NVHM Week 8 – Have you seen my motivation??

This week. Ohhhh, this week! I’m really not sure what happened, but my motivation took a major nose dive. Everything seemed to take so much effort, and was such a chore!

Also…for some reason, WordPress is not letting my comment on many of my favorite blogs! I have no idea why, but I’ve contacted WordPress to see what the issue is 😦

Monday is always my rest day and while I normally love to actually, you know….rest I had to get started purchasing supplies for Thanksgiving Dinner. So off to Giant Eagle I went! I bought a monster bird and am got some extra weight lifting in heaving all of those frozen turkeys around trying to find the best one. Mission Accomplished, and the turkey is currently in the refrigerator thawing out.

I had no desire to fight the dark and cold after work, so on Tuesday I woke up early to knock out 4 miles on the treadmill. It wasn’t anything special – 4 miles in 44 minutes flat, an 11:00 min. pace.  Not a bad time, especially for the treadmill as I am usually much slower there than I am outside. It did take a lot more effort to keep that pace, though.

Best part about running in your basement? It doesn't matter if your clothes don't match...or are inside out.

Best part about running in your basement? It doesn’t matter if your clothes don’t match…or are inside out.

This is where things started to downhill.

I woke up early on Wednesday for my strength workout, but I really wasn’t feeling it. I figured it was no big deal, and I’d just try again when I got home from work. That’s when I remembered that I had to go out to my mom’s after work to take care of her dogs. She lives about 30 or so minutes from me and by the time I fight traffic to get out there, take care of them, and get home, there’s not a whole lot that I want to do. Least of all lift weights. Crap. I got out of bed and went downstairs for a cup of coffee…and that was it. I had the coffee, but fell asleep and didn’t wake up until Tall One came downstairs 45 minutes later. Oops. Oh well. One day of missed weights won’t make or break me, and obviously my body was telling me that it needed rest.

Thursday. This was a bear. Once again, I just couldn’t haul my butt out of bed so I decided to run on the treadmill when I got home. I planned my workout out – 5 progression miles at the following speeds, 5.2, 5.4, 5.6, 5.8, 6.0 .  Yeah, it was difficult (for me, at least)…but it’s speed work day. It’s supposed to be tough. I got started, ready to rock it and then my phone rang. Normally, I would just ignore it but it was my mom calling and I was less than a tenth of a mile into it so I answered it. I got back to running, and I felt a rock in my shoe. Yes a rock. Yes I was inside.  I have been fighting with this rock for a week – I keep thinking it’s out and it shows back up. So I stopped, took off my shoe, shook it out, hit it off something, wipe it out, put the shoe back on. I don’t feel the rock so I start back up again. 5 steps later, the rock is back. Stop treadmill and repeat process. 4 or 5 freaking times. So, Annoying. At this point, I was already done. Irritated as hell, to boot. I started mile 2 and was exhausted. Every step was a fight, and I was so winded I had to stop. I walked for a little bit and tried to give myself a pep talk. I started up again, not even concerned about speed…and then had to walk again. I was so over this run, but told myself to at least stick it out to 3 miles. Once I hit 2.25 I told myself that there was so reason I couldn’t run three lousy quarters of a mile. I did it…3 miles in….36:34. A 12:12 pace. I was pretty pissed about this, but Nicole and Jennifer reminded me on Daily Mile (are you my fried on DM? No? You should be…add me!) that not quitting after a mile like I wanted is still a win. Excellent point. I was still disappointed to have essentially wasted a speed work day, but I didn’t totally give up, so I give myself half a pat on the back.

Friday was weights day, and I managed to get it in with special emphasis on strengthening those hip muscles. I also watched How To Get Away With Murder and ohmygod. I had it all figured out until the very end. I’m not sure how I’m going to wait until January 29th when the show comes back.

Luckily, the weekend seemed to pick back up for me and I was lucky to get in two GREAT runs:

Saturday was once again long run day. Tall One made late morning plans for Sunday (an 11 AM showing of the new Hunger Games movie), and I didn’t want to rush my running so Saturday it was! Jennifer offered to meet me out at North Park to do run a few miles with me, and I was pumped to have company!!  First things first. It was COLD. Not chilly. COLD.



Holy crap. I layered up and bundled up, complete with a headband AND fuzzy hat.


I needed all the layers I could find!

