Friday Five – 5 Things I’m GRATEFUL for!

So, at Jennifer’s suggestion, I’m joining the Friday 5 Link Up with Mar on the Run, Cynthia (You Signed Up for WHAT?!) and Courtney of Eat Pray Run. Wahoo! I’m excited to start adding some more content to my little blog space and I think this is a fantastic way to connect with other bloggers!  I was especially  excited to see that today’s topic was a “You Pick” because it will allow me to highlight something that I’m passionate about.

 

GRATITUDE. 

This seems to be a popular topic these days, and for good reason; when you are grateful, great things happen! I very strongly believe in the laws of attraction, the power of positive thinking and the idea that the more grateful you are for the things in your life, the more things you will have to be grateful for. Sounds a little cheesy, yes. Definitely sounds a lot like The Glad Game in Pollyana, and it kind of is. You should always find the good in something…especially the small things. It helps give you some perspective and to see the big picture.  For example, my kitchen has not been updated since approximately 1950 so there is no dishwasher (first world problems to the extreme, right?!). I wash everything by hand, usually a few times a day: after I make breakfast, all of my Tupperware containers from my lunch, after dinner clean up, etc. There’s a lot! I could be a brat about it and bitch and complain (full disclosure – sometimes I still do), but when I catch myself going down that route, I stop and think. Washing all of these dishes means that I had plenty of food to eat today. It means that I have clean, running, HOT water to wash them in. It means that I have a job that allows me to buy the food. I could go on and on, but when you turn things around and look at it from another angle it really makes you think twice.  I’m sure we all have minor things that we complain about; next time you catch yourself complaining about washing the dishes, or paying a bill, or whatever….find the good in it. Makes a big difference!  I also keep a Gratitude Journal, which I use every day to list things that I’m grateful for.  

Starting the day with coffee and gratitude is always a mood booster!

Starting the day with coffee and gratitude is always a mood booster!

So, now I’ll get off of my Gratitude soapbox and tell you the 5 things that I’m grateful for now.

My Tall One.  His birthday is this weekend, so I’m making sure I show the love! I am grateful for this guy every.single.day. I hate to get all cheesy on you, but I know that what we have is special. I love him to pieces!   He always knows how to make me laugh, even when I don’t want to.

He doesn't like taking pictures in general, and he really doesn't want his pictures on-line, so here he is utilizing my Christmas present from my mom.

He doesn’t like taking pictures in general, and he really doesn’t want his pictures on-line, so here he is utilizing my Christmas present from my mom.

He’s been my rock through a lot of things over the years, especially this past summer, and not only is he always looking out for and taking care of me but now he also looks out for my mom and makes sure that she is taken care of. No matter what need done, he is right there. He is one of the most selfless people I know and would do anything for us.  I’m not sure where I would be without him, but I know that I don’t want to find out.

This little blog and the people that I’ve connected with because of it! When I first started this blog, I wasn’t looking for much other than a place to track my training and maybe have one or two people to share advice and training with. But, between this blog and fun stuff like Daily Mile (you should be my friend! Add me!) I have started meeting and connecting with so many other runners and bloggers in the area! I have a whole new network/support system that cheers me on when I have good weeks, and give me pep talks when I’m having shitty weeks. I’ve met a few in person and am always meeting and hoping to meet more (who is going to be at the Spring Thaw race tomorrow?? If you’re there, say HI!!!) Awesome runners! I’ve made not just a running friend, but a real friend (sorry Jennifer, you’re stuck with me!) and now that I have the opportunity to make many more!

 

I used to refer to us as "running buddies" or "running friends", but now I think it's just friends! :-)

I used to refer to us as “running buddies” or “running friends”, but now I think it’s just friends! 🙂

 

My Kitties. You think I was going to list 5 things and NOT mention them? NOPE! The title Crazy Cat Lady is not an exaggeration. These furry guys ARE my babies and I love ‘em! They bring so much happiness to our little home and we are obsessed with them.  Each one has their own personality, attitude, and quirks that make them unique.

 

These guys are too much!

These guys are too much!

 

Remote Start.

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Hello, lovely!

 

First World luxury? Yes. Am I still grateful for it? Abso-freakin’-lutely! With as cold as it has been lately, my remote starter has been a lifesaver!

