Friday, October 7, 2016

Gratitude, and a Lack of Good Judgment

I have spent a lot of time lately just thinking about how miraculous it is that I share the same space in the universe as my husband, my son, and our sweet dog.  It is such a privilege to know them, and I am grateful every day for the time we have together.

At the beginning of the summer, I was not running.  Then I was walking or running slowly, and never for very long.  I hiked and I didn't worry about wearing a watch.  I allowed things to change, and I made sure I was always having fun.  Usually, this meant I covered around fifteen miles each week, more or less.  I still went to the Saturday morning social runs with Birmingham Track Club.  Sometimes I ran nine-minute miles, and sometimes I ran twelve-minute miles.  I met with friends for long, leisurely trail runs.  I learned to love the summer heat, and I respected the way it affected my body. 

About a month ago, I noticed that I was doing about 80% of my running on trails or sod.  I added more mileage and felt surprisingly healthy.  My friend Katherine (above) told me she registered for a winter ultramarathon on trails, and I agreed to show her some of the off-road running spots around town.  We ran on power line easements, cross country courses, tarmac tracks, golf courses, hiking trails, and fire roads.

This week, Katherine told me she signed up for a 21k trail run as a "tune up" before her winter training.  The race has a really cool t-shirt, so naturally I signed up.  Also, it's tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to a day of stomping around in the woods with Katherine and about a hundred other close friends.  My plan is to run but not race, and definitely wear the t-shirt for the rest of the week.

See you guys on the flip side!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Trail Running at Red Mountain Park this Morning

I met up with a few girlfriends who had long runs today, and kept them company for the first half of their twenty-miler.  It felt great to be outside on a windy day, and I think it may be getting cooler?  Either that, or I'm just hallucinating.

I ended up with about nine miles close to an 11:30/mile pace, ate salted watermelon, and then went to work filthy.  Good times.

FYI, Alabama trails are nasty and rough.  Even though we don't have the altitude of of my home state Colorado, we have all the same opportunities for technical running and filth. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How to Play Pokémon GO While You Run!

Admit it.  You want to do this.

I've mentioned this already, but I spent most of the summer falling for this game, hardcore.  I've found some great ways to incorporate it into my running life, so I thought I'd pass along some tips.  I don't have a ton of pretty pictures, sorry.  If you're interested in the game, by now you know what it looks like. 

1.  Choose a place to run.

I highly, highly suggest planning your Poké-running trips in advance.  Two months of play have taught me that certain areas are incredibly productive, while others are Poké wastelands.

Here's a quick explanation of how the location-based game features work.  1) Pokéstops are fixed locations in the real world where players collect the necessary items for playing the game (balls, eggs, potions, etc.).  2) Gyms are fixed locations in the real world where players either fight for control and virtual coins, or train against members of their own team for experience and prestige.  3) Pokémon can be found and captured at any location in the real world, but they are known to be more abundant in certain areas.  "Spawns" are single locations where a certain Pokémon is known to appear with predictable regularity.  "Nests" are small areas where a certain Pokémon appears in great numbers.

In general, Pokéstops are found at churches, fountains, public art installations, murals, and monuments.  Gyms have a less predictable pattern, but I have noticed a lot near large office towers, schools, hospitals, and popular bars and nightclubs.  All of the location data are derived from an older game called Ingress.   Here's an easy way to use Ingress data to discover Pokéstops and Gyms near you.

I recommend choosing a place with multiple Pokéstops and a known high density of Pokémon, preferably near a Nest.  Gyms aren't as important, because fighting and training at Gyms are not conducive to a running workout.

If you want to find Poké-rich places near you, or for advice on general game play, check out the Reddit forum for Pokémon Go. There are also hundreds of regional subreddits for Pokémon Go that you can find by typing some key words into the search bar on Reddit.  The Silph Road is by far the best resource for finding Spawns and Nests near you.

