HMBTS Training, Week 11

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I think we can officially say that this is the week the wheels fell off this training plan. At this point, we’ll just have to see how the race goes. I was originally going to try for a PR, but since a) I trained crappily and b) it’s supposed to be hot on race day, I’ve lowered my expectations and goals.

Monday

Rest | Rest

I took the Bairn to a Kindermusik class, and then we hit up one of his favorite playgrounds:

Anyone want to guess why this park is a favorite? 😉

Tuesday

5 mile run | 6.5 stroller run/walk

It was Election Day in my city (a primary), so I figured I’d work our traditional stroller walk to the polls into my workout. I popped the Bairn in the jogging stroller, we walked to the polls, then jogged to the pond and ran just over halfway, til we got to the bubblers. Then I took him on a detour to a rail trail for a quick out and back, then walked to a new playground, then home. There were a decent amount of walk breaks, and a long stop at the park, but all together we traveled just shy of 6.5 miles. Not too bad.

The Bairn rocking his “I voted” sticker and eating stroopwafel

Wednesday

Cross-training | Rest

Another Wednesday, another day of me not feeling like doing cross-training. Ho hum.

Thursday

Rest | Rest

Pretty run-of-the-mill rest day.

Friday

5 mile run | Rest

My FIL arrived for a visit Thursday night, and while I was working late, all the lads had a dinner out and the Bairn spent hours playing with his Baba. So he went to bed wicked late, meaning he slept in forever on Friday, meaning I had no time to squeak in a run before work. (I mean, I could have woken him up, but he was so cozy and needed the rest!) Which is too bad, because the weather was nice and cool and a run would have felt great!

Saturday

60 mins cross-training | Rest

At this point in the training plan, why even pretend that I’m going to cross-train?? I took the Bairn to his first soccer practice:

Most of the practice was spent doing this, or climbing the nearby bleachers. Toddlers gonna toddler.

Then met a Shammie friend for an afternoon beer, then went out for a nice anniversary dinner with Drew.

Sunday

10 mile run | 5k race

Sunday was the 5th race in the RAW Series, the Shoppers Cafe 5k. I arrived at the race a wee bit hungover from Shammie day drinking / wine at dinner / fancy post-dinner cocktail / a general refusal to drink water during all that, and it was in the upper-70s/lower-80s at race time, so I didn’t have high hopes.

I ran with some friends, and we ended up starting a bit higher up in the pack than we intended to (the start wasn’t very well organized), and one friend who usually runs a bit slower than I do took off like a bat out of hell and was cruising along between an 8:45 and 9 pace. I was just trying to keep her in my sights, then somehow ended up passing her when she started to lose a bit of steam. I lost steam as well – no surprise – but made it a strong 2 miles before stopping for water.

After that it was a woozy run-walk to the finish… until the very last bit. For the last half-mile or so, I was randomly on my own without other runners around me. Little did I know a dude was creeping up on me quietly, and when I rounded the final corner he tried to squeak past me on the inside. Nope!

I didn’t think I had anything left in me, but I wasn’t going to let some guy edge past me out of nowhere and beat me. (Who me? Competitive?) I turned the jets on and sprinted to the finish, with a finish time of 30:05… less than 30 seconds off my PR! I was not expecting that, not with the heat and my hangover. (I’d had vague plans of adding some miles onto this race to fit better with my training plan, but said heat and hangover – and how much I pushed myself in the race – made that not seem like a winning idea.)

So, even though I didn’t make it through my training plan for this half, I’m at least going into the race feeling somewhat confident in myself. I made it further in my training plan than I did for either of my other two halves, and I’ve been consistently surprising myself in races this year. I may not be doing as much intentional cross-training as I should, but honestly… I pick the Bairn up multiple times a day and sometimes even do squats (“Mummy pick up my car? No Mummy, keep holding me and pick up car!”) Stroller running’s got to be some kind of cross-training too. So maybe I’m not in as bad shape for this half as I think I am. We shall see in less than a week!

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HMBTS Training, Week 10

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This week got a bit complicated, as it saw the first of some scheduled 5k races lurk its way into my training plan without any thought for mileage or sticking with plans or my sanity or anything. So, yeah this week was a mess. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Monday

Rest | Rest

Monday was Labor Day, and we celebrated by having my folks over for a wee cookout.

