Fort Hill Brewery 5K, 15 April 2018

What: 5K

Where: Easthampton, Massachusetts (course map)

Who: Just me, with moral support from Drew (and two Shammies running the half)

Benefited: Easthampton High School’s track and cross country programs

Time: 32:39

Splits:
-Mile 1: 10:13
-Mile 2: 10:47
-Mile 3: 10:33
-Mile 3.1: 01:17

Recap:

This was my first race post-Bairn! I originally signed up for the half marathon back in November, but after training went awry, I switched my registration to the 5K and am quite pleased with how it all played out. Especially because we got a fun weekend of travel out of the deal!

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Fort Hill Brewery*

Bib pickup happened the day before at a fitness studio in nearby Hadley, and was super easy and quick. I had signed up early enough to get a free shirt, which was a tech shirt with gender-specific sizing – always a plus! There was also bib pickup the morning of, but as we were out and about with the Bairn the day before anyway, it seemed prudent to get it done with.

The race itself was held at and around the Fort Hill Brewery in Easthampton, with parking onsite, on a nearby street, and at a community center next door. The brewery looked like an old farmhouse near Mount Tom (which you can see peeking out on the left of the above photo), and felt very picturesque.

We arrived just before the half marathon runners took off at 10am, and we took shelter in the brewery as we waited for the 10:30 start for the 5K. In addition to not feeling trained or physically ready at all for a half marathon, the fact that it was in the low 30s (with wind chill making it feel like the 20s) with freezing rain in the forecast made me even happier I had dropped to the shorter distance! It was awesome having the brewery to shelter in, especially since I had a Bairn in tow.

Maker:S,Date:2017-11-11,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Checking out the ambulance with the Bairn, pre-race

A little before 10:30 the runners were summoned down to the starting line. It was frikkin’ freezing, guys. I’ve run in colder temps, but it had been quite a while, and my body was not happy with me for making it hang out in, and warm up in, such conditions. I did some half-hearted warmup jogs and dynamic stretching, then stood shivering with the rest of the 95 runners as we waited for the start.

We got some directional instructions before the start, as well as a reminder to take deep breaths and be in the moment, then the starting gun went off and we were away running. I started near the back of the pack, and had intentions of taking it pretty easy, but I was so cold that I found myself running faster than planned just to try to warm up. Also, my recent training runs have all started out fast, so I think that’s just what my body was used to.

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Before the 5K start*

Maybe halfway through the first mile I checked Simon Mark II and saw I was chugging along at a 9:– something pace. I knew that wasn’t sustainable, but I was feeling okay, so I picked a runner near me who was wearing a sparkly skirt and decided to try to pace her. I managed to stay with her until the water stop just before Mile 2, when I took the opportunity to walk as I drank and she ran out of sight. While I was disappointed to see my pacer disappear into the horizon, I was pretty pleased that I had made it nearly 2 miles without needing a walk break.

The water stop was the last(ish) part of the race that was on roads – until then we had been running mostly residential roads near the brewery. After the water stop we turned onto the Manhan Rail Trail, which was beautifully paved (no potholes or rough patches like on the roads!) and which looked like it would be such a cool trail to have at one’s disposal. Not long after hitting the trail we passed behind an old, run-down mill building and I wanted to stop to take a picture… but I didn’t want to stop, as I had just started running again. So I wrestled with my ArmPocket to get my phone, and took a shot of the creepy-looking water tower attached to the mill:

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It didn’t come out great, but it was cool-looking in person, I promise

I had been leapfrogging the guy in the blue hoodie in that photo, and at the time of the picture I had pretty much given up hope that I’d catch him again. The arm at the very far left of the photo was a lady I ended up chatting briefly with (we commented on the not-so-pleasant smell of some kind of factory or stream we ran past) before awkwardly passing her when I got my second wind.

Since I hadn’t warmed up properly, my first mile in this race was pretty much a warmup… as in I couldn’t feel my legs because they were so cold, and they didn’t warm up until the first mile had ticked by. I struggled a bit for the second mile… likely because I wasn’t hydrated (I am me, after all)… but then after taking that walk/water break, I had a few minutes and then BOOM my second wind appeared. I’ve written before about races where I’ve felt like I turn into a machine at the end, and that happened again in this race. Once I passed that lady, I felt like I couldn’t stop or slow down if I wanted to.

