Hot mess express

This winter has not been kind.   Between weather issues, the flu and a complete and total lack of motivation, I haven’t been logging that many miles, or even that great of quality lately.  And its hard to write a running blog when you’re…not running.  

I almost didn’t even post this, because it sounds whiney.  And that’s not who I am.  But I realized not posting is lying… and you have to be honest.  Running isn’t all sunshine and roses.  Its hard, and letting other people know when you’re struggling too is just as important as the ‘good stuff’.

So here goes….  here’s how I earned my first class ticket aboard the hot mess express?

You see…since I’m kind of in a “distance off season” I thought it would be a good time to start back into strength training.   Which I hadn’t done in oh, three months.

I thought I took it easy – I was using half the weight that I had been back in September.  But apparently, my hamstrings were not a fan.  Nor was my back.

The next day – O U C H.  Like can’t bend, can’t move, kinda laughing at myself over how just a dozen deadlifts (among other stuff) could have caused this.

So I rolled and stretched and got a massage and took it easy with my runs (ie more walking days, less running days).  And still…. Several days later…. HOLY CRUDBALLS MY HAMSTRINGS ARE TIGHT.

Plus, I was forced onto a treadmill for a week straight because…ice. And cold.  And dark in the mornings with a crazy week at work that didn’t let me run midday.

Well, apparently tight hamstrings and too many days on a treadmill are a bad combo, because it started to affect my gait.  And I started landing too hard (and flatly) on my left ankle.

And you know where I’m going with this….  It got hurty.

I noticed it at first at night, or when I pointed my toes.  Then it was ‘dang it I stepped down off the curb wrong’ and now…its KT Tape City. And watching my form.

Yes, I googled it. And yes I think I know what’s wrong.  And no, I’m not saying.  Its not BAD…its just well, I didn’t mind going away on a girls weekend for a few days and not running.  LOL

I ran Monday.  The hamstrings are still not quite 100%, and the left ankle is still, cautious, but I’ll be fine.  And I think i’ll run today – it is going to be near 50 degrees today and the river she calls me.

I’m just trying to figure out how in the world a hamstring led to an ankle injury…And planning to stick with upper body strength training for a while.  Or maybe just run….  

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Holy crow, just two weeks to go!

Two weeks to go! Woohoo!! And omg I’m almost Dopey. Well, officially that is. First things first…did everyone get their bib # & corral info?? Have you read the event guide? It’s all there on rundisney.com.

For me, getting my bib & corral info is just a sense of relief that they were able to properly verify my proof of time. I told the hubs it’s all “submit in October and spend two months hoping you put the right link” lol

With the smaller corrals this year, I got C! Tho had my 13.1 qualifier not been 13.4 long (stupid lead car confusion detour) I might have made B. So close.

Oh well, it’s all good because I’m not starting in my corral anyways. I always run with my (soon to be perfectly) Dopey brother. And he got D! Which I love – D for Dopey!!

And speaking of Dopey, this week is my dress rehearsal / simulation. So far I’ve completed the 5k (treadmill) and 10k (along the Charles river). With the 10 miler about to be completed and 20 tomorrow. Yay!

I’m running all of them as early as possible to try to be as close to start time as possible. And also trying to walk around enough during the day to try to mimic “park miles”.

And I’m half wondering if I need wine with lunch tomorrow (as we usually wine tour at Epcot the day of the half). Or hmmm should I make my own gran marnier slushie?

With 2 legs of the 4 complete, I’m feeling pretty good. And I’m sure by the time I’m done I will be SO ready to taper.

I hate tapering. I really do. But this may be the one time I embrace it with arms spread wide – reaching for a Christmas cookie. 🙂

Since most of the rest of my fellow Dopeys or Goofys or marathon runners are in taper town too, here’s some helpful tips for “winning at taper”.