As I was driving out to North Park, Tall One called me and warned me that we were under a Freezing Rain Advisory. I had seen that, but thought it was a mistake. My weather app showed a 0% chance of precipitation and nothing on the radar so I didn’t pay attention to it. I promised him that if started to rain, I would come right home even if I was only 2 miles into a 13 miler. Safety first, kids! Jennifer and I got started quickly, to try to warm up a little. We weren’t really sure what pace to shoot for, so we just kind of went with the flow. It took a good 3 miles before I wasn’t freezing but other than that, the first 5 mile lap flew by. I couldn’t believe when we stopped back at the parking lot for our water and gels (I hate carrying water when I run so I always leave it in the car). Originally, Jennifer was only going to do another mile or two with me but after we got fueled up, she decided to do the entire 2nd loop with me! I was SO excited to have her company and we took off for another 5. Again, the miles flew by! We talked about everything, and soon enough we were climbing the hill behind the boathouse, to cruise in for our last mile. Then, the freezing rain started. It seems like almost instantly, everything was coated with a fine layer of ice. The sidewalks were like a skating rink and we did some kind of awkward run/shuffle to our cars. As much as I wanted to run 3 more, I didn’t want to risk falling on the ice or getting into an accident on the way home, so we both called it at 10 miles in 1:53 (11:20 pace). Somehow our Garmins didn’t match and mine was reading at 9.95 miles when we got into the lot. I am super anal about this so I was running in circles trying to get it to change over to 10.  This was really my last double digit long run before the race, and it was just what I needed. I finished the 10 miles, and still felt really strong…like I could have run several more without trouble!

Sunday was my hill work. I wasn’t sure exactly how many miles I wanted to do…had I been doing this on Saturday I would have gone for 5 or 6, but since I did my long run yesterday I didn’t want to get greedy. I figured I would start out, and see how I felt. 3 was the minimum I wanted and 5 miles was the max. What a difference a day makes! On Saturday, I was bundled up and Sunday…I was back in shorts! What a treat! 10 or 13 miles would have been very enjoyable in this weather, but to be honest, the odds are pretty good that race day weather will be more like Saturday so it was good practice to run long in that!  I ended up with 4 miles in 44:48, and 11:11 pace. Taken into context (long run the day before), I was REALLY happy with this pace. It was really manageable, and I felt very strong!  I made sure to leave myself plenty of time to ice and stretch after, and then we went to see the new Hunger Games movie at the new movie theaters on McKnight Road. The movie was great, and I’m already excited for Part 2 to come out (in a year)! The theater on the other hand? Not as impressed. This was our first time there, and while it’s much closer I think we’ll just keep going out to the Pittsburgh Mills.

Overall, this wasn’t a terrible week but I really felt my motivation waning a bit. It was really hard to get out of bed, whether it was to work out early, or just wake up at my normal time to go to work. I didn’t want to do either. Hopefully this feeling doesn’t stick around, although I’m really looking forward to a short work week!

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Am I the only one losing the motivation? If you have any extra, please send it my way! 🙂



NVHM Week 7 – Closing In!

This was a really, really good week! I got to enjoy one last run in shorts and t-shirt, and got to try out my new winter weather outfits. Ahhhh, Pittsburgh!!  It’s getting closer and closer to race day, and I only have one more long run left before I start my mini taper! I’m getting really excited 🙂

Monday, I caught up on my DVR shows *Does anyone else watch Revenge?? It’s getting SO good!!* and did the ice/stretch routine. I also realized that it had been 1 year since I ran my first full marathon!

Tuesday was almost certainly the last time I will get to run in shorts and shorts and a t-shirt and it was soooo nice! It was a beautiful day for running, so I set out for my recovery run. I ran 4 miles in 43:36 for a 10:53 pace. I let my legs do their own thing, and was pleasantly surprised when I saw my average pace! Everything clicked and came together and I would have loved to keep going! Good stuff!!

I had a hair appointment (finally) on Wednesday so I got my strength training in first thing in the morning.  I’m getting more comfortable with this, and I think it’s finally time to either increase the weights or maybe just add an extra set to the mix. I haven’t decided which yet, but I’m happy that I’m finally finding a good rhythm with this!

