Hamsters and Haunted Houses

Well, since its early in my Dopey training still, the miles are definitely the least interesting part of my week. LOL

I did get in 8 miles Saturday morning – in great fall like temps. And, saw a little bit of foliage. Which may be all we get this year. This weather is just not foliage-friendly. 😦

I mean yesterday, when I went out for a 4.5 miler, it was 70, 100% humidity and a dew point of 71. It was like running in the amazon jungle – or, you know, Disney in January. LOL

But I am SO ready for it to get cooler and stay there. Because November will bring two of my favorite races – Edaville Rail Run and Attleboro Gobble Wobble. And i’d rather not run them in tank tops.

So what have I been up to since i’m not running much? Hamsters and Haunted Houses.

Eddie Van Hamster is proving himself to be QUITE the little character.

We’ve been letting him explore nightly in his hamster ball. And he runs around his cage like such a crazy man I kind of want to see if there’s a Hamster Ninja Warrior competition – because he could totally win. πŸ˜€

Sure, he’s no Gus. But he’s small and cute and fuzzy and makes me smile.

The reason I did a rare Saturday run this weekend was so we could go do something on Sunday that we have always wanted to do. Tour a haunted castle.

We went to Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA.

Its the home of inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. and its absolutely amazing. It has so much detail that you could go through fifty times and still find something you’ve never noticed.

It also totally haunted. And no, I didn’t see a ghost while I was there – but you could just feel it. I mean, does this not LOOK haunted?

And this fireplace? The lighting? Totally creepy.

There was actually one spot where I looked around a corner, saw this door that scared the crud out of me and jumped.

Its not ALL dark and spooky – there’s a gorgeous room with an open ceiling and a pond that feels like something out of Epcot. 

But, still….overall? Definitely creepy cool.

And actually, come to think about it? A Haunted Mansion totally fits for Dopey training. πŸ˜€

86 Days to the first race…wonder what other Disney themed fun I can find this week.

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Hello August…

The worst part of fall marathon training is that most of it occurs in the summer.

I don’t like the heat. I mean, you probably wouldn’t know because i’ve been doing my share of mid-day runs along the river…outside…in the heat and sun. But it usually involves stopping at ALL the water fountains during the second half.

And sure, I did do three races in July…but none of them were quite as good as earlier in the year when the weather cooler.

My poor garmin is getting dusty because I refuse to have digital proof of how awful my paces have been. I mean i’ve actually been eying this training shirt. LOL

But i’m 54 days out from the Adirondack Marathon, which means its time to really get serious. To decide if I have a PR goal, or merely a course-PR goal.

You see, that sucker is HILLY.

And while the first half is crazier hills than the second, the last time I ran this my goal was to beast the hills. And I did, and then the wheels came off by mile 17 and the ‘rolling hills’ in the later miles felt harder than the spikes.

So I plan to spend August ramping up both the strength training (adding a 3rd day a week), the hill training (wherever I can) and, as usual, distance (August’s schedule includes a 16, an 18 and a 20 miler). Dusting off the garmin so I actually know how fast (slow?) I’m going. And hoping that August is mild (yeah, I know….likely not happening).

I’m also going to up my hydration game (my running buddy h2o is about to get in some more miles) and maybe go back on the music (my single-ear sports bud isn’t getting its exercise either). Might be a good month to run to Zac Brown and Jimmy Buffet. oooh – virgin pina coladas in the h20 pouch? LOL

So, if you need me this month…i’ll be out running hills, feeling tropical and thinking fall.

Watching the leaves danceΒ 

Yesterday morning was one of those perfect fall mornings. 

The kind where you know you are so going to love your run. 

After having “raced” last weekend and still being a couple out from my next half I decided to do less a run and more an excursion. 

It was brisk (29 degrees in October? I’m a little worried for winter…) but sunny. So I layered up grabbed some gloves and headed out. 

And about a half mile in, did a double take when I spotted these three beauties in someone’s lawn. 

  
It’s funny how sometimes it takes a moment for your brain to realize what it’s seeing. We had a staring contest for a couple of minutes before a car came past and they took off. 

A while later I stopped to chat with a turkey farmer – as two of them had tried to fly the coop and only ended up as far as the roof. They they sat, squawking as his border collie freaked out.  We talked turkeys, then running, and he told me to stop again anytime. πŸ™‚

And I continued on. Not paying a bit of attention to my watch and instead marveling in people’s Halloween decorations (some charming, some downright frightening) and the beauty of the day. 

And at mile 5 I stopped by this little pond to just admire the scenery. 

  
Gorgeous, right? 

And I kept going, picking only the sunny roads with the prettiest trees. 

And when the wind picked up a little, I watched the leaves dance on the breeze and flutter to the road. 

I. Love. Fall. 

All in all, I ran 14.51 miles. At a 9:54 average pace. But that’s just details. 

This was one long run that was about anything but running. πŸ™‚

Happy Monday my friends. And happy running!

Let’s talk turkey…

It’s 13 days to marathon #6.

And, after the way this week’s runs have gone…I’m feeling really confident.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve done a few of them now, or I have more reasonable expectations, or that I just have more faith in myself and my abilities.

But no matter what (and of course I could wake up tomorrow freaking out) I’m feeling pretty Zen about it.

This week was great. My schedule got mixed up due to travel and other things, so Wednesday was a shorter river run. And Friday was my long run.

Friday was my last LONG run before taper. My plan was 20 and I had plotted out a route that was okay, but I didn’t love it. It was a spectacular fall day and I planned to focus on the scenery and enjoy myself.

Around mile 3 I passed a farm with a pen full of white turkeys. And I couldn’t help myself. I gobbled at them. And they responded. Yep, I talked turkey. Lol

I passed a lot of houses with Halloween decorations up, some amazing foliage spots, crossed a couple streams and conquered some good hills. I apparently also went full silly when i started chanting “who’s afraid of the big bad hill? Not me, not me, not me”. And yeah, I did that a couple of times.

Around mile 7 I decided to change my planned route and distance. I was so enjoying myself I wanted an out and back to see all the pretty again. I knew if I turned around at 8.25 I could get back to the start and add my favorite 4.5 mile loop to the end. Which would give me 21 miles.

The 21 is symbolic for me. It’s the most I’ve ever run without a walk break. Ever.

Marathon 1? Scorcher and the walks started early. #2? First walk at mile 15. #3? Mile 18. #4? Mile 5 (long story and not my fault. Lol). #5? Too hot again – and probably around 14. So really – my best distance came in a 20 mile race this year. When I didn’t walk a step. That meant more to me that my finish time.

So on the way back, I of course talked to the turkeys again. And almost stopped several times for photos. Seriously it was that pretty. And I kept chugging along at my easy pace. Drinking my water and taking my gels.

And I hit back to start and began the last loop feeling great. And knowing that loop so well I knew I was gonna finish strong. When I hit mile 20, and it was my fastest mile of the day I grinned. And when I hit mile 21 I went just that little bit more. Cuz 21.02 looks pretty. Lol and my overall pace? Right at my goal race pace. I so got this.

This morning’s run was awesome too. Went out for a 10k. Planned to just run comfortably hard. And ended up racing myself part way through. And scored a post-injury PR! 56:44 Sweet!! Oh, and at mile 3? Passed a flock of wild turkeys. This time I was going too fast to gobble. πŸ™‚

Happy Monday! And Happy Running!!