Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wow, I've been busy

Only a month to go until Big Sur, how did that happen?  I finally got over the nasty cold I had.  It lasted about 2 weeks and sucked the life out of me the entire time.  But by last Friday I was feeling a lot more normal and good thing too because I had a lot to do.  And I've got some catching up to do on my training.

First things first, I did something super crazy and a little scary, but A LOT of fun last week.  I have been working on checking off things on my 'to-do' list (I don't like calling it a bucket list because I don't plan on kicking the bucket any time soon).  Last Friday I checked off something I've wanted to do since I first lost weight almost 6 years ago.  I went to Boston Trapeze School.  It was a two hour class and I was kind of terrified.  When I got there, I was early so I had time to look around and see exactly how high up the platform was.  Once we started though, the instructors explained everything really well and made us feel super safe.  And before I knew it I was FLYING.

It was SO COOL.  Towards the end of the class my hands were wicked sore and I slipped off the bar and fell, but you land on a giant safety net covered in foam mats so it was fine.  I had such a great time, I signed up for two more classes immediately.  I can't wait to go back and fly again.

Saturday morning I got up and my plan was to do an 18 miler.  It would be my first run in two weeks since I had been so sick, but I figured I would just take it easy and see how I felt.  I started out and the first several miles were fine.  I was slow, but I expected that.  I felt good though so I kept going.  I was a little sore from trapeze school and in places I didn't expect.  My glutes, for example, were wicked sore.  So every hill was even more of a challenge and I run a lot of hills.  My chest and arms were also really sore, I expected that.  But I forgot how much I use my chest and arms to power myself up all the hills I run. 

Twelve miles into my 18 mile loop I was pretty spent and turned back towards home and headed up non-stop hills for the last 6 miles AND if that wasn't tough enough, there was a ridiculous head wind.  I literally started cursing mother nature and screaming "F*CK YOU!" Pretty sure a dude walking his dog thought I was a crazy person.  With a mile left to go I wanted to cry, the wind just wouldn't let up and I had slowed to a shuffle and stopped to walk a few times.  Started crying, but I DID NOT GIVE UP.  Not all runs are awesome and that one was definitely challenging and frustrating and disappointing, but I finished it and got the miles in.  It took me about a half an hour longer than I wanted it to, but I fell pretty confident that this weekend will be a lot better.

Sunday the delayed onset muscle soreness from trapeze school really set in and I could barely move, in combination with running/walking 18 miles the day before I was pretty useless.  I took a rest day.  Did laundry and relaxed on my couch for a bit then I decided to catch up on some scrapbooking of all my running stuff.  I went to Target and printed about 200 photos, then when I got home I realized I forget to print about 175 more so I have to go back.  Oh well, it will keep me busy during the taper after I finish two more long runs.

Monday night I ran in Ayer with Kim.  It was a little chilly out and I was still wicked sore from trapeze school so I figured it would be kind of rough.  It was really rough.  I barely managed to keep up with Kim and her dog Daisy.  Pretty sure Daisy sensed that something was off because she kept looking back at me and stopping to pee even though she had gone a million times already.  I felt ridiculously slow and sluggish.  The run felt a lot harder than it should have for the pace we were doing.  I looked down a few times to checck my heart rate and it was super high.  192 at one point.  I was averaging 85-90% of my max by most calculations.  Not fun.  We did 5 miles, but it felt like I ran through wet cement the entire time.

Tuesday, I couldn't run because I had another cool item to check off of my 'to-do' list.  I was registered for a glassblowing class after work.  I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I got there early and checked the place out.  It was a small studio in what looked like a auto shop garage from the outside, but inside there was a small space to display all the items they make, like a gallery.  And in the back there were several furnaces and benches and tools.  It was so cool.  Three other people joined the class.  We got a quick demonstration of what we would be making and then we got started.  First we made paperweights and hten we made more complicated pieces.  I made a pressed in bowl.  Basically a bubble then one side gets pushed in.
It was amazing.  Tricky, but really fun and different.  My stuff came out really cool.  I had to wait and pick it up the next day because it has to cool down slowly over night in an oven.  If it cools too quickly the glass explodes.  I kind of want to go back again and make something different.  I would love a drinking glass or floppy vase.  Since I had to drive there to get my pieces after work I didn't run yesterday, but I plan to run today and the weather has been really nice so I'm looking forward to it.  Then I will rest and try another 18 miler on Saturday.  After that I have a wine tasting to go to. 

Staying super busy, I almost forgot I have a marathon in a month!  I can't believe it's so close.  I can't wait to go, but I'm a little worried that I'm not ready and my body is not happy about it.  Oh well, we'll see how my long run goes this weekend.  Then it's just a 20 then taper.  I'm sure I can check off a few more things on my list during the down time.  Before I know it I will be running the Pacific Coast Highway and finishing my 13th marathon.

