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?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Adonia Greek Yogurt Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the Adonia Frozen Greek Yogurt giveaway. The winner is #3, Stephanie. Please check you email. Hope you've got some room in your freezer!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Some Firsts (Mini Race Report)

For the first time in the 3 years of her little life, we left Emily with a babysitter not related to us. A bold and liberating move for us. Not that we haven’t wanted to in the past, but it was only recently that we found someone nearby we feel comfortable leaving her with.

The Dave Matthews concert at Lakewood Amphitheater was the special occasion warranting a babysitter on a Tuesday night. The show was great, but Wednesday morning wasn’t kind to us. Come on Dave, don’t you know we’re too old to be out that late on a week night?

We thought it was the late night out at first, but soon realized it was more than that. By mid-day Mr. B and Emily both had 100+ degree fevers, body aches, sore throats.

Somehow I managed to avoid getting whatever they had (or maybe I was the one who gave it to them since I was feeling so run-down the week before?).

This is a rare sight. Seriously, too much stuff to get done...
Well anyway, that killed out plans for going anywhere Memorial Day weekend. With nothing on the agenda, I got the itch on Friday to see if there were any Memorial Day races in the area. Turned out there would be one taking place in the shopping center right next to my gym the next morning . I was already planning to go to the 9:15 spin class, so obviously it was meant to be :)

It was a small race of about 300 runners, and I had a comfortable lead over the other women after the first mile. My official chip time was 21:05, so no land-speed records were broken here.

Small and subtle

But that is a respectable 5k time for me, so I’m going to lump this performance into the “happy” category. Between the rising temps and pollen, I’ve been in such a running slump the past couple months. Hence the lack of running related posts, I haven’t had much to say.

It was reassuring to know I could still bust out a decent (for me) 5k on a whim. Especially because it was 74 degrees, with 93% humidity at the start. I notice a dip in my performance when the temps go above 65 degrees.

Better yet, I didn’t feel like I was running all-out either.

Afterwards I grabbed some water, then kept jogging to stay loose. I ran over to the gym to sign-up for spin class, and then ran another 3 miles while I waited for the awards ceremony to start. By 9:15 I was in class pedaling away, still feeling energized.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been pouring over running books, websites, and forums to compose a marathon training plan I feel confident sticking to. It’s nice to know I’m not really starting from square one fitness-wise like I’ve believed for the past few weeks.

Anyone else convinced that a few missed workouts or off-paced runs suddenly mean you’re out of shape couch potato?

The rest of my weekend was spent playing nurse at home. Their fevers disappeared by Sunday, but it took a few more days to reach 100%.

How was your holiday? Are you excited for the start of summer? Aside from the heat/humidity I’m looking forward to boating, beaches, BBQ's, everything else!

Do you ever find yourself in a workout slump? How do you overcome out of a negative mindset?