Thursday, August 25, 2011

Marathon Widower

It happened a little bit earlier in the training cycle then I expected but last night Matt "delicately" noted that it seemed like I was gone all the time and that I always seemed to be smelly/in my running clothes. OUCH. And to his defense, he tried not to express this in an unkind way but of course I got defensive.

I immediately started jumping to conclusions: "What do you mean? I thought you said you supported my marathon training"

"I do...I am so proud of you, babe, but I don't know if I can handle you running 5 days a week plus the weekends" (He was being dead serious)

Well, I think we all know my training plan DOES NOT call for running "5 days a week PLUS the weekends" (I have 4 runs planned during the week plus at least 2 cross training sessions) BUT I get the point and I know that I am very rarely at home before 7:00p.m. these days for one reason or another.

I really do try my very best to find some sort of balance between work, training and my family and friends and it would be easy to say that Matt is being selfish but I don't think he is: He's not telling me stop running, but he IS communicating that he feels like we need more time together. And it's important to listen even though it can be hard.

You might notice in my training logs that there are a lot of "walk with Matt + dogs" and we both love and cherish that time together. However, and this is me being completely honest, sometimes my legs are sore and tired and tackling the hills for another 45-60 minutes feels like a sacrifice on my end...I would love to, at that point in the day, just plop my butt on the couch and relax but it's a healthy choice and one that ends up sparking a lot of great conversation because we are not distracted by TV, social media, our phones, etc.

Could I get up and get all of my runs done before work? Not all but maybe I can switch *something* to an a.m. schedule on occasion. (My long run is usually complete before Matt is even out of bed, so that's 1 run already accomodated) I am NOT a morning person and early morning meetings at work sometimes make this a fairly prohibitive option (If I need to be at work at 6:30a.m. I am NOT getting up to run, shower and commute beforehand!!) Maybe Matt would be willing to run with me after work? Even part of my mileage?

I was talking to L. about this at lunch today because it has been weighing on my mind and I talked myself into the following conclusion: For me, finding balance can often be harder than the actual workout

Yes, the workouts are physically demanding, often quite taxing and sometimes unpleasant BUT I can endure that for 45-60 minutes or whatever the length of my commitment. It's shuffling things around to make room for LIFE that can often cause consternation. "I have XYZ commitment, maybe I can move this run to the morning...oh but I have an early meeting OR well, if I move this to the morning then I have less than 12 hours between tough workouts and I don't want to completely kill myself before ABC OR well, I can move this to my rest day but then I will have run/worked out 7 days in a row and if I do that I put myself at the brink of overdoing it/risking injury, etc etc etc" And sometimes, there really is just no good way to shuffle, so you skip the workout or flake out on your friends/family/whatever other request may be coming your way.

I have to remember that what I do on any ONE day is not going to make or break my training; it's what I do over the course of the training cycle that will get me to the start AND finish happy and healthy.

Any tips you have for finding balance?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chickamauga Training: Week 5 Recap

If there was ever a week for flexibility this was it. I almost didn't post the "planned" schedule because it was pretty clear from the get go that this week was going to be all about accomodating a lot of events that are out of the routine. Some things were planned in advance, some added kind of last minute and some I just didn't consider the impact of how busy my day was actually going to be. Without further adieu...

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Week #5...

Monday, August 8
Plan: 3 miles
Actual: Rest (otherwise known as run errands and stress about big presentation on Tuesday)

I was actually really looking forward to getting out and clearing my head for about 30 minutes but the festivities from Sunday (Matt's dad's b'day) ended up impacting the things I needed to do Monday. After leaving work late, going for a quick manicure, eating dinner and going grocery shopping it was past 9:30. With nerves about my presentation skyrocketing, I opted to spend more time with my slides instead of hitting the road. I was pretty much a ball of nerves the rest of the evening, tossing and turning with insomnia until nearly 2:00.

