Sunday, March 27, 2016

Big Miles!

This week was my Spring Break.  My kids were still in school for most of the week, so I got a lot of alone time.  What did this teacher do during her Spring Break?

This is EXACTLY how I look when I take a grad school class during break.
But wait!  That isn't all I did!  I set a personal weekly mileage record with 36 miles!

On Tuesday I did my intervals (12x 400s + 1 minute recovery).  Wednesday was lifting day, and I did lift weights and do ab work, but not as much as I normally do.  This is because I powerwalked a hilly neighborhood with Sheila--6 miles of hills, Baby.  My butt STILL hurts, so you know it was a good workout.

On Thursday I decided to do the tempo run, which I usually do on Friday, but the temperature was in the 60s with the prediction being in the 30s the next day.  Ya gotta get it while it's good, Peeps, so I did.  This time I added another mile to the run, and I DIDN'T PASS OUT OR DIE!  So proud of myself.

Something I believe strongly is that I shouldn't be running every day--that way lies injury--so I took Friday off and cleaned the house.  I'm really glad I did because the recovery time gave me the energy on Saturday to do the Chocolate Bunny Run, sponsored by Vertical Runner Hudson.  Joy and I ran 6.5 miles through Hudson with a taste of trail at Hudson Springs.  It was chilly but overall a good run.
Joy, Shelby, me, and Elizabeth inside Vertical Runner
The whole group just before we took off
Afterward there was CHOCOLATE and a raffle drawing for fabulous prizes at Vertical Runner.  I won a chocolate bunny!
See those Dove bunnies?  I won one of them!  I gave it to my kids, of course.
Today I ran Sand Run TWICE.  That's twelve miles of hills, Peeps.  Shelby and I took our time (except at the end when she smoked me, as she always does), and we enjoyed talking to Jen, who did the first out and back with us.

I'm really satisfied with my running this week because I feel like I played it smart--lots of recovery, lots of stretching.  Tomorrow I will definitely enjoy my yoga session.  

Next week I look forward to testing my training with a 10k, my first race since January.  Will the speedwork pay off?  Stay tuned to find out!

What is in your Spring racing plans, Peeps?  Why don't you join me for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon? I hope you blow away your goals!  Until then. . . 

Run HOPPY, Peeps!  (See what I did there?)

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Running in the Snow. . . in Spring

It's the first day of Spring.

Yay Spring!
Oh, wait. . .

Yay. . .Spring?
That's right--it snowed just in time for my Spring Break, and the forecast isn't looking wonderful for this week.  As soon as I go back to work, it will be sunny and warm.  You're welcome.

Nevertheless, I ran ten miles with Shelby this morning.  We did the old Blue Line loop that I love so much.  We start in Sand Run Park for three miles, follow the Blue Line up Revere Rd. and around Route 18 to Wheaton Rd.  The line continues east towards Akron and then ends with 1 1/2 miles downhill on Merriman and Portage Path.  I love running past the beautiful mansions, including Stan Hywet Hall,  on Merriman Rd., but I can't help wondering who has to clean those houses?

This is my summer home.  Just kidding, it's really Stan Hywet Hall in Akron.
The training is going really well.  I have been sticking to my routine: one day of intervals, one day of tempo run, one long run, one day to run whatever I want, and a minimum of some walking time on the treadmill on Saturdays.  I was exhausted last week, but I think that had more to do with the time change and the week before Spring Break.  I hope to catch up on my sleep this week, although when I look at my to-do list,  I wonder when I'll be sleeping:

1. Get as far ahead as possible in the graduate course I've just started
2. Finish grading
3. Prepare for my daughter's birthday
4. Run MORE!

One last thing: Tomorrow is yoga day.  Wanna see my routine? This is EXACTLY how I look when I yoga:

Yoga for Bboys :D :D :D
Posted by Streetdance-Connection on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What are your goals this week, Peeps?  We are getting close to the Cleveland Marathon, and the Challenge Series deadline has been extended.  Will you make that one of your goals?  Join me by registering here, and we'll do it together!  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Busy, Busy!