 

My Health! I am so grateful that overall I’m a healthy, happy person. The gift of health is so fragile, and often times we take that for granted until it’s lost whether that be to a brief illness like the flu, or something more serious.  Training for a marathon during cold and flu season has made me hyper aware of every sniffle and sneeze that I hear during the day and I’m very grateful that I haven’t had another run in with the flu virus this year. *Knock on wood* I had some troubles early last year that wiped me out, and I learned very quickly how fast you can lose your health.

So, as you can see my list is a mix of some big time things and also small things that you may not even think about on a day to day basis.   Tell me something (or a few somethings) that you are grateful for!

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Pittsburgh Marathon Training – Week 6

The first time I complain this year about the heat, or humidity or sun….smack me. Hard.  It’s cold out there. Really freaking cold.  In fact, it was cold enough that my Weather Channel app even reminded me to put on a hat.

Thanks, Mom.

Thanks, Mom.

I keep our thermostat pretty high because I’m freezing no matter what, and I think the cats are starting to appreciate it.

Heat stealer!

Heat stealer!

They camp out and smush themselves right up against the vents when the heat comes on. It’s horrible for their skin, but it’s not like I can stop them. I’ve lost all control of this house.

Stealing all of the warms

Stealing all of the warms

 

This could be why I'm always cold. They take it all.

This could be why I’m always cold. They take it all.

I capped week 6 of training off with a 15 mile long run. I was actually really excited about this run (until I saw the conditions at North Park, at least), because to me, it finally feels like I’m marathon training! I also (finally) registered for this weekend’s Spring Thaw out at North Park – I’m running the 10 miler! At first I was going to do the 15 as my long run, but then realized that there was a good possibility that I would finish last in that race so I decided to stick with the 10 and go for a hard effort.  I’ve never raced 10 miles before, so it will be an automatic PR and should  be a good indicator of where I’m at in my training. To be honest, if you had asked me yesterday, I would have told you I’ve got this in the bag. Then I saw the countdown on the race website and, well, now I’m not so sure,

Oh, shit. It's getting close!

Oh, shit. It’s getting close!

Hopefully, Saturday’s race will give me some confidence!

Monday – Rest.

Tuesday – 4 on the treadmill. I added in some hills to at least attempt to mimic outdoor conditions and really picked up the pace for the last three quarter of a mile, or so. I enjoy trying to simulate a fast finish and the treadmill really helps me do that. It was brutal, but I kept telling myself that I was at mile 24.5 of the marathon and tried to picture me still looking strong and passing people and crossing the line with a 4 in front of my time. Sounds cheesy, but it works! 4 miles 44:22 (11:05 pace)

027

 

Wednesday – Strength.  You can read all about the new strength program that I’m trying out here.

Thursday – 5 Tempo miles. On the treadmill. HOLLA! I’ve only run 5 miles on the ‘mill one other time, so this was a pretty big deal for me, especially because I was able to successfully incorporate speed too! I started out at a 5.3, and gradually increased the speed as I went. I forgot to keep track of what increments I increased to, but I eventually held it at a comfortably hard pace for a 1.5 miles (it was maybe a 5.7 or 5.8? not sure). Somewhere along the line, I tried to calculate what my overall pace would be and I wasn’t coming out with anything under 11 min/mile and that pissed me off, so I ran the last mile or so at a pretty fast clip…maybe 6.8 or 7. Again, not sure and trying to take a picture when I was going that fast would have ended with a trip to the ER. When I put the numbers into FitSnap I was really pleased to see a 10:39 pace. Daily Mile gave me a 10:40 pace, so naturally I’m picking the faster one. 5 miles 53:20 (10:40 39 pace)

Treadmill runs mean that I don't have to match, can avoid the MINUS FOURTEEN degrees b.s. and Peanut can cheer me on!

Treadmill runs mean that I don’t have to match, can avoid the MINUS FOURTEEN degrees b.s. and Peanut can cheer me on!