I got to a point on the trail where I recognized the community center that’s next to the brewery, and I knew I was almost done. I had about a half-mile to go, but I ate that half-mile for breakfast. My jets turned on and while I didn’t sprint, I did pick up speed, and I felt strong. I even caught up to and passed Blue Hoodie, and left him in my dust. I picked off a few more people as the trail ended and we turned onto the road that leads to the brewery.

Maker:S,Date:2017-11-11,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Cresting the last hill

The very last bit of the race was a cruel uphill to the finish line, but I ate that hill for second breakfast. Maybe I was just so excited to be done, or maybe I had energy stores galore from the breakfast sandwich and tasty coffee I’d had before the race (ordinarily I don’t eat that much or drink coffee before races), but I tore up that hill, waved excitedly at Drew and the Bairn who were waiting for me near the finish, and crossed the line with a much faster time than I had expected.

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Done!*

As a bonus, a race volunteer placed a medal around my neck after I crossed the finish line (according to all the race info, only half finishers were going to get medals, so bonus bling was awesome!), I grabbed a banana, and wobbled off to find Drew and the Bairn. I was well chuffed with my race, especially the last third or so, and also very glad that I didn’t have 10 more miles to run! The 5K was the right choice for me this time for sure.

We hung out in the brewery for a bit so I could warm up and guzzle some water, then we opted to leave early and skip the post-race party. The brewery was going to be serving beer, a local pizza place was already handing out slices to the runners (I think I’ve written before that I have a hard time with “real” food right after a race, especially things like pizza), and a DJ was ready to spin some tracks, but bad planning on my part meant we had no Airbnb to return to and a long ride home with a tired Bairn, so we bolted. The party pics on Facebook make it look like it was a fun time though!

Even though it wasn’t the half marathon I had planned on running, I’m glad I dropped down to the shorter distance. My training runs had gotten up to 5 miles so I knew I could grind out 3.1, and knowing my family wasn’t killing a long time in the cold eased me of guilt. I ended up feeling strong and finishing faster than expected, so I’d say it was a pretty successful return to the world of road races!

And I’m already putting feelers out for my next race…

*Photos with asterisks by Donna Gulow*

 

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A Western Mass Weekend

Hello there! If you read my last post, or have been following along with my ill-fated half marathon training, you’ll know that I recently traveled out to western Mass for the Fort Hill Brewery half marathon/5k.

Western Mass is a place I haven’t spent much time in, considering I’ve lived my whole life in Massachusetts. I grew up in central Mass, and now live a bit outside Boston. Western Mass has always unfortunately been the driving equivalent of flyover country for me – it’s the two-lane bit of the Mass Pike that always feels endless on the way home from somewhere else. I’ve known there are cool things to do and see, but other than a childhood visit to the Yankee Candle Factory, I’ve never gone to see for myself.

Enter the Fort Hill Brewery race. In addition to being motivation to train (ha!!) it would allow me to check another town off my Massachusetts running map, and would give us an excuse to explore someplace new. I found a toddler-friendly airbnb close to the race, which was in Easthampton, and away we went.


Our neighborhood for the weekend was within walking distance of the center of town, and within gazing distance of Mount Tom (as seen above). We spent the first evening taking advantage of the 70-degree temps and exploring the shops and sights of the town center.

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Easthampton seemed to me to be a town that had seen some hard days when its mills closed, but that has done a lot to reinvent itself. It felt like a mix of blue-collar and artsy hipster, with a dash of college town vibe. Several microbreweries have sprung up, and at least one of the giant old mills has had new life breathed into it by new businesses and an indoor park. There are also some non-revitalized mills still around (see below), which I’ve always been fascinated by… maybe because I lived near many such mills when I was growing up.

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One thing that really struck me about western Mass was how nice everyone was… people smiled and said hello, and cars stopped to let us cross while the drivers smiled. Maybe it was because we were pushing a stroller, but I also saw people being nice to other people who weren’t pushing adorable bairns around. It was slightly unsettling, but not in a bad way! Maybe it’s a sign that I need to get out of Boston and its environs more often…


My favorite places we visited while in town:

  • Tandem Bagel Company – an old train station turned into a cool cafe serving a huge variety of bagels and yummy coffees. I loved their special maple latte! This place was hopping each morning we visited, and made me wish we had something similar in my city.
  • New City Brewery – tucked in the back of the old revitalized mill I mentioned earlier, specializing in alcoholic ginger beer but offering other brews as well. They have a nice outdoor patio with river views. I highly recommend the New City Mule!
  • Easthampton Diner – old school, no-frills place serving breakfast all day and big portions for reasonable prices. They make good waffles and grilled cheese!
  • Manhan Rail Trail – well kept paved bike/multi-use path that runs along the Manhan River. A good chunk of the Fort Hill Brewery race was along the path, and it was great! It looked like the path runs from Northampton to New Haven, which would make for an epic run.

