Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

I returned home to a lovely 70 degree Abingdon today after more than a week in a chilly and rainy Lewisburg. I had hoped for a 10+ hilly miler while I was in Lewisburg, but between the weather and the fact that I'm still afraid to overdo it with my foot, I stuck to slightly shorter runs.  Still enjoyed running around my familiar stomping grounds though!

This week : 
M : Pub Run w/Jessica 3.1 / 8:33 / 0 ft
T : run w/Kenny 6 / 7:43 / 292 ft
jog 0.7 / 8:59 / 131 ft
W : 3.5 / 8:03 / 259 ft
R : horseback ride 51 minutes
F : 7.5 / 7:38 / 305 ft
Su : 6.1 / 7:50 / 518 ft
total miles run : 26.9

Windblown and freezing but enjoying a ride with Pony anyway!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

It appears I am getting faster

This week : 
M : run 5.1 / 7:00 / 289 ft
cooldown 1 / 8:15 / 0 ft
T : sweatfest 40 minutes / 9.3 miles
W : run 5.4 / 7:45 / 246 ft
R : run w/Mollie 3.3 / 8:05 / 148 ft
F : run 5.2 / 7:17 / 348 ft
Su : run 6.2 / 7:49 / 531 ft
total run miles : 26.2
total bike miles : 9.3

I've noticed my solo runs getting significantly faster over the last week or two.  I was shocked to get home and see my splits on Monday's run.  I had no idea I was going that fast, and it certainly didn't feel like I was working that hard.  On Friday it was pretty cold and windy out, so there were parts where I was able to run fast and stay warm, and other parts where I was running uphill into the wind and it felt like I wasn't moving.  I was very surprised to see that none of the splits looked like the wind had really slowed me down at all.  Today's splits are all over the place, as I'm back in Lewisburg...longer uphills make me slower while the equally long downhills allow me to pick the pace back up. You can see the elevation gain is much higher in this run! The weather was also nasty today, about 50 degrees, but windy and rainy.

Monday 12-12
 Friday 12-16
Sunday 12-18

It seems I am running faster with less effort now, after taking it easy for a few weeks.  Apparently the foot pain was good for me.  My legs must have needed a few easy weeks to recover and come back stronger from all the hard running I had been doing.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Easing my mileage back up

This week : 
M : sweatfest 12.3 / 50 minutes
T : group run 5.4 / 8:08 / 217 ft
R : run w/Ben 7.1 / 8:02 / 328 ft
F : run 4 / 7:11 / 184 ft
Sa : hike 5.5 miles / 650 ft 
sweatfest 13.9 / 60 minutes
Su : run w/Ben 6.1 / 7:43 / 479 ft

run total : 22.6
bike total : 26.2

It got COLD this week!  I guess winter is here now.  Tuesday's run was cold and rainy, Thursday's run was colder, and Friday's run was frigid!  I didn't plan or really try to run super fast but I was trying to stay warm, apparently that made me fast.  Thankfully it was a few degrees warmer today when we ran.  It was also the middle of the day instead of evening, I'm sure that helped... 

My foot doesn't feel 100% but it doesn't exactly hurt either.  Hard to say exactly what is going on.  It was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable towards the end of the hike, but it wasn't easy going, so I wasn't surprised.  Still no real pain though, so I guess as long as it doesn't really hurt I will continue running.  Definitely taking it easy on downhills so as not to pound it too hard though!  

On a mission through the woods...gotta find a waterfall!

Found it!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Little Stony National Recreation Trail 12/10/16

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by being around people all the time and need a day alone in the woods to recharge my mental batteries.  Not long ago I was thinking that it had been awhile since my last photo adventure, and soon after that I realized a photo adventure was exactly what I needed.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job, the people I work with, and my running group.  But life is busy and sometimes I forget how important it is to step back and find time for myself that doesn't involve sitting on the couch.  By Wednesday evening I knew I was going to spend Saturday adventuring, and started searching for a destination.  I remembered someone mentioning "Devil's Bathtub" to me, so I searched for that.  Because of course my favorite part of hiking/adventuring is taking photos of water.  But a quick internet search told me that the road to Devil's Bathtub is not recommended for 2 wheel drive cars.  Last thing I want to do is get my car stuck somewhere in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, so that location was out.  However, the website recommended some more car-friendly hiking locations in the area, so I picked two of them that were very close together.  (Although in the end I decided to leave the second one for a later trip.)

