Sunday, December 31, 2017


What a year!  I'm not even sure where to start.  The first year of my life where I put in a full year of not just running, but training.  My highest yearly mileage ever, by almost 100 miles.  My 2 longest runs ever (27 and 30 miles).  My 3rd, and strongest, marathon.  Some solid half marathon performances.  Many Track Tuesdays.  Many miles with friends.  I didn't achieve the goal I was working towards all year, but I still achieved so much this year.

It is easy to get sucked into disappointment over my failures this year, but I'm not letting that happen, because I can also see all my triumphs, and they are so much bigger.  Things can't go perfectly all the time, that wouldn't be real, and wouldn't help us appreciate them as much either!  I just completed a strong, almost injury-free year, and I am going into 2018 stronger than ever.  I am ready to crush some marathon training for Pittsburgh in May.  I'm going to keep working on my speed in the hopes of someday PRing in the half marathon.  Maybe it will happen in 2018 and maybe it won't, but that doesn't matter.  What matters is that I keep on believing in myself and working hard to achieve what I want in life.

I just finished the year with roughly 1585 miles, my highest ever!  I'm setting the bar even higher for 2018 with a goal of 1700 miles.  To achieve that, I'm going to try to up my weekly mileage from 30 to 35.  BUT I will always strive to do what's best for me and if it turns out that goal is too lofty and I just can't manage 35 a week, I will scale it back.  Running strong is more important than running far. (However, I feel like 35 miles per week is still pretty low for most marathoners, so I'm not expecting it to be too big of a problem...)

Here's my monthly recaps from Instagram

Christmas Vacation Week 2

I'm sending off 2017 with a bang!  After staying healthy all month, I let myself jump the gun by a week on marathon training, because I felt good and I wanted to take advantage of it!  And see how many more miles I could squeeze into this highest-mileage-ever year!

This week : 
M : run w/Coby 3.1 / 7:51 / 174 ft
T : run 7 / 8:02 / 620 ft
W : circuit training 36:00
R : run 13.2 / 8:35 / 876 ft
F : TRX 20:00
Sa : run w/Jaime 10 / 7:35 / 505 ft
Su : run 7 / 7:23 / 518 ft
total miles : 40.3

Thursday was absolutely frigid ("20 feels like 10") but I had planned for a long run, so a long run is what I dragged myself out the door to do, wearing many layers of fleece and wool.  It was hard to get moving under all those layers so I really didn't even try to pick up the pace, I just let myself slog along.  It's gotta be better for my body to take the longer runs slow anyway, especially after taking it easy for a month.  

On Saturday I really enjoyed finally getting to run with Jaime!  It's hard to work our schedules out since she normally trains while her kids are in school and I'm teaching at that school so... but we finally found a time that worked for both of us, and had a great run.  It's rare that I get to run with a female my speed!  We're hoping to work out some more weekend runs, as I marathon train and she trains for the marathon portion of an Ironman.  

I had more than my 30 miles for the week after Thursday's run, but I was still feeling really good and of course wanted to squeeze a few more miles into the year so out I went today to bring my week up to 40 and my year up to...1584.9... If only I had known, I would have gone that extra 0.1!  But of course it doesn't really matter.   And there are bits and pieces of cool downs that didn't get recorded so of course I ran that 1585+ this year anyway.  

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Vacation Week 1

This week : 

M : AM : run 5 / 8:05 / 282
PM : group 3.7 / 8:25 / 164 ft

T : TRX 38:00
 run w/Ben 4.7 / 7:44 / 279 ft

W : run 7 / 8:57 / 968

R : rest

F : run 9 / 8:08 / 774 ft

Sa : rest

Su : run 4.1 / 8:03 / 217 ft

total miles : 33.5

I was in Lewisburg for a few days this week, I really enjoyed my mountain run on Wednesday and revisiting my old familiar route on Friday.  (I ran my old 6ish mile loop and then kept going for 2 more hills and 3 more miles cause it felt so good!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

1500 miles and counting!

At the beginning of the year, I set a 1500 miles goal for myself.  As of Thursday, I have passed this goal and officially run my highest yearly mileage ever.  And I still have two more weeks in the year to keep on running.  I've been using online programs to track my mileage since 2010, and I've only been over 1400 miles twice.  That makes three total years at 1400+ and it's probably not a coincidence that they are the same years in which I ran my 3 marathons! 

This week : 
M : Bristol group 3.7 / 8:13 / 210 ft
T : circuit training 35:00
Abingdon group 5.2 / 7:40 / 200 ft
W : run 10.2 / 7:35 / 535 ft
R : rest
F: run 5.7 / 7:29 / 446 ft
Sa : TRX 30:00
run 4.5 / 8:10 / 413 ft
jog 1.4 / 8:54 / 82 ft
Su : rest
total miles : 30.7

Sometimes it's fun to go on an exploration run without looking at a map ahead of time or bringing your phone along as backup.  Other times, you end up having to backtrack 2 miles because the road you chose to run on didn't have any options to turn and loop back around.  At least I stopped at a gas station to ask after 2 miles, instead of continuing on...I was told that I was on my way to Johnson City if I kept going, and offered a ride back to downtown.  I refused the ride of course.  Next time I might look at a map, and I will almost certainly bring my phone.  All's well that ended well, I just ran a few miles longer than planned and didn't make it back in time to join the group run.  (My original plan was to run 4-5 miles alone and 3-4 with the group). For future reference, I now know that when running in Bristol, Volunteer Parkway is more or less useless.  Nice wide shoulders though! 

In other news, my "best nine" of 2017 (most-liked) on Instagram all involve running, of course!  A good mix in these 9 photos.  My 3rd and most successful marathon, some hill workouts, some good long runs, a finish line dying-face photo from my favorite race, an after-photo from a long run that I almost couldn't finish and my flat-runner photo from the failed half marathon PR attempt.  

