Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Are We There Yet?

For some reason, I woke up this morning convinced that it was Thursday instead of Wednesday.  This week has seemed really long for some reason.  I was supposed to run 4 miles tonight, but opted for a little R&R and have shifted my workout plans to accommodate the rest day.  Instead of resting on Friday, I'm doing it today!

Yesterday's run was good.  I finally got outside after a week and a half of being stuck on the track or the treadmill.

Distance: 3.0
Time: 29:18
Avg. Pace: 9:46

I'll take it!

I'm hoping that the weather man is a liar and we're not getting 1-2 inches of snow tonight.  I'd like to run outside tomorrow!

Monday, January 24, 2011


I hate Monday mornings, but I love Monday nights!  Tonight's yoga class was awesome.  The instructor must have decided that we were a class of overachievers or something, because she offered some more advanced variations of poses for those of us willing to try them...and I love a challenge.  I was one of two people in my class that achieved One Legged King Pigeon Pose (also called Royal Pigeon).  It looks something like this:

Needless to say, I was stoked!  I think I might have a new favorite pose.  My former favorite is Dancer.

I really like pushing both my mind (which often tries to convince me that I'll never be able to do the pose) and my body (which often resists doing what I want it to) in that class. 

My instructor also has a "theme" for each week and this week's theme was Energy.  Essentially, our bodies are full of energy and yoga maximizes that energy.  Interesting.

Now it's time to take my zen-ed out self to bed!

Do you practice yoga?  If so, what's your favorite pose?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Weekly Recap and A Look Back

I've been bad about keeping up with the blog, but on a positive note, I've been good about running!

A quick recap of the last week:

Monday was supposed to be Yoga Night, but Mother Nature had other plans.  We got something like 6 inches of snow which made the city streets more like a luge course (icy, slippery, icky) than roads, so in the interest of not totaling my car I opted to stay home and get a good work out by shoveling our driveway...twice.

On Tuesday, the temperature dropped into the single digits and stayed there for the rest of the week.  I stayed home and curled up under a pile of blankets.

By Wednesday, I couldn't take it anymore.  I dragged my butt to the gym and put in a quick 3 miles on the treadmill.

Distance: 3.0 miles
Time: 30:30
Avg. Pace: 10:10 (My heart just wasn't in it.)

My Warrior Dash team also finished getting their collective butts in gear and we snagged the last open slots in the 8:30am Wave for the Minnesota Warrior Dash in July!  Although it's technically not a team event, you're allowed to run with your friends and help each other out along the way.  We're talking about getting customized t-shirts with Top Gun-esque call signs on the back.  According to my teammates, my call sign will be 'Ringleader'.  I think I kind of like it!!!

Thursday was bad.  I should have gone to the track or the gym, but once I crawled into the house after work, I wasn't going anywhere.  The house was warm.  The windchill outside was -20.  The warm house won. Fortunately, the night wasn't a total loss.  I finally got around to doing a bunch of chores (deep cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, etc.) that I've been putting off due to lack of time.

Friday was crazy.  I left work a little early so I could make it to the indoor track before they shut it down at 6pm!  Normally, the track is open 'til 8pm, but this weekend they were hosting an indoor marathon and needed the time to get ready.  It's never a good thing when you have a jam packed weekend schedule and your go-to place for indoor long runs is going to be unavailable.  I arrived by 4:30pm and by 4:45pm I was running.  At first, I thought I'd just do 3 and get out, but the weather forecast combined with my intense dislike for running long on the treadmill spurred me on to do the 7 miles I had planned to do on either Saturday or Sunday.  In order to get 7 miles, I had to do 25 laps of that about mind-numbing!  I had trouble keeping track of my laps!  Anyway, I had one lap to go and they were shooing people out.  I begged them to let me finish my last lap and surprisingly, they agreed to let me on one condition...I had to sprint the last lap!  Let me tell you, there's nothing like trying to sprint just over a quarter of a mile when you're tired, but I did it!

Distance: 6.99 miles
Time: 1:09:36
Avg. Pace: 9:56

I celebrated my success in true Furball fashion.  I came home, I showered, I went out and drank a beer!

I spent Saturday morning hanging out with the two furry babies who rule my life (seriously, the rabbits pretty much own me) and doing some not so fun tasks like laundry.  Later in the afternoon, I met The Husband at the gym and while he decided that he was going to run 7 miles on the treadmill, I did an easy 3 and then hit the studio for fun with free weights.  The gym we work out at is located in and owned by The Husband's employer, so I often see people I know there.  It turned out that on Saturday, I knew EVERYBODY there!  We saw his boss (who happens to be one of our Warrior Dash teammates) working hard on the getting back into running shape and we ran into another couple who we've raced with before.  In fact, I kind of blame them for turning me on to distance running to begin with.  In 2006 they wanted to do the Relay event in our local marathon and needed two other fools who were willing to do it with them.  Mr. Furball and I were those fools!  Back then, I was 26 years old, 20+ pounds heavier, and couldn't run three miles (at 12:00 min/mile pace) without walking for most of it, but somehow I ended up on their team.  The She part of this couple is an incredible runner.  She ran the first 7 miles in 56 minutes flat and handed off to me.  I took the next 3 miles like a total turtle and handed off to Mr. Furball who took on the next 7.5 miles (farther than he'd ever gone at that point) and then handed off to the He half of the couple to finish it off.  After watching people cross the finish line, I was hooked and so was Mr. Furball.  In fall of 2007 I finished my very first half marathon (in a time of 2:37:37) and two weeks later, The Husband finished his first full marathon in just over 5 hours (in miserable heat - go look up what happened at the Chicago Marathon the same day that year)!  I truly believe that somewhere during those 3 miles back in 2006, a runner was born, and she was me!  One year after my first half marathon, I set a PR on that same course (2:21:49) and two weeks later I was toeing the line at my first (and to date, only) marathon which I completed in 5:14:12.  I can't wait to see where I go next.

