Friday, February 28, 2014

Bye Bye February!

The shortest month of the year always seems like one of the longest.  Maybe it's just me.  I think the winter aspect of it makes it tough.  I took today off work to get some things done at home and head outside for my long run of the week since tomorrow the high temp is like 6 degrees, and 1-3 inches of snow.  BOOO!

Anyway, today's run was the longest so far of this training cycle.  It was like 13 degrees when I started, so I was prepared to loop back and finish on the treadmill if I needed to.  But the sun was shining, and it warmed up to 30 by the time I finished.  Needless to say, I was slightly overdressed by the end.  I layered quite a bit today, and it really worked well, until the end when I realized how much I was actually sweating!

This month was all over the place weather wise.  We had 60 degree days, and we had days where the high was maybe 5 degrees.  We haven't had much snow this year, but we had a few inches earlier in the week.  Luckily the roads and sidewalks clear very quickly.

I rounded out the month with 158 miles.  I had a pretty decent mix of indoor and outdoor, and luckily all but one long run were outdoors.

So the groundhog said we would have more winter... so I guess we keep moving forward, and here's to March!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Workout Recap 2/17 - 2/23

Another week down.  Seriously, time seems to be going way too fast!  I had another solid week, and hit a milestone as well.  It was my first ever 40 mile week.  I know this number is TINY to some runners, but I've really been taking the weekly mileage increase slow and steady.  Truth is, if I didn't work 8-5 every day, I would probably have toyed with higher mileage a while ago.  But I don't have all the time in the world, so I fit in the most quality miles possible.  So far, so good!

Monday - 7 miles on the treadmill.  
Warmup : 7.0, mile @ 7.6, 8.0, 8.1, 8.0, 7.7, and cool down mile.

Tuesday - Body Pump Express (40 minutes) and elliptical.  I honestly don't remember much about this workout!  I did the hill climb preset, and hit a few extra weights, and did 10 easy minutes on the spin bike.

Wednesday - Gorgeous morning to get outside early again!  I kind of forgot what that felt like!  I ran slow, relaxing miles, and it was very refreshing.  CXWORX (30 minutes)

Thursday - Lifted weights for 30 minutes at lunch and headed home to the treadmill for 7 miles.  I think this might have been one of my fastest 7 ever.  Few seconds faster than Monday.  

Friday - CXWORX (30 minutes) and rest the rest of the day!

Saturday - 15 miles, 8:30 average pace.  Just all around awesomeness.  I really struggled mentally on last weeks long run, but this week was much different.  I felt much more relaxed from beginning to end, and ran a better pace as well.  It was a gorgeous morning, so you really can't beat that!

Sunday - 5 miles, fun and easy.  We have snow and cold back in the forecast, so this was my last nice day for a while.  I did a few weights and abs at home after I came in from running. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Runners love candy

I’ve been reading running blogs and comments for a solid year now, and I’m come to the conclusion that most runners love talking about candy almost as much as running.  I hope I’m not the only one that’s picked up on this!

I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth.  I love cookies, cake, candy, brownies, anything!  Frosting out of the jar, cool whip out of the container… yeah, I might have a problem.  But I’ve found the more I run, the more I crave candy.  I’m starting to think I have a sugar high addiction.  Running makes us all hungry, let’s be honest.  We’ve all experience the “runger” days, when all the food in the world won’t fill us up.  I try my hardest to get rounded nutrition, but candy seems to be part of the round lately!

I’m no scientist, I have no clue why my body suddenly can’t get enough sugar.  I’ve done a lot of reading lately about sugar detoxes and whole food challenges.  I think a sugar detox would KILL me.  I would love to have the discipline to do it, but I can’t say it will ever happen.  The funny thing is, I used to be a big diet pop drinker.  I RARELY drink pop now, and if I do, it’s never a whole lot.  Every once and awhile I will crave a little bit, and I will get one and take a few drinks and be good.  I’ve read that drinking pop increases your desire for other sweets.  So it’s odd that by not drinking pop, my candy cravings have increased!

I could live off M&Ms… ESPECIALLY the White Chocolate ones!

Caramels and Girl Scout cookies (with my name spelled wrong on them)

Oh, and the birthday cake Oreos… Which aren’t CANDY, they are their own food group!

I go back and forth with guilt over my junk food obsession lately.  Like I said, I eat as healthy as possible most of the time.  I pack my lunch and snacks for work, eat plenty of fruit, and make sure to get good carbs and protein.  I have never had a weight issue, luckily I’ve always had a good metabolism, and I have height, which I think always helps! 

Easter is my favorite holiday, and my favorite holiday candy.  Watch out world! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Why I love Advocare’s O2 Gold

I’ve talked about O2 Gold briefly in some of my other supplement posts, but seriously, this one deserves its own. In bold and flashing colors. Because it’s THAT good! 