2. Decide on the purpose of your outing.

If you are going to prioritize the running workout, then most of this advice will be irrelevant.  My suggestion is that you do laps around one or two Pokéstops and collect supplies.  Keep the app open, but stash your phone where you can see it for the off chance you encounter a rare or needed Pokémon.  As long as the app is running and open, you will be working to hatch eggs as well.

If you are primarily focused on hatching eggs, set things up before you start.  Select your highest-kilometer eggs and fill the incubators.  Keep the app running and open.  The best course of action is to run a straight-line route, because the egg distance calculator updates every four minutes based on straight-line distance traveled.  As my eggs hatch on a run, I like to save time by quickly renaming the Pokémon to "Egg" so I can return to appraise and deal with it later.  Egg-hatched Pokémon usually have very powerful stats, and I want to avoid accidentally transferring them while I'm running.

If you mainly want to hunt Pokémon, consult local Reddit forums or the Silph Road to decide where you want to hunt.  Keep the app running and open, and your phone in your hand.  It is probably best to turn your phone volume up (as long as you won't be disturbing anyone nearby), and plan an interval or very relaxed "time on your feet" run.  I've found that trail running is great for hunting, since you will generally be moving more slowly and taking breaks.  

If you mostly need to collect supplies, find an area that is protected from vehicle traffic and has a high density of Pokéstops.  The best places are parks, zoos, gardens, and shopping malls.  Plan a lap that allows you to repeat each Pokéstop at ~five-minute intervals.  (Five minutes is the refresh interval on Pokéstops, and the game will not let you collect from them any more frequently.)

3.  Take care of your phone battery.

Pokémon GO is a major drain on a phone battery.  Oddly enough and despite this, it doesn't use a huge amount of cellular data.  In my experience (using a newer Android device, running a background task killer, and with the screen dimmed), I can actively run and play the game for about 90 minutes before I need to charge.  Every phone will be different, though.  Have you phone charged fully, carry a portable charger to top up your phone before you get on with the rest of your day, and keep the phone in battery saver mode when you can.  (My phone isn't compatible with battery saver, but iPhone 6 is.)  There are also external battery packs that people carry on extended trips, but I have not bothered with them.  

4.  Set your phone up so you can see it. 

First of all, you need to adjust your screen brightness so you can see the game in the lighting conditions you will have on the run.  Check things out in the sun and the shade, with glasses on if you plan to wear them.  Then, set your screen to the maximum timeout so you don't have to constantly be tapping at the phone screen to keep things active.  On Android, adjust "Settings" > "Display" > "Sleep" to the maximum time interval, usually five minutes.  

5.  Organize your bag and items. 

This is important especially if you are primarily hunting or collecting supplies.  I like to organize my Pokémon ahead of time, transferring and evolving any extra ones so I have more storage space.  I also use the Items menu to delete all the extra revives and potions so I don't run out of bag space and have to deal with that while I'm out. 

6.  Learn how to hit Pokéstops while running.

This is an art, and it is best developed with practice.  To collect from a Pokéstop, you need to 1) click on it to activate it, 2) spin the central disk to release items, and 3) collect the items by clicking on them individually or clicking the "x" button to close the Pokéstop.  You can click to activate a Pokéstop at any time it is visible on your map.  But you must be within the "radar" radius to actually spin the disk.  What works best for me is to click and activate the Pokéstop as I run toward it, then time the "spin" so it happens right as I am in the sweet spot.  Then, I click the "x" to close as I am running away.  Timing is everything, so it is best to practice.  Running laps and hitting the same Pokéstops over and over are also good strategies, because you learn the sweet spot for timing. 

7.  Learn how to capture Pokémon while running.

This is also an art, and also requires practice, but it is slightly more difficult that hitting Pokéstops while running.  It was a major breakthrough for me when I realized that you can move freely once you begin the Pokémon encounter, without risking "losing" the Pokémon.  

