Buffalo Creek Half Marathon Training – Week 2

Happy Monday, Wednesday, Thursday! I got a little sidetracked this week – I got my first course syllabus and have been mildly freaking out even since! There is quite a bit of work crammed into 8 weeks and the assignments look pretty intense. I think part of my anxiety is stemming from the fact that I don’t yet have the syllabus for my science class. I’m panicking over whether tests are going to coincide and I have all of this work for ONE class how am I going to manage another?! I’m also already wondering how this whole training thing is going to work out…I’m not going to worry about that tooooo much but it’s definitely on my mind.

So, onto another week of training! It was another low mileage week, and even with that there were still some tough runs in there.  I don’t have many running pictures again, but the cats were a total hit last week so they will be featured heavily again!

Monday: 3 miles 35:00 11:29 pace Avg HR:  147       It was a really beautiful morning with a fantastic sunrise! I don’t usually take my phone with me – it’s a pain to carry and my armband is chilling somewhere in Homewood, so I wasn’t able to capture it. Overall I felt great! I find that I’m getting better at naturally falling into the right zone and it’s less of a battle to keep my HR where it should be. I used to hate running easy, because it meant “slow”, but I’m slowly (haha, see what I did there??) falling in love with these.

 

Wilbur scoping out the goods

Wilbur scoping out the goods

Tuesday: 30 min tempo 3.1 miles 9:34 pace Avg HR:  168    I was a little nervous about this run. I tried a 30 minute tempo several weeks ago and didn’t even get 3 miles. I was a little embarrassed, and worried that I wouldn’t getting enough mileage with these tempos. But after analyzing the run, I noticed that I was really low in the HR zone and if I would just push it a little more I might see better results. And I was right! My splits were: 9:37, 9:52, 9:08, 10:46 for the .1 ! A little inconsistent with that middle mile but overall I was really excited by these results. I made great adjustments and great progress in just 2 weeks and that is proof that I’m on the right path.

Wilbur has been giving Gizmo hiding lessons.

Wilbur has been giving Gizmo hiding lessons.

 

Wednesday: 3 miles 33:00 10:54 pace Avg HR:  153  Another beautiful morning! The sunrises were off.the.chart. all week long and I loved it. They are definitely the types of mornings that make me happy & grateful that I run, and give me a chance to reflect on all kinds of things. I love it! I got a strength workout in Wednesday evening as well.

I wake up to this x4 every morning. Someone is not pleased that breakfast was delayed.

I wake up to this look x4 every morning. Someone is not pleased that breakfast was delayed.

 

Thursday: Strength. I know you aren’t supposed to do the NROLFW workouts back to back. But I did. Such a rebel.

 

I got snazzy new running shoes this weekend. When I got home, I promptly tried them on, and Shooter promptly stole the box.

I got snazzy new running shoes this weekend. When I got home, I promptly tried them on, and Shooter promptly stole the box.

Friday: 3 mile Pace Run 29:00 9:29 pace Avg HR:  172       AWE.SOME. The week before, I was little disappointed at my pace but after seeing my average heart rate, it was clear why. My heart rate was too low. This week I made a major effort to not let it dip below 170 and my pace went right back down into the mid 9’s. Imagine that.  It’s amazing how just a few beats can make a big impact on my pace.

I need this backpack. I know I'm not actually going to be going to school, so I don't NEED it....but boy, do I want that.

I need this backpack. I know I’m not actually going to be going to school, so I don’t NEED it….but boy, do I want that. In case you can’t tell, that’s CATS floating through the galaxy. Amazing.

 

Saturday:  6 miles 1:09 11:27 pace Avg HR: 162   This run sucked. I had so much on my mind and was having a hard time keeping it together to begin with, so this was tough. My heart rate was elevated from the get go and I just couldn’t bring it back down. I also went back to the hilly route around my neighborhood and it was harder than I remembered.  It’s amazing how much stress and other outside factors can affect heart rate. I’ve noticed that several times now and it while I’m aware of it, it never fails to amaze me.

