Goofy Challenge Training Week 15: 12/11-12/17/2017

I’m coming to you all straight from taper town today. With the completion of my 20 miler this weekend, I officially made it through the bulk of training for the Goofy Challenge! I’m ready to enjoy the next few weeks of less running, more sleep, and eating well. That won’t be hard with the holidays! I indulged in cookies yesterday. I don’t deny myself sweets, I’m just not a huge fan of them (give me doritos or cheese and crackers any day). However, I ate 8 cookies last night and I’m totally okay with it.

Let’s look back at how week 15 was.

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Monday: Rest. I was planning to run, but my quad was bothering me so I played it cool.

Tuesday: 5 miles during my afternoon break. I used 90:30 intervals for the first time since my period of “burn out” and ran pretty fast for me (10:47 average pace) and felt good!

Wednesday: Rest – I was planning to go to NP, but it was a windchill of 9 degrees when I woke up. NoThankYou.

Thursday: 5 miles during my break again. I made a conscious effort to run easy. I didn’t fuel well in the morning, and I felt really bad when I finished.

Friday: 8.13 miles. My plan was for 10, but it started snowing as soon as I got to the trail. By the time I was done, I was running on two inches of snow. I didn’t have my trail shoes, so I was slipping everywhere and kept having to de-clog my treads. Man, I forgot how much harder it was to run on snow. I was beat.

Saturday: 20.01 miles at 11:17 avg pace! GUYS, I RAN  20 MILES AT FASTER THAN GOAL MARATHON PACE!! That wasn’t even a goal or on my mind. I just wanted to finish. This long run was weird, though. I ran 6.2 miles to a race, ran a 4.9 mile race, then ran just over 8.8 to finish it out. Running to the race was almost all uphill, and the conditions were pretty icy. The race was full of hills. I ran some miles fast (like a 9:40ish first mile) and some slower (11:30). I kinda did my intervals, but ran the downhills straight. I didn’t want to screw myself up for the rest of run, but wanted to push a little. Then I ran 8.8 miles back down towards Jake’s house and finished around the harbor. I was tired when I finished, but could have kept going. My body felt great, aside from my tight quad.

When I got to Jake’s I saw his roommate outside, and he said “I’d invite you skiing, but you look thrashed.” Yes, Andrew. I felt pretty thrashed, but also pretty stoked that I was officially in taper town.

Sunday: REST. My legs were a little sore in the morning, but felt better as the day goes on. As I write this (about 7 pm) I feel fine. I’ve been ravenous all day, but I normally am after that long of a run!

Weekly total: 38.x miles. Not the 40 I had planned, but with plenty of miles atop snow and ice, I’m cool with it!

How was your week of running? Have you had any snowy runs yet?

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Facing My Holiday Hurdles: A Day in the Life

*Disclaimer: I was originally provided with a pair of Aftershockz Trekz Titanium as part of my work as a BibRave Pro. However, all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!*

I love when people post “A Day in the Life” posts, and I have even shared a couple myself! I think it’s great to look into others’ lives and see how their days go. Especially people who are super social media and blog savvy – seriously. Do you gals work?!

As we all know, this time of year is especially crazy. Not only are we in the depths of the holidays, but I’m also in my peak week of training for the Goofy Challenge. I’m trying to get all my reports at work done before Christmas and subsequent vacation. I set yesterday (Thursday) as a great day of my life to share – busy, but typical. Who knew that things would change a little!?

Wednesday, 10:30 – settle into bed, charge my Aftershockz, and watch my nightly Disney marathon/half marathon video. They’re keeping me going these days!

Thursday, 6:00 – I finally get up and out of bed (planned wake-up: 5:30). I hop in the shower and make the most of my morning. These days, instead of running, it’s grocery shopping and chores. This morning I have laundry to fold (it had been sitting for three days) and tried to meal plan for the days ahead. I was hoping to find a dessert to bring to Jake’s family’s Hanukkah dinner this weekend, but failed.

7:30 – I look out the window – we got snow last night? A whole dusting? I find out that my morning pre-schools are on a 2-hour delay. This saves me a commute to east Baltimore and gives me more time at home!

8:15 – Clean off my car and head to the clinic (it’s a private practice, speech, occupational and physical therapy clinic for kids). This morning I’m listening to Christmas music. Many days, it’s podcasts. I’m at the office by 8:45 to make coffee and clean my office a bit.