Tuesday

5 mile run | Rest

A friend invited the Bairn and I out for a play date at a farm, which honestly sounded way more fun than running 5 miles with the stroller. I also knew I had Wednesday morning off, so I mentally switched days and figured chasing toddlers around a farm would count as cross-training (weak, I know).

Adorable.

Wednesday

Cross-training | 4.65 mile run

When I was first awake and getting the Bairn ready for school, I checked my weather app and I swear it said 81% humidity. So I was kind of dreading this run.

It might not have been quite 81% at run time, but I distinctly remember thinking “Huh, I feel like I’m running through soup.” It wasn’t entirely pleasant. However, the first 3 miles were surprisingly good, considering. I managed to run 3 without having to stop, my body felt okay, and I returned to my cocky “eh, it’s just 5 miles, easy peasy” mindset from last week.

Though I was able to make it through those 3 miles, by roughly 2.5 I was wishing I had chosen a route with access to water. True to form, I had not hydrated before the run and I was parched. Luckily I remembered I was relatively close to a playground I’ve brought the Bairn to before, and I vaguely remembered a bubbler there, so I changed course to find it.

The playground did have a bubbler – huzzah! – but the water was nastily warm and not refreshing at all. I had a bunch anyway, but the stop killed my momentum. The remaining 1.65 miles were rough, and I couldn’t bring myself to push for an even 5. I waved the white flag and stumbled inside to chug some Gatorade before getting ready for work.

Thursday

Rest | Rest

Typical rest day; nothing to report.

Friday

5 mile run | Rest

Here’s where the week began to get complicated. I was supposed to run 5, do some cross-training Saturday, and then run 9 on Sunday. I even had a route planned out that I was moderately excited about. Then I remembered I had a 5k Saturday. “Eh, not a problem,” I thought. “It’s a trail run, so I’ll take it super easy, maybe even walk it, count it as cross-training, then still run 9 on Sunday.” It seemed like a brilliant plan, so I turned Friday into a rest day…..

Saturday

60 mins cross-training | PBR 5K

… then the race actually happened. The Prospect Bandit Run (PBR 5k) is a race up Prospect Hill through the woods, and is notorious for being tough. I was wary of doing it two weeks out from my half (and 5 weeks out from one of my bucket list races!) but it’s part of the RAW Series, so I knew I had to complete it whether I walked or ran or whatever. I was planning to do it alone, so I figured I’d walk most of it and maybe run bits and pieces.

Then a coworker signed up to run with me, and she roped a third to join us. We all said we’d take it easy, as none of us were in hill- or trail-running shape, but when the race started we were off running.

Well… “running” is a relative term. The race started uphill, on a paved access road. A steep access road. Like, straight up. We were running, but my Garmin clocked us as going at a 17:00 pace. My quads gave up the ghost after about a minute, and I don’t remember much about that hill other than just being in pain and wanting to lay down to whimper. But my friends were still trying to run, so I pushed on.

Then we ran through the woods for a while:

And it wasn’t too bad. Then we started climbing again and it just kept going up. We stopped running and just tried to climb. There were some lovely observation points with a gorgeous view of Boston, but I just wanted the climb to be over so I barely even looked (though I wish I had!). I didn’t stop until we reached the tower at the very top:

And then we ran back down the woods, down some crazy stone steps much like ones we had traveled up:

It’s hard to tell in the picture how much of a slope there is, but it was pretty steep

We then ran back down the super steep paved access road to the finish line. I knew it was going to be a hard race, but it was hard. I kept saying “yep, that was a one-and-done for sure!” and I still feel that way two days later as my ankles are still screaming at me for making them roll all over roots and rocks and acorns. Definitely not the smartest race to do before a half, even if it was slightly fun to do with friends.

Sunday

9 mile run | Rest

At some point during the PBR, I told one of my coworkers – one who happens to be running the HMBTS with me – that I still planned on doing 6-9 miles Sunday, depending on how my legs felt. She laughed at me. Even Drew, who has hiked Prospect Hill in the past, said something after the race along the lines of “Yeah, you won’t be running tomorrow after running up Prospect Hill today.”

