Monday, February 28, 2011

Last Basement Run

I didn't realize that would be it.

I'm very sad. I got up this morning, went down to work out, opened my basement door, and was greeted by what I can only describe as a murky, brown lake in my entire basement.

We measured. After it receded, of course, since there was most likely sewage.

6 inches of water. And other stuff.

I cried. A lot. And I'm still crying now. I made it to work for the second half of the day--mostly because I had to--and managed to get through it but was absolutely exhausted when that bell rang after trying to figure out what the sub did and get my AP kids back on track and pick up the pieces from last week's snow day and WOW.

We've lost everything--they came and stripped the carpet and the walls today--literally took the drywall off of half the wall--and all the furniture is ruined. My treadmill. The television. Our brand new washer and dryer we had saved up for the past few months. We aren't sure yet what insurance will cover, but it's been an emotional day.

I'm not sure how I am going to get through any workouts without that treadmill. I will miss the basement we poured our hearts into remodeling four years ago. I will miss snuggling with Bug on that couch and watching Phineas and Ferb. I am swinging back and forth between "things are just things" and, damn, I am really upset about this.

And needless to say, it couldn't have come at a worse time. For work, or the Ohio weather will continue until April that just took out our playroom. The room we go to when it's time to relax.

I am exhausted. Matt is exhausted. I can't take any days off work--I just burned my last half a personal day today cleaning any toy we could save with a bleach-water solution in the 41 degree drizzle. Matt and I won't have another day off until Good Friday, which is April 22nd, and unfortunately we don't have the kind of job that you can just take a day off. Lately, it seems that we've been just passing by, grading late, falling asleep without even having time to talk because we are so overwhelmed. But we do have jobs. And I'm trying to remember that it's just a basement, and things could be much worse.

This is what you call a rough day. I could really use a run right now. But it's icy and dark outside, and my treadmill is gone, and did I just admit that I miss it?, and I'm so, so overwhelmed.

Hopefully I can sleep a little better tonight. And remember that it is just stuff, and that all the memories I have down there of my little ones playing and all the snuggling we did and exercises we did will be made in whatever new place we can replace it with.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'd Like to thank The Academy!

Well, no.

Not the Academy.

But I do have a list of people to thank for my unfortunately unavoidable 13 mile run on my treadmill today!

Gosh, where do I begin? I don't want to leave anyone many to agent? No, wait. I don't have one of those.

First and foremost, my hubby, for keeping one year old Bean away from the treadmill by feeding her in her high chair for, oh, almost an hour and then entertaining her on the floor as she is like a moth to a flame when I run on the treadmill. Thank you--I couldn't have made it without you, and your master of distraction Jedi-like powers.

For Phineas and Ferb--you were on a loop there for a while, but Bug loves to watch you guys, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I used you to keep him entertained for a while as I was doing "my exercises." No shame, Phineas. No shame.

For Mugsy the Wonder Pug, for not barking too much when Bruno, the huge dog from a few doors down whose owners let him roam free at all hours, was clearly nosing through our trash. Mugsy...*dramatic pause* words can't express how much that extra 24 minutes in the morning before anyone got up helped me. *sniff, sniff* Thank you, Mugs.

And to Eminem. Your new album kept me going as my iPod has gotten rather stale.

And to Mint-Chocolate Gu. Sweet nectar of the gods.

And to my legs, which carried me in 13 miles in a super boring training run on a treadmill faster than my first half marathon. To my head, that's starting to come around and realize this progress.

And to my heart, that does it because I don't want to give up this morning time with these two, and refuses to accept anything less than my best.

I don't even need a gold statue. I've got a crazy pug to lick the sweat off my legs when I'm done and two kids to tackle me when I'm "all sweaty." That's better than a gold statue, in my book.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Treadmill fun, OR, why I'm a 5K Underachiever, OR, am I crazy?

