Wednesday, September 30, 2009

*Just Married* (Part 1 of ?)


My wedding weekend was truly the best days of my life so far. I don't think I can express how much love and happiness I felt in these days - from the act of getting married to sharing it with family and friends, watching worlds collide, amazing weather, amazing landscape. Everything was really amazing and I just never imagined I would feel that good.

But let me step back. The days leading up to the wedding were exhausting. I do not do so well with sleep when faced with stress. This event and all of the planning was stressful. I had my parents and sister come into town early, we had a ton of last minute stuff to handle and we were packing for the wedding which was an hour away. Wednesday, Thursday and even Friday morning were rough. I almost fell asleep in the hairdresser chair before the wedding.

Friday morning I woke up earlier than I'd hoped and decided to head to the grocery store to get coffee for the house. I came back and my "helpers" were still sleeping (friends from college/pseudo bridesmaids), so I chastised them, then ignored them. The best part of the day started off by running to the rental house where my groom was staying to pick him up for a run back to my rental house. I snuck out the back door to meet him as I just didn't want anyone to get in my way. (Including my BQ Uncle Tom who had 17 miles planned for that day and will not stop talking about running.) I was so excited to get over to see him that my first mile rang in at 7:05. Slooow down pony! I got there and was greeted by several hungover housemates and my blushing groom. We chatted for a while and then ran the 2 miles back to my place. It was great to have these 20 minutes together to discuss the final logistics of the day and just be alone. Weather was already shaping up nicely - bright and sunny just warming us up. We snuck back through the backyard and had some private time on the teeter totter. Yes, a teeter totter. An adult-sized one! Anyone could have looked out the back window would have seen the two of us soaring toward the sky alternately just laughing the whole time. But they didn't and we had another moment alone.

Notice the purple teeter totter in the background. What a fun way to start the madness of the day.
This is all that I can muster for now....but more updates on the big day to come.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Life Couldn't Be Better

It is one of those weeks. Today I pushed myself out the door to fit in my VO2 max workout at the track. I knew I probably wouldn't fit in the 8 miles but at least wanted to do the 5x600. I love track workouts. It was cool and nice out but I was running on less than 3 hours sleep and had eaten like crap all day...and ate right before I left. I felt good about going for it though. I ended up barfing at the track after 4 intervals and walked home clutching my stomach after only 2.83 miles. Feeling not so great and in bed now but happy that I'll get like 11 hours of sleep after this tylenol pm kicks in.
I lost my 2nd and 3rd toenails today and wondering how the F I'm going to get a pedi next week. I am getting married in a week. Exactly a week from today I'll be in the middle of my polenta at my rehearsal dinner in Hood River. I'll be surrounded by friends and family that have come from afar all for little old me and my honey. Right now I'm finishing up a bunch of awful details like ordering wine, picking up the ring, find an outfit for the rehearsal dinner, choosing our first dance song, finalizing details and timelines with all of our vendors, cleaning up the house for my family's arrival on Saturday. No wonder I couldn't sleep last night.

I haven't quite wrapped my head around the fact that I'M GETTING MARRIED and that I'M GOING TO BE MARRIED. I can't visualize everything about the ceremony and the feelings even though I've tried. I'm very happy about what is to come though and trying to ride that through a couple of tough days. Life right now couldn't be better. Thanks for letting me share.


Me multi tasking today - working, working out, erasing tan lines. Can anyone help me figure out how to get rid of these damn triangle lines on my chest? They're from like one day months ago and I've sat outside in this stupid strapless top for the past few weeks and they're still there!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

End of Week 7

Monday: Off day

Tuesday: Off day


10 miles VO2 max workout. This went well. I headed down to the track to start my 4 x 1200 repeats. I wanted to hit around 5:20 per rep, which is a 7:00 pace. I hit 5:04, 5:06, 5:13 and 5:02. I stuck to the program this time and felt pretty good. I finished off the miles around town to end with 9.76 miles @ an 8:22 pace overall.


