Sunday, December 2, 2012

Respectable 5K & Thankful Day

When we stayed with our friends Kurt and Krysti for the Soldier Marathon, naturally we talked a lot about running. Somehow during the conversation, we managed to con convince them to join us for a Turkey Trot couple weeks later.

I didn’t have any goals in mind for this race. It was my first run in the 10 days since the marathon, and I was still battling some extensor tendonitis in my left foot. I probably should have sat the whole thing out, but my competitive side always gets the best of me.

I was figuring I’d finish somewhere in the 22-23 minute range, so I was pleasantly surprised….. Anything below 21 minutes is a pretty good time for me, and I finished with an official time of 20:46. Despite what the photographic evidence shows, it didn’t feel completely dreadful either. Guess I was still riding the tail-end of the marathon training wave.

Always the bridesmaid, I finished 2 overall female by just a hair.

5k's are never cute

This was Krysti's first 5k road race ever, over half of which she did pushing her son. She claims she hates running, but she's coming around. Girl's got a real competitive side.

After I finished, I looped back to meet up with Krysti, and took over the stroller duties for her so she could really race it in.

No, I didn't just snatch some random kid...

Posing with the 2nd place finisher for the 30-34 age group

Mr. Blondie did the 1 mile race with Emily. She’s not even 4 years old yet, and they finished in just under 15 minutes. More importantly, she said she had fun! I’m so proud of my little turkey.

Since the race was near our house, which meant a super-early wake-up for them. After the race everyone came back to our house. And we spent the rest of the day in a cooking, eating, napping cycle. It was perfect.

Kurt and Krysti are transplants to Georgia as well, and they were going to be on there own as well.

In the early years, we would try to visit our all our family members during the holidays, in an attempt to make everyone happy. In the end, we would end up stressed-out and exhausted. Now we’ve all come to the same agreement……when traveling is your job, that’s the last thing you want to be doing on your holiday. We’re very fortunate we can visit as often as we do during the year, but everyone needs a little down time at home too.

I’m very thankful for our adoptive families here in Georgia. Our holidays are still overflowing with laughter and fellowship.

I broke out the good china and candlesticks to dress up our tiny little kitchen table.

 lthough our Thanksgiving didn’t fit the traditional image, I couldn’t have asked for better day.

Overall: 20/886
Women: 2/516
AG (30-34): 1/76
Chip time: 20:46

Monday, November 12, 2012

Soldier Marathon 2012 Recap

Phew, what a relief to have this marathon in the history books! If you’ve ever experienced taper madness in the two weeks leading up to marathon, try adding an extra, unexpected week on top of that. The pent up anxiety will really have you climbing the walls.

I’m very happy with how the race turned out. My marathon PR was set back in 2003 during my senior year of college, so it was long overdue for an update. My finish time of 3:25:09 is a 10+ minute PR.

I was really impressed with the Soldier Marathon. While it was no NYC Marathon, it was a lot more than I was expecting. I’ve done races nearby at Callaway Gardens and was expecting something of that caliber….maybe a few hundred runners, lonesome stretches of trail running, and a few orange wedges and bottles water waiting at the end. Nothing wrong with that, just no pomp and circumstance.

Combined with the half marathon, the Soldier Marathon was a fairly decent sized event (about 2,000 runners total), and had a very professional feel to it. While I wouldn’t go so far as to advocate this as racecation destination, I would highly recommend it to runners in the Georgia/Alabama area. It had enough of production value to make it feel special, plenty of runners and cheerful spectators to keep things interesting, a variety of foods and beer at the finish, and even nice little touches like women's cut Nike dry-fit tees.

The Details:

The night before the race we stayed friends who live about an hour outside of Columbus. They were going to watch Emily which made it easier for us to get out of the house on time, but we hit a lot more local traffic than we expected near Ft. Benning. Once we parked the car, I had about 30 minutes to pick up my bib number, use the bathroom, and get myself situated. It was a little more chaotic than I would have liked, so my adrenaline was already pumping hard well before the gun went off.

My solution for carrying extra gels/chews

My goal for the race was just to break 3:30, and anything below that would be icing on the cake. I lined myself up slightly ahead of the 3:35 pace group, with the intention of staying just ahead of them for the first few miles.

The announcer said it was 40 degrees at the start, but I think it was lower. I normally love the cold, but I could see my breath, and my nose and eyes were watering.