 

Friday – I needed the sleep, so I decided to do my strength after work. And then I didn’t. I came  home and Tall One had made dinner plans, so I didn’t even have time to change let alone pump some iron. I thought about doing it after dinner, but I desperately needed to get to the store before the snow came Saturday. By the time I got home it was close to 9 and I admitted defeat. Lesson learned: just do it in the morning before shit can hit the fan and ruin all of your plans. I’m not too upset, but this is the 2nd week in a row that poor planning on my part has caused me to skip or cut short a workout.  I don’t want this to become a habit so I need to stop this now.

Saturday – 8 miles on the schedule. We were supposed to get 6-8 inches of snow throughout the day, so there really was no good time to head out. I started out and did what has become my “snow route”. It’s a lap through the cemetery, then out and up the side street next to the cemetery and up and down the side streets, back into the cemetery for a lap and repeat until I’ve hit my goal. As I was running, the snow kept falling harder and each time I made a pass through, my old footprints would already be covered.

I tried to take pictures of my footprints getting covered, but it doesn't look like anything.

I tried to take pictures of my footprints getting covered, but it doesn’t look like anything.

My eyelashes had icicles on them! I tried to take a picture, but my phone shut off due to the cold. This is a little frustrating to me; I carry my phone in case of emergency. What good does that do me if it turns off because it’s cold out?? Not OK, Apple!!  The streets were a mess, and it was getting harder and harder to run. It kind of felt like running in quick sand – I ‘m calling this resistance training! It did occur to me that I could’ve waited for the salt truck, but then I would have been running in slush so it was pretty much lose, lose. Oh well! 8 smiles – 1:39 (12:23 pace) I came back inside and since it was a snow day, did a bunch of cleaning and organizing to keep myself busy while Tall One was working.  I was a machine. I also washed my iPod Shuffle when I did some laundry. Luckily, it still seems to be working!

Sunday – My technical difficulties continued when I left my Garmin at home. WHO DOES THAT?! I walked out the door to meet Jennifer at North Park and left the Garmin sitting on my desk. I realized what I had done on the way out there, but didn’t want to turn around and hold up our run. I decided I would have to use the Run Keeper app on my phone.  As I drove out to North Park, I had hoped that the running lanes/paths would be clear and I was sorely disappointed to see nothing but slop around the lake. We got started; I had 15 on the schedule and Jennifer 7. Right away we knew this would be another tough “resistance run” due to the conditions. It was SO bad – people were running in the road (which makes me SO nervous, especially with my back to traffic), but you really didn’t have a choice in some spots.  We were slipping and sliding allll over the place, but we made the best of it! When I do these long runs, I always try to negative split the parts I do alone to hopefully mimic race day as best I can. I’m pretty sure I did that on Sunday, but I wouldn’t know for sure because MY PHONE DIED AGAIN!!! At mile 14.54. I muttered a few choice words and then I nearly chucked that f*cker into the lake.  Luckily, the data was saved despite the shut down and I had been monitoring my pace after Jennifer and I parted ways so I’m  sure I pulled off the negative split, but I don’t know what my final pace was. I’m giving myself an even 12 min pace just because I can, and because I was a 12:03 pace with a half mile to go and I was starting to pick it up for a fast finish. So. 15 miles 3:00 (12:00 pace).   This was the first time I used the RunKeeper app and I really liked it! I’ll do a small separate post on it, because it’s definitely a good app to the keep on your phone for the days when your Garmin dies….or you just plain forget it! No pictures from this run because, you know, phone died. Jag-off.

So, there it is. Another week down!  How are you handling the weather?? Are you running the Spring Thaw this weekend?

My New Strength Program – The New Rules of Lifting for Women

I’ve mentioned my new strength training program a few times without actually talking about it. I did that for a few reasons, but mainly because I wanted to give it a few weeks to make sure I liked it, would stick with it, etc. I was also kind of hoping to have some results (lost inches, or pounds) to brag about, but that hasn’t happened yet. I’ll get into why I think I haven’t in a little bit.

When it comes to strength training, weight lifting, whatever you want to call it, I am a total moron.  I don’t know or understand how to devise a plan: how many sets, reps, how much weight to use, how long to do it for? Do I add in cardio? WHAT DO I DOOOOO?! Basically, I just want someone to tell me exactly what I should be doing. 

