If miles were run but they weren’t blogged about, did they actually happen?

Hello!!!!!

I didn’t really know how to start this post. Just diving right in seemed kind of lame. Like oh hey guys, sooooo, this is what I did last week…and the past eight months…

Yesterday, I posted a picture of my new running kicks, and I was overwhelmed by some comments and messages I received from some of you who missed hearing from me. It truly warmed my heart and motivated me to get a post out there. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write – I have – but I just didn’t know what to say. First of all, I am really really really sorry I left you all hanging! That was pretty shitty of me.

Usually when you get radio silence from me, it’s because I’m injured and pissed off. This is not exactly the case this time. I came off of my Kentucky race on a HUGE high. I thought I was “recovering well” because I took like a week off and then started running some “easy, low, mileage”. I signed up for “just a few short distance, local races” and jumped almost immediately back into round two of Hansons in June. A month away from structured training was enough, right?

Looking back, the months that followed don’t surprise me in the slightest. I spent two years chasing a marathon PR and doing whatever I needed to do to make it happen. I suffered through countless injuries and heartbreak. I hired a coach, and then I stopped working with him when I got slower. I tried my hand at writing my own training plan before finally finding my jam with Hansons, which was an integral part of my success last year. It not only taught me to push limits and run harder than I ever have before, but it taught me to back off and understand what it truly means to run easy. This lesson alone has become invaluable to me this time around.

The catalyst for this whole hiatus was in early July. I ran the Belmar 5 Mile, and ran a PR for the distance (I had to look it up, 32:04) but I could have run it much faster. I felt outstanding, but my stupid calf cramped. If you’ve followed my blog for long enough, you’ll know that I’ve battled calf strains before and it never usually ends well. Luckily, a cramp was as far as it went physically, but it triggered some serious mental burnout.

For the first time in who knows how long, I started skipping runs. It was too hot, too hilly, too fast, too early, too late, too busy, too <insert any excuse here>. School started and I was in a wedding in the middle of September. I didn’t feel like juggling it all, so I just…didn’t.  I wasn’t logging zero mile weeks, but it was a big milestone if I racked up over 20 miles in any given week. Coming off of 85 mile weeks at the end of my previous cycle, this felt strange…and really, really nice. I didn’t miss it, even when all of my friends started posting about their fall races all over social media. I was hitting the pole studio almost every single day, so between running intermittently and frequent strength training, I felt good.

In the beginning of October, it dawned on me that I was scheduled to pace a 1:45 half marathon in early November. I spent the month of October “training” for this – running 3-5 miles a few days during the week, and a long run on the weekends. Race day came, I got the job done and had a blast. I went right back to my newfound slacker ways the next day, even though my intentions were to start ramping up my mileage in preparation for Boston training. As the weeks of minimal mileage passed by, I wondered if I would ever feel like training for a race again. The excuses to not run continued to pile up – including a bout with strep throat over Christmas week. I want to say I felt worried about my lack of running, but really I was more worried about my lack of interest in it.

But then, something happened. I still don’t know what it was. One morning, I packed my gym bag with running clothes, and somehow packed my lunch box full of healthy food, and it began. I don’t know what shifted my mentality, but since January 2nd, I’ve been “back”.

At first, it was a struggle. Every mile hurt. Every workout hurt even more. I took the focus off my pace and just focused on getting my endurance back. I started following the Hanson’s Advanced plan, but I’ve been much more casual about it. I don’t skip runs, but I’m not as neurotic as I was last year. I couldn’t tell you how many miles I ran last week – I haven’t been tallying them. I couldn’t tell you exact times from my mile repeats from last week, but last year I knew each one by heart, down to the second. I’ve been following it, taking it one day at a time. One mile at a time. One step at a time. And you know what? It seems like it’s working. I ran a 10K a few weeks ago and my time was almost exactly the same as last year (four seconds off), but I know I felt way better than I felt running that same race last year.

As far as my goal for Boston…well, of COURSE I want to nail a sub-3 marathon. Physically, my legs feel fresh and rested but my extended vacation from running left my endurance a bit shot. I mostly feel that my relaxed mentality towards my training means expecting to run a sub-3 marathon is both unrealistic and undeserved. People pour their heart, soul, sweat and tears into achieving this feat – the way I poured myself into my training last year. Physically, I am going through the motions but mentally, I haven’t been gearing up for such a big hurdle. My primary goal for Boston will be to run a PR for the course (sub 3:11), should all of the stars align that day.

So what else? In terms of our farmhouse renovations, we finished our kitchen and just finished our new pantry, and are almost finished with the laundry room. It’s been an exciting project, and having a new kitchen means I’ve been spending lots of time cooking. I’m back to my Paleo-ish ways for now, but I’ve incorporated some carbs (particularly since my recent obsession with homemade sourdough everything).

I got my very own pole for Christmas (you had to see that one coming from a mile away) and I’m currently training for the Atlantic Pole Championships. I will be competing in the “Championship Level 4 Senior Category” (apparently, being 33 is old in pole dancer years!). It’s the highest category you can compete in without competing in the professional division, which scares the absolute SHIT out of me. Compared to the little local pole-athon I participated in last year, this is a pretty big deal. My sister in laws are competing together in the doubles category. The competition is in DC on April 1-2. I compete on April 2nd! So, you know. 15 days before Boston. (What the actual fuck was I thinking.)

I probably won’t post too much on here about the competition until after it’s over because I don’t want to post too much about my routine (do you sense my competitive nature?). But I will tell you that I LOVE my song, and love what I’ve choreographed. The problem now is actually getting through the whole thing without stopping. The struggle is so real.  I am really excited, and I truly hope I can do it well because it is something that I’m really proud of and excited to share.

Sooooo…what about you guys? How are you? What are you training for?! Update me on your lives!!! I missed you!

Boston Marathon Training: Hansons, Week 9

HALFWAY.

What??? When did I get to the halfway point of all of this?? I really can’t believe I’m already finished with week 9. I was truly terrified of this training plan in week 1. I can honestly say, 9 weeks later, that I love it and I’m enjoying running more than ever. I really mean when I say that I feel like I’ve already achieved my goal. Yes, I still have my goal marathon pace and would LOVE to see a new marathon PR, but it truly is just the icing on the cake at this point. I feel good running. I’m enjoying running – even if it means I have to be on a treadmill, which is unheard of! Of course I’ve always enjoyed running – I mean, I’ve been doing it for 8 years – but I was truly feeling overwhelmed and burned out after the fall. I need to do a whole review of the Hansons plan because I could keep going on and on about it. I can’t thank Colby enough for sharing her experience, because I would have never given Hansons a second glance before reading that.