Tuesday, August 9
Plan: 6 miles
Actual: More rest (unplanned)

I had a 15-20 minute presentation this afternoon to deliver to 50-75 of the top executives and senior leadership in my company. While I knew most of the room pretty well and work regularly with many of them, I am still a junior executive and this is the group that can significantly influence my career trajectory within the company, so I was TERRIFIED that my performance anxiety was going to take over and that I was going to bomb the presentation. How's that for positive self-talk? I had a busy morning so I was able to keep myself distracted and I was trying to pump myself up in preparation. With my nerves essentially being shot since Monday, I had barely eaten anything the past 2 days. Not good, I know, but I physically could not eat I was so worried.

I am happy to report that I NAILED that presentation!!! I got up and as soon as I started speaking, I knew I was in total and 100% control of myself, the situation and the content. I tried not to overthink and just spoke naturally, moving around the room and engaging with the group. I got high marks from the CEO afterwards and many compliments from others. It was a great feeling to know that I CAN do this and I think that I even shocked my boss (who is a great supporter and mentor) :) However, as soon as I sat down (there were 4 or 5 presentations in the program) my stomach started growling...of course!

When I got home, Matt had prepared an awesome salad (and cookies) but after I ate, it was all I could do to hold my eyes open. With the adrenaline rush over, the exhaustion had set in. I ended up "napping" until nearly 9 and again, it was a little bit too late to get started with an hour long run, given that I had an early meeting in the a.m.

Wednesday, August 10
Plan: Rest
Actual: 3.2 miles

I had originally planned for this to be a rest day because I had an early meeting and Bunco in one of the southern 'burbs after work; however, with 2 rest days in the books I NEEDED (and wanted) to get out there and sweat! I had hoped to leave work a tad early so that I wouldn't be too late to Bunco but my volunteer commitment had an urgent need right around 4:30 so I spent a good half hour coordinating some things for them.

I opted to run downtown so that I wouldn't lose any time to potential traffic making my way to the trail. Ran to RR park, did 2 loops on the trail there and then ran back to my car. I had finally remembered to charge my Garmin but then left it upstairs in my office, so I have no idea of pace but I felt like I was booking it and was nice and schweaty at the end. Luckily I was carpooling with my running buddy, A, and she let me change into clean (running) clothes so that I wouldn't completely stink it up at Bunco.

Had a great time and my friend Amanda cooked us an AMAZING meal...who does not love homemade ginger dressing and veggies with "yumyum" sauce? I even had a BEER which is a rare mid-week thing for me but my body was craving the salt and nothing else would do!

Thursday, August 11
Plan: 35 min tempo
Actual: Rest...AGAIN

And this is what happens when life takes over...

Another day, another 7am meeting so there was definitely no running early this morning but I was still holding out hope that I could make it work in the evening. However, on this evening I was committed to attending a cook out for the new MSHA students WAY OUT in the sticks south of Birmingham. I am on the admissions board and an alumni of the program and the faculty are so gracious to include me on events that involve more than just interviewing and really make me feel like part of the team so I really try to attend whenever I can because I LOVE this aspect of my career/field and truly don't even view it as "work".

Anyway, I was out "in the sticks" from 6-9:15 helping prep dinner, networking, socializing (another beer! 2 in 2 days, what is happening to me?) and then did not get home until just after 10:00 (I told you it was pretty far "out there"...and that was with no took me almost twice as long to get there from downtown). I was actually pretty pleased with my nutrition choices (minus the beer) but it was clear that it was another non-running day in the books. But you know what? I would not change a single thing. I had a GREAT time interacting with the students and the faculy and these are special opportunties that I don't want to miss for a training run.

Friday, August 12
Plan: Rest
Actual: 36 minute tempo run

12 miler tomorrow be damned, my legs were not content to rest today (and we were watching our friends' daughter tonight so it was morning or never). I pretty much rolled right out of bed and into my running shoes this morning without even stopping to think. Out of bed at 6:15 and at the gym by 6:30, I sucked down half of a Gatorade Prime on my drive over. The air felt a little cooler and the sun was just a little bit lower and I was ready to tackle the workout even though I am not usually a morning person. I knew I had some flexibility in my schedule this morning so I didn't have to get up super early which helped make this more bearable.

