Food, Fitness, Photography

Food, Fitness, Photography

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Make a plan. Ignore plan.

I do this a lot.  I'm always making up training schedules for myself.  Once in awhile, I actually do manage to follow the schedule exactly.  But only once in awhile.  The rest of the's just an idea, right?  Not something set in stone?  This is why I won't hire a coach for myself.  Yet I want to coach others...because I'm good at making the plans!  I just need someone more dedicated than me to actually follow the plans!  Although I'm not sure "dedicated" is quite the word I'm looking for.  I am dedicated.  I get done what I need to eventually.  Life just gets in the way sometimes and messes up the order and timing.

This was the plan for the week : 
(purple is yoga minutes, blue is running miles)

Here's what I actually did : 

Monday : yoga : 25

Tuesday : yoga : 20
TRX : 34
run : 5.5 / 7:50 / 400 ft

Wednesday : yoga : 40
hike : 5 miles
swim : 26 / 1100yds (rest every 50)
bike (group) : 18.4 / 14.7 mph / 1050 ft

Thursday : yoga : 20
run : 9.6 / 8:46 / 420 ft
(4.5 solo, then with group)

Friday : yoga : 25

Saturday :  yoga : 20
horseback ride on and off for 7 hours

Sunday : yoga : 15
run 10.8 / 7:53 / 587 ft

total bike miles : 18.4
total run miles : 25.9
total swim : 1100 yds

I was super proud of myself for doing yoga first thing in the morning EVERY SINGLE DAY this week.  I found a different "morning yoga" video on YouTube each day.  I tried to pick the gentler ones so I wouldn't feel too horribly in need of a shower afterwards.  I meant to also do a more strenuous video at least once this week, later in the day, but that hasn't happened yet, so it probably won't happen.  I'm sure I'm benefiting just from the gentle stretching each morning though!  The trick will be trying to keep that routine once school starts and I have to be out of the house by 7:20 every day. I did start work on Thursday this week, but I didn't have to be in til 9 on Thursday or Friday.  

I don't remember why I didn't bike on Monday.  I think I just decided that my legs needed rest and that they didn't need to deal with hills on a bike.  If I could have ridden without coming across a single hill I probably would have.  Oh yeah, I remember what else happened.  I decided to dust my bedroom, and do a little vacuuming, and somehow that turned into cleaning and re-organizing my entire kitchen.  That took several hours.  It definitely needed to be done, but it also definitely threw a wrench in my day.  I had intended to go into work in the morning.  I ended up going in the afternoon instead, once I had finally finished the kitchen.  

Tuesday's run was a "shakeout" right after I did TRX.  I didn't let myself check my pace at any point during the run.  I just did whatever felt good.  I did try to throw in a good mix of hills so my legs wouldn't get too "bored."

On Wednesday I had every intention of running and biking, but then I decided that since it was my last day of vacation, I also needed to go on an adventure.  Blog post here. My adventure ended up being a 5 mile hike.  I made the mistake of telling someone I would be back in time for lunch, which meant that I got really rushed towards the end of the hike.  Like, I realized I wouldn't be back til 2 if I didn't really hurry, and that my friend might start to freak out that something had happened to me.  So I ended up walk/jogging the 2.5 miles back to the car.  In my chacos.  Which were wet from the creek crossings.  So now I have a bunch of rubs on my feet, and my calves have now almost stopped screaming at me.  But hey, my calves probably needed the workout.  Anyway, I made it back to cell service by 12:40 so all was well.  After lunch, Gail somehow convinced me to go to the pool with her to swim laps.  I've been avoiding this for ages.  I want to be able to swim...but I just can't get the breathing thing down.  I've inhaled so much water in my life it freaks me out to even think about trying that sideways turning breathing thing.  But, I went to the pool with Gail.  As I got in the pool, I realized I had forgotten my inhaler.  Because why not make this breathing thing even harder on myself?  After inhaling a tiny bit of water, I decided I was definitely going to use a nose clip.  That thing is a life saver.  I did about 20ish laps with a kickboard, just kicking myself back and forth across the pool as fast as I could with my arms straight out in front of me, and trying to practice turning my head to breathe.  I had to rest for several minutes between each lap to catch my breath.  Then I did a few laps trying to do some approximation of a breast stroke, which I decided would be easier to master the breathing for.  Turns out I can only think about 2 things at once.  So I can get the arms and the legs right, or I can get the arms and the breathing right.  But at least I was making it back and forth across the pool without a kickboard.  I did flip to my back a couple times to just kick and catch my breath though.  In the end, I survived my first ever experience "swimming" laps.  And then I decided I couldn't ditch my bike ride like I had clearly ditched my run, so I went to the group bike ride.  To which no one else showed up.  But there were a couple people who had randomly shown up to ride together at that time, and they let me join them.  So that was nice.  

On Thursday I was not feeling so great, and it was 80+ degrees out, but I was already way behind on my mileage for the week so I had to go for a run.  I decided to time my run so that I would get 4-5 alone and then be able to jump in with a group starting at 5:00 to get some more miles with them.  I ended up getting 4.5 alone and then dragging myself behind the group for the rest of the run.  I felt awful, but I made it through the whole run so, yay miles!

I accepted that Friday would have to be a rest day and that I would get the remaining miles I needed on Saturday and Sunday. 

Sue had texted me earlier in the week to say she would be at a horse show near me and would bring Pony if I wanted to ride.  Of course I said yes.  How could I say no to Pony visiting me instead of me having to go visit her?!  The show was only about 15 minutes away from  me!  I got there around 11, and ended up spending the next 9 hours on and off  my horse, riding back and forth between the trailer and the arena where they were having a cattle sorting show.  I spent lots of time just sitting on Pony watching the show.  It was a fun time, and it was great to spend some time with Pony!  But it meant that I did not run.  So...another rest day, more or less.  

I accepted that I was not getting 30 miles this week.  I briefly toyed with the idea of trying to get 15 today, but then I saw that it was going to be over 80 by noon, and closer to 90 by 5, so I scrapped that idea.  I realized if I wanted anything close to a long run I would have to get up early and run before church.  I got up at 5:15.  I hit snooze til 5:30 because I could not get myself up.  I did yoga til 5:45.  I had breakfast.  I finally got out the door at 6:45.  If I wanted to go to church in Abingdon, I had to be home by 8:15 for the 9:00 Mass.  There was a 10:30 option in Bristol, but I didn't want to drive that far if I didn't really have to.  So I got as many miles as I could by 8:15 and called it good.  I think it helped me run a bit faster than I might have otherwise though.  It actually ended up being the best I've felt on a run in awhile, and I was pleased that I averaged under 8:00 pace.  And since it wasn't super long, I shouldn't need too much recovery.  I hope to be back over 30 miles next week!  