While I did just say I am enjoying treadmill running, I got my fill of it again this week. I did my track workout on the good old mill because it was snowing on Track Tuesday (as I’ve affectionately named them), but I also did my tempo run there too. I want to be outside for my tempo, but the last time I was on one of the rail trails, there was still just enough snow to make it tough. With holding a faster pace, I also want to run somewhere with no traffic so I don’t have to be to cognizant of anything but myself and my tempo run. I think by next week I should be able to get back on the Plainfield trail. I hope so. In a few weeks, when my track workouts turn to long strength workouts, I will be moving those to the roads.

And then, the weekend happened and this was the special weather statement for my area:

So, yeah. I’m just going to say it: I’m being a huge baby about the cold this year. I am usually not like this. Part of the problem is, I’ve been having an issue with cold weather running post run. I’m sitting here typing this to you under a heap of blankets, with a huge hot cup of coffee and a million layers post run, and I am still absolutely shivering. Even when I change my clothing IMMEDIATELY after (like I will straight up strip down in my car, no shame), if I run in the cold I am absolutely chilled to the bone for hours after the run. A hot shower doesn’t fix it. It helps, until I use all of the hot water up and have to get out. I don’t mind running in the cold or the wind at all – I ski in it all of the time – but the whole post run situation is really weird. It’s like the worst, bone chilling cold I’ve ever felt. Does that ever happen to you guys?

Anyway, I digress. Back to the miles. Here’s the pace guide I’m using:

Marathon Goal –  3:05
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs –  7:03/mile
Recovery Runs – 9:11/mile
Aerobic A/Easy – 8:36
Aerobic B/Easy – 8:01
Long Run: 7:42

Monday, 2/8: 8 Mile Easy Run+ Strength/Yoga+ Pole Fitness 

The most I’ve ever run before work was 7 miles, so getting an 8 miler in and being at my desk by 7:09 was definitely a new thing for me. I was glad I did it, and it wasn’t too terrible outside. I felt decent. I did some abs over my prep period since I knew I was teaching a yoga class immediately after school. I haven’t actually practiced yoga in some time lately, but I had a blast teaching it to some co-workers in our Biggest Loser program. I headed to pole class but had a pretty rough time. I think my arms were still sore from my marathon pole session the weekend before.

Tuesday, 2/9: Track Workout: 3 mile warm up, 6×800  w/400 meter recoveries (11 miles) + Strength Training

We got out of work early for an impending snow storm, so I headed right to the gym. Track workout on the treadmill again, and had to do my 800s at a 3:05 pace. My times: 3:03, 3:04, 3:03, 3:02, 3:01, 3:01. As I hit my cool down, I was ready to be done but didn’t feel awful. After it was done, I did core, MYRTLs, and a workout from my Nike Training Club App called “Runner’s Strength and Balance”. I did this workout last week too and really like it. It will be a regular in my schedule for sure, and pairs well with my track workouts.

Wednesday, 2/10:  Elliptical, 60 min + Barre Strength + Skiing

We had a two hour delay (did I mention this was the best week ever?), but they called it when I was already almost at the gym. It was 5am so I figured it wasn’t worth turning around. I ran a few errands, grabbed a cup of coffee and was on the elliptical by 5:45. I was on the elliptical for an hour before I was bored to tears (I don’t love it, but it gets my legs moving the day after a track workout without the impact of running). I did abs, and found a great Barre workout in my Nike Training Club app. My gym had all of the equipment for me to try it. It was SO hard! I loved this workout. I’m thinking it will be part of my regular Wednesday schedule.

We skied for a few hours after work since it was a ski club night, and conditions were great:

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It’s definitely a different winter than last winter (there was awesome snow/conditions and I was skiing allll the time) but we finally got in some good skiing.

Thursday, 2/11: 13 miles w/8 at Marathon Pace + Pole Fitness + Abs/MYRTLs

The cold beat me up the night before, so I slept as long as I possibly could. I was so nervous for this run and I knew all week that I was looking at doing it on the treadmill, which isn’t ideal but it is what it is. For me, a tempo run on the treadmill scares me way more than a tempo run outside. I don’t know why, but it feels so much harder on the treadmill.

Let me give you some background here: In 2014 (my golden year), I always think about a super snowy day where I had a random tempo run that I took to the treadmill. I looked it up in my logs – it was February 6, 2014. At that time, goal marathon pace was anything sub-8. I remember putting on a movie, setting the treadmill at 7:30 pace (which was UNHEARD of for me at that time) and going. I remember that it didn’t feel quite effortless, but it didn’t feel hard. It was the good kind of hard. Where you felt like you were working, but you knew that you could do it. That was the year that I ended my season with my 3:06. I’ve been chasing that day – the day where I run marathon pace in a training run and it feels awesome – since that snowy day in February.

Fast forward to 2016: I’ve done a few tempos on the treadmill since beginning the Hansons plan. The first one was a disaster – I had to hold marathon pace for 6 miles, and I couldn’t TOUCH it that day. That day, I was happy when I was holding a 7:24 and not feeling like I was going to fly off the treadmill. In the following weeks, I was able to get down to my goal pace of 7:03 but it wasn’t without a struggle. It took a good, outside run on the Plainfield trail about three weeks ago where I had to hold seven at marathon pace to make me feel like a 3:05 marathon was in the realm of my capabilities. It was still hard, I still struggled, but I hit my pace that day and got it done.

When the blizzard hit a few weeks ago, I had to do another tempo on the treadmill. I set it at a 7:03 pace and I cranked it out, but I felt like I was on the verge of flying off the treadmill and it really kicked my ass. It was still too fast and felt like I was working much too hard for a pace that I wanted to hold for 26.2 miles. After that run, my stomach was jacked up and I felt dizzy for the rest of the night. Once again, I was uncertain of my goal.

So my fear of increasing my tempo to eight miles at marathon pace scared the shit out of me, and rightfully so. I went to bed early on Wednesday night and slept in on Thursday morning for as long as I could – no pre-work workouts, just as much rest as possible. I packed my food for the day that morning and added in some extra calories – a Siggi’s vanila yogurt for some extra protein in lieu of my usual snack of baby carrots, a banana instead of an apple, and a packet of Salted Watermelon Gu. Gu. When did I forget about fueling? I used one packet on my last long run, but why wouldn’t I use it on a 13 mile tempo run?