12 min warm up, 12 min at tempo, 12 min cool down this workout FLEW by I left the workout feeling refreshed and SO GLAD that I got this done. Everything was clicking this morning and really wish I had the flexibility to have finished off a full hour BUT I am not worried about it, as I nailed what I needed to for the moment.

Saturday, August 13
Plan: 12 miles
Actual: 12 miles

Our friends did not get home until nearly 1:00 a.m. Friday night so it was easily 1:30 by the time we got home and passed out. I was wanting to get out early since I knew this workout would take quite a while and I had a friend's bachelorette that I needed to run errands for (and attend), but I hit snooze one too many times. FINALLY at 7:45, I was out the door into the quickly rising sun. I went one of our less explored routes with the plan to loop back by my house after 6 miles, for a water/gatorade refill.

For some reason I could NOT get in the groove this morning and my mind would not zone out. I didn't have my iPod and kept trying to lose myself in various thoughts to no avail. I think the uncertainty of the new route (terrain, dogs, etc) kept me from getting too comfortable. The sun was strong and I was not getting any reprieve from breeze or otherwise so when I looped back home I made the executive decision to haul it up to the gym to finish my next 6 on the treadmill.

Headed to the gym at the halfway point

The 6 on the 'mill went great, I was able to hold a steady pace and my last mile was my fastest as I was able to do a "sprint" progression for the last .75. At the end I was covered in salt but otherwise fine.

My post-run refueling didn't go quite as planned as I had errands to run before my friend's party and Matt had an unexpected dead car battery that left him stranded across the city, but I FINALLY made it to the pool and was able to go into mini-vacation mode for at least a few hours :) And hey, if chocolate milk is a great refueling option then a margarita is even better, right? RIGHT?

For the record:
Pre-run fuel: plan bagel with butter and cinnamon sugar; 8oz diet blueberry green tea
During the run: ~30oz water/gatorade mix (lemon-lime) and ~10oz water plus 3 sports beans each at 40 minute and 1 hr 20 min mark
Wore: Nike running skirt, Auburn tech-tank top (awesome score at Target for $16 and SO comfortable), Wigwam Ironman socks, blue Mizuno Wave Nirvana 7s
Accessories: Garmin, Nathan handheld

Sunday, August 14
Plan: Cross train (choice)
Actual: 2 mile walk w/Matt + dogs

I started out the day doing this:

As part of Tess's bachelorette we had gotten rooms at Ross Bridge with the plan to spend Saturday laying out by the pool, going to dinner and returning to the room for a lingerie shower and fun signature drinks (created and mixed by your truly which is actually really funny b/c I am the person that probably drinks the LEAST out of all of my local friends).

But I digress...many of the girls had to leave kind of early Sunday to go on about their day but Nicole and I stuck around until nearly lunch time soaking in the rays before we had to get back to reality.

After an afternoon of getting caught up on some work, running errands and returning to Ross Bridge b/c I had left my phone charger in the room, Matt and I headed out for a short walk with the girls. I had hardly seen him at all this past week so it was nice catch up and talk before returning home and getting sucked into the vortex of True Blood and Real Housewives.

Overall thoughts:
Considering the week I had, I am pretty amazed that I fit in what I did. I could spend time lamenting over my missed medium-long run (AGAIN) but I know it's not what I do on any given day that's going to make or break my race in November. It's what I do over the course of 18 weeks that will get me to the start (and finish) happy and healthy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chickamauga Training: Week 4 Recap

I've been trying to post this since Monday!! Come on, Blogger...

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Week #4...
Seriously? We're already in week #4??