Monday, March 18, 2013

So much for getting serious

Last 5 weeks - Total Weekly Mileage
I think I definitely over did it and got a little too serious too fast.  Totally broke the 10% rule and jumped into my training a little ambitiously and now I'm paying the price bigtime.  I've been sick for about a week.  It all started last weekend when I did my first really long run for Big Sur training.  Saturday morning, my friend Denise met me at my house for 16 miles.   It was actually pretty nice out, in the mid-40s and sunny with a little wind, but not bad.  We went out wicked fast and we knew it, but we were chatty and hadn't seen each other since Disney when we first met so we had a lot of catching up to do.  We settled into a decent pace about 5 miles in and just stayed there, by the last 4 miles I was fading.  Denise powered up the last hill ahead of me and finished strong, I eventually caught up.  It was a solid run.  I felt really good and was more than please with our time and overall pace. 

After the run, I really wanted to shower and then take a nap, but I had things to do and people to see.  I had a birthday party to attend and before that I had to get a card and wrap the presents I bought.  So, I quickly showered and got dressed and shovelled some food in my mouth. Headed to Target and got a card and some wrapping supplies and did an amazing job making the gift look like Martha Stewart wrapped it (even though I did it in the front seat of my car).  Then I drove straight to the party.  I socialized and celebrated for hours before going home and going to bed. 

Sunday I had a 5 mile race in Lowell.  My legs were a little heavy from the run the day before but not too bad so I'd take it easy and see how I felt.  I went out really easy in the first 2 miles then I started to feel good so I picked up the pace.  Then I saw some familiar heads bobbing ahead of me and the competitive side of me came out and I picked up the pace a little bit more.  I scanned the crowd for a few other heads and ponytails that I wanted to beat and pushed as hard as I possibly could trying to cathc them before crossing the finish line.  I didn't catch up to the person I was trying to beat, but I finished really strong and just at my goal time of 50 minutes (49:59 to be exact).  I felt horrible.  Dizzy, coughing, having a little difficulty breathing and tightness in my chest.  Figured I just pushed a little too hard.

When I got home I reviewed my Garmin and here's what my splits looked like:
Mile 1 - pace 10:38, average HR 134, max HR 148
Mile 2 - pace 10:37, average HR 136, max HR 143
Mile 3 - pace 10:09, average HR 146, max HR 161
Mile 4 - pace 9:17, average HR 157, max HR 162
Mile 5 - pace 8:54, average HR 162, max HR 229!!!!
last 266ft - pace 0:25, average HR 220, max HR 229

So, yeah I pushed WAY too hard.  And felt like junk immediately afterwards.

Monday morning I went to work and then immediately decided that was a bad idea.  I went home sick and slept the rest of the day.  Tuesday I felt better, energy was better and my body didn't ache as much.  Thought maybe it was just a combination of daylight saving time change and running too much that wore me out and then Wednesday I was getting more sick.  Thursday it hit me like a friggin mack truck.  No energy and a never-ending supply of snot streaming from my head.  We had a really important meeting at work so I didn't want to miss it or force it to be rescheduled so I stuck it out and stayed.  By the time I got home the cold had pretty much taken ownership of my body.  I crashed hard on my couch and didn't move for the next 3 days.  Took a sick day Friday and slept on the couch ALL weekend. 

It's now been a week and I feel slightly better, but still not even close to 100%.  I'd say maybe 40-50%.  Energy is better, but not back.  Congestion is less but still present.  I've gone through about 3 boxes of tissues and a roll of TP because I ran out of tissues, who knows how many cups of green tea, and seen every episode of Criminal Minds played back to back to back on A&E for the last 72 hours.  The only positive thing that happened and brightened this dark period in my training thus far for 2013 - I got an email on Saturday or maybe it was Friday who knows, but anyway I got confirmation that I will be running the Mount Washington Road Race this summer!!!  So, on June 15th I will check off #24 on my list!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ok, time to get serious

Thanks to an awesome combination of Mother Nature dumping a ton of snow on the northeast and a total lack of motivation, I ran a record low 53.5 miles in February.  I've run that many miles in a single week before!  I 'rested' 20 of the 28 days in the month.  With the exception of the weekend at Disney January wasn't much better.  87 miles, almost half of them run in two days for the Goofy challenge.  'Rested' 21 of the 31 days.  So, instead of the normal overtraining and not resting enough scenario I face, I'm over-resting if there is such a thing, I'm going to call it a lazy streak.  Not a streak I want to keep up so March is a new month and it's time to get moving again.
Last week was another tense work week and on top of that I had the annual Condo association meeting on Monday night.  Always interesting and really frustrating.  I am now basically the the President, Treasurer, and Secretary of our association because no one else steps up to do anything.  Half of them can't even pay the fees on time.  So, I have to deal with cancelation notices from the insurance company because we can't afford to pay the bill on time.  It's an awesome domino effect.  I sent out proposed budget options to all of the unit owners about 2weeks prior to the meeting with a break down month by month of our income and expenses and an annual summary.  We just barely break even right now and they all have these grand ideas for improving the property. 