9:00 – Start to work. I had 5 kids scheduled for the morning between 2 schools and the clinic, but with the delays and cancellations I’m down to only one – so crazy! I have lots of time to get paperwork done. I didn’t get anything submitted, but I’m very close on three out of my 8 reports due. I make some more pictures for a visual schedule for my one kiddo, and he screams my ear off for 30 minutes. While I’m doing paperwork, I’m listening to Star Wars music with my Aftershockz! I love these headphones because the signal reaches when I’m walking around the office, and I can still hear what’s going on while I listen to my music!

12:30 – The start of my afternoon break. I work split shifts, which makes for a really long day. I try to make the most of my 2:15 in between my shifts. I used to go to the gym most days, but I’ve started to run from the office more often. I’m changed and out the door just after 12:40. I use my run to get a dose of Harry Potter on audiobook.

1:40 – I’m back to the office after my run. I’m seriously light-headed because I had hardly ate that morning, oops. I have a salad in the fridge but need more so I run out for lunch and bring it back to the office. I try to keep my door closed so I’m not bothered during my break, and it actually works today! I listen a a little more Christmas music before I need to get back to work.

2:45 – My second shift starts. I typically have 6 kids on Thursday afternoon. I have one cancellation, but also have one random kid that was dumped onto my schedule. We play some verb games, read some books (There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell this week), work on some sounds, and play with Play Doh and Mr. Potato Head. The toys have purposes, I swear. In the middle of all this, my friend bails on our plan for the evening, which adds some stress to my day.

6:45 – Since my last client cancelled, I leave work early! I’m off to the movies to see the new Star Wars!! Thankfully, my roommate came and met me, which lessened the blow of another friend bailing. I planned to eat an overpriced dinner there, but their menu was broken and they refused to tell me prices. So I ended up with a dinner of popcorn and an icee. Not ideal.

10:45: The movie’s over (it was fantastic) and I’m home within 10 minutes! I should have had some real food, but I was beat. I opened my mail to find my secret santa gift from the Oiselle Volee DC/MD/VA gift swap. It really brightened my day! I still feel like I have so much to do. My room’s an absolute disaster and I can’t decide if I’m going to do a race on Saturday as part of my 20 miler.

11:15: Realize that I can’t get everything done in one day. During the Holidays, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I listen to some  music (more Star Wars, duh) while I get ready for bed and crash, hard. I set alarms for 6:00 on Friday (my day off!) but deep down, I know I won’t be up until 7 or 8.

The holidays are great. You get to spend time with family in friends, hopefully get a little break from work, get to shop and give to others, and eat delicious foods. They’re stressful as well. Make sure to take care of yourself. Eat well (which has been my struggle this week), get enough sleep, and understand that you just can’t do everything in one day! Today I still have to run 10(ish?) miles, get car insurance/registration straightened out (I need to register my car in Maryland by the end of 2017), make Christmas gifts, prep for 20 miles tomorrow, and do more laundry. But I also want to work on my Christmas puzzle, go to Old Navy, start getting stuff together for Disney, write some more posts, bake some treats and make a nice dinner. Will it all happen? Probably not. What I do know, is that my aftershockz will make it all a little more festive and manageable!

What are some of your holiday hurdles?

What are some of your favorite holiday albums/songs? For me it’s Hanson – Finally it’s Christmas (song and album), Straight No Chaser, and the Barenaked Ladies Christmas album!

Running in 2017: A Look Back

With December almost halfway over, it’s time to reflect on the year that has been 2017. I can’t put into words how good 2017 was to me in many ways. In terms of running, it was my best year yet. I’ll be sad to see it go, but 2018 also has a lot in store for me!

Throughout the year, I stayed healthy and injury-free for the first time. GUYS. I RAN A YEAR INJURY FREE!!!!!!!! Sure, I took extra days off here and there for aches and pains, but I was never hurt. I ran more miles than I ever have. I started to cross train regularly (then stopped, oops). I also experienced my first period of “burnout”, but I made it through.

January – March: In late 2016, I signed up for my second marathon. I started training the week before the new year began. Aside from a cancelled half marathon I ran relatively consistently. The worst part of these months was stepping away from November Project due to work-related stress. I remember one, 18-mile run that went very poorly but besides that, running was great. I ended up running 93.8 miles in January, 98.4 miles in February and 125.1 miles in March.

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With two of my fave pals (who run) at the trail half!

Races: Little Patuxtent River Run Trail Half (2:32), Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon  (2:19:35), Shamrock 5K (27:01 – PR), Baltimore Road Runners Club St. Patrick’s Day 5K (27:51)

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April-June: April brought peak week for the New Jersey Marathon, the taper, and of course, the race! I was so proud of myself for setting a huge PR. It took longer than I had hoped to recover from the marathon and I kept a pretty low running profile in the following two months. I ran my personal worst half marathon at Zooma Annapolis on a very challenging course. I also started to ride my bike more in preparation for my first Duathlon! I ran 134.1 miles in April, 46.4 miles in May and 74.8 miles in June.