We also spent an afternoon in nearby Florence, visiting Look Park. It cost $9 to drive in, but the park boasts lots of grassy space for Bairns to run around, trails to hike/ride bikes on, several playgrounds, a small zoo, a picnic area with grills, a cafe, a theater, and even a train you can ride around in. On a lovely spring day like we had on Saturday, it’s well worth the $9!

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Riding the train in Look Park

Have you been to Western Mass? What are your favorite things to do/see there?

An Apologetic Travel Post

Oh hello there. I’m guilty (once again) of neglecting my blog, and I apologize (once again) for the radio silence! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a recent collage of travel photos… I offer you more now as an apology and a distraction from my pathetic-of-late running life.

Not much exciting – or anything at all, actually – has been going on with me running-wise for nearly a month, and this past week was spent doing a lot of catch-up and a lot of sleeping after I spent the previous week in the UK for a conference and a bit of collateral sightseeing with Drew, who was able to tag along.

The conference was in Dundee, Scotland, a city I had never visited before. And while the conference was fantastic and engaging and gave me a lot to think about as well as a rekindled enthusiasm for my chosen career, I was disappointed that we had scheduled our trip in such a way that didn’t leave a lot of time for exploring the city. We did a bit of wandering in the mornings to find coffee and Greggs:

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And I nipped out at lunch one of the days to get pies from Clark’s, a Dundee bakery, after being scolded by fellow conference delegates for my puzzling Greggs love:

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We squeezed our two days in Dundee between one day each in Edinburgh and Glasgow, doing touristy things like gawking at Edinburgh Castle:

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And eating haggis with neeps and tatties:

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And enjoying the Duke of Wellington’s jaunty traffic cone hat:

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And checking out the sweet view from the top of the Glasgow Necropolis:

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We saw some nice views from the train as we trundled around Scotland, like this picturesque glimpse of Perth:

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After a too-short whirlwind of Scotland, we flew down to London for a few days. When I found out I was being sent to the conference in Dundee, Drew checked the schedule for the soccer/football team we support, and as luck would have it, they had a home match for the following weekend. As even more luck would have it, we somehow managed to get tickets to the match, so on Sunday we found ourselves at White Hart Lane in Tottenham:

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…where we watched our club beat Manchester United at home for the first time since 2001. That was pretty cool.

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We also took a day trip to Oxford, and visited my favorite library, the one that made me decide to become a librarian all those years ago:

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We did some touristy things, like poke our noses into the quads of some colleges and eat lunch in the Covered Market:

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We also did something a bit out of the ordinary – we visited C.S. Lewis’s house, The Kilns, and had tea in his study:

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A friend of mine is living there right now, and kindly had us over for tea, a little tour, and some Turkish Delight. It was a bit surreal, and very cool.

And so, a flight home and a few days of jet lag later and here I am. When I last left you, I had homework from my running clinic – breathing exercises and band walks – as well as an interval plan to get me running again. Have I done any of that? Of course not. (Raise your hand if you’re surprised!)

After my last post, I spent the days leading up to this trip running around like crazy to get things sorted at work and ready for travel, and I’ve been so tired on this flip side that I’ve been severely unmotivated, even more so than usual. And, after all the pies I ate, that is very unfortunate, as I could use some exercise right about now! (Thankfully we walked many, many miles during the trip, so my GetFit numbers didn’t plummet pathetically.)

Tomorrow, however, is a new day. It is also the day before the Boston Marathon. And so, in the spirit of the race and the atmosphere that settles onto the city on this weekend every year, I’m going to makes my glorious return to running then. I’m guessing it won’t be pretty, but it will happen. I’m sure I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

How have you been these last few weeks?

Ever been to Scotland?

Will you follow the Marathon at all on Monday?

GetFit Week 2

Guess what, readers? Week 2 of GetFit/Training Plan Extraordinaire was insanely successful. I nearly doubled the amount of GetFit minutes I needed (!?!), AND I actually followed my training plan to. the. letter. Seriously, who am I?!