I warmed up slowly for three miles, and queued up a movie on Netflix. After the third mile, I bit the bullet and cranked it up to a 7:03 pace. As usual, it felt comfortably uncomfortable at first. My goal was to make it to mile 7 in the run and then reset the treadmill (it goes into cool down mode), grab a drink of my water, and take my GU. That would put me more than halfway through the run, and halfway through the tempo miles (3 mile warmup + 8 @ MP + 2 mile cooldown).

After the first tempo mile, I realized I felt…good. I had Netflix going, and I was just watching my movie and running. Before I knew it, I was at mile 7 and happily cruising along. I realized I could make it two more miles before the treadmill would need to be reset, took my GU, but I didn’t stop. I made it to mile 9 and then I absolutely had to reset the tread mill. I hit “stop” and “quick start” immediately so I could just keep cranking out the miles. I’m scared to admit this, but I felt awesome. Marathon pace felt awesome. It felt like February 6, 2014. Maybe better. Definitely better.

I was on cloud nine, and I think I still am! I went to pole class afterward, and while I wasn’t super productive, I got to work on some of my routine. I went home and did core and MYRTLs. I was so tired!

Friday, 2/12: 9 Mile Recovery Run + Core+ Pole Fitness

I had an in-service at work that day so I had a little extra time that morning and squeezed in a 9 miler, but again – it was on the treadmill. It was cold, dark and 12 degrees and like I said, I’m being a baby.

I headed to pole fitness after work, and did abs at the studio and practiced my competition piece. I put up a little clip on Instagram – I was playing around with some spins and that is one of the little combos I’ll be using in my piece. It’s nothing super fancy, and it ends up in a move called a Meat Hook. Terrible name, and it was a move that gave me such a hard time but now that I can do it, I love it. You feel like you are just laying on the pole and flying!

Saturday, 2/13: 8 Mile Run + Pole Fitness + Core/MYRTLs

Arctic air with sub zero wind chills made me take my run to the treadmill…again.  I need to stop being such a baby! I just don’t feel like dealing with it this year. Or maybe I should give up watching Netflix while running for Lent. That makes treadmill running so much more bearable, but it’s also made it easier for me to decide to run on it lately.

I took both the 9am and the 10:15 pole classes to work on my competition piece. I completely changed the whole beginning, and I love it. Since I am the furthest thing from sexy or a dancer, I’m using my yoga background to help with all of the floorwork. It would be impossible to stay on the pole doing aerial tricks for four minutes, so it’s inevitable that I have to do something other than pole tricks. In yoga, I was always really good with backbends and inversions – headstands, forearm stands, handstands – so what I have off the pole is pretty cool. Since it’s something I’ve done my whole life, it’s actually easier than the spins/floorwork I’d initially come up with, but looks so much harder. Here are some shots from my routine. I’ll post some videos after I clean the whole thing up. Don’t be alarmed by the bruises. This process is beating the crap out of me:
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So it needs work, but it’s getting there.

After pole, I went home and did MYRTLs and core while watching the Olympic Trials to make sure I got in my 15 minutes for our StrongBody Streak ❤ Also, my sister in law gave me another one of her famous gel manis for Valentine’s Day! Don’t mind my dry, cracked hands. Pole class is really tearing them up and making it way worse this year!

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Sunday: 2/14: Long Run, 16 miles + Core/MYRTLs

The first of many 16 milers I will be doing fell on the coldest day of the year so far. It was zero degrees when I woke up, with negative wind chills. I had a pounding headache and just wanted to cry. I sat on my couch for awhile, procrastinating with coffee while trying to decide what to do. Outside? Treadmill? Both ideas sounded terrible. Skipping it and sitting on my couch with junk food sounded like the best option.

But the sun was shining, and once 10am hit we were at 9 degrees. There was almost no wind at this point so I said, “screw it, I’m doing this” and bundled up – I wore lots of my skiing gear to keep warm. I needed to quit being a little bitch baby about the cold and get on some hills already, because I was starting to worry about my lack of hill training lately. It ended up feeling great, and ohhhhh did I get on some hills. 1,000 feet of climbing over my 16 miles, with the big climbs at the end of my run:

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I went by myself, and normally I find it challenging to push myself to run my long run pace. My long runs aren’t out of the question fast (supposed to be 7:42 pace), but I often feel the most comfortable between 7:45-8 when I go by myself. 7:42 is only a touch faster, but when I’m solo I just don’t want to work that hard. But on Sunday, I felt myself cruising comfortably in the 7:30s for most miles, except for miles 8 and 10 (which would be about 60 minutes and 72ish minutes into the run, and if you look at the elevation above you can see why that might be, ha!). I averaged 7:38 pace for the whole run and felt great. I had icicles on my eyelashes when I was done.

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When I was running, I went over a footbridge that I posted a picture of last spring, when it was in full bloom and gorgeous. It was snow covered and gorgeous in the winter too, so I went back post run for a picture:

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After my run, I went home and did my core and MYRTLs for our streak. I have to say, this whole strength streak is really helping me out! I would have used the excuse that I had a great run and it was Valentine’s Day to skip core before, but I just went home and did my 15 minutes before I could talk myself out of it. I did my own planks, bridges, hip drops and leg raises, and a Nike Training Club “Core Strength” workout. Besides, I needed to make sure I burned enough calories for our dinner. We cooked together, and made Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese:

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Followed up by individual Baked Alaskas. This was actually inspired by the Girl Scout cookies in my house. I used crushed up “Thanks A Lots” mixed with melted butter, pressed into ramekins and baked to make a cookie crust. Then, I made homemade Speculoos ice cream (you know, that amazing cookie butter you see in the peanut butter section at the grocery store? I used a whole jar of that in the batter). When I was churning the ice cream, I chopped up an entire box of Caramel Delights and churned them in the ice cream. For the topping, you make a stove top meringue that you torch at the end of the process. It was just egg whites, sugar, vanilla (I am stuck on vanilla bean paste right now) and some cream of tartar. The ice cream gets scooped on the cookie crust, topped with meringue and torched:

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Sometimes we go out for Valentine’s Day, but this year we opted to stay in and cook together. We have been so busy lately – my husband has been renovating our kitchen and working so hard to get the room ready for our cabinets. I’ve been so busy with work, training for Boston and the pole competition that we decided to stay in our pajamas, cook together and spend the night in. It was a perfect end to a perfect weekend.

How was your week? I’m sorry I’ve been sucking at reading blogs lately. Hoping to have a better handle on life this week!

Swim:  0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥  Run: 66 miles

Boston Marathon Training, Hansons: Week 5

I know, I know. What happened to weeks 2-4?