Happy Birthday Half Marathon with Jen! It was her bday not mine and you can read all about this run here. From my perspective this was just an awesome day to run and to do it with a friend on their BDAY was just that much more fun. Plus, I have to pat myself on the back for the race numbers and timing chips. It was so funny to watch Jen open it and wonder what was going on. I now know that Jen is quite gullible and will use this to my advantage in the future. On another note, I pooped in the woods during our run. My first time! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEN!

Friday: Off day

I'd originally had 10 miles scheduled for this day and Thursday was originally off. Because of the 13.1 with Jen I took today off.

Saturday: Off day

I was supposed to do a 4 mile recovery run today but it would have been impossible to fit in. I went to Hood River to tend to many last minute wedding details, then another bday celebration with my fiancee! Honestly, I don't know if I could have done 4 miles anyway - it was HOT HOT out and I was extremely tired.


20 mile long run.

No way around it, this run sucked. I did my usual Marine Drive run that I've done twice before. I should have at least run it backwards to spice it up a bit. But I didn't. It started out hot but right away I could tell today wasn't going to be like last week or the week before where I just locked into a sub-8:00 pace and went for it. I tried to concede to this gracefully and managed to take my mind elsewhere for several miles.

Potential reasons for my failure on this run:

1. Weather - too hot
2. Nutrition/fuel - not enough
3. Beat up body
4. Lack of sleep the past few days
5. Mind elsewhere/not mentally focused
6. Jinxed myself
7. Low points happen in each training cycle and I'm just getting mine

The weather was only really hot at the beginning then cooled off a bit toward the middle of the run. I would guess it was in the 80s when I started, then cooled off about 10 degrees toward the end. Not much of an excuse, but I could feel it at first.

Nutrition. What was I thinking? I did not plan this out well at all. I ate an english muffin with jam at around 10:00 and nothing else (but coffee) before I left at 1:30. Wait - I did have a Gu right before I walked out the door. Right away I realized that I should have had something more, but there was nothing I could do about it at that point. I had Gu chomps with me that I took around miles 10 & 13, but I only had a few each time and didn't even finish the package. My stomach just wasn't feeling like eating and I knew it was a bad idea to not finish the stuff, but I couldn't make myself do it.

My body is pretty tired. Last week one of my toenails came completely off and I could feel it on this run. For the most part it doesn't hurt, but it just makes me feel like I'm breaking down a bit. Strangely, my back was sore toward the end of this run, my legs felt tired, just a general tiredness overall. I guess that is to be expected at this stage of training, but seriously what would I do with a training program over the 10 weeks that I'm doing now? I'm too old for this. My usual sore points in my hip and knee flared up earlier than normal, so I was finding myself need to change my gait every so often to alleviate this. I'm also riding the crimson wave high tide and think my body is just a little bit depleted of everything right now.

Sleep - I've been so fired up about wedding plans and house guests and other stuff I just haven't been sleeping well. I'll be dead tired going up to bed, then when I turn off the lights my mind won't stop. I need to get more.

Mental focus - I simply wasn't as focused during this run like I was for the others. I had a lot more negative thoughts during the run than I normally do, but managed to distract myself with wedding planning. It worked for a while, but when I went back to thinking about the run I was just annoyed. I knew it wasn't as fast as I've been and that sort of bummed me out.

Of course during my run with Jen I told her how pleased I'd been with my training thus far and totally jinxed it. Ok, so I don't really believe in this, but maybe I should start.

Or maybe this is just an expected low point that everyone encounters in their training cycle and I'm just hitting mine? Overall I should not be too pissed about this run, it was still a pretty decent pace and I finished it. I'm going to put all negative thoughts out of my brain and just move forward.