For several years, I’ve heard a lot of chatter about The New Rules of Lifting for Woman  by Lou Schuler, but I always ignored it because I thought that it may be too extensive, or I would have to join a gym…and the excuses went on.  I Googled the book, found a bunch of reviews, decided to go for it and ordered it off of Amazon.  If I read the book and ended up not finding it to be a good fit, or I didn’t stick with it then..…let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first time I spent money on a diet/exercise book only to have it collecting dust a few months later 😉 .  But, because I had done a lot of research beforehand I had a pretty good idea of the principles of the book, and the workouts they had you doing; so as soon as the book arrived I wasted no time in getting started.

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Gizmo approves

 

The premise:

As I’m sure we’ve all heard by now, women can and should be lifting heavy. No pink Barbie weights, although, I am seriously embarrassed to admit I do in fact own a set of pink 2 lb dumbbells! 

You thought I was joking, didn't you??

You thought I was joking, didn’t you??

Not only should we be lifting heavy but we also need to be eating a lot more in order to support this kind of program. You are provided with a formula to calculate your caloric needs, but I found a much easier way online – this spreadsheet is fantastic! Just plug your numbers in and the calculations are done for you! My math hating brain was happy! Along with the daily calories, it also breaks down the macros for you so you know how many grams of each macro you should (try) to consume *.  There are also sample meal plans and recipes to help you out, if needed.  Or course, protein is listed at the most important/largest macro in order to help you build up the muscles, and a post workout protein shake is required (which I haven’t been doing).  You are encourage to take before/after pictures (I never got around to that, but I’m thinking I’m still going to. And keeping them locked away to never see the light of day) and measurements to help you measure progress. because you may not lose numbers on the scale, but will still lose inches.  I did take those, but to be honest, I’m hesitant to share. Mostly because I’m so self conscious and am just not sure how I feel about putting it out there. Maybe at the end of the whole program…maybe.  I’ve also been tracking the weights that I use each time so that I remember and so I can see that progress as well. That is hugely motivating because that is absolutely progress I can SEE. That I will definitely be sharing as I complete the stages.

The plan. Ideally. :

You are given workouts that should take you the course of 6 month from start to finish, and can take a little longer depending on how you approach the program. He tells you 3 days is ideal (with a rest day in between workouts, which is why I’m always so hesitant to double up on days when I move workouts around) 2 will work and 1 isn’t enough. Because my main focus right now is marathon training, I opted for 2 days so that I can keep my Monday rest days…you know how much I love them! Right now, in Stage 1 there are 2 workouts A & B (clever, right?).  You alternate back and forth between those workouts; if you do 3 days a week (A, B, A) it will take you six weeks to complete and if you do twice a week it will take you 8 weeks. As you work your way through Stage 1, you decrease the number of reps and then increase the number of sets. As you move through the program, the idea is that your weights should be increasing too*, as well as your rest time between sets. Right now my rest time is 60 seconds and that feel like just enough; I’ve flipped through the other stages and the rest time can get up to 120 seconds.

The plan, in reality:

This is where  my asterisks come into play. The short version is, I’m following the plan…but I’m really not. In the very last couple of pages of the book, the author sneak this line in “Don’t try to train for a marathon and complete this program at the same time“. Ooops. To be fair, he’s kind of right. To build the kind of muscles he’s talking about, and to see big results, you need a fair amount of protein which by default (and necessity) lowers the amount of carbohydrates you consume. To train for a marathon, you need to eating a large amount (50-60+ % depending on your viewpoints) of healthy carbohydrates which aren’t going to build muscles, but will certainly fuel your runs.  The reason stated in the book is “There’s just no point in trying to make your body smaller and more effecient at the same time you’re trying to make it stronger and rev up your metabolism”. Having said all of that, I also think that in the weightlifting community in general, there is a bit of disdain for endurance running. They aren’t fans of it, and some people have no problem letting you know that. That’s fine, bro. You do you. Most runners though, know that they need to be incorporating SOME kind of strength training into their plans. I’m already typing out a novel, so here, here, and here are some handy dandy links that remind us why strength is a crucial aspect to running. One of my goals this year is to stay injury free, and I know that strength training will play a huge role in that. So I’m not following the nutrition plan closely, which I know means I won’t see the best results possible, and I know that and am fine with it. 