Training happened, and some didn’t happen due to being pretty sick over the holidays. Blogging definitely didn’t happen (I’m so sorry!! I missed all of you!!! I started to get caught up last Friday…I still have more reading and commenting to do!). I was burned out and just zoned out while watching TV and knitting…my lazy alter-ego took over. I feel like weekly training recaps are the same as getting on the scale to lose weight. Like as soon as I start doing it, things get better. It’s just a matter of doing it again.

Speaking of stepping on the scale, I went a little nuts and ate whatever I wanted too. It was glorious. When we came back to work on 1/4, we started a Biggest Losers club at our school. 30 teachers joined! We did a $10 buy in so the “Biggest Loser” will win 80% of that, 20% to second place and the 3rd place gets their money back. We are organizing weekly fitness classes and have little prizes to distribute.

I am not overweight but I want to lose what I gained over the holidays (from Thanksgiving to New Years, 7lbs! I can’t say I’m shocked) and maybe an additional 5-7 lbs to be at racing weight for Boston. So I joined the club. I know there are people who want to kick off a huge loss goal (one woman wants to lose like 60 lbs) so I have no intentions of winning. I wanted to support the crew and give them my $10 to make the pot a little bigger and more lucrative. I am also going to dust of my yoga mat and teach a few free yoga classes to the crew. It’s been awhile since I taught anything.

So weeks 2&4 happened and were mainly fine, even though I was exhausted in week 2 from the holiday and felt horrendous. No recap of those weeks because I did NOT want to own up to anything I did. I did go for a run in shorts and a tank on Christmas morning, though. That was awesome.

Week 3 was an absolute shit show and we aren’t going to rehash that. I don’t think I ever fully recovered from the cold from hell over Thanksgiving, and it came back with a serious vengeance over week 3. Enough said.

As far as the Hansons plan is concerned, I think I love it. I say “I think” because I live in fear of most runs: the tempos and interval days are hardcore, and then you get these “easy” runs thrown in that feel NOTHING but easy. I feel like my running is WAY more structured using Hansons. Even things like chores and meal planning seems to be a little less chaotic because I have the same schedule each week. The running, however…HARD! SO HARD! You guys, this plan is NO FREAKING JOKE. Before following Colby, I always thought Hansons was the slacker plan. Ha. Ha. HA. Let me tell you – my legs have no idea what hit them.

Here’s my pace guide:

Marathon Goal –  3:05
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs –  7:03/mile
Recovery Runs – 9:11/mile
Aerobic A/Easy – 8:36
Aerobic B/Easy – 8:01
Long Run: 7:42

Monday, 1/11: 7 Mile Easy Run + Pole Fitness

I felt pretty good. I was only scheduled for six miles but in the Hansons plan, they say to add on your easy runs if you want more volume. I ended up running with Emily and she wanted to just do a portion of my run. By the time I ran her to her car to meet her and then back to my car (we were parked in different lots at the parkway), I was at 7 miles. I felt good, and I was right in between my Aerobic A/B paces.

I went to pole class, but lately it’s been all combo work so that means all videos. I promise to get some good pictures soon!

Tuesday, 1/12: Track Workout: 3 mile warm up, 5×1000 w/400 recoveries, 3 mile cool down (about 10 miles) + Myrtls/Core

We FINALLY HAD SNOW IN THE FORECAST which was awesome, but I didn’t know when it was going to hit and I didn’t know what it would do to the track. I ended up on the treadmill, but it was a great workout. I was holding my intervals at about a 6:15 pace (9.6 mph), trying to do my 1000s in under 3:54. This is the slower end of my speed range, and more consistent with running around a 3:10 marathon. It was a HUGE improvement from my 800s last week though, which I felt terrible for. Also I didn’t go flying off the treadmill so I really consider that a win. Speed wise, I am not where I want to be right now but each run is getting better.

I did MYRTLs and core after I was done. I felt pretty good after the workout.

Wednesday, 1/13:  30 Minutes Elliptical + Core+ Pole Fitness 

I wanted to do something to loosen my legs up, so I went to the gym for the elliptical. It was a ‘rest” day on my plan, but I felt stiff so I wanted to get moving. I could only stomach 30 minutes on that tortuous machine – I really dislike the elliptical – and followed it up with about 20 minutes of core work.

After work, I headed to pole and we kept working on combos, but I did get a cool picture of a move I learned called a Chestbreaker:

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It actually doesn’t hurt my chest and I really liked it. The thing that scared me about it was the entrance. You get into it from a shoulder mount. I had trouble in the beginning getting my shoulder mount, and even though I can do it now I get nervous anytime it’s part of a move or a combo.

Thursday, 1/14: 11 Mile Tempo Run w/6 Miles @ Goal Marathon Pace + MYRTLs/Core

Holy crap. I was dreading this run like you would not BELIEVE. I was so scared I wasn’t going to be able to do it. Last week, I was on the STRUGGLE BUS. I did last week’s on the treadmill because I was just scared of it, and I had a rough time. Last week, I couldn’t touch that 7:03 pace for one mile. Well, it was a brand new week and I went in with a positive attitude. My legs felt great. My lungs weren’t too happy with the cold weather, but I actually averaged under a 7 minute mile for half of the miles, and hit my pace for the run. I was on cloud nine! I went home and did MYRTLs, core, and a little yoga. I was beyond excited.

Friday, 1/15: 7 Mile Recovery Run + Pole Fitness 

I’ve decided that my most dreaded run of the week is actually the Friday easy run. You see, I do the tempo run on Thursday after work, but I do my Friday run in the morning. If I plan to run after work, I’ll miss pole class and I really like the Friday class. If I go at lunch, there will probably be a fire drill and I’ll be put in another weird situation (we actually got an e-mail on Thursday warning us that there might be one, and I was not taking chances with that again).

There’s less than 12 hours of recovery in there, and I have to run at O-Dark-Thirty (I started at 4:45 am this week). It’s on the road that my house is on, which is not my favorite place to run. I could keep whining, but I think you get it. I keep this run closer to a recovery pace because I feel like complete asshole. There isn’t a lot to re-cap, except that I survived and it’s over. Sweet Jesus, thank you for that.

Friday’s pole class was mostly a review of the combos and moves we did earlier in the week. It was really fun and low key, and I got a cool video of my jade split that I posted on Instagram. Any moves with the word “split” are usually horrific for me and my tight hamstrings, and the jade split is never my favorite since you need to get your legs pretty straight. It’s not a hard move, but mine still isn’t great. For some reason, it didn’t look awful on Friday!