So I had a long run this weekend. And it didn't go very well. Which is the first time in a long time I've had a bad run, so I guess this is to be expected from time to time, no? I can already tell you some factors leading up to this:

1. I was stressed to the max with interims due and getting ready for Bean's birthday party
2. This means NOT sleeping well (again--shocker, right?)
3. I had some good, but very challenging runs last week, including quite a bit of mileage under 8 minute pace (which for me is fast)
4. I only had time for 100 calories of food before my run

All of that + super crazy wind + 20 minutes at marathon pace = BONK BONK BONK CITY the last 2 miles or so.

Despite that, managed to finish almost 12 miles with an average pace of 9:01. I'm trying to remember that this is still quite an accomplishment for me. The wheels came off of my legs, but my average HR on these runs is starting to drop a bit. That's a good thing. And if it wasn't for my dumb mistakes and lack of sleep, I think I would have nailed it.

I do, however, kinda miss feeling like a triathlete. I haven't been able to swim since January. Sad face. Matt played soccer last night in an open league against some kids that are in high school and play every day, and lamented upon how much better they are than him since he plays maybe once a week. (Despite this, the dude has serious game. I've seen him play--don't let him fool you.) But he was bummed because he knows what he COULD be if he could play 5 days a week.

Boy do I know that feeling. I remember what it was like to swim 5 days a week, and what I used to be able to do. But I know that I should still be glad I can swim 2 times a week or so during tri season and manage to pull off what I do in races. I know, I know. It's just...what if, right?

So I miss feeling like a triathlete. I killed my trainer workout yesterday and it made me really want to ride outside. I know at heart I am definitely a triathlete, but right now I am still enjoying this marathon training and the focus it's giving me in my limited time to train. The fact of the matter is, you can't do everything. And right now I can't get to the pool. And that's okay. It'll be there for me when I'm ready and able to jump back in again. I'm coming to terms with this. The swimmer in me is frustrated, but trying to accept this reality.

Today's treadmill fun from Coach Emily included some ARE YOU KIDDING ME moments, but I am happy to say I nailed it, too. And felt FABULOUS. This was a good mental boost after Saturday's bonk.

Here's the lowdown: those of you covered under a sheet of ice, give it a try! Just adjust the paces to fit your goals!

20 minute Warm Up to Zone 2 (I hold this around 9:13 or so)
6 X (:45 at 9 mph, 1 minute easy)
5 minutes easy
20 minutes as (5 minutes marathon pace, 5 minutes half marathon pace--2 X)
Cooldown -- 5 minutes or so

Total run: 1 hour
(I went 1:00.24 to make it an even 7 miles, because I'm anal like that.)

So first of all: 9mph is 6:40/mile! Say WHAAAAAAAAAAAA? I didn't realize that until I was actually doing it and almost falling off the tready. Because I'm no ESpeed, kids. That ain't my easy pace! I thought my treadmill was going to laugh at me. But I held on for dear life. I made the 1 minutes easy VERY easy so I could recover. Like 10:00/mile easy. Whew.

Then I did 5 minutes back at Zone 2. No big whoop.

Now the interesting part. I had to ask Coach E what a realistic half marathon pace was for me. I mean, obviously I know my full pace goal is 8:24. But what can I do for a half? I dunno. I want to go low 1:40s but wasn't sure if that was realistic. She assured me that both a "1:42 at 7:47 and 1:44 at 7:56 are totally doable." Well, if they are both doable, then I want the faster one. So that's what I held for those two 5-minute pushes.

Then I got to thinking a little--and this is what makes me go GULP--that I am pretty sure I've never held anything better than 7:42 or so for a 5K. But I never race 5Ks. I hate 5Ks, actually. Does this mean I'm just a 5K underachiever and my 5K PR should be much better than it is?

I sure hope so.

Because I'm going to go for that 1:42 or blow up spectacularly trying. It feels hard, but good. Of course, we'll see how that goes after an hour or so, right?

Regardless, it was another solid run this morning and some good money in the bank.

And now, off to my regularly scheduled life and responsibilities. :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One Year Ago Today....