Distance: 3.0
Time: 30:00
Avg. Pace: 10:00

Today was all about fun as the Green Bay Packers did battle with the Chicago Bears for a trip to the Super Bowl.  We spent the day hanging out with friends and yelling at the TV in true Cheesehead style.  As an added bonus, the party hosts knew a certified massage therapist who was looking to make a little extra cash, so she set up her massage table in a spare room and offered massages for $1/minute throughout the game.  Hmm...sounds good to me!  I spent 30 minutes on her table getting the knots worked out of my back.  I can't tell you how long it's been since my last massage, but I can tell you that I think I'm going to have a standing date with this gal once a month from now until the end of my marathon training!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weekend Recap

For the last couple of days, I've been  a complete and utter slug...and I liked it!  I was feeling a bit worn out, so I opted to let one of my 3 mile training runs fall by the wayside this week in favor of doing other things.

Friday night found me having a quick beer with some friends while discussing our plans to do the Warrior Dash.  Check out the video for a sampling of what we'll be up against.

After that, Mr. Furball and I grabbed a quick dinner and became couch potatoes for the rest of the night. It was so relaxing and I finished the book I was reading. That's 2 books finished in 2011...I'm on a roll!

Saturday was spent doing a few things around the house, petting bunnies and watching football! Did anyone else watch the Packers/Falcons game? All I can say is EPIC! I really hope that the Packers beat the snot outta the Bears next weekend and go to the Superbowl. It'll make running the Green Bay marathon that much sweeter!

Today was long run day. I laid around on the couch, stalled, procrastinated and did everything under the sun to talk myself out of going out in 15 degree weather. It didn't work. I bundled up (3 layers on top, 2 on the bottom, hat and gloves) and took off. I have to say, I'm glad I went.

Distance: 5.98 miles
Time: 58:05
Avg. Pace: 9:43

It felt great! Now if I could just get people to shovel their sidewalks, I'd really be in business!

I followed my run with a quick trip to Whole Paycheck Foods.  I needed to restock my stash of honey almond butter and pick up a few veggies for dinner this week (and those two spoiled little furballs I live with).

Now, I'm going to go surf the internet for a bit and possibly get started on reading another book.  The Husband received a copy of Runners on Running from the publisher in exchange for a review, but since he's tied up with another book at the moment, I think I'm going to have to give it a preview read!  From what I can tell, it's a compilation of inspiring stories from famous runners - including a few of my personal heroes.  I'm hoping to gain a whole lot of inspiration and a few new running mantras by the time I'm done.

What are you reading right now?  Do you have any mantras you live by?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Weather: 0, Furball: 1

All day long I was looking forward to running outside tonight.  Much to my dismay, I walked out of my office to find a light dusting of snow on the ground and more falling from the sky.  Ugh.  I hate the snow!  I came home, crawled into my bed and laid there for about an hour and a half, trying to work up the courage to face the outdoors.

Finally, I just had to go for it.  I tossed all my running clothes in the dryer so they'd be toasty warm when I put them on and suited up.  On the bottom, I had a pair of running tights and a pair of heavy Under Armour pants.  On top, I layered a skin-tight UA top, another longsleeve shirt and a fleece jacket.  Then, just to make sure I didn't freeze my tail off, I added a hat and mittens and headed out the door.

Distance: 3.0 miles
Time: 29:09
Avg. Pace: 9:43

Once I got moving it wasn't too bad.  I wasn't in love with getting pelted in the face by snowflakes, but it beat running in place!  When I got home, I was BOILING! 

When you live in Wisconsin there's only one way to put the flames out: Beer.

I quick changed clothes and met Mr. Furball and a friend at a local watering hole for a couple of beers.  However, I am a traitor to my hometown.  I don't like the local brew:

I much prefer the brew from St. Louis:

After a quick dinner and a little relaxation it's bed time for me.  I've been dragging in the mornings and I think a solid 8 hours might help!

What's your favorite beer?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Facing My Nemesis

I hate winter, so why do I live in the Midwest?  Hopefully the Midwest thing isn't permanent (although it has been home for my entire life).  Three inches of snow fell over the course of the day and since folks in my neighborhood aren't so good at shoveling promptly I moved today's 3 miler to the gym.  Of course that meant facing my old nemesis - the treadmill. 