The other aspect is the heavy lifting part. I’m definitely lifting heavier than I think I ever have, but I’m still not lifting heavy enough and there are 2 reasons for that. The first reason is due to a combination of lacking some equipment and being concerned for my safety. I do all of the workouts in my basement with whatever equipment I have and I’m missing some things. My dumbbell/weight plate collection isn’t very expansive; so sometimes I could probably go heavier, but can’t because I don’t have a heavier weight. I’m slowly adding to that – buying sets as I need them but seriously cannot purchase a set of cast iron 12 lb dumbbells if my life depended on it. Every time I go to Dick’s, they are out.  I also worry about my form for things like deadlifts so I will play it safe with a lighter weight to ensure that I don’t hurt myself.  I do my workouts alone and my only supervision is a fat cat.

I'm sure you're jealous of my mauve remnant carpet in my basement. Back off. You can't have it.

I’m sure you’re jealous of my mauve remnant carpet in my basement. Back off. You can’t have it.

He lacks the opposable thumbs to assist me in getting a heavy barbell + weight plates on my back for squats, and is a terrible spotter so I play it safe and increase the weights sloooooowly.

The 2nd big reason is that when I do my A workout on Wednesday, I have a speed day on Thursday so I don’t want my legs to be totally trashed for that; likewise, my B Days are Fridays and I am heading into a high volume (for me) weekend with long runs and mid distance hill work. Right now, getting those runs in is so much more important to me than being able to deadlift an extra 15 lbs.

So, all in all, I’m seeing results…but I’m not, and I knew that was going to happen.  I’m increasing weights, but not at the best rate and I am a little disappointed that the most physical change I can see is a that I finally have a smidge of definition in my biceps, but oh well. Once the marathon in over in May, I’ll be able to commit to the recommended 3 days per week, and the nutrition plan much better than I can now. Hopefully by doing that I will start to SEE the muscles!

So…why do it then?

If you’ve stuck with my this far, first, THANKS – you deserve a damn medal! And second, you’re probably wondering why in the hell I even bothered with this program if I’m not really going to follow it. Excellent question. The big reason is that I just needed a plan to follow. I honestly was having so much trouble trying to figure it out on my own, and was getting frustrated. At least with this, all of the guess work has been taken out. I’m also hilariously weak, so I wanted to ease into the program to get me used to the moves and making sure I have good form before I follow the program to a T and lift all of the heavy things.  And as I mentioned before, but it was 8,645 words ago so you may have forgotten, the other biggie is injury prevention. Strength training absolutely helps with that and I want to get to this start line 100% healthy and strong. At the end of my training for Nittany Valley, I was starting to experiencing some knee pain that I’m pretty sure was related to some very weak hips. Since I’ve started NROLFW, I’ve noticed that pain  is *knock on wood* practically gone! That alone makes this program 100% worth it.

So. There it is! The strength plan I’m kind-of-sort-of-but-not-really following for the Pittsburgh Marathon. What do you think? Am I nuts? Is this a bad plan?   This post is already longer than War and Peace, so I’ll lay out Stage 1 in detail in the next post.

What strength plan do you follow?

Pittsburgh Marathon Training – Week 5

Hello, Friends!!  Another week down, and that means another (late) weekly recap! I have to first thank everyone for the positive pep talks last week! I was really feeling crummy about my training, but you guys really helped me snap out of my funk!  You’re the best!!!

The bitter temps that we’ve been experiencing here are nothing to mess around with, and made the later part of last week a bit tricky. I hate to be a whiner and complainer but ohmygooooooooooooood am I sick of winter. Then again, we could be in Boston so I shouldn’t cry too much!

Monday – Rest Day, and dentist day. Booooo. I finally got the permanent crown put on my tooth from root canal back in October. There were some insurance things to juggle and it ended up that if I waited until 2015 to get the permanent crown put on it would cost me less in the long run. We all know how cheap I am, so this was a no brainer!  Now that you all know the state of my teeth, we can talk about running!

