Refocusing and holday challenge update

So, since I ran my marathon (more than a month ago? What the heck? When did that happen…?), I’ve been looking for my “next thing”.

Of course, I would love to up the anty somehow. Run 13 half marathons in 2013. Run an ultra. Or something else new and exciting. Honestly, if someone would fund the 13 half marathons in 2013, I probably would do it, but half marathons can get pricey average $75×13…= $1000, and that doesn’t include any travel expenses… I’d rather save that $1000 for something else. New shoes? (Gosh, not one new pair of shoes)

So I started this holiday activity challenge (do something active every day between Thanksgiving and the New Year). And I knew I wouldn’t completely fall off the running wagon since one of my goals for 2012 was to run 1,000 miles. And I’m almost there- 969 to be exact. So 31miles more in the next 20 days (that should be achievable).

My overarching goal for 2013 is to maintain my speed and intensity, and enjoy running (not that I don’t enjoy it now, but more preventing the burn-out and injury). I’ve been running pretty fast lately, for me. I’d like to keep that going.

So what’s already on my plate for 2013?

1. Palmetto200 Agony of De Feet team (not sure how many miles yet, but likely 18+), April 12-13. Oh, and I’m team captain.
2. Richmond Marathon (sub-4:30?), November 16.

So should I add…

1. St Pattys Run Green 8K. March 2 (5 miles through the historic area of downtown Raleigh, ending at one of my favorite little pubs, with a free delicious adult beverage)
2. Krispy Kreme Challenge. February 9 (run 2.5 miles from NCSU to Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen doughnuts, run the 2.5 miles back; all without yuking and under an hour for a prize. That leaves me ~10 minutes to eat all those doughnuts)
3. Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon. April 6 (one week pre-Palmetto-relay, and not likely to be speedy as a result)
4. Lookout Capital Half Marathon. June 1 (first weekend in June)
5. Mentoring Fleet Feet’s Beginner Half Marathon Training Program. Jan 22- Apr 14 (Which would ensure I don’t skip a Tuesday night workout and a Saturday morning workout, though I will likely go a lot slower and it will test my patience with slower runners)
6. Be a rock star and PR a couple 5Ks.
7. Be a rock star and PR a 10K
(This is assuming my Hot Chocolate 10K from 2012 doesn’t count, as I was pacing a slower friend 5 miles of the way, and finished in 1:12, which is a lot slower than I would imagine I would really run)

Holiday Challenge Update:

Alright, I don’t remember where I left off…
Let’s just say last Wed, 12/5 (Though I’ve done something every day, if you include sitting on an exercise ball to work my core one day at work and the pending headache)…

Wed, 12/5: Quick treadmill run. I was going to make it a “as fast as you can mile” but need some warm-up, and completed 1.5 miles in 11:39 (go me! 7:48 pace). I enjoy speed. And it was a 15-minute workout that burned ~200 calories.
Thur, 12/6: I was in Boston, but managed to walk 0.7 miles with my suitcase in tow (9am). Then walked 0.7 miles to work with my coworkers (11am), then wandered from hospital to hospital with coworkers (1pm). Walked the 0.7 miles back to our inn (8pm). Total miles walked: ~3 miles.
Fri, 12/7: Oh, Boston, how I walked you. I walked the 0.7 miles to work (9am). We then walked 1.5 miles to our lunch destination (12pm), and walked the 1.5 miles back (2pm). Then, walked 0.7 miles back to the inn (4pm). We then walked 0.5 miles to get on the green line (430pm), wandered around downtown, Boston Common, the State Building, the Financial District, and eventually back to Fanueil Hall (Fanueil Hall was about a mile from Boston Common, and about 2 miles from our “wait a second… I thought Fanueil Hall was on Congress” moment in the North End). Then we walked to dinner, maybe another half mile. Then! We walked from downtown Boston back to our hotel, through the Back Bay area, through Fenway, etc. A grand total of ~10 miles for the day. (I swear, that might actually be an underestimation; 1.5 miles for work, 3 miles for lunch, 3 miles wandering, dinner, then 3 miles back to the inn)
Sat, 12/8: Walked through the freaking rain! Ugh. That sucked. But I had scrapped my run Friday night, and had not calculated how much we walked Friday night, so I thought we could walk to Cambridge… 5 miles roundtrip.
Sun, 12/9: 9 mile run with Dan. I went out WAY too fast (probably low 8’s), and that caught up with me on the first major hill. My phone didn’t “start” the app, so I don’t know how fast we went out, but Dan (who runs consistent 8:00-pace) said he was out of breath the first few miles and hoping I would slow down. On the way back, I had to walk a little here and there, but we still managed 10:48 (average) with walking, so I’m okay with that. Next time, I’ll go out slower…
Mon, 12/10: 2 mile loop by my house. I tested my headlamp without a hat. But it was still 65 degrees out. It felt good. After a brief 9:30 half mile warm-up, my legs wanted to go fast, and with no training plan, I let them go nuts. 9:00, 8:16 for my splits. I was holding a steady 7:30 pace for the last mile, but decided I’d rather cool-down some, and slowed the pace for an even 8:16 🙂
Sorry those challenge recaps were so long. I feel the need to justify not running, but honestly, I walked twice as much as I would have ran in Boston, so I think it’s okay. My goal for the next few weeks is to increase my mileage so that my long runs seems decipherable (10 miles this Sat, 12 next, etc.)

