Monthly archives: November, 2014

Weekend Update – Nov 8-9, 2014

This post is part of Tara’s Weekend Update linkup – check out her site to see what everyone’s been up to! (training recap coming Tues)

A brief digression to share with you two happy arrivals this week, one from Monday and one from Friday…..

Monday

Boston 2015 Acceptance Confirmation

Boston 2015 Acceptance Confirmation

Friday

Baystate jacket - BQ for 2016 and PR

Baystate jacket – BQ for 2016 and PR

Now on to the weekend…

RUN

Sat – 13.1mi: 6 mi w/u ez pace (increased pace every 2mi), 3mi race pace, 4x1mi each 0.1mph faster than prior mile (about 7s faster per mile), finishing with 0.1mi at 0% incline (downhill) at 50s faster than race pace. Wanted to load up on GU without my usual EFS gel to buffer it, see how my stomach took it. Took a Salted Caramel at mile 3, a Blue-Pom Roctane at mile 6 (slight headache in the temples after this, which passed within a mile) and a Vanilla Bean at mile 9. I’d originally planned the Jet Blackberry – the most caffeine of all the ones I use – for mile 9, but decided to go with the less-caffeinated Vanilla in case my brief headache was from over-caffeinating. (I figured out on the run that taking the 4 GUs I plan to is almost the equivalent of my mug of tea in caffeine levels, plus the FRS chews I take beforehand on run days – might be a bit more than I’m used to.) My stomach handled them fine though, so I think I’ve got my fueling plan for the race now.

Tried my North Face BTN short sleeve shirt with arm warmers – I think I can use that for the race if needed or I may just go with my tank as the vest does help keep me warmer (current forecast Friday overnight low of 30, with race day sunny, high of 49). I’ll bring both and decide on the day or the night before – I always bring multiple outfits for an away race.

Listened to the most recent Marathon Talk podcast, with an interesting guest who has a project going in the US that we could use here – Julie Creffield. (if you want to listen, go to iTunes – the MT site got hacked a couple of weeks ago and isn’t functioning yet, though they’re working on it)

Sun – 7mi, recovery pace, felt better as the miles went on. Despite the gorgeous weather – and breaking with the pattern I’m trying to hold of mimicking the runs up to Shamrock and Baystate – I ran inside on the treadmill. The “reason” – I have a tendency to go too fast on recovery runs (hit goal pace in this run pre-Baystate) and the treadmill prevents that. The reason behind the reason – wasn’t sure how my legs felt or if I’d be able to push myself to hit the mileage I wanted if I went outside. And – bonus – I listened to Desiree Linden’s interview on the excellent Cloud259 podcast (they describe her in a tweet as “unflappable” and I’d tend to agree). I am enjoying learning more about this accomplished runner (5th place in 4 of the World Marathon Majors, and 2nd at Boston by seconds!) who flies under the radar. She’s smart, tough, funny and has a good perspective. I also heard a brief interview with her on Babbitville Radio. I’ll be looking for more with Desi, especially as we approach the Trials.

NON-RUN

Saturday – Post-run (and recovery drink and bike), had another purple purple sweet potato breakfast.

purple sweet potato breakfast

purple sweet potato breakfast

As usual, puttered online. The house got chilly so I roasted the week’s kabocha a day early.

While it was roasting, I sat down with my laptop, a notebook and some books/catalogs. Didn’t really have a plan, so didn’t get much done. Had a snack of some microwaved egg whites with nutritional yeast and my go-to weekend treat:

paleo bread with pumpkin puree, TJ's blueberry preserves and Penzey's pumpkin pie spice, warmed in the microwave

paleo bread with pumpkin puree, TJ’s blueberry preserves and Penzey’s pumpkin pie spice, warmed in the microwave

When the kabocha came out and were cut in half, they looked like this:

kabocha

kabocha

Proud to say that the kabocha made it into pyrex without me taking more than a teensy nibble!

DH & I were both feeling uninspired by our normal dinner options, so decided to forage. This usually winds up with me eating some microwaved shredded carrots and frozen meat (extra or leftovers from prior weekend treats). TV and relaxation for the evening.