It was about 12 degrees out this morning, and the frost on my car was some very serious ice crystals that stood about a centimeter tall, but I wasn't going to let that stop me.  I put on my fleece lined running shirt, followed by two other thin but warm layers, put tights on under my jeans, wore a pair of thick socks in my boots, and grabbed a windbreaker to keep out the chill.  I hit the road at 9 and arrived at the Little Stony trailhead shortly after 10.  The gate was shut for the winter, but there were a few pull-offs to choose from outside the gate.

The view from where I parked

Taking in the view before hiking up the road to the trail

A glance back at the gate before heading out on the trail

2.6?  My garmin begs to differ.  More like 3+.  
Not that I minded the extra walk of course...but it is nice to know so I can budget my time.

The hike.

Had some fun with the frost and my macro lens.

It was hard to get a good photo of this water spray, but I gave it my best try! 
I had to use my longer zoom lens to get a close enough shot, and the weight of the lens made it unstable for long exposure shots.  Just the motion of me pressing the shutter button was blurring the image.  In the end, I ended up using the self timer, so that the shake from pushing the button wouldn't blur the image.  This is one of the best ones I got. 

It took me just under 2 hours to reach this spot.  The trail continued on, but this is where I turned around.  Turns out there's 2 more waterfalls after this one, but they will be something new the next time I go!  There's also another parking lot closer to them, so that is where I will park next time.  

We all know it's not a true photo adventure without a jumping shot!

I had a great time out in the woods for 4 hours today. I never saw another person, or any animals for that matter.  I was probably too loud through the leaves and scared away any wildlife.  I wouldn't have minded a chance to get some shots of wildlife, but I certainly didn't mind the lack of people!
A day alone in the woods with my camera was exactly what I wanted.
The only downside to the adventure was on my way back through the water crossing my left foot started to feel wet, and I discovered a tear in my boot.  These boots have been on a lot of adventures with me! I was sad to see the tear, but when I got home I looked at my Amazon history, and discovered I bought them just under 3 years ago, for only $24!  These boots have been through rain, snow, mud, and mid-winter streams deeper than my ankles.  And they have kept my feet completely dry until now.  I'm pretty sure I got more than my money's worth out of them!  And I just ordered an identical pair to replace them.  I hope I can get another awesome 3 years out of the new pair!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Holding my breath

4 successful runs this week.  They were all short, and mostly flat/easy, but there was no foot pain, so I'm hopeful that I will be back to business as usual soon.  There hasn't been any real pain since the day it appeared, but there have been moments of discomfort, and I'm trying to be as cautious as I can.  Haven't worn anything but Danskos in two weeks, other than to run, and I've only worn my best, most supportive running shoes when running.  This weekend was the first time I ran two days in a row, but so far so good.

I've been on the bike trainer quite a few times now, and I'm hoping to keep that up for the cross training.  I've found it's decently tolerable to spend time on the trainer when I put on a Netflix show and pedal til it's over.

This week : 
M : bike 13.9 / 17.4 mph / 1007 ft
T : group run 3 / 8:08 / 128 ft
R : group run 4.2 / 8:05 / 190 ft
F : sweatfest 12 / 50 min (intervals 4x 7 easy, 3 hard @18+mph)
Sa : run 4.6 / 7:19 / 194 ft
Su : run w/Ben 4 / 7:46 / 187 ft
sweatfest 12 / 50 minutes (40 min @ 80+ rpm )
run total : 15.8 miles
bike total : 37.9 miles

Monday was my 1 year "crashiversary" and it seemed like a day I should bike.  Thankfully the weather cooperated...20-30 mph wind gusts were forecasted, but happily they waited til after my ride to start.  Wouldn't want to crash on the same day two years in a row!  I brought my bike to school and biked from there so that I wouldn't have to race the daylight.  I had thought about a 20+ mile loop, but when I started riding I noticed my legs were a bit sore from my ride the day before, so I decided not to push it.  