They were right. My legs were in agony on Sunday. They hadn’t so much as peeked at a technical trail in a few years, let alone try to run one, and those stabilizing muscles are pissed at me. Plus, holy hill Batman. I’ve been actively avoiding hills, or walking up them, because they aggravate my dodgy hip/IT band and I haven’t wanted to anger them too much before the half.

Whose idea was the PBR anyway? Dang RAW series.

Instead of running, I went to the zoo with Drew, my dad, and the Bairn:

Now I’m trying to figure out how the rest of my training will look. I’m supposed to run 10 this Sunday, but have a 5k that day. I figured I’d run that and then do 7 later, but my HMBTS-running colleague said something about tapering this weekend and now I’m totally second-guessing my training plan. Did I pick a plan with no taper week, or did I miscalculate?? Do I run long this weekend, my last weekend before the half, or do I taper, even though I didn’t run long this past weekend? Do I try to run long during the week somehow?

Help!

HMBTS Training, Week 9

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Happy September! Race month! Oh man it’s getting real now. I flipped the calendar page and “half marathon” is just staring up at me. Plus two other races, both 5ks, in the weekends leading up to the half. I’m starting to get nervous.

Monday

Rest | Rest

A glorious rest day. Still August, still blissfully unaware at how close September and race day were lurking.

Tuesday

5 mile run | 5 mile run

The Bairn had his first dentist appointment on Tuesday, and I can’t get my act together to get him out of the house for a run before 10 these days, so both things happening was out of the picture. Instead, I set off for a post-supper run around the pond. It had been a while since I’d done an evening run, and I was treated to a lovely sunset:

I managed to eke out this run in just under an hour, which I was mostly pleased with. I think my best 5 miler was around 52 minutes, so a 59-and-change didn’t feel so bad.

Wednesday

Cross-training | PT exercises and stretching

Oh hey! Look who finally got off her arse on a Wednesday and did some leg and core work!

Thursday

Rest | Rest

Glorious, glorious rest day.

Friday

5 mile run | 4.6 mile run

So, one thing I really noticed this week is how much of a mental exercise running is. Obviously it’s physical too, but bear with me. Just a few weeks ago, 5 miles was my long run. I was mentally preparing myself, breaking up the run into smaller bits, bringing fuel along, etc. On Tuesday, I think I actually said to Drew “oh, it’s just a quick 5 miles, I won’t be gone too long” and hopped out the door like it was no biggie. That made me marvel a little at how great actually training is… it’s helping me build a base and work up to actually long long runs.

And then Friday happened. The running gods decided they didn’t like how cocky I’d become, and 5 miles kicked my butt. I barely made it 4.6. It was hotter than I was prepared for, I hadn’t hydrated in forever (even less than I normally do) and I didn’t really eat anything beforehand. I set myself up to get my butt kicked, I guess. Plus, I either have terrible late-summer allergies all of a sudden, or I have a cold, because I was congested and my eyes were running like crazy for this whole run.

So, the whole mental part of running needs to be handled smarter, since “only 5 miles” is still a significant enough amount of miles that I can’t just pop outside and get it done without putting fuel and water in my body. Running is full of lessons!

Saturday

Rest or easy run | Rest

Drew and I took the Bairn to the Children’s Museum to meet up with some friends:

Even though this was supposed to be a rest day in anticipation of a Sunday race, I still took it as a rest day. I still didn’t feel 100% and chasing toddlers around the Children’s Museum is pretty exhausting.

Sunday

10k race | 8.15 mile run

I did NOT want to run on Sunday. Oh man. I hadn’t slept great for two nights in a row thanks to allergies/cold, and woke up super congested and miserable. After my Friday run had gone so bad, I didn’t want a repeat performance. But, I also don’t want this half to kick my butt, so I forced myself to get dressed and throw my pack on, and out I went.

I stopped by Shammies HQ, secretly hoping P or another runner or two might still need some miles and want some company, but when I got there everyone had finished and was just chatting. I really need to get myself out the door earlier if I want to run with people!