Sunday – Strange to have no race to watch online or on TV. Next weekend (post-Richmond!) in the hotel, I may watch the live stream of the USA National 12k Championships on usatf.tv. (last year I ran it, saw some elites) We’ll want to beat the traffic to get back home however, so it’ll depend on our schedule. I’m taking Monday after the race off, DH isn’t.

Massage today, last one pre-race! After that, my typical weekend snack (above, but with an extra piece of bread and some nut butter), food prep for Monday in the office (including packing up some Brussels sprouts DH grilled along with lots of meat), a bit of puttering and reading online and general non-productivity. Couldn’t really decide what to do and so not much got done….I need to have a plan. Remembered to throw in a load of running clothes at the last minute – gotta wash the race kit and have socks for the runs this week!

This week will be a little off my normal routine. I plan to go into the office on Monday and telework Wednesday after the Tuesday holiday, giving me some flexibility in throwing stuff in suitcases, doing laundry, etc. I have to be in the office in an all-day class on Thursday (with my current and former supervisor, the new person and the person who does my job in a field office) and don’t want Thursday night to be any more stressful than necessary. Thankfully, my chiro is open on Tuesday so I get to get my run in, have my regular appointment, then have lunch out with DH and possibly a TJ’s run. We may make a trip to Target for heavy bathrobes to wear pre-race.

At this point, it’s unclear whether Bart will make it to Richmond in time to do a shakeout run, so I’m thinking we’ll drive down in the morning at reasonable hour and hit the expo soon after it opens. I’ll do a shakeout run on the treadmill even though I’ll just then get in the car, which negates it a little. May do a little walking around Richmond depending on weather, expo time, restaurant/food shopping time. Hard to believe this time next week it’ll already have been over for more than 24 hours.

Hope you had a great weekend! Please tell me about it in the comments.



Friday Five – Staying on Track and Healthy During the Holidays

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps

Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
Make sure to stop by their blogs for their picks and hop along to the other bloggers in the linkup, featured at the bottom of their pages!

November through January can be a hectic, stressful time – how do you stay on track and healthy during the holiday season?

Thanksgiving brownie turkey

Thanksgiving brownie turkey

US Capitol and The People's Tree 2013

US Capitol and The People’s Tree 2013

First things first…I’m no expert, I’m not any better at this than anyone else. I have a pretty simple life, being a DINK with a great job, family elsewhere (we’re not even visiting family this season, we’re racing), a great deal of choice in how I spend my time and only two people to satisfy (me and DH) with what I do and how I do it. I imagine most of you are NOT in that situation. What follows is what I’ve read, heard, learned, thought about, but don’t always apply. If it helps you, I’d be pleased. But if it makes you laugh at my naiveté, I’ll take that too – maybe it’ll lower your stress.

For those of you who don’t celebrate any of the holidays in the next few months, maybe these ideas will help you anyway, in whatever periods of your life are especially busy and filled with obligations and expectations on top of daily life.

PRIORITIZATION and PRAGMATISM

You can’t do it all at once. No one can. It’s just the way life is. (I know, I know…I don’t like it either) So be kind to yourself and others and prioritize. Pick 3 things that you’d like to “protect” during the season and focus on those, knowing that you’ll need to reduce expectations in other areas – your own expectations as much as anyone else’s. Clear communication of the priorities, once they’re decided (solo or with your family) will help you stick to them and help you politely say “Thanks for asking. “I’d love to, but I can’t fit that in. ” (that’s all you have to say….)

For example,

  • Got a race you’re training for? Getting your long and quality runs in may be one of your top 3. You might need to skip an easy run, a strength session or some other activity to fit them in.
  • Want to make sure you have lots of quality time with family you don’t see often? TV watching, internet time and some school/work/group activities (parties, bake sales, etc.) might need to be skipped. The DVR can help here, and we’ll all welcome you back to the internet when you return.
  • Are there traditions you want to share with family and friends, or ones you want to start? (making cookies, visiting an exhibit, or something like setting aside an evening for ordering pizza, playing carols – or watching Die Hard – and wrapping gifts?)

May I suggest that regardless of your “3 things”, get as much sleep as possible to help keep you healthy, sane and in good spirits. This benefits both you and those around you and makes everything else easier.