I kept my runs short and easy with the group on Tuesday and Thursday, although I was itching for more.  I wasn't ready to run two days in a row yet, so it was back to the trainer on Friday.  I decided to do intervals, to make sure I got a workout out of it.  I ended up with even more of a workout than intended, because the old inhaler I used was apparently empty.  My lungs were struggling hard, but it felt good in a way.  Good to make them work hard and grow stronger.  I was exhausted by the end though!

I've been trying to "listen to my body" with this whole foot issue, but I realized on Saturday that it's rather impossible to listen to your body when it is sending contradictory messages!  My foot was saying maybe I should take another day off, but my legs were screaming for a run.  I had to listen to my legs.  I started out intending to do an easy 4 or 5 miles, but my legs started carrying me faster and faster.  It felt so good to run hard, the workout was just what my legs and lungs were craving.  No foot pain during the run, and no foot pain today either, when I let Ben talk me into going for a run.  I wasn't sure it was a great idea to run twice in a row yet, but hard to turn down a run... Our run was mostly flat with a nice tough hill climb in the middle. It was cold and raining but didn't seem so bad once we were out there. 

Current plan is to ride the trainer tomorrow and then hopefully get 6 mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday with the group. 

In other news, I keep getting Christmas songs stuck in my head.  I am not nearly ready for Christmas yet...I'd be tired of the songs and the tree by the time Christmas actually gets here if I was starting Christmas now...but Christmas is everywhere you look now and of course the kids have started singing carols in school's picture comes with a re-written song.  

When the weather outside is frightful
But your tights are so delightful
When your legs just want some fun
Gotta run gotta run gotta run.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dusting cobwebs off the bikes

This week : 
M : sweatfest 9.5 / 40 minutes
R : turkey jog w/ Lewisburg Run Club 3.2 / 8:54 / 0 ft
F : horseback ride 1:22
Sa : sweatfest 10.2 / 40 minutes
Su : bike 20.1 / 18.3 mph / 1063 ft
total run miles : 3.2
total bike miles : 39.9

My legs were begging for a shakeout jog but I was trying really hard to give my foot some time off after how bad it hurt on Sunday, so I decided to torture myself with the dreaded bike trainer.  I put on an episode of Criminal Minds (the current series I'm marathoning through) and did some easy pedaling until the episode was over.  Tuesday was a half day at school and then I headed to Lewisburg.  Wednesday I got my new orthotics made, got my hair chopped off, and caught up with friends.  I had been pain free since Sunday, although I also hadn't worn anything but my best Danskos.  So Thursday morning I decided to try an easy Turkey-Day jog with a couple people from the Lewisburg run club.  We did two nice slow, flat, loops, and there was no pain.  The orthotics felt good, so hopefully they won't need to be tweaked.  I then decided that to be safe, I would wait til Tuesday before trying to run again.  I got home Saturday evening, and was losing my mind from barely exercising all week, so at 8 PM I gave in and hopped back on the bike trainer.  This time I made myself work a lot harder than on Monday.  I did intervals-ish...I didn't time them, but every now and then I made myself pedal harder until my heartrate got up above 175.  Then today it made it slightly above 50 degrees, so I decided it was time to dust off the Supersix and head outside for a ride. My legs felt a lot stronger than the last time I biked outside!  It seems that running does a lot more for my bike muscles than biking does for my run muscles.  

The plan is to bike outside again's my 1 year "crashiversary."  And I hope to do short easy jogs on Tuesday and Thursday with the Wolf Pack.  

My new do...and the long braid I will be donating!
It may be the shortest I've ever gone...and so far I love it.  
(The facebook world also loves may be my most popular post ever.  
Nobody seems sad to see the long hair go...)