Here's the method that works for me.  Once my phone vibrates (the notification for a Pokémon within the catch radius), I glance down and decide whether I am interested in catching it.  This depends on the type of running workout I am doing, whether I need the Pokémon, the rarity of the Pokémon, etc.  Depending on that, I click to start the Pokémon encounter and move aside to a safe (hopefully shaded) place out of the way of pedestrians or cyclists who are also using the trail.  If it's a take-it-or-leave-it situation, or a Pokémon I'm not really worried about catching, I will do so while running and by flicking my thumb, as long as I'm sure I can safely look at my phone.  For some catches, I will stop completely.  I've been doing some slower heart rate zone-based runs, so this stuff is actually ideal for recovery periods.

Catching Pokémon while running really does take a lot of practice, especially with sweaty hands.  Just keep trying and you'll get better over time.  

8.  Incorporate some fun running workouts.

Sprint to the next Pokéstop, and jog through it to recover.  Use Pokémon encounters to create random intervals of hard running and rest.  Time laps, and only allow a certain elapsed time for game play.  Be creative.  The Silph Road reported that ordinary game play will involve about five kilometers of daily running/walking to see the best progress.  And the incense in the game works best if you move at a speed of 7.5 miles per hour (an 8:00 minute/mile pace).  So you could theoretically make Pokémon GO your primary workout, plan a daily 30-minute brisk run, and have tons of fun without slaving over the game the rest of the time.  Win/win.   

9.  Be safe.  

This really goes without saying, but I feel like I have to mention a few basic things.  I've seen some truly boneheaded Pokémon GO players in some of the parks I frequent.

It is absolutely 100% stupid to play Pokémon GO while running if you are anywhere near traffic.  Even bicycle traffic.  You will be too distracted.  Don't even try it.  Pick a safe area like a park or a trail system.  Don't wear headphones.  That is just another layer of distraction, and you will inevitably end up in someone's way or tripping over your own feet.  Make sure you are in a safe area, and don't trespass.  If you are going out after dark or to an unfamiliar area, go with a friend.  Don't flash your phone around if you're in a place known for petty crime.  Don't run your phone battery down to the point that you can't make a 911 call in an emergency.

You know, just ordinary common sense stuff.

And have fun!  It has already been reported that the next update to Pokémon GO will involve a system of logging additional kilometers to beef up a chosen "buddy" Pokémon with candy and additional rewards.  I'm really excited for this development, because I've been logging a lot of mileage with the game.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Some Things That Happened This Summer

Where shall I begin? 

July and August have been incredibly restorative and healing months for me.  I have been away from this blog because I have been away from electronic communications in general.  I am still debating whether or not I have missed it.

I read and read and read.
I have finished a long list of books that have been piled up on my desk and nightstand.  And a few more that I picked up in the homes of friends and family members during our summer travels.  Here are the books I have managed to complete thus far...

Dead Mountain:  The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, by Donnie Eichar

Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman

Both Flesh and Not, essays by David Foster Wallace

Attempting Normal, by Marc Maron

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel

Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

I'm currently working on I, Claudius, by Robert Graves, with vague plans to watch at least part of the old BBC series after I'm finished the book.

I dropped my running mileage substantially.
Blessings and curses.  All of the pain and inflammation in my body subsided, and I feel healed.  I have ten toenails again for the first time in years.  I gained muscle and got stronger.  I learned new coping skills for the everyday stresses of work and home life.  I avoided logging substantial mileage during the doggiest hot days of Alabama summer.  Although I have slowed down somewhat, I still feel like running fitness is within my grasp, and I am no more than +/- eight weeks out from racing shape.  I saved a huge amount of money in the running shoe budget.

I missed out on training cycles for two of my favorite local races.  I moved "down" two pace groups at track club events, and can no longer keep up with some of my faster friends.  I dealt with some depression and feelings of purposelessness as the long days dragged on without a refreshing run.  I had trouble sleeping.  I lost my appetite for some of my favorite foods.

All the changes to my running life were undertaken for a purpose, and I feel I have learned a lot.  I am ready now to build mileage back up and enjoy some true fall running conditions.