She is nailing it.

She is nailing it.

 

Sunday. Rest day. It was the first “anniversary” (that sounds like such an odd word to use in this situation) of my step father’s passing and it was rough. Hence, Saturday’s run through Struggle Town. It was hard, but to be honest, the days leading up to it were even harder.  I was dreading it, but it ended up being OK. We (me, Tall One, my mom and my aunt) met  at the cemetery  and then went to an Irish pub (Siebs) for a toast. Not exactly conventional but exactly what  Lee would have wanted

 

It still feels weird to be doing such low mileage, but it seems that I am really responding to it so I won’t question anything! I think that within the next week or two, my morning runs will be coming to an end and that’s a total bummer. I LOVE early morning runs, but it’s already staying SO dark in the morning – I delay my starts for as long as I can but I won’t be able to do that much longer. Transitioning back to running after work can sometimes be tough for me but eventually I’ll get back in the groove.

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It’s Been a Year

It’s been a year since my step dad passed away. Some days it feels like a lifetime ago, but more often it feels like seconds ago. I think of him and miss him every single day. I don’t know if it will ever get easier, but I’m getting better at remembering the good times with a smile, rather than sobs.  It’s been a year and I have learned so much about myself and others. I’ve realized that my mom is stronger and braver than I ever gave her credit for and if I get 1/16 of that strength and bravery I will be a very lucky person. I’ve (re) learned that my husband is the best and we would not have been able to do this without him. I have so much more that I want to say, but really don’t know how to, so I won’t even try. It’s been a year…and we miss you so much ❤ .

 

"It's been a long day without you, my friend. And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again."

“It’s been a long day without you, my friend. And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.”

Going Back to School – The Details

Last week, I let you in on a little secret. I’m going back to school! This is something I’ve been thinking about  for almost 2 years now, but the timing never seemed to be just right.  I currently have an Associates degree in Marketing that I’ve gotten by and done well with, but I know I could do more and not having that Bachelor’s degree is really holding me back. After some encouragement from “outsiders” (non-family/friends) and talking it over with the Tall One we both agreed that it was a good idea and something that I need to just do. I also realized that the time would never be exactly perfect, but then the stars aligned juuuuuuust enough to convince me to go for it.
I usually never open fortune cookies. The one time I did - I got the message I needed.

I usually never open fortune cookies. The one time I did – I got the message I needed.

