Note to self: Less Beer (maybe)

Dan and I were planning for a relaxing Friday night, watching an outdoor movie at the Art Museum. However, at 745, the sky opened up and it started pouring. The idea of watching an old movie for $7 inside the Art Museum seemed lame. So we scrapped that plan, and headed to Raleigh Brewing Co.
I’ll do a quick beer review, while I’m at it. Dan and I got the Big Squeeze which is a wheat beer fermented with orange juice in the brewing process. Like a sophisticated Blue Moon. They did a similar beer last year, but I think it was an American Pale Ale, so it had more punch. I liked the Big Squeeze. I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10 for my taste. For a drinkable summer beer, it was great. I think I’ll have to try it after a group run there. It was really well executed.
Mainly, I forgot how much wheat beers affect me the day after. I had two beers, and woke up feeling like I had 7. Note to self, next time.
I was intending to start my long run ‘regimen’ Sat morning. And make it a habit to run, starting 7-9am.

That didn’t happen.

After a failed attempt to get started, I managed to get my butt out of bed Sunday morning. With dreams of a Bloody Mary to get me through a long run, I got up.
Sunday morning seemed like an omen for a bad run. I just didn’t feel like getting out of bed or checking the time, as the sun shone through the blinds in our bedroom. I finally rolled out of bed at 730, after Dan had started the coffee.
I finally got out the door at 9, and didn’t feel too great (GI).
As soon as I got downstairs, I had to pee. I took off running anyway. I made it about a quarter mile to a wooded creek area, squatted under a bridge, and hoped no one came around the bend.

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Then, finally, I was really off. And hoping I wouldn’t have to drop a deuce on the run too (which would be a first).
I kept my pace in the 10:50s, and let me legs guide my pace. Some uphills felt harder than others. On a few uphills, I felt peppy and dropped my pace a little. I was even able to drop my final mile to a 9:48. Another ten miles done. And I walked almost a mile back to our apt as a cool down.
It was hard. It was hot, but I felt good after it was done. I earned my blood Mary today. When I finished, I felt like I had rolled in sand. I am such a heavy sweater, and a very salty sweater.
A couple good things about this run- I didn’t chafe. At all. That’s unusual for me for a hot long run. The overdose of Ointment A&D must have worked. I also didn’t get any blisters, which is unheard of on long, hot, hilly runs. I had a little something left at the end. And I love long runs like today. They boost my confidence. I also didn’t experience any abdominal pain, which is always fabulous.
This week, in general, was a good workout week.
17 miles
(3 miles of 8x200s, 4 miles easy, 10 miles long)
2 cross-training days
(500ft gain in 2 miles on the bike Wednesday and 3.33 miles Saturday)
My goal for this summer is to add 1-2 more runs per week, while maintaining cross-training.

BAMF long run

If I haven’t mentioned this before- I live in North Carolina. We get drastic weather changes this time of year. Friday night it was 65 degrees. We were all wearing dresses and eating outside and driving with our windows down…

So hearing there was a “winter advisory” for Saturday afternoon made me laugh. I was skeptical we’d get any wintry mix.

I had a morning training run, which I mentor the 10-11:00 pace people for 6 miles. I then mapped out a run through Umstead, into the neighborhood I grew up in- 8 or 9 miles more. It rained during all of the first lap,but was in the lower 40’s. It was cold and miserable, but bearable.

I finished up with my group, and saw Dan pull into the parking lot. I said goodbye and we took off for another ~8 miles. We went about three miles through Umstead, which was starting to get slushy. (Umstead is a 5000+ acre park in Raleigh that is perfect for cycling, running, hiking, or riding horses. There are legit trails, but we didn’t run these. To give you an idea of its size- they run a 100-mile race here in a few laps through the park every spring).

We got out of Umstead and onto the country roads near NCSU’s vet school (it’s so country but about 10 minutes from downtown). There was no sidewalk, so we were just running through the rainy puddly street. When Dan says “Hey, look it’s freezing rain” Then a couple minutes later “Oh, that’s snow”. Within a mile, it was coming down like a blizzard. Not in Raleigh-terms blizzard, but legit blizzard. We turned into my old childhood neighborhood, and the flakes just kept getting bigger and bigger. They were coming down in 1-in diameter snowflakes. We had about 4 miles left.