Here’s some in depth info direct from the experts… aka Advocare website: 

With its unparalleled formulation, O2 Gold supplement is an excellent solution for greater energy, endurance and vitality whether you’re a marathon runner, a busy parent or both.* Serious athletes will notice the differences that O2 Gold supplement brings to their regimen, and casual users will notice the refreshing lift to their energy and liveliness.* Most importantly, O2 Gold supplement helps you maximize oxygen usage in your body so that you can feel better and perform better.*
O<sub>2</sub> GOLD®* Helps facilitate the body’s use of oxygen*
* Helps restore vitality and liveliness*
* Helps the body adapt to stress*
* Increases oxygenation to cells*
* Helps increase and maintain energy levels*
* Supports muscle building and recovery*
* Provides antioxidant activity to counter the effects of free radicals*
* Supports the body’s immune system*
* Contains easily digestible whey protein 

O2 Gold and Spark were my very first Advocare products, and I was sold immediately. If you have never used O2 Gold and you are thinking, gosh does this really work? Let me tell you, it has made a HUGE difference in my long runs! The serving is two capsules 60 minutes prior to exercise. I only take O2 Gold before runs of 10 miles or longer, mainly because it’s not cheap! And I don’t feel that I NEED it on shorter runs. 

I take two O2 Gold with a serving of Spark before my long runs!

Monday, February 17, 2014

10 weeks out

I was reminded today that there 10 weeks of training left for marathons on the first weekend of May. Yikes.  I have to admit, I felt mixed emotions when I saw the number.  (I really hadn’t been counting, or looked at a calendar lately, so it caught me completely off guard.)  One emotion was YAY! Let’s get this race going and get it over with… the other emotion was holy crap!  (PG version…)
10 weeks of training means 10 more long runs.  This week I’m actually planning a cut back, my long run will be 8-10 miles depending on what time I can get myself out of bed since I have to work at 9AM.  To someone who hasn’t trained for a race before, 10 might sound like a lot, and plenty of time.  The reality is, it goes fast, and each run is precious.  It’s like rehearsing for a play or a concert, the more times you do it, the better it goes.  Long runs are so important not only for the obvious part about running for a long time, but for the rehearsal aspect.  Figuring out your fuel, your outfit, making sure your shoes are working for you, determining blisters or hot spots, areas that chafe…

The shorter runs are important too.  I love throwing in speed work and tempo runs, along with lots of just steady paced, or easy effort runs.  I’ve been keeping my mileage in the 35-39 a week range, and so far so good.  I do plan to hit 40 here pretty shortly once my long runs are longer.  But I am not going above that.  I am just not a high mileage runner.  I hope to be able to get strong enough to continue to build on that base, but I also enjoy doing cross training and other workouts besides always running.

I’m still toying with going public with my pace goal for the marathon.  I remember before my first half marathon I told everyone I just want to finish.  As the race got closer, I did set a time goal, and ultimately lined up with a pacer.  I finished my first half in 2:08, and my current PR is 1:44.  Did I set my bar too low in that first race?  Maybe.  But my goal was finish, and be below a 2:10.  So I think with my first marathon, it’s important for me to stay realistic with my goals, but also not sell myself short either. 

I started the week off with a 7 mile treadmill run.  My shins are telling me to cool the jets a little.  Good thing tomorrow is EASY cross training day! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Workout Recap 2/10 - 2/16

Last week was my much needed cut back week.  I was totally spent, and found myself fighting major mental battles and doubt about being able to get through this training.  This was a brand new week, and I felt great.  I felt re-charged and ready to get back after it!  That said, the morning running just hasn't been happening lately.  I can't get out of bed in the mornings, luckily it's still too cold and yucky in the mornings to get outside, but the evenings have been perfect.

Monday - 7 miles, pyramid style.  My only early morning and only treadmill workout of the week (WAHOOO!) CXWORX (30 minutes) and crazy, ambitious me went back to the Y after work, to dirty my third pair of workout clothes for the day... and to do some upper body lifting.  I had endless energy!

Tuesday - Body Pump Express and cross training.  40 minutes arc trainer and 20 on the elliptical.  I always do some sort of hill preset on the ellip, and the arc I usually do a cardio section for 20 minutes, and a hill or strength section for the other 20.  

Wednesday - 7 miles outside after work.  I set out with a tempo run goal, but I was in some wicked pain from my blisters, and there was still quite a bit of ice and snow in some spots.  Anyway, I did manage a 2 miles warm up, 4 miles at tempo (7:58 pace to 8:10), and a mile slow to head home.  I was proud of the workout all things considered.

Thursday - Body Pump Express and 7.5 miles after work.  The goal was steady pace miles, and I pulled that off.  It was a perfect evening, and the ice and snow I dodged on Wednesday had all melted. 

Friday - CXWORX (30 minutes) After work I went to the Y and lifted weights for about 20 minutes and then made my way down to the basketball court to shoot some hoops for a while.  It felt amazing.

