Monday, March 27, 2017

Still Got It!

First, this has nothing to do with running. Thursday night my friends and I attended Puddles Pity Party at the Cleveland House of Blues, and this happened:

Best. Concert. EVER. I highly recommend you see him if he is in your area.

Second, I was worried that my foray into trail running would give me a sense of false confidence. That is, because I allow my self to walk any time I like on a trail, I worried that I would not be able to run on a flatter surface for an extended length of time. To test this theory, I decided to run 17 miles on the Towpath today (Sunday). The Burning River Goddesses have been so kind to me; they offered to either run the full 17 with me (Marta and Kelsie) or join me for part of the fun. Jen's husband Steve, who is an honorary Goddess and a rock star trail runner who is training for Burning River (the full Monty, folks), also offered to join me for the first 12 miles.

So it was that Steve, Marta, Kelsie, and I started from Lock 29 at 8 AM. I was worried that I would hold them back, and I told them all to leave me whenever they felt that they needed to. . .but they didn't. One of my big problems is that I CAN run a good mid-pack pace, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I SHOULD run that pace, especially on the long runs. My goal was to finish strong and feel good, and to accomplish that, I knew I had to run much more slowly than I normally would like to run.

We all had a great discussion on the Towpath, sometimes running fast and sometimes running slowly. I was wearing my Cleveland Ambassador long-sleeved tech shirt, and within two miles I was ROASTING, although I looked super cool.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm roasting, but I'm rocking a super cool shirt.
After 9.5 miles, we were back at Lock 29, where I ate a banana, changed into a short-sleeved shirt, and used the bathroom. Then we joined up with Jen and Tracy for the rest of the run.  I'm not going to say it was easy because it wasn't, but I really enjoyed my run with everyone.  We saw turtles, lots of turtles:

This was one log of four in that section--all full of turtles. 

And we talked and bitched and laughed.

At mile 16.9, I decided that the kick had to come now, and I actually picked up the pace and ran very quickly (I'm not going to say I sprinted because I didn't) to the end. Then I had .4 miles to walk as a cool down. I am very pleased with how I finished. I felt strong, and although I felt sore, I still think it was a good run.

I have a while until I need to hit my 20 miler. While talking it through with Jen today, I decided that I'm going to hover around these middle miles for a while, which is what I did when I trained for my first marathon. I would like to get to a point where I say, "Oh. It's only 16 miles." Maybe then my 20 miler won't feel as awful as it did when I ran it for the Akron Marathon.

How is your training? Have you registered for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon?  NO??? Well, you can register here today, or you can check out the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors to see who is giving away a race entry. Join me! You know you want to see how I handle running this marathon by myself (unless you want to run with me???).  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Don't Go Chasin' Waterfalls

Today I did 16 miles. I got up super early to run three miles along the canal at Bedford Reservation, and then I joined the Burning River Goddesses to do 13 more miles on the trails. Jen warned us that it would be an adventure. . .and that it was.

The adventure started with sucking mud in the first two miles. I almost lost my shoes, but curling my toes helped me to hang on. Then we got to run on the top of the valley, with a drop that was literally one foot to my left with nothing between me and oblivion. Then we hit the waterfalls:

Waterfall #1
Waterfall #2

Waterfall #3. I wish I could remember the names of these falls.
When we hit their halfway point (and my 10-mile point), there was a raging river that, according to Jen's map, we were supposed to cross. Really? Jen spent minutes looking at the river and trying to come up with a way to ford it while we took turns yelling, "We are NOT f---cking crossing that river, Jen."

This is the very shallow part of the river. You can still see whitecaps.
Jen gave it up for this time (with the promise of a crossing at a later time), and we headed  back to the car. This time we took a slightly different turn, and it led to a stream crossing that was more like a stream wading. It was about calf-deep for me (and deeper for Jen, who took a spill), and the water was bone-achingly freezing. This helped me to pick up my pace, as I couldn't feel my feet anymore.

While we paused at the river crossing, we took a picture:

Renee, Tracy, Marta, Jen, Me
All in all, I give Bedford Reservation a double thumbs-up. What a beautiful run! I can't wait to see it in fall!

How is your training going? Are you enjoying the increased mileage? Are you training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon? Join me there! Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Trails Are the Answer

I'm amping up the mileage, Peeps. Last week was a fallback week--13 miles. This week I intended to return to 16 miles, possibly do 17, but there was a weird parking problem.  All the trailhead parking lots were closed at 8:00, when I intended to put in possibly 5 miles before meeting up with Jen and Renee.  No matter. I diverted to an open place and managed to run 3 road miles before the official run.

It was cold, Peeps.  Really, really cold. I was thankful that I warmed up on the road, but it wasn't necessarily a fun moment while I did it.

Once I got on the trails I felt fine. It never really got warmer, but I run hot, and the trees protected us from wind, so I had a great time.
This was supposed to be a cool picture of the trails, but it turned out to be a picture of where I broke my ass falling down.