I got completely addicted to Pokemon Go.
Can't stop.  Won't stop.

I quit drinking alcohol.
As it turns out, alcohol is one of those favorite foods I have no desire to consume unless I am running regularly and for extended periods of time.

I drove to New York in a car with a recently potty trained toddler.
Ask me how it went.  I now have access to a huge and previously unexplored reservoir of patience and self-control in my inner psyche.  So there's that.

I had emergent dental surgery.
Followed by four weeks of daily medication that turned me into a clumsy, scatterbrained mess with an extreme dislike for bright light and sudden movements.  I bought myself a few new teeth as a consolation prize.

So, how have things been for everyone else?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Letting Go of Stress and Worry - June 27, 2016

As summer begins, I am learning to let go and do without a lot of the noise in my life.  To be sure, every life contains a certain amount of chaos.  Most chaos visits in uninvited spurts: car wrecks, illnesses, sleepless nights with unhappy children, vague assignments, hard deadlines.  Other chaos is invited in willingly, even joyfully.  What begins as a hobby or a volunteer project or even a simple social engagement can quickly escalate until it creates more stress than it relieves.

I have been experiencing a lot of both type of chaos in my life lately.  I am feeling a real need to simplify my commitments and rest my body and mind.

Now, I realize that -- as much as I would like to -- I cannot wave a magic wand over my life and remove everything that is causing me stress.  I am learning to be more patient.  I am learning that I cannot control every facet of my day-to-day experience.  I can, however, create a restful and meditative state of mind by reducing some of the more physically exhausting things I do.  To this end, I have started cutting out late nights, driving in traffic, and running in summer heat.

This is my choice.

I spent the past week doing exactly the physical exercise I wanted to do -- no more and no less.

Monday - Summer solstice, with a glorious full moon that stayed up past early morning twilight.  I wanted to run on trails with my dog.  We enjoyed the predawn light, and she chased a rabbit (while attached to my waist with the hands-free leash, natch!).  I saw six of my friends.  I quit when it got hot.  3 @ 9:27.

My wild little coyote.

Tuesday - 75 minutes of vinyasa hatha yoga.

Wednesday - 70 minutes of weight lifting with my friend Katherine, and a huge cup of amazing coffee to follow.

Thursday - Nothing at all.

Friday - 70 minutes of weight lifting with my friend Katherine, then 40 minutes in the pool with Katherine and some other triathlete folks.

Saturday - Saturday Morning Long Run with the Birmingham Track Club.  The weather was abysmal...92 degrees and 85% humidity.  I felt real pain on this run, but stuck it out.  My running buddy Andrea got some heat exhaustion midway through this run, and another friend and I dragged her into a Starbucks and stuffed her bra full of ice.  After some electrolytes and cold water, we jogged the last three miles at a pace I can only describe as "heroic."  I'm glad I went.  Amazingly enough, the Chevron station near the track club HQ was doing a promotional event and handing out free ICEE drinks.  I helped myself.  10.25 @ 9:47.

The "Before" picture.  I'm front and center in a pink bra top.  It happens. 
Have a fantastic week, everyone.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Week of Workouts - June 20, 2016

Hello and happy Monday, everyone!

The sky after Saturday's "long" run.  It seemed especially beautiful to me, but maybe it was the Percocet talking. 

I effectively cut my running mileage in half this past week.  Change is good.  I had some minor surgery on Thursday (with another procedure to follow this week).  The medical procedure itself isn't bad, but I have been completely addled on pain pills ever since.  I am am trying to deal with quite a bit of related stress and worry.  No, it is not anything that specifically affects my ability to run.  But I do need to take better care of my health overall -- particularly by resting a bit more.

Life has seasons.  They are not permanent.

Monday - an hour or yoga.

Tuesday - another hour of yoga!  Look at me, turning into a yoga fiend!  Also, my mom returned from an extended trip overseas, and was able to visit for a day.  It was a really lovely time.

My dog took a selfie, and it's probably my favorite photo from the week. 