The 3:35 pacer took it out quick, and instead of being in front of the group, I felt like I was working hard just to hang with them. A few minutes into the race I developed a side-stitch and a sloshing ocean-belly that continued to nag me for the first few miles. I was already doubting myself due to the extra week of taper, and this did nothing to help my confidence.

Add an extra ~30 secs to mile 9, my watch auto-paused there

Mile 5:
Nope, still wasn't finding my groove. Even though I was holding a steady pace and making progress on pulling away from the 3:35 group, I was severely doubting my ability to keep it up for another 20+ miles.

Miles 6-7:
One of my failures in previous marathons was my fueling strategy… in, I didn’t have one. This time around, the plan was to start taking in carbs early and often. I took my gloves off to get my first dose of Shot Bloks out of my pocket, and dropped the left glove in the process. I didn’t want to stop and go back to pick it up, so I just let it go. Then I tossed the remaining glove. Big mistake.

Oh gloves, why did I forsake thee?

Mile 9:
I could no longer ignore my bladder and the fact that I really had to use the bathroom again. And by “bathroom”, I mean a large tree to cop a squat behind. The marathon will make you redefine your sense of pride in every way.

My hands were completely frozen stiff. Cursing about the time I was losing, I struggled to pull my tights back up. I ended up tying the drawstrings in a big knot since my fingers couldn’t manage a bow. Exasperated, I shoved my iPod down the back of my pants because clipping it to my waistband required more dexterity than my Captain Hook hands could provide.

Mile 11:
My left shoe came untied. What mystical force causes a tight, double-knotted shoelace to come undone only during a race? Well, opposable thumbs aren’t something to take for granted. Tying a shoelace is rough when yours don’t work.

Miles 12-13:
I popped a couple more Shot Blocks and had a cup of Powerade at the next aid station. I came through the 13.1 mark around 1:44 and change. I figured it was over at that point, I was barely hanging on to 3:30 pace and was only halfway finished. I grabbed a pack of GU the volunteers were handing out, and gulped it down.

Miles 14-19:
It was like someone flipped a switch. There’s no other way to explain it, the sudden burst of energy was so dramatic. I finally felt warm and loose. Maybe it was the sugar hitting my bloodstream? The rising temps? The adrenaline rush knowing I was over the half-way point? Whatever it was, the pace suddenly began to feel easy and I had a renewed sense of confidence.

In a huge race like the NYC Marathon, the only thing mere mortals like myself race against is the clock. In a sea of thousands of runners, it doesn’t really matter to me what anyone else is doing.

However, being that this was a smaller race, there was incentive to pass other runners. I began targeting the ponytails off in the distance, and challenged myself to reel them in. I was also high-fiving spectators, cheering for the lead runners who were coming back in the other direction, and smiling for the cameras….

The miles clicked by, and I felt like I was on top of the world.

Mile 20:
Seeing this marker is always exhilarating. No matter what, even if you have to hobble, you know you’re going to finish once you see that marker.

Up until Mile 20, it’s a balancing act of pushing the pace but keeping enough in reserve to finish. With 6 miles to go, there's no little voice telling you to hold back anymore. It’s time to let it all hang out and give it everything you’ve got.

Miles 21-26:
After freezing in the beginning of the race, now it was getting HOT. There was no more tree cover, and the sun beat down on us. I broke out the last gel from under my hat, and gagged on the first mouthful. Despite taking in Powerade at every aid station after Mile 10, I was SO thirsty and it felt like a glob of glue in my mouth. Blech.

“Just keep putting one foot in front of the other” was the mantra on repeat in my head. I was hot, tired, and my lower back ached, but I never hit "the wall" the way I remember in previous marathons. I was almost done!

The last .2:


Instant gratification. They posted the results as soon as they came in.

Anxiously awaiting my turn

Chip time 3:25:09, 8th oa female, 2nd age-group

 Now I can give up running…well, at least for a few days :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

So, About That Marathon.....What's Next?

As you know by now, I did not run a marathon this weekend.

We were on the highway just north of Washington D.C. when our phones started blowing up with the news of the cancellation.

Up until that point it had been a pretty nice trip. Of all places, we lucked out and Mr. Blondie had a layover in North Carolina on Thursday night. It made a good half-way point to stop, and YAY! for a free hotel room. Emily and I slept in, had a nice breakfast, and waited at the hotel while Mr. Blondie flew back to Atlanta in the morning. His trip was over once he got there, so he just hopped on a flight back to N.C. to meet us. We continued on our merry way from there.

To be clear, I’m not upset at all that I didn’t get to run the NYC Marathon. Obviously the resources were needed elsewhere, and I’m glad to see it could be re-allocated.