I began to realize how bad ass we were, so begged Dan to take some pictures. We sacrificed our warm hands for these pictures–

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That’s me… The ground was still warm from Friday, so it didn’t stick too much. But this is after it had started. It may look like rain, but that’s just because Dan sucks at taking pictures on my iPhone (he also was too far away, and managed to get his thumb and sweatshirt in the frame as well… Amateur!)

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It felt like I was crying, because I had to keep brushing the snow out of my eyes. I wanted to give up so many times. But I kept pushing. When we saw this sign, we started walking. 14.21 miles total (overall time 2:30). Last 0.21 miles at a sprint pace; in 1:41. The time difference between the first picture and the second is about 30 minutes.

Final picture, before I jumped into my car, and blasted the heat:

Umsteadinsnow

It was a little nostalgic for me as well; to see my childhood neighborhood in the snow. And I was much happier after I had a long hot shower and got back in my warm bed with Dan and my fat cat (He wanted body heat as well).

Half Marathon warmup/ 5K Tempo

Today’s long run was our cutback week. It had been a rough running week for me. I felt slower than usual. And just had been missing that spark that keeps me running. So, I had been kind of looking forward to our 16 miles today. And kind of dreading it as well.

As we started, my legs just felt hard and heavy. We did and out-and-back on a 7-mile greenway, so we ended up doing an extra greenway about 3 miles in to add the extra miles. Turns out that greenway was hilly. It ended up being great, in the long run. I think the hills distracted me from the monotony of running.

Allison dropped water at the turn around point. So we stopped to get water and gatorade. Allison runs with her garmin, and tends to let me know when we are going “too fast”. We kept skirting around a 10-minute pace, which is faster than usual for a long run for us. Finally, after the turn around my legs started loosening up.

At about 13.3 miles in (and 2:09 <– decent half marathon time), I finally felt free. We went up a tiny hill, and Allison stopped to walk. I just took off. Then, I saw some of the rest of our group up ahead. Sweet! Road kill! I thought, and picked up my pace. I could hear Allison coming up behind me, so I picked it up more. I passed by the first person (+1). Turned a corner and saw someone else up ahead (+2). All the while, I knew I was picking up the pace. I saw another person we knew, and picked up for one more road kill for a total of +3. Then I could hear Allison coming up strong, from behind me. I glanced back, laughing. As soon as she saw my smile, she sprinted up to me and we started joking about how I had really picked up the pace, and informed me we were running at a 9:33. (Our typical long run pace has been 10:30-11:00). I joked about negative splitting. Then, she told me we were at 15.30 miles. I saw one more person in the distance, and said “I’m gonna get one more road kill”. She picked up the pace with me until we were in as much of a sprint as you can be 16 miles in. Total road kill: +4.
(Our final 0.25 miles was a 8:57… That’s my typical tempo pace)

What we had both thought was going to be a terrible 16-18 miles turned into a crappy 10 miles, followed by a great 6. And, I’m not too sore today.

I came home to find my gay best friend had picked up a patio set and left on my patio. So, I can host for 8 for the next few months.

I also get to go pick out a new pair of Brooks Pureconnects today. They’re my favorite shoe ever. Seriously, Ever. I feel like Brooks must fill those babies with pure magic. However, the magic doesn’t last forever for me. 190 miles in, and they’re breaking through, so NOW I get a new color. Lemon/lime? Purple? Who knows?!  I’m hoping my old Half Marathon 2.0 coaches are there.

milestones, snakes, and drinks (Oh My!)

This week marked a huge milestone for me: 20 miles. We set out to do 20 miles last Saturday, but blew our steam with a faster than expected 18. We walked another mile back to the car.

Ready to go. Compression socks. Notice it’s still dark out…

Yesterday, we set out for 20. And I could tell it wasn’t going to be a good day, as I woke up to some morning sickness (I am not pregnant, but if I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t keep food down in the morning). We set out to do a 10-mile out/ 10-mile back.