PLANNING and PREPARATION

One of your priorities is probably keeping physically healthy, which includes what you eat. It’s very easy to go off your normal eating pattern at the holidays – so much temptation combined with fatigue, stress,  being off schedule or away from home, attending office or school events. If you’re concerned you’ll eat in a way you don’t really want to or would regret later, don’t go into the situation without a plan. Spend some time thinking about what you really enjoy and (assuming you’re a moderator, not an abstainer like me), decided ahead of time what to treat yourself to. Perhaps foods or beverages only available at the holidays, whether homemade or otherwise? One cookie, three bites of something, or some other small portion of a beloved food won’t make too much difference, as long as you balance it out with healthy eating the rest of the time. If you know you’re going to an event where there’s just too much good stuff to pass up, some of the tricks you’ve read about actually work, like planning those calories into your daily budget, eating salad and drinking water just before you go, taking enough for one bite of everything and then stopping, etc. Decide ahead of time what you’re going to do, and consider telling someone else who can help you stick to it.

Keep the kitchen at home stocked with healthy food – even if you need to buy it pre-made or spend some time prepping it. Make a list of things you might want to make sure you have on hand for quick dinners and packable breakfasts and lunches (don’t forget healthy snacks) and do one massive run for non-perishables, picking up perishables weekly. Protein shakes, healthy “bars”, fruit, cut up veggies, salads, soup/chili (frozen, canned or a pot/crockpot version), potatoes or sweet potatoes that can be microwaved, eggs or egg whites for quick scrambles, etc. You may get bored eating the same thing a lot, but at least it’ll be healthy, and you’ll probably be getting enough variety and treats elsewhere.

If you know that you’re going to be around people who make you crazy (families often contain such people along with the ones you dearly love seeing), come up with strategies to cope. Take a walk, tell funny stories in your head, do what you need to do to get a break for yourself and be able to enjoy what you can while trying to accept everything else as part of the deal. Create a code for “get me out of here” with a sibling or significant other. Or try a new approach – engage someone who makes you crazy in discussion, try to see them from a new perspective. (none of this means hang out with any toxic folks – that’s to be politely avoided as best you can)

Make plans and schedules for November and December. This can actually be kind of fun, planning all the things you’re looking forward to doing! Post them where all in your household can see and make sure to take a little time daily and weekly to review the schedule and communicate what everyone is doing when and where. There will be conflicts, whether of obligations or desires, and misunderstandings or mistakes. At those times, go back to your priorities and think for a moment “in January, or next year, how will I wish I handled this” and then respond.

FUN and FLEXIBILITY

Keep going with a beloved tradition, choose to make a new one (seek out unique events or activities) or let one emerge “organically”. If you get a goofy impulse for something fun or generous, go with it! Try something new or do something really old…when was the last time you made paper chains of red and green construction paper strips held together with glue stick and used them to decorate? (I’ve done it – in the last 5 years!)

All the prioritization, pragmatism, planning, and preparation is a setup, a framework to help you enjoy the good stuff, keep going what needs to keep going (regular exercise, healthy eating, enough sleep), and stay at least as “sane” as you are the rest of the year. But things will get messed up, plans will change at the last minute, good intentions may meet their match in homemade Spritz cookies and eggnog, and the cat or dog or child will destroy something fragile or important to you, possibly even something irreplaceable. When it all goes awry, take a breath, cut yourself some slack, and laugh. It may make a funny story for future holiday seasons. Try to keep the perspective that if everyone’s ok, that’s all that matters, the rest is just stuff.

PERSPECTIVE

There are likely to  be those of you going through the first holiday season after the loss of a loved one. From my personal experience, keeping things the same can be either comforting or incredibly painful as the missed person’s presence is so deeply felt. For the first couple of holidays after my mom died in September of 1992, I tried very hard to keep up the family traditions for me, my Dad and my mom’s mom who lived close by. But in some ways it made things worse for me as it was just so obvious that she wasn’t there. The hole in our lives and hearts was wide, gaping and raw. I learned I had to stop trying to make everything the same because it never would be the same, and that was only right. I held on to some small traditions, made new ones, and found ways to honor and remember her that allowed me to move forward.