Saturday - 16 mile long run.  This run was ALL over the place.  Mentally, the first half was ROUGH.  I just couldn't convince myself that I even wanted to do it.  It was a struggle.  The second half was like I was a completely different person.  Out of nowhere, my pace picked up effortlessly, and stayed up.  I finished the run on a major high and felt incredible.  It was a far cry from how I started.  I guess this type of run was a good thing.  It taught me to dig deep, and push through.

Sunday - 4 miles on the treadmill and Level One of 30 Day Shred as some active recovery.  My legs felt fantastic after Saturday, but I kept the treadmill as slow as I could stand it. 

Training and blister update

Another week of training is in the books.  I can't believe how fast this month is going!!  Friday was the half way mark.  I think the back and forth weather we've been having has made the time seem to go faster.  Some days it's -10 and the next day it's 50.  

I'll get to my workouts and runs in my recap post, but I actually knocked out everything I wanted to do this week!  Two Body Pump classes, two CXWORX classes, and some strength training on my own.  I feel SO much better when I've lifted multiple times a week, as opposed to the weeks where I might only get one or two small sessions in.  

On to the not so hot part of the week.... my blisters.  Last Saturday's 15 mile treadmill run did a serious number on my feet.  I have matching blisters on the balls of both feet, and they HURT.  I had to drain them due to their location, and the left one has dried back up, the right one is still hanging around.  I spent HOURS Googling ways to help them heal as quickly as possible, and of course keep them clean and free of infection.  

I haven't completely solved my problem yet, they are still hanging around being annoying, but here are a few products I picked up that have helped out.

I should have bought this stuff a long time ago!  I always get annoying cuts on my hands and fingers.  This worked great to cover the blisters with, as regular band aids kept pulling the skin around them and causing more pain.

I have a lovely blister on the inside of my big toe as well.  The finger and toe shaped band aid worked perfectly to cover that one.  The Dr. Scholl's are the larger ones that I did try on the bottom of my feet, but found the liquid skin to work better.  The Friction Block is great, and I clearly should have had some along time ago and I wouldn't be in this mess!

Yup, that's gauze and duct tape.  And the ONLY way I was able to run my 16 miler yesterday.  I covered the blisters with Liquid Skin first, then gauze, then wrapped duct tape around my entire foot.  I was really hesitant to try the duct tape.  I did a lot of research and discovered a lot of people use it.  I wanted to make sure I had the gauze underneath, because the thought of pulling duct tape off of a blister made me want to cry.  Crazy as it is, it did help.  The tape stays in place, and prevents friction on the hot spots.

I have to say, I am now a duct tape believer.  I hope that once my blisters get healed, and I don't have to do outrageously long treadmill runs any longer, my feet will be back to normal and not rub or blister.  But, if not, I am open to the duct tape before every long run idea... I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How many times a day do you think about running?

We’ve all heard the stats about how many times per day a man thinks about you know what… but I wonder what the stats would be if you polled runners on how many times running, or a running related thought went through their mind during the day.

I have to admit, mine would be a pretty high and frequent number.  If I have gotten up early and gotten my run in before work, I’m usually better off than if I’m sitting at work for 8 hours thinking about the run I have to do when I get home.  The last two days have been this way.  I don’t always think about the workout, or the route, I just think about being out there. 

I am a generally anxious person anyway, but this marathon training cycle is already mentally getting the best of me.  I’m not overwhelmed by the work, I just feel anxious to DO IT. And get it done!  I go back and forth between wanting May to be a year away to have time to prepare, to wanting the marathon to be tomorrow just to get it over with. 

The first step is admitting you have a problem right?  So here it is.  You MIGHT think about running too much if you do what I do:

  • Check All Sport Central at least twice a week to make sure your entry confirmation is still there for the race you registered for.  And see how many others have signed up.
  • Check the Event Calendar on All Sport to see if there are any new races that you should sign up for that you didn’t see the last 500 times you checked the event calendar.
  • Read a running blog.  I SWEAR, the only blog I look at at work is Hungry Runner Girl!  The timing of her posts are such that I read her morning one right at 8:00, and her afternoon one is at 4:00.
  • You might be obsessed if you know exactly what time of day to read a running blog…
  • I immediately Google anything that hurts or feels weird for fear it may be the start of an injury.  Like I said, high anxiety over here.
  • Facebook and Instagram are the devil.  No, iPhones are the devil.  Why is it so easy to just grab it and scroll my feeds quick to see if there’s anything new and excited running related.
  • Check every 5 minutes to make sure you know EXACTLY what the weather will be during your run.  This is probably one of my biggest problems when I wait to run outside after work.
  • Hop on REAL QUICK and order yourself a fresh pair of socks while no one is looking… 
It's safe to say I think about running every .2938 seconds.