So awesome that Pony got to come visit me!

Sue offered to take photos of us.  
Pony was much more interested in eating grass than in posing.

In other news, I found out that the gym near me (with the pool) is only $140/year for teachers.  And they have TRX hooks on the wall, in addition to a pool, so I think I will actually get a gym membership!  Then I'll have to learn how to swim efficiently and use it for cross training, AND I will be able to do so much more with TRX because I won't be confined in my hallway anymore!  

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Gentry Creek Falls 8/16/2017

Wednesday was my last official day of summer vacation.  Tuesday night after run club someone told me about a great waterfall that wasn't too far from Damascus.  I looked into it when I got home.  Google Maps told me it was over an hour away, but further research showed that the actual trail head was much closer, and Google just doesn't know where it is.  Google was trying to take me to the actual falls, from the other direction, instead of taking me to the trailhead.  So, after determining that it was more like 35-40 minutes in the car, I decided it would be a good last-day-of-vacation adventure.
obligatory adventure-selfie

And an adventure it was!  Thankfully I had learned that there were many creek crossings on this trail, so I was prepared with chacos and running shorts.  There were too many crossings to count!  And, with all the rain we've had lately, the creek was up and moving.  The water was moving fast enough that not only was it sometimes hard to maintain balance while placing each foot, but it was also hard to see where to step, because the movement of the water blurred everything underneath.  Several of the crossings were up to my knees, and at least one was over my knees!

It wasn't too hard to find the trail head, thanks to the directions I found at  I was coming from the north, rather than from the south, so I took 58E to 91S to Gentry Creek Rd.  It would have been helpful to know how far down the road the trail head was.  I tracked it coming back, the trailhead is 3.1 miles from 91.  The last 1.3 miles is on a 1 lane dirt/gravel road that winds its way through the forest until it dead ends in a clearing.  It looks like there are a few different trails going out of the clearing, the blue blaze trail is the one you want for the falls.  There was at least one point along the trail where I came to an intersection of trails and couldn't see any blue blazes.  I went with my instinct which said to always choose the trail that follows the creek.  My instinct was correct.

The trail was gorgeous as it wound it's way along and back and forth over the creek.  Sunbeams came down through the trees to illuminate pockets of the forest floor.  2.5 miles down the trail I found the twin falls cascading over a cliff.  As I was photographing them, I had to constantly wipe the spray off my lens.  I had heard that you could climb up above the falls for another angle to photograph, and also that if you continued on up above the falls you would come to a gorgeous 360 view of the surrounding area.  I started to attempt the climb, but the trail was steep and covered in a wet mulch-y mud.  I think I could have scrambled up it, but it was so steep I was worried I wouldn't be able to get back down safely.  I didn't want to risk myself or the expensive camera equipment I was carrying on my back, so I decided to save that adventure for a drier day.

I thought this was cool, the spray off the waterfalls 
being carried by the wind through a sunbeam. 

To see all of the photos, visit GMcD Photography

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Time to take a break

But not from running of course!  Just from the training.  Ever since I hurt my back in July and took a week off from running, it's been hard coming back.  There was the terrible flat-ness in MI that made my legs angry, and then I got back home and my body just doesn't want to run hard anymore.  It's been super frustrating, but it's time to accept that I need to back off.  Sure, I'm 6 weeks away from half marathon that I could potentially do really well at, but I just have to keep reminding myself the real goal race isn't til November and if I want to be strong I can't keep pushing myself too hard.

So for the next 2 ish weeks, the goal is just to get back the joy in running.  I have minor distance goals for each run, but no pace goals.  I'm not going to purposely run fast, but I'm not going to purposely run slow either.  I've found my legs are angrier after being forced to run slower.  I also think part of my problem is all this time on the couch since I got home from my roadtrip.  Not working is weird.  I went into school 4 days this week more to get off the couch than because I really had to.  It was nice to get a head start on setting up my classroom and thinking about lesson plans, but it wasn't necessary.  I think getting back to work and being on a normal daily schedule will probably help my running too.

This week :
M : yoga 50 minutes
T : group run 6.1 / 7:39 / 348 ft
W : workout 30 minutes
group bike 23.1 / 15.2 mph / 1355 ft
R : group run 7.5 / 7:58 /522 ft
F : run 6 / 8:01 / 449 ft
yoga 20 minutes
Sa : bike 24 / 17.4 mph / 1348 ft
Su : run w/ Corey 14 / 8:30 / 869 ft
total bike miles : 47.1 
total run miles : 33.6

We had planned mile repeats on Tuesday, but none of us were feeling up for it so we just ran instead.  And then we planned a tempo run for me on Thursday, but I wasn't feeling up for it and no one else wanted it enough to pull me through so again, we just ran.  

Today's run was brutal.  I probably should drop long runs while I'm trying to just enjoy running, but I feel like I've lost so much of my endurance in the last 2 months and I don't want to lose any more of it.  I wanted to keep my endurance after the marathon!  The plan for today was about 12 miles.  I really wanted a change of scenery for the long run so we went to Bristol.  I filled my camelbak 3/4 full.  I didn't want to need it, but I've been feeling so drained on runs lately I figured better safe than sorry.  I ended up wishing I had filled it the whole was empty with 2 miles left in the run.  I had planned about roughly the first 6 miles of the run point to point, and then figured we'd run around Steele Creek park, see where we were mileage wise, and head back on a shorter route than how we got there.  It ended up being much sunnier and hotter than either of us expected (I got rained on during my run Friday and during my ride Saturday!) We were both feeling the heat by the time we got to Steele Creek.  We decided to run the shaded trail around the lake for a break from the sun.  Then we had to climb a looooong hill out of the park.  With little shade.  I actually thought I might pass out at one point.  How did I make it to August without acclimating to running in the heat?!  I was dragging more and more with each mile, but I did make it back to the car without giving up.  On the bright side, running 14 instead of 12 this weekend means I can do 8-10 instead of 12 next weekend.  Or who knows, maybe I'll just feel really good next weekend and do more. You never know. Maybe it won't be as hot. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017


Neither of my longer runs this week went as planned.  The heat is at least partially to blame, and overestimating my current fitness is level is most likely another culprit.  Bad runs are lessons to learn from, and I will use what I learned to help make better decisions next week.  (I hope...)