It may help you to help someone else; I know it did (and does) help me. I helped out one evening at a church packaging food for a food pantry. You might want to wrap gifts for people at a homeless shelter, visit a children’s hospital or nursing home, or other such important activities. You can even dedicate the time (or a donation if you’re not up to the actual doing) in memory of your loved one. If you’re not affiliated with an organization, you can look on the web or in your local newspaper for opportunities, or call around to the types of places I mention. Another resource is the organization OneBrick (in many areas of the country) which offers one-time volunteer opportunities with a bit of a social event feel to them – no long-term commitment required.

However you grieve and deal with the season only has to be right for you, not anyone else. Be kind to yourself. Seek solitude and silence or the comfort of friends and family as you feel the need and feel able. Don’t be afraid to say “I just can’t” but try not to isolate yourself from people and events that might bring you little bits of pleasure or distract you even for a moment. It’s not a betrayal or diminishment of the person you’ve lost or of your love for them to feel pleasure or enjoy yourself. That’s what they’d want for you. Just keep breathing and letting yourself feel however you feel, and as time passes, your feelings will evolve and you will feel differently. I send you my best.



Almost Wordless Wednesday

Today’s Almost Wordless Wednesday is…..purple paleo almond bread from the baker at the Farmer’s Market. She said the color is due to the proportion of psylllium husk used in this batch. Happy to hear she may be doing monthly orders over the winter – and may be opening a retail space (though nothing there will be paleo). Must try to get there earlier next week for the coconut paleo rolls, great with soup or salad.

 

purple paleo bread

purple paleo bread



Training Recap – Week of Oct 27, 2014

Here’s last week’s training recap, such as it is. 2nd week post-Baystate. Richmond is 11/15.

Run 35.4 miles – a little lower than I would like (wanted 40)

  • T – 8mi recovery/easy pace
  • W – 3.15mi increasing through easy pace zone – legs felt better
  • Th – 4.25mi recovery pace, legs now less happy again
  • Sat – 10mi – 3 miles at increasing easy pace, 1 mile at race pace, then easy pace where I played with some decline/incline according to the course profile for the rest of the 10mi. Took my EFS gel at miles 3 & 9, Salted Caramel GU at mile 6. Recalled that one should be careful with smushing the gel too close to the top before opening the packet as it goes all over hands. Sticky. Working on fueling plan for Richmond, as they have water stops every 2 miles, different than Baystate.
  • Sun – 10 mi – all at easy pace (except for a last 0.1mi strides, which my left ham didn’t like). But did more course profile work, this time for the 2nd 10 mile segment. Did 0.5mi 0%, 0.5 mi 2% at mi 3, 0.5mi 0%, 1.5mi 2% at mi 6 (and it was good!!). Think the later portion of the run was helped significantly by a Jet Blackberry GU at mile 6 – and by the fact that I tend to get better as I run longer. (EFS at mile 3 did nothing) It seems to take 0.5-0.75 of a mile at easy pace for the gel to really take effect – I notice it more in my mind and thoughts than body, so that’s helpful to know. Further refining fueling plan for Richmond. This run was better than yesterday’s and better than I would have thought given soreness from race, run and massage. Yay!

Bike: M: 45 min at home, 30 min at work (plus 5 min on stair stepper, 5 on arc trainer), W: 30 min at work + 6 on arc trainer, F: 1h6 min at home
Core: M, W, F
Wharton flex: 5 (skipped Th & Sat, slipping on these)
Chiro exercises: Gentle on Th. He gave me new deadlift exercise for ham I started doing – helps, but ow. 
Coach Jay GSM routine: Easy day Th, Sun (mostly Myrtls)
Calf stretches: Didn’t actually count it – did them  most days
Walk: 15 min before runs.
Drills: Back to regular drills, if a bit less energetic than usual.
Other: Chiro Tues, massage Sat
Nutrition:  Still trying to follow “normal” eating (vaguely controlled/regimented with uncontrolled periods). Keeping track of calories/miles as usual. Ate some extra on on Sat/Sun but not as much as usual since shorter runs, with gel.