By the time Thursday rolled around it was cold and snowing 😦 . I thought about doing my speedwork on the treadmill, but it occurred to me that the possibility of it being cold and snowing on race day is pretty high and I should just suck it up and deal with it.  I considered doing 400 –ish meter repeats (I don’t do them on a track so there is a good margin of error when I’m trying to watch the distance on my watch), but decided that I haven’t done a progression run lately so I went for it. 4 miles/ 10:34 avg.


progression 11-13Once again, it was too dark before I could squeeze it one more mile, but I am certain that I could have cranked out another one had I had the time.  I felt strong and controlled and my mind was 100% on board. This was a great run, and I was really happy with what I accomplished. It was getting darker and harder to monitor the time on my watch so I had to go solely by feel – I wasn’t sure that the last mile would be faster so I was pleasantly surprised to see it was good bit faster.

On Friday I got my strength training done in the morning, and as usual, caught up on How To Get Away With Murder (SO. Good. If you’re watching it: who do you think killed Sam? I think I’ve figured it out, but I’ll have to wait and see!).  I didn’t it mention before, but on my long run last week I started noticing some pain in my left knee.  Nothing crazy, but I was definitely aware of it, and it didn’t act up on either of my weekday runs.  After an exhaustive consultation with Dr. Google, I arrived at 3 possible causes –

  •  I may need new shoes – it’s possible. I haven’t added up the miles in the last month or so but I’m guessing that I’m close to 300 ish.
  • Running on the road – I always run facing traffic and a lot of my route has me on the left side. Same side as the knee pain. The slope of the road is pretty steep in a lot of places, and I could be putting a lot of extra pressure on that knee.
  • Runner’s Knee – The pain is worse when I’m running downhill, but I don’t have any problems after I run, while walking down steps, etc. so it doesn’t seem likely.

Luckily, all of these are relatively easy fixes.  Brooks is launching the new models of my Adrenalines in a few weeks; I can alter my running route or stay in the road a little more while I’m running (as long as there is no traffic, obviously); AND, because Runner’s World obviously read my mind they just published an article on relieving Runner’s Knee through strengthening your hips.  I added almost all of these moves to my routine on Friday and plan to keep incorporating them! Whether or not I actually have Runner’s Knee doesn’t really matter – these are simple and easy to include in my daily routines. I’ve also found some extra hip stretches to do as well.

I switched things up for Saturday, and did my long run. I had a 50th Anniversary brunch to attend for good family friend on Sunday, so I wouldn’t be able to keep to my normal schedule.  It was another cold day, but the sun was out so I really didn’t notice, or mind the cold. I was also excited to test out some of my new winter running clothes from Target so I was a little excited to see it was cold enough to wear them! I got started a little later than I was hoping, thanks to my Garmin not charging, but I knocked out 12 miles in 2:13, good enough for an 11:05 pace. I felt really strong for the majority of the run – the last hill around mile 10 was a bit of a bear, but I was able to recover and finish with a faster final mile. I had a little knee pain, but not much. I did try to stay in the road where it’s more level whenever possible and I think that made a difference!  Shooter and Wilbur made sure that I took a few minutes to ice both legs and my knee.

Shooter is a real stickler when it comes to icing.

Shooter is a real stickler when it comes to icing.

Between the ice, ice water and just being cold in general I could NOT warm up! I had the hot water going full blast and was still shivering. It was hours before I felt normal again!  

Sunday was brunch day, and I had high hopes of knocking out a few miles later in the day but….yeah. That didn’t happen.  Between brunch, and helping my mom with a few things after I ended up getting home after 5:30. Combine that with several one or two (strong) Bloody Marys, and I figured that it was better to hang out on the couch and rehydrate 😉 Am I disappointed that I didn’t get another 4 or 5 miles of needed hills? Yes. Looking back, I should have run Friday evening to get a few more miles in. I had the foresight to change my long run to Saturday, but not enough to realize that I shouldn’t try to cram miles on Sunday. Oh well! Since I’m still not 100% sure about my knee, maybe an extra rest day is for the best. If I keep telling myself that, at least I won’t feel as dumb/guilty about the mixup 😉

One Year Ago

One year ago today, I did something I never thought I would be capable of. I ran a marathon.


While I was incredibly proud of training, running and finishing that race I still can’t help but be a little disappointed. A 5:23 finish time is NOT the time I trained for. I fully expected to finish between 4:50-5:00 hours. But, I got caught up in the excitement, started out way too fast and ran into trouble early.