This week : 
M : pub run 4.7 / 8:10 / 121 ft
T : TRX class @ GVF 50 minutes
horseback ride 1:40
W : run 4.2 / 7:49 / 312 ft
(medium effort hill run)
R : run w/Corey 10 / 8:37 / 305
(2x 2 mile, 1x 1 mile, 1x 0.5 mile)
F : yoga 50 minutes
Sa : group bike 23.1 / 14.3 mph / 1125 ft
run 3.3 / 8:02 / 240 ft
(easy effort)
Su : run 9.7 / 8:24 / 597 ft
total bike miles : 23.1
total run miles : 31.9

Thursday's plan was to run the repeats at 6:30 pace, which is my eventual goal half marathon pace.  If I was smarter, I would have known that I am not ready to train that pace yet and I need to start at a more realistic place.  The first 2 miles went fine, but halfway through the 2nd repeat my lungs died and I started to slow.  I had to walk the recovery after that, trying to calm my breathing and my HR, but my body wasn't cooperating.  I decided not to abandon the workout, but didn't even try to hit the 6:30 pace for the mile or 1/2 mile.  I just put it whatever effort I could, and I walked the 1/2 mile recovery between the mile and 1/2 mile.  I will do this workout again in a week and a half or 2 weeks, but I will probably try for 6:40-45 pace instead of 6:30.  

Today I hoped for 10-12 miles, but after staying up too late having too much fun with friends last night, I knew it was optimistic to hope for.  I hardly drink alcohol anymore, and I'm usually good at saying no when other people offer me drinks, but last night I did not do such a good job of saying no.  I drank plenty of water after waking up this morning, but the drinking still took a toll on my body that did not mix well with trying to run 10 miles in 80+ degree heat, even with the nice breeze and the low humidity.  The first 6 or so miles were fine, but as I got slower and slower after that, I knew it wasn't worth it to keep pushing and so I cut the run short. I probably should have been satisfied with one 10 miler this week anyway.  

The good news is, I made it 30+ miles 2 weeks in a row!  I just need to start working towards getting that 30 miles in 4 runs instead of 5 and trying to bike at least once a week.   

And in other news, I signed up for the Pittsburgh marathon this week! There were 2 years between my first two marathons, 4 years between the second and third, and now I am going to have 2 in one year... I'm hoping to stay in some semblance of marathon shape while focusing on half marathon training so that I won't have to spend all winter and spring building back up, but every week I miss another long run is taking me further from that fitness level that I am trying to maintain.  

Monday, July 31, 2017


I enjoyed 5 days back home in Abingdon, getting back to my normal fitness routine.  I did my Monday yoga, my Tuesday speedwork, my Wednesday workout, and a Thursday pace run.  Then I got up at 3:45 AM on Saturday to drive to Roanoke for a short hill challenge race.  After the race I headed to Lewisburg to spend a few days with some very good friends before they move away.  It's hard to be on the road again so soon after returning home from a long trip, but I'm grateful for the time to spend with some of my favorite people!

This week : 
 M : yoga/stretching 20 minutes
run 4.1 / 8:18 / 220 ft
T : run hill sprints 5.5 / 8:39 / 551 ft
W : TRX 3x10 @45/15
R : yoga/stretching 40 minutes 
run w/Corey 8 / 7:27 / 377 ft
(6 hard, avg 7:12)
F : rest day
Sa : warm up + strides 2.6 / 8:13 / 430 ft
race 1.8 / 6:40 / 449 ft
cool down 1.1 / 9:51 / 236 ft
Su : group jog 10 / 12:00 / 584 ft
horseback ride 2 hours
total miles run : 33.2

On Monday, I kept the run easy.  I wore my watch, but I did not allow myself to look at it during the run.  I made myself keep the effort easy the whole way.  

On Tuesday, I decided that my speedwork needed to be hill sprints in order to prepare myself for Saturday's race after not having any hills to run for a few weeks.  None of my group showed up to run club so I ran the workout alone.  5 times up a 0.2 mile hill with 112ft of gain.  The last time I did this exact workout was in April.  I hit each sprint a few seconds faster this time. I used my HR as a guide for each recovery, when I couldn't get my HR back below 130 on the jog back to the bottom, I decided to only do one more.  

On Wednesday, I designed a TRX workout to mainly target my arms, but with some exercises for my legs and abs as well. It was hard, as I just took a couple weeks off from TRX after hurting my back.  I was definitely sore the next day!

On Thursday, I did a nice long yoga stretching video to help with the soreness.  I was feeling overdue for a pace run workout, and Corey was up for whatever I needed as he had done his tempo run the day before.  I knew I definitely wanted 6 miles under 7:30, but wasn't sure what pace was realistic for how slack my training had been + my sore legs.  I ended up just pushing the pace to whatever felt hard but not injury-inducing.  All 6 of the pace miles ended up under 7:30, and the last mile was a 6:49.  It was really helpful to have Corey there keeping me to my pace but staying next to or behind me so that I was the one choosing the pace, rather than getting tired out trying to chase his pace.  He did lead me for the last mile to help me push that one faster.  We talked on and off throughout the whole run, and it was really nice for me to discover that my lungs were able to handle the occasional talking even while running at half marathon race effort.  

I wasn't sure what to expect from Saturday's race with my sore legs.  I didn't want to skip the race, but I didn't want to get injured either.  I did a longer warmup than usual, to make sure my legs were ready and as loose as possible.  When the horn went off, I just took off.  I didn't start at full speed, but gave my legs about a minute to settle into the fast pace up a hill, and then I started really pushing.  I moved into 2nd place overall within a few minutes, and held that position for the rest of the race.  I didn't bother looking at my watch, but just pushed hard.  I found that I was able to keep pushing hard the whole way, and that I just felt strong!  My legs and lungs were working together and carrying me up each hill much easier than I was expecting.  After the race, I decided to look up my time from the previous year, and was astounded to see that I had PRd by 34 seconds over last year.  I wouldn't have thought it was possible to take that much time off of a 1.8 mile distance!  It gave me a great feeling of validation for all the speedwork I have been doing!  It's always nice to know that hard work is paying off with results!  