Running alone did give the freedom to pick my route, and I decided to check out some more of the newly finished greenway that’s nearby. Shammies HQ is near a spur of the Tri-Community Greenway (the spur is what some Shammies call the Bunny Trail), but I had never ventured onto the rest of the Greenway.

Most of the greenway seems to be on streets, which was a little disappointing; I’ve been spoiled with the Minuteman Bikeway, which is a trail unto itself! There are a few spots on the Greenway that aren’t well marked too, so I took a few wrong turns and had to double back to get back on the trail. There were some pretty sections though:

Can you spot the tiny waterfall?

I stuck to the Greenway for just about 5 miles, then reached a point where it felt safer to run back to HQ rather than risk going too far for the sake of more adventure. Part of me wanted to try for 9 miles, but once I hit 5.5 or so, my right knee started giving me grief, I was hotter than I wanted to be, and I was out of gel, so I opted for the safer, closer-to-HQ route.

The first half of this run was pretty nice. I felt okay, felt like my form was good and my pace was relatively decent. Then it all started to unravel. The Greenway dumped me onto a busy street with no shade, my body started to hurt, and I just wanted to stop running. I’m glad I made it a full 8 with a tiny bit of change, and the last 2 miles or so really weren’t bad, but it was a struggle for a while.

After being pleased with my time from last week’s 8-miler, this week’s was back to the disappointment zone. I can’t help calculating what 13.1 miles will be at the rate I’m going, and it’s disheartening to think that it will be slower than my PR. I feel like I’m actually training this time around, shouldn’t I be a little fitter and faster? Maybe in the race-day atmosphere things will be different. Maybe the weather will be a bit cooler. Maybe it will all be terrible, who knows?

Next week is up to 9 miles. Maybe I’ll try to go a little further on the Greenway, which according to maps looks like it’s more off the road a little past where I left it this week. Maybe I’ll actually get going in time to run with the Shammies! Tune in next week…

HMBTS Training, Week 8

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The weeks keep ticking by, and my training plan is finally starting to gently careen off the rails. If I look on the bright side, this is the best I’ve done/longest I’ve gone in terms of trying to stick to a training plan. It’s not great, but it’s better. So that’s something? Let’s see how the week went.

Monday

Rest | Rest

As they tend to be, this was a welcome rest day. My right leg had killed me all day Sunday after my 7-miler, AND I went and gave myself a huge bruise on the top of my left foot when I accidentally knocked the Bairn’s milk cup out of the fridge. So now both my feet are wonky. Huzzah!

Tuesday

4.5 mile run | 4.5 mile stroller run

On the bright side, we had a successful stroller run! If you follow my Instagram, you might have seen that I got ahold of some bug netting for the jogging stroller, after our last attempted Bikeway run was thwarted by nasty fly swarms. Best $4.50 I might have ever spent on amazon!

With the Bairn happily not getting attacked by bugs, I was able to run all the way to the bridge over the “fast highway,” where the Bairn loved seeing all the cars and trucks.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the run back from the bridge was SO much harder than the way out. I mean, it’s the Bikeway, it’s pretty flat. But running to the bridge felt surprisingly easy, and it was disheartening that I was trying so much harder and going so much slower on the way back. It wasn’t until I got home and checked Garmin Connect that I figured out why:

Yep. There was a hill. Barely perceptible while on it, but clearly there! Seeing that felt pretty validating.

Wednesday

Cross-training | Rest

I don’t know why, but my motivation to continue my PT exercise/stretching routine is totally gone. I just don’t feel like it. To be honest, I’m surprised I kept doing it for as long as I did. I seriously need to get better about cross-training.

Thursday

Rest | Arm workout

This wasn’t planned, but I ended up lifting a bunch of heavy things at work on Thursday, and holding some of them for quite a while, to the point of my arms shaking a bit. So I’m totally counting this as an arm day.

Friday

4.5 mile run | Rest

I got a haircut, so didn’t have time to sneak in a run between daycare drop-off and work. And then it was a long, crazy day at work and I just didn’t feel like running afterward. So I talked myself into resting my janky leg and toes.