Sunday, December 10, 2017

and then it snowed

...but I didn't let that stop me from getting my mileage!  AND apparently my lungs are finally recovered because I survived a very chilly run with the guys today, at a pace that was definitely a struggle for me, and I didn't cough at all afterwards!  Hooray!

This week : 
M : group run 4 / 7:53 / 171 ft
T : circuit training 35:00
W : group run 8.5 / 8:02 / 397 ft
R : run w/Beth 6.6 / 8:12 / 338 ft
F : rest
Sa : TRX 40:00
run 6 / 7:48 / 433 ft
Su : group run 7.6 / 7:43 / 495 ft
total miles : 32.8

I decided to check out the Bristol running group this week.  It's hard for me to get motivated to study after driving home from work, so I decided that on the days of the Bristol run group, I would go to the library after work and study til run-time.  It worked really well for me this week.  On Monday I actually got to study outside in one of the city parks because it was so nice out (a little bit chilly, but just barely warm enough, and possibly the last warm day).  Some of the group members were the same ones I see in Abingdon, but there were a few different members as well.  It was really nice to run somewhere different for a change!  And added bonus, the brewery we meet at has a really awesome firepit to warm up by after the run.  

On Friday it snowed pretty much all day, although hardly accumulated, and then it snowed more Saturday.  And Saturday night.  I never had more than 1/2 inch to brush off my car as most of the snow didn't stick, but it did make the roads slick so I had to be a bit more careful while running!  

Today I just wanted the 5 I needed to get to 30 for the week, but I picked a loop I thought was about 6 miles, and it turned out to be 7.6.  Oops.  I let the boys set the pace for most of the run; it was a struggle to keep up at times, but I decided it was ok to make myself work a bit.  Once we hit 6 miles though, my legs were fatiguing, so I decided to slow it down the rest of the way.  It's not often that I run 5 days in one week, and I did put in some really good miles this week especially considering how easy the past two weeks were.  My next planned day off is Thursday, but I expect tomorrow's run to be short and easy with the Bristol group.  

Sunday, December 3, 2017

New month, new plan

I spent most of November in and out of a bad head cold, resulting in no running for the entire last week of the month.  The violent coughing finally subsided enough for me to resume running on Friday of this week.  Thankfully the afternoons have been in the high 50s, if it was much colder I probably would have had to wait even longer before running again. It's supposed to get cold again this coming week, I'm hoping I'll be able to continue running without bringing back the cough but I will be taking it one day at a time and trying really hard to stay healthy!

While running over the past few days, and thinking about the past month, I made the decision not to start marathon training until January.  I wanted to jump straight in, but I've decided that's not the smartest decision.  I need to make sure I am fully healthy before I start putting the demands of marathon training on my body.  So, December will be about running for fun.  I still hope to keep my mileage at 25-30 miles a week, but I'll run whatever feels good distance and pace-wise.  I think I'm going to try to get to 5 days a week of running so that each run can be a bit shorter, but I may or may not manage to fit 5 days into the schedule.  Really, I'll be taking it one day at a time! 

This week : 
 M : rest
T : circuit training 35:00
walk 1 mile
W : rest
R : TRX 30:00
F : run 4 / 8:09 / 210 ft
Sa : run 6.7 / 7:53 / 341 ft
Su : TRX 40:00
run 5.1 / 744 / 384 ft
total miles : 15.9

I realize that running 3 days in a row after 7 days off may or may not be the smartest choice, especially given how sore my legs have been from Thursday's TRX, but I just had to go enjoy the warm(ish) sunshine!  It was hard to keep the runs as short as I did, but I did manage to contain myself and not run 10 milers.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sick again

Clearly ignoring the fact that I have asthma is not going to work for me.  I like to pretend it's not a big deal and that I don't have to take extra good care of my lungs...but here I am, sick for the second time in a month.  And this time the cough is 5 times worse.  So, I'm trying really hard to rest this time.  It has something to do with the fact that this cough is trying to rip me in half, but hey, whatever it takes.  I really want to go for an easy jog, but instead I'm keeping myself locked up inside. 

Cold air often makes me cough, but this year it's going to a whole new level.  Even jogging in the cold air the other day seemed to make my cough get worse, and my lungs barely have to work at a jog.  I'm starting to rethink the intensity of my marathon training plan for this winter.  First I have to get rid of this cough, and then see if I will be able to slowly build training back up or if I have to keep it light in the cold air.  Once I get rid of the cough I should at least be able to work on endurance training, if not speed work and tempos.

This Week : 
M : 34:00 circuit training
T : run 10.5 / 7:37 / 673 ft
W: rest
R: warm up w/Diane 3.1 / 8:42 / 33 ft
Turkey Trot w/Diane 3.1 / 7:45 / 105 ft
F : rest
Sa : rest
Su : rest
total miles : 16.7 

It's been a few years since my runner-siblings and I got together for a race on Thanksgiving, but we made it this year!  4 of us running, and another sibling driving us around and being our photographer.

We started out slow and gradually picked up the pace as each mile went by. 
Here we are picking up the pace in the final half mile.

I got home from PA yesterday mid-day, napped all afternoon, and then slept 9 hours last night.  I haven't felt feverish in 24 hours and my cough no longer makes my head feel like it's splitting in 2, although it's still giving my abs quite a workout.  I made a giant pot of vegetable soup today, and have succeeded in not exercising for 3 whole days.  Hopefully another good night of sleep tonight will help as well, as I head into a full week of work.  I'm going to try really hard to also take tomorrow off, and then I teach my circuit training class on Tuesday.  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Race week

This week : 

M : run 5.3 / 7:48 / 246 ft
T : run 6.7 w/Corey / 7:32 / 236 ft
W :  yoga 30 min
R : run 5.1 / 7:52 / 312 ft
F : rest
Sa : warm up 1.1
strides 0.3
race 13 / 7:11 / 449 ft
Su : run 4.2 / 7:41 / 167 ft

total miles : 35.8

Saturday's race report can be found here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Star City Half Marathon 2017

I'll write a full post later, for now just wanted to say that I ran my heart out and had zero oxygen left on the finish line at 1:33:24. Despite the fact that I was running as hard as I could, I didn't hit my goal pace for a single mile. Asthma had the final say despite all my hours of training, but I'm not going to give up. I will run a 1:27 (or faster!) someday!


