Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Marathon Year

As I enter week 52 of my training journal, I am beginning to reflect on the past year.
     The first week of my training journal included five different runs. It also included the very first Jeff Galloway marathon training for the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer at the 26.2 with Donna headquarters. I had decided about two months prior that I was going to train for a marathon and that the marathon that I would train for would be Donna Deegan's 26.2 with Donna National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. For me there was no greater cause! The fact that it was local meant a lot as well even though I do love to travel to my races!! I had decided to train for a marathon and I hadn't even run a half marathon yet! But I did have three on my schedule for the fall. Talk about thinking positive and expecting the best.
     The second week of marathon training brought on my first official Magic Mile which also happened to be on my dad's birthday! (My dad is an avid runner and was quite the racer in his younger days. I'm trying to get him back there again!!) My very first Magic Mile was an 8:16. When I got home, I proceeded to map out all of my times. How I should be training and what my race pace should be from 5K all the way to the marathon. The numbers were quite daunting!

     As I continued to look through my training journal, I noticed weeks where there was trouble getting a run or even a workout in! For example, the first week of pre-planning at school - getting back into that schedule, a brand-new classroom and setting things up - then the first week of school with the kids. Then the second week of school with the kids... What a mess! I missed a lot of time in training!! I won't do that this year.
     By week seven of my training journal, I was able to bring my Magic Mile time down a little bit to 8:09. This may not sound like much, but for me it was pretty big especially since I didn't even want to do that Magic Mile! I knew my training had been off. I think I whined the whole time I was warming up!  As the weeks ticked off, I quickly got closer to my very first half marathon - which had to be at the happiest place on Earth! Disney, of course!! My first half marathon was scheduled for October 1st,  Disney's Second Annual Wine and Dine Half Marathon! It takes place at night, which made for some interesting training and preparing since I wasn't really sure how to do a night run! I was so thankful to Eat, Sleep, Run Disney for her blog post about the Wine and Dine Half Marathon from the previous year. It gave me a lot of help as to what to expect! I sincerely hope my post from this year's Wine and Dine will help someone else who's considering doing it this year or may already be registered and they're not sure what to expect.
      During week fourteen of my training journal I hit 17 miles! 17 miles in ONE RUN! That's amazing! I can't believe I came so far so fast. At week fifteen, I was participating in the Savannah Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon and then at week seventeen I did the St. Pete Women's Half Marathon. The Friday after Thanksgiving and after my third half marathon, I ran a solo 20 mile training run. I used the run-walk-run method and my dad went with me by bike. I completed it. I did great. My pace was a little faster than I probably would've been had I been with my training group! Instead of being with them for the 20 mile run in Jacksonville, I was running the Women's Half Marathon in St. Pete!
     When I got home from Tampa after Thanksgiving, things started to change in my training dramatically. Somewhere around that 20 mile run, my foot had started hurting and therefore training declined as I tried to protect my foot and hope that it healed quickly. I hate seeing the big zeros across many of the days of my training journal where I did nothing - no weights, no Pilates, no yoga, no running, nothing!!

I really don't want to see this in this year's training journal!!!
     I went to the doctor and had MRIs taken and everything came back clean. So by December 17th I was running at the Baldwin Rail Trail with my group completing 23 miles!! I walked the last three because of my lack of training but I got it done! I never really recovered my full routine of cross training. Throughout the weeks, I became lazy and complacent with my training. Apparently, I thought just running would be enough. I was wrong. By the time the day for the marathon came, I was trained as far as running goes - I had completed a 26 mile training run - I was ready! But my body was not as strong as it could've been had I continued with my cross training. I finished the marathon but not the way I wanted to. I was 30 minutes slower than I had hoped and actually ended up walking a large part of the last few miles. You can read all about it in my marathon post from last February.
     Again there was a severe decline in training post-marathon. They say that there is a post-marathon depression/funk that some people slip into - I think I was there! I continued to run occasionally, maybe once a week, but there were weeks where there wasn't any running and there was certainly no cross training. By May, my running was becoming more regular. I was attempting my cross training routine again but then my shoulder started feeling really sore! I went to the doctor and she sent me to physical therapy!
     The Runner's World running streak that started on Memorial Day really got me back into where I needed to be with everything! I started running almost every day at least a mile. I stayed really consistent through June! As I worked on the physical therapy, I got stronger and was able to return to my cross training routine fully.  
     I'm back!! It's week 51 in my training journal, the end of my training year, and I'm back as a runner, as a Yogi, back to my weights & Pilates. I reached 700 total miles for the year last Friday! I'm ready for my new training year. I'm ready for this last week in my 2011-2012 training journal! On Monday, I will be attending the Disney Run Fest 2012, which a few of us Twitter folks have created all by ourselves! It's our own little random, last minute, why the heck not, let's do it, runDisney event!! What a way to end my training year!