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Sole of the City 10K (easy run before a 20 miler)

Races: Oldfields Half Marathon (2:12:43), Sole of the City 10K (1:12:22), Columbia 5K (aka Hangover 5K – 33:19), New Jersey Marathon (5:03:42 – PR), Stoneleigh Stampede 5K (28:52),  Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon (2:33:27), Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K (38:56)

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*don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry*

July-September: Once July hit, I really started to get back into the swing of things. My mind started to get back into training. I worked really hard to set a PR at the Charles Street 12 miler and went straight into training for the Goofy Challenge. I also completed my first multi-sport race and won an age-group award for the first time. Things got a little funky when I started my new job, but I was able to keep going strong. Summer seriously felt like it would never end, but it made me a stronger runner! I also ran my first RAGNAR! I ran 81.9 miles in July, 125.4 miles in August and 106.8 miles in September.

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Post Ragnar DC leg-3. I ran so hard my bib belt broke!

Races: Towson 4 on the 4th (39:44), Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon (2:29:08), Maryland Sprint Duathlon (1:43:04), Too Hot To Trot 10K (58:55 – short), Charles Street 12 Miler (2:03:33PR).

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October-December: These were, without a doubt, my hardest months of the year. In September and October I went full force training for Goofy. I was running doubles and putting in a lot of strength- and cross-training time at the gym. That, combined with work and putting tons of pressure on myself in my relationship, led to getting really burnt out. I thought about giving up on Goofy and just not running any more after. I stopped cross/strength work and really minimized my training – I began to do just enough to make it to the finish line but took all pressures off of myself. It took 3-4 weeks, but I finally found my way through it. During these months I’ve experienced some quad pain, but it’s nothing that made me take more than one extra rest day a week. I ran 121.6 miles in October, 116.8 in November and I have run 54.8 miles in December as of December 13 (I have 35 more on the plan for this week – HAH!).

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Favorite race photo ever – my nephew’s first finish line!

Races: 4 Miles for Eli 4 miler (38:XX – short, but with a stroller!), Baltimore Running Festival 5K (38:06) and Half Marathon (2:31:12), Towson Homecoming 5K (37:17 – short), Towson Turkey Trot 5K (31:50).

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October + November = 3 5Ks with friends!

In 2017 I ran 1 marathon, 6 half marathons, 1 10K and numerous other races. I set PRs in the marathon, 5K, and 12 mile. I will also hit my big goal of 1200 miles for the year in mid-December! It’s hard to pick out a favorite moment from the year, but if I had to choose it would be the entire New Jersey Marathon. I trained well, trusted my race plan, and ran my race. Or maybe hitting the 1,000 mile mark for the with friends by my side – it was amazing to share it with others, even if they were just a small part of it.

I also loved being a Bib Rave Pro in 2017! I ran three great races with them and tried numerous great products. I’m really looking forward to another year as a Pro!

As you know if you’re a regular reader, my 2018 is going to start off with a huge bang with my 18th half and 3rd full. I’ll be back soon with racing plans for 2018 as they are largely set in stone already. Crazy – right?!

What were some of your running highlights this year? What was your favorite race?

Goofy Challenge Training Week 14: 12/4 -12/10/17

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there is just ONE MORE WEEK until I start to taper for the Goofy Challenge! My magic bands have arrived, all I have left to buy is Disney’s Photo Pass service, and our fast passes have been booked for a month (well, some I re-did this week). This week didn’t go quite according to plan, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!

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Monday: Rest. My quad was really achy, so I took an extra day to let it recover a bit.

Tuesday: 5 miles before work. This was my first morning run in forever that I really enjoyed and was happy that I got out of bed for. I kept it pretty easy on the hills.

Wednesday: Rest. I woke up feeling ill and stayed in bed. I thought about running in the afternoon, but ended up going home and sleeping through my break. My daily resting HR was about 6 BPM higher than normal, so I took it as a sign my body was fighting something and needed rest.

Thursday: 5 miles during my afternoon break! It was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside, and it really helped me keep up my motivation during my last work hours of the week.

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Friday AM: CRYOTHERAPY! I’m planning on writing a post on this experience soon, but I’m so glad I went. My quad does not feel 100%, but it certainly helped it feel better and also helped my calves loosen up.

Friday PM: 7.31 miles. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it that far, but I felt great!! If I didn’t need to get home to start making dinner (homemade sauce, yo!) I probably would have ran another 1-2 miles.