  • Warm your friends & family. You will be an antsy cranky mess and don’t want to toss a fruitcake at Aunt Edna just because she looked at you funny.
  • It’s the holidays – eat the damn cookie. You’ve worked SO hard the past 16 (or however many) weeks and you’ve earned it. Besides – cookies are carbs, and carbs fight the crabbies.
  • Speaking of the holidays…enjoy them! Be glad you don’t have to run long on Christmas or New Years Day. Sleep in, relax, watch your favorite holiday movie. (May I suggest Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas)
  • Quality vs Quantity. Make your miles count. There’s less of them the next two weeks so don’t phone them in. Keep them good solid quality runs to ease the “omg am I truly Dopey? What am I getting myself into?” freakouts.
  • Get a massage. Not only will it help reset your legs, but it will help control the taper crazies. I’ve got mine booked.
  • Use your free time wisely. You are headed to Disney World after all. There’s lots to do, like finish your costume, make a packing list, bling your magic band and study the event guide. Over. And over. And over. Now is the time (now is the best time…) to get that done.

Wishing you all Happy Holidays and a Successful Taper!

We’re almost there – let’s raise a mug of cocoa as a toast to the fun that awaits us in…14 days.

21 Days to Dopey, 12 Days to Christmas…how about a song?

Dashing through the snow, to get my miles in…slid on some black ice, and went home again.

Actually – that wasn’t the song. I have a better one below…The 12 Days of Dopey Christmas!  Because you know…. its only 12 days to Christmas and holy crow – 21 days to DOPEY!  Yay!!

Let me just say first, I am SO happy I have a treadmill. Because even tho I had only 10 miles on my schedule for Sunday, it wouldn’t have happened without one.

I got about a 1/10 of a mile from my house and stopped to admire this winter wonderland.

The next step, black ice, foot out from under me and I decided it’s WAY too close to Dopey to do anything stupid. (cold? sure.  snow?  sure.  Ice? no way.)

So I went home, swapped fleece for shorts and knocked out 9 miles on the treadmill and 2 episodes of Haven on Netflix.

While it wasn’t the training run I had hoped for… all roads lead to Dopey. Even the indoor ones.

But you know what happens when you spend 90 minutes on a treadmill?  You get creative.  Even while watching a great show, its not always enough to keep you going.  And mine started thinking about what I want for Christmas…from a Disney runner’s standpoint.

So, let me present…the 12 Days of Dopey Christmas!

You know the song…i’ll just feed you the lines.  🙂  On the 12th Day of Dopey Christmas, Mickey Santa gave to me…

12 o’clock reservation at Be Our Guest

11 rides on Everest

10 perfect toenails

9 Mickey bars

8 character stops

7 dwarves mine train fast pass

6 shiny medals

5 long sleeved race shirts

4 finish lines

3 gran marnier slushies

2 race bibs

And a pair of rose gold Mickey ears

Yes, you’ll be singing this all day.

You’re Welcome.

Does mother nature hate runners?

Because seriously – i’m feeling like she’s out to get me.

Is she drunk? Feeling mean-spirited?  Was the full moon affecting her? Because this whole 50’s during the week followed by sub-zero windchills on the weekend for two weeks is just total BS.

I do appreciate that I have at least been able to run outside a couple times in the past two weeks.  I just wish that one of them had been a long run.

Yes, for the second Sunday in a row, it was netflix & ‘mill.  Because if I wasn’t going to run in -3 for a medal, I sure as heck wasn’t going to do it for nothing.

And can I just say how mentally challenging it is to run 14 miles on a treadmill? In a row… I mean sure, 14 miles total is no biggie if its over oh…four days. LOL  But 14 all at once?  There’s no tv show in the world good enough to get you through that.

At mile 5 I started the calculations…the old well, since i’m running slower, then if I run by time versus distance I really only need to run x many miles to have the same effect.  #runnermath At some point I decided even 10 miles would be enough…as long as I readded those 4 miles back in somewhere else so I still reached my weekly goal.  #runnerlogic

I think it was around mile 8 1/2, when I grabbed a bottle of water, dropped in a nuun tablet and headed back down to the ‘gym’ that I realized that come hell or high water I was getting in that 14.  Even if I had to walk.  Because there was leftover pizza in the fridge and I was going to earn it. #runnerpride

And somehow…I did.  Speed intervals, hill intervals, strategic walk breaks, another episode of Ultimate Beastmaster…whatever it took to keep the mind and legs moving.  It wasn’t pretty, but it was done. And sometimes that’s all that matters.