 I hit the wall crazy early, because I stopped taking gels at around mile 8. I’m not sure if it was because I was so nervous, or I drank too much water, or if it was the flavor of the gels but I could not handle them. I got one down around mile 4 and then it was game over. I tried another at 8 and gagged before I could even open the packet up. I had to rely on water and Gatorade for the next 18 miles. Not cool, dude. I’d never had that problem before and it’s never happened since then *knock on wood*   I held on to a 5 hour pace for the first 15 miles, but somewhere between 15-16 the 5 hour pace group caught up to me and dropped me like a bad habit soon after. I run/walked for the rest of the race. At mile 20, my brother and sister in law were waiting for me, and she ran the last 6 miles with me. I don’t know what I would have done without her. When I wasn’t sure if I could take another step, she kept me going.



My sister in law and I after. I wouldn’t have made it to the finish line without her!

I made a lot of rookie mistakes that contributed to my downfall but now that I know what those mistakes were, I can work on avoiding those next time.

NVHM Training Week 6 – Fitting It All In

Less than 1 month until NVHM. And I still haven’t registered for the race yet. Whaaat?? I’m going to – I swear! I didn’t register right away because I wasn’t 100% sure that I would be able to run it. I was a little nervous that my tendonitis might flare up and keep me from doing the training I need for this race and I don’t want to show up  unprepared.  Luckily, everything seems to be going well with that so I’ll be registering very soon. I’m also still a little worried about the weather – State College in December could be really good..or really bad. Obviously if they are calling for bad weather, I won’t be going and will lose out on another registration fee but at least this one goes to help under-insured families in the State College area. I can get behind that one.

This was a crazy week – there was something every single day this week but I managed to fit it all in!

Monday was my rest day and necessary. All I wanted to do was lay on the couch and be useless, but I had to drive my car out to the dealership and drop it off for it’s inspection.  Once I finally made it home, I got to crash and it was great. Pretty sure I was out cold by 9. Amazing.

Tuesday was extra fun. I had to go back to pick up my car, and Miss Shooter had a vet appointment because we thought she may have broken her tail. It’s kind of a long story, but the good news is there is no break. The bad news is that they don’t know what the problem is. She’s getting better, and can almost raise her tail up all the way again which is good stuff. Running after work wasn’t going to happen, so I got up nice and early to run on the treadmill. I think the most I’ve ever run on the ‘mill is about 3 miles, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured 3 would be acceptable but I really wanted to get 4 in. 1 mile doesn’t sound like a big difference but on the treadmill feels like forever. I got all 4 miles in at an 11 min pace – perfect. I’m not going to lie, the first two miles didn’t seem so bad, but 3&4 were a struggle. I played around with the speed and watched TV but it was a battle to keep going. I try to tell myself that running on the treadmill is just as good mental training as it is physical!

Wednesday was strength training, which I knocked out first thing in the morning! Go me! I thought I would have the night to relax, but I realized I had no food in the house so I dragged the Tall One grocery shopping with me. I know you’re so relieved to hear my kitchen is fully stocked now! I thought about doing a WIAW post, but I totally forgot about it until Friday. A little late for that, I think. Here’s a snapshot of my dinner though – SO good!

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza. Delish!!

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza. Delish!!

Thursday was my tempo run. I fell about a half mile short of my planned 5 miles, which was ok with me. It was that or potentially have an up close meeting with the pavement and, call me crazy, but that didn’t sound like much fun. As soon as I was done running, we had to drop Tall One’s car off to be inspected. I neglected to ice my legs/stretch after that workout  because I was rushing and I’m feeling it today. Seriously…when will I learn?! I ran 4.5 miles for a 10:56 overall pace. All things considered, I’m really happy with that workout!

Friday was more strength. I feel like I’m finally getting in the habit of doing this. I don’t have the most challenging of workouts right now, but I figure that I’m more likely to stick with it if I gradually increase my workload rather than jump in feet first. In a few more weeks (after the half I think), I’ll up the intensity a bit and see how that goes.

I was hoping for 5 or 6 miles on Saturday, but my legs were feeling Thursday’s tempo so rather than push it and potentially make it worse, I went out for 4 miles of hills  at a 10:51 pace. It was COLD! I dug out my tights and found a long sleeved shirt to wear under my jacket, and realized that I need to make some additions to my winter running wardrobe!

