telling people to stay indoors and DO NOT leave your house.  The idea of walking almost a mile to the central police and fire station seemed like it was not very smart.  All the emergency personnel interviewed on the news were saying their biggest problem was saving stupid people that put themselves in danger and I didn't want to be one of THOSE people.  I'll make cookies another time during better weather for them.

The storm was really scary.  Over 1000 miles wide!!! I didn't lose power, but I wonder if watching the destruction on TV the entire time was worse than not knowing.  My area wasn't hit very hard, I'm on top of a hill so flooding wasn't an issue and most of the trees were thinned last year after Hurricane Irene.  Winds were really whipping around and rain did come down hard for a little while but for the most part it wasn't bad near me.  I can't say the same for some friends.  Patty, who ran Chicago with me, lives and works in NYC and the photos she posted of her neighborhood and having to WALK from Queens to Manhattan to get to work on Tuesday were pretty crazy.

Needless to say I did not run on Monday.  Tuesday, the weather passed and was actually really nice, almost 70 degrees and sunny.  I went to Ayer after work to run with Kim.  We planned to do 6 miles on a hilly loop we have run many times before.  I was not totally thrilled about running more hills after the half I did on Sunday, but whatever. I'm always up for a challenge.  My legs, not so much.  Hamstrings screamed in agony.  I was slower than Kim, but managed to keep up.  We ended up having to cut the run short anyway because the loop we were running was closed due to storm damage.  We ended up only doing 5 miles, but my hamstrings were ok with that.  As soon as we finished the sky opened up and it started pouring rain, so its good we didn't do another mile.

Wednesday, I was going to run after work, but decided not to because I'm trying to resist the urge to do too much too soon and because it was Halloween and I didn't have any candy to hand out.  I bought some and then no one showed up.  I should have just gone for a run.

Yesterday, I brought my running gear to work and changed after work. I like running along the Charles on Thursdays because some school's ROTC program has "lab" on Thursdays so there are guys in uniform with fake guns and stuff playing in one of the parks.  It's pretty entertaining to run past.  But for some reason, when I got to my car to put my things away and head out to run, I really really didn't feel like running.  I got in my car and drove home instead.  I fell asleep on my couch around 5:30!!!!  I don't know what is up.  I really need to figure out what is going on.  Not sure if it's physical or mental.  I'm really struggling.  My motivation is just not there, I feel like junk, and I'm wicked tired.  I gotta snap out of this and get back on track.  Only 71 days til Goofy 2013.

Oh and I guess next week is kind of a big deal, there's some sort of event happening on Tuesday that has been in the news for what seems like FOREVER.  Lucky for me, I will be out of the country and I have already voted by absentee ballot.  Will be nice to stop receiving junk mail from candidates and to see normal commercials again.