Lots of thoughts in my head in the hours (and day) since this race. I am an over-thinker by nature, and so I will continue to think about this for awhile, even though I know there's really nothing to be gained from it.  I know that I ran my hardest yesterday.  I know that I run best by feel, and so I did not look at my pace at all during the race.  I was running a PR effort.  As the miles passed by, I was constantly assessing my effort and pushing harder if it felt at all possible. 

My lungs did not feel strong during this race.  Usually, I can make it through at least half the race before I start to worry about my lungs fatiguing, but this time I was really working for air the whole race.  This worried me, but I hoped it was just because I was running an extra fast pace.  I ended up using my inhaler at mile 4 and again at mile 9.  While I hoped that my lungs were struggling because of a fast pace, I worried that I was not in fact running that fast, but I made myself think positively throughout the race and pretend that I was on track for a PR and that all I had to do was push a little bit harder.  And then a little bit harder. 

I was struggling hard for air in the last mile as I made my final push to the finish line, but I kept telling myself it was almost over and I would make it.  It was a huge disappointment when I rounded the final turn towards the finish and checked the time clock as I sprinted for the line.  The clock read 1:33.  Even though I had been afraid I wasn't running a PR, I definitely was not expecting my time to be that slow, especially not for the effort I put in during the race.  My watch only had me at 13 miles on the line and normally I would keep going to 13.1 but this time I just didn't care.  My time was not at all what I wanted, I was barely getting any oxygen, and I just couldn't find a reason to care about being under the official distance. 

My lung haven't struggled that hard on a finish line in a long time.  And when I raced in September, I felt like I was almost ready to run a half marathon without using my inhaler during the race.  Yesterday was a slap in the face to those thoughts.  I did worry when I got sick a few weeks ago that it would weaken my lungs, and I'm assuming that is what happened here, combined with the cold air yesterday.  Even though I got rid of my cold in record time, there is still an occasional cough, and the cold air is always harder on my lungs.  It was in the 40s yesterday, so the logical explanation for my lung trouble is the cold air plus my lungs still being weak from the cough. 

gotta love asthma-attack finish-line face

It's hard to move on from a goal without achieving it, but I always knew that was a possibility with this goal, especially after I got sick.  I now have to switch gears to marathon training so I can PR the marathon at Pittsburgh in May.  I am not going to give up on PRing the half marathon, but it's going to have to wait.  Even if I could find another race soon and afford to pay for it, I'm assuming the cold air would compromise my lungs and keep me from the PR again anyway.  I might try for a race in early March, but if not, I'll have to wait til next fall.  And I'm just going to have to be ok with that.  It's already been 5 years since my race-verifiable PR and 3 since my watch clocked a PR on a course that was long.  What's one more year...?

The only up-side to this asthma race-failure debacle is my legs don't feel like they raced yesterday.  So I'm probably not going to rest quite as much as I had originally planned to after this race.  I am going to try to back off a little bit just because I have been training hard lately and I know my body can only take so much, but I probably won't back off mileage,, just maybe skip some of the faster workouts for a little while.  Famous last words, right?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

6 days til Star City!

This week : 

M : circuit training 33:15

T : yoga class 1 hr
run 10 / 8:34 / 906 ft

W : trainer ride 11.1 / 46:57 / 14.2 mph
TRX 10 minute abs

R : rest

F :  run 9 / 7:18 / 679 ft

Sa : run 6.1 / 7:50 / 482 ft

Su : TRX 35:00
trainer ride 12 / 48:37 / 14.8 mph

total run miles : 25.2
total bike miles : 23.1

Thankful to say my cough is almost entirely gone!  I've definitely been taking extra good care of myself lately, and maybe that special homemade chicken soup helped too.  

I hadn't originally planned to run fast on Friday, but I felt good starting out and my legs really wanted to go, so I ended up deciding to let them.  I didn't look at the pace while I was running, just ran as fast as I could maintain comfortably without getting too out of breath, then picked it up even faster for the last 2 miles (7:08, 7:06).  It felt really good, and was a great boost of confidence for me as I enter the final week before Star City!  

In other news, today is exactly 6 years since I ran my first marathon!  I've been thinking lately about how grateful I am to have had Jim as my running partner back then.  When I came up with the crazy scheme to run a half marathon, he trained and raced with me.  He did the same when I decided to be even crazier and run a marathon 11 months later.  If it weren't for him encouraging me, training with me, and traveling to those races with me, who knows where I'd be now.  Maybe I would have eventually run these distances anyway, maybe I would have kept running a 5k a day forever.  But I bet I wouldn't be about to run my 33rd half marathon in less than a week, or planning my 4th marathon in 6 months.  My running fitness has come a long way in the last 6 years, and I can't wait to see how much further I can take it!  