Wednesday - 3 @ 8:10 on the treadmill.  It was pouring rain outside, and the gym was packed to the gills.

Thursday - 4.2 @ 8:42 on the trails of Veteran's Park.  I planned to go to yoga, and dressed myself accordingly in the morning.  Then, I bumped into a friend and spent so long chatting that I missed the beginning of the class.  Oops.  Instead, I just headed over to the park for a little run.  Luckily, I carry spare running shoes in the back of my car, but I didn't have socks, a hat, or sunglasses.  I put on some sunscreen and tried to suck it up, but ended up slipping my feet into some handy dog poop bags to help with the friction.  Yes, I wore dog poop bags as socks.  Don't try to tell me I'm not creative!  This run was HOT, HOT, HOT and the temperature was 103 Fahrenheit when I finished.

Poop bags for socks.

Friday - a spin class, which I totally sand bagged.  I was still recovering from the previous day's medical crap and didn't trust myself with anything more strenuous.  The nice thing about cycling classes is that you can take them at your own pace.  We also hosted a large-ish dinner party, and I spent the whole afternoon cooking, which was incredibly entertaining (and distracting -- perfect!).  Planning and cooking for large crowds is definitely one of my favorite things. 

Saturday - 13.1 @ 9:06 with the Long Run group.  This turned out to be a half marathon distance completely by accident, haha.  I ran about five miles early on, then joined the Track Club for a hilly route through Mountain Brook.  I felt really strong and happy the entire run, and was shocked to look down at my watch and see I had already run ten miles.  I turned back at that point, and ended up with just over thirteen.

Happy Father's Day from us!

Sunday - complete rest.  I finally finished reading Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall on Sunday evening, and I ordered the sequel -- Bringing Up the Bodies -- from Amazon almost immediately.  While I wait for it to be delivered, I am reading a nonfiction thriller called Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, by Donnie Eichar. 

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Week of Workouts - June 13, 2016

This will be a quick update.  I'm definitely going to reign in the amount of running I'm doing over the next several weeks, and thinking of sidelining these blog entries as well.  I've had some fairly serious health problems come back to the fore, and I need to focus on resting my body right now. 

Monday - 7.2 @ 9:30 in Spain Park, on roads and trails.

Tuesday - yoga

Wednesday - 7.1 @ 8:36 in Spain Park, on roads.

Thursday - 4 @ 8:49 around my neighborhood, followed by MYRTL and stretching.

Friday - yoga

Saturday - 8.1 @ 9:54 with the Track Club Saturday Long Run group.  I almost skipped, then decided to do an easy run and see how I felt after. 

Sunday - rest

So as you can see, not a whole lot to report.  About 26 miles of running, and two yoga classes.  The end!  Have a great week!

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Week of Workouts - June 6, 2016

Woot!  Summer is here!

Beautiful Veteran's Park.

Monday - 6 @ 9:02, appropriately enough at Veteran's Park.  I met with a group from the BRATS running club (Birmingham Running and Training Society).  They had a brief remembrance ceremony and moment of silence, an hour of running in pace groups, and then some snacks and adult beverages.  All before 7:00 am!

7:00 am

That afternoon, my family drove a few hours to go to a big family picnic at my parents' house.  We had such a good time, that we decided to stay overnight and until early Wednesday morning.

Chilling with old photos of myself. 

Tuesday - 5.1 @ 9:01 with Nate, around my parents' neighborhood.  My dad agreed to watch W while we put some miles in together, which is always a rare treat.  Unfortunately, we ran at 10:00 am, when it was close to 90 degrees and very humid.  Five miles was definitely enough...any longer and we would have needed to stop for water and some recovery.

I look like I've been punched in the face. 

Wednesday -  Complete rest.

The effect that two days with the grandparents has on W.