...I went into labor around 6pm or so. I watched Cars with Bug and knew this would be the last time it would be just me and my Bug.

I was excited. I was terrified. I couldn't wait to see who this little bean was....

And, at 4:15 in the morning on the 21st, after hours of work and months of wondering and years of dreaming of her I finally met her.

And it was my Emery Bean.

Thank you, Emmy, for bringing more joy into our lives. We love you so much!

Happy birthday, Bean...


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Five Minutes

I had what my 7th grade math teacher called a "Tornado Day" yesterday. Just one of those, whatever-could-go-wrong-will, Murphy's Law kinda days. It was already kind of an annoying day where I was slightly frazzled and annoyed. And then I got a text from a good buddy, Running Coach Kara, saying this:

"u need to run 3:35 this year for Boston"


What the...

I checked my email and she had forwarded us the link to the BAA's announcement yesterday about the new qualification times for 2012. And I totally get why they are doing it. I heard how fast it sold out this year, and I get it.



So then I was PISSED. Like really really pissed. I drove home with what I'm sure was a ridiculous scowl on my face.


To which my husband replied, "It's just five minutes."

Spoken like a guy who's never ran a marathon before, right?

So I thought long and hard about it. I slept on it. I lack of slept on it. I got up around 3:58 to pee and couldn't fall back asleep because I was thinking about it. And I realized something.

When on earth have I ever been afraid of five minutes?

I had a long conversation with myself.

And I made a decision.

I refuse to fear five minutes.

And I later confirmed that these five minutes won't affect me in May--all it really does is ensure that 3:40 will be my time until I'm 40. Not until next year, or even this fall, like originally thought.

3:40 it is.

3:40, I'm out for you.

I don't need no stinkin' five minutes. In fact, I would like to state something for the record. In the words of one of the greatest fake Indians players ever, "I say, eff you, five minutes. I DO IT MYSELF."

Friday, February 11, 2011

My new definition of relaxing

So tonight I went to Target. All by myself!

Sigh. It was glorious. I listened to some good chill tunes on the way there, talked to Best Friend Sammy in STL, and got to wander all around Tar-zhhhay by myself wishing it were possible to buy everything. What a relaxing after school trip!

I know. That's pretty lame.

Anyway, so "relaxing" has become trips to Target solo and my wee hours workouts. I think I could use a vacation or something. But seriously--my 5am workouts are my secret little weapon. It's like I get an extra hour to myself that no one knows about. Who says you can't have 25 hours in the day, right?

It's going to hit 32 tomorrow for my run with Ana--WOOT! That, my friends, is what we call "shorts and tank top weather" here in the NEO. But I might just stick with running tights...just to be on the safe side.

Happy training!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Oh it's SO ON.

Some great stuff happened recently:

1. Not one, but TWO snow days in a row! I can't even explain how much I needed that.

2. I think I might have Ana convinced to do the full marathon and not the half = yay for long run company!


3. We just smoked our 11 mile run outside despite the sheet of ice literally coating everything. It was one of those runs that boosts up the morale a bit. I was a bit overwhelmed this week and once again questioning my sanity of timing up a full marathon 2 weeks after the AP Test, which consumes me at work until the first Friday in May. But I'm running really well lately, and I'm gonna keep on keepin' on.

Bring on the miles.

And hopefully, the over-32-degrees-weather. Yeah. That would be nice, too.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Treadmill Fun

So, yeah. Snowstorm. For, like, 100 million of us or so. Now, I for one enjoy a good snowstorm in my line of work. It gives me an excuse to sit in my PJ's all day--except, of course, for the time I spend on the treadmill.

I used to think treadmills were EVIL! and the work of the devil. I've come to accept and even feel a twinge of--dare I say it?--love for my 'mill. It allows me to run during naptime, before school when it's too dark to go it alone, and, of course, during historic ice/snowstorms.

I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite treadmill workouts that superawesome Coach Emily has prescribed me. These are just hard enough that you read them and think, "Hmmm. That's not too bad." And then you start them and think, "Holy crap, is my heart going to BEAT OUT OF MY CHEST?"

