Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Have No Idea What I Just Got Myself Into....

Well we left things off here back in May a little melodramatic, didn't we?  Rest assured that I did in fact complete my marathon, albeit with more crazy stories than I could have ever imagined.  Entertaining race report to come, but for now here is proof that I am officially a marathoner:

Let's talk about the real reason why I'm back.  For those that know me, I tend to be very impulsive and also very stubborn. If I want to do something I will do it, and I will do it now.  I don't always have a plan for things.  If someone challenges me to something, or doubts my ability in something, I'm just stubborn (stupid?) enough to have to prove myself. 

That's what got me signed up for my first 5k, and although running has turned into much more than that since then, let's just say that old habits die hard. 

I haven't run more than five miles at a time since my marathon in May.  I can count on two hands the number of times my bike has seen the open road this year.  And I only recently learned how to not drown in a pool.  So what's the next (il)logical step for me? 

How about a half-ironman triathlon?  Because that makes total sense right?  Well, it's something that's been in the back of my head for a while, and sometimes you just gotta pull the trigger ya know?  

I don't have a training plan yet.  I'm not in marathon shape anymore.  I really have no idea what the hell I'm doing or what I've even gotten myself in to.  But, like the stubborn and impulsive person that I am, I'll find a way to that start line on July 13th.  

So there you have it, the reason for my return to Molly's Miles.  The more public I make this goal of 70.3 and the journey to get there, the less likely I am to totally suck, right?  Here's to 8 months of... Excitement? Entertainment? Torture?  I guess we'll find out! 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Marathon Thoughts

Well well well.... the day has finally come.  Marathon eve.  In 18 hours, I will be toeing the start line, ready to run 26.2 miles through the streets of Buffalo.  You must be wondering where I have been the past two months - where are all the pictures of my Garmin showing off training runs?  Where are the pictures of the food I've been stuffing my face with after a run?  AM I STILL EVEN RUNNING A MARATHON?!

Truth is, training has been anything but smooth the past couple of months.  This thing called life got in the way, I've been dealing with some health issues, and honestly.... I lost my spark to run.  I managed to knock out some 15+ mile runs and even a 20 miler, but beyond that my training calendar is pretty sad looking.

Looking back, I'm not even sure I was ready and excited to commit to a marathon this year.  After a year of running half marathons, I just figured that a marathon, NOW, was the next logical step.  Some friends had committed, so I thought sure, let's do this.  Don't get me wrong... running a marathon is definitely something I was excited to do... but I feel like I decided to do it by default.

I went back and calculated my planned miles vs. actual miles and realized that I've only ran 60% of my planned miles.  I knew I had skipped some runs, and was sidelined for a while with my health issues, but at the end of the day... you either ran or you didn't.  You either suck it up and go, or you let the excuses take over.  The fact that I let everything going on dictate my training... well there's your answer to how committed I was.

Am I excited for tomorrow?  Yes.  Do I feel prepared?  Absolutely not.  Would I change anything about the past 5 months?  Ehh, probably not.  Yes, life was a roller coaster, and no, my training did not go as planned... but I've definitely learned a lot of things along the way.  About myself, about others, and about life.

So, ready or not, come 7:00am tomorrow morning, I will be putting myself to the ultimate physical and mental test yet.  And I will give it all I've got.  This race is not only for myself, but for everyone who has helped and supported me along the way (you know who you are!).  Crossing the finish line tomorrow... I cannot wait for that feeling.

Here goes nothin'!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Week 9 Recap!

What a week this has been!  After my awesome run last Sunday, I went into this week super amped up for training.  Here's how this week panned out...

Monday - 60 minute bootcamp at the Y

Tuesday - 7 miles with Steph

Wednesday - Spin class + Personal Training at the RAC

Thursday - 4.5 miles with Steph

Friday - Rest

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - 15.18 miles - Syracuse Half Marathon + 2 mile warmup

Total Miles - 26.68

A couple picture highlights from the week...

Some off road running, which apparently got my legs nice and strong for the Syracuse Half Marathon where I not only PR'd in the race, but thanks to some warmup miles, I PR'd with my distance as well!

Since I'm currently burritoed in compression gear, watching basketball and 4 minutes away from falling asleep...

I will be back later this week with a full race report!  Hold tight because this is about to be an epic race recap.  Hint: it was an AMAZING day!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hello? Is anyone still out there?

In case you haven't noticed, I've taken a bit of a blog hiatus.  Life has been crazy and has thrown me into a funk.  After taking some time away from Molly's Miles to regain my positive energy, yours truly is back and ready to go!