Saturday: 19 miles! Guys, this run was fantastic. I think it was my second fastest long run pace of this training cycle, and I felt like I could have gone on and on. Now that I look back, it was :23 sec/mi faster than any 20 miler I’ve done. I had almost decided to go for 20; however, it started snowing the minute I started to run and by the end I was sick of my eyes burning by being pelted with snow. Then I spent the day celebrating my Birthday! I had an amazing night out with friends. Now, I’m ready to “detox” without (almost any alcohol) for the next 4 months until it’s time to go to Florida!

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My phone was almost dead by mile 10, so no run picture happened. So you get this beaut instead!

Weekly total: 36.6 miles!

I’m so glad that I’m finally, truly starting to feel like myself again. This week is my “peak week.” I’m aiming to hit 40 miles in 4-5 runs. Then it’s taper time, just in time for the crazy holidays. Taking two trips in 2 weeks is going to be draining, but so worth it. I’m hoping work will be nice and quiet in-between so I have some good downtime.

Goofy Challenge Training Week 13: 11/27-12/3/17

Week 13 is over! Less than 4 more weeks until I am done with the Goofy Challenge! This is the week where I started to get over the feelings of overtraining/burnout that I was experiencing for most of November. I also experienced some pains in my right foot and quad that caused me to run less than I wanted to. Nevertheless, I’m feeling more like myself again.

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Monday: Rest day – unplanned. I couldn’t get out of bed and was busy during my mid-day break so a run didn’t happen.

Tuesday: 4 miles during my mid-day break. Instead of running at the gym, I explored the neighborhoods around my office! It was a beautiful afternoon and was a pretty decent run.

Wednesday: 3.68 miles at November Project. It was a little rough getting up and moving, but running with two different people helped keep me going. I went much easier than I normally would on PR day. However, my right quad was feeling very tight and I didn’t want to cause any more discomfort.

Thursday: Rest day. I considered heading to the gym to cross-train, but I ended up doing some extra work during my break.

Friday: Rest day – unplanned. I planned to run, but when I got up I had an aching pain in my arch that felt like deja vu of my plantar fascitis days. SO instead, I walked to move my car, then went back to bed. I spent half an hour in the evening using all of my self-massage tools.

Saturday: 13.25 miles.  My foot felt fine, and while my quad felt tight it was alright. I ran 60:30 not to hurt it more. I started out really slow and sped up like normal. While it took me a while to get out the door, I did enjoy the run! I just went to use my R8 roller and it’s so cold!!

No long run picture, but we had a mighty Friendsgiving!

Sunday: Rest day

Weekly miles: 20.9. Once again, totally not where it should be right now. But, it is what it is.

The next two weeks bring my 19 + 20 milers. I may not do 9/19 and 10/20, but will surely do doubles with at least 5 miles both days. With my mileage being so low, I don’t want to bring it up too quickly again and hurt myself (especially with how my legs are feeling now). I got burnt out at a really unfortunate time in training, and it’s getting to me because I was feeling so good through October. However, now I know how far I can/can’t push myself before I break and I’ve been taking much better care of myself to try and find more balance in my life. I’m planning for 5 days of running this week, which will probably be close to double the mileage of last week. That means slow and easy runs while I’m hitting “peak week(s)” at a really weird time fitness-wise.

Getting Lit — No, Not Like That!

Disclaimer: I received Knuckle Lights Colors to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Earlier this fall, I found myself with a pickle. It was obviously getting lighter later and darker earlier. With my crazy work hours, the rotation of the sun was not working in my favor. I disliked my headlamp, then it broke while I was trying to replace the batteries. I bought a new headlamp, but it wasn’t running-specific and I really didn’t like how it lit my path. About half of my morning route around my house isn’t well let, so I was in a tough spot.

Then I got the awesome opportunity to check out Knuckle Lights Colors! Seriously, this opportunity came at just the right time (Well, I needed lights. The burn out – not so much). These two lights would be handheld instead of having an uncomfortable headband and would have 120 total lumens. This was a little less than my two headlamps.

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I love lists, so here are some of the top reasons why I love my Knuckle Lights!

  • Hey – they light my path! Actually, I love how they light my path. They light up about 15 feet in front of me. I’m able to see the imperfections in the sidewalks (which are everywhere when I run in Baltimore) as well as other animals and people around me. On my first run with my lights I saw 3 deer, 1 fox and 6 bunnies!

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  • These are Knuckle Lights. Plural. I really like having two so I can move one if I want to see something to the side of me.
  • These puppies are light! They are small enough to fit my hands without making them feel weighed down.
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Start in the dark, end in the light.
  • The batteries (1 AA for each light) are easy to replace. Seeing how I broke a headlamp trying to change batteries, I’m super happy with this.