Tuesday4 miles. I really had 0 hope for this run. I had been in a serious slump, but the weather was decent and I decided to forget about pace, heart rate and whatever else just go. Maybe it was the lack of pressure; maybe all I needed was to type out that I was having some training trouble (I wrote me recap that afternoon, but hadn’t published it yet). I don’t really know, but HOT DAMN was this run amazing! I would peek at my watch every now and then and would see a 10 in front of my pace and a couple of times I though “maybe my Garmin is dying. No way am I running these paces right now”. I try to never be that negative, but with the way things had been going, it’s kind of hard to blame me, right?! I finished 4 miles with a 10:34 (!) pace, and I still felt like I could have done a little more! I was so thrilled to finally have a decent run under my belt! As I was doing my cool down walk, I kicked myself for not wearing the stupid HRM. I would have LOVED to see my numbers compared to last week, especially because these miles felt effortless compared to what I was doing before.

Wednesday – Should be strength, but it was a nice day and Thursday’s high was supposed to be 9. Eff that. I am not running in that shit if I don’t have to. So I didn’t!  Even before I started, I told myself to not expect too much. I ran fast (for me) the day before and it was OK if Tuesday ended up being my speed day and Wednesday was a little (or a lot) slower. I started out and decided that it’s been a while since I attempted a Tempo Run, so I went for it. I clocked the first mile a tad faster than I expected, but not wicked fast, so I told myself to try another mile and see what I could get out of it. Still faster! And still feeling really good – strong, in control, even breathing, steady heart rate (I think)! I cranked out another mile and was shocked when I saw a 9:44 mile. I used the last as a cool down, even though it was a little fast for that.

Boom.

Boom.

Overall I was really happy when I saw my average pace for this run. Again, I didn’t wear the HRM and wished I had because it just felt SO good! It was nice to see some of the speed that I KNOW is in these legs, but just can’t seem to consistently find. 4 miles 41:16 (10:19 pace).

Thursday – I was a little torn. Because I switched my run to Wednesday that meant I would have strength two days in a row – something that should normally be avoided. In a perfect world, I should have done my work out on Wednesday as soon as I finished running but that didn’t happen!  I thought about it, and decided that I either do it 2 days in a row or I have to bump it down to 1. I have been sooo consistent with strength, and I didn’t want to mess with that so I hit the weights. I made sure to do it first thing in the morning so I would have a full 24 hours of recovery time before Friday.

Friday – Strength.  I love that I’m starting to see progress with this program ( it really deserves a whole post that I’m going to work on!). Not necessarily in my physical appearance, but I have been steadily increasing the weights that I use and definitely feel that I’m getting stronger! If I could clean my diet up a bit, I’m sure I would see some physical results as well!

Saturday – Jennifer and I did what all of the other cool kid runners did and moved our long run to Saturday. (I had gone back and forth over registering for the Valentine’s Day 10k or 15k and ultimately decided against it. ) The snow was supposed to hold off until later in the day, but it started flying before we even made it to North Park! It was cold, but not unbearable.

I wore ALL of the pink in order to be festive!

I wore ALL of the pink under a shell in order to be festive!

We decided to run the JASR course for some practice, and because it fit perfectly into our schedules – Jennifer needed 8, and I needed 13. The first 4 or 5 miles were a little treacherous with all of the snow – the salt crews were out, but we were slightly ahead of them! They caught up to us on McKinney which made half of the climb bearable, but they didn’t get to the downhill portion and it was so slick we had to walk down a section of it! Luckily, our PW buddy drove past again and threw some more salt down for us so we didn’t slide down on our butts! Other than that, it was a good run! After we parted ways at mile 8, I set off for 5 more miles. I was starting to fatigue a little bit, but was beginning to pass some of the 15 and 10K runners (I was running the opposite direction…not going that fast, hah!) so I tried to look fresh and strong. It must’ve worked because someone that I passed asked me if I was running the 15K – I WISH! If that was the case, I would’ve been in first place 😉 ! The last two miles were really tough, but I shuffled along and tacked on an extra .1 to make it a half marathon. 13.1 miles 2:45 (12:38 pace) . I was drained after this run, and I decided that it’s definitely time to start adding my gels into training. This is a whole ‘nother post as well, but I try to do some of my shorter long runs (12 miles or less) without gels. It’s not very conventional but it works for me! 

Sunday – All of the LOLs!! It was COLD – 5 below 0 with a ‘feels like’ of -23WHO DOES THAT?!?! I had 8 miles on the schedule, and I wasn’t too keen on doing all of that on the treadmill. I stuck my head outside, and to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t sooo terrible. Still effing cold, but possibly do-able. I knew there was a good bit of snow/slush on the shoulders of the roads so I figured my best bet was to stick to the cemetery. I layered up to the point where I was unrecognizable and looked like Randy from A Christmas Story.