(not) running in Boston…

So my first trip to Boston, and I’m hoping it won’t be my last. It was short- a couple days. And I am finally able to put a face to some coworkers I have seen via Skype and speak with on weekly conference calls (for the past two years). All that was nice. Truthfully, I could see myself living in Boston; the history and the culture just fit my style.

I began the trip at 445am, and I think my body just was going on auto-pilot, believing I could only be up for one thing- to run. I had to shut those thoughts out. I had a 7am flight, and that’s why I was up so early, and we got to the airport in perfect timing. And our flight was super short (1.5 hours), and no turbulence. The cabby from the airport to our hotel swore he could not drive down the street our inn was located on. But said he could drive us around to get “closer” and dropped us off about .7 miles away. I am a new yorker through and through. My family roots came out, and I demanded he pull over, and let us out. I was not about to let him keep the meter running, while we (the out of towners) gave him directions to our inn. So, we walked for close to a mile with our suitcases, during “rush hour” when everyone else was headed toward the hospital. Also, the cab ride was $32, I felt he must have driven around the way, because it only took 15 minutes. I guess cabs are more expensive in Boston than other cities I’ve lived (Raleigh isn’t a good measure, since no one takes a cab).

My coworker and I were traveling together, and stood anxiously outside our inn, waiting for “them” to pick us up (imagine a blind date). A quartet of giggles came towards us, and we both thought I think that’s them… I’m not sure… Hmmm… maybe? And they crossed the street, and said our names. As we walked the 1/2 mile to the office from there, two took the lead with me, and excitedly asked me about my running plans, because they were so interested. We were staying out by the Longwood area (toward Fenway/ BU/ MIT/ Harvard Medical Center), and they suggested I run down by the (Charles) River on the Boston side, then cross over to the Cambridge side to run back… Which made me chuckle. I quickly explained I only wanted to do 4 or 5 miles, and they were confused. Didn’t you just run a marathon? And I said I’m not here to run the Boston Marathon… And we laughed about it. Apparently these two were runners, and one even ran home (3-4 miles) on a regular basis (including Thursday night).

Meeting everyone was great. If we pretend it was a first date scenario, it was a great first date.

So we worked up until about 8pm. Our coworker walked to her train, and we returned to the inn, and grabbed chocolate covered almonds, and chips, and cookies, and tea, and went upstairs to decompress from a long, but good day.

And then, Friday, we were scheduled to find our own way to the office, which was pretty easy at that point. Friday’s plan was to get out of work by 3(ish) and head to the inn, quickly change, and go for a short run. But, frankly, I was tired, and it was 4 by the time we got to the inn, and it was overcast, so I thought it was going to be dark in no time at all. And my coworker wanted to go to downtown Boston, and see all the sights. So I scrapped the run. We had walked 3 miles (for our lunch… We walked through Boston a little to get to the restaurant), so we hopped on the train, and headed into the city.

We got off by Boston Common, which we loved. It was so pretty this time of year. And we marveled at the christmas tree, and lights, and the skating pond. And wandered around a good bit. Then, decided to wander over to Fanueil Hall, because everyone said we had to see it. And walked right past it. And into the North End of Boston, and marveled at the brownstones. Then, decided to check my map for Fanueil Hall, and walked over to it (about a mile away). And then walked toward Boston Common to eat, and found a cute place. And I had a beer- Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA- it was delicious! Then we were stuffed after dinner. And the weather was decent (35 degrees and damp). So we decided to walk back to the inn. It was only 3 miles. When I got back to the room- I calculated that we had walked about 8-9 miles throughout the day. So I consider that I did a good bit of cross-training on this trip 🙂

We ran a little- across the streets- jay walking, pretending to be locals. As if locals walk 2-3 miles from point A to point B when there’s a train that will do that… I’m guessing that’s a little tourist-y.