Ever since I injured my left knee running on a treadmill two years ago I'm very hesitant to run on one.  However, when I decided to train for a spring marathon I knew I needed to get over that hesitation.  Today's run went reasonably well.  I don't think I'll ever learn to love running on a treadmill.  I'd much rather be outside and actually moving.  I feel like the machine inhibits my natural stride and all runs feel longer and harder. 

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 29:45 (I might have gotten a little antsy toward the end and ratcheted the speed up to sub-8:00 pace for a half a mile just to get done faster.)
Average Pace: 9:55

I made it home by 8:00pm, quickly shoveled a pile of roasted veggies (butternut squash, asparagus and sweet potato) down my throat, and now I'm going to get some quality floor time in with my fur kids and head for bed.

Do you prefer to run on a treadmill or outside?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pulling The Trigger

Frank Shorter (1972 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist) once said, "You have to forget your last marathon before you try another.  Your mind can't know what's coming."  I guess I must have finally forgotten my first marathon because I'm officially registered for my second.  124 days until race day!  Now all I have to do is train for it!

The training plan I'm using calls for Monday to be a day of rest, but since Mondays are the only day I can fit in a yoga class, I went to yoga.  Not to worry, this is a really basic class (read: no crazy inversions, advanced poses, high temperatures) and I know from experience that I need a little extra help in the stretching department.  I think that the Monday night class will actually be beneficial the day after my long runs, which progress from 6 miles this coming Sunday to 20 miles 16 weeks from now. 

Over the weekend I squeezed in a 6 mile run (okay, really 5.97 if we're getting technical) just to try to get back in the habit of running longer on the weekends.

Distance: 5.97 miles
Time: 59:28
Avg. Pace: 10:00

And now I'm off to bed!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Slight Change of Plans

So I'm still going to attempt to eat the 26.2 mile elephant, just not the one in Eau Claire.  I've decided to run this one instead:

The reasoning:

  • It's two weeks later than Eau Claire which means I might actually get better weather.
  • Green Bay is two hours closer to home than Eau Claire.  I want to minimize the amount of time I'm stuck in a car afterward.
  • It's a larger race with better course support (water/gatorade stations) and all the race reviews mentioned great crowd support.
  • They offer pace groups, which Eau Claire does not.
  • After the race, Titletown Brewery taps their 26.2 brew.  I usually can't stomach beer after a race, but this is Wisconsin.  I have to try.
  • Finally, the final mile is run on the perimeter of one of the most famous football stadiums in the country:

Sounds kind of epic to me!

Stay tuned for more regarding my experiences training for and running this race.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to the Grind

After 5 1/2 blissful days off it was time to return to reality this morning.  Fortunately I had a little help from my favorite coffee place.

A large coffee was just what I needed since I'm a total coffee junkie.  Anyway, after a 8+ hour work day I considered heading straight to the gym to get my mileage and some lifting in, but opted to go home for a little while first and hopefully avoid the hoards of Resolutioners that always seem to appear in early January and disappear by the end of February.  I finally made it to the gym around 7:00pm (For those who care I work out at the gym in my husband's office building.  It's really small, but well-equipped and everyone pretty much minds their own business.)  I spent the first 1/2 hour on the dreadmill and then another half and hour lifting/doing my abs.  I couldn't believe how sore I was from yesterday's 6-miler.  I guess it's been a while since I ran that far, so it's to be expected.  I had hoped to run faster than I did (I don't like treadmills and just wanted to get it over with), but considering the condition of my legs, I'll take what I did!

Distance: 3.0 miles
Time: 31 minutes
Avg. Pace: 10:20

I was hoping to run outside this week, but the temperature is only supposed to be in the low to mid-twenties all week.  My general rule of thumb is that it has to be at least 30 degrees before I run outside, so it looks like this week will be all about the dreadmill and the indoor track.  Boo.  I much prefer running outside!

How was your day?  Are you a coffee junkie?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Starting 2011 Off Right

I didn't wanna do it, but I did it.  After sitting on my tail for the last several days (I love cashing in all my vacation at the end of the year) I made myself go for 6 (well, technically 5.83 miles this afternoon).  It was the first "long run" of my marathon training schedule and I wasn't going to start by screwing up!

Distance: 5.83 miles
Time: 59:12
Average Pace: 10:11

I ran by "The Lake" today, which is an activity I usually reserve for spring/summer/fall due to the miserably cold winds that come off the lake.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Although the wind was a little gnarly, I pretty much had the path to myself and didn't have to bob and weave around every fool in town.

Post run The Husband and I made a quick trip to Whole Paycheck Foods to pick up a late lunch (Wild Mushroom Gorgonzola pizza = Awesome) and some fresh greens for The Pets (two rabbits who have a penchant for organic produce).  After that we headed home and finished putting our home office back together. 

Now, I'm heading for bed.  I have to go back to work in the morning and I really don't want to!  Add to that the fact that I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination.  Ugh!