Now that that silliness is out of the way, let’s take a look at how the week shook out, shall we?

GetFit goal: 165 minutes
Minutes exercised: 320 😮

Training plan:

Monday (scheduled): cross-train
Monday (actual): Pilates

One thing I love about the GetFit program is that there are so many classes and events on offer, most free and some for small fees. In the past I’ve taken running classes that met weekly, and they were fantastic. On Monday, I took a free 30-minute intro to Pilates class, which was taught by a woman who teaches Pilates here on campus throughout the year.

I knew little about Pilates before this class; I knew it was focused on the core and named after Joseph PIlates… that’s about it. In the class I learned a bit more about its background, as well as the dance-based interpretation this particular instructor teaches. Then we did some basic moves on yoga mats and, once again, I was a bit embarrassed when attention was called to the fact that my legs don’t stretch flat when they’re up in the air. I need to do something about this…

This? Yeah, I can't even get close. (Source)

This? Yeah, I can’t even get close. (Source)

Other than that, the class was decent – not too hard, but I definitely felt it in my core when I walked away. It was hard to get a lot out of a quick 30-minute class, but was a pretty good intro.

Tuesday (scheduled): cross-train/speedwork
Tuesday (actual): shoveling and lots of walking

Like last Friday, Monday brought another day of blizzard warnings and slippery commutes. It was still snowing well after I got home, and I really didn’t feel like shoveling in the dark, only to have to get up and shovel more in the morning, so I set my alarm for wicked early on Tuesday and did it all then. Who needs the gym when you have a driveway full of snow, eh?

It actually worked out well, because Drew and I got tickets to Tuesday night’s Bruins game (my first professional hockey game!), so I had to skip the night’s speed workout anyway.

These seats though.

These seats though.

After watching the Bruins get thrashed by the Kings 9-2 (ouch), we had to walk about 2 miles back to our car. That, on top of lots of walking back and forth across campus during the day for various meetings, meant I got quite a few steps in over the course of the day. So Tuesday wasn’t too useless, and I totally count shoveling as cross-training.

Wednesday (scheduled): run 25-30 minutes
Wednesday (actual): run 27 minutes

Another cold day with some snow and no sign of clear sidewalks, so it was back to the gym I went. I intended to run 25 minutes, but the ‘pod shuffled up a few songs that were perfect to run to (I’m looking at you, “Stockholm Syndrome“) and I just had to keep going. In fact, due to the music that came up, I may have increased the speed a little and turned it into an accidental progression run ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thursday (scheduled): cross-train
Thursday (actual): Stability and Core Clinic

The clinic was another free class offered through GetFit, and I was intrigued. Core stuff is wicked important for runners, right? And it’s something I tend to ignore. So I was all proud of myself, signing up for two core-focused classes for cross-training this week. Little did I know I’d soon be regretting that decision…

I showed up to the class on the early side, and was pleased to overhear the instructor tell another classmate that the class would not be intense. (Did I remember seeing “challenging” and “invigorating” in the class description? Of course not…) We were instructed to each grab a mat, a BOSU, a stability ball, and two dumbbells.

BOSU (source)

BOSU (source)

We did three different circuits using these things, and two sets of each circuit. Each circuit had 3-4 exercises in it, which we’d do for 45 seconds, then we’d have 15 seconds to rest/transition to the next exercise, and so on. It wasn’t too bad at first, when we were doing things like squats on the BOSU, but once we got into planks and push-ups and sit-ups…?! I can do, like, 5 push-ups and 0 sit-ups, let alone do them for 45 seconds at a time. I rode the struggle bus so hard during this class.

I don’t remember all the exercises, but there were squats, lunges, planks, push-ups, sit-ups, sit-up-twists, chest presses, bird-dogs, bridges, the bridges where you then put your heels on the stability ball and drag it toward your butt, a thing where you put your knees on the ball and dragged it toward your chest… yeah. I was pretty much driving the struggle bus.

The one cool thing, I guess, was that I was able to do my first sit-up during this class (the BOSU makes it a little easier to do it, because it gives you a bit of a bounce)… crunches I can do, but sit-ups? Oh hell no. So that was cool, but then I had to keep doing them for 45 seconds, then 45 more seconds of sit-ups with a twist at the end, and then all over again. Torture, I tell you.