Yay! Hills!

Yay! Hills!

I spent a lot of time in The Boot on Saturday, hoping to alleviate some of the tightness. I could still feel it before I set out for Sunday’s long run, but not enough to stop me from running.

Sunday had 11 miles on the schedule. Now that I’m getting into double digit long runs, it’s time for me to start taking in some fuel during them. Typically for any run 10 miles or under, I don’t like to take any gels but once I start getting into 2 hour territory I like to have them. I also need to have a rough idea of my fueling strategy for NVHM so this is the time to figure it out.  It took a few miles for my legs to wake up and join the party, but once they did this was a pretty solid long run! The weather was much nicer today – 40 degrees at the start of my run compared to yesterday’s 28. I opted for a long sleeved shirt and shorts and was comfortable the whole time. I like to call that look winter on the top, summer on the bottom. I also think there’s some kind of ‘that’s what she said’ joke in there too…but that might be pushing it.

I doubled up on my normal route around the neighborhood and stashed my water bottle/gel near my house. I hate carrying a water bottle with me and will do everything to avoid it. This may pose a problem later on, and it’s something I’m going to have to work on.

This looks much worse than it is

This looks much worse than it is

I have to chuckle at these elevation charts – they make these hills seem so much more dramatic than they really are.  I shouldn’t say anything and let you guys think I’m a total bad-ass trucking up these mountains!

I totaled 23.5 miles this week, and am feeling great! My left leg is a little tight,but nothing that I can’t manage! I’m really pleased that I’m (finally) learning how to juggle and manage my training even when little snafus pop up. Look at me being responsible and stuff.

It’s Kind of Dark Out There

This week really got away from me! Everything seemed to happen at once – both cars needed to be inspected, and we thought Shooter may have broken her tail (thank goodness she didn’t, but we still don’t know exactly what’s wrong). At first, I was really excited about Daylight Saving Time and getting that extra hour of sleep but now I’m rethinking that. My schedule is all thrown off – I’m exhausted by 8:30 and wide awake at 4 in the morning. Not cool! I also didn’t think about the fact that the time change means it’s DARK by 6:00. Which brings me to Thursday’s workout…

Thursday night, I set out to tackle a 5 mile tempo run. I was a little nervous, because this would be the longest tempo run I’d ever tried before and I was worried about being able to do it. On the other hand,I was also excited to challenge myself and kind of looking forward to it. I got started a little later than I wanted to and got to work.  Right around 2.5 miles or so, I noticed that it was getting harder to see. Then all of a sudden – dark. I could barely see in front of me and of course I didn’t think to bring a flashlight or headlamp with me.  I finished my 3 tempo miles, but couldn’t see the times to tell if I was actually going fast or not. It felt like I was, but I wasn’t sure. I started to finish up my last mile, but couldn’t see anything. There were wet leaves and puddles everywhere and I couldn’t tell where I was stepping or what I was stepping into (which was super fun) so I had to call it at 4.5 miles. I didn’t even have to look to know that my pace was way too slow, even for me, and I was doing some kind of awkward shuffle-run thing that uncomfortable and probably just doing more harm than good.

5 tempo

Overall, I was really happy with this workout – I may not have been able to squeeze in that last half mile but the speed part was there. I was able to make each mile faster than the last and that’s what I look for more than what the split times were…and I was able to do it without my watch. Maybe someday I’ll be able to shoot for specific times, but I seem to have better luck when I don’t focus on the numbers and go by effort. And if it ain’t broke…don’t fix it!

That will probably be my first and only 5 mile run after work, and that disappoints me.  It’s only going to keep getting darker, earlier and pretty soon I probably won’t even have time for 3 miles before it’s too dark.  It looks like I’ll be moving my speed work indoors to the treadmill for the time being, which is ok for now. It’s not ideal, but I’ve been saying that I need to get more comfortable using that contraption anyway and this is going to force me to which is a good thing. I know that I’m a lot slower there, than I am outside but as long as I keep hitting the hills aka speed work in disguise I think that I’ll be ok for NVHM. Hopefully by the time training for Pittsburgh rolls around, I’ll be a little more comfortable on the ‘mill and I’ll be able to knock out some solid workouts on that baby.

Are you a treadmill lover or hater?