I tried some new fuel: GU Chomps, Strawberry.  I liked the taste, but they were super chewy and difficult to break down in my mouth. At one point I was worried that I would get them sucked into my windpipe and die. I bought a whole case of them, so I need to work this out.

I love running with Jen and Renee for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. They are English teachers, like me. When we bitch about life, we do it in iambic pentameter.

2. They are incredibly kind. When I explained my future dilemma of increasing my miles and getting in a 20 miler before the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, they immediately offered to split up and each run ten miles with me.

3. They don't mind if I talk or swear. They talk and swear.

4. If they think I'm a bitch or a freak, they haven't said so or shown it.

I am going through a bit of a stressful time  right now, so I feel super-lucky that these ladies have taken me in and shared their runs with me. Long runs for me get hard after 15 miles, and the fact that Jen and Renee knew this because of their own experiences and stepped in to help means everything to me. Thank you, Ladies. You are beautiful.

We were pretty thirsty on this trail run. Jen decided to go for the gross, yellow icicles. Renee knew better.
I have some time to increase my mileage before the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, so I'm not going to beat myself up about getting in 15 miles instead of the projected 17.  My long miles were originally for Shelby, and that isn't necessary anymore.

We all need the long miles for proper training, Peeps. It's much easier when you can run with friends. If you don't have any running friends, make some now! I guarantee it will change your running experiences for the better. If you do have running friends, thank them this week. We all love appreciation.

Whom will you thank this week?  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Magical Thinking

I believe in magical thinking. Call it what you want: prayer, visualization, meditation, voodoo. . .it's magic, and I believe it works. To this end, I have participated in some magical thinking lately:

1.  Achilles Tendon.

My Achilles Tendon has been bothering me since October. There are days when it is unbearable, and there are days where I don't even notice it. I spent months researching and doing strength training and stretches for my hamstrings and tendon, but it hasn't gotten better. I finally decided to find a chiropractor who specializes in Active Release Technique.

This is EXACTLY how my Achilles Tendon looks. Probably yours, too, by the way.
Active Release Technique basically uses deep muscle massage to help tendons and muscles that are strained or tight from overuse. My friend Ed, who is an amazing runner, convinced me that this would be the way to go, so I gave it a shot.

I had never visited a chiropractor before, but magical thinking, right? So far, I've had three sessions, and there isn't a magical cure, but I'm still hopeful.

2. K-Tape

This goes along with the Active Release Technique. I definitely think KTape is magical thinking, so it's a good thing I'm a believer.

3. Switching up the Routine

Not gonna lie, Peeps. I didn't post last week because I felt an overwhelming sense of metaphysical despair.  Shelby and I ran 16 miles, and each step felt like death to me. I just never got into a groove, and then I made the mistake of comparing that 16 miler to other 16 milers I have run. . .it just led to disgust with myself and life.

This week I got to roll back the miles a bit, and Shelby, feeling the same disgust, dumped me, so I decided to shake things up a bit. I messaged Jen and begged her to let me go trail running with her and her peeps. I went early and ran three road miles, and then I did ten miles with the Burning River Goddesses.  It was a trail I had never seen before, and I had a ton of fun.
Me, Renee, Jen.  See how happy we are?

 I felt much more positive about my training after a run through the forest with the sun shining through the trees, which leads me to number 4:

4.  Race Registration

I did it, Peeps; I pulled the trigger and registered for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! This will be my second marathon, and I'm feeling a bit unsure of myself, so SHOW ME SOME FREAKING LOVE ABOUT THIS!!! The first thing you can do is register here so you can run with me! I'll need all the support I can get, PLUS a lot of magical thinking.

What kinds of magical thinking are you using this week, Peeps? Clap your hands if you believe in fairies! Until then, run happy!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

And the Winner is. . .

Congratulations to Ron, the winner of a race entry to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Series!

Want an entry of your very own? You have two choices:

1. Register here
2. Follow the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors (info linked here). We each host a giveaway every week.  

May the odds be ever in your favor!

This week I finally got my mileage up past 30--33.5, to be exact. It helped that the weather is turning nicer. On Friday the weather wasn't so great (at 4:30 AM), so I ran on the treadmill. I decided to do intervals, something I haven't done in a while, and I FREAKING NAILED them! I have 12 sets scheduled in my watch, and after running the Akron Marathon, I lost my motivation to complete the sets, often punking out around set 8.  This time I did ALL 12 LIKE A BOSS!  So proud of myself.

Sunday Shelby and I ran 14 miles, and it was a beautiful day for a run.

Me before the run, rocking the Cleveland Marathon capris. I love these pants!

Shelby and me, post 14-miles. So glad it's over.
I feel really good about my training this week. I feel like I incorporated the right combinations of strength training, speedwork, and lsd running.  This week was a win!

Will the weather motivate you in your training? Will you join me in Cleveland in May?  I hope so. Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @itibrout!