More uphill than down in this race, but here I am coming off of one of the few downs before heading up the final hill. 

King and Queen of the Hill each got a plaque and a stuffed horse. 
(the race benefits a program called Unbridled Change which uses horses for therapy)

On Sunday, I enjoyed a social jog on the Greenbrier River Trail with some people in Lewisburg.  My legs and feet were staring to bother me towards the end from being held to a slow shuffle pace, but other than that it was fine.  I know it's good for me to do the long slow runs occasionally because it gets me miles without much strain.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

MIchigan Week 2 =>OH =>VA

Trying to bring my mileage back up slowly and wisely.  It helped that I couldn't stand the flatness in Michigan so it was hard to run too long anyway.  Monday's and Tuesday's runs went really well because it felt so good to stretch out my legs, but by Thursday my legs were over it and didn't want to go.  It was nice that I got some good use out of my bike this week though!

This week : 
 M : run 8 / 7:34 / 226 ft
T : run 7.2 / 7:29 /98 ft
W : bike 16 / 18.5 mph / 305 ft 
R : run 5.1 / 7:38 / 194 ft
F : rest
Sa : bike w/Lauren 19.6 / 16.3 mph / 912 ft
kayak 5.1
Su : run 4 / 7:28 / 262 ft
total run miles : 24.3
total bike miles : 35.7

Tuesday's speedwork was timed intervals.  10 minute warm up around 8:00 pace, then 6 x 4 minutes at 6:30 pace / 2 minute jog, then cool-down back to the house.  I used the Kal-Haven trail, which is a flat bike path that is mostly well-packed dirt.  Now that I'm back home, I will still do some track Tuesday's, but I am going to start doing some Tuesday's on the Creeper Trail instead to get longer intervals without having to run so many circles.  I dislike the trail because of it's slight downhill grade going out and uphill coming back, but it's time to learn to deal with it!  I want to start doing some 2 mile intervals, and I'm not going to make myself run that many laps around a track.  I also need to be building more muscle for the flats so that they don't hurt me in races.  

I feel like I am so very overdue for a long run, as I haven't had one since my marathon/half marathon week, but it just hasn't been in the cards.  And I know I can't just go out and force a long run if I want to stay healthy.  Not sure how long it will take to lose all that endurance I built up but hopefully it can hang on for another few weeks!  I'm hoping to stay in marathon shape while working towards my half marathon PR.  

Michigan fun

Ohio fun

back home in VA

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Michigan Week 1 : Ann Arbor

I'm not going to do a full post because I don't have reliable internet and am using my phone. I ran 4 times this week, 3-6 miles each. It wasn't much fun because it is so ridiculously flat here, but other than that my legs felt pretty good. I also did an 18 mile bike ride, the flatness didn't bother me so much for that and I loved the bike lanes and bike paths!

I'm on the last week of my extended road trip, going to enjoy some time with a very good friend before heading home!

Monday, July 10, 2017

RI week 2 :July déjà vu

Last year while in RI around the 4th of July, I strained my back with too much biking and then destroyed it with a track workout. This year, I strained my back doing TRX and then destroyed it with a track workout. I never learn... It was a lot worse this year. My back was strained by bad form in ab exercises, pulled on by tight leg muscles from overdoing the squats and lunges, and then insulted by 10x300 on the track. But hey, despite the pain, I hit between my goal times of 59-61 seconds every time. Perhaps without the pain I could have had them all at 57-59 though... Anyway, my leg muscles got so tight I couldn't straighten my back for a few days. The foam roller was minimally helpful. The heating pad allowed me to straighten for as long as the muscles stayed hot. I ended up not being able to get any exercise other than walking for the rest of the week. I've decided that my body creates problems just to make me take time off since I'm so bad at keeping training easy. Also bad at listening to minor aches and pains. My back had started hurting before the sprints but it wasn't bad enough for me to be able to give them up like I should have.

This week:
M : 30 minute TRX
       run w/ sister 4.2 / 8:47 / 337ft
T : warm up 1 / 8:52 / 91 ft
      10x300 : 61, 59, 60x6, 61, 59 
        recoveries were 100+m walk til HR was below 125
       cool down : 1 / 10:46 / 72 ft
W : 15 min yoga
       1.4 mile walk
R : 1.3 mile walk 
Su : 2.5 mile walk  
total miles runs : 9

Sunday, July 2, 2017

RI week 1

This week : 
M : run  6.1 / 8:09/ 510 ft
(5 w/sister)
T : warm up 1.5 / 8:55 / 95 ft (1 mile + 4x100m strides)
1600 time trial 5:54 (1500 @ 5:26)
cool down 1.5 / 9:08 / 89 ft
W : 30 minute TRX
rowing machine 15:00 / 2750m
R : run 8.4 / 7:52 / 505 ft
F : 40 minute yoga
Sa : group bike 20 / 17.1 / 584 ft
run w/sister 5.7 / 8:46 /354 ft
Su : run 3.5 / 9:09 / 253 ft
total miles run : 27.8
total miles biked : 20

I was super happy with my time trial on Tuesday, when I beat my HS 1500 PR by 10 seconds, plus it was fun to do my time trial on the same track where I started my running career!  

Wednesday's TRX had me sore for 2-3 days afterwards, which is always welcomed after a workout as it lets me know I worked hard!

Thursday's miles didn't feel quite as easy as I wish they had, but they still went well overall, especially considering the strong winds, and it was nice to get in a slightly longer training run. 

The runs with my sister were more about her than me, just trying to stick to a pace she could handle for some longer runs than she's used to and trying to give her tips here and there.  

 Today I made the mistake of barely drinking any water, napping too long, and then attempting to run straight out of the nap.  The result : dead legs and an angry stomach. But hey, any run is better than no run!  

Portions of Monday's and Sunday's runs were on grass, which was no big deal in HS but now feels so much harder than pavement!  So much extra effort required to run on grass.  I'm sure it's good for my legs and feet to work all those extra stabilizer muscles...but I definitely prefer pavement! 

I've drawn up a schedule for this coming week to try and get myself back into training and motivated.  TRX twice, a track workout, a distance pace workout, and hopefully 2 bike rides!  And an easy run or two of course. 