And next Saturday, appropriately enough, will be my Magic Mile test for my (hopefully) group leader position with the Jacksonville Galloway training group for the 26.2 with Donna National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. That's how much I love them and love this cause! I want to be a part of it again and I want to help other people get to where they need to be on marathon day.
     Here's to looking forward to a brand-new year! A brand-new, wonderful year. Things will be different this year. Things will be better. I'll make sure of that. That's the great thing about having a training journal - being able to look back and reflect.

Do you keep a training journal? You should!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm a Princess!!!

     Okay, so maybe not yet. Maybe I have to wait until I actually run the Disney Princess Half Marathon before I can claim I'm a real princess. But either way I am registered for my very first Disney Princess Half on February 24, 2013. And I can't wait!!! Today was the first day of registration. My biggest anxiety prior to noon (or the ever present 12 o'clock in princess world) was what princess I was going to pick! I wasn't sure what the choices would be. I figured there'd be Cinderella, Ariel, and Belle and that's it. You know, the top three. I was in for a surprise and more anxiety over who to choose once I finally got to the registration site!
     So 12 o'clock noon I try to get on my computer to register AND my computer doesn't want to work right! It's a laptop with Windows Vista. I can't stand the thing! I've rebuilt the hard drive twice and it's only a few years old! One day, in my dreamworld, I'll have a Mac computer.  But I digress... So I restarted the computer and by 12:10 I was finally getting to the runDisney site. I got halfway through registration and saw the list of princesses! It was ALL of them!!! Now what was I gonna do?!? My plan was that I was going to dress up like Merida because I look the most like her. It's an easy costume for me to pull off with my big, curly hair. But I haven't seen the movie Brave yet so I'm not so sure if I'm totally in love with her like I am with the character Rapunzel from Tangled. I absolutely adore her and her fabulous personality; her sense of adventure, along with the trepidation that can occasionally come to us adventurers! I would love to be Rapunzel but I don't have blonde straight hair and coloring my hair blonde would be a crazy idea that would probably not go over very well!! I would not look good as a blonde! I certainly have plenty of pink to pull off the outfit though. So the problem: I have the hair to be Merida and the pink to be Rapunzel? Who do I choose? I chose Rapunzel. For her spirit. And the color pink! But I might end up dressing like Merida because it'll just be easier. I do need a sparkly teal outfit though! And a sheath of arrows and a wrist thingy and...
     By the time I finally made that choice, my computer froze! Really?!? I was so worried that with this being the fifth year anniversary it would sell out fast. Eventually, after about 10 more minutes, it unfroze. I was finally able to complete my registration for the Disney Princess Half Marathon!! I also decided to go ahead and register for the Princess Race Retreat before and after the race. I mean, if I'm going to be a princess, I want to be treated like one the whole time I'm there! I hope it's worth it! Now if only I could get a room in the castle...
     I'm super excited about this race! The best part is there are going to be so many of my Twitter friends running too!! It's going to be one big, huge Princess Party!!!
     Are you running the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2013? Anyone else do the race retreat??