TOTAL = 20 miles @ 8:28 pace, avg HR 171 bpm


The next couple of weeks are going to be bananas. I don't know if I'm going to have time to post here, so you'll just have to trust that I'm doing my runs and tapering properly. My parents and sister are coming in to stay with us on Saturday thru Wednesday, then we head up to Hood River from Wednesday-Sunday for the wedding activities. I think Josh and I are going to do a "mini moon" in Eastern Oregon from Sunday-Wednesday, so I'm basically out of pocket for a while.

One of my wedding guests booked her tickets for the wrong weekend but when she found out said she couldn't change her plans, so she's going to come up the weekend before the wedding anyway. WTF? She told me this a few days ago and I've been ignoring the topic all together. I should offer for her to stay at my place this Friday night but I have soooo much to do. I wanted to see her, but at the actual wedding, NOT THE WEEKEND BEFORE. How does this happen? Also, some guests have not RSVPed yet or responded to repeated bugging by both of us. How rude, right? The damn event is less than two weeks away for god sakes.

I'm blown away by all of the last minute stuff we have to handle. I was an insomniac again last night thinking about everything. I finally got to sleep around 2:00 a.m. If this persists, I am not giong to survive the next few weeks. I am so excited for everything but also so sick of planning and making decisions. I am really looking forward to life in October when I'm married and have finished the marathon. I'm going to take it REALLY easy then. Lots of pampering, drinks, food and non-wedding stuff.

My next few weeks of training look like this:

Week 8:
M = off
T = 8 miles VO2 max
W = 5 easy
Th = off
Fri = 4 easy (however, Jen and I are going to run across the St. John's bridge to test out the only elevation point in the marathon course)
Sa = 8-10k race (will probably just do something else)
Su = 16 miles

Week 9:
M = off
T = 7 + strides
W = 8 w/3 VO2 max
Th = off
F = 5 easy (wedding day!)
Sa = off
Su = 12 miles

Week 10:
M = off
T = 6 easy
W = 7
Th = off
F = 5 easy + strides
Sa = 4 easy
Su = 26.2 - race day!

Sorry no pics this time - I swear I will have a load in the next month or so. For now, this is all I got.

Monday, September 07, 2009

End of Week 6

Wow - an entire week has passed and I haven't had the time to write. Let's see if I can address everything in an organized manner....

Training Recap

Monday - off day to recover from Sunday's 15. I did a great job today by doing nothing! I was starting to get stressed about not going into my pre-wedding freakout "I need to get buff arms/shoulders/back" phase yet. To address this I asked anyone if I could borrow some type of DVD that would get me motivated. The Gazelle came through! She brought over her Shred DVD for me to borrow for the next few weeks. We took a tour of the house and talked shop for a while. She also surprised me with a sweet housewarming gift - a garden reference book that is totally awesome. Thanks GOC!

Tuesday - 6 miles with strides. I didn't take along my Garmin, just as I love to do on my recovery runs. Ran this with my HTB and it was great!

Wednesday - This was my big 12 mile tempo run with 7 miles @ tempo. I did two miles warm up then went into the tempo. I started off too fast again (1st mile was 7:23) but then settled back into three consecutive 7:51 miles (what is that?). But my HR was really increasing and this was a LOT harder than my 12 miles at this pace on Sunday. After the 4th tempo mile I was seeing stars and decided to slow down. Next mile was 8:10 and then I was just done going fast. In total I did 9.63 miles instead of the 12. I finished up the last 2.63 miles at a really easy pace. I don't know what happened - it sucks that one day it is easy and then a few days later it is much much harder. At this point I was just hoping that my 20 miles on Sunday would go well. I think I've conceded that it is just fine if these mid-week runs aren't totally perfect. As long as my long runs go well, then that's what's really important. Of course, I'd love to hit every workout on the head but I'm not going to beat myself up about this.

Thursday - another off day. NAILED IT.

Friday - 12 miles. I took this at an easy pace around the hood. We had guests coming over for dinner so I ended up cutting this short a bit. I ended with 10.8 miles @ a 9:08 pace.