The Background:
I did quite a bit of research and started looking at my options. It became obvious pretty quickly that online classes would work best for my schedule; I just couldn’t imagine working full time, then driving downtown or somewhere else 2-3 nights per week for 3 hours, plus spend all day Saturday in a classroom. Not ideal.
Once I decided that, my options became a little more limited. Ideally the online program would also have a brick & mortar school, be well known/recognized AND be localish just in case I decided that online was not the best option for me. Cost was also a factor and after a long search I set my sights on Point Park University’s online Accounting program.
I contacted them, got an unofficial transcript evaluation, got some Financial Aid guidance and decided to apply. I waited on pins and needles for what seemed like ages (more like a month and a half. There were some mix-ups with my transcripts….) and finally just last week got the news that I had been hoping for!
In the meantime, I had been doing a lot of other research and Pinning back to school things (do you follow me?)- it’s been a while since I’ve been a student and I needed to get back in that mindset. At the same time, I didn’t want to get too hopeful, just in case things didn’t work out and I wasn’t accepted. This is also one of the (many) reasons I haven’t blogged much. I was afraid I’d spill the beans, not get accepted, and then be humiliated when I’d have to share that I was rejected. I don’t do well with public humiliation. Who does?
The Plan:
Since I am an “adult learner” (for some reason that phrase makes me feel really old) AND doing a fully online program I’m considered an accelerated learner. This means that one term is broken into two 8 week semesters; instead of just the Fall Semester, I’ll have Fall 1 (August-October) & Fall 2 (October-December). Thanks to my Associate’s Degree, I’ll be entering Point Park as a Junior; I registered for my first classes yesterday and I’ll be taking:
Fall 1
English 205
Science 111
Fall 2
TBD
I didn’t pick my last classes yet – I’m waiting to see if anything else opens up in the next few weeks. These first 2 are Gen Ed courses that I need and I figured I might as well get those all done and out of the way so I can dive in to the accounting and business classes. I was told to expect 12-15 hours of work per class, per week so It’ll be a good way to reintroduce myself to the world of college 🙂
How I’ll Make It Work:
Honestly, I don’t know! I feel like there will definitely be a learning curve with this. It’s been almost 8 years since I’ve been a student but I’m hoping that it’s like a riding a bike! Although, I was never very good with bikes so….hopefully it’s a little better than that! Having Sunday as an “off” day from running I think will be critical. This will hopefully give me time to start the week’s assignments or finish up anything last minute that may be due AND still get things done around the house like groceries, meal prep, etc.
School and Half Marathon Training:
Training for a half marathon at the same time as starting school may not have been my best idea ever, but I’m not going to stress about it. If I have to miss a workout due to school work, then that’s what will happen. I’m hoping to look at running/training as outlet rather than another chore or task that needs to be completed and hopefully that will keep things in perspective. This is something I GET to do, not HAVE to do. This may mean that I have to adjust my goals, but since I really don’t know what my race goals are yet I’ll be able to go with the flow a little more. I have no idea what I’m going to do about racing after Buffalo Creek though. Another full marathon may be off the table until I’m done (we are estimating about 2 years, maybe less, to complete the program) but I’m not ruling anything out just yet. That is all TBD!
School, Half Marathon Training, AND Vacation:
We booked our vacation to Hilton Head RIGHT before I decided to go back to school and I quickly realized that I would be taking school work to the beach with me. I’m fine with this – that’s why they invented laptops. I might be that person at the pool with a computer and I’m fully ready to embrace that 🙂 I’m always pretty flexible with running while I’m away so again, I’ll get done what I can but if I miss a run….oh well!
I bought my first school supply - Peanut is just as excited as I am :-) !!

I bought my first school supply – Peanut is just as excited as I am 🙂 !!

This is a very big, and exciting step for me! I’m hoping to blog about the experience – the good, bad, ugly and everything in between. So now in addition to being a crazy cat lady who runs, I’ll be a crazy running STUDENT cat lady!

Buffalo Creek Half Marathon Training – Week 1

How is it August already?! I feel like just yesterday we were still training for Pittsburgh and now we’ve all moved on to training for fall races! Crazy! Since everyone else has been training for BCHM for 3 or 4 weeks I feel like I am SO behind. This capped off the first week of training for me and it was great. When I picked my training plan (Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Half) I didn’t realize how LOW the mileage is. I only ran 16 miles this past week, but I felt like they were all quality. Thanks to this plan, and my heart rate training, I really feel like they all served a purpose and I can feel that they did. That probably sounds crazy, but for the first time in ages I really feel like I am making true progress with my training. That is an amazing feeling. Also. I have 0 running related pictures…so cat pictures it is! Sorry, but not really.
Monday: 3 miles 36:36 12:12 pace Avg HR: 153.  I always struggle with Monday runs, which is why I usually make that my rest day. This time around it’s time to suck it up and get it done. I could NOT drag myself out of bed that morning so I had to wait until after work to do it. It was HOT and sunny out, but I told myself that it was no biggie. Since it was an easy day, I didn’t have to worry about my pace or throwing down some major repeats. It wasn’t terrible, but it reminded my why I love running early; I was tired, and my legs were like lead and it was pretty toasty. I was disappointed when I realized that soon I’ll be doing most of my runs at that time since it will  be too dark to run before work. Major sad panda over here.
Sad Panda