Monday, July 9, 2012

My own version of Yasso 800s

     So I was tweeting with Bart Yasso this morning as he was talking about going out to do his own Yasso 800 work out. I asked him how I could do the Yasso 800s on the treadmill. He told me that on the treadmill I should do a half-mile with a quarter-mile recovery and do the half-mile in four minutes. Four minutes? So, um, that would be an eight minute mile? I've never run an eight minute mile!!! The fastest mile I've ever run is an 8:09. And that was LAST August!! So I freaked out first and then I decided to do what I normally do and just do it my way!
     I headed to the gym, got on the treadmill and did a half mile warm-up. I then proceeded to up my speed until it reached a 10 minute mile which was 6.0 mph on the treadmill I was using. I ran this pace for the first half-mile like Bart said. And then I did a quarter-mile recovery at 5.0 mph or 12 minute miles. I was feeling pretty good and thinking, "Well, I need to get faster, so let's try to go higher with my next half-mile." So this time I pushed it up to 6.6 mph which came out to a 9:05 minute mile. It was kind of tough but it felt like a good strong pace that I could keep. I did my quarter-mile recovery and then dropped down to the 6.0 mph pace again. By the time I got to my fourth half-mile speed lap I was back up to the nine minute mile pace and feeling pretty good and strong. I finished with a 5.0 mph recovery quarter-mile and then a cool down for a full half-mile.
     It might not have been the perfect Yasso 800 workout, but it was the perfect workout for me! I didn't get injured. I didn't overdo it. I felt strong in the end. That is the whole point right?
     So the next time I do speed work (which will be Wednesday), I will up the ante a little bit and start with the 6.6 mph, nine minute mile pace and work up to maybe an 8 1/2 minute mile pace. We'll see how it feels from there. I have a Magic Mile in two weeks. I'd like to be at least able to hold the 8:09 time I got last year, if not get better. It's harder for me to "go fast" on the treadmill. Maybe it's all the numbers. But I think I've got a good plan now and if I stay consistent...I believe I'll do it!
     Thanks, Bart!

Don't Throw That Away!

     You never know when you might need it! I thought it was silly to have all these "lighter" dumbells and exercise bands sitting around... Boy was I wrong!
     Today was the first day in two months that I was able to do my regular upper body workout with weights. I injured my shoulder a few months ago by overextending (I think) during my workouts. I've been going to physical therapy for the last five weeks. I've been working on my exercises and working on keeping my wings back! My physical therapist told me my shoulder blades were too far forward or what they call "winged." I told her maybe I was part Tinkerbell! So from then on I started saying to myself, "Wings back!" It is a helpful reminder to sit up straight & not slouch!
     I've never used terribly heavy weights, my maximum so far has been eight pounds. I did buy ten pound weights about three months ago but I haven't been able to use them yet. People laugh at me when I tell them how light the weights are but that's okay. When I'm working out with my weights, it gives me the definition I want. And that's all that really matters.
     So I have these dumbbells that only weigh two pounds each. I've had them for years and years! And I haven't used them in years and years either. I never got rid of them. I also have three pounders which I use for high reps and my five pounds which are used for most everything I do. Well, I used my two pounders a lot today. It felt silly but I have to build back up to where I was and I don't want to re-injure my shoulder! I used the threes where I would have used the fives in the past and only occasionally used the fives. I didn't go near the eight or ten pound weights today. I even used my exercise bands that were gathering dust. In the end, I felt good. I felt stronger.
     I hope to continue to build back up and will have to keep reminding myself to take it slow, be careful and Wings Back!
     You never know when that "smaller/lighter" equipment might come in handy! Don't throw it away!!!
While working out today, I looked out and saw "hope" on my racket - It made me smile!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Freedom Trail Run: the Runner's Way to See Boston

     Since I've fallen in love with running, the theme for my life has been that I want to see the world through my feet. I did that on my trip to Boston this June. Through Twitter, I discovered the Freedom Trail Run (@FreedomTrailRun) put on by Eddie O! When I saw the tweet about the run, I immediately went to the website to check it out. The website is very informative, tells you exactly what to expect, and makes it very easy to order your reservation for the run. If you decide you're interested in doing this, you're definitely going to need to make sure you plan ahead. The runs fill up fast!! With each run you get a fun guided tour of Boston, lots of history, fun facts, a cool t-shirt and a ferry boat ride at the end. Oh and a nice little 3 mile run!
     We started our morning run at the corner of Park and Tremont, right outside the T station in Boston Common. Each one of us signed in and then we waited until everyone arrived.
Signing in with Eddie O
     Eddie then proceeded to tell us what to expect on our run that day. It was a damp morning but it wasn't pouring down rain AND it was much cooler than it had been the previous few days in Boston. We had been experiencing 90° plus heat. Not your typical Boston Summer weather! So this was a nice break from all that heat and humidity.
Explaining about the Freedom Trail Run
     We took off towards the Massachusetts Statehouse. He told us a little bit of history about the Statehouse and then proceeded to tell us a very interesting story about the governor's last day in office each time a new governor is elected...