And, it *still* hurts to laugh, cough, or sneeze, three days later. My core was NOT happy, and is still quite miffed at me. If I want to look for a silver lining, it’s that I now have proof that my core is wicked weak so I know it’s something I need to work on. Will I take another class with this instructor, though? That’s a big mug of nope. Not sure what “not intense” means to her, but me and my sore abs will be over here sipping on our piping hot nope, thanks.

Friday (scheduled): run 25-30 minutes
Friday (actual): run 30 minutes

Another trip to the gym for some quality treadmill time. I keyed up a playlist with some of the same songs that pumped me up on Wednesday (did you know “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel is a pretty awesome song to run to? I didn’t, but I do now!) and went to town. And, like Wednesday, the playlist I ended up with caused me to get pumped, up the speed, and do another accidental progression run. Not a bad thing, right?

Saturday (scheduled): rest
Saturday (actual): glorious rest!

Oh God, sweet rest. Being the day after the day after my core clinic, my body was hurting even more than it had been on Friday. My abs, my hamstrings, and my armpits (?) were all in agony, so I enjoyed reading on the couch for most of the day. I did manage a walk around the grocery store though, so I wasn’t a total lump.

Sunday (scheduled): run 3 miles
Sunday (actual): run 3 miles

So. It’s been cold on the east coast this weekend. I had originally been planning to run with the Sunday Morning Shammies (SMSs), and had even found someone else who wanted to do 3 miles. I was mentally preparing myself to bundle up like crazy, get my miles in as quickly as possible, and then head straight to Shammies HQ for breakfast. Then the weather reports kept warning of colder and colder temps due to nasty windchill, and more and more Shammies kept backing out. So I decided I’d hit the treadmill once again.

How my weather app greeted me this morning.

How my weather app greeted me this morning.

I don’t think it was the worst idea. Drew and I met the SMSs for breakfast at HQ anyway, and heard the tales of the few who were brave enough to face the outside. One Shammie said his face mask froze solid, so he had to pull it off to breathe, but then he could feel his face getting frostbit so he cut the run short. Yeah… I’m definitely glad I opted for the treadmill today!

It wasn’t my best run, by far, but it got done. First, two of the good treadmills were out of order and all the rest were taken, so I figured I’d warm up on an Expresso bike. Then, I got all competitive with myself and decided that racing my fastest ghost would be a good idea for a warm-up. (I realized it was, in fact, a bad idea when I stepped off the bike and my right leg gave out.) In an attempt to shake out my mess of a leg, I hopped one a bad treadmill to walk for a bit, which seemed to help a little.

When a good treadmill opened up I made a dash for it, hopped on, and started running. (Soundtrack = Night Ripper by Girl Talk.) About a tenth of a mile into the run, I knew I had to stop. For one thing, I had hydrated a bit too well and felt like I was going to pee myself. For another, my form was off thanks to my wonky right leg. Plus, the bro next to me was grunting and groaning so loud I could hear him through my music, and it was seriously harshing my zone. I pushed myself to finish a mile, then hopped off and ran for a pee.

Happily, a few other good treadmills had opened up while I was in the loo, so I picked the one farthest from Bro McGrunty, and ran 2 more miles. They felt pretty crap, and I spent way too much of them trying to maneuver my earphone cord so that I wouldn’t keep accidentally ripping it out of my ears. Once I got that settled, I was able to get into a few brief zones before something else distracted me, or hurt, or whatever. It was a struggle to finish, but I did, and I felt awesome afterwards.

Lovely recovery - stretching, The Stick, Nuun, and strawberry milk

Lovely recovery – stretching, The Stick, Nuun, and strawberry milk

Oh yeah… did I say something about tracking my steps during GetFit too? I totally forgot to post my steps last week, so here are both this week’s and last week’s (in too many images because I had technical difficulties during Week 1…)

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Week 1, part 1 (just Monday)

Week 1, part 2 (which included a dead Garmin battery)

Week 1, part 2 (which included a dead Garmin battery)

Week 2. I need to work on moving my lazy butt on the weekends!

Week 2. I need to work on moving my lazy butt on the weekends!

——

Next week looks like:

GetFit goal: 180 minutes

Mon: cross-train
Tue:
cross-train/speedwork
Wed:
run 30-35 minutes
Thu:
cross-train
Fri:
run 30-35 minutes
Sat:
rest
Sun:
run 4 miles

——

Any tips for getting my legs to go straight – hamstring stretches, maybe?

What do you think – does shoveling count as cross-training?

Do you have a favorite song (or songs) for helping make treadmill running less painful?