Flashback!  11/12/2011

PS : I can see my abs.  They aren't super 6-pack defined yet...but they are definitely there.  Exciting. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

and then I got sick for the first time in over a year

I really need to learn to acknowledge/heed the warnings my body sends me so that it doesn't have to hit the self-destruct button just to get my attention.  I know that I can fight off head colds when I'm doing everything right, and it's not hard to figure out exactly what I did wrong in the last 2 weeks. My nightly sleep slipped down from 8-9 hrs/night to 7-7.5, which is probably what hurt me the most.  And then there's the fact that I let myself freeze in my apt, while bordering the underweight line, instead of just paying the extra $20/month it would probably have cost me to keep the heat higher.  My body wasted so much energy trying to keep me warm, it couldn't fight off the head cold.  Lesson learned: it's not worth it to save $20 a month.  I'm two weeks out from my race and now I have a cough that is unlikely to be gone by then, since it usually takes me an average of a month to fully get rid of a cough.  The only good side to this is that I'm being forced to take it easier in these weeks leading up to the race, when I would have kept training hard until the last week.  So the forced easier runs will probably help in the end.  But, depending on the coughing situation, I may not be able to get the PR I've been working so hard for.  My lungs have been the only thing preventing me from getting one before this, and they are now compromised.  I haven't completely given up hope yet, and I know there will be other chances next year, but this PR is what all my training has been leading up to for the last year, so it will be really hard if I show up to race day knowing it's not in the cards.  BUT I've been taking extra good care of myself since Wednesday, and even made chicken soup from an entire chicken for the first time ever today.  All I can do now is continue to take extra good care of myself and hope for the best!

The plan this week was a 4 mile tempo on Tuesday and 10 miles on Thursday.  But Tuesday we got out of school at 1 for Halloween, so I decided to take advantage of the extra time and do my long run.  After making plans to run a few miles with Chuck in the middle, I decided to push the first few.  I'm glad I ended up getting those fast miles in, because when Thursday came around I was too sick to do a tempo run.  The last mile was my fastest at 6:50, and miles 2 & 3 were also under 7:00, so I definitely got some tempo miles in this week.

This week : 

M : hill run 6.3 / 8:34 / 725 ft

T : circuit training 33:15
run 9 / 7:27 / 397 
(3.6 hard, 4 moderate w/Chuck, solo finish with last 1 hard)

W : rest

R : run 5 / 9:02 / 344 ft

F : rest 

Sa : walk 1.6
TRX 35:00

Su : run w/Corey 12.45 / 8:09 / 814 ft

total miles 32.7

In other news, there are only 2 months left in the year and I am 80+ miles ahead of my goal for 1500 miles in 2017.  October saw the fewest runs of any month, but the 3rd highest mileage, 2nd highest elevation gain, and it definitely had a greater percentage of faster runs!  I've already passed last year's mileage, and the 2 years before that were each under 1000.  It's nice to be injury free!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

ugh, winter is here

I made myself a training schedule to follow until Star City and I followed it really well until today, when I decided that the planned 4 miler was not in my best interest.  I needed a shakeout, but it was too cold and damp for an effective shakeout so I did yoga instead.  Turns out I would have seen the first snowflakes of the season if I had gone for that run...I have no regrets.  I am so totally not ready for winter.  I've had the heat on for almost 2 weeks now, and I know I made it til November last year.  Also, despite all the layers of sweats I wear, I keep having to turn up the heat higher and higher.  This top floor apartment has ceiling heat, who's brilliant idea was that?! And I currently have no downstairs neighbor, so no heat rising from below.  I really hope someone moves in soon... I made my budget assuming I'd manage to keep the heat around 55 like I did last winter, not taking into account the fact that I currently weigh less than I did last year, and that I have no downstairs neighbor.  I fully expect to gain some weight back after this race, but I'm thinking I still won't be able to tough out the cold quite as much as I did last winter. 

In other news, I nailed my track workout this week!  And it was a big win for my lungs.  I actually ran the whole way to the brewery to meet the guys (0.7 miles) and then started towards the track with them before realizing that I had not used my inhaler.  And I wasn't even having trouble breathing yet.  I was half-tempted to try the whole run without it, but I had mile repeats planned and didn't want to risk bombing them.  We practically run by my place to get to the track though, so we made a pit stop.  My goal was at least 3 mile repeats, at slightly faster than goal half marathon pace.  I wanted 5, but I knew I would stop after 3 if I didn't feel like I could hold the consistency.  After 4, I was still feeling really good so I went for 5.  I probably could have done 6, but it was full dark by the time we finished the 5th, and it wasn't worth it to keep running when we could barely see the track and we were getting really cold.  5 was a good workout though, I was running strong and consistent (6:19-6:22 pace), barely out of breath at the end of each one, and the 400m walk recovery was plenty. 

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15
run 5 / 8:19 / 545 ft 
(easy effort hill run)

T : yoga class 1 hr
run 8.4 / 8:43 / 344 ft
(5 x 1600 w/400 walk recovery)

W : rest

R : run w/ Corey 10 / 7:34 / 502 ft 
(8 @ moderate effort (7:40 ish), last 2 hard - 7:15, 6:46)

F : TRX 45 minutes

Sa : run 8.3 / 7:57 / 650 ft

Su : yoga 30 min

total miles : 31.7

T-20 days til Star City!  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A successful long run! And exciting news!

News first : I've been toying with this idea for awhile, but some things came together recently and I decided to just go for it!  I have officially signed up to get my Personal Training certification through NASM!  I'm also taking their Fitness Nutrition Specialist course.  At some point I plan to get a certification to coach running as well, but I have to choose a different organization for that.  NASM is letting me spread my payments over 12 months interest free which enabled me to start right away, but I will probably need to save up money for the coaching cert. Once I have my certifications, I will probably only do online coaching since I already have a full-time job teaching, but I also may look for local summer employment as a personal trainer.  Originally I had thought about getting into online coaching without getting all the certifications, but after some research and remembering how sue-happy everyone is these days, it seems like that would not be a good idea.  So I'm going the official route.  And of course going the official route means I will be that much better of a coach in the end, because even though I might pretend I know all there is to know, of course there is always more to learn!