Saturday, 1/16: 6 Mile Easy Run + Pole Fitness 

It was a damp, rainy morning and I ended up wearing too much clothing for this run because by the end of it, it was sunny and warm. I didn’t feel terrible but I kept the pace nice and easy. I headed right to pole class afterwards and my two sister in laws and I had a blast playing around with some doubles/triples moves:

My sister-in-law, Tracie, on the left and me on the right in pink and yellow doing extended butterflies:

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And regular butterflies:

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Then the three of us (I’m on the floor in the backbend!):

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Sunday: 1/17: 12 Mile Easy Run

This was awesome. I wasn’t sure how it would go. I ran with one of our local runners, Megan, who is super speedy. She’s won Steamtown and has qualified for the Olympic Trials. She claims she’s “slow” these days – well, we hung on to a 7:20 overall pace and had a blast doing it. I felt so awesome. We talked the whole time and the miles FLEW by. Honestly, I needed a run like this SO badly and had such a great time running with her. She’s super sweet and down to earth. We ran on the Plainfield trail, and started a little later than I usually begin long runs (10am – I’m usually running around 6:30 with Mark and Kathy, but they were running the Houston Chevron Marathon). It was such a great run. I needed it!!

Overall, this was a productive week. I began to feel a lot better with my running, diet, and life in general.

Have you ever had one run, or a week of running that made you feel like things were back on track?

Swim:  0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥  Run: 53 miles

Weekly Update: 5/11 to 5/17

“Running gave me a whole new life. I can’t even remember my past—it’s like it wasn’t me. I have a good life now, and it’s all because I run.” – Bill O’Shields

I might have overdone it with the pictures…but it was such a gorgeous week!

Monday2600 Meter Swim + Strength/Core/PT/Stretching
Besides feeling like a truck hit me from the weekend run and bike miles, it was pretty uneventful! Took me awhile to warm up in the pool and I felt weak when I was lifting. I stretched and foam rolled at home later that night.

TuesdayYoga + 10 General Aerobic Run
I felt pretty stiff when I hit my yoga mat, but put in a solid hour of yoga before work, including core work. It felt great to start the day with low impact activity. After work, it was 87 degrees and SUPER windy. It was such a pretty day, even though the weather was not ideal:

imageI was supposed to do 8 miles between 7:45-8 minute pace, but I ended up doing 10 at 7:58. Not as fast as I’d hoped – I wanted to be closer to that 7:45. Even though I couldn’t pick it up, my splits were very consistent and I didn’t feel like I was being tortured, so I added distance to compensate for the lack of speed. There was so much pollen in the air that my throat felt like I swallowed sand, and my whole body was coated in it by the time I finished. I started the run with form drills, did MYRTLs after, and spent time foam rolling and stretching while watching TV later that night.

WednesdayTrack Workout (3 x 3200 @ Goal Marathon Pace) + Yoga

imageNo, I didn’t do hurdles 🙂 I would eat sh*t if I tried those.  I did some core work in the morning and headed to the track at Parkland High School after work. I reeeaaaalllly dragged my feet in getting started. I don’t do 3200s that often (or ever, really), and I hadn’t done a single track workout since late December. It was right after Christmas, and right around the time my Achilles freaked out on me. I wasn’t trying to hit 5K pace and I know I’ve done some speed since then, but I was scared. I didn’t want to set myself back with my Achilles or feel like crap in general. My goal marathon pace is 7:00/mile. My workout was to warm up for a mile, do 3×2 miles at 7:00 pace with two minute jog recoveries, and cool down for a mile. Here’s how the workout really went:

  • Warmup: 1 Mile @ 8:34 (Easy Means Easy!)
  • 3200 #1: 6:54, 6:52
  • Recovery: .32 miles @ 8:37
  • 3200 #2: 6:48, 6:41
  • Recovery: .31 miles @ 8:16
  • 3200 #3: 6:54, 6:43
  • Recovery: .38 miles @ 8:43
  • Cooldown: 1 mile @ 9:09
  • Overall Pace: 7:27

I. Was. STOKED. I had so many positives that came from this run, and only one negative. The positives: I negative split each 3200 (I was trying to). My first one was my slowest one, but usually my last one is my slowest one because I burn myself out by going too hard. It was my first track workout in forever and I felt like I nailed it. I felt good, and my legs felt fresh. My achilles didn’t ache during (a little after, but totally normal). My only negative was that I wanted my last repeat to be my fastest. I was pretty happy that my final mile was the second fastest of the entire workout, though.

I left and did a short yoga practice – about 40 minutes. Not the full hour I’d planned on, but I felt good after the track workout and I was glad to stretch it all out. I made sure to foam roll and ice my Achilles while watching TV later that night – being consistent seems to really be making a difference.

Thursday 5 Mile Recovery Run + 25 Mile Ride
It was a true spring morning and I headed out with the intention of running four easy miles. I expected to feel terrible from the speed workout but my legs felt decent. I still kept the pace nice and easy, averaging 8:23 (right in my recovery zone) but I ended up running five miles. It was 42 degrees and the sun was coming up! After work, the weather was still pretty incredible so I headed out for a nice ride and found some great new roads while exploring:

imageI came home and did MYRTLs, core, stretched and foam rolled. It was a great day!

Friday2700 meter Swim  + Strength/Core/PT/Stretching
I had zero desire to swim when I woke up and almost skipped it. But I told myself if I went and started and still felt badly after the first set, I’d listen to my body and hit the hot tub or the sauna. I made it through the warm-up and the first set, so I kept going and felt better than I thought. After work, the last thing I wanted to do was go back to the gym, but I went and busted out my strength/core/PT in record time. I just really wasn’t feeling it on Friday.

Saturday18 mile Run + 18 Mile Ride + Stretching/Core
I got up early, ate my bagel and almond butter, packed my gear and headed out. My plan was to run a loop near the trail that I often run on, but to stick mainly to roads to get a good dose of hills. I’d planned to run parts of the trail to switch up the surface and give my Achilles a rest. My route ended up being absolutely perfect. It was overcast, humid, and drizzled every so often (which felt great). I started easy- actually, I was running easy for the first eight miles, averaging 7:45-8s (but closer to the 8 minute range for most). Once I hit the trail for a stretch around mile nine, I decided to get my sh*t together and pick up the pace. I used a strategy that comes from my girl Ashley over at PrettyPinkLaces (check her out – badass Ironman/triathlete/runner!): at the beginning of a mile, she picks up the pace for one minute. I like this strategy because when you relax and kick back, you have higher turnover from your pickup and hold a stronger pace. It’s like a glorified fartlek. I decided I’d try it for the middle portion of my run and see how it went. Well, I averaged well under 7:30 for the remainder of my run, with the exception of one or two miles in there where I hit some pretty nasty hills! Overall pace, 7:39. Success!