GetFit Week 1

Happy Monday! Last week was my first week of GetFit, as well as my first week of my ease-into-it half marathon training plan. I got off to a bit of a rocky start (anyone surprised?) but the week ended up being a success. Here’s how it went:

GetFit goal: 150 minutes
Minutes exercised:  245 (woo hoo!)

Training plan:

Monday (scheduled): cross-train
Monday (actual): er, rest day 😦

Well, I was off to a great start, wasn’t I?! I had big plans for myself… mostly hopping back on the Expresso Bike for some virtual cycling miles. Then it was like 60 degrees out (on February 1!!) and Drew said he’d grill some yummy food, but that it would require our skipping the gym. I’m not one to turn down Drew’s grilling skillz, so I decided I’d do my PT knee routine and some core exercises instead. Then I felt super sick on the bus during my commute home… I think it was a combination of overheating (whyyyyy must we blast the heat on the bus when it’s 60*??), motion sickness, an oncoming migraine that I [thought I] managed to nip in the bud, and a general lack of food consumed during the day. Whatever the cause, I was not feeling up to sitting upright, let alone work out. So I sat on the couch and watched Friends all evening. Womp womp.

Tuesday (scheduled): cross-train
Tuesday (actual): speed workout

Yet another glorious return to Shammie time! Drew and I, in lieu of working out the day before, hit the indoor track together intending to do the speedwork with the club, but in a taking-it-easy sort of way. The workout was: run at 10K pace for 4 minutes, then 90-second jog, 10K pace for 3 minutes, 90-second jog, 2 minutes, jog, 1 minute, recovery/break, then 3 minutes at “slightly faster than 10K pace”, 60-second jog, 2 minutes, jog, 1 minute, done. Plus a few sets of strides.

It’s harder to hit the right paces at the indoor track because Simon doesn’t work in there, so I ran by feel. No idea how fast I was going or how far I went, but it was a good, hard workout… the kind that kind of sucks while you’re doing it, but still feels awesome at the same time, if that makes sense. By the end of the 4-3-2-1, my legs were nearly dead and it took some coaxing to get them to do the next set of 3-2-1, but they did, and I was chuffed.

yogaA new(ish) Shammie led us in a yoga routine after the strides; usually Coach Steve leads us in stretching, so this was something different and cool. My body couldn’t do a few of the moves – I just don’t move like that! – but the rest felt great. I walked out of that gym feeling awesome and accomplished – a great feeling!

Wednesday (scheduled): run 20-25 minutes
Wednesday (actual): 20 minutes easy

I added the “easy” because my legs were D.E.A.D. dead after the previous night’s speedwork. I really didn’t want to run when I got home from work – in addition to my legs protesting, it was dark and spitting rain – but I had a plan to stick to, darn it, and I had already missed a day, so I pushed myself out the door.

I plotted a rough route in my head that I thought would take about 20 minutes, but even with having to wait at a few intersections, I had only hit 15 minutes by the time I had circled back around to my house. Ugh. By that time it was raining pretty hard too, and I was so tempted to just call it at 15 minutes and go inside. But I didn’t! I kept going, improvising another little loop that unfortunately ended with a massive hill, but I ran up that thing like I meant it. As I approached my house again Simon said 20:30 and that seemed like as good a time as any to stop, especially since I had also hit an even 1.75 miles.

Though I don’t love running in the dark, it did give me a chance to try out my new running vest, which was a birthday+Christmas present from Drew:

IMG_20160203_181344321Isn’t that a thing of beauty?! Now I just need to get either a headlamp or a flashlight to carry so that I can see where I’m going…

Thursday (scheduled): cross-train
Thursday (actual): arms and core

I made use of the little 2-pound weights I have and did a semi-improvised arm routine… basically whatever moves I could remember from the arm workout I had looked up several months ago but couldn’t be arsed to find again. Then I did some planks (regular and side) and push-ups. Despite lifting boxes a lot at work, my arms are weak and the workout didn’t last too long. That’s okay – it’s a good starting point!

Friday (scheduled): run 20-25 minutes
Friday (actual): rest

I unexpectedly had to work late and was feeling a little emo, so when I got home I just wanted to have a drink and watch Friends. So I did.