I CAN'T PUT MY ARMS DOWN!!!!!!

I CAN’T PUT MY ARMS DOWN!!!!!!

Two pairs of pants, a baselayer, my blue jacket, and a hoodie. I added my headband, and one of those 6 in1 balaclavas that cover your mouth. I tried to take a picture, but honestly couldn’t get my arms up that high, hah. One of the great things about having a husband over a foot taller than me, aside from being able to reach ANYTHING in the house, is being able to steal his hoodies when I need to. I grabbed a heavy one and set outside; I was definitely dressed well. Almost too well – that hoodie was HEAVY and I was very warm. The problem turned out not to be the cold, but the wind. We all know that they don’t maintain the roads in the cemetery (I may have mentioned it a time or…..12), and in some places there was no snow in the road and in others there was 7 or 8 inches that I was trying to trudge through. My little rubber snow spikes that my Dad sent to me broke so I wasn’t even able to use those! It was incredibly slow going, and I was getting frustrated. I wrapped things up at 2.78 miles (12:23 pace) with every intention of finishing things off on the treadmill. My shoes needed to dry out first, and I wanted to run drive out to my Mom’s for a visit so I figured I would do it when I got home and it would all be A-OK. Until Tall One reminded me about dinner at his parent’s house. Shit. Sooooo needless to say, the other 5 didn’t get done. I’m irritated, but not going to lose much sleep over it. It’s the first time I’ve cut a run short this training cycle, it wasn’t a long run, and as long as I don’t make this a habit I’ll be fine!

Another way I figured out it was cold as @#$* outside? Wilbur finally figured out how to hide:

I still see you

I still see you

All in all, this was a good week! My attitude was much better, and my runs were much better and stronger. I also think one of the reasons for that is that I’m starting to eat MORE. In an effort to lose the stubborn 5 8 post holiday/off season pounds I was slashing the calories a little too much. My strength program advocates eating more to weight less so I cautiously added more, and almost instantly my energy levels went way up. Who woulda thunk it?! Scale still hasn’t moved, but I’m working on it…  It doesn’t look like the weather is going to ANY better this week, so I’m going to make the best of it and do whatever I need to to get those miles in!

 

 

Pittsburgh Marathon Training Week 4!

Another week down. I try to stay as positive as possible, but, I have been feeling really ‘meh’ these last two weeks and I just need to get it out there. It’s one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to get this post up. I just  I  like I’m regressing in the speed department instead of making progress, and that worries me.  I gained weight in the “off season”, and can’t seem to lose it and that frustrates me.  I look at what other people are doing in their training (which I know is a stoopid thing to do) and feel like I’m not doing enough and that scares me.  I’m tired of running in the cold and dodging ice. I want to blog more, but I don’t feel like I have anything interesting/valuable to contribute. I’m also tired of whining and being in a shitty mood so hopefully something will change soon.  Anyway. Thanks for “listening” to me complain – I hate to do it, but sometimes it’s just necessary.

Monday – You know how I roll – Rest Day!

Tuesday4 miles. I wasn’t sure what the ice situation would be in the cemetery/surrounding roads so I decided to just get it done first thing in the morning, on the treadmill. I’ve said many times before that I really feel like I’m losing my hill mojo. They’re all starting to feel hard again and I don’t like that. So instead of playing around with the speed on the treadmill, I switched up the incline. I had no idea what I was doing, so I’d pump it up to a 2 or 2.5 incline, run that for a minute or two, then lower the incline back down to a .5 . The highest I got up to was a 4%, and my legs were really feeling it by the end so I’m going to say this was a success. I finished this in 44:45 (11:04 pace).

This popped up on my screen during my run. Perfect motivation!

This popped up on my screen during my run. Perfect motivation!