Saturday - this was supposed to be an easy 5 miles, but I figured I'd only do it if I really had time. The past few weeks I've missed this easy 5 mile run and it has worked out fine. Yes, probably not the best idea to blow off the recovery runs but it is also okay to want to keep my legs fresh. Who knows though, right? In any case I didn't run at all today. I ate well and did not drink (ok, one beer while watching football, but that does NOT count!) and got to bed early. PS - Go Blue!

Sunday - the big 20 miler. I was a little scared about this one and briefly toyed with pushing this to Monday. The weather here was really sketchy: rainy and windy and cold. At around 10:30 I ate my standard bread meal of an english muffin w/jam. I had some coffee, which fired me up. I decided at noon I would get the run done today and was out the door by 1:30. (Sidenote: I love the long run days where I can take my time preparing for the run - mentally and physcially. Lounge around the house, nibble, drink coffee, slowly wake up, etc. Is this going to bite me in the ass on race days where the gun actually goes off at 8 a.m. or earlier? I hope not. But honestly even if I wanted to change my habits I can't and I won't! I love it too much!)

Before I go on, I need to apologize for the deep dive I'm going to take in recanting this run. But it was a big one and I want to remember it all...

When I headed out it started raining again less than a quarter mile from home. No big deal. I saw a clock with the temp posted - 67* and rainy, perfect running weather, right? I think so. I'd decided to do Marine Drive, the site of my previously successful 17 mile run a few weeks before (8:15 avg pace). I like this route because it takes me across the I-5 bridge over to the Oregon side, then along a nice path by the Columbia River, before it heads across the treacherous I-205 bridge back into Washington. You exit the 205 bridge at about the half marathon mark and based off of where I finished the 17 miler the last time (about 3 miles from home) I figured I could make it a loop and end up at home with 20 miles done. The stretch after the bridge back to home isn't very exciting (residential), but it is familiar and I like that.

Back to the run.

I didn't have any strategy except to get started and see how I felt and adjust from there. Obviously I want to be successful on these long training runs, but if my body is only feeling 9:00 miles, then so be it. But yesterday my body was feeling more like 7:40ish miles and it felt great. I knew that this pace was probably too fast and would come back to haunt me toward the end of my run, but I didn't care. I decided to just lock in (like last wknd) and see where it took me. Honestly, I wanted to see how long I could sustain this until my body broke down. I know, not the typical strategy for a training run, but it felt good to me. And honestly, this pace felt EASY...I was not busting my guts to get this done. So I decided this would be a test run and might hurt toward the end but I was totally okay with that. Fun!

Miles 1-10 were superb....I really do love Marine Drive and going right by the airport and water. It was quite windy at times and rained off and on. I actually really loved running in the rainy parts. My pace for these miles was 7:48, :59, :46, :36, :50, :41, :47, :45, :43, :40.

After this is the turn onto the 205 bridge where for three miles you are on a sidewalk in the middle of 12 lanes of really fast traffic. It is kind of bananas. There is also an elevation gain that for me feels quite significant. The last mile is tough! Seriously, the last mile on this bridge feels never-ending and just when you think you've crested the bitch, it keeps going. I've done this twice now and just try to put my head down and grind it out.

It was at about this point where I could feel the faster miles taking their toll. Miles 11-13 were 7:52, 7:54 and 8:27. I glanced down at the half mary mark and the time was exactly 1:42:40, two seconds above my half marathon PR time. Whoa.

The last 7 miles I went significantly slower and was pretty okay with it. I had to remind myself a few times that this wasn't the actual race, race day I'd have more training and a full taper under my belt and would be feeling a lot better and putting it out there even more. This was a training run and I shouldn't kill myself. I went with what was comfortable, which turned out to be 8:04, 8:25, 8:12, 8:33, 8:21, 8:06 and 7:57.