To begin with only 4 of the 8 unit owners showed up, but thankfully we vote by percentage ownership and the owners of the largest units we in attendance.  Let me paint the picture for everyone, it's a small community, 8 units.  Four of them are owned by elderly people that are retired and on fixed income.  The other four are middle class, middle-aged people that work 40+ hrs each week.  Of those four, I'd guess  only two including myself have higher education/college degrees.  So, it's a mixed bunch and none of us are really qualified to manage a property, but we do the best we can with the resources we have which isn't much.  Our fees are extremely low in comparison to other condo associations, but in return we do not have any of the basic amenities that most condos have like landscaping and snow removal.

To start the meeting, one of the elderly women that arrived 10 minutes early, went off on me about suggesting to raise the condo fees again.  She complained about living check to check and having to pay for many repairs out of her own pocket for things that the association should cover.  I tried to explain to her that we either raise the fees so that the association has the funding to make repairs OR we pay for repairs ourselves.  We can't have it both ways - low fees and an association that pays for everything.  Trying to explain that to her was like I was speaking to her in a different language.  The second elderly woman that showed up is the one that NEVER pays her condo fee on time so I brought up enforcing a late fee which we have never done before.  She of course was opposed to the idea.  I explained the reason for a late fee is not to get more money, it is to encourage her to pay ontime.  Again, I was speaking in tongue and neither one of them understood.
Finally, my neighbor Annie showed up and we started the meeting officially.  After a lot of discussion and arguing we voted to raise the fees, not by much, but it was a compromise between doing nothing and actually having enough money to fix stuff.  We may be able to start squirreling away pennies each month so in a few years we can afford to fix something.  We voted for a $5 late fee, which will not discourage late payments, but at least we will get an extra $5 a month.  After that we had to discuss emergency repairs required and getting estimates for them.  So, when I asked for volunteers to help make some phone calls and meet with contractors for estimates, the women that are retired and home all day refused to help and that left me and Annie who both work fulltime 50-60hrs a week.  AWESOME!  Thanks for the help.

Anyway, that was just how the week started and work wasn't much better.  At least on the brightside, it stopped snowing and warmed up a little - into the 40s - so I could get out and run.  The last time I tried to run along the Charles after work the path was still mostly snow covered and a little icy.  Most of the snow has melted and it's pretty clear now.  Tuesday after work I got changed and couldn't wait to get out of there and RUN!  Literally and figuratively.  Stress from the week before and the condo association was bubbling up inside of me like a pressure cooker about to explode.  It felt really good to run.  I think for the past two months it's been kind of a chore to get out and run and I've lost that running for the love of running feeling.  I'm starting to get it back now.  I did a solid 6 mile loop and felt amazing afterwards.  The cold sweaty ride home in traffic, not as fun, but worth it.

Wednesday I had another awesome day at work (heavy on the sarcasm), and it was A LOT colder outside than I thought it was going to be, so instead of running I went home and opened a bottle of wine.  Thursday night, Kim met me at my place and we ran in downtown Lowell.  I thought it would be roughly 5 miles and my Garmin said 5, but Kim's said 4.3.  We felt really great, chatted the entire time and kept a decent pace so I didn't care how far it was, it only mattered to me that I had rediscovered that feeling, running for the love of running.

Friday I took a rest day in preparation for my long run Saturday.  Saturday morning I got up and ate some breakfast and headed out the door for 14 miles.  It was cool, partly cloudy, and a little windy, but overall it was nice.  I felt pretty good to start, not super fast, but I felt ok.  After the first few miles I determined I was just slightly over dressed and I was sweating a lot.  Then I started to get cold because I was soaked.  My pace slowed down considerably in the last few miles, but I still felt ok.  I couldn't figure out why until I got home and weighed myself.  I had lost several pounds in sweat and was severely dehydrated.  Still, I finished 14.2 miles and felt pretty good about it.

Saturday night I went to a birthday party for a friend that I ran Boston with on the Dana Farber Team.  It was really nice to meet his family and some of his friends.  I didn't get home until almost 11:30pm.  That's a really late night for me.  It was totally worth it though.  I had a great time.  It was nice to get out and meet a few new people and talk to adults outside of work and not in running gear. 

Sunday morning, I had a 4 mile race in Lawrence.  It's the second race in the Wild Rover Series, but the first race got postponed due to snow, so the 4-miler became the first race.  It's a tough course, basically 2 miles up a hill, then 2 miles back down.  I kind of like it though because I power past people walking up the hill, I pump my arms and turn my feet over and get up it like a champ.  I finished the race in 38:28, not a PR, but probably the fastest I've run in a long time.  I felt really great about it.  Plus, my friend Cherie was there and another friend Julie too.  I haven't seen either of them in a long time so it was nice to catch up a little. 

So far, this week is going a lot better than the last few.  Tension at work is dying down a little, not a lot, but enough so that the politics are tollerable.  I ran 6 miles along the Charles Tuesday and felt amazing.  Wednesday I ran 5.25 miles in Lowell with Kim.  Neither one of us really wanted to run, but both of us made the other one accountable so we got it done.  Afterwards I was glad we ran because guess what.......we're getting another foot of snow!