(Or maybe that's just me)

Anyway, for those of you stuck inside due to extreme ice, here's a few workouts to try!

You can adjust your paces accordingly. My Zone 2 is around 9-9:15 minutes/mile. That's the pace I feel like I could go forever at, so start with that pace and then work up or down from there.

Workout 1:

20 minutes building to Zone 2
5 minutes at 7.2 mph
5 minutes at 7.5 mph
4 minutes at 7.8 mph
3 minutes at 6.5 mph
3 minutes at 7.8 mph or higher (I made it to 8.5! Yippeeekayyay!)
20 minutes to cool down

Workout 2:

20 minutes building to Zone 2 to warm up
3X (6 minutes at 7.6-8.0mph with 3 minutes easy in between)
20-25 minutes at Zone 2 to cool down

I know, right? They don't look that hard. But when I'm doing the workouts, I really have to focus. The tready is helping me win the head game a bit, and as soon as this ice thaws out I'll jump at the chance to try a nice hard tempo on the road!

Happy training--and stay warm!

Refresh Button

Today is a snow day here in the NEO. I actually don't think it's all that bad out--we've had to go in on days when the streets are much worse--but I'll take it.

I struggle a bit with January. I need to work on this. I love December and definitely hit a bit of a wall in January. I know it's the cloudy weather that plays a part, and I do my best to get outside even if it's fricken freezing to get a little sun time. This time, I know it's because Matt and I don't have a break together more than 3 days long until June, and I really think we could use a little vacation--even staycation--before then. But we can't, so I need to just deal with that. Our jobs don't allow us to take vacation days like many jobs do, so we're gonna have to soldier on through. And remember we both have jobs, and ones we both love, so June will be here soon enough.

Mentally, I've been a little overwhelmed this week, too. Last night I had one of my rough nights return--where I am completely, totally overwhelmed and can't sleep. I haven't had those in a while, so it was an unwelcome visit. And this morning's 5:50am phone call was VERY welcome, even if I was supposed to sleep until 6:25 since I knew the run this morning wasn't going to happen with last night's shenanigans.

Today, I'm going to get that challenging run in that Coach E has for me on the tready--I've come to both love and fear the Tuesday workouts. They look like they're not too bad, until I'm doing them. Then, while I'm holding a difficult pace for 5 minute repeats or so, I have to really bear down and focus. So far, my body has risen up to what my mind is telling it to do, which is a good sign. The Tuesday workouts seem to be very good for my head. I'm able to hit the paces I need to and I can tell I'm getting a little bit stronger each time.

I've also made peace with the fact that I will have to move a rest day to the weekend from here until May. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that. I mean, seriously. What endurance athlete has a REST day on the WEEKEND?! I have been programmed throughout the past 6 years to think weekend = time to shred yourself. The long bricks, long swims, long runs. But getting up early every day combined with my difficulty sleeping has resulted in a not very fun-to-be-around TST by Saturday. My "rest" day has been Friday, but what's been happening is instead of sleeping, I'm still naturally getting up around 4:45 and laying there thinking, "Damn. I should just get up and work out now." And then on the weekend I DIE. So last week was the first time I rested on the weekend: I had a solid, challenging 10 mile run in the snow last Saturday with Running Soulmate Ana, and then actually rested on Sunday.

Do you know how hard that was?

I mean, I couldn't rest. Matt was laughing at me. I just felt like I needed to work out. I finally settled on a bit of yoga and stretching in the evening, just so I could feel like I moved.

But I slept like a baby Sunday night--for the first time since I can remember.

So, I think I'm just going to have to break a few rules the next three months. Getting to Boston is going to require some creativity and (gasp!) flexibility on my part.

But for now, I'm gladly taking this day to drink coffee, watch my boys shovel and play "football" in the snow, and snuggle with Bean. Naptime will bring a run and a clear head. And I can head to work tomorrow after hitting the refresh button and be ready for a new month.