Saturday

50 minute cross-training | Rest/work

I worked a full day Saturday, which felt like a workout. It wasn’t really, but could kind of be considered cross-training if you squint and tilt your head a bit.

Sunday

8 mile run | 8 mile run

Aha! One of two successful and on-purpose workouts this week. I tried out my shiny new hydration pack (a Nathan VaporAiress) even though the temps were cooler this week. Eventually I’ll write a review once I test it out a bit more, but I like it so far. It was nice to have water right there without having to hold it in my hands, the pack was comfortable and didn’t bounce at all, and it held some fuel and my phone. The mouthpiece was a bit awkward, and the sloshing noise made me feel like I had to pee for the first few miles. It also made my back so sweaty that I thought the pack had leaked. But tbh, I was less sweaty than I was on the really hot long run days when I didn’t have a pack, so I didn’t really care.

Okay, the run itself. I set out too late to run with the Shammies – so I thought. I ran by HQ just in case anyone was still hanging out after, and everyone was there chatting. Huzzah! Shammie P was looking to add 3 more miles on to what he had already run, so I changed my intended route to run with him. He took me down some new-to-me trails in the lagoon, and it was nice to run with someone! Apart from the Bairn, I’ve been running solo a lot this training plan, and it was nice to chat and have someone to distract me from my usual internal whinging.

After going about 5k with him, I waved the white flag and set off on my own. We were going about 10:30 without stopping, which is faster than I usually go for long runs, and I didn’t want to overdo it.

I definitely stop more when I’m alone, to walk up hills (hills bother my leg quite a bit right now) and/or stop for fuel and water. Today I tried out a Gu gel to see how that went. I’ve run with gel once, during my last half, and it was a huge jolt of energy. I wanted to see if I could get more out of having gel once or twice than out of stopping for chews every few miles. The energy definitely seemed to last longer. I may switch my fuel to gels… they’re easier too.

One thing I noticed with the hydration pack is that I seem to pay more attention to my posture and cadence. I felt like I was running “right” today, like the way my Gait Retraining Guru of Yore was trying to get me to run. You can even see from my Garmin stats… my cadence was in the green way more this run than in past long runs:

I was pretty pleased with my pace today too. Starting fast with P definitely helped my overall time, and I think the Gu gave me better energy to run more without stopping (or maybe I just had to stop less to consume gel than I would to eat a few chews?). My time wasn’t much off from last week, and it was 1 mile longer. I’ll take that as a win.

Next week’s plan calls for a 10k race, but I might do what I did last time it called for a race and just run long again. I have a few 5ks coming up that are going to make my long runs interesting, so I’d like to get one more “real” long run in before race day, which is coming up quickly!

HMBTS Training, Week 7

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Well, the pattern I spotted last week (decent week – wonky week, etc.) has broken. This was another wonky week, but I made do. I also got another bruised toenail, bringing the count up to 3. Maybe even following a novice training plan was still too much too soon for my long-suffering toes?

Monday

Rest | Rest

Maybe TMI, but the orthotics I’ve been wearing for several months gave me some gnarly calluses on my right foot… so gnarly, that I had to see a podiatrist Monday to have them removed. The relief when the one on my big toe was gone – ahhhh! It was lovely to be able to walk normally again. Surely this would only help my running??

Tuesday

4.5 mile run | 2 mile stroller run

I originally planned to take the Bairn out to the Bikeway for some stroller miles, but neither of us could get going in the morning, and my mom was coming to visit for the day. I decided for a quick loop down to and around the pond, but then we got chatting with neighbors and ran out of time. So we did a quick 2 miles around the neighborhood – better than nothing! – and then had a fun day with my mom.

Wednesday

Cross-training | Rest

I don’t really have any excuses for this extra rest day… I just didn’t feel like doing my usual cross-training routine, or anything else. It be like that sometimes.

Thursday

Rest | Rest

Typical Thursday, nothing to report.

Friday

4.5 mile run | 4.5 mile run

Huzzah, I finally did what I was supposed to do! After a wonky week, I was determined to get 4.5 miles in… even though I hadn’t hydrated or eaten very well before daycare drop-off. But, it was relatively cool and I figured I’d be fine. (Narrator: She was not.) It was way hotter than my weather app said, I swear, and it was a hard run. But I did it. And my toes hated me afterward.