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15
run 6.2 / 11:02 / 883 ft
(hill workout : road/grass/trail) 

T : yoga 60 minutes
tempo run : 8 / 7:18 / 233 ft
(3 mile progression 6:42, 6:31, 6:10)

W : rest

R : run 15.1 / 7:43 / 955 ft

F : TRX 45 minutes
walk 1.2 miles

Sa : run 5.8 / 8:04 / 361 ft

Su : hike 1.7 miles

total miles : 35.1

I've avoided trails for months because I'm always worried about my ankles, and now a month before my big PR attempt I decided I just had to go run some trails.  They are fun!  However, I am really relieved that I didn't roll an ankle, and I'm hoping to keep myself off the trails til after my race.  This is the most dangerous time of year to be on them with all the leaves falling!

Tuesday's tempo run started out with a vague idea that I wanted to be 6:45 or under.  We picked up the pace a bit after the second tempo mile and it felt good, so at the end of the 2nd mile when I saw the split, I decided I was doing a progression and kicked it up another notch.  At that point, the guys stopped sticking with me and started pushing the pace themselves, and it turned into me just trying not to lose sight of them for that 3rd mile.  I was super excited with how fast I pulled off the 3rd mile, and how strong I felt! 

On Thursday, the guys couldn't make it to run club so I decided to start my run early and run til I felt the need to stop. I was hoping for 10-12 but also trying not to get my hopes up too high.  Each time I had to choose whether to go further or turn towards home, I felt good enough to go further, until I knew I was getting 15 miles.   I did not allow myself to look at my pace at any point during the run, but I did try not to let it feel like a jog at any point.  I had to work hard for the last 2 miles, but I was amazed when I finished the run and found out how far below 8:00 my average was!  Now I am feeling much more confident about my chances of getting a PR at Star City on November 18!  I do know that there are many things that could go wrong between now and then, or during the race, and I am determined not to beat myself up if I don't get that PR that I so desperately want, but it will be nice to at least know it was within reach!  It hasn't felt within reach until now.  

Letting out my inner child in the woods today.

A baby waterfall is better than no waterfall!  
And this one's only a 15 minute drive away.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

fewer runs, same mileage

This is how I would like to get my mileage more often.  Fewer, longer, runs.  It would be really nice to start getting closer to 40 miles in 4 runs, but that's too ambitious for me right now.  I am really happy with how this week's runs went however, and know that if I can stay strong and train smart for the next month, I have a really good shot at the half marathon PR that I want.

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15

T : yoga 30 min
group track 9 / 9:40 / 305 ft
(lap ladder : 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4)

W : yoga 50 min

R : run w/Corey 10.2 / 7:40 / 584 ft

F : TRX arms & abs circuit 33:15

Sa : long run 12 / 8:10 / 794 ft

Su : rest

total miles : 31.2

Track Tuesday : half-time recovery on the way down the ladder, full-time recovery on the way back up.  1 lap walk + another minute or so in between the 400s.  1600s were intended to be at goal half marathon pace.  I was aiming for 6:30ish.  It's hard to run half marathon pace on the track, but at least having the thought in my head helps me not run my intervals too crazy fast.  Tried to get just a little bit faster as the intervals shortened. 

1600 : 6:27
1200 : 4:46
800 : 3:08
400 : 1:26
400 : 1:29 
800 : 3:14
1200 : 4:44
1600 : 6:24

On Thursday, I was exhausted and just tying my running shoes felt like a chore I didn't want to do.  BUT I got my shoes tied, pulled myself off the floor, and showed up to run club.  I knew I might not get more than 4 miles, and if I continued to feel bad after starting the run I wouldn't have pushed for mileage, but I also knew that running might actually increase my energy.  And it did!  I ended up feeling stronger the further we got.  I could have called it quits at 8.5 but instead I decided to add on instead of running straight home as we finished a big loop.  With 19 miles in two runs it seemed like I may as well stick with the theme and so I planned to get my 30 miles in just 3 runs this week.  

I hoped to feel strong after coming off a big hill in Saturday's run, and to add on more miles, but I was done for at the top of the hill, so I ran it on home.  I knew I could make it the last 2 downhill miles home without sacrificing pace too much, and knew that quality was more important than quantity, so I didn't make myself add to get to 14 miles like I considered.  

I spent most of today (Sunday) debating whether or not to go for a shake-out jog, since I'm feeling pretty good and it's always tempting to try and get more miles in, but ultimately it looks like I have decided to wait for tomorrow.  I want to be able to get a few miles in after circuit training tomorrow.  As much as I love the "Fewer runs, greater miles" thing, I'd like to get a good 14+ mile run next weekend, so I'm thinking it will be better if I do fewer, slightly shorter, runs throughout the week.  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Picking up the Pace

For awhile now I have been working on including slower runs in my week, and doing a warm-up mile before running faster miles.  I've also been working hard to hold myself back in the first mile of half marathons in order not to go out to fast.  This strategy has not been working super well for me.  It was not my strategy when I was running my best races, and I do not want it to be my strategy anymore.  My best runs have always been about consistency, not about starting slow and speeding up.  So consistency is what I'm working on getting back to.

I can see how starting slow and speeding up is a good strategy for other people, especially to help warm-up the legs, but here is why I think it is not useful to me.  My legs are not my limiting factor when I run.  My lungs are.  And once I establish a pace, it is really hard for my lungs to adjust to a faster pace.  When my lungs struggle, my legs don't get enough oxygen, and then my legs struggle.  If I establish a quicker pace in the beginning, that is the pace that my lungs settle to, and so I'm able to hold it for awhile.  This doesn't mean I want to start off a half-marathon at 6:00 pace, but it does mean that I don't need to be trying to hold myself to 7:30 in my first mile.

My current training goal is to increase my average pace on weekly runs less than 8 or 9 miles.  Less 8:00-8:30, more 7:00-7:45.  My lungs don't get stronger on slow runs, they get stronger when I make them work.  I ran a strong race at the Bluegrass 1/2, but my goal half marathon time is several minutes faster.  I want to get my lungs and legs used to running faster consistently.  I know that I have to be careful not to over-tire my legs in this process, but I am trusting myself to listen to my body.