As we started into the neighborhood, Allison starts screaming and jumping, practically knocking Sarah over. I glance over as I’m running, and it’s a freaking copperhead! Coiled and ready to attack. Allison later says she’s pretty sure it was dead, which gives us some comfort. At about 12 miles into the run, a couple tells us there’s a snake ahead. Really?! So we keep running like little girls. Allison heard me step on a leaf or something and started screaming her head off! Which Julie and I almost fell over, he were so freaked out (there’s nothing scarier than not seeing what someone else does)… Turns out Allison had just thought I had seen something… We all have a good laugh about that. And it probably got us going on adrenaline until mile 14.

Allison has feeling great. So she kept getting ahead some, then looping back on a major turn. She ended up adding about 0.6 miles total. And it was nice to be able to see her a few feet in front of me… The last mile or so was mostly uphill (which sucks at the end). So we got to the same corner where Snake 1 had been… Allison and I stay on the opposite side of the road- just in case the snake wasn’t dead…

OH MY GOD! IT’S NOT THERE!

We continued the rest of the way uphill, looking around, scared to go near the edges of the road (that’s where it has been hanging out). She gets a little ahead of me because I needed a walk break for a slight downhill. My IT band screams on downhills. She suddenly screamed and ran back into the middle of the road. Then yells back at me, “SNAKE!” and points. At that point, neither of us were stopping until we got to the main road and our cars…

Allison did 21 miles (little running in circular sort of pacing at the end). I did 20.4… Just before she screamed about the snake, I got a little feklempt. 20 miles. That’s huge.

I got in my 20! What up?!

she’s legal! 21 baby!
(and bad lighting… sorry bout that!)

I mean, I remember when I couldn’t run for more than 10 minutes straight. And then, trying to do a 4 mile (and flat) loop, and having to walk some. Then the initial 12 miles. And all those milestones on the way. But, I felt so proud. I was in pain, but it was this amazing feeling, to know that if you push body, sometimes it responds exactly as you want it to.

We also agreed to out with “the boys” Saturday night. Dan & Dave want to get to know everyone better. About an hour before we were all supposed to meet up, Allison and Champagne bowed out, so it was just me and the boys. And they invited some friends out. So then, it was me and bunch of guys. All crazy crossfit-ers. They, like runners, have their own language. Thankfully, I dated a guy who was into crossfit before crossfit had gyms, so I understand the lingo because I would sometimes work out with him. It was a good time. I think some of the guys were trying to figure out who I was “with”- Dan? Or Dave? But I was very much a free spirit.

Picking up the speed

This week was more about speed and quality runs. In [over]preparing for the Tuna 200, I opted to do two runs on Labor Day. They weren’t the best runs, and weren’t quite as far as I wanted, so I wanted to add in some quality workouts. By Tuesday night, I was itching for something speedy. So, I posted on our Tuna facebook page that I wanted to do a tempo run at a local run store (Fleet Feet Raleigh- they’re the best. Love you Kerry and Kerri!). Surprisingly, “the boys” from our van responded first This got me a little scared because their “easy” pace is my OMGthisisasfastasicango pace. (btw- I don’t really know them but yes, I am intending to spend ~30 hours trapped in a van with them. That’s normal. Strange smelly boys. Me. A van… KIDDING!).  But luckily, Allison also responded.

So Wednesday was my first true tempo run since April. We decided to do 5 miles. Allison and I are about the same pace and we usually run side by side on tempo runs- bitching the other one out in our head for going so stinkin’ fast. Actually some of our first workouts were in the dark, and I remember hearing her footsteps and breathing about 5 steps behind me. I would pick up the pace to try and lose her, and that bitch just kept keeping up. Even on freaking uphills. Even until the end. I’d be dying, but because she was behind me, she had no idea. So she was thinking I can’t lose her. Seriously? She’s going faster? Omigod! I hate her… So we push each other. When we were seriously training in the spring our tempo pace was maybe a 9:00? So the boys run about a “8:00-8:30″… Though we had yet to run with them, and I had a feeling the elder of the two was a sub-8:00 member.