Saturday

50 minute cross-training | PT exercises and stretching

My right leg hurt after my Friday run, something that’s been bothering me off and on all year (more on this in a bit). I was wondering if my having skipped my weekly informal PT session had something to do with it, so I did it Saturday. I also swept the house, which counts as an arm workout, right? Maybe?

Sunday

7 mile run | 7 mile run

It was upper 70s and uncomfortably humid when I set out for my run this morning, so I opted for loops of the pond so I could have regular water breaks. I figured those would be a good time to pop some chews too. To keep it interesting, and to change up the hills and such, I reversed direction after each bubbler break.

I realized as I ran that I have sort of settled into a love/hate relationship with the pond when it comes to running. I love that it’s a clear-cut 2-mile loop, that it’s a pleasant place to run, that it has a bubbler with cold water plus a bathroom if needed. However, as my long runs get longer, the pleasant view gets a bit old, and the many other people who are typically out enjoying the pond get a bit old too. Especially dog walkers who give their leashes a ton of slack and let their dogs jet out in any direction at random, and especially people who walk next to each other on the sidewalk (or 3+ abreast at the wider bits) and don’t make room even when they see someone coming. Bubbler excepted, I found myself missing the random, pedestrianless roads I’ve been running the last few weeks.

Other people and ennui aside, the run itself felt pretty good. I struggled at the start to rein in my pace, which was hovering just faster than 10:00 for longer than preferred. I managed to keep my running pace between 10:30 and 11:30 for nearly the whole time; my slow mile paces came from walk breaks and/or bubbler-and-chew breaks.

Despite the heat and humidity and the fact that I was taking quick walk breaks every mile after the first 2, I felt strong when I was running, and was pleased with my pace. When I hit 6.75 miles, I even had the (brief) thought that I felt I could run more than 7 miles. I didn’t want to! But I felt like I could, and that was pretty cool.

And yet… I was pretty disheartened when I saw my overall time – 7 miles in just shy of 1.5 hours. My half marathon PR is currently 2:37:58. A half marathon is a little less than twice what I ran today, and if you double my time, it’s nearly 3 hours. I felt faster and stronger running today than I did in my PR race, and yet my projected time is worse. It just doesn’t add up in my mind, and I’m still a little bummed. I feel like I should focus on how I felt during the run and not on my pace worries, but that’s what’s sticking.

Well, that and the pain in my right leg. It was diagnosed as hip bursitis back in April, and then it disappeared for a few months and I was fine until training for this half was underway. The pain first appeared when I started wearing orthotics, which was supposed to help everything, not send my hip wonky and give me gnarly calluses. Not cool. I don’t really want to go to PT, and I don’t want to rest it because this is the best a training plan has gone so far, dammit, and I don’t want to stop even if it’s stupid not to do so. So I’m icing and stretching and doing my old PT exercises and we’ll see, I suppose.

Will this hip pain drive me to the brink?Will Week 8 bring yet another bruised toenail? Will I finally figure out my hydration-without-pond-struggles situation? Tune in next week…

HMBTS Training, Week 5

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Ah, back on (somewhat) track this week. Apart from the effects of some tenacious bugs and a sick toddler, my training was mostly decent this week. Let’s dive right in:

Monday

Rest | Rest

My long run the day before left me with a low-grade migraine (or should I say, my lack of hydrating before, during, and after my long run left me with a low-grade migraine?) so I mostly took it easy. I took the Bairn to get a haircut, and we tried to escape the heat afterwards with a leisurely stroll around the mall. Otherwise it was a pretty restful rest day.

Tuesday

4 mile run | 2.5 mile stroller run

By day 3 of a headache that wasn’t going away no matter what I did or what meds I took, I was stir-crazy (Snip-Its and a half-hour trip to the mall don’t really cut it when you’re feeling ill and otherwise house-bound). I figured my head would hurt no matter what I did, so I might as well get my run in. I loaded up the Bairn and we returned to the Minuteman Bikeway for an intended 2 miles out, 2 miles back run in the relative shade.