Total run = 20 miles, 7:58 avg pace, 170 avg bpm

I finished about .75 from home and walked the rest of the way. I also want to note my nutrition on this run: right before the run I took a Chocolate Gu and a bunch of water. I didn't dive into my belt bottles until about mile 5 and ended up finishing just about all 6 bottles at the end. At mile 10 I ate an entire package of Gu Chomps blueberry/pom flavored with 180 calories. They taste good but were a bitch to chew and swallow all. I think in the future I'll wait until the half marathon mark to eat all of this.

I'm really pleased with the strategy I took on this run and the way it worked out. I definitely learned something about my body and how I run. I have another 20 miler next weekend which is perfect for me to execute more strategy! Now I know that if I'm having an on day on race day I can definitely achieve my goals, and that is a huge confidence boost.

I took a 10 minute ice bath after the run followed by a hot shower, stretching and trigger point. I basically laid on the couch the rest of the day catching up on my DVRed shows. It was awesome.

Another thing to note is that I didn't pull out my ipod until the last 5 miles. I've been really good about not using it on most of my runs but I'm glad I brought it with me yesterday because it did help pull me through.

Injury Report

Nothing major to speak of, but some expected areas of interest to note. My feet - of course my feet are well callused, but there have also been some fun blisters that have cropped up recently. I was really surprised to see a blood blister on the inside of my left big toe when I took off my shoes yesterday. What's that? I also have blisters on the heads of my 2nd and 3rd toes on both feet. Then my 2nd and 3rd toes on my right foot are blistered under the nail, which means they're black and probably going to fall off. One of these actually hurts more today, which is odd cause I thought they'd run their course.

I have gone to the sports masseuse twice now and plan to go a few more times before the race. It is really awesome, because this guy understands athletes and really grinds on me the way I like it. (Stop.) At the first appt he could tell that I have issues on my left leg - in my hip/butt, down the IT band to my knee. It is nothing major, just something he recommended I focus on with stretching. Showed me some good stuff that I swear I will start doing more often. These spots get more sore toward the end of my long or hard runs, but I don't even really recall this being too much of an issue on my 20 miler yesterday. Hmm, maybe it is working?

Another negative thing is my stomach issues. I didn't experience anything until after yesterday's run, but when it hits, it really sucks. Bad. I honestly don't think I have any massive issue that can be treated, so I don't see the point in going to the doctor about it. (Plus, I'm scared they'll do bad things to me. Stay outta there!) But honestly, I think this is something I'm going to have to tough out and hope it gets better.

Marathon Readiness

I'm feeling pretty good about the race and comfortable with my training right now. Like I mentioned some of my mid-week runs haven't been 100% but they're still pretty good and I feel like I'm getting out of it what I need. I really don't have time or energy right now to fuss about training or the race. I'm too busy freaking out about our house, upcoming family guests, and our wedding...

House Updates

The fucking painters aren't done. They've been actively working here for about a month now, I think. They were supposed to finish on Thursday but didn't. Then they were supposed to come back Friday to finish it off but didn't. They said they'd come back Saturday but I said no - I want my f'ing holiday weekend to myself and I'm sick of these jokers being around. So I think this week they'll be coming back and finally putting a nail in the coffin.

That said, the colors we chose look awesome. I'm really pleased and can't wait to finish everything off with blinds, drapes, rugs, furniture, etc. We have a long way to go, but have at least seen some options that we like and will be ordering away in no time.

Wedding Updates

I'm getting married in 2.5 weeks. Wow. I feel like we still have a lot of stuff to make decisions and take action on, but it is really fine. 2.5 weeks is a long time! My parents and sister come out the week before the wedding which will be nice, but we also want the place to look nice for them. I'm trying to take advantage of the holiday today by doing some crafty things for the big day. I am so excited and nervous for it all!

Ok, I think that will have to be it for now. Happy Labor Day!