Hooray for being able to sprint faster than my high school self even though I'm much more of an endurance runner!  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Recovery Week

This week : 
M : 45 minute TRX class
run 3.1 / 
T : 45 minute TRX class
run 4.5 / 
(4 x 800)
horseback ride 90 minutes
W : bike 8.3 / 16.8 mph / 607 ft
R : bike 16.4 / 16.6 mph / 1214 ft
F : 45 minute TRX class
run 5 / 7:40 / 397 ft
horseback ride 90 minutes
Sa : run 5.3 / 7:32 / 144 ft
Su : rest
total run miles : 17.9
total bike miles : 24.8

I don't feel like I'm recovering from a back-to-back marathon/half marathon.  I have to keep reminding myself that my body needs recovery time even though I don't feel like it does.  My reduced mileage just feels lazy to me right helps that I have been traveling, so at least I have been busy enough to almost not notice how little I am running.... I am now in RI for about 2 weeks though, and hope to get my running schedule back to somewhat normal while here, as well as throwing in some bike rides.  Primary focus is now to work towards a half marathon PR.  It's time to break 1:28, and I'm hoping to break it by more than just a few seconds!  

Here I am enjoying a run through Lewisburg, PA after a 6 hour drive.  It was a gorgeous run, but way too flat for my tastes!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Post-Marathon week

By Wednesday, my legs didn't feel sore anymore.  Seems like all my training really paid off for that marathon, my body was ready to handle it and recover quickly!  Now, I know my body is probably still recovering, even though it feels fine.  It certainly wasn't ready to run a stellar half marathon on Saturday, but I still was able to run a strong race, if not a super-fast one.  I want to jump straight into training for the half marathon PR I hope to get in the fall, but hopefully I will be able to convince myself to take it easy for at least another week.

This week : 
M : walk 3.2 
T : group 4.1 / 8:25 / 167 ft
W : 30 minute ab workout 
R : group 4.2 / 7:44 / 240 ft
F : off
Sa : race 13.2 / 7:24 / 449 ft
Su : jog w/Lex 4.3 / 10:36 / 397 ft
total miles : 25.8

I was itching to run on Monday, but felt like it was probably a better idea to wait another day.  I did need to go to the post office though, I decided to walk instead of drive.  It was pretty hot out for a walk, but it still felt good to move my legs.  The walk also helped to loosen up my hips, which were pretty tight post-marathon.  On Tuesday I went to run club, but kept the pace nice and easy.  Thursday I was pushing the pace, because my legs were sick of slow paces, and I wanted to let them stretch out before Saturday's race!  The race was really humid, and I wasn't able to run quite as fast as I had hoped, but I still put in a solid run for 1 week post-marathon.  Today I drove to Lewisburg, and had a nice recovery jog with a friend.  

This coming week, I hope to enjoy some runs around town as well as a bike ride or two.  I'll also go to at least one TRX class at the gym while I'm here.  And of course spend some quality time with my horse!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hatfield McCoy Marathon 6/10/17

Friday evening : my "flat runner" is ready, I've picked up my bib, eaten a small but free pasta dinner, and am on my way to find a second dinner because I'm still hungry. 

Saturday morning : waiting around for the race to start.  Got our picture taken with McCoy(left) and Hatfield (right).  

I took 1st place around mile 10 or 11 and held it til the end.  I never had any idea how far behind me 2nd place was, and never let myself turn around to look.  Not knowing helped me keep pushing myself whenever I started to slow down.  I crossed the line with a watch time of 3:25:36 and chip time of 3:25:30, and in addition to my finisher's medal I received the Kentucky State marathon championship medal.  (This race just happened to be the Kentucky State championship this year)

Race Recap/Review 
Packet Pickup and the Race Expo were held at the Belfry, KY high school.  It was easy to find, and the packet pickup went very smoothly.  The expo had a selection of running clothes, shoes, and books about the Hatfield-McCoy feud.  I didn't pay too much attention to all the stuff because I didn't want to spend any money, but it looked like it had some good deals.  The expo let out into the cafeteria, where there was a free pasta dinner for the racers.  I appreciated the free meal, but I needed about 3 times that amount of pasta, and ended up having to stop at a Subway on the way back to the hotel to get a sandwich and chips because I was so hungry it felt like I hadn't had dinner at all. 

The hotel/motel situation around Williamson is not great. There were only a few choices right in Williamson, and none of them were affordable for me.  The fire departments do offer cots for anyone who wants to stay there, and next time I would probably try that instead.  As it was, we stayed in the Daniel Boone Motor Inn 30 minutes away.  Wasn't the nicest motel I've stayed in, but it was cheap and the beds weren't bad.  (also, they still use metal keys instead of plastic key cards!)

On Saturday morning, we got to Williamson around 5:15 and didn't have any trouble finding parking, although I didn't think the parking map was particularly clear, and think it would have been really nice if they had put up signs in the designated parking areas so that it would be more clear where we were allowed to park.  We ended up just parking in a lot and hoping it was ok.  After we parked, we wandered for a bit until a bus drove by and picked us up.  We weren't super clear on where exactly the bus stops were, but were thankful that the bus driver picked us up where we were standing when she drove by.  The bus took us to the starting line a few miles away at the Food City.  We still had about an hour to kill until the race start, and thankfully the Food City was open and we got to sit in the nice warm food court until it was closer to go time. 

The race started right around 7:00, and we headed up the road with our police escort, as well as several local cyclists.  I stayed with the 8:00 pacer for the first mile or so.  I believe that was the fastest pacer they had.  The course was beautiful, there was very little traffic, and any cars that did pass us gave plenty of room.  There were water/gatorade stops every mile with friendly volunteers.  This race is unique in that if you want to run a half marathon, you can choose to run either the first half of the marathon course, or the second half.  You can also choose to run a "double half" instead of the marathon if you are a 50 stater and want to get a medal for each state (WV and KY).  This means that when I crossed the finish line for the first half marathon I had the benefit of a nice crowd of cheering people telling me I was in first place for the marathon so far.  It was nice to have that little pick-me-up of a cheering crowd halfway through, and gave me a little boost of energy as I started on my second half.  Up until that point, the whole course had been on paved roads.  The second half started out on a vary narrow one lane back road that turned into gravel/dirt after awhile.  There were a few muddy spots, but not too deep thankfully.  The dirt road eventually spit us out onto a golf course, where we ran over a swinging bridge (not suggested for people who are afraid of heights...) and then back onto a road for the remainder of the run.  