No real progress on figuring out my approach for Richmond or what I’m going to do about food. Still hamster-wheeling but working on it. Tired of hearing myself talk about it, so will spare you as well.

Today (11/3) I picked up a pair of the Adrenaline 15s to try. Keep your fingers crossed. They feel like they’re pressing on the outside of my feet, but I don’t really have other options, so I need to try to make them work.

Best thing is that this finally came! Yes, I cried. I still can’t quite believe it. I’m so lucky to have had some big dreams come true in my life. They’ve all taken years of hard work, through tough times – and been SO worth it.

Boston 2015 Acceptance Confirmation

Boston 2015 Acceptance Confirmation



Weekend Update – Nov 1-2, 2014

This post is part of Tara’s Weekend Update linkup – check out her site to see what everyone’s been up to! (training recap coming Tues)

RUN

Sat – 10 mi – 3 miles at increasing easy pace, 1 mile at race pace, then easy pace where I played with some decline/incline according to the course profile for the rest of the 10mi. Took my EFS gel at miles 3 & 9, Salted Caramel GU at mile 6. Recalled that one should be careful with smushing the gel too close to the top before opening the packet as it goes all over hands. Sticky.

Working on fueling plan for Richmond, as they have water stops every 2 miles, different than Baystate.

Listened to the Marathon Talk podcast.

Sun – 10 mi – all at easy pace (except for a last 0.1mi strides, which my left ham didn’t like). But did more course profile work, this time for the 2nd 10 mile segment. Did 0.5mi 0%, 0.5 mi 2% at mi 3, 0.5mi 0%, 1.5mi 2% at mi 6 (and it was good!!). Think the later portion of the run was helped significantly by a Jet Blackberry GU at mile 6 – and by the fact that I tend to get better as I run longer. (EFS at mile 3 did nothing) It seems to take 0.5-0.75 of a mile at easy pace for the gel to really take effect – I notice it more in my mind and thoughts than body, so that’s helpful to know. Further refining fueling plan for Richmond. This run was better than yesterday’s and better than I would have thought given soreness from race, run and massage. Yay!

For first part of the run, listened to Another Mother Runner’s Deena Kastor episode (before and during the start of NCYM) – she had a tough race but so impressed by her grit and grace during the race, and then poise and mature attitude afterward in post-race interviews.

NON-RUN

Saturday – Post-run (and recovery drink and bike), had breakfast – HUGE purple purple sweet potato!

purple sweet potato breakfast

purple sweet potato breakfast

I spent a fair amount of time online, but also looked at a training plan for a friend. I ate this snack again both Saturday and Sunday! Pre-massage Saturday and early afternoon on Sunday. Once I find something I like….I beat it into the ground. 🙂

paleo bread with pumpkin puree, TJ's blueberry preserves and Penzey's pumpkin pie spice, warmed in the microwave

paleo bread with pumpkin puree, TJ’s blueberry preserves and Penzey’s pumpkin pie spice, warmed in the microwave

Went for my massage – my MT worked some magic as usual. She brought some of her holiday cards in and I I bought 2 packages. Cute with penguins and snowmen on hills among pine trees under a shining moon. I have pretty much stopped sending cards, but they were nice and I want to support her. Next week I’ll check out some of her non-holiday cards. I could buy packages as gifts or put them in our holiday auction at work. Came back home, took an Epsom salt bath and then shower before a dinner of Chinese (yes, again) and watching The Flash, Person of Interest and Grimm on DVR.

Sunday –

As soon as I got done with my run, started watching NYCM on TV and following it online. Ate my breakfast of egg whites with zucchini (thanks DH!), a few bites of bacon, and kabocha I roasted while rooting for my favorites – and all the “regular” runners out there. Loved being able to watch for hours!

After that, back to “reality” (a bit empty feeling post-race) doing food prep for the work week and packaging up returns while intermittently poking around online and doing other stuff. Now, almost time for dinner, so gotta get my Whartons done.

The new person starts at work tomorrow (finally)! This is good – I like her and think she’s a good addition to our team – but will require more of my time and energy during the workday, which will be an adjustment.

This week brings regular chiro on Tuesday and my annual physical (oh boy) on Thursday along with a discussion of bloodwork results. No fun but must be done! Grateful I have access to medical care and the insurance & ability to pay for it and take care of myself. I don’t take it for granted.