Monday, August 1
Plan: Rest or Cross Train
Actual: 30 minutes of Exercise TV on Demand (10 minutes belly dancing; 20 minutes hip-hop) + 1 hour massage

Since I didn't do a ton on Sunday, I wanted to do something before heading off to my massage appointment. I thought we might take the dogs for a walk but Matt went to a 5pm showing of Cowboys and Aliens (no thanks!) so I was left to my own devices. I had previously noticed a pretty extensive listing of options when I was flipping through On Demand (to find the latest episode of Teen Mom) so I thought I would look at this a little closer.

I was actually a little overwhelmed by all of the options! (And pretty excited to see several Jillian Options) Not wanting to kill myself though I thought I would try bellydancing and started with a 10 minute video to get warmed up. I don't think I can adequately describe how HORRIBLY BAD I was at this. I was embarrassed that Roxy and Bali were subjected to watching it and was especially thankful that Matt was not home.

Next up? 20 min hip hop dance. There were tons of options for this so I pretty much just chose the first one I came to. Now I know I am not great at hip hop either but I at least feel comfortable with the basics. Admittedly some of the moves (and especially the music) were pretty cheesy, but I was working up a sweat. Matt came home in the middle of this and thankfully spent the remainder of the video time cooking dinner instead of watching (making fun of) me!

Later in the evening had a fabulously painful 1 hour massage at Massage Envy where I got some intense glut/leg work done. Hurt so good and I KNOW I need to keep this up at regular (~3 week) intervals throughout the training cycle.

Tuesday, August 2
Plan: 3 miles + boot camp
Actual: 3.2 miles + 2.5 mile walk w/Matt + dogs

Hello, heat wave!! With triple digit air temps and the heat index topping 110 degrees, boot camp was cancled this evening. Admittedly, I had pretty much decided to skip it anyway (WUSS) but having someone else reaffirm my decision made me feel a tad better. Headed out to the trail for a pretty decent 3 miles. The humidity didn't seem as bad as it had been and only had to take a couple of quick walk breaks at the turn around points.

Took a sweaty walk with Matt and the dogs once I got home, taking the lake route so we could feed the ducks/geese. I am such a dork and I LOVE doing this and interacting with all of the different bird personalities! Just call me the crazy bird lady!

Wednesday, August 3
Plan: 6 miles
Actual: 5.5 miles + 2+ hours walking

I was EXHAUSTED today, wiped out from the heat and then also a walk through at work that was supposed to take 45 minutes...took over 2 hours. Our hospital campus stretches for many, many city blocks (connected for the most part by indoor sky bridges, luckily) and we were moving almost the entire time. I wished I had worn a pedometer to track the number of steps. My legs were really feeling it at the end of this as of course I was in dress shoes and not anything sensible. I had also not really eaten anything for lunch due to a tight schedule with other meetings...

I usually try to run right after work during the week so that when I get home my time is be with Matt, get stuff done, relax, whatever. Tonight I was hungry and cranky and tired and decided to go home for dinner first and then head to the gym to hit the treadmill later.

I finally made it to the gym around 8:15 and decided to run for an hour. (The gym closes at 9:30 and I wanted to make sure I had time to cool down, stretch, etc) As I was walking in I was thinking about how drained I was and how I had been holding on to the great feeling I had on my long run in Auburn and how that was keeping me going despite feeling beat up lately. It's amazing, but this run was JUST what I needed. I was able to keep myself occupied with So You Think You Can Dance and completely get out of my head. I knocked out 5.5 miles in an hour and the best part was that I did not take a single walking break during that time!!! After battling the weather and needing to take walk breaks, it was great to know what my body could still do.

Thursday, August 4
Plan: 4 x hill + yoga
Actual: 4 x hill + 3 mile walk w/Matt + dogs

Confidence building run #2! It had rained a good bit of the day and felt less hot than it had over the past few days (is it sad that low 90s feels like a cold snap?) plus I was blessed with awesome overcast skies. I decided to tackle the downtown hill again since my Garmin was dead and I knew the route/distance/etc. I wish I could compare paces against the first hill effort but it was not to be.