The course was rolling for most of the race.  There was a long hill about halfway through the first half, and there were some mostly flat sections.  The second longest hill was in mile 24.  I was hurting by that point, but thanks to the ballcap I was wearing, I was able to use the brim to block my gaze, as I just put one foot in front of the other until I reached the top.  Coming back down the other side was probably the hardest part of the whole race for me.  My hips were hurting pretty bad by that point, and if you have ever had to run down a hill with hip know how bad it is.  I almost cried as I limped my way down the hill, but I made it to the bottom.  I struggled along for a bit longer, and then the pain dulled, I rallied, and made my final 1.5 mile strong push to the finish line.  

At the finish line, there were buckets filled with ice cold water and gatorade, as well as some snacks.  Each finisher received a mason jar in addition to their finisher medal.  

photo taken at a water stop around mile 24
I had Tailwind in my camelbak : about 5 scoops of powder in 50 ounces of water.  I started sucking air out of the pack around mile 21, so I got sips of cold water off the water tables at each mile after that, along with the little sips of tailwind I was still able to draw out of my pack.  

Marathon Week!

This week : 
M : 4 / 8:05 / 194 ft
T : track 4.4 / 7:34 / 184 ft
16 x 100m striders
W : 3.2 / 7:20 / 240 ft
R : 20 minute ab workout
20 minute yoga
walk 0.8 miles x2
F : rest
Sa : race 26.2 / 7:51 / 1873 ft
Su : walk 0.8 miles x2
total miles run : 37.8

What a week!  Tried to take it easy leading up to the race, but after the last week or two of taking it easy, restless leg pain was starting to set in.  Monday I did pretty well with keeping it easy, and for Track Tuesday I did striders on the straights and marathon pace on the curves, 1 mile in each direction.  I had planned on running M-T-R this week, but Wednesday was Global Running Day and I couldn't not run!  My legs had been unhappy with the slower paces I'd been inflicting on them, so for Global Running Day I let them pick the pace.  It felt really good to run those short miles at a nice faster pace!  On Thursday, the restless leg pain really set in and was driving me crazy. Usually compression socks help, but they weren't helping this time. I walked back and forth to a friend's house, but the walk hardly helped either.  When I got home I attacked my leg with the roller until it stopped hurting long enough for me to go to bed.  Thankfully on Friday the pain stayed away.  

I was ready when the starting gun finally went off on Saturday, and I had a great race!  Tough for sure, and it was pretty hot out, but I was really proud of my run.  Race recap coming soon! 

I could barely walk on Sunday morning because my hips were so tight and sore, but it loosened a bit after some rolling.  And then I walked back and forth to the brewery for celebratory drinks with my friends, and the walking helped some.  They are still stiff today, and some delayed cramping is setting into my calves, but I'm attacking them with the roller periodically and as long as I can grit my teeth through that extra pain, it helps!  Contemplating a recovery jog today...decisions, decisions.  

In other news, I was looking at my previous marathon stats to compare to this one...

November 2011, Charlotte, NC -- 3:16:11 / 164 ft
November 2013, Richmond, VA -- 3:21: 39 / 245 ft
June 2017, Williamson, WV -- 3:25:36 / 1873 ft

This may have been my slowest of my 3 marathons, but I was more prepared for this one, and ran a much stronger race.  I didn't even hit the "wall" in this one.  Also...check out that huge elevation difference between this one and the previous two!  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Marathon Countdown...T-6 days!

I'm playing all sorts of mental mind games as marathon day approaches.  The bad run on the 27th really messed with my head, and runs have been hit or miss since then.  I'm trying to do the taper thing, but I feel like there's a very fine line for me between tapering being beneficial, and tapering being detrimental.  I've been taking a lot of days off, and have reduced the my mileage, but my legs feel dead on about every other run.  I'm now spending a lot of time reminding myself to trust the training, but also that this race is not the end goal, it's just a step on the way, and as long as I finish it will be a good run.

This week : 
M : 
T : morning shakeout 3.2 / 8:38 / 151
hill repeats  5 / 8:02 / 466 ft
(3 x 0.5 mile uphill) 
W : workout 12 minutes
yoga 20 minutes
R : off
F : run 5.5 / 7:48 / 299 ft
Sa : 5.5 / 8:04 / 374 ft
Su : bike 17.1 / 17.6 mph / 935 ft
total run miles : 19.2
total bike miles : 17.1

Wednesday Workout x3
10 squats
10 pushups
10 lunges
10 leg raises
10 burpees
10 sec side plank, each side

I've got 3 teacher work days this week, and then I'm on summer vacation!  My brain is apparently already on vacation though, because I feel asleep on the couch around 3 this afternoon and couldn't get my eyes open until about 7.  Thankfully there was enough daylight time left for me to get in the bike ride I had planned to do today!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Belated post...but now it's T-11 days til Hatfield McCoy!

Last week : 
M : hill fun 7 / 7:49 / 505 ft
T : yoga class 1 hour
track 8 / 7:54 / 98 ft
(3200, 1600, 800, 400)
W : TRX circuit 30 x 45/15
R : group 7 / 7:20 / 400 ft
F : rest
Sa : 10 / 9:08 / 856 ft
Su : rest
total miles : 32

My week started strong and was going really well.  I meant for Monday's run to be easy, but once I started up the first hill, I caught hill fever...and the rest is history.  I had to go find more hills to run hard.  It felt so good...  On Tuesday it was POURING rain but it was Track Tuesday and I wasn't going to let the stupid weather be an excuse to quit.  So I picked a short ladder, and we did 1 lap walk recovery between each run in an attempt to keep our legs warm.  My shoes were soaked and sloshing by the time I got to the 800.  For Wednesday's TRX, I did 5  warm-up exercises, a 3x8 workout, and then finished off with a plank.  On Thursday it was raining again, but at least not too hard this time.  I picked a loop with a nice hill in the middle, and set out with Ben & Corey.  I intended for it to be marathon-ish pace.  It ended up being a bit faster for me, but it felt really good to be able to keep up with the guys, even with some conversation.  A few months ago, I couldn't do that, so this was huge for me!  My lungs are definitely a lot stronger now, and of course all my dedicated training is paying off and I am getting faster as well!