A few friends and I decided we would rather make sushi than turkey for Thanksgiving.
We call it Sushisgiving. 
We had such a great time, we decided we have to do it again next year!

The ingredients waiting to be rolled into sushi-roll deliciousness.
I made some cranberry sauce to dip the rolls a Thanksgiving touch...
This was the third or fourth time I made sushi, but the first time I tried making the rolls with the rice on the outside.  It was a success!  I've always preferred the rice on the outside, so I'm glad it didn't end up being that hard to make them this way.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Star City race week

This week : 
T : Wolf Pack 4.6 /8:37 / 203 ft
W : 5 / 7:35 / 364 ft
R : Wold Pack 4.6 / 8:10 / 177 ft
Sa : warm up w/Corey 1.4 / 7:53 / 43 ft
Star City 13.1 / 6:56 / 262 ft
cool down w/Corey 0.6 / 9:26 / 0 ft

total : 29.4 miles

I took it pretty easy this week, afraid to overdo it before the race, knowing the 12+ mile run last week had gone really well but also tired me out.  I've never been a big fan of tapering, but I'd say this is the closest I've ever come.  I guess it was worth it since I had a great race!  

I'm currently not too happy, because I have tendonitis pain in my right foot.  It's rather baffling, because there was zero foot pain yesterday.  My legs are itching for an easy shakeout jog today to loosen up, but I'm not gonna risk it.  I don't want to play games with this stupid pain.  I've been icing it and massaging it and hopefully it will go away soon!  

Star City Half Marathon 2016

By far the best race I've had in a long time!  Crossed the finish line in 1:30:28, feeling strong, successful, and happy!

My biggest challenge/concern for the race was to not start out too fast.  I knew if I started too fast, I would die later in the race and not have a strong finish.  However, I was also worried about starting too slow and never getting up to pace, or not being able to get fast enough to balance out the slow miles for an average pace I could be happy with.  I thought about scrolling through the options on my watch to have my pace on the screen and try to keep it somewhere between 7 and 7:30 for the first mile, but the pace feature isn't that accurate while running, and I don't think staring at my watch is the way to go.  My best races were run without a watch, but I refuse to run watchless now that I have Strava because I would hate to pass up the opportunity to look at my race stats afterward.  I knew my best chance for a successful race was first of all to not get carried away with the front of the pack, and to run entirely by feel and not look at the watch.  "Conveniently" it was chilly and I was wearing a pullover with thumb holes for the race.  I put the watch underneath the sleeve, and once I made sure it was running, I put my thumbs in the thumb holes and never looked at my watch (til the last mile).

I started out the race at a nice easy pace.  I was worried that I was going too slow and that I wouldn't be able to get up to speed, but I made myself keep the pace til after I passed the first mile marker.  Then I let myself open up just a bit.  I passed a few other women in the next 2 miles.  As I passed each mile marker and still felt good, I pushed the pace a little bit more.  I was slowly picking off people one at a time.  I concentrated on my breathing periodically to make sure I was breathing deeply, as I have a tendency to breathe really shallowly and that doesn't help the asthma issues. I spent a few miles in the middle debating whether I needed an extra hit off the inhaler or not.  I didn't want to use it if I didn't need it, but I didn't want to wait too long and let my legs go into oxygen debt with miles to go either.  Around mile 9 I caved and let myself take half a dose.  I was still pushing a little harder with each passing mile, and I could feel that I was going to struggle for oxygen.