     Then we headed toward the Granary Burying Ground where we saw some very old graves including the graves of three very famous Patriots from the American Revolution. He told us lots of interesting little facts about the graves and the crypts located in the graveyard.
Granary Burying Ground
     Then we ran to Kings Chapel burying ground where he told us a little bit about a couple of the graves there and also about the actual Chapel. The interesting facts that he told us made me want to come back and check it out again! I've been there on previous trips to Boston and self-toured the church myself, however this time we decided we were going to do the guided tour of the crypts underneath the church and the belltower above. Thanks Eddie for such a great tip!
At King's Chapel
     We went to a lot of the other historical places on the Freedom Trail. There are 16 to be exact! Most of them I had seen before on my own, however he did point out a few that I had never noticed including the actual spot where Ben Franklin was born and lived in his early years in Boston.

     We also went to the little alleyway where the very first Bostonians received their water for over 200 years known as the Great Spring. This is also the site of the very first Bostonian steel frame skyscraper built in 1893. We visited sites like Faneuil Hall, the Old State House, and the Old South Meeting House in downtown Boston.

     We then headed into the North End (my favorite part of town!) to see many of the sites that involved Paul Revere and his part in the American Revolution.
Paul Revere's house & statue in the North End of Boston
     We learned a very interesting fact about a certain window in the Old North Church... 
Look very closely at the top picture - left hand side - see the window??
     We then proceeded to Copp's Hill Burying Ground where we could see the steeple of the old North Church. You know the famous saying "One if by land, two if by sea"? This is where the lanterns hung! At Copp's we also learned about the British soldiers were using the gravestones for target practice.
See the bullet holes?
     Across the street we were shown the skinniest house in Boston! Then we were off again for the longest part of our run.

     We ran across the bridge into Charlestown and towards the Bunker Hill Memorial and the USS Constitution.
Running UP hill towards the Bunker Hill Memorial

"Old Ironsides"
      This was our last stop on the run. We headed into a local convenience store in Charlestown to get drinks provided by the run. This was definitely a very nice aspect of the run. All runners could choose whichever beverage they wanted whether it be a sports drink, coconut water, or regular water! Very impressive and generous!
A quick pic of us outside the store
     After that it was time to head back to Boston, so we gathered at the ferry landing where Eddie passed out our Freedom Trail Run t-shirts.

     The ferry ride back to Boston was a lovely relaxing ride. The sun had finally come out and a beautiful breeze was blowing.

     It was also an excellent opportunity to get some beautiful shots of downtown Boston as we approached. Have I mentioned I love this city?!?
Beautiful downtown Boston from the water
     If you are a runner, or even if you're just starting out running, or maybe you just walk, this is definitely the way to see Boston! The pace is very easy with lots of breaks because we stop at all of these historic spots! Eddie gives a great tour with lots of good information and fun little tidbits. Then you can decide which sites you would like to go back and see again, spend more time at or go inside and tour. I HIGHLY recommend the Freedom Trail Run for your next trip to Boston - or for you locals, something fun & different to do on the weekend in your own city!!!

June Foodie Penpals!

Loved my Foodie PenPals box that I received this month!

     It was sent to me from a really sweet girl named Katie. She may be young but she knows how to shop for food!!! Katie is a teenager from Washington and she has her own blog called "Goober Nut's Life". Check it out, especially if you have teenagers! I think my favorite thing out of all the stuff in the box was her note to me. It was very specific about each and every thing I received. It was so cute how she told me about each item that she included in my box, how to use it, and what was so fabulous about it! I really loved that.

     She sent me some absolutely fabulous thing things that I've never tried before! All of them were brand-new to me! I do have to say my favorite was the Berries & Cherries Nut Crunch. It went along with me on my trip to Boston and made a great little snack!

     I also loved the pop Fuji apple chips she sent me which came in a bag that it self was inflated! It helped protect the chips from getting all crunched up. I think she was a little worried that it was going to explode in the box, but it made it safe and sound!

     She also sent me some "Sweet Chili Chia Crunch." I had to ask her exactly what to use it for! She told me all about it but not what to do with it! So we tweeted back and forth for a while and she let me know it was great on oatmeal and other things!
Thank you Katie for such a great package!
And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re interested in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!
*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send Lindsay an email and she'll see if we get enough interest this month!