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Giveaway!

This week I get to give away one entry to any one race in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon series!  I am so excited, Peeps.

As many of you already know, I am an ambassador for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. The lovely people in charge gave me a free entry and one to give to you, and that is exactly what I want to do this week. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I want to spread the love, Peeps.
I only say this because I am still on a runner's high after 12 miles this morning.
In the spirit of the season, I'd like to make LOVE the theme of this post.  Whom do you love?

I love. . .

1. My husband. He is a dufus, but he is MY dufus. And he bought me a phone charging cord today because I mentioned that mine is toast.
My husband: the Kabyle Chef

2. My kids. They are awesome even though they make me want to stick a screwdriver through my brain pan most days.

My son
My daughter

3.  Shelby. She runs with me on Sundays. She handles the long runs. When I tell her to f--ck off, she doesn't even blink.  She listens to me complain about my family, and she alternates between indulging me and telling me to get a grip on myself. I love you, Man.

One of our many pictures together. I have to run on Sundays because Shelby will be there.
Peeps, I love you, too. I love your comments, and I love your private messages. I love when you say that you read my blog (I have a huge ego, you know), and I feel like you are my friends.

Ok, that is enough. I can't take any more sweetness; I need to clean my teeth as it is. Let's get down to business. This giveaway opens at midnight, 2/14, and it closes at midnight, 2/21. Here are the rules:

1. If you already registered, don't enter. I can't reimburse you.
2. Entry is good for ONE race, not the series.
3. I received an entry (and some other swag) in exchange for writing about the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Nobody buys my opinions, however. Any thoughts on the race series are my own and do not represent the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.
4. I will contact the winner by email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't feel lucky today? You can register here for the race(s) of your choice.  Hurry, kids! Join me while you can! I don't want to be the only person complaining about training in the cold. Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter  @itibrout!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dial It Back

Not gonna lie, Peeps. I'm exhausted.

This is one of those weeks where I haven't wanted to do anything, but I had to do everything. I didn't want to go to work (although this was one of the funnest weeks I had planned this year), I didn't want to come home from work, I didn't want to shuttle my kids around, I didn't want to shop for, plan, or prepare meals of any kind, and I CERTAINLY didn't want to run.

My motto for the week
Of course I DID do all of those things, including running, but it was a struggle every. damned. step. of. the. way. Normally, I love to run; I look forward to it, and even when I don't immediately love it, I'm always happy after the second mile.  Not this week.  It seemed like I spent every second trying to talk myself out of running. Of course I did the other workouts in my weekly routine: weights and strength training, yoga, Zumba--but I didn't even really want to do those either.

People often say to me, "I would love to run, but I don't have time." We all know this is bullshit. What you don't have is motivation to make time. My running time (and all workout time, really) has to happen around the needs of everyone in my house, so guess what? I run at 4:30 in the morning.  It wasn't easy for me to decide to run so early, and there were times I wanted to cheat and tell myself I'd get it done after work, but I pushed on. Now my morning workout time is a habit, so even if I want to skip it (and OH BOY did I want to skip it this week), my body goes on autopilot and gets out of bed before the alarm. Most days this sets me up for a fabulous, energetic workday (until about 3:00).

This is EXACTLY how I look when I set myself up for a fabulous, energetic workday.
Today, I am the gravedigger from  Hamlet.

Here I am excited to play Horatio. I kind of wanted  to be the king or queen so I could die.
Then I could just lay on the floor for a long time. It was not "to be." See what I did there? 😜
The point of this post is this: Sometimes you've got to fake it 'til you make it. . .and sometimes you just have to keep fakin' it.

Don't want to run on the dreadmill?  Me neither.  Let's dial it back together, like I did on Friday and Saturday. On Friday I couldn't bring myself to go down into the cold basement to run on the treadmill, even with the promise of the 9th season of Dr. Who on DVD, so I stayed in the living room and popped in a Leslie Sansone walking DVD. I ran while she walked and talked (boy, does she talk), and I carried 2 lb. weights while I ran around the living room. On Saturday, I allowed myself to walk the first and last mile of my treadmill run.  Both workouts were less than optimal, but at least I got it done.

Today, luckily, was a dial-back week in the long run, too.  Shelby, Joy, and I ran the Covered Bridge Loop, which is eight miles of really pretty scenery around Hale Farm and Village.  I took our traditional pics:

The church in the Valley at Hale Farm
Our Covered Bridge selfie
I thought the run would be a breeze, but it wasn't.  You know what? I still made that run my bitch.

Sometimes a run is hard, and sometimes ALL the runs are hard, but perserverance is a cool thing. I know that I will feel better (with some rest and maybe pizza and wine), so I'm going to look forward to the next run.  Join me.

Have you registered yet for an event in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon series? Are you checking out the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors' pages?  Who has a giveaway this week?  How is the training going for you?  Feel free to gloat comment about your awesome runs.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!