Thursday - 7 @ 9:02 around Homewood and the Villages of Mountain Brook with some friends who train with Resolute Running.  I wanted to get away from my neighborhood a bit.  I parked in Homewood pretty early on, and did a three-mile lap while I waited for folks.  For miles four and five, I paced some of my friends who were doing tempo (pretty mellow, 9:05 pace).  Then, I sped up a bit coming back into town by myself.  The temperature was pretty decent (about 75), but the humidity was unreal at 99%.  Probably the most humid run I did all week.

Alleys in Homewood.

Homemade ice cream is probably my favorite food. 

Friday - Hour-long Ashtanga yoga practice, then some pull ups.  Heated yoga studios are like NBD for me anymore.

Saturday - 14.3 @ 8:53 on the Track Club's long run.  I got an early start on this one, by meeting Gary and Bryan for five-ish miles at 5:00 am.  I also set up one of the club's water stops, which meant I left home around 4:15.  I threw my oatmeal and coffee in travel containers and consumed them on the drive.  Never again!  I had major indigestion and thirst issues for the first two miles of the run.  I think I'm finally getting somewhat heat adapted, though, because as the sun started rising and people began to complain, I was like, "this isn't too bad, I guess."  I did slow down for miles eleven through thirteen, because I started to feel a little winded.

A big crowd on this run, for some reason.

Sunday - Another day of complete rest.

Doing another virtual yoga retreat, which means yoga in the living room when it rains. 

Totals - 32.5 miles of running, a yoga class, some pullups, and plenty of rest.  Also, I'm pretty proud of the fact that I ate ice cream six times in two days.  So it was an epic week for ice cream training. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Week of Workouts - May 30, 2016

Hello!  This post is sandwiched between a three-day work trip to Savannah, Georgia and today's Memorial Day family events.  "Succinct" is the vocabulary word of the day!

Monday - 6 @ 9:26 around my neighborhood, nice and early.  With the weather as suddenly hot and humid as it is, I am running more by feel and heart rate.

Tuesday - 6.4 @ 9:15, an hour nice and easy on the treadmill.  I made myself a new treadmill music playlist and it's awesome.

Wednesday - 6.1 @ 8:40 around my neighborhood.  Unfortunately, this run needed to happen just a little before noon, and it was 85 degrees and humid.  I stashed a little bottle of ice water in some bushes, and did a two-mile loop three times.

Thursday - Complete rest, for work travel.

Friday - 4.3 @ 9:14, on the hotel treadmill for 40 minutes.  WAAAAAY too early in the morning.

Saturday - 10 @ 8:57 with the Birmingham Track Club Saturday long run group.  I made it back into town just in time to set my stuff out and climb into bed Friday night.  Of course, the weather on Saturday provided more of the genuine summer running conditions we have been getting.  Because of the holiday weekend, it was a light crowd, which meant we were low on water cache supplies.  I didn't take any water during the first six miles, hoping to conserve some for the slower runners.  HUGE MISTAKE.  I was in a lot of pain by mile seven, and gladly drank from the moldy water fountain at Jemison Trail.  It was a lifesaver.  Next week, I am definitely going to 1) volunteer to put out some extra water, and 2) carry a hand bottle.

Sunday - 3 @ 9:01 around my neighborhood, early in the morning.  I took the dog with me for the first mile.

Totals - 36.1 miles of running, and that's it.  It happens, and I'll take it!

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Week of Workouts - May 23, 2016

Back at it!  Happy Monday, everyone.  Here are my workouts from the past week...

Two of my favorite running buddies - Gary and Chris.

Monday - 5 @ 8:57 in my hilly neighborhood, before my family woke up.  Later on, I went to the gym for:

Deadlifts 45# 2x12
Deadlifts 95# 1x12
Deadlifts 115# 1x5
Squat Press 90# 10x20
Resistance Band Pull Ups
Ab Dolly 8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1

Getting organized for the week. 

Tuesday - 6.7 @ 8:58, an easy hour on the treadmill listening to some CLE podcasts.