I met up with my buddy/neighbor, the one and only Bart Yasso and Bill (keep reading for more about him) for coffee at Starbucks. I spent time chatting and recovering before I hopped on my bike and did a nice recovery ride. It was just over an hour and I covered 18.39 miles. Since I didn’t have to start from my house, I didn’t have to climb the HUGE mountain that I live on the other side of to get to the area where I enjoy riding. By this point, the sun was shining and it was absolutely perfect out:

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I waited until after my run to do form drills, but I still did them. I wanted to save energy but I didn’t want to skip them. I did the drills, MYRTLs, core, stretching and foam rolling once I finally got home.

Sunday8 Mile Recovery Run + 51 Mile Ride + Stretching/Core
I felt surprisingly good when I woke up on Sunday and got the bright idea to head to Trexler Game Preserve to run the Border Trail as my recovery run. I was inspired by Jen Chooses Joy, who has been KILLING it on the trails lately! The elevation kind of makes the word “recovery” obsolete:

btrail

However, the pace was sloooowwwww because much to my surprise, my husband decided to join me! Here we are at the creek crossing – you have to go through the water to stay on the trail:

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I don’t know the trail at the game preserve well but I want to start going there more often. It’s got some sick climbs and uneven terrain so when he got wind of where I was going, I think he offered to come out of concern. But I didn’t care. However, dude hasn’t run since ummmm…2009? And he goes and busts out 8.5 miles with 1,500 feet of elevation gain? Way to just jump back into it. He doesn’t work out – he has an extremely physical job, but he doesn’t have any sort of regular exercise regimen. Not one crunch, push up, etc. I wish I could say I hate him…but he’s pretty great 🙂 I’m pretty sure it took me almost an hour longer with him tagging along, but I didn’t care. He can come every week if he wants to. Here are some more shots from the creek:
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And from the mild sections of the trail:

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After our run, I would have been good with calling it a day but I had planned a long ride for the afternoon. My coach didn’t give me bike rides for the weekend but I truly enjoy being outside so I add them in. Plus, I’ve been feeling REALLY strong after a few weeks of ramping up my bike miles. Emily and I hit the road with a route in mind but I was considering cutting it short if my legs felt fatigued. Once we got moving, I felt great. I’d come up with a fun new route that had a whole bunch of new roads to explore. We did about another 3,000 feet of climbing. The loop we did looks pretty cool on a map:

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Since the morning run took longer than expected and I hung around with Emily for a bit after the ride, I bailed on everything else: my form drills, MYRTLs, core, etc. I did foam roll and ice my Achilles, though. I don’t feel bad about it – it was one missed day of those, and I’ve been diligent for the past three weeks.

Totals
Swim: 5300 meters ♥ Bike:  89 miles ♥  Run: 50 miles

Other fun events from the week…on Friday night, my friend Bill was in town. He’s actually a friend of Bart Yasso’s that I met when we all traveled to a the Marshall Marathon together. He was featured in the November 2011 issue of Runner’s World. They did a story about how running changed his life. He was incarcerated for 14 years and began running at 36 years old, and it saved his life. He went from being a several pack per day smoker to running 70 miles per week on a half mile “track” in prison. He’s truly an amazing person with an incredible story. He reached out to Bart when he was in prison to tell him his story, and they’ve been friends ever since. In the fall, he qualified for Boston at a race down south – ran something like a 3:11! When I ran a marathon in Columbia, SC last year, he met up with us and ran it:

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Bil on the left, Mark A. in the middle, and me!

He’s from South Carolina, and he came up this weekend and stayed with Bart to run the Pocono Run for the Red Marathon on Sunday. To get him all carbed up and ready for the race, Bart had a little pizza party for him with few of us that know Bill. Bart lives five minutes from my house. It was such a fun night! Bart is pretty into biking these days and was showing us his amazing bike collection…and his dusty Zipp wheels:

imageYup, those are COBWEBs collecting on those amazing wheels! What?! I’ll take them off of his hands and clean them up any day!!

Oh yeah – the weather was hot,humid, and extremely sunny on Sunday. Our buddy Bill pulled a 3:17 in the marathon! I heard there were a TON of DNFs at the race due to conditions, and he goes and kills it anyway. Incredible!

Have you ever gone trail running? Anyone else feel like becoming a runner has changed your life and had a positive impact?

Finally Pulled the Trigger

gmas(0)I’ve been saying “maybe I’ll run Grandma’s Marathon this year” since January. Maybe even since last year. The marathon is on June 20th (as in, like a month and a half away). Here we are in the beginning of May, and I still keep saying, “maybe I’ll run Grandma’s Marathon this year”. I was relaxing and watching some TV on my couch the other night and thought, “Wow, Grandma’s is soon. I wonder if it sells out?” So in a moment of panic, I went to the site and shelled out a disgusting amount of money to sign up. I could have saved like $25 if I would have just gotten on this sooner. I think my total ended up being $150 because they charged me an $8 convenience fee on top of the hefty $115 registration fee, and I bought two tickets for the pasta dinner. I’m a sucker for those, but I know I can do pasta the night before a race and it’s usually a reasonably priced dinner option. One less thing to plan. Rumor has it that Grandma’s is a pretty spectacular race so I’m hoping it’s all worth it.

While I’m being honest, I’m going to throw my goal out there. I know I’ve posted that I’m dying for a sub-3 finish, but I haven’t worked for it yet. I haven’t been able to put in an injury- free training cycle of tempo runs, track workouts, etc. Also, since I’ve set the goal to break three hours, I’ve made a rather large pacing mistake TWICE during marathons and paid for it. I keep going out at that aggressive 3 hour pace (or faster) and trying to hold it right out of the gates. But my PR is a 3:06, which is still like an eternity away from three hours. At this point, six minutes is HUGE and I need to be more realistic about how I chip away at that. I completely blew up at Clarence Demar trying to go sub-3. While I was suffering from Achilles issues by the time I toed the line at the Lost Dutchman, I did the same thing there (like how my first mile was a 6:35. Really? Why?? Dumb. If paced correctly, 6:35 is completely unnecessary at any point of a sub-3 marathon). I can’t expect to see a six minute PR at this point in the game, especially without working for it. So my goal for Grandma’s is to run a 3:05. 7:00/mile. This is something I know am capable of. Now I just need to make it happen.