This week I ended up with 2 hilly tempo runs, a long hill run, and then another run that was supposed to be 5 and ended up being 7... I felt really good on the first 3 runs. I was getting tired towards the end of today's run, but it made sense after how hard I ran all week!

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15
T : group run 7.5 / 7:14 / 413 ft
W : TRX 45 minutes
R : run w/Corey 8 / 7:34 / 554 ft
F : horseback ride 45 minutes
Sa : run 10.1 / 8:17 / 1440 ft
Su :  run w/Ben 7 / 7:40 / 367 ft

total miles : 32.6

At various times over the years when running long hill climbs, I have contemplated turning around at the top to run the hill again.  I never actually did it, until this Saturday.  I was in West Virginia to ride my horse and go for a hill run, and the run was going really, really well.  The sunshine and temperature were perfect, the turning leaves were gorgeous, and I felt good.  I was running a 3.5 mile stretch of Rt 60 that had mile-ish long ups and downs.  On the way out from the house, the road was down, up, down.  When I turned around and climbed the 1.1 mile climb, I just plain loved it.  It had steeper sections and less steep sections, but it went steadily upwards for the whole 1.1 miles.  3/4 of the way up, I knew I wanted to do it again.  I reached the top, and actually turned around to go back down.  It was just as gorgeous the second time, and I never for a second regretted my decision.  

I have been frustrated lately, realizing that I have lost some of my hill strength since leaving WV.  Being able to do those long hill climbs this weekend and feel strong doing them made me feel a lot better!  

The view at the start of Saturday's run.

Heading down the first hill on Saturday.

Enjoyed getting to see this cute Pony on Friday!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Recovery Week + Growler Relay

I did my best to keep it light on the running this week, although I did not back off of the strength training.  My legs and body have definitely been worn out from the half marathon last Sunday!  My team for the Growler Relay was 7 people for 8 legs, so I did end up being the person that ran 2, but at least I had only run twice this week before that, and I didn't treat it like a race this year.  (I didn't jog either...but I definitely wasn't pushing myself to the max!)

I didn't get home from Roanoke until almost 3:00 today but a friend asked if I wanted to bike and that seemed like a good thing to do after sitting in the car, especially since I've been trying not to run too much, but still need exercise.  It ended up being really windy for our ride which made it harder than I'd like, but I'm glad I got out and did it.  It was a gorgeous day, and I do need to be getting on that bike once in awhile!

This week : 

M : circuit training 33:15

T : yoga class 1 hour

W : TRX 30 minutes
run 3.6 / 7:43 / 272 ft

R : trail run 4.8 / 9:56 / 997 ft

F : rest

Sa : relay leg- 1 5.3 / 7:37 / 223 ft
relay leg 3- 6. 2/ 7:36 / 213 ft 

Su : bike w/Coby 22.2 / 17.6 mph / 1247 ft

total miles run : 19.8
total miles bike : 22.2

Handing off to our second runner yesterday after I started off the relay.  I've never seen my muscles pop out like that...the camera must have caught the exact moment my foot hit the ground and the impact traveled up my leg!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Grayson Highlands 9-23-2017

I hadn't made plans to go hiking on Saturday, but when I woke up that morning, still sore from Thursday's TRX, I decided that I needed to go hiking because it would be better for my muscles than sitting on the couch all day.  I had a whole bunch of chores to do, but I decided to ignore them, and off to Grayson Highlands I went.  When I arrived, I discovered that there was a festival going on, and most of the ponies had been rounded up for that.  So there was only one pony sighting on my hike.  But the trees are turning, and the sky was blue with puffy white clouds, so the scenery was nothing short of gorgeous.

After a very busy week of extra long days, this hike was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries. I hiked just under 6 miles with 869 feet of climbing so it made my legs more sore instead of less sore, but it was totally worth it!

on top of the world 

taking in the gorgeous view

...just climbing a tree in the middle of a clearing in the woods...

Bluegrass 1/2 Marathon 9-24-17

WolfPack Run Club, ready to race! 

I had no idea what would happen during this race. I was worried that I would hit a wall like I have during my long runs, but I also knew there was a chance that I would have a good day and race day adrenaline would see me through.  I've had a lot of training hiccups lately, but I know I am still in better overall shape than I was a year ago!  

I skipped a warm up this morning because I was standing in line for the bathroom, but I was completely ok with that.  I knew that skipping a warm up would help me start just a little bit slower, and use that first mile for a warm up.  My first mile didn't actually end up being all that slow, but at least it wasn't 6:00 pace!  I did not allow myself to look at my watch (other than to glance at my HR occasionally) until after I crossed the finish line.  I even managed to keep my eyes on the ground when I passed the time clocks at mile 7 so that I wouldn't see them and start obsessing about my time.  I did catch the number 4 at the beginning of the clock but that was it!  I ran the whole race by feel, keeping my pace as strong and consistent as I could.  I spent several miles on the heels of the 4th place woman.  She pulled ahead in the 5th mile, but I slowly reeled her back in, passing her on an uphill (the only way I know how to pass people!) in mile 7, and then I held my place til the end. After how strong I felt throughout the race, I was a bit disappointed to see that I hadn't broken 1:30, but I was still happy with my race.  The fact that I was running strong and mostly under 7:00 matters a lot more than breaking 1:30.  I only had 3 miles over 7:00 today!  Plus, I actually finished the 13.1 in under 1:31, since the course was long.  Now I just need to shave off 3 more minutes by November...
I was impressed to see that my second fastest mile was mile 13!  I was struggling hard for air at that point, but didn't want to use my inhaler that close to the finish.  I was afraid that my oxygen debt was slowing me down, but 6:41 pace is pretty impressive for oxygen debt!  (I did use the inhaler in mile 6, I was running so well and didn't want to risk losing it because I waited too long to use the inhaler!)