Sad Panda

Tuesday: 5x400m repeats. I did not have high hopes for this one. I wasn’t feeling 100%, and the humidity was brutal. I usually do a 1 mile warmup, but only did about 3/4 of one – I had to make a pit stop home and since I was right by the road I do the repeats on I decided to just get them started. My target heart rate for repeats is 186-190, and I noticed that since the repeats are so short it’s not a lot of time for me to get my heart rate that high. Even with that, my splits were: 7:47, 7:35, 8:07, 7:51, 8:07 . My recovery intervals are .10 . I was really ecstatic to see splits in the SEVENS. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?! Apparently, there is an inner speed demon that is just waiting to bust out.  Because of the recovery intervals, it’s hard to give an accurate representation of average heart rate, pace etc. but here they are: 1:.69 miles (does not include my warmup because I have to reset my watch) 16:00 9:29 pace. Avg HR: 171 BOOM!
Rub muh belly, please

Rub muh belly, please

Wednesday: 3 miles  33:00 11:00 pace Avg HR: 152  . This run doesn’t have a specific designation (not easy, not speed, not pace, etc) I designated this as a medium pace with the heart rate zone between my easy and long run zone: 155-160. I was met with 80% humidity but it didn’t seem too terrible, and I was able to keep my heart rate in the zone. Actually, it was just UNDER the zone at 152 so that was even better for the pace I was able to manage.
No respect. On the table, on my sweater. You can tell she's concerned about the ramifications

No respect. On the table, on my sweater. You can tell she’s concerned about the ramifications

Thursday: Weights! I finally moved on to the next stage of New Rules of Lifting for Women a few weeks ago and I really enjoy those workouts. The ONLY move I hate is the Dumbbell Cuban Snatch. It feels so unnatural and like I’m not doing it right (even with 3 lb weights) so I decided I’m not doing it anymore. I’ll substitute it for….something. Not sure what, but just not that!
Now we are crossing the lines. On the counter, bird watching.

Now we are crossing the lines. On the counter, bird watching. Obviously the counter was cleaned and a new towel was put down. And he was back 5 minutes later.

Friday: 3 miles 30:00 10 min pace Avg HR 167 . This is supposed to be a pace run and my heart rate should be between 170-174, so again I was a little low but still a really good effort. I was a touch disappointed that it wasn’t as fast as last week’s pace run (9:5x pace) but had I kicked it up a notch and gotten my HR up 5 more bpm I would have been back in the 9’s. It’s amazing to me how those few beats can so drastically effect your pace!
Breakfast is apparently self serve these days...

Breakfast is apparently self serve these days…

Saturday: 5 miles 1:02 12:23 pace Avg HR: 137 I met Jen at North Park bright and early at 6:30! The roads were practically empty (except, I did manage to get stuck behind the ONE other person out…going 5 miles under the speed limit), and it was so nice and cool. I only had 5 on the schedule so we did the first loop together; it was great to be reunited! Our schedules haven’t matched up for the last few weeks and it had been awhile since we tackled any miles together, so we got to catch up which made the miles FLY by! Before I knew it, we were back at our cars and Jen was fueling up to tackle the last 4 miles. Our roles are reversed for this training cycle – during marathon training I was always the one setting of to face the last few miles solo and now it’s Jen’s turn! She crushed it (of course), and used her last miles as a fast finish! Awesome!  It was awesome to be finished with my “long run” (I use long very loosely here since it was only 5 miles) before 8 AM! I literally had the whole day to get stuff done!
Sunday: Rest! I remembered when I was crawling into bed that I’m supposed to use Sunday as another weights day. My bad.
I’m really pleased with this week. I only totaled about 16.5 miles and I’m good with that. It can be tough to look on Daily Mile and see everyone else logging 10 and 20 miles per week more than me but I need to swallow my pride, and focus on me and my goals. For a while I was focused on quantity not quality in my plans, but I’m starting to appreciate that that may not always be the best option for me. It’s awesome to have focus and direction again!! I can’t wait to see what this training cycle brings 🙂
How was your week? Please tell me your pets have some bad manners/bad habits too?