What I am very upset about by the way it was handled. Us (now vilified) runners were working on Mayor Bloomberg’s bold reassurances of that everything could go on as planned. Sadly, those bold assurances were based on a hugely egregious miscalculation of resources. Hate the game, not the players. It was just an all-around crappy situation.

But as I said in my last post, this trip had two parts. We continued on after we got the news of the cancellation, and made it to my parents’ house in South Jersey. Em got to spend some time with her grandparents , and we got to drop off the supplies we brought.

It’s business as usual in South Jersey and their primary residence is fine. My parents were surprisingly zen about their situation on Long Beach Island. They’re still working simply with aerial photos, but whatever happened…well, it’s only stuff. It can be replaced. That’s why they pay for good insurance right?

The rest of our friends and family in North jersey and Long Island spent Sunday night drinking wine and eating pizza by the light of their generators, while streaming TV shows on their laptops. My inlaws will need to have the tree that crushed their garage removed. Others will need their siding or shingles replaced. Inconvenient? Yes. Extreme hardship? No.

Yep, they are very, VERY fortunate. So many others are still in dire need. The shore areas, Staten Island, Breezy Point, etc. were completely devastated and they lost EVERYTHING. It’s surreal to look at the pictures, and heartbreaking to hear the stories. My mom is bringing the supplies we brought with us to her church, who will in turn pass them on to the people who really need them. I know it’s only tiny drop in the bucket, but if enough people give, soon you have a full bucket.

Since there’s no way to smoothly transition to something that seems trivial and petty in light of what we just discussed, I’ll just jump right in. Talking about running doesn’t mean I have any less compassion for what’s going on in the Northeast.

So after getting word of the cancellation, I immediately pulled out my phone and started searching for alternate marathons within driving distance. I tried registering for the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh, but they were mobbed after the announcement. By the time I got to speak with anyone, the race had already sold-out. I also tried to get into the Manchester City Marathon in New Hampshire, but by the time the race organizer verified they could hold a bib for me, it was already too late on Saturday to make it there.

Instead, I’ll be running the Soldier Marathon this upcoming Saturday in Columbus. GA. womp womp

It's not what I had envisioned, but it means I still get to run a marathon. Waiting another few weeks to do a different one is just not in the cards. I have to note the organizers are being super gracious though. They are allowing displaced NYC Marathon runners to enter for FREE. How cool is that?!

So there you have it, The Marathon: Take 2, this weekend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So Where Have I Been?

We just got back from our trip to Europe for the Brussels Half Marathon. We started in Germany, then made a stop in Bruges before arriving there. It was every bit of wonderful that I was hoping it would be. But before we get to that, let’s back up a little.

At the end of August I started working with an Atlanta Track Club coach to prepare for the NYC Marathon. Validation that I was headed in the right direction with my plan, so to speak, and more importantly accountability to someone, were things I needed.
The coach they paired me up has tons of running experience, and I’ve appreciated having someone to bounce ideas off of and give me feedback .  We’ve remained pretty true to the Pfitzinger 55 mpw I started with in July. However, we tailored my plan to accommodate some races I wanted to run, and shifted some things around to accommodate Mr. Blondie’s work schedule. Basically we just refined and nailed down the details to keep me on point.

It's a good thing I held onto that reflective vest from Ragnar. There have been a lot of dark o'clock runs so I can get all my miles in. One can only tolerate the treadmill for so long. I did my last 20 mile training run this past Sunday, and I'm feeling pretty confident. Now if I can manage to stay healthy for the next 2 weeks.
Here’s quick rundown of some recent races I’ve done:
July 21st: ***5k FAIL**** Jailhouse Brewery 5k,  A freight train, you read that right, a CSX FREIGHT TRAIN came rumbling through and literally stopped us in its tracks for about 5 minutes. Note to race directors: check the schedule when designing a course that crosses train tracks.

Smiles before the big "Pail of Fail" 5K

July 28th:  Cruisin’ for Christmas in July 5k,  20:34, 2nd oa female, 1st ag
Went to the race by myself, but Emily had a good time prancing around the house with the medal when I got home.

Aug 18th: Vinings Downhill 5k,  19:44, 11th oa female, 3rd ag

Later that same day: Pacemaker 5000, 21:25, 1st oa female

Sept 3rd:  Big Peach Sizzler 10k, 43:44, 5th oa female, 1st ag

I didn't think I'd placed because I haven't in previous years, and frankly was a bit disappointed in my time. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I turned around and started jogging the course back to my car. I had to go pick up the award a few days later. Nice Surprise.

