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.



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.



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!




What I Ate Wednesday

I know some people are against the whole What I Ate Wednesday thing, but I love it. I’m kind of nebby, so I really enjoy seeing what other people are chomping on and it’s great meal inspiration for when I plan my weekly menus. I think it also helps me physically see where I can/need to make improvements in my diet.

 This wasn’t a perfect day, and my “grand” plans for dinner were derailed when I come home from my run to no water…womp womp. It’s so easy to forget what a great thing running water is until you don’t have any!

Breakfast always starts with coffee and my chemical laden creamer. This is the second Bailey’s flavor I’ve tried and I’m not crazy about them. Number 1, there’s no booze 😉 (what’s the point then?) and 2, they don’t really seem to have a flavor. The label says ‘crème brulee’, but I taste nothing. Too bad I still have one of these in the downstairs refrigerator to use up…



Kitties got their breakfast on too….


Gizmo’s new thing is to eat straight out of the container. For whatever reason she just can’t wait the 3 extra seconds it takes me to dump the food in her bowl. It’s strange, and hilarious and adorable all at the same time.

A little later I made a lame breakfast of an English Muffin with a fried egg and a slice of Swiss. I normally try to have some veggies or fruit on the side but I didn’t have anything prepped and didn’t have the time to slice/dice/cook.  It was delicious, and fairly filling which is at least half the battle.

Could be better...could be worse

Could be better…could be worse

Today was apparently temptation day because one coworker brought in donuts and the other brought in some leftover food from the Pirates game. Not wanting to be rude, I helped myself to a taste…

If this is wrong...I don't want to be right!

If this is wrong…I don’t want to be right!

Lunch was these beauties. Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats. Oh.My.Goodness. If you haven’t tried these yet, you’re missing out because they are YUM. My pictures are terrible (it was dark in my kitchen when I packed my lunch) but trust me when I say they’re winners. Even the Tall One likes them; in fact, he requested these for dinner Tuesday night.  I also had some rice on the side <— I’m really sorry, but I have such a hard time getting on the brown rice train. I want to like it, but more often than not I am left seriously underwhelmed. Oh well. It happens.

It looks strange, but tastes amazing!

It looks strange, but tastes amazing!

And, not wanting to be rude, I had 2 garlic chicken wings that my coworker brought in. They were tasty!


Berries were a post lunch snack, and some pretzels were my pre-run snack. 


Water, throughout the day as always.

That is some high quality H2O

That is some high quality H2O

Dinner was supposed to be Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole, but upon arriving home from a humid, sweaty 3 mile run I discovered we had no water.  Not only could I not shower, I couldn’t make dinner either. Sad Panda over here. Not wanting to dirty a ton of dishes, I had the extra healthy dinner of Special K and almond milk.

Mix of multi-grain and vanilla almond. Not too shabby

Mix of multi-grain and vanilla almond. Not too shabby

I’m really beginning to think I’m not supposed to make this dish. I bought all of the ingredients over the weekend for this…except the noodles. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I’m pretty sure that’s a key ingredient. Then last night I had no water to boil noodles or wash dishes. Third time’s a charm, perhaps?

 I gave it a few hours, and the water didn’t come back on so we headed over to my in-laws and took advantage of their shower.  Of course, by the time we got home the water was back. Figures.


Today was far from perfect, but I’m working on it. My appetite has been kind nonexistent and it’s just starting to get back to normal, so the fact that I ate this much is winning in my book.  My skin is letting me know that I’ve been eating too much cheese/dairy lately so I’ll have to back off that and maybe hold off on that Tuna Casserole for a while, even though I was finally going to try it with plain almond milk. Sad Panda.

What did you eat today yesterday?

In the meantime

The 2014 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon (that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? <<—-  Also, that’s what she said) was 4 days ago and I am still riding high from my experience. I set a very unexpected PR in the half marathon, and that really reignited my passion for this sport.

2013 was a pretty lackluster running year for me, but I feel like I’m getting my mojo back.  I’m registered to run the Air Force Marathon, September 20 in Dayton, Ohio,   and I am really excited about this.

Training starts in a few short weeks, and in the meantime I’m going to attempt to make some much needed changes to my diet, and (re) incorporate some strength training into my routine. I know that my nutrition is going to make a huge difference in the quality of my workouts and will hopefully help me shed some of this extra fluff that has accumulated around my mid-section.

My next post will be all about the changes I’m making,  the plan that I’ll be following during my downtime, and what I’ll be doing during marathon training.

I love hearing how other runners eat to fuel their workouts and training, so tell me, what’s a normal day of eats like during your training? What about during your off season? Favorite treat or indulgence?


Well, hello there!

Welcome to the first post of The Crazy Cat Lady.

I’m not really sure where to start – I have been wanting to start a running blog for ages now and since I just ran my 3rd half marathon (and set a PR), and will start training for my 2nd full marathon in a few weeks I figured now was the time.

What started out as a way to lose weight, slowly became an obsession, and while I’m, at best, a mediocre runner, I want to become stronger, faster, and smarter about running.  In order to do that, I need to focus on a boatload of things – nutrition, physical AND mental strength just to name a few.  This isn’t going to be easy, but it will be worth it.