I know you've been waiting on the edge of your seat for the past month wondering what I've been doing.  Well don't you worry because I am back to get you up to speed on the past four weeks of this exciting life of mine that I know you've been missing so much!

Week 5
19 miles were on the books for week 5 and I ended up logging 19.5, thanks to a few races over the weekend.  First up was the Freezeroo 5k.  My cousin Liz came up for the weekend and is currently training to run the Flower City Half in April!  Girlfriend kicked my butt in the race, but we had a great time!

The following day was time for a half marathon!  The race was in Syracuse and a bunch of the runner gals ended up doing the race.  It was a flat course but extremely boring... not sure I'd pay money to run this race again.

Week 6
After a weekend of races I was slow moving to get my run on during week 6.  24 miles were scheduled and I logged... wait for it... 9.5 miles.  This week was a mental trainwreck and I just couldn't get my head in the game.  I was burned out from running, from work, from life.  Lots of stuff going on and I just couldn't pull it together to get my butt moving this week.  I chalked this week up to "shit happens" and moved on.

Week 7
I went into this week determined to get my training back on track.  Of the 25 miles I had on the books, I ended up logging 22.78.  Considering that's 2.5x more than the previous week, I was happy.  My long run this week was 13 miles.... you know you're in the trenches of marathon training when a half marathon becomes just a regular old training run!  I even made it back to yoga this week and I think it was one of my best weeks yet.

Week 8
If marathon training has taught me one thing, it's that life does not always go according to plan and you need to learn to roll with the punches.  I spent a lot of time getting my sweat on at the gym this week, but struggled to get my running shoes laced up.  I had a real bad run at the beginning of the week and it did a darn good job deterring me from attempting my scheduled runs the rest of the week. 

After watching an entire day's worth of Law and Order SVU marathons today, the sunshine streaming through my living room window was taunting me to get my butt off the couch.  At 6pm I finally laced up my sneaks and headed out.  I purposely chose a 4 mile route that can easily be cut short in case my body revolted.  I decided I'd be content with 3 miles if need be and I was on my way.

The verdict?  Best. Run. Ever.  From the second I started I felt great and it just kept getting better as the miles ticked by.  It was one of the most enjoyable runs that I can remember.  Everything just clicked... my legs kept moving faster and faster, my brain knew when to ponder life and knew when to turn off, and the shuffle on my iTunes knew exactly what to play for me and when.  

THIS is the run I've been waiting for to bring me back.  THIS is why I stick with this whole training thing even when I want to throw in the towel.  THIS is what I needed to be okay with the curveballs that life has been throwing at me.  

THIS is what I needed to bring back the energy to Molly's Miles!

As I close out week 8 and gear up for week 9, I'm bracing myself for even more craziness.  Training, life.... Bring it on!!!  This girl is ready.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Week 4 Recap

So, this whole "follow the training schedule to a T" thing isn't happening quite the way I had envisioned.  Sure enough, my cough from last weekend turned into another full blown cold (although not nearly as debilitating as last time) and kept me out of commission at the beginning of the week.  The rest of the week shaped up to be pretty interesting though!

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
Rest, rest & rest.  Monday and Tuesday were spent home from work sleeping.  Wednesday I dragged myself to the gym for my personal training appointment, and once my trainer saw me she sent me right back home to rest.  At this rate I'm thinking about spending the rest of my training in a haz-mat suit.

Finally felt decent enough to get my first run of the week in.  Me, Steph and Emily set out for 5ish miles around Brighton and it was pretty uneventful for the first half of the run.  I was still hacking up my lungs but managed to stay upright and moving, which is always a win.

About 3 miles in we all got quite the adrenaline rush.  We were stopped at a crosswalk waiting to cross the street when we got the walking man signal to go.  We start on our merry way when I see a car out of the corner of my eye that looks like it's not slowing down at all... and then I see it getting closer and closer and the woman not paying attention.  I yelled to Steph and Emily who were in front of me and the car LITERALLY just stopped in enough time to brush Emily before slamming on their brakes.  I unleashed on this lady and started screaming my head off like a crazy person... may have hit her car with my hand in my fit of rage (I think I hurt my hand more than I hurt her car)... and she just sat there and stared at us.  And for the record, we had the right of way, were in reflective gear and bright clothes, and were following the correct traffic pattern.  I SURE hope this lady learned her lesson and sees me going bat-shit crazy on her if she ever thinks about driving stupid again!

