HMBTS Training, Week 11


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.


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? 😉


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


Cross-training | Rest

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


Rest | Rest

Pretty run-of-the-mill rest day.


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!


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.


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!


HMBTS Training, Week 10


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?


Rest | Rest

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


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).



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.


Rest | Rest

Typical rest day; nothing to report.


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…..


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.


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?


HMBTS Training, Week 9


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.


Rest | Rest

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


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.


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!


Rest | Rest

Glorious, glorious rest day.


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!


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.


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


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

RAW Series: The Halfway Point

(…well, maybe a little past the halfway point by now, but let’s go with it, shall we?)

I’m a bit of a sucker for a good race series, especially if there is special swag involved. Back when I was still pretty new to running, I did (most) of the Let’s Run, Have Some Fun, and Be Fit series in Cambridge, which looks way cooler this year than when I ran it! I ended up not completing the series, but still got the series swag (a jacket!) because a friend ended up getting one that was too small. Score!

Then, I actually completed the Tour de Worcester in my home city, which was more fun than the Cambridge one. The Let’s Run series was 5 races of the same course… so it was cool to see how I improved over time, but the course got a bit boring. The Tour de Worcester was 3 different races in different parts of the city, which I liked. The swag was a nice beanie, which I still wear on cold runs.

Well, it’s been 5 years, but I’m in the midst of my third series, the RAW Series:

This one is a 6-race series, and like the Tour, it’s 6 different races in different parts of the city. A woman in my run club did it a year or two ago and got a sweet jacket as swag, so I was intrigued! Plus, Waltham is a cool city with lots of history (*history nerd klaxon*) so I signed up quick.

The first three races were back in April and May, and the next one is in September. I appreciate the summer hiatus, especially since it’s been so hot! Here is a quick recap of the first three:

JB Blastoff 5K, April 7, 29:38

AKA the 5k when I finally broke 30:00!!

Just thinking of this race makes me wistful for running weather that’s cloudy and in the 50s!! The JB was a mostly flat race through residential neighborhoods, and to be honest, I don’t remember much about it at this point. I should have written the recap way earlier, but… alas. My post about breaking 30 will have to do. I do remember that I started further up the pack than usual, since the first stretch was on a busy road not blocked to traffic, so the course was very narrow and I didn’t want to get stuck. I remember it being a decent race, with access to real bathrooms at a restaurant pre-race and what sounded like a cool after-party that I did not attend.

Moody St 5K, May 5, 31:51

I ran this race with some friends, who all happen to be librarians! We may have nerded out and gotten some matching t-shirts to wear that said “librarians know how to book it” 🤓

This was a fun race. There were sponsor booths with giveaways and treats, and a big Zumba warmup in the street before the starting gun. Moody St is one of the main thoroughfares in Waltham, so only part of it was closed to traffic (the rest was down to one lane). The course cut through some residential streets until hitting a path along the Charles River. That path went behind the looming Waltham Watch factory, which pleased my inner history nerd.

I would have come very close to breaking 30:00 again in this race if the running buddy I was with hadn’t had a losing-her-breakfast situation around the Mile 2 mark. I stopped nearby (afraid that if I got too close, I, too, would lose my breakfast) to make sure she was okay, until another of our pack of librarian friends came by and told my slightly green self to run away. Even with that diversion, I made great time and was pleased! Again there was an after-party, and again we didn’t attend.

St. Jude School 5K, May 18, 33:45

Attempted selfie with a toddler…

Unlike the first two races, Drew wasn’t around to Bairn-wrangle, so I popped the wee lad in the jogging stroller and took him with me. It was a warmer day than the previous RAW races, but still not too bad. The course was mostly on leafy residential streets, and took us by a farm and under a train bridge, both of which the Bairn loved.

This was also a very family-friendly race, as it was benefitting a K-8 school; lots of kids running and parents with strollers. This made for a fun after-party too, complete with a playground and free giant Italian ices! The Bairn had never had Italian ice before this, and he was an instant convert. There was also a misting tent, which was appreciated:

Thoughts So Far

The RAW Series has been great! I enjoyed the first three races, and was pleased with my times in each. We’ll see how the next ones go, since they’re coming up and it’s still hot and gross. Plus, the next one is basically up a mountain, so… yeah. I have a feeling I won’t do as well in the second half!