Saturday (scheduled): rest
Saturday (actual): run 25 minutes, plus 35 minutes shoveling

We got about 7″ of snow on Friday, and while I was at work Drew was shoveling his car out so he could pick me up at the bus stop. Drew also has a sprained wrist from playing hockey, so I virtually scolded him and told him to leave the rest for me. So after watching soccer Saturday morning, I got some quality shoveling time in before heading to the gym to do the workout I skipped Friday. I ran 25 minutes with 5 minutes of walking on either side as warmup/cool down.

Sunday (scheduled): run 2 miles
Sunday (actual): virtual 5K race

I’ll write a race recap soon, but I hit the gym again for some time on the dreadmill. I was regretting signing up for a 5K that hit on a place in my training plan where I was supposed to be running less – I didn’t want to overdo it – but I had already paid and gotten my swag in the mail. I figured I’d just run a very gentle 5K, but once I was running I came up with what I thought was a pretty good plan: I’d run 2 miles, like my plan called for, then take a walk/water break before finishing the 5K. It seemed to work pretty well.

2-mile mark. Note the David Bowie documentary playing on the treadmill TV - it was a perfect distraction!

2-mile mark. Note the David Bowie documentary playing on the treadmill TV – it was a perfect distraction!

5K mark

5K mark

More on that treadmill adventure in my upcoming race recap…

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Here’s what this week looks like:

GetFit goal: 165 minutes

Training plan:
Mon: cross-train
Tue: cross-train/speedwork
Wed: run 25-30 minutes
Thu: cross-train
Fri: run 25-30 minutes
Sat: rest
Sun: run 3 miles

How was your week?

You know what I mean when I say a run sucked but also felt awesome… right?

What’s your favorite arm and/or core workout?

Airplanes, Pastries, and a Dodgy Foot

Oh, hey there, strangers. Remember me? The last time I posted – nearly a month ago – I had fallen off the Couch to 5K wagon thanks to some crazy-pants blisters.

And then: radio silence.

Sorry for that. I was pretty much being a bad blogger and a bad runner. BUT, I have a good excuse. One of Drew’s best friends from high school invited us to his wedding… in Corsica.

At first we scoffed, thinking of the amount of money and vacation time needed for a trip like that. And then we thought, “when are we ever going to have a reason again to go to Corsica? We may never go, and here we have a reason.” Apart from my insane number of DNS races this year we’ve been pretty frugal, and what good is vacation time if you don’t use it, right? So we bit the bullet.

Not only was this fancy-pants wedding in Corsica, but it was also held at a convent that was built around 1260. It was like a dream:

  Since the cheapest flight to Europe we could find was to Amsterdam, we also took the opportunity to visit some family of mine in the Netherlands, and explore a totally new-to-me country, which was awesome:

Looking at the North Sea from a dike

Trying out some wooden shoes

Token windmill shot

Geeking out

Since getting to Corsica is kind of difficult and flights only go in and out on certain days, we found ourselves with a day-long layover in Toulouse:

IMG_4546 And after Corsica, we splurged on a whirlwind trip to two cities neither of us had ever been to before- Venice and Vienna:

Geeking out at yet another library

All in all, in 2 1/2 weeks, we:

  • took 9 flights (God bless EasyJet)
  • took 3 trains
  • took 1 regular bus and 1 water bus
  • hit 5 countries
  • tried our best to adapt to 6 languages (Dutch, Frisian, French, Italian, German, and English with many different accents)
  • ate ALL the pastries and drank ALL the coffee

Trying to be good and fully recovered from my blisters from hell, I brought running gear with every intention of getting back on the horse. Our first real chance to run came in Amsterdam, but we walked about a million miles while there and figured that probably covered our exercise.

And then I hurt my foot in Toulouse, our next stop. I have no idea what I did, but it started hurting as we walked, and only got worse while we were in Corsica. I’m sure all the walking I continued to do on it didn’t help, but what could I do? I thought trying to run on it would be pushing my luck, and so alas. The best made plans of mice and men….

Because this is the year of my running discontent when it comes to injuries, of course it still hurts. It hurts to flex my toes, hurts to walk too much, and hurts even to put a sock on. What the heck. I have a visit with my ol’ pal the orthopedist later this week and hopefully it’s not terrible news. I need to run again so I can burn off all my pastry weight!

IMG_5027How have you been these past few weeks?

Anyone else have a weakness for pastries?
I’m currently in love with the stroopwafel I brought back from Holland!

Ever had a sharp pain on the top of your foot while walking or running?
Mine is right in the center of my foot, but only hurts on the top.

Couch to 5K: Week 1

Hello there and happy Monday!

