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.