Sept 8th: Behind the Gates 5k, 24:51, 2nd oa female, 1st ag (with stroller and what turned out to be a raging sinus infection)

I pushed the stroller since Mr. Blondie raced too....he barely ever runs, then busted out a 1st place age group win. I hope Emily inhereted primarily his DNA.

Sept 15th: Great Cow Harbor 10K, 42:54, 39th oa female,  7th ag (while on a hefty dose of antibiotics, decongestants,  and prednisone)

This is the race our family is heavily involved in organizing each year. Lots of set-up/breakdown efforts were involved in the days surrounding it.

Sept. 25th: Had a strong 18-miler before work. Woke up 2 days later with a splitting headache, chills, and 101 degree fever. An antibiotic injection, stronger oral antibiotics, and Flonase from the doctor this time got the sinus infection back under control again, but about 6 days of training lost.

Before embarking on my 18-miler. Just a typical way to start your Tuesday.

Oct 7th: Brussels Half Marathon: 1:36:33, 12th place women’s open division (35 and under)

It was a mass start, with no seeding. Also there were no course boundaries, which I've never seen before at a race this size…basically any open space you could find was fair game as long as you keep moving with the flow of people.

Seriously, I saw people running through landscaped roadway medians, over benches, even through a shallow fountain. This meant a very slow and chaotic first couple miles. According to my Garmin I ran almost an extra 3/4mi from all the zig-zagging and weaving through the crowds, around parked cars, etc.
Aside from the odd start, the race was as spectacular. We ran by the Royal Palace, down quaint cobble stone streets, through lovely manicured parks, etc. I loved listened to all the runners chatting different languages, and the enthusiasm from the spectators was infectious even if I didn't know what many were saying.

Maybe this happens to other people, but I sort of black out during races. I guess that's the best way to describe it. My mind goes off to it's happy place while I'm running, then after it's all over, I realize my memory is all patchy and I have no recollection of certain parts of the race. I did my best to soak in the experience and take mental snapshots, so that wouldn't happen this time.

I have more pictures and thoughts to share, but at least you're up to speed on why it's been so quiet around here. All is well, we've just been on the run!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

North Face Endurance Challenge 2012 - Are You Tough Enough?

I don’t do a lot of trail running. And by that, I mean I don’t do any. That made last year’s Northface Endurance Challenge especially difficult, and also so very rewarding. It was one of my favorite races, and I have nothing but good things to say about my experience .
I was very excited when the fine people at the North Face Endurance Challenge contacted me a few weeks ago to let me know the race will be making a stop Atlanta again this year. This year's races will take on October 13-14 in Pine Mountain, GA (southernmost edge of the Appalachian Moutnain chain).
In addtion to a nice goodie bag, you’ll also have the chance to rub shoulders with people such as Dean Karnazes. I hear he’s a pretty good runner.
Oh hi there, you look familiar ^^^

 As a friend of the ECS, I’ll be returning to run again this year. (It’s also a good excuse to spend the night at the Calloway Garden Lodge and Spa….I’ve wanted to stay there for ages). Being that it’s only a few days after we return from the Brussels Half Marathon, and only 3 weeks before the NYC Marathon, I’m going to play it safe and go with the 5k or 10k option. Running “only the 10K” last year tore me up pretty good.
However, if you're masochistic enough you can choose to go all the way up to 50K (or better yet, run the 50k race on Saturday, then the half marathon on Sunday).
Want to take on the challenge along with me? You can register here:


Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Survived the Peachtree Road Race 2012

And perhaps I even liked it ?!

This is my 5th summer here in Atlanta, and despite the hype, I’ve always avoided this race. Battling a crowd of 60,000 other runners sounds awful. Racing a 10k in steamy July weather sounds miserable. Combine the two, and well, that’s just inhumane…..

The hype finally got the best of me, and I registered for it back in March. I knew Mr. Blondie was guaranteed to be home for the 4th of July, and since there’s no telling what next year’s schedule will bring, this was the year to cross it off my bucket list.

I tossed and turned in bed until about midnight before the race. I wasn’t even thinking about the running part, I was anxious about the logistics of getting there. I also needed to be back home in time to catch a noon flight to NY. BBQ’ing and fireworks were on the evening agenda. No pressure or anything.