Hope you had a great weekend! Please tell me about it in the comments, especially if you raced.



November Virtual Coffee Date

I’m joining other bloggers like CocoJill and Amanda who sometimes do a coffee date on the 1st Saturday of the month… It’s already November!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

ICYMI, two weeks ago I PR’d at Baystate – it was a hard race for me, so I’m proud of what I accomplished and how I got through it. Nevertheless, I also got an even better BQ for 2016! It should get me one wave earlier registration if they do it the same way (10+ minutes faster, where for 2015 registration I was 5+ faster). I’m told it might also let me start a smidge earlier in the 2015 corrals, but we’ll see. More about the rest of that weekend and post-race thoughts

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

It was great to see my sister (3 times) while I was on travel for Baystate, and I even managed a short visit with my Dad.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

I loved being in New England and seeing actual fall. I miss the Midwest in the fall too. I guess an advantage here is we don’t get fall till November, but I’m past ready for it.

It’s starting here though!

my crepe myrtles

my crepe myrtles

tree near the house

tree near the house

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

I can’t believe it’s less than 6 months to Boston!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

Remember me saying this last month? I got officially accepted into the 2015 Boston Marathon! I’ve got the email, the screen shot of me in the database, and am eagerly awaiting the postcard this month (which I will likely frame). Well, I still haven’t gotten my postcard, and others have, and it’s making me a little nuts. I’ve emailed BAA asking about a replacement. I’m in the database, so it’s an issue with our mail carrier – and we have had issues in the past. I joke he hates runners because I’ve had so many running magazines damaged or never delivered.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

I’m trying to figure out how to approach the Richmond Marathon. Originally it was to be an “easy” (as in take it easy, not it will be easy!) training run for my ultra in Dec. per Coaches Tawnee and Lucho at Endurance Planet. Then, I started thinking that really, everything after Baystate is actually training for Boston, and less important on its own than for what it gives me in that regard. (I want to finish Richmond and the 50k well and may have a goal time for each – and then will submit Maniac forms.) Richmond has a good stretch of downhill around mile 6-7 and a good/nasty stretch of uphill around mile 16. Great Boston training.

THEN, my DH (as he is wont to do) put a bug in my ear, thought in my brain, etc….of wondering if I could do even better at Richmond than I did at Baystate. He suggested I go out with a faster pace group and see how it felt, see how long I could hold it. If I feel good, maybe I do better. If I’m not feeling it, drop back and finish. And my chiro agrees with him! Says I should use all the races between now and Boston as learning experiences, physically and mentally.

DH has always had more confidence than I have in my abilities, and so far, he’s been proven right. I’ve been able to do things I thought were only dreams, and I’m dreaming bigger (well, faster) now. Why NOT go for it, being willing to pull the plug at the first sign of any physical discomfort that might cause me problems in maintaining consistent, healthy training for Boston?

OR, I could just run however I feel, go with podcasts, start with a slower pace group or maybe find a tweep to hang with and take it very easy for those 26.2 miles……I don’t know what I want to do or what the “right” thing is to do – quite often that’s only clear in retrospect once you’ve done something that went well or awry.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

I’ve been taking it easy in these 2 weeks post-race, trying to recover well at least from a training perspective. Not sure how I’m doing nutrition or sleep wise. I’ve been doing easy runs, 8 miles the longest so far, and biking either at home or at the gym at work. I also got on the arc trainer for a few minutes, need to pick that back up. Have a new exercise from my chiro to help my cranky hams. It’s helping I think, but of course new exercises = new soreness until muscles adapt. My hips have been tight this week from too much sitting at work and the exercise.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

Today is my first long run since Baystate. I’m not really sure what I should do, what I’m going to do or what my body will want to do or let me do.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

I pre-ordered the Adrenaline 15s, hope to have them in the next few weeks. Keep your fingers crossed!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…..

I’m looking forward to watching Deena and Meb run the New York City Marathon Sunday morning! After my run, I’ll plunk down on the couch for the rest of the morning and cheer them on.

If we were having coffee, what would you tell me? Share in the comments!