We met up. Exchanged the awkward first time run “hellos”… Which honestly, is kinda like a first date. EXCEPT WE WERE ALREADY FREAKING COMMITTED! The boys are running with us in our van for the relay- 30 freaking hours! Just keep that in perspective as I post more about them. I may have to get faster so I can actually *learn* more about them. So we set out on our run…

Allison looked down at her garmin at about a half mile in. “8:24… We haven’t started tempo-ing yet.” me: “yeah, we should back off” … 1 mile in. “Yeah, 8:31.” me: “And tempo now?” Allison… “we are …. tempo… ing” (heavy breathing) So our splits were 9:03, 8:33, 9:26… And I guess the 8:30 “warm up”… And probably a 10:30 cool-down.

The boys? … The whole time, they were just around the corner from us, with Allison yelling “TURN LEFT!… Then second RIGHT!” etc. Allison dropped off at a portajohn about 3 miles in (more on that a different day… haha). And I caught up with the boys before our last big hill. Can you tell I was a younger sister? Anyway, it was a good, fast run. Kicked my ass. And my calves were actually sore- which is the first time in months, so that’s a good sign that it was a good workout.

So then a few more easy runs this week before today’s long run… So today was supposed to be 20 miles. Allison and I have decided to start underestimating and not to decide how long we will actually run until we are past halfway. We both had been proudly telling people “we’re going to do 20 miles tomorrow” and trying to act like oh, yeah, it’s casual. It’s just a thing I do.

We did 18 miles. BUT! Compared to last week’s 19.5 miles, this week’s 18 miles was about 45 seconds faster. I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get the 20 mile point this weekend. Oh, and I have random chafing marks all over my body. I mean, like it looks like I rolled in chafing ivy or something- behind my armpits, on my armpits, my lower back, my butt (that’s a first!)…

My favorite moments from today’s run (Allison and I stayed neck and neck most of the 3 hours, 18 minutes. Which BTW, in my runners math logic, is a 10:10 pace. Very nice! … And another friend managed to run a 10:72 one time. And Allison recently asked me at 13 miles in… wait, so a marathon is 26 miles, how long is a half marathon… hahaha! I swear we are all smart without running. In case you followed that stream, today’s pace was actually a 11:00 pace- dead on).  So favorite moments:

Me: “So… I’m waiting to get compression socks because I want them to match my outfit. hehe” (another runner giggled at my giddiness of matching my running gear for a race)

“6 Foot 7 Foot” by Lil Wayne coming on right as I was starting to get in the zone

The 50+ high school cross country kids. I swear they look like a shirtless skinny stampede of hormones coming towards you all at once on a tiny greenway. (random thought- is it a requirement for boys to wear just black shorts and for girls to wear neon sports bras and shorts?…)

The banana I snuck during our “break” to refill water. And my outfit change.

Deciding our team’s snack will be PB Gu with apples. Or PBGu&J sandwiches. And someone overhearing me and thinking I was for real… Which I may be. I will have to check with “the boys”

TOTAL MILEAGE for the week: 32.7/ 5 runs… For September to date: 52.2… YTD: 635.1

Also, I cannot start dating. It may really fuck with my running schedule/ quality of runs… which will in turn fuck with my mental health… which will ruin the relationship. … There’s always 2013.

And, I went to Triangle Wine Co., which oddly enough has the best beer selection on town. I picked up some Octoberfest brews just in time. (Oktoberfest actually begins in late September… And is celebrated with hoppy, seasoned beers. Which are DeLiSh-OUS!)

Woo! 19 miles- you’re my bitch

ready to crush 18 miles… or drop a deuce.

Hello, 18 miles, I would like to make you my bitch.

In training for my first marathon, I’m following a pretty aggressive training program, which involved a 18 mile run this morning, then our first 20 mile (note there are 3 of them) next Saturday. We are actually supposed to run 22-24 miles, but that happens to be the weekend I am running Tuna200, which includes 21-point-something miles, so I think I am set.