+1 Bonus: These make me feel very safe when I run in downtown Baltimore. It’s not the safest city and I panic easy. Running in these makes me feel like I almost have brass knuckles and could punch someone with them if I have to 😛

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Think you don’t need any running lights? Think again. Not only do lights help you see people/obstructions, but they help others see YOU. There’s a guy I see running on my route in the morning who never has any lights or reflection. He always scares the crap out of me and I’ve yelled at him multiple times to “light up.”  If lights make you and others around you feel better, use them!

I’m kicking myself for not getting Knuckle Lights earlier, but I’m sure glad I have them now. I will never go back to using a headlamp (aside from at a Ragnar). At $39.99 the Knuckle Lights Colors are about the same price as a decent running headlamp. If you’re in the market, I definitely recommend that you try them out! Knuckle Lights also have a set with rechargeable batteries. Use the code BIBRAVEPRO to save $15 off your order!

Goofy Challenge Training Weeks 11 + 12

So long, so quiet! Things haven’t been quite silent around here, but I’ve slowed down a lot since getting sick a few weeks ago. To be completely honest, November has not been what I was hoping for. I started off the month aiming for my first 150 mile month, and I’ll barely hit 120. However, things are starting to feel a little better. It’s just in time, because there are just 2.5 more weeks until taper time!

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Week 11: (11/13-11/19)

Monday: 5 miles of a “workout” on the treadmill. I was feeling pretty motivated. I ran with longer, harder run intervals and finished with a 10:12/mi average – my fastest of the training cycle so far. “Daily” plank and 30 burpees.

Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill, again. I could not muster up the energy to get up and out of bed. Again, the “daily” plank and 30 burpees that I was trying to start up again.

Wednesday: Literally no.desire. to run.

Thursday: Typical rest day.

Friday: 8 miles. 2 miles, 2.5 miles of hills at NP, then finished up the daily miles. It took a lot to get going, and I really hated it. I didn’t enjoy the run at all. When people asked me how training was going, I didn’t have a positive word to say.

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Mid-NP photo by Gio Vargas!

Saturday: 18 miles was on the docket. 0 happened. You could have paid me $1,000 and I wouldn’t have ran. I was done. No fire in me. Instead, I enjoyed a relaxing day and a friendsgiving. I tried so hard not to think about, or talk about running. When my friends kept asking/talking about it, I tried to change the subject (for once). It was very needed.

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Sunday: Rest

Week 11 total: 18 miles.

Week 11 was #rough. I was the first time since I started to run that I truly felt an aversion to running. I was exhausted, stressed, and was putting so much pressure on myself to train as hard as possible for the Goofy Challenge. It killed me that I was working so hard to run a race that wasn’t “for time,” even though my paces have been great lately. I needed a change in mindset, and I needed it fast.

On Saturday morning, I posted in a Dopey Challenge training group on facebook about the struggles I was facing emotionally. Finds out, I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. It felt great to rant about it to people who were training for the same (or a similar) event and I saw that I wasn’t the only one in this state of mind. I just need to finish the marathon. It may not be fun, but it will be done.


Week 12: (11/20-26)

Monday: 3 miles. It took all I had to get out in the morning and I ended up running without my watch! I wasn’t feeling well, so I turned around when I felt like it.

Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill. While I ran, I watched WDW marathon videos on youtube and it really helped keep me moving. I teared up a couple of times, even!

Wednesday: Rest day.

Thursday: 3.15 miles at a Turkey Trot with a friend from work. We went to have fun and finished in 31:54. We were aiming for under 30, but it was hard with all of the weaving we had to do, as well as a few good hills. We kicked it in good and finished the last .2 at under 7:30/mi pace!

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Friday: 5.1 miles in the afternoon, as I took the morning to do some shopping. Actually, I ran this after a lunch and movie with beer and lots of popcorn. I ran without structured intervals and it felt wonderful.

Saturday: 18.1 miles. The run was a little rough, with 3 potty stops (with no feeling of relief), an outfit change, and some wonkiness in my legs. I felt pretty weak, and ended up running 60:30 for the entire run. Nevertheless, I was proud of myself for running the entire distance.

Sunday: Rest.

Week 12 total: 34.35 miles. A bit more back on track.

I shortened my weekday runs this week, mostly just to run enough days, but not to kill myself in the process. I focused a lot more on getting good sleep and taking the pressure off of myself. As of Wednesday night, my legs still don’t feel 100% after Saturday’s run. I’m thankful this weekend only calls for 13ish miles – which I’ll be sure to run easily. Hopefully I’ll be back to 100% by next week. Just two more hard weeks of training!