I have learned in my past few half marathons that starting slow is not the best plan for me.  It's true that I shouldn't go out at a 6:00 pace, but I shouldn't go out at a 8:00 pace either.  I do best with consistency, which means I need to start close to the pace that I actually want to run.  If I start too fast I will burn out, and if I start too slow I won't be able to pick up the pace later in the race.  I have always been good at consistency, so I don't know why I kept trying to mess with it by starting extra slow!  I also run best when I hide my watch and run by feel...I really need to make sure I do that in every race.  

Half marathon #32!

The number of half marathons I have run is now greater than the number of years I have spent on this earth!  Today's race went spectacularly well considering all my training hiccups lately!  More about the race in a separate post. 

This week : 

M : circuit training 25:45
run 6 / 7:43 / 479 ft

T : yoga 60 min
run 5.7 / 8:07 / 226 ft
(4 x 800)

W : rest

R : TRX 30 min
run 4 / 7:48 / 276 ft

F : run 3.1 / 7:57 / 157 ft

Sa : hike 5.8 / 869 ft

Su : warm up 0.1 / 7:54 / 0 ft
race 13.3 / 6:55 / 495 ft
cool down 1.8:56 / 30 ft

total miles 33.5

I put myself through a great TRX workout on Thursday.  I was still sore on Saturday, so I decided a hike would be better for my muscles than sitting on the couch.  But then I decided to go to Grayson Highlands and hike up and down some mountains, so I'm not sure my plan worked out so well.  It was absolutely gorgeous though, and I had no regrets about my decision. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

7 is the magic number

7 is the magic number.  For this week anyway.  I didn't even attempt a long run this week.  I don't think I could handle the mental side of it if it went badly with only a week to go til race day.  I hate that my last long run pre-race was bad, but I'm glad I had some really good 7 mile runs this week, and I'm going to be counting on race day adrenaline next Sunday.  Also, constantly reminding myself I don't have to race hard next weekend.  I just have to run.  It can be a long training run if necessary.  I just really really don't want it to feel like my last long run did.

I was excited all week about how low my HR was staying even when I was running faster than usual, and I hit a new V02 max of 56 on Tuesday.  Then today when I was running I spent a bit more time in Z4 and realized that most likely the main reason my HR has been lower all week has been because of the lower temperature.  It was considerably warmer today, so my heart had to work harder.  Duh.  I'm still glad to see improvements in my fitness even if they are related to cooler temps!  It says potential good things about how my fall training will go once I don't have to battle the heat.  Gotta have something to look forward to with the cooler weather instead of just dreading being cold all the time.

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15
run 5.5 / 8:03 / 440 ft 
T : yoga class  60 min
group run 6.3 / 7:48 / 305 ft
W : rest
R : TRX circuit 43:00
run 7.5 / 7:29 / 486 ft
F : run 7.6 / 7:55 / 650 ft
Sa : rest
Su : run 7.1 / 7:48 / 522 ft
total miles : 34

On Monday, I taught my first after-school fitness class to some co-workers.  I'm excited for this opportunity to hep others improve their fitness, have some workout buddies, and make a little extra money!  I also do a TRX workout with Gail whenever we can coordinate schedules.  We made it happen this week, and I really loved being able to work out twice, with people, this week!  It is a lot easier for me to get motivated to work out when I have people to do it with.  This week was also the beginning of Tuesday after school yoga for teachers, so I now have that set in my weekly schedule as well.  

Sunday, September 10, 2017

1 step forward, 3 steps back

I've been counting on this being the year that I PR the half marathon, but I'm starting to think I need to let go of that goal.  I still have over 2 months til my last race this year, so there's still time for my body to start loving long runs again... but I'm getting pretty discouraged.  Shorter runs are going fine.  I even had a great 2x2 mile repeat run this week.  But my long run was awful.  9:00 minute pace felt unreachable to me by the end.  And that is just not how I want to feel 2 weeks out from my next half marathon!  Sometimes I remind myself that it is possible to race well even when training isn't going perfectly.  Other times I remind myself that I haven't had a truly bad race in a long time so I might be overdue for one.

This week : 
M : run 4.1 / 7:25 / 236 ft
T : run w/Corey 7 / 7:22 / 184 ft
(2 x 2 mile, 1 mile jog recovery)
W : TRX arms 16:00
run 4.2 / 8:02 / 226 ft
R : rest
F : rest
Sa : run w/Corey 13.6/ 8:23 / 623 ft
Su : run 3 / 8:18 / 135 ft
total miles : 31.9

The long run started out fine.  We were averaging 7:30-7:50 pace which is right where I wanted to be.  I kept it up for about 6 miles and then my body just gave up on me and every mile it got harder and harder to keep moving.  The hills weren't long or steep but they took every ounce of energy I had.  I didn't feel anything like my normal hill-loving self.  I don't know if my body is stressed from being back at school, or what.  School is going really well and not feeling stressful, but it is certainly different than being on vacation.  Or maybe I should focus on more 7-9 mile runs and stop trying to throw long runs in the mix with a bunch of 4 milers.  That could be it.  

On the bright side, my 2x2 mile repeats went spectacularly.  I was hoping for 6:30-6:45 pace, and hit that pretty closely.  The first one was slightly downhill, the second one was slightly uphill.  I only had a 9 second difference from the 1st to the 2nd, which is amazing and remarkably consistent given how much the uphill direction on the Creeper Trail usually wears me out.  13:18 for the first repeat and 13:27 for the second.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Effort-based running

This week : 

 M : TRX arms / 12 minutes
run 4.1 / 7:06 / 217 ft

T : yoga 15 minutes
run w/Ben 9.2 / 7:40 / 525 ft

W : rest

R : run 5.7 / 8:38 / 400 ft
TRX 34 minutes

F :  rest

Sa : yoga 20 minutes
run 14 / 8:07 / 853 ft

Su : yoga 17 minutes
bike w/Dan 20.3 / 18 mph / 1142 ft

total run miles : 33
total bike miles : 20.3

I've been running primarily #nowatchme for the past few weeks. This means that while I am wearing a watch and recording all my runs, I do not allow myself to look at the pace or mile splits while I am running. I decide what kind of effort I want to put in, and that is the effort I exert.  I can't look at my watch to see if my pace matches what I think it should for my effort.  I often keep my watch on the HR screen so that I can judge my effort by my HR, but not accidentally see my pace.  Some days I have the self control not to look at my watch at all.  