On the first repeat I felt like it was tons easier than last time even though I felt like I was pushing the pace, etc. At the top of the hill, I decided to ditch the handheld so I found a little alcove to hide it in and tucked my key and ID in my bra (in case the handheld got stolen!) Funny how 20oz or so can make such a difference!

I thoroughly enjoyed the workout and was happy to see progress from the last time I attacked the 3x hill workout in week #1.

Yoga was being practiced under the pavilion tonight (b/c of the wet ground) and I was not prepared to practice on concrete so I headed home and out for another nice walk with the "fam". On the way back (with about .75 left to go) the skies grew black and wind picked up and I thought for sure we were going to get caught in a monsoon. My legs were feeling trashed and unable to sprint so we picked up the walking pace and made it back inside just before the skies opened!

Friday, August 5
Plan: Rest
Actual: REST

I had not had a true rest day in almost a week and I was determined to embrace it. Matt tried to talk me into going for a walk and I told him that I just needed a night to chill! We ended up going to the mall instead and I scored a couple of great deals at Banana Republic (25% off clearance + tax free weekend!) and got my eyebrows threaded.

Saturday, August 6
Plan: 11 miles
Actual: P's core routine

We thought that we were having Matt's family over to celebrate his dad's birthday so I made the decision when I went to bed on Friday that I was going to sleep in, do a quick core workout and get ready to entertain.

To make a long story short, we found out that plans were changed to have Sunday dinner together and I took the opportunity to get a few errands done and to relax. It was blazing hot even early in the morning and I hoped that the weather would be more favorable to me on Sunday.

Sunday, August 7
Plan: Cross train (choice)
Actual: Run for 1 hour 45 minutes

When my alarm went off I immediately knew why I had been so tired the past few days: I had the beginning of a migraine. Ugh. The pounding in my eyeballs and stiff neck really made me want to roll over and go back to sleep. I really didn't want a skipped long run hanging over my head though and I thought about Beth getting ready to take on her Half Ironman and it kicked my ass out of bed.

I took my time getting ready and was so grateful to see fully overcast skies. I had a hard time choking down breakfast and decided that I would head out for an hour loop and then reassess how I felt at that point. I had forgotten to charge my Garmin and didn't really care. I also was battling significant anxiety over a presentation I have to give in the coming week and wanted to focus on talking myself through that and I wasn't in the mood for more pressure.

The first hour went by pretty well though toward the end I wasn't feeling so hot. Though it was overcast it was still very warm and humid and I wasn't wanting to drink anything. I tried to eat my sports beans at the 45 minute mark and gagged one up so decided not to try eating anything else. I took a pretty liberal walk break shortly after that but finished strong at my house in 1 hour and 40 seconds (talk about judging time/distance pretty well!) I really wanted to sit but took a moment to drink some undiluted gatorade and headed out in the opposite direction for a 30-45 minute route that I could vary based on how I felt.

The rest seemed to help but I was quickly drained as I came upon hill after hill. I started to feel nauseous but just kept pressing on and made it through the longer 45 minute version. I KNOW this was not 11 miles but was probably somewhere between 9-10 and I am OK with that. I was completely DONE and proud of myself for getting out there even feeling like crap. I ended up napping on the couch before even getting a shower (yes, GROSS but thankfully Matt knew I was not feeling great and did not press the issue...and forget about any sort of refueling) and then taking another nap in the afternoon...trying to sleep off the headache. Is it sad that I am still glad that I ran Sunday...that I would choose to run long with a migraine over running long in the heat?

For the record:
Pre-run fuel: 1/2 of a honey wheat bagel with nutella, about 4oz of water
During the run:not quite 20oz of water/Gatorade mix plus about 8oz undiluted gatorade (lemon-lime)
Wore:UnderArmour capris, Nike dry fit tank, WigWam IronMan socks, blue Mizuno Wave Nirvana 7s, UnderArmour headband
Accessories:basic Timex watch, Nathan hand held