Wednesday – This was supposed to be strength but when I was greeted with a 40 degrees and sunshine leaving work, I knew that I needed to run. I raced home, put on shorts (!!!) and set out for 4 miles of speed. I wasn’t planning on running, so my Garmin wasn’t charged and it shit the bed not long after I started so I was running blind. I tried to use the Outside app on my phone, but it only tracks if the screen is on. Anytime it timed out to the lock screen, it would stop tracking. I used to have a Run Keeper app, but it was nowhere to be found.  By now I had no idea how far I’d gone, and I wasn’t even sure how long I’d been running.  I figured that I started running at about 5, so at 5:45 I wrapped it up. In my mind, if I was going “fast” I would have run  at least 4.1-4.3 ish miles, and if I wasn’t going as “fast” as I thought/hoped then I probably still got about 4 miles in. So, I could have run anywhere from an 11:15 pace (I don’t think it was this slow) to a 10:27 pace (not likely). I’m going to split the difference and hope that I was in the 10:50 range. I tried to keep the intensity up, but without any data it’s so hard to say. Either way, I was just happy to be OUTSIDE and enjoying the tease of spring.  After my run, I went right to the basement to get my weights in. I didn’t want to push it to Thursday because that meant back-to-back days of strength and that’s usually frowned upon.

Thursday – Should have been 4 miles, but since I was hardcore the day before and did both workouts, I got an extra rest day and it was FABULOUS. It was also 9 degrees out, so I was really happy that I didn’t have to go out there and run in that!

Friday Strength training.  This week felt harder than last week on both days, even though it was the exact some workout with the same weights and reps yet…I wasn’t as sore the next day.  I’m not sure what’s up with that – maybe last week  I went above and beyond because I was so excited about my new plan? That or the weights I picked were too heavy, and I should have started lighter. Who knows. I got my two days in and that’s still winning in my book!

Saturday Hills. I tried to come up with a good, hilly route that wasn’t still covered under snow and ice.  I did ok. After hearing Nichole and Jennifer talk about Heart Rate Monitors I wore my HRM for the first time in….years. Except… I had no idea what the numbers meant. They obviously spiked on the hard, hilly sections and leveled out on the flat/downhill parts. I did notice that on my last mile when I was really starting to struggle I had a hard time getting it to go back down.  I feel like this is obvious, though. Of course my heart rate is going to jump  when I’m trying to chug up a hill – I’m working harder. Of course it’s going to spike when I’m struggling….that’s why I’m struggling. Either way, I did 7 miles in 1:19 (11:18 pace) which is about average for me. Overall, I felt OK…I was able to distract myself with the HRM for a good portion of the run so it went by quickly.

Hills 7 2-7

Good climb going right into mile 4!

 

heartrate

But what’s it mean?!

 

SundayLong Run with Jennifer! I was so excited to have my running partner back! It was also really nice out, so I threw on some shorts. I forgot that it’s normally colder at North Park, but I was still pretty comfortable and was much happier than I would have been in pants.  We did the first 6 together, and ran the lake loop backwards which was a nice change of pace. I wore my HRM again, but I still have no idea what it means. I was also reminded why I don’t wear it – after a while it gets very uncomfortable and starts to hurt. I don’t think I’m wearing it too high…it’s about flush with my sports bra strap. I was already over it by 3 or 4 miles and I spent the rest of my run cursing that thing. I think it’s safe to say I’ll probably be leaving it at home from now on. Of course, the first 6 flew by as we chatted and we passed Shaun and Kim who were both zooming around the lake! We parted ways after 6 miles and it started to wear on me. I turned on my music to give me a little boost, and it did for a mile or two, but overall I just struggled mentally.  My paces were right on, but my mind wasn’t in the best place. It just wanted to be done! I also saw Nichole zip past me on my second loop! It was great to see so many other runners/bloggers out and about! 12 miles 2:19 (11:39 pace).

So, that was my week. On the positive side, I got all 4 of my runs in! There is soooo much to improve on – I just need to focus on one thing at a time and take it from there. There’s plenty of time left before May 3rd (81 days, but who’s counting?!), and everything will be A-OK. And because we need a smile and I didn’t have many pictures this week, here’s a few cat pictures.

I got up for a cup of tea, and when I came back...my spot was gone.

I got up for a cup of tea, and when I came back…my spot was gone.

#whereswilbur ??

#whereswilbur ??

The cats have learned how to play on the iPad and they're hooked!

The cats have learned how to play on the iPad and they’re hooked!