I’m happy to report to all my accountabilibuddies out there that, after promising that I’d start Couch to 5K as a way to ease me and my dodgy knee back into regular running, I successfully completed Week 1! So far, so good… and also – so far, so hot. Let’s see what Week 1 looked like:

Week 1, Day 1

My buddy Julie, who’s also coming back from a knee injury, met me in the city after work for our first run. We waited out a ridiculous downpour or two, and then set off onto the incredibly humid river path.

Threatening clouds over the city

Threatening sky over the city

It was a little tricky, as we were dodging not only puddles but also cyclists, other runners, and an incredibly slippery bit of ground between the sidewalk and the river that no one but Julie or I seemed willing to tread upon. We were super careful with our steps, but otherwise pretty much flew our jogging bits, then struggled to breathe during the walk breaks. It was tough to breathe, we were sweaty messes, but we kicked buns AND our knees didn’t hurt!

Victorious "we run this city" photo

Victorious “we run this city” photo

c25k_wk1_day1Week 1, Day 2

Drew and I skipped track with the Shammies last week in order to attend my work softball team’s final game of the season, followed by delicious burgers at Charlie’s. Totally worth missing the workout! The next day we headed to the track for our own workout – Drew focused on speed work and I tackled Day 2 of C25K.

So excited to run that I couldn't help taking all the blurry photos!

So excited to run that I couldn’t help taking all the blurry and unflattering photos!

Even though we were running around 8pm, it was still ridiculous hot and humid. Temps had been in the 90s that day, and while we were at the track, it still felt like 90 (~32 C) with the humidity:

photo(1)I don’t know if I was cocky after having such a great Day 1 of C25K, or if I was being subconsciously motivated by Drew and his speed work, or what… but I may have gone a little too fast during this workout. At one point, I was cruising along happily when my knee started twinging. I glanced at Simon and noticed I was going at an 8:30 pace, which is pretty speedy for me! I tried to rein it in, but my legs were being stubborn and I definitely took this run too fast. My legs wanted to fly, apparently! It made for one sore knee, and one exhausted me… but a good exhausted. And the sunset was pretty:

photo(14)c25k_wk1_day2Week 1, Day 3

Julie and I met over the weekend, on yet another oppressively hot and humid day, for Day 3. We walked to the pond (~1.5 miles) to warm up because, frankly, the 5 minute warmup for C25K hasn’t been cutting it for us. After our walk we did some dynamic stretching, and then fired up the app.

We were more conscious about running slowly this time, instead of going almost all out like we had Day 1, and like I had Day 2. This made it slightly less painful, except I had my phone stashed in my handheld water bottle pouch and, even with the volume all the way up, I kept missing the cues of when to walk and when to run. So we may have run more than we were supposed to… that’s okay, right?

I’m a bad blogger and neglected to take pictures (like the one I wanted of our matching knee braces), but really… how many pictures of my gross, red face do you need to see in one post?

c25k_wk1_day3Week 1 in review

Pro: It felt really good to be back in some kind of regimented running program. As much as I’ve mocked my attempts at following training plans in the past, I’ve found that I do like having the structure there. It’s nice to have a guide, and a purpose. And Couch to 5K is a nice, gentle way to get back into that sort of thing.

Pro: It’s awesome having a running buddy again! I didn’t realize just how much I was missing Colin’s motivating presence until Julie and I set off together Day 1. Having set plans of meeting up to run is good motivation for me, and it’s awesome having someone to exchange encouragement with when it’s disgustingly gross out and the running is a struggle. (Drew has been an occasional running buddy too, but he’s been doing his own thing lately as I’ve been recovering from knee dodginess. So it’s not quite the same.)

Con: As awesome as C25K is, and as handy as the app is, I need an extra kick in the butt to warm up and cool down properly. A 5-minute brisk walk as a warmup is better than nothing – same with the 5-minute cool-down walk – but my tight muscles and I need to get our stretch on. It’s so easy just turning the app on and going, but I’ve found I definitely need to work my own warmup/cool-down into the routine. And you know how good I am at remembering to stretch…. if only I knew how to hack apps to force myself to do it! Ah well, it’ll become a habit eventually, right?

Con: This can’t be helped, but UGH the weather lately. It feels like running through soup at times. It’s definitely making me look forward to the cooler weather of fall…

Onward to Week 2!

How’s the weather where you are? Is it miserable running weather like it is here?

How’s your training going?