The Peachtree Road Race is a point-to-point race. They recommend parking in Midtown and taking the subway to the startling line at Lenox Mall. I was concerned about finding parking near the recommended MARTA stations. I generally feel safe in Atlanta, but parking in some creepy side-street lot by myself at 5:15am didn’t seem like prudent idea. Instead, I decided to go a couple miles further downtown, and got a parking spot right near the entrance of that MARTA station. I was really glad about how that worked out.

The train was pretty empty at that point and I took a seat. It didn’t take long for the people watching to start getting good. A flood of people entered the train at the next stop, including a couple women in pigtails and string bikinis (seriously, they were having a difficult time finding enough fabric to pin their numbers on), and a boisterous group of teenagers covered from head-to-toe in red, white, and blue body paint.

Another grave issue I’d worried over was having enough time to make a pit stop before the race, but the worry was for not. The first thing I noticed as I got close to the starting area was a sea of port-o-pots with no lines at all. Kudos to the Atlanta Track Club. They sure know what they’re doing!

Even better, I didn’t have to resort to using one. Get this, the Starbucks just across from the starting line was open and practically empty. I greatly overestimated how long it was going to take to get to the starting line. I had plenty of time to kill, so I hung out there for about an hour, used their wi-fi , and a real bathroom before heading to the starting line. As a 4th of July promotion they were even handing out free tall coffees. Talk about some sweet VIP accommodations ;)

Making my way into the corral was intimidating. The runners surrounding me looked like speedsters who meant business. I had only made it into the sub-seed corral by the skin of my teeth, so I knew my place…..all the way in the very back of the corral.

Otherwise it felt like any ol’ race. The race started at 7:30, and it only took about 20 seconds after the gun went off before I crossed the starting mat. From that vantage point, you really don’t get a feel for the magnitude of the event.

My performance was nothing noteworthy. Official gun time, 45:45. It felt as steamy and miserable as I imagined it would be.

Half marathon pace seemed like a reasonable expectation for the day. According to my watch I averaged 7:12/mi which was in my target range. It felt considerably harder than tempo pace however, and I started feeling a bit dizzy halfway through. From mile 3 onward, I was walking through every water stop. That’s something uncharacteristic of me to do, but did I mention it was friggin’ hot?!

A highlight of the race was finally meeting Shelby. We’ve “known” each other online for a few years now. Somewhere around the start of the second mile I spotted her in the crowd, and rolled up next to her to say hi. Ok, I guess that sounds kind of internet stalkerish, but whatever. I’d seen enough pictures on her blog to recognize her, and I knew we were aiming for a similar finish time. I also bumped into a fellow Team MARATHON Bar member a little later on. It’s a small world after all……

After I crossed the finish line I grabbed a bottle of water and collected my t-shirt. I spent about 15 minutes soaking up the scene in Piedmont Park, then started jogging the 2 miles back to my car.

Easy peasy. I was walking through my front door by 9:30. We made that flight, no problem, and made it to NY in time to join the party.

I couldn’t have asked for a better orchestrated event (minus the sweltering temps).

Have you ever gotten yourself anxious over something and it defied your expectations?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Carbo Loading

Been doing it wrong all this time haven't you?

This is how it's done.

One indoor activity to keep us busy in this heat. Hope y'all are staying cool.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Setting My Own Schedule

So out air conditioner decided to quit on us this week. I came home from work and walked into a 91 degree house.

Mr. Blondie had given up on tinkering with it and was already on the phone with the air conditioning guy. (Our AC guy’s wife runs too. Our husband’s got to chatting on the sidelines of this race last year, and Mr. B got his business card. Running brings people together, ha).

Within ten minutes he was in our driveway. Twenty minutes and $100 later a new capacitor was installed, and all was right in our climate-controlled world again.

I mention this because it totally flies in the face of Murphy’s Law. Mr. Blondie was home for once when shit happened.

I’ve been left stranded more than a handful of times dealing with emergencies or home disasters when Mr. Blondie was completely unreachable. It sucks. Those are the times I wish he was home, or at least close to home, every night.

There was that time the house almost went up in flames, but that's another story for another day.

Being on my own a few days a week does come with its own perks though. Sometimes it’s nice being able to throw some pre-made veggies burgers on the table and call it dinner, and watch DVR’d episodes of The Bachelorette without getting the side eye.

I’ve really been enjoying the Saturday morning routine I’ve gotten into with Em this month. There’s a two hour time limit on gym’s childcare, so I’ve had to get creative in order to finish my workout. We get to the gym early and I run through the nearby neighborhoods for an hour pushing her in the stroller. Then we go inside and I take a spin class, do some weights, stretch, shower, and pick her up just in time to avoid being paged over the PA system.