I often see the posts that say, "I planned to run a gazillion miles this week, but, you know. . .life got in the way."  I have had plenty of times that life has thrown me a curveball, but I try to make running the consistent part of my week.  I know what days I have to run, rain or shine, and I stick to the mileage I need for the week.  It helps that I live on the "Zero-Sum Workout" plan, which means that in order to eat, I have to run.

No run, no carbonara
This week life got me tuckered out in the best possible way.  There was lots of staying up past my bedtime, and that combined with some extra work made a very tired Stephani this weekend.  On Wednesday I met the other Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors for some updates on the race series.  We ate some wings; we might have had some brews.  We hugged a lot.

The lighting isn't great, but here we are!

Jill has a great podcast: Running with Police Escort
Jamie gets up as early to run as I do.  She puts in 10 miles before work!
Stephanie has four kids and still runs more miles than I do.
Andrew and I drink beer.  That is all.
 Here are some great candid shots:

Melissa is the happy one in the group.  She is full of sunshine and glitter.  I don't know how I put up with it.

We had a great time, but I didn't get home until almost 10:30 pm, which is waaaay past my bedtime.  I still got up at 4:30 AM to run the next day.

Hey, speaking of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. . .are you planning to join the party?  What?  Reluctant to run any part of the race series?  That is ok because you can still join us by volunteering.  Click here for volunteer registration and come laugh at me when I start to cry in mile 11.  Just kidding.  Maybe.  Regardless, you won't be crying because you'll be having fun on the sidelines with your fellow volunteers while knowing that you contributed to the running community.

Friday I saw And Then There Were None at the Hanna Theater in Cleveland.  It was a fabulous evening, and I highly recommend the play, or any play at Playhouse Square.  That night I got to bed around midnight, and I had to get up early to work the NEOEA Megaconference.  I was so tired on Saturday that even though the weather was gorgeous, I couldn't bring myself to run when I finished the conference and then cleaning my house.  My husband took the kids out for dinner, and that would have been a perfect opportunity to get in some miles, but instead I took a nap.  Fail.

This morning I redeemed myself, though, by getting up extra early (on a Daylight Savings weekend!) to go trail running with Renee, Jenn, and Carrie.  We did twelve miles on the Fools Course, and it felt great to be back on the trails in good company.

This is EXACTLY how I look after 12 miles on the trails.
What a bunch of Fools!

All in all, I am proud of the fact that I only lost 3 miles this week, despite life trying to get in the way.  I don't regret listening to my body when it told me that I am tired.  In fact, after this chocolate chip cookie, I'm going to listen to my body again and go take a nap.  

Until next week, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Training. Huh. What Is It Good for?

Last week I ran with Shelby on the Bike and Hike.

"I have to admit that I run faster in these cold temperatures, even if I don't want to do it, " I said.  "Plus, I've actually spent this winter following a training plan for a half marathon.  I really should sign up for a half marathon in April.  Maybe the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

Silence.  Running.

"But then I would have to run a half marathon."

Shelby:  "I was waiting for it."

Shelby gets me.

It is true that after reading five books and countless online articles on marathon and half-marathon training, I came up with a plan, and I have followed that plan pretty well this winter.  This is unusual for me, as I never felt the need to follow any sort of plan for a half-marathon, even when I had an ambitious (for me) time goal. I've always just thought, "Run more; run faster," and for the most part it worked.  Except that lately it didn't work.  This year I didn't reach my sub-two-hour goal for a half marathon, and I could give lots of reasons why, but I won't.  I didn't hit it, and I moved on to other goals.

What is my training program?  Glad you asked!

I have divided my program into indoor and outdoor running.  Both use a heart monitor, but outdoor running uses mileage and indoor running uses time. This is a typical week:

Monday: no running.  Yoga.

Tuesday: Tempo run.  Outdoors: 1 mile warm up.  3 miles @ 8:50/mile.  1 mile cool down.  If indoors, 10 minutes warm up.  30 minutes @ 6.7. 10 minutes cool down.

Wednesday: Weights and Core.  30+ minutes weights and 10+ minutes running in place with 2 lb. weights.