All the magnolias bloomed, pretty much overnight. 
Wednesday - Weights with my gym partner, Katherine:

Superset - Cable Chest Press and Push Ups
Superset - Cable Biceps Curls and Leg Ups
Superset - Cable Rear Delt Flyes and Leg Ups
Superset - Cable Biceps Curls and Low Row
Superset - Back Extension and Overhead Press (25#)
Side (Oblique) Extension
Weighted oblique work
Shoulders and biceps with a 10# plate, to failure
Abs, abs, abs until I couldn't

I didn't run this day, just spent about 90 minutes on this deloaded upper body workout.  I probably did 300 leg ups on the floor, and remarkably, I can already tell a huge difference in strength during yoga classes.

I did make the decision on Wednesday evening to store all my heavier running clothes (tights and basically everything with any kind of sleeve).  I organized all my lighter clothes and surprised myself with a nice stack of 27 (!) sports bras.  I wear them as shirts, though, and definitely use all of them.  No regrets. 

Veteran's Park sweatfest.

Thursday - 2 @ 7:57, then 4 @ 8:24 on the trails at Veteran's Park.  I was going to spend the morning working from home, but we had some sudden changes of plans.  At the last minute, I jumped in the car with my husband and hitched a ride to the park.  I did a few laps, went to a short (Skype) meeting, then ran another four miles.

Coffee between back-to-back runs?  YES, PLEASE! 

Friday - 4 @ 9:13 on the treadmill, then an hour-long vinyasa yoga class.  My gym keeps tinkering with the yoga schedule in preparation for summer, and it's sort of throwing me off.  I arrived too early and didn't know what to do with myself, so I did an easy treadmill run instead of standing around.  Then, I had to RUSH out of the class as soon as it ended.  I do really love this Friday class, but I may have to find another one that fits my schedule better.  Boo.  

Pool deck is open now, too!

Friday night, we hosted a dinner party and I made all sorts of amazing food, including some garlic knots and some shortbread.  It was such a fun night.

This pre-long run breakfast selfie has become part of my Saturday ritual.  Also pictured: sunscreen that ended up being totally unnecessary in the disgusting and NOT-forecasted rain. 

Saturday - 10.2 @ 8:48 for the Track Club Saturday Long Run.  This was a social run, hosted by Athleta Sportswear and Octane Coffee Shop.  The weather was astonishingly awful...99% humidity with intermittent rain, and the temperature in the low 80s.  Of course, it poured rain for the first half mile, so I had to finish the run in completely soaked clothes and shoes.  The whole thing just HURT, my heart rate was really high, and the weather was affecting everyone and the group morale was down, down, down.  My pace group even decided to walk a few hills, because everyone was suffering so much.  Great conditioning for summer, I guess.

And this happened.  So yeah, this run sucked.

But, at least there were free Steel City popsicles after.  This one is toasted coconut creme.  I also tried the passion fruit and toasted sesame seed.

Sunday - 5 @ 8:52 just before sunrise.  Sundays are always so busy and unpredictable, that I have been trying to get a little run in before the day starts.  It gives me a little illusion of control haha!  This one felt great, and the weather had cooled off quite a bit overnight.

I took the dog for a lap, too.

I was also able to hit up my favorite Ashtanga yoga practice in the afternoon, to finish the week.

Totals - 37.3 miles of running (woo hoo!), including hills, a steady state run on the treadmill, trails, tempo on the treadmill, a long run, and a somewhat hilly recovery.  Two weights workouts.  Two yoga classes.  

Have a great week!  

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Week of Workouts - May 16, 2016

Another week in paradise!  This week has been rather unremarkable, other than the tail end of some work travel and the tail end of my son's illness.  Looks like everyone survived both.

Working on a forward lean and stronger kickback. 

Monday - 5.6 @ 8:36 with my husband at the Corps of Engineers spillway park.  After we were done, we made some videos on a flat stretch to check our running form.

Moves like Jagger.