Sadly, my strong week crashed about 3 miles into my run on Saturday.  I was in Lewisburg, and had planned a 12 mile run on all my favorite mountain-y hills. I planned to get all or most of it at marathon pace.  But 3 miles in my legs decided they were done for the week.  They just didn't want to move.  So, I jogged the loop instead, and finished out the bare minimum loop at 10 miles, instead of adding on at the end to get 12.  I was disappointed to feel so bad on this run, but I've been really lucky to have so many good runs lately, and am hoping that tired legs was the only thing wrong.  I'm counting on not feeling like that on marathon day as long as I am super careful for the next 11 days!  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Meal Prep : 5/22-5/26 One Pot Meal


Ingredients : 
1/3 onion, chopped 
2 B/S chicken breasts, chopped
1 c chicken broth
honey mustard
3/4 c quinoa
12 oz frozen broccoli
12 oz frozen cauliflower
garlic powder
corn starch

Brown the onion in a large skillet on medium heat with some olive oil.    Next add the chicken, garlic powder, and salt, and cook til most of the pink is gone.    Then add all remaining ingredients except the corn starch.  Cover and simmer until the quinoa is done.  (10-15 minutes).  If there is too much liquid left, mix a teaspoon of corn starch with a bit of cold water, then add to the skillet and stir til thickened, then remove from heat.  

Notes : The broccoli had lost it's bright green color by the time the quinoa was done, so I know I overcooked the veggies.  They should probably be added a bit later.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

post-long run

This week: 
M : bike w/Chuck 20.3 / 16.2 mph / 1385 ft
T : bike w/Chuck & Joe 20.4 / 14.7 mph / 1207 ft
W : TRX 3 x 10 @ 45/15
shakeout 1 / 7:54 / 0 ft
R : yoga class 1 hour
group run 4.7 / 7:53 / 253 ft
F : rest
Sa : run w/ Mollie 7.1 / 8:39 / 154 ft
Su : workout 15 minutes
total run miles : 12.8
total bike miles : 40.7

It was hard not to run for so many days in a row...but I managed!  I tried to wait til Thursday, but after Wednesday's TRX in an 80 degree apartment I really wanted to feel a breeze.  Also, I went overkill on the squats and lunges and I wanted to shake out my legs.  At least I only did a mile, and I skipped the inhaler so that I couldn't go too far or fast anyway.  It felt good though, and so Thursday I felt good about going for a good 4-5 mile run.  In the meantime, my bike got some good use while I was resting my foot!  

On Thursday I started with the guys.  They were running faster than I wanted to go, but I let them carry me for a few miles, and then I split off to jog back to the brewery while they continued on, since they wanted more miles than me anyway.  My foot hurt a little bit, but it's unavoidable as the roads I was running on had the same camber that hurt it to begin with!  

On Saturday, Mollie and I headed to Damascus where we ran around town and up and down the Creeper Trail while people-watching at the Trail Days Festival.  We ran the first 4.5 ish miles together, then she stopped and I picked up the pace and got a few more miles in.  It was hot and sunny, but I felt pretty good.  
Creeper Trail on a gorgeous day.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I ran 30 miles and it was amazing

Jumping for Joy at the conclusion of my 30 mile run!

I am in awe of how well my 30 mile run went!  I knew I was in shape for it, and I didn't really have any doubts about my ability to finish it, but I didn't expect to feel good during it.  I'm not saying the whole thing felt like a jaunt in the park, but it almost did.  And for how far I went and how many hours I spent running, it basically did feel like a jaunt in the park.  I have felt a lot worse than that on runs that were a lot shorter!

This week : 
M : run 4.2 / 8:04 / 161 ft
T : run 4.5 / 7:20 / 85 ft
8 x 400 (90, 88, 88, 89, 87, 88, 86, 85)
W : bike 12.4 / 18.1 mph / 768 ft
R : 60 min yoga class
run 5 / 7:14 / 203 ft
3 @ goal hm pace (6:38, 6:41, 6:39)
F : rest
Sa : run 30 / 8:27 / 1299 ft
Su : 35 min yoga stretching
total run miles : 43.7
total bike miles : 12.4

Recap of long run : 

Mentally, I felt great for the entire run.  I was cheerful, I was enjoying the experience, and I never hit a wall of any kind.  I had Tailwind Nutrition in my camelbak, sipped frequently, and never got calorie depleted or thirsty.  I had brought a gel and some chews just in case, but never used them or felt like I needed them.  Ben ran the first 23.7 with me, and then handed me off to Mollie and Joe who ran to the finish with me, joined by Jim at mile 27.5.  I am grateful to all the friends who supported me in this run, it was definitely nice to have the company out there!

The weather was overcast, high 50s, and extremely humid.

The first loop of the run went really smoothly.  Ben and I cruised along up and down the hills and kept a good steady pace averaging around 8 minute miles.  The second loop sent us down a very muddy rail trail, and then back onto the road.  We continued to keep a really good pace, with uphill miles a bit slower and downhill miles a bit faster.

I started having intermittent knee pain sometime around mile 13, but it never got too bad, and it never lasted too long, so it wasn't worrying.  Sometime around mile 22 I could no longer ignore the fact that my feet were hurting, but it was just normal been-on-my-feet-for-hours pain.  Around mile 27, I got a sharper pain along the outside of my left foot, that got persistently worse.  By mile 28 it hurt a lot.  It hurt less if I bounced along on my toes instead of keeping my normal running stride, so that's what I did.  It hurt bad enough to be worrying, but there was no way I was going to quit with less than 2 miles left to my goal!  It didn't take me long to figure out the cause of the foot pain.  The roads around here are all cambered at the edge.  For almost the entire run, I was running with my left foot on the lower side of the camber.  There were 4 miles of rail trail from 13-17, and sidewalk from 28-30, but other than that, the run was entirely on cambered roads.

I posted updates to my instagram account (@wvhillrunner) throughout my they are.

This one was called : Time to get this party started.  
Taken at 6 AM. 

Shortly after I started down the Creeper Trail. 
Stopped about a mile later to top off my camelbak at a water fountain and take off my shirt.

Less than 4 miles to go and still smiling!

Other photos taken along the way:

And a photo of everyone who ran with me at one time or another!  
Ben was waiting for us at my house when we finished, 
along with Mollie's husband who took the photo.  