Anyway! This morning was my first time running 18 miles. Because I knew I’d been adding more runs during the week, giving my body less recovery, and am now running 30+ miles per week, a friend and I decided to do American Tobacco Trail [ATT] (see below… the entire 20-30 miles of the trail looks like this). It can be boring, but because it is predictable it is a great place to “mile-up” (I picture an old school nintendo “level up” sort of noise and congratulations screen, before going to save the princess of course. That damned princess, why is she always hanging out in dungeons. Bitch needs to learn a lesson… Next time, leave her ass there. That’ll teach her …. but I digress).

I have a few pre-long-run rituals, which start about an hour before the run I leave my house (some of our running routes are like 45 minutes away). So today we were meeting on my side of town- another thing I like about ATT. So I got to “sleep in”- waking up around 6am. I won’t go into details, but I always wake up, get my coffee, climb back into bed and check email/facebook/groupon/anything that could have been updated overnight. Then, if I’m lucky, I eat. I get the “morning sickness” in which I cannot hold down food if I wake up before 530am. I was hoping the toast with PB would stay down… SUCCESS! Then, there’s the bathroom (you don’t want to suddenly have to “go” at 10 miles in). Success there as well! And if I’m lucky I remember all the things I need- iphone, GUs/sports beans/ Nuun/ gatorade, two extra nalgenes, camelbak, flip flops (post-run), towel (post-run), fruit (post-run), headphones (in case I run hans solo style), fruit in case I get hungry, …I think that’s everything, but you get the picture.

I despise running on gravel, so this was a nice change of pace for me- at 12 miles

So at 630, I text Champagne (she missed one of our first group runs back in Feb because she drank 5 bottles of champagne… with help, of course. We soon learned to expect this, so I text her to wake up her). She’s running late, which is perfect because then I can get all my stuff together and be ready to go. I met up with her at 715, and we get started. The plan is to do a “double-out-and-back”… so 4.5 miles in one direction and back, then 4.5 miles in the other direction and back. I also know she’s had some shin splint issues, and may do less (hence headphones).

About 2 miles in, Champagne needs to walk. (Also she mentioned she was slightly hungover, so hey, she showed up right? haha). So after another mile of run/walking, I decide to dust her, and ended up overshooting my turn-around and going out 4.75 miles, but I felt great, so no problem there. I walk with her for a bit after I turn around, but I feel antsy to run, so I pick it up until the parking lot. I stop to get some water/ Nuun/ GU and stretch a little. Champagne finally comes over. She tells me she’s done. I nudge her to go another mile or two. She and I head back out the other direction, where I know I will lose her, and she will probably turn back early. (Which ended up happening, and I didn’t expect her to wait for me. I had decided I was going to try and go 20 today, if I could). I ended up going out a total or 5 miles, to make my entire run a 19.5 miler.

Wooooooo! (I’m a woo girl.)

So I go to my dad’s for brunch. Which kinda kills me. Because all I wanted to do was go home, crawl into bed and nap a little. Instead, I got to go to his house, shower, put on compression socks, and make small talk about my brother getting married (and pregnant, and yes, in that order, though- really? Isn’t it still a little shot-gun if you’re pregnant before you’re married? Even if the baby comes like 3 months later? Oh well, I’ll love the kid. I’m just sayin..) Also, I love my dad, but him presuming I only wanted a two-egg cheese omelette makes me think he doesn’t understand me. I was like “what else do you have to put on it? Peppers? Ummm…I can make it” as I am slowly adding more eggs to the mix. I downed my gatorade while with him, and his wife asked “do you want coffee?” at 1pm. I was like THANK YOU JESUS! YES!

And a day later, I feel fine. I’m a little tired, but my body isn’t too sore. I don’t need Biofreeze or to sleep all day. I feel strong. I am definitely ready for Tuna (but I’ll save talking about Tuna for another post because that could take a while…) I am very excited for Tuna. I’m little nervous for Richmond, but 19 miles down, 11 weeks to go and only 7 miles left to add on.