I had no idea what kind of pace I was running, but I was feeling strong and hoped it was a good one.  With about 3/4 of a mile to go, a kid passed me, and as he ran by he said "we're under 1:30, come on and push to the finish."  It almost didn't register in my mind, because I didn't believe I could actually be running that well, but after a slight delay I kicked into the reserves I didn't know I had and put in the energy to keep up with him.  I was getting warm and had wanted to pull my sleeves up but hadn't because I didn't want to see my watch.  At that point, I pulled up the sleeves.  We were at 12.4 miles and 1:26 on the clock.  I gave the rest of that race everything I had.  As I came within sight of the finish I could see the clock just past 1:30.  I pushed and got across the line before the seconds got to 30.  My watch hadn't quite reached 13.1 yet, I think it was just over 13, so I kept going after the line, but I couldn't go very fast because of the finish line crowd.  My watch hit the 13.1 at 1:30:47.  I am extremely grateful to that 15 year old who was kind enough to tell the girl he passed that we were under 1:30 and encourage her to push harder!  I would have had a good time regardless, but I would not have broken 1:31, and it's possible that if I hadn't sped up I actually would have slowed down, as I was tiring and losing steam.  Finding out how close I was to my former half marathon times gave me the extra boost of adrenaline that I needed.

I was 2nd female and 18th overall.  I knew I was in second place for most of the race because several volunteers told me as I passed them, but I never laid eyes on first place.  She ended up finishing in 1:27.  I hope to get there in the not too distant future, but I know I'm not there yet!

Finisher medal, Triple Crown medal (for running all three Roanoke 1/2s this year), 2nd place plaque, and my winnings : winter running mittens and a hat

All-in-all, a pretty consistent race!  The slowest mile was the only one with a significant hill, so it makes sense that it was slower. And it was a tough hill!  (I loved it of course)

My calves were getting a bit cramped after the race, since I wore my race shoes even though the course was pretty flat.  They aren't great for flat terrain heel striking over long distances.  They are a better shoe for shorter/faster races, but I can also get away with them in longer races if there are enough hills.  Anyway, I decided to try out the post race massage tent for the first time ever.  I let someone roll out my calves with a torture stick, and it was definitely worth it!  She rolled the tight muscles til they loosened up, and probably saved me from several days of calf pain. 

And it wouldn't be a race weekend without finding some delicious food!
Friday dinner : Pesto Chicken Montabello at Ragazzi's

Post-race Lunch : Lad Na at Taste of Asia
I also had a salmon-avocado sushi roll, but ate it too fast to take a photo.

Post-race Dinner : Bacon Cheeseburger at Wasena City Tap Room

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Final preparations for Star City 1/2

Getting excited for my next half marathon, coming up on Saturday!  Stuck to my new routine of speed work on Tuesday and long run on Thursday.  Hoping to keep to that schedule...except for this coming week, when I will be taking it easier in preparation for Star City.

This week : 
M : 7.3 / 7:50 / 495 ft
T : speedwork 5.5 / 8:32 / 148ft (6 x 0.4)
Wolf Pack 2 / 8:48 / 33 ft
R : 12.4 / 7:50 / 558 ft (last 3.5 w/Ben)
Sa : 4 / 7:38 / 253 ft
Su : shakeout w/Ben 2 / 8:51 / 39 ft
total miles : 33.2

One of my happiest "accomplishments" this week was running both longer runs (Monday and Thursday) without my orthotics, and without tendonitis pain!  It's like my feet are normal again!  Still haven't decided if I'm racing with the orthotics or the superfeet insoles this weekend... Since one of the orthotics is cracked and currently reinforced with duct tape, I know it's only a matter of time until they are no longer functional, so I'm trying to move away from them, but I also want them to stick around just in case the tendonitis starts making noises again.  

The plan for Tuesday was 800s, but the flat street near the brewery that I wanted to do them on turned up a bit short.  I decided it was close enough.  I didn't plan on an exact number; I knew I would do at least 4, but planned to keep going until I felt like I couldn't hold a steady pace anymore.  6 turned out to be my number.  I was trying for half marathon race pace.  I did put extra effort into the last one, because that's what I like to do.  