Here’s why I can do it: I went out with a goal of 3:05 at Boston . It wasn’t my day for that time, and the course is a lot hillier and the conditions were rough. I ran a 3:14 there with about six weeks of training due to my bum Achilles. Those six weeks weren’t always solid, either – there were bad days with my injury that often held me back and frustrated me. After finishing that 3:14, I wasn’t super beat up and recovered relatively quickly. That tells me that I have more to give. In Boston, I ran a conservative race with an injured and scared mindset, and it paid off because I finished strong and felt great the whole time. Sure, I had some endurance built up from before the injury and the training I was able to complete helped – but holding back in the beginning is what made that time and how I felt after the race possible. It’s my hope that going into Grandma’s I’ll have that endurance, combined with my six weeks of pre-Boston training, Boston, and the next eight weeks to tune things up.

It’s possible I’ll need to shy away from hill specific training to keep my Achilles on the mend, but I can simulate running steep hills by climbing them on my bike. At this time last year, I was also training for an IRONMAN 70.3 so I was swimming a few times per week (much like I am now) and riding a few times per week. Cycling really helps develop quads and large muscle groups in your legs. Though I’m not the speediest on my bike, I could power up a hill running like it was nothing while I was spending more time in the saddle. Grandma’s has some hills, but nothing crazy, so biking will be extremely beneficial. The elevation profile of the course makes it seem like its rolling hills (which I like), with a net downhill at the start:

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Additionally, I ran a 3:18 last year at Boston and then ran my 3:06 in June (the exact same time frame). The timeline fits, so if I was in 3:14 shape at Boston this year, I think I have a chance at being in 3:05 shape by Grandma’s. There’s also a 3:05 pacer. While I don’t normally run with pacers, it could be beneficial for me to consider it here and it’s nice to know the option is available.

Here’s why it’s a long shot: my Achilles could act up at anytime – during training, or on race morning. Throughout the next eight weeks I have to be realistic that it could happen and I might need to re-evaluate my whole goal. Or maybe I just had a good day in Boston and got lucky. Maybe I’m not even in 3:14 shape right now. It’s also possible the goal of 3:05 is too aggressive for the time frame I have to work with.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. I can’t listen to the maybes anymore. That’s not me. I’m going for it anyway. Could end disastrous, but I won’t know until I try! Here’s to the next eight weeks of fun!

Recovery Week 2: 4/27-5/3

Before this week began, I sat down with my coach and went over ideas for what I wanted to do now that Boston is over. Mostly, the races I’m planning for are in the fall. But there are a few spring/summer events pending on the schedule. Possibly a 5K in May, hopefully Grandma’s Marathon in June, an open water swim in July, and either an Olympic or 70.3 triathlon in August. Ultimately, my one major goal is to break three hours in a marathon. I know I still have a lot of work to do, and my Achilles still isn’t cooperating with me. The whole injury thing was certainly a set back, but I’m not going to abandon my goal. For someone like me, these things don’t happen overnight and require time and hard work. It might mean more set backs, and it might take me years. Just getting to where I am now took me years. I’m okay with that.

The other part of my goal is to finally be able to enjoy training throughout the summer. I’m a teacher and I’m off all summer, and last year I spent it dealing with a bum calf. I want to be able to go to the track, do tempo runs, trail runs, long bike rides and whatever else I feel like doing without aggravating whatever injury is currently plaguing me.

Since I’m considering heading to Duluth for Grandma’s, I wanted to see how I responded to some distance over the past week. I also wanted to keep most of the effort easy as I’m still in recovery mode from Boston. I had a great plan – and then ended up with this weird fever on Monday. By Tuesday night, I was completely fine, like it never happened at all. It was strange. So my week got a little messed up at first, but I got it done:

  • Monday & Tuesday – Rest. I literally slept from Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning with just a few little breaks. I felt terrible and had a 101 fever!
  • Wednesday – 6 mile recovery run,  and tried out some form drills before the run (post coming soon!), completed my MYRTL routine, 20 minutes of foam rolling/stretching, 20 minutes of abs, and a 1 minute plank. I felt pretty weak running but it was so gorgeous out that I just took my time and enjoyed the weather. I kept my pace easy, right in my recovery zone.
  • Thursday – 2,800 meter swim, running form drills, 8 mile general aerobic run, MYRTL routine, 20 minutes of foam rolling/stretching, 15 minutes of abs, and a 1:10 minute plank. I actually felt pretty terrible on my run. The workout was to warm up and cool down for a mile each, and to do 6 miles @ 7:45 in the middle. Normally, this would be fine. I got it done and was on pace, but I was SO GLAD when it was over! My Achilles ached, and it was warm out – which is great, but I think I’m still getting used to it. Oh well. They can’t all feel good, right?
  • Friday – 2,700 meter swim, running form drills, 4 mile recovery run, MYRTL routine, 20 minutes of foam rolling/stretching, 15 minutes of abs, and a 1:20 minute plank. Ended up hitting Lehigh Parkway with Emily for a nice easy run. We kept the pace comfortable and even though I was a little sore from the past few days, I felt much better than the day before.
  • Saturday – Form drills, 14 mile long run, MYRTL routine, Strength/Core at the gym, 50 minute bike ride, 40 minutes of foam rolling/stretching, 1:20 minute plank. My legs were sore before I began running, but once I warmed up I felt pretty good. I ran with two speedy friends from my area and we had a blast! It felt good to run long with a group again. I really enjoyed the solo running time I had while injured, but it was a nice change to grind out some miles with the girls! We held a pretty aggressive pace and it was much faster than my Thursday run and my Achilles felt decent. So confusing since I thought maybe the pace was what aggravated it on Thursday.
  • Sunday – Form drills, 6 mile recovery run with Brooke, MYRTL routine, 35 mile bike ride, 15 minutes of core, 1:20 minute plank. I fully expected to start running and for my Achilles to feel pretty aggravated after Saturday, but to my surprise it was no worse for the wear. Still a little achy, but not exacerbated by the run. On the bike ride, I forgot to stop my watch when I stopped to eat my snack so I only have a little idea about what kind of pace I was doing. I knew the first 16 miles were pretty hilly and that I could let it fly in the second half so I just relaxed and didn’t push until I got to the top of my final climb. I tried out a new route that took me over to a local ski resort that has some surrounding roads with notorious climbs:Untitled-1It was so worth the climbing when I got to come flying down the mountain around mile 16. I felt like I could ride forever. I almost extended the ride and made it closer to 40-45 miler, but I remembered I needed to get home and do a million things around my house. Just a few more weeks of school and then I’ll have more time to enjoy being outside! I even got a little sunburn from riding – summer is coming!