This series is different from the others I did in that there’s a scoring system, based on how you perform at each race. The top male and female runners get special prizes (I think) or at least bragging rights.

I’m looking forward to the second half, even if I don’t think my times will compare to the first half. Two of the races are trail races (or maybe one trail and one hybrid?) which will be different, and hopefully a cool change from the baking asphalt.

I’m also dying to find out what this year’s swag will be! #priorities

Hopefully my write-up of the second half won’t be as delayed as this one…

Have you run any race series? Do you prefer them to feature the same course over and over, or to change it up?

HMBTS Training, Week 6


I seem to have established a pattern of decent week – wonky week – decent week – wonky week. This was another wonky week, but I managed to get a few runs in regardless, AND brought my mileage total for the year up over 100! I don’t think I’ve ever hit 100 this early in the year before (or ever…?) It’s not Pace Bunny miles, but it’s great for me, and I’m chuffed. This week also saw my second bruised toenail, but let’s focus on the good, shall we? 100 miles!


Rest | Rest

I took the Bairn to the park and sat in the shade while he made a new friend and then parked next to me to play with some trucks. Other than that and the grocery store, it was a very low-key day.



4 mile run | Rest

The sickness that took the Bairn down over the weekend hit me, and Tuesday was a little rough. I was in no shape for running, but still had the idea planted in my head that we’d try another stroller run at the Bikeway. Instead, Drew worked from home and I slept until noon. I haven’t slept that late in who knows how long. Luckily that epic sleep seemed to vault me over the big and I felt mostly normal by Wednesday.


Cross-training | PT exercises and stretching

Nice, gentle routine to ease me back into exercise this week.


Rest | 4 mile run

Drew’s company had a family field day on Thursday, so we both took the day off, kept the Bairn home from daycare, and spent the day frolicking in a field. But first, taking advantage of a schedule change, I got a run in. It was hot, the run didn’t feel great, but I got the miles in and felt better afterward.

The Bairn got in a good workout on the bounce-house-obstacle-course thingies too


4 mile run | Rest

I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning and after-work plans with a friend, so I happily swapped Thursday’s prescribed rest to Friday.


Rest | Rest

The training plan called for a rest day because Sunday was supposed to be a race day… but I kept it in there even though I knew I wasn’t going to race. My second toenail bruise of this training reared its dark, ugly head on Thursday after my 4-miler, and I’ve been nursing some gnarly blisters after last week’s long run, so I granted myself a reprieve before my next long one.


5k race | 6 mile run

I was wrestling with whether to race or run long in my post last week, and I ended up going with a second 6-miler. I’ve raced before, so I wasn’t sure a random 5k would bring much benefit to me at this point… whereas after a sub-par 6 miles last week, I mentally needed another long run. Plus, heading out for a long run is so much simpler and less time-consuming than getting all psyched up for a traveling to a race – not to mention cheaper!

This time, I made sure to work the pond and it’s glorious bubbler into my route, along with a few places to buy water if needed in the second half of the run. I think that helped, and it definitely didn’t hurt that it was 10+ degrees cooler and less humid this week!

I managed to run more consistently than last week, though my breaks were a bit longer because I kept stopping to either take pictures or wrestle my water bottle open. It’s the first long run (not a race) I can remember keeping my pace below 12:00 for, so I was pleased with that.

I was also pleased with the views I got by the pond!

Mile 5 was a bit rough… I had stopped to buy a bottle of water after the quick bubbler stop at the half-way point proved to be not enough. Like I said above, I stopped a few times to wrestle it open (condensation on bottle + slippery sweaty sunscreen hands = fail) and guzzle, and then also there were a few awkward traffic situations and stopping at intersections. Given how much I flagged in that mile, I’m chuffed that I rallied for mile 6. Chews and cooler weather ftw!

In that long 5th mile, as I struggled with the bottle cap and remembered how much I don’t enjoy carrying a water bottle while running, I had some time to think about future hydration tactics. I definitely could use something, whether that’s a pack or a belt, if I’m not going to limit my long runs to loops of the pond or loops by my house. Now I just need to figure out which I want… and if I can find anything that’s not exorbitantly expensive!

Will next week be a decent week, following this one’s wonkiness? Will these blisters ever heal? Tune in next week…

HMBTS Training, Week 5


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:


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.


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.


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


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.


Rest | Rest

Not much to say here.


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.


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.


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…


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?