(1st one on the list was part of my warm-up)

Thursday I made sure I didn't stay at work too late, so that I could get most of a long run done before dark.  Ben was planning on 3 miles for his last run pre-marathon, so I planned to get about 7-8 miles and then loop back through the parking lot to pick him up for the 3.  I started at 4:40, and as I got a few miles in, knew I could manage 9 before the time I told Ben I would swing back through.  12 sounded even better than 10-11.  I was really pleased with the pace I was keeping, without exerting too much effort.  I swung back through the parking lot at 8.9, and ran 3.5 more with Ben.  (Our loop got us back to the brewery in under 3 so we added an extra loop). This run went a long way in helping me feel ready for my upcoming race.  IF I can hold myself back from going out too hard, I expect a very successful race.  If, if, if.  My biggest challenge right now...gotta learn someday!

I had hoped for another long run on Saturday, but when I planned that, I had planned something more like 10 on Thursday and 10 on Saturday.  After 12+ on Thursday I figured I'd be lucky if I got 8 on Saturday.  Then I contemplated taking it off to give my legs more rest time, but they were asking for a run, so I went for it.  Sometime after 3 miles my legs decided they were done, and I did the smart thing, listened, and headed for home.  As much as I wanted more longer runs before this race, I don't want to overdo it and make my legs too tired to race well.  

I wanted a shake-out today, but figured rest was more important given how my legs felt yesterday.  Then Ben decided he wanted a post-marathon shakeout and asked if I wanted to join him for an easy 2 miles.  I figure an easy 2 miles is basically a day off, so I joined him and we talked marathon woes, lessons, and "I-told-you-sos" for 2 miles.  As of yesterday, I want to do another marathon, and I'm hoping he will be my training partner... I think getting my endurance up to marathon level will help me get my 1/2 times down, and I know the training will go so much better with a running partner!  (I wouldn't even be considering a marathon if I didn't think I had someone to train with...)

And now...Tuesday's recovery bar words of wisdom. 
Fitting after a speed workout, since they are definitely not in my comfort zone.  Or like zone. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hills, Hills, Hills!

I didn't originally plan for this week to involve mostly hill workouts, but that's what it turned into, and once it started, I didn't see the point in changing it!  I decided on Tuesday that it was past time for some hill sprints, and talked two others at the Wolf Pack group to join me : Ben and someone new.  Then on Thursday Ben and I planned to meet early so we could get in a ten miler before dark, and I suggested we run down to the bottom of White's Mill and we did.  And we ended up going up the long hill faster than we went down it.  I spent the weekend in Lewisburg and planned a long hill loop for Saturday morning, but it was 27 degrees Saturday morning, and I was staying in a house with no heat (waiting for a new furnace to be installed).  The thought of putting on cold running clothes to go run in the cold was really not appealing.  So I stayed in warm sweats until I went out to the barn for a trail ride at 11.  I almost let myself take yet another day off today and call it an easy week, but I managed to talk myself into getting out the door once the frost melted.  And once I was out there, I convinced myself that it would be silly not to get my 30 miles for the week when I've been on a streak for 6 weeks, and I should really be pushing it to 35 by now.

This week : 
M : 6 w/Amanda / 7:59 / 240 ft
T : 4.6 hill sprints / 8:50 / 568 ft
R : 10.7 w/Ben / 7:33 / 581 ft
Sa : 3 hour horseback ride
Su : 9 / 8:07 / 823 ft
total : 30.3 miles 

I put about 85% effort into the first 6 sprints, going for consistency, and 100% all-out effort into the last one.  Lungs were hurting bad in the last one! I'm impressed with myself for being so close to the same time for the first 4!  You can see that the oxygen debt started hurting me after the fourth one.



trail riding on winding country lanes

And now a message that I just happened to catch on the back of Thursday's recovery bar.  
I love this message, and am tempted to write a whole blog post about how important I think it is.  
I might do that...later...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tried to take it easier this week. Except for race day, of course.