Thursday: Intervals.  Outdoors (in theory--I haven't had the opportunity to do this outside yet): 1 mile warm up.  1/4 mile @ 8:00/mile, 1 minute recovery x 12, 1 mile cool down.  Treadmill:  10 minutes warm up.  1 minute @ 7.6, 1 minute recovery @5 x 12.  Cool down until I hit the rest of the remaining mile.

Friday: 4 miles minimum of whatever I want to run.

Saturday: 5-6 miles either hills (Sand Run) or easy on the treadmill while watching Supernatural.

I tell myself that I only watch this so I can converse with my 13 year old daughter, but I think we all know better.
Sunday: Long, slow, distance run.  10+ miles.

I have noticed that when I run outdoors, I have been running faster more easily.  Is that the training or the temperature or both?  Who knows?  I know that I should sign up for something right now so I can see if this is my moment. . . but I can't seem to care.  I really enjoy the training right now, but I have nothing going on until May.  Is it too soon?  Will I burn out?  I don't know.

I do know that I am currently enjoying myself and sleeping better.  The downside is that I am constantly hungry, but I am used to this feeling.

I am going to save it for Cleveland, Peeps.  Will you join me?  Sign up for the Race Series Challenge; I'm running the 8k/Half Marathon.  Come give me some motivation.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Treat Yo Self

Today I had to take a personal day from work in order to take my daughter to the doctor.  That is possibly the first personal day I've taken in over seven years.  I get four days a year, and I never take them.  I almost never take sick days; in fact, the only times I am ever absent from school is for professional leave, so I'm still working when I'm not there.  It may be because of this:

Anyway, many people have pointed out to me that this isn't healthy or normal, and I totally agree.  I still wasn't happy about taking the day off, but it occurred to me that since I had to, I might as well enjoy myself.  So, today is (guilty) pleasure day.  Here is what I did to take care of myself after the doctor's appointment and dropping my daughter off at school:

1.  Starbucks Tall Java Chip Frappuccino.  Hey, my daughter got one, too, so it was really about the bonding.
Aaah, the Frappuccino.  330 calories of caffeine and deliciousness.
2.  Tempo run in a different than usual place.  I ran the Towpath in the Valley in an area that was relatively flat so that I couldn't wussy out on the tempo run.  1 mile warmup @ 10:00/mile, 3 miles between 8:50 and 9:00/mile, 2 miles cooldown.  I felt really good about this.  I think it was the frappuccino.

3.  Not blow-drying my hair.  Ladies, is it just me?  I'll do just about anything to get out of drying my hair.  Today I braided it right out of the shower.  Done!

4. Lunch!  Subway Footlong Veggie Delite on Honey Oat.  Give me ALL the vegetables, and don't skimp on the spinach! Don't look at me like that; YES, I said FOOTLONG.

Oh, Subway. How I love thee.
5.  Makeup.  I stopped by the Bare Minerals store because I needed some supplies.  I tried to look as desperate as possible (no makeup, hair in French braid and headband), but I didn't get a free makeover.  I did get a free sample of something, though.

6.  Massage.  This is a real guilty pleasure for me.  Massages are necessary for runners, but I rarely get them because of the time commitment and the price.  I have a secret, though.  I go to the relaxation station at the mall, and I am able to get my massage without an appointment.  Today I got a combination of reflexology and then a table massage.  Fully-clothed, Peeps, it was the mall after all.  Anyway, I forgot how much tension I carry in my back and neck until the masseur started kneading away and then HOLY GOD!  To broadly paraphrase (or maybe just reference) one of my favorite characters in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City (Michael), it's gotta be really bad if you can name your knots.

I tried to look up my sore spots, but really, it was all sore.  I am a hot mess.
7.  Lastly, tea.  I am sitting here alone in a silent house with a mug of hot tea.  I have about ten more minutes until my daughter comes home, and then about fifteen minutes after that when my son gets home, and then my world will become chaos again.  Sigh.  It was fun while it lasted.

How do you treat yourself, Peeps?  Maybe you should consider signing up for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series!  Join me, and we will treat ourselves to a fun time and beer.  Oh, yes.  There will be beer.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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