Now, I will have to take it easy until the foot recovers.  I desperately do NOT want this to turn into a lasting injury.  My marathon is now less than 4 weeks away!  I plan to bike until the foot pain is gone.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Meal Prep 5/8 - 5/12

Last weekend, I made my lunches AND dinners for the week.  And it made my week so easy! I am already used to grabbing my ready-made lunch in the morning, but having dinner also ready made my evenings so much smoother and allowed me to eat earlier than 8 every night!  Bliss.

black beans
crock pot pulled pork
sauteed carrots

Black beans simmered in water until soft, then sauteed in bacon grease with garlic powder, onion, and mushrooms.
Small pork tenderloin placed in the crockpot, sprinkled with garlic powder, top covered in some barbecue sauce, and then enough chicken broth added to cover the bottom of the pot and about halfway up the tenderloin.  Cooked on low until done and then shredded with forks. 
Carrots sauteed in olive oil and garlic powder.  

I also added snacks this week, since I needed to gain a bit of weight back that I lost from my increased mileage and workouts.  I brought cashews and triscuits to work and munched a bit whenever I got hungry.  

angel hair pasta
broccoli-cauliflower pesto
veggies (not pictured)

My basil plant desperately needed to be trimmed back, so I cut off many of the leaves to make some pesto.  First, I dumped a bag each of frozen broccoli and frozen cauliflower into a pot and steamed them til almost done, then sauteed them the rest of the way.  I then put them in a blender with olive oil, garlic powder, and the fresh basil, and pureed it.  Finally, I tossed the pesto with some angel hair pasta.  Deliciousness.  I supplemented with fresh veggies on top each night, and sometimes a pouch of salmon for some protein.  

grab & go meals ready in the fridge

Sunday, May 7, 2017

I have missed running alone

I love my running group and running friends, of course!  But after running alone for so many years, sometimes I really miss it.  And it is hard to figure out where I am race-pace wise when I am always running someone else's pace.  Also, running has always been something I do for me and it is really nice to put in headphones and just go!  Nothing but the pavement, my thoughts, and the music to keep me company if my thoughts shut up for a minute or two. This week I was feeling burned out on running with people and definitely enjoyed all my solo runs!

This week : 
M : TRX @ GVF 45 minutes
horseback ride 35 minutes
hill run 4 / 7:38 / 315 ft
Pub Run 3.1 / 9:09 / 0ft
T : solo track ladder 8.5 / 9:01 / 98 ft
200,400,600,800,1000,1000,800,600,400,200, walk recoveries 200-400
W : 6 / 8:10 / 282 ft
R : 7 / 7:26 / 338 ft
5 miles tempo alternating goal marathon/half marathon paces 
F : yoga 20 minutes
Sa : 12.5 / 8:14 / 650 ft
Su: TRX 30 x 45/15
total miles : 41.1

I was still in Lewisburg on Monday, as I used my 2 personal days for the year on Monday and Tuesday and spent a long weekend there.  It was nice to do a TRX class at the gym where my friend is an instructor, and then I relaxed for awhile before going to ride horses with her.  That evening,  I enjoyed running some quick hills before the Pub Run, despite the crazy wind storm that was going on, and then had a nice easy 5k with a friend for the Pub Run.  

On Tuesday, the guys backed out of the track workout since they had done their long run on Sunday instead of Saturday, but I was determined to stick to my plan so I went to the track alone.  I ran my intervals by feel rather than by the watch, and was happy to be within 3 seconds on each pair of intervals especially since all but 600s were faster the second time.
200s : 40, 38
400s : 1:29, 1:27
600s : 2:15, 2:18
800s : 3:10, 3:07
1000s : 4:01, 4:00

Wednesday is normally a workout or rest day, but it was absolutely gorgeous and warm out, so I couldn't resist going for a nice easy jog.  (Especially since there was no usual faculty meeting and so I got home on time)

On Thursday I decided I wanted to run alone instead of with the group, so that I could really focus on my own pace.  The idea was to alternate goal marathon/half marathon pace, but I am really bad at running my planned paces... I would like to blame the hills for that, as they make it hard to stick to a pace, but I know it is also due to me not being quite disciplined enough.  My goal marathon pace doesn't tend to feel very fast, so it's hard to consider it a "real" workout.  Currently, goal marathon pace is 7:30, and goal half marathon pace is 6:40.  My marathon pace miles were too fast and my half marathon pace miles were too slow, but the hills were different for every mile, and definitely played a role in the pacing.  In the end, I'm just going to say the marathon/half marathon "efforts" were being exerted and call it good enough.  

Friday is usually my complete rest day, but I hadn't done yoga all week.  I really wasn't in the mood for it on Friday either though, so I did about 10-15 minutes of yoga and then did a bit of stretching, and decided it was all close enough.  

My plan for Saturday changed many times, both while planning it and during the actual run.  I believe I had originally planned 12, but at some point decided to do 14 instead.  I then played with the idea of doing 5-7 tempo miles in the middle of it.  However, at some point in the middle of the week I discovered that I was about 5 lbs under my ideal weight.  (Apparently all the extra miles + a reduction in the already-small bit of weekly alcohol I was drinking finally took their toll).  I did not want to carry water/fuel for a run of 14 miles or less.  I started out my run thinking I was going to do 14.  But then I got to thinking about how big a difference 5 lbs underweight is for me.  And about how I had run 18.5 last weekend and was doing 30 next weekend.  And how all those factors meant I should not be overdoing it this weekend.  First, I dropped the idea of tempo miles because I didn't think I could do them efficiently while underweight without fuel.  Then I dropped the 14 mile idea thinking 12 was plenty in between last weekend's and next weekend's miles.  The one goal I stuck to was wanting to keep the average pace between 8 and 8:30.  I was doing pretty well for most of the run, but the last 4 miles were really windy.  In my face wind.  I thought for sure I was going to completely lose the pace, but somehow it appears I did a good job of fighting the wind!  And I suspect I am also just stronger than I want to give myself credit for....  I have done so few long runs alone in the last few months, it is hard to know what pace I am really capable of.  I was really happy with my average pace for this run.  It was less than half of the marathon distance, but I was not trying to race it either.  It was a great solo mid-distance training run to see where I am.  

It was chilly on Saturday (it felt so weird to wear long sleeves),
but it was gorgeous out!

Next weekend I am doing a very belated 30 miles for 30 years (which might end up being an early 31 for 31...  I was not in shape to run 30 miles on my 30th birthday, but had thought I would either bike 30 miles or run 30 minutes.  Instead, I started celebrating the end of the school year at noon with my coworkers, and then went straight to my birthday party at 6.  Now, I am actually capable of running 30 miles, and I am determined to do it before I turn 31.  I had originally planned it for the 20th, but then I decided I should move it up a week to give myself more time to recover before my June 10 marathon.