Totals
Swim: 5,500 meters ♥ Bike: 48 miles ♥  Run: 38 miles

Last week, I posted about seven areas that I wanted to begin to integrate into my training – some old habits, some new ones. Here’s how that went:

  1. Yoga: I didn’t get on my mat for a formal yoga practice but I knew that wasn’t going to be an option last week since I was playing catch up with my workouts from being sick on Monday and Tuesday. However, I did get on my mat for 15-20 minutes to stretch/foam roll and I incorporated yoga poses into that. I spent twice that amount of time on Saturday since I ran longer and pushed the pace. My goal for the current week is to complete two one hour yoga sessions where I focus on just practicing yoga.
  2. Core: Once I was back at it again, I did some form of core every single day. Whether it was something from my coach or something of my own, I did made sure to just do something.
  3. Foam Rolling – Some days I focused more on foam rolling, but I used my foam roller every day.
  4. MYRTLs – Completed after each run.
  5. Form Drills – Completed before each run. I tried something new every day and came up with a routine of my own that works for me.
  6. Diet – I cleaned things up pretty nicely and didn’t lie to my Fitness Pal app at all. I consider that a win. I have some new recipes to try this week and I’m looking forward to using my new grill.
  7. Physical Therapy – I only got to strength train once (usually I go twice each week) and I did some of my PT that day, but I’ll be focusing on incorporating this over the next week.

I was also diligent with icing, Epsom salt baths, and utilizing my night splint. I haven’t really spent time icing my Achilles so I used an ice pack each night regardless of whether it ached or not. I took Epsom salt baths several times this week, and slept with my night splint that I used when I had plantar fasciitis. It keeps the Achilles tendon in a flexed state while sleeping. I figured something has to help, and hopefully anyone going through this same thing might get some benefit from hearing my possible solutions. This didn’t happen overnight, and I went through a good period of time where I was just going to PT and that was it. I realize that I will need to work at fixing this.

Some eye candy from my running and biking adventures this week…

How was your weekend? Have any good training runs or races? How was the weather by you?

Making Old Habits New Again

This past Monday was supposed to be my first day out of my complete Boston recovery mode and easing myself back into the swing of things. I’ve pretty much decided (still finalizing details) that I’m going to run Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in June. I want to get a good long run in this weekend before making my final decision. From Boston to Grandma’s is a 10 week stretch, so I felt confident that it is a good pick and could be a successful race.

Except I woke up Monday morning feeling off. My intention was to swim in the morning and do strength and PT exercises in the afternoon. When I woke up feeling weird and off, I decided I would workout in the afternoon and stay in bed a little longer. Well, as the day progressed I felt worse and worse – so I went home and found out I had a fever of 101! It was so weird because I had no other symptoms that usually accompany a higher fever – I just had chills, aches, and a fever. No sore throat, no stuffy nose, no cough. I took a sick day from work on Tuesday and basically slept from Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning, with a few breaks to watch TV or go on my computer. It was so odd. Then, I got my daily update from the TimeHop app on my phone only to find that I was home sick twice in previous years on this same day! I think Boston training really took it’s toll on me this year, especially since I was in panic mode with my injury. I think my body finally told me that I needed to slow down. I got the hint!

When I was coherent yesterday afternoon, I was reviewing my workouts from my coach. He gives me my run workouts, but also some swim, bike, core and strength workouts. So I’m pretty set with the cross training, but with my Achilles injury and fitting in physical therapy, I slacked in some areas that I’m usually on top of. Over the next 9 weeks as I head to Grandmas, these are areas that I am recommitting to improving and/or incorporating regularly:

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    Practicing Second Series, just over a year ago!

    Yoga: One thing I rarely talk about anymore is yoga. I’m actually a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance. I am considered an RYT and completed my 200 hour teacher training program in 2009. I used to practice Ashtanga yoga six days per week and had an intense practice. I believe the intensity of my practice prevented me from getting faster – there is such a thing as being too flexible when it comes to running. I also believe that doing some form of yoga has incredible value and should be incorporated to keep muscles and fascia flexible to prevent injury. I believe my lack of yoga is the main cause of my Achilles issues, because my calves were never tight when I practiced yoga regularly. I plan to schedule at least two days per week where I get on my mat and practice the Primary Series Syllabus from Ashtanga Yoga. I used to practice second and third series, but that’s a story for another day. While I don’t think I should be on my mat as often as I used to be if my goal is to run faster, I do think it needs to be part of my weekly fitness routine.

  2. Core: I used to do core every single day. I did this for the past year, but once I got to the point where I was trying to do a million things and fit in PT, I slacked. No more excuses. I’m back to doing core everyday – including daily planks. I used to be able to do something like a 5 minute plank. I’m bringing it back.
  3. Foam Rolling – Every week, I say this is the week that I will foam roll after every run. Or even just for 3 minutes each day. My foam roller stares at me from my living room floor but do I use it? Rarely. I have a travel sized one that comes with me to work everyday, but do I take it out of my bag? Nope. Time to make this a daily habit.
  4. MYRTLs – A while back, a fellow blogger introduced me to the MYRTL routine to strengthen your hips and I loved it. I did it regularly after every single run and I truly felt it working. Again, enter physical therapy and I also dropped my MYRTL routine. Time to recommit to post run MYRTLs.
  5. Form Drills – This is an area where I have zero experience. I want to begin all of my runs with some form drills. Partially so it will warm up my muscles before running, but also because if I do it right before a run, it might start to translate into keeping good form throughout my run, even after fatigue hits. You know, the whole muscle memory thing.
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    Me at racing weight! Not too far off.

    Diet – I eat pretty healthy and try to follow a Paleo diet because I have a love/hate relationship with gluten. Sometimes I can tolerate it, sometimes not so much. But I have a sweet tooth. I use Fitness Pal but often lie to it so I need to start owning up to what I’m eating. I’d like to lose about 6-7lbs to get to what I believe would be my ideal racing weight, and nine weeks is reasonable to make a good dent in that. Plus, lets be real. I have a pool and it’s almost time to whip out my bathing suit collection.

  7. Physical Therapy – I was released from PT but I’m still not 100% healed. I need to make sure I stick with the exercises that we covered in PT to make sure I can continue the healing process. I like doing them on the days I hit the gym to strength train since all of the equipment I need is there. I didn’t do them the week of the marathon or the week after, but now that I’m ready to roll again it’s back to my routine.

My thinking is if I post about it, I will hold myself more accountable. I’m interested to see how things go over the next nine weeks by focusing on some of these critical areas.