By that time we’re both starving, so we stop for lunch. Then we make a brief stop at a playground we pass on our way home. It's early afternoon by the time we get home, and we’re both ready to fall into bed for a nap.

This is the method I’ll use as get into my longer marathon training runs. Run the first 10 miles or so outside (the breaking point for both my back pushing the stroller and Em’s tolerance for sitting in it), then run the remainder indoors on the treadmill.

Here’s what my first month of marathon training looks like. You know I’m all high-tech about this stuff.

click image to enlarge
It’s the Pete Pfitzinger 18-week plan that tops out at 55 miles per week. I bumped everything back a day so the long run is on Saturday. I’ll reassess after first month goes and make changes as necessary.

I looked out the most popular plans out there and decided this would be the best fit. These are the main points that stuck out when I was comparing plans. Again, this my highly generalized, very UNscientific take on each plan based on my half-assed internet research.

FIRST and HANSON plans look more convenient on paper with only 3 days of running per week. However, even with the emphasis placed on the quality of those runs, I felt like I should be at least 4 days a week. You know, specificity of training and all that jazz.

Jeff Galloway has produced thousands of satisfied marathon runners, but this will be my 7th marathon and my stubborn pride will not allow walking. Runner’s World Smart Coach spits out something generic that doesn't explain the reasoning and purpose behind each workout.

I’ve heard good things about McMillan’s plans but I didn’t want to open up my wallet and pay for one. Ha. Jack Daniels was a mentor to Pete Pfitzinger and the plans don’t seem all that different from what I’ve gathered.

I narrowed it down to Hal’s Advanced Plans and Pete Pfitzinger. Hal's plan keeps the workouts relatively the same throughout the plan with incremental increases in mileage, while Pfitzinger follows a periodization principle with different mesocycles. It's a matter of perception, but seems more manageable to me when it's broken into chunks like that. Each mesocycle has a specified purpose and set of mini-goals to accomplish.

My biggest beef with Hal's advanced plans is they don't include any cross-training. Although I believe the emphasis should be on running, I don't agree in eliminating everything else. Cross-training enhances strength and endurance, and allows you to increase your training volume without the added breakdown from additional mileage.

So that’s what on tap for the upcoming month.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Breaking Through to the Other Side

Mr. Blondie has a little boat that’s been his baby long before me or Emily came into the picture. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done and he takes pride in maintaining it. He’s been piloting it since long before he could fly a plane, or even drive a car for that matter.

Anyway, it’s that time of year, and we’ll want to start using it soon. He keeps it in NY, so he needed to fly up there for a few days to get it out of winter storage and into the water. He took Emily with him, giving me a few days of sweet freedom at home.

Waking up at 4am so we can stake our claim to a piece of Long Island Sound is my repayment for all the early morning races I drag him to during the year.
I used the time alone to deep clean the house, do a little shopping, and bake about 500 blueberry muffins and scones, give or take.

I also did some good workouts. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think this was another big step out of the running slump I’ve been stuck in for the past couple months.

Thursday AM: 1 hr spin class, 1 mile run on the treadmill

Thursday PM: 4 mile run outside

Friday: 6 mile run, 30 mins strength training (Ok, so it was a Jillian Michaels DVD, we’ll call it ST)

Saturday AM: 1 hour spin, 4 mile run

Saturday PM: 1 hr YogaX

I slept late on Sunday, and took my time enjoying my coffee and some TV (not cartoons for once!), then finally hit the road around noon. I did a 12 miler at 7:55/mi pace and felt great. My Garmin hasn't seen many splits starting with 7's on my training runs since March.

I haven’t gotten the knack for running in a fuel belt yet. Instead I devised a 6 mile loop around the neighborhood so I could stop for some water halfway through.

I treated myself to my first Epsom salt bath afterwards. Our ice maker stopped working a few months ago, so it’s kind of a pain to do an ice bath now since I have to buy bags of it. I think it helped? I didn’t feel tight the next day. Maybe it was just the fact that I had time to properly cool down.

Man, I’d be in rocking shape (and always have a sparkling clean house) if I were still a single gal and could do that all the time. 

But when I look back 5, 10, 20 years from now, would any of it really matter?

It was nice to have a break, but I love the snuggles from these two. It's worth the trade off in my opinion.

Does anyone else take epsom salt baths ? Is it worth carving out some extra time for them after my long runs this summer?

Do you and your significant other support each other in your hobbies?