But we decided Beacon Hill was our second favorite neighborhood. I actually loved the Back Bay area, just east of Fenway (maybe?) on Commonwealth. It was there we crossed back to Beacon, and headed that way back to our hotel. We felt we deserved cookies when we got back to the inn, and hot chocolate. It started raining a little near the end. We stayed up and chatted about life. Until it was finally bed time.

In general, I love Boston. I could definitely see myself there. There were tons of runners (which I already knew), and everyone was so friendly, but direct. Though the whole “rushed city” feeling was imminent too. I felt southern, just meandering around the city at 9pm 🙂

It was so pretty all lit up

It was so pretty all lit up

Saturday morning we headed to Cambridge (by foot- because at that point- why not?)… Well, why not? Because it was raining. It wasn’t at first, but soon after we started walking, it started raining, and my shoes were soaked. It wasn’t such a pretty day, and we couldn’t really appreciate Cambridge and Harvard. Everyone had said it’s a beautiful campus, but we found it damp, cold, and foggy. And quickly found shelter for a lunch to-go, and got back to the inn to get to the airport.

So in total, I walked about 2 miles Thursday, 8 miles Friday, and 5 miles Saturday. That’s a total of 15 miles in three days. Although no running, I feel okay with 15 miles… After all, I’m doing 9 miles with Dan Sunday afternoon (and he has been running at a faster pace- about 7:30s to 8s), so it may be a struggle to keep up 🙂


proof that running always helps

Well, almost always.

Today was a blah day. This weekend was so so great. I hung out (slash moved) my gay bestie and hung out with his mom and dad and his boyfriend, all of whom I love. Then, I rushed to a holiday party Dan was having. Which apparently had a strong turn-out, mostly because they wanted to meet this girl he was dating. Is she real? Did she really run a marathon? And ate three doughnuts, immediately following a 9-mile run in the middle of the day, then run 10 miles later that night?! Okay, maybe they had different questions. But, it was good times, all around.

Then, Sunday, we just hung out. We cleaned the 50 or so beer bottles left scattered around the house and yard, swept the floor, ran the dishwasher, etc etc. Dan made me breakfast with some of the leftover veggies from the veggie platter (my idea). We went to the ArtWalk, which was mostly lame, but there were a few legitimate artists and one furniture place that had great (and reasonably priced) hand-crafted furniture. All of that was nice, but nothing extraordinary. Just a great weekend.

And then, I had to go back to work. And I love my job, but something about going to work after a nice weekend makes you wish it was always weekend. And I went for a slow-ish 5 mile run on Monday.

Tuesday, Dan and I went for sushi. And I remembered as I was getting settled into bed that I needed to do my workout for the day, so hello sworkit (a new app I got). I chose Strength Training, then Core, then 5 minutes. And added some penguins and a few leg raises on the end.

And today, I did a “as fast as I can mile”, but decided to do 1.5 miles instead, and completed it in 11:39. Which is pretty good, but shows I need a warm-up before just jumping into a fast mile. That mile and a half helped the funk go away.

I’m heading to Boston tomorrow for work, and am really excited. I’ll be staying by Fenway, and my goal is to get in one run while in Boston. I have a firm belief that you don’t really see a community until you run in. One of my favorite runs is in St Maarten at 530am (it was still 90 degrees and sunny in July), before all the tourists got up. Running those hills, with the quiet neighbors before the morning hustle and bustle.

So, ever since that run, I make it a point to get in one run in each new town. When I mentioned that I ran the Richmond marathon to my Boston co-workers on a conference call, their reply was You should run the Boston Marathon! And I laughed so hard. Ummmm… I will never be that fast. But you guys are sweet. And they said they’d show me a good running route before sending me on my way Friday night. I was thinking Harvard Square or through BU’s campus, or maybe down to Fenway… We shall see… It will also depend on timing.

How do you knock yourself out of a funk? For me, I run a lot of short runs (2-3 milers), and push the speed a lot. Or do a lot of short (5-10 minute) workouts. There’s less excuses, such as: I don’t have time; The sun is setting; But I really don’t have time for a shower (when it’s 40-degrees out, I find a quick rinse-off works fine if meeting someone); I’m tired; etc etc. All of these excuses are thrown aside when I think But it’s only 10 minutes… And I usually feel so much better afterward.

Boston! Here I come! (Except not the marathon… I’m about an hour too slow for that! haha!)