This week : 

M : 6.3 / 7:42 / 318 ft

T : w/Ben 6.2 / 7:37 / 299 ft

R : early group 4.8 / 8:48 / 279 ft
w/Amanda 4 / 8:06 / 105 ft

Sa : team warm up : 0.6 / 9:10 / 0 ft
my warm up : 1.4 / 7:20 / 0 ft
race : 3.7 / 6:31 / 0 ft
bringing down my HR : 0.2 / 8:12 / 0 ft
cool down w/Corey : 1.6 / 8:45 / 0 ft

Su : shakeout w/Ben 3 / 8:17 / 75 ft

total miles : 31.9

My body was feeling a bit stiff and tired this week so I tried to take it easier/slower.  Figured it was probably time to take an easier week after how hard I've been running lately anyway.  Also I was planning to run as hard as I could at the race, so I thought it might be a good idea to give my legs a bit of a breather beforehand.  

Saturday's race was a 4 person half marathon relay.  Each leg was 3+ miles.  I was given the 3rd and longest leg, because I was the healthiest of the 4 of us.  4 teams handed off before my teammate handed off to me, but I caught the 4th place team after a mile or so, and no one passed me.  I took off like a rocket, and was impressed to see my first mile split at 6:07.  I wasn't delusional enough to think I could maintain that pace for almost 4 miles, but I did put in the same amount of effort for my whole run.  That effort just got me a slower pace with each mile that passed.  The course was very boring with long flat straight stretches, but my run was short enough that I was able to get through it before the flatness started messing with my mind.  

My leg started at 6.3 miles.  

I brought back the race braids for this race...they make me run faster...

4th place trophy.  We each got one, along with a finisher medal.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Evidence says I'm getting faster

My slowest run this week was a 7:43 pace...and we said we were going to run an 8:00 pace.  And it was today, and Sunday's are supposedly my easy/shakeout day.  Have I mentioned lately how excited I am to have running partners who are pushing me?!

This week : 
M : 6.2 / 7:35 / 390 ft
T : group 7 / 7:10 / 256 ft
R : group 9 / 7:36 / 554 ft
Sa : 5.1 / 7:21 / 292 ft
Su : 5.6 w/Ben / 7:43 / 243 ft

total miles : 32.9

Monday I wandered around til I knew I had at least 6 miles.  Tuesday I told the group I wouldn't mind running on the Creeper Trail as long as we made it a fast run, so we pushed the 7 miles.  Thursday Ben wanted 8 or 9, so I mapped out a loop for us and off we went.  A couple people pulled off the loop early because they weren't ready for the longer distance yet, but the remaining 4 of us stayed together until after 7 miles when the faster two started pulling ahead.  Ben and I finished the 9 together.  Saturday I enjoyed a nice hill push up to the top of South Holston Dam.  This morning Ben asked me to go for an easy 5 miler, so off we went.  We kept it mostly flat, but we ended up going a bit faster than easy.  

In other news, when I went to switch my orthotics from one pair of shoes to another before yesterday's run, I discovered that one of them was cracked the whole way through, almost the whole way across. Just bending it a little bit reveals a whole lot of daylight through the crack.  As upset as I was, they have lasted me faithfully for a year, which is about how long they are supposed to last.  And I can still wear them now, but it's only a matter of time before that crack grows big enough to snap the whole thing into two pieces.  I wore them yesterday, but today I went on my first run in 2 years without custom orthotics.  Thankfully, I had no tendonitis twinges.  I did wear the most supportive pair of shoes I have in my rotation right now (Mizuno Wave Enigma 5) and my newest pair of green Superfeet.  I am hopeful that my feet will be able to survive without the special support from the orthotics, but if not I will have to find someone here who will make me new ones. 

sidenote : Blogger doesn't recognize orthotic or tendonitis as words... It wants to change orthotic to orthodontic...and tendonitis to tendinitis.  Google says both are correct, but it makes more sense to me to spell it with the word tendon in it...

Also, check out this awesome rainbow I caught outside my front door on Friday!  The whole ROYGBIV was clearly visible and I could see the whole arch from end to end!  It was a gorgeous sight with the dark stormy sky and the bright colorful leaves and brilliant rainbow!  Of course the camera doesn't quite do it justice. 

 You can even see the rainbow in the tree if you look close