It was hot and not entirely shady, but otherwise an okay feeling run… until we hit the bug swarms. Holy. Flies. Batman. They were determined to make our lives miserable. The Bairn was crying because they were in his face, and each time I’d stop to help/reassure him, they’d dive at me. Even if I was running relatively fast, they were still on a mission to invade my eyes. It was brutal. I called it around 1.3 miles in, not wanting to risk venturing to the 2-mile mark, and we turned around and ran back with arms flailing.

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Next time, I’m dousing us in bug spray first

Wednesday

Cross-training | PT exercises and stretching

In addition to my now-usual routine of leg/hip/core exercises, I also did a bit of an arm workout at work… I moved everything out of our vault, inventoried and photographed it, and moved it back. You can’t see it, but I’m flexing as I type this.

Thursday

Rest | Rest

Not much to say here.

Friday

4 mile run | 4 mile run

I sneaked out between daycare drop-off and work for a hot, hard 4 miles. I’m getting bored of my usual running routes, so I explored some side streets and sub-divisions. While a bit more interesting, it made me long for two loops of the pond so that I could have access to a bubbler and shade. I managed to keep my pace below 11:20 in spite of the heat and my intense thirst, so I’ll take that as one good thing, at least.

Saturday

40 min cross-training | rest

The Bairn woke up Saturday with a fever and a bad cough, so I spent most of the day cuddling him on the couch and watching the Cars movies on repeat. Drew spent the day tackling yard work that was weeks – and, in some cases, months – overdue, so I was happy to lie low with our poorly Bairn while he made our yard look less like one that belongs to a haunted house.

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I mean, look at the tree growing out of our overgrown hedges. Yikes.

Could I have done some cross training while the Bairn napped? I suppose… Did I? No…

Sunday

6 mile run | 6 mile run

So. Remember how I wrote up there under Friday that I’ve grown bored of my usual routes? Not remembering how desperately I wanted access to a bubbler two days prior, I mapped out a 6-mile route that prioritized running down new-to-me streets, rather than one with any proximity to water or even shops in which to buy water. Add to that a later-than-preferred start, since Drew slept in longer than expected, and a route with lots of unexpected hills and almost complete lack of shade, and you get one hot mess (me) barely dragging herself along for 6 miles.

The first mile was okay In fact, maybe too okay. I ran it faster than I wanted, but this whole run I struggled to keep my pace sustainable. I was hot and so, so thirsty, but my legs wanted to chug along faster than my brain wanted. So I ended up taking a ton of walk breaks. I don’t know what’s better… running more at a slower pace, or running a bit faster and taking more walk breaks? Pre-Bairn, my long runs while training for a half had me doing the former, and my paces were pretty similar to this run, which was the latter. Six of one, half dozen of the other, I suppose.

I was starting to flag by Mile 2. Mile 3 was a little ridiculous. I got lost, several times. Well, not totally lost-lost… I knew generally where I was, but managed to miss the streets I was meant to turn down, again and again, so I kept stopping to pull out my phone and check Google Maps. (This is what happens when I choose new routes, eh?) Miles 4 and 5 were miserable, but not the worst. When I hit mile 5.5, I pretty much gave up and walked home, except for the last tenth of a mile or so, when I had to run to cross a busy street.

If I don’t opt for bubbler-filled-but-boring routes, I think I need to start carrying water on these long runs, which will continue to only get longer for the next several weeks. To be honest, I don’t even know where my sub-optimal hand-held water bottle thingie is anymore. It leaked, the water warmed up super fast, and it didn’t hold nearly enough, but man, I missed it on Sunday.

Next week actually calls for a 5K race rather than a second week of 6 miles. I haven’t decided if I want to sign up for a random race, try to “race” 5K on my own, or just run a long, slow 6 again. I have a week to decide…

Would you follow the training plan and race, or do another long run?

Is one of those hydration backpacks worth it for these hot, summer long runs? Or is my inner gearhead just trying to get me to spend unnecessary money on new kit?