On Monday, my legs were itching to go.  I hadn't let myself open up to a fast pace in awhile, and my legs wanted to stretch out.  I had barely been free of calf pain for 24 hours, but sometimes it is worse to hold my legs back, so I decided to let them go.  I kept the effort somewhere between moderate and hard, and did not look at my watch until it was over, other than to check the mileage occasionally because I wanted to make sure I got at least 4.  I was incredibly happy to see my average pace when I completed the run.  7:06 average in a training run without exerting maximum effort was a huge confidence booster for me.  

On Tuesday I was still feeling good and my legs still had that "get up and go" feeling.  I wasn't quite ready to put myself back on the track, so I decided to do a long hill push.  I hadn't run the 2+ mile White's Mill hill in awhile, and I was craving a good long hard climb.  Ben agreed to go with me, so off we went.  We kept the pace easy-moderate on the downhill, and after turning around at the bottom I focused on a good steady push up the hill.  Last time I did this run, I pushed too hard on the first part of the hill and died before I reached the top, so this time I made sure I was keeping something for the final push.  I felt really strong as I pushed up that hill, and was really pleased with the run overall.  
I made myself take Wednesday off because I was afraid of overdoing it and setting myself back again when I was finally feeling good.  On Thursday I had planned to do a TRX workout for Gail in the evening, so I decided to do my run before work in the morning.  I decided it would be better for my legs to not do the run and TRX back to back.  Plus, I'm always slow in the mornings, so a morning run guarantees that I won't overdo it.  I forgot to eat a little something before the run, so my stomach was yelling at me to feed it during the whole run, but other than that is wasn't bad.  

I was hoping for a minimum of 12 miles on Saturday (although I only needed 11 to hit my 30 miles for the week so I knew I could stop there if it was going poorly).  I had a vague route planned out in my head, but I hadn't mapped it, and suspected I would have to add several miles at the end of the loop I had in mind.  A few miles in, I was feeling pretty good despite the persistent rain and had an idea for a loop to add, so I did.  Coming up on 11 miles, I had a choice to run straight home and get about 13, or add a bit and get to 14.  I decided to go for the 14.  I ended up having to zig zag back and forth between two streets to get the 14 without running past home, but I got it.  I kept the effort pretty easy throughout the run.  I noticed my HR creeping into Z4 a few times, and each time I worked to steady my breathing and bring it back to Z3.  I ended up with only 12% of the run in Z4, which can mostly be attributed to hills.   I was a bit disappointed that my average pace was over 8, but after looking at the HR data I realized that 8:07 is a good pace for me, with staying out of Z4.  I'm still hoping that comes down below 8:00 soon, but I think as long as things continue to go well, it will.  

Happy face after a great hill run!

Successful 14 miler done despite the chill and rain!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Another setback

BUT I did get back to 30 miles this week, so I'm not too worked up about it.  My body is just being ornery and clearly doesn't want to do any kind of speed training.  All I have to do is think about doing speed or tempo and a new ache/pain shows up.  I now have zero official pace goals for the Bluegrass 1/2 on the 24th of September.  I just want to be able to run the race and feel good.  If I can just come out of this setback and NOT have another one...that would be great.

This week's setback was a knot in my right calf.  I felt fine until the last mile of my group run on Tuesday, and then I started getting twinges of a muscle cramp.  I immediately stopped trying to keep up with the guys and took it easy as I finished the run, but I guess it was already too late.  I'm not sure what caused the cramps.  Could have been dehydration, could have been related to the sore muscles from Wednesday's hike, could have been tweaked in Monday's TRX.  All I do know, is those muscle cramps turned into a knot in my calf that is still there today, although thankfully it seems to be almost worked out.  Today was the first run where it didn't feel like it was having a negative effect on the run, although I could still feel it lurking.

This week : 
M : yoga 20 min
run 5 / 8:10 / 289 ft
TRX 30 min 
swim 16:00 / 700 yds (rest every 50)
T : yoga 20 min
group run 6.1 / 8:18 / 449 ft
W : yoga 15 min
R : group run 6.2 / 8:41 / 571 ft
F : rest
 Sa : run 6.7 / 8:02 / 587 ft
Su : run 6.5 / 7:48 / 407 ft (3 w/Ben)
total miles : 30.5

This is what my calendar said for this week.
I don't think I ever even looked at this during the week.
I was going to do the tempo on Thursday, but scrapped it because of the calf pain.
I probably should have made myself bike at some point...oh well. 

I felt like I was kind of getting the hang of the swimming thing on Monday, I was actually managing to get that whole turn-head-to-the-side thing to breathe, but my legs were just dying.  My kick is the strongest part of my swim, so I got really confused as to why I was unable to kick myself efficiently across the pool.  Then I realized that my legs just wanted to be done for the day, since I had already run and done TRX.  So I called it quits and went to the hot tub to relax for a bit.  

Wednesday was day 10 in a row of my morning yoga streak, and it was also the first day of school.  I was proud of myself for getting up early enough to squeeze in some yoga before getting out the door by 7:20, but I decided 10 days was enough and I'm not going to torture myself to make time for yoga every day before school.  Consequently, I haven't done any yoga since Wednesday...  In another couple of weeks I'll be back to doing an after school yoga class once a week, so that will be good.  

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!