Tuesday - An hour of running stairs, with about 3,200 stairs (I think that math is right).  I had a really, really tough work day that started very early.  By the time I was home, I only had slightly over an hour before my husband had to leave for work in the evening.  Our neighborhood has a stretch of eight flights of exterior stairs, so I ran them for an hour with a heart rate monitor on.  Unless plans change, I want to run the Peavine Falls race again this summer, and I need to be in shape for hills.

This workout was TOUGH, and it did crazy things to my heart rate.  Allow me to present...heart rate data for going up and down the same eight flights of stairs 32 times:

I think this means I am in good shape?

Wednesday - 4 @ 8:00 on the treadmill.  Then a quick weights workout including:

Barbell Rows 50# 10x20
Incline Press 25# 10x10

We also discovered another bird nest, and this one is an Eastern Phoebe:

Taken blindly with a cell phone held over my head.  Skillz.

Thursday - 5 @ 9:02 around my hilly neighborhood.  I guess insane hills are the new normal.  The GAP for this run was actually 7:40, which is not anything I normally see on just an easy midweek run.

Friday - An hour of hot yoga.  My son was still out sick from school, and resting at home, so I tried a new yoga class.  It was earlier in the day and incredibly tough.  In fact, it's the only yoga class I've been in (maybe ever???) where men outnumbered women by a solid margin.  Most of them were cyclists...talking about cycling, wearing cycling jerseys, etc.  It was one of those classes where the instructor says things like, "now kick up into a handstand and then fold down gracefully to balance your knees on your upper arms" and EVERYONE DOES IT LIKE NBD!  My ass was thoroughly kicked.

Saturday - 15.1 @ 8:37 on the track club long run.  This run felt amazing and strong.  No complaints.  I ran the first nine miles or so with my friends Kevin and Andrea.  They turned back right around the time we got to the dirt trails, so I just popped my headphones in and cruised north to catch the rest of the group up on the mountain.  I swear, miles 9 through 13 felt easy and effortless, like I was out for a light jog.  The sun wasn't up above the trees yet, and the trails were damp and quiet and cool.  When I reached the end of the trails, I figured WHY NOT? and added another loop through beautiful Mountain Brook before heading back.  Afterward, I felt so peaceful and alert.  I got breakfast and a huge, strong cup of coffee with my friends, and we sat around for quite a while chatting.  I wish every Saturday long run could have such a calming effect on me!

One of my favorite parts about our new place is the HUGE and very private master bath where I can do all my long run prep without disturbing anyone.

Sunday - 4 @ 9:40 around my neighborhood.  Oddly enough, I woke up very early and felt the need to run.  The weather had cooled off a lot (like from 90 degrees down to 60 degrees) and I was very excited about it.  Also, my legs had that heavy, swollen, almost itchy feeling that they get when they need a shakeout. Probably because Saturday's long run was my longest run since before Christmas.

Also, real talk: I am enjoying that fact that I am currently maintaining a higher body weight and more muscle mass and still knocking out some speedy runs.  (Okay, not a LOT a lot more weight, but significant for this ectomorph and enough that it should have slowed me down some.)  I think it really helps that I've maintained the same body composition, and continued to get leaner while focusing on the muscles used for running.  Hopefully, I'm making myself 1) tough as hell, and 2) injury proof.  But I digress...

Oh, and Sunday afternoon I was able to make it to Ashtanga yoga, by a freak stroke of luck.  Sundays are my husband's Mondays, because he works very hard from dawn to dusk.  He got a bit of a reprieve, so I made it to my favorite yoga practice to round out the week.

Sunday afternoon hangs. 

As another aside (and to make a record for future reference), I woke up Sunday with a weird lump on the front of my right ankle.  It seems to be in the tendon?  It was a little painful, and even creaky/squeaky to the touch on Sunday, but seems better and less inflamed now.  I'm thinking it's just another tendon issue on my "bad" right foot.  At any rate, it doesn't hurt when I run.  But I'm watching it.  

Totals - 35 miles of running, including two hilly runs, tempo on the treadmill, a long run, and a recovery run.  A stairs workout.  One weight training session.  Two yoga classes.

Everyone have a great week!