HMBTS Training, Week 4

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This week ended up being a bit wibbly, as shifting a long run from Sunday to Monday is apparently enough to send me skidding sideways, training-plan-wise. Let’s see how I picked up the pieces:

Monday

Rest | 4.5 mile run

As I mentioned last week, Sunday was hot as soccer balls and I was a giant grumpus, so when I saw that Monday was supposed to be cooler, I bumped my long run up a day.

Drew had been sick all weekend and wasn’t 100% by Monday, so he took a sick day. Thankfully he was well enough to be on Bairn Duty, so I was able to do this long run a) without the stroller or b) not on the treadmill at the gym. I picked a route that took me by two bubblers and a bathroom, and figured I’d be golden.

While the 80*F temp did indeed feel cooler than the 90+/over 100 with heat index of the weekend, it was still incredibly humid and sticky and gross. My weather app said it was only 56% humidity but I swear it was worse than that.

Look at those storm clouds just wanting to rain down on me! Sadly they did not.

I was supposed to do 5, but could only manage 4.5 before calling it quits. I made it down to the pond and part way around the lagoon (not even 2 miles total) before I wanted to crawl home and wave the white flag. I took a lot of walk breaks, and my running speed was sloooooow. But something is better than nothing, eh?

Tuesday

3.5 mile run | rest

My hip/leg hurt pretty bad after my long run, plus the training plan calls for a rest day after a long run, so I rested. It was nice.

Wednesday

Cross-training | 3.5 mile run

Drew was on bedtime duty so I snuck out for a sunset run to make up for Tuesday’s rest day. I was feeling good, so I figured for grins I’d try to see how far I could run before I had to stop.

Guys, I made it all 3.5 miles! I don’t think I’ve gone that far without a walk break in literal years. I didn’t even stop at intersections or anything – I just adjusted my route so I wouldn’t need to. It made me feel like a boss, and I felt so good afterward. Yay for a good run after a not-so-great one!

Thursday

Rest | rest

Back to my usual schedule, which meant no time for anything but resting. Which I excel at.

Friday

3.5 mile run | PT exercises and stretching

I opted to drink a leisurely coffee and read before work rather than try to squeeze a run in. Then bedtime was waaayyyy off after the Bairn needed an emergency bath post-daycare (seriously, did he work up a sweat and then roll in the dirt? … probably), and after dinner took super long for some reason. By the time all was said and done, it was dark out and I didn’t want to go to the gym. So I did my usual Wednesday evening PT routine and called it a night.

Saturday

40 min cross-training | rest

I got my hair cut and apparently that was enough to exhaust me for the rest of the day. So other than pushing the Bairn around the yard in his Little Tikes car, I had another rest day.

We also examined the wheels on his new present from Dappa (Grandpa)

Sunday

5 mile run | 5 mile run

Huzzah! A long run that was pretty decent! I met up with the Shammies at HQ, more for motivation than anything, and ran the first mile with J, who is recovering from knee surgery. We had a nice chat then split off on our own routes – she on the road to home, and me (I?) on the bunny trail.

I hadn’t hit the bunny trail in maybe 4 years. I remembered it being about a 5-mile route from HQ, and a nice change of scenery from just loops around the pond, which is what the other Shammies were doing.

The bunny trail and a hard-to-see stream on the right

I made it just shy of 3.5 miles without having to take a walk break (though I did take a quick bubbler break at the pond), and was feeling pretty good. My pace picked up in the middle mile (when I was on the bunny trail, by myself, in the woods and feeling like I wanted to be out on a street again), but otherwise was holding steady around 11:20.

The last half-mile was the worst. It was back on the road, after several long hills, and in full sun. It wasn’t quite 9am but already the temp was climbing, and I was done. I had an image of a frozen coffee from Dunkies in my mind, and it was the carrot I needed dangling ahead of me to finish up. And it tasted amazing.

Considering this was my longest distance so far on this plan, I’m quite pleased with the run as a whole. I felt good until around 4.4 miles, with long stretches of being able to run without wanting to take a walk break. 11:20 is a decent pace, as historically my long runs tend to be over 12:00/mile. I just need to keep it up and soon 5 miles will feel like cakemeat, right??

Will I be able to recalibrate my training plan next week? Will the heat that’s still lurking knock me off the rails? Time will tell…