Of course…yesterday we got SNOW.  Fortunately not as much as they predicted but still…its going to be a few more days before it clears enough for outside running.  And oh look – more snow in the forecast for the weekend.

I so would prefer not having to do yet another long run on the treadmill…. anyone know how we can bribe mother nature into playing nice this weekend?  Maybe if we give her enough green beer Friday night she’ll sleep late and I can get out early Saturday.  LOL

Of course, i’m not just thinking about me.  Because there are oh, thousands of runners all getting ready for the Boston marathon that need their long runs too!  And I know from experience that training in the cold and then having it warm on race day makes the race a little harder.  So please mother nature…for all my fellow unicorns.  Can we just have one nice weekend?????  Or at least move along to April.  I’m so over March.

Running Goldilocks

I feel like the Goldilocks of half-marathons…. in search of one that’s just right.

See…the first was too stormy and the second one too cold.  Here’s hoping the third one is a perfect fit.

I should be sitting here right now writing a race recap.  And instead, i’m explaining why i’m not.   Essentially its because a windchill of -5 does not make for ideal racing conditions.

After the Walt Disney World Half-marathon got cancelled due to extreme thunderstorms I went in search of a spring half-marathon to ‘check the box’ of a half for the year (gotta hit for the cycle again, of course). Knowing I didn’t want to run Hyannis again this year but needing something that fit into my training plan for the Maine Coast Marathon I discovered the Ocean’s Run Half.

A nice scenic half marathon along the water in Westerly, RI.  Had all the makings of a fun half.  One that I didn’t really train for except getting my distance mileage back after off-season.  I knew that it wouldn’t be one of my best but just a good solid training run.

So as the weekend went on and the temperatures started looking less than ideal I knew i had a difficult decision to make.  Do I suck it up, wake up early, drive 90 minutes to go run in ’11 feels like -3′ with strong winds?  Or do I sleep in, eat waffles and christen my new treadmill with a 20-miler.

I don’t take missing a race lightly.  In my 8 years of racing I had only missed two other half marathons.  One, because I was on crutches and couldn’t run it and the other  because it was free, it was extremely early, and it was already 80 at the start.

I hemmed and hawed.  I still put out a set of extremely warm clothes just in case.  I reached out to a Facebook running group that i’m in (hilariously enough, they were was torn as me.  Half said run, half said don’t.  Most asked about the medal.  LOL) and, when I went to bed was 99% sure I was staying home.

But ah, that 1%.   And when I woke up at 4am I said, let me just go check and see if the weather magically improved.  Noting it hadn’t, I STILL played ‘do I, don’t I’ on the way up the stairs.  At which point I missed the top step, smashed my shin and said to myself “go back to bed moron, you’re not going to the race”  Because clearly we sometimes need the universe to knock some sense into us.

Side note – love my new treadmill.  And netflix and ‘mill is a good way to send a Sunday morning.  Especially since I discovered Ultimate Beastmaster.  Its awesome.

And, from what I found out later, about 50 people opted out.  Including the race photographer.  And that it was an extremely brutal race to where even the fast runners had way slower (like 90 seconds per mile slower) times than usual.  Yeah, I was only going to run this as a ‘fun half’ and that would NOT have been fun. (Plus the medal was fine, but not WOW. So not worth it to me.)

So, as a goldilocks seeking the just right race…I started searching again.  And knowing that there is no way I am taking a chance on another one in March, I looked at April.

Which also means i’ve now totally blown my idea to run only in odd months. Tho I did at least pick one with on an odd date!  April 23rd.  The Blackstone Valley Half-Marathon.

Its in Pawtucket, RI, so WAY closer than Westerly.  Its not too hilly (tho I hear there is one good-sized hill) and it winds along a bike bath that the hubby and I ride on quite a bit (so I know some of the course).  Its three weeks before Maine Coast, so its well-positioned as a time trial for me.  And, plenty of time to train for it as a serious half.  (because, while I have a 2:05 Dopey Corral POT in my back pocket, of course I want a better one.)

So lets home third time’s the charm and that this half is ‘just right’.

 

March Forth!

Well folks, it’s March. And you know what that means?

It means off-season is completely officially over. O V A H, over. 😉 Time to get back to work and start training for all my races. 

No more skiing. No more skipping long runs. No more extra glass of wine on a Saturday night. No more excuses. 

Of course, I do have a race in four days that I’m feeling hideously undertrained for. But I’ll consider it my baseline half and then see how I improve from there.  So if you see me at the Ocean’s Run Half in Westerly RI on Sunday (and I’ll be hard to miss…I’ve got a great outfit planned!) say hi, but don’t expect me to fly. 🙂

I do have some good news tho – on March 4th my new treadmill will arrive. (Sure, now that spring seems to have as well. Lol) and while I will likely still run outside a lot, I think the treadmill (omg I so need to come up with a name for her) will be great for speedwork and hill training. And both running AND watching walking dead on Monday mornings. 😀

Which is good – because it’s only 10 1/2 weeks to marathon #12. And I will be prepared for Maine Coast. 

I did get in a 14 mile run on Sunday. Which, while it felt slow and a little rough, actually turned out to be a decent average pace. Probably because I had some good splits and a way faster second half. 

You see, I have a dream…I’d like Maine to be my second sub 4:30 marathon. I don’t know that I can PR it (I still think my marathon PR was just an amazing dream) but I am certainly going to work hard and try my best. 

For now… spring training is fully underway. In spring weather. I mean I actually ran in a tshirt this morning. Does that mean March is coming in like a lamb? And should I be worried for late March? Tho I won’t…because you can run an 18 miler on a treadmill right? 

Either way…ever forward. 

Freaking groundhog!

So, yeah, I know,  Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t actually have magic powers. And that whatever the little hairball says…there are still six calendar weeks of winter left. 

But dang! Dude sees his shadow and BAM – all the snow!! 

Like close to a foot and a half on Thursday, followed by more snow Sunday / Monday. Not funny Phil. 

So what’s a runner to do? Basically it comes down to yaktrax and treadmill. And which to use?

I got lucky…I got to work from home Thursday which meant I was able to run outside early and finish as the first flakes fell. 🙂 

And fell. And fell.  Like…this was 5pm.

I know Gus…I don’t like it either. Lol

The good news is, after MONTHS of trying to get an electrician to come install a new outlet in “the dungeon” aka our basement/home gym, we finally got one!!

So Saturday morning as I stared out at this – 

thinking about what was coming Sunday in addition and how I was gonna get in my long run, I finally ordered a treadmill!

I had tested several and wanted the best I could get for a reasonable price tag. Because too good and I’d feel guilty running outside. But not good enough and I’d grumble running inside. We ended up this this…

The Sole F80. And I’ve heard from other owners I will love it. Yay!

But…as it won’t arrive for 10-14 days, that meant I had to run outside Sunday.  I knew the main roads wouldn’t be safe (no shoulders and drivers that love to double the speed limit) and my sidewalks didn’t look too bad, so I headed out for “at least 10. Maybe 12”

On a 1.05 mile loop. On snow. Wearing yaktrax. In the cold. And yet, it wasn’t as boring as I thought it would be. And somewhere around mile 11 I realized I was going to run 13.1. 

Because I still hadn’t “made up” the Disney half. And at that moment, it seemed the right day for it. And while it was slower than I would have been that day, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was I got it done. With a little help from all my favorite accessories. 

Oh, and I impressed a neighbor. She saw me at mile 3 and then at mile 9 and asked “you still out here?” I told her I was most of the way into a 12-mile run. Her reply “you run marathons don’t you”. I grinned and replied “why yes. I do run marathons” 😀

So whether you chose treadmill or ‘trax…have fun, be safe and hang in there. Spring is coming. Eventually. 😉