Steph's Facebook status that night - people need to learn how to drive!!!!
We ended up finishing our run with 5.7 miles and let's just say that we had some extra adrenaline to fuel those last couple of miles!!

After our near-death experience on Thursday, we decided to take our Friday evening run to some much less crowded neighborhood streets.  Earlier in the day at work I had a Shamrock Shake that gave me some sugar to fuel a post-work run.  (Note: Remember this shamrock shake for future reference).  It was gorgeous out and letting Emily pace the run means we had a super speedy 3 miler done in no time!

I woke up yesterday morning ready to tackle double digits.  I had some weird stomach issues going on Friday night (sham-shake side effects?) and was relieved when I woke up feeling okay.  It was chilly out, but not too bad and the roads were nice and clear.  Ten glorious miles here I come!

The first two miles felt like the usual get-the-blood-moving, shake-it-out warm up and I was feeling good.  As we trekked through the second mile, I started to feel some stomach/intestinal issues going on and things went downhill real fast from that point forward.

Thankfully, we happened to be running by Laura's house on our route (well we might have made a slight detour to get there) and she kindly let me use the facilities.  I've never had stomach issues on a run before so I was hoping that this one pit stop would get me feeling better and good to go.

Wrong.  (Warning: unfiltered story ahead).  The next 8 miles consisted of the most gnarly intestinal issues I have ever had.  For two hours, I was doing one of two things: either running into a random porta-potty/public bathroom along our route, or trying not to be one of those runners who poops their pants during a run.  It. Was. Brutal.  

THIS is what I blame it on

The only thing I did differently from my usual day-before-a-longrun-routine was my afternoon Shamrock Shake at work.  I'm convinced that this was the culprit for the demons in my intestines on Saturday morning.  No more shamrock shakes....ever.

About two miles from the end of this disastrous run, we ran into this little snow sculpture.  Steph (who was a trooper for hanging out and waiting at each and every emergency bathroom stop I had to make) told me to go pose with it, and it now serves as proof that I smiled at least once on this run.

I don't think I have ever been so happy for a run to be over.  Woof.

Alternate titles for this post included: "Rochester Bathroom Tour 2013" and "That Time I Shit My Way Through 10 Miles."

Woke up to a text from Becca asking my thoughts on skipping our morning yoga class.  One look at the snow coming down out my window and I was content just hanging out with these guys for the day:

Mileage Recap
Total miles: 19.17    Scheduled miles: 21

So in four weeks of training, the Marathon Gods have thrown the flu, bronchitis and GI issues my way.    Here's to hoping I'm getting all these issues out of the way now and the rest of training will be smooth(er) sailing!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week 3 Recap

Week 3 has officially come to a close and although the week didn't shake out quite as planned, we've got another week in the books.

Rest day.  Attempted to do some yoga on my own but called it quits after I fell into my dresser while trying to master Warrior 3.  I'll stick with the pro's teaching me from now on.

I had 4 miles scheduled for this day.  Ended up staying at work late and decided to lay down for a quick 15 minute "power nap" when I got home.  Well, that "quick nap" turned into an accidental 2.5 hour sleep fest as I slept right through my alarm.  Whoops.  Needless to say, I logged a whopping zero miles this day.  Sometimes your sleepy body just wins I guess.

On Wednesday's I have my weekly session with my trainer at the gym.  Since I renewed my membership, I got 10 thirty minute personal training sessions along with it.  This was my second week and let me tell you, when someone is there making sure you are squatting and lunging and crunching just right -- there is no cheating!  30 minutes may not seem like a long time but it's long enough for my trainer to kick my butt.  After my session I decided to make it a cross training day and headed to an hour spin class which I haven't done in a few weeks.  Felt so good to be back on the bike!

First run of the week.  Better late than never, right?  Steph and I went to the track to get in some speed work and ended up doing 800m repeats with 100-200m recovery jogs in between.  My legs had been itching to run all week and I definitely challenged myself on this workout.  I ended with 3.45 miles in 38:47, an 11:15 pace.  Considering that pace included the warm up and cool down, I'm pretty pumped to see that number.

Rest day.  I thought I went a little too hard into beast mode on Thursday because I was hacking up a lung all day Friday.  Went to the doc and turns out I'm rocking a mild case of bronchitis.  I swear I can't catch a break!  I picked up some ammo to get me through the work day and am working on kicking this smoker's cough to the curb for good.

Since the weather was supposed to be awful on Saturday morning, Fleet Feet actually cancelled the morning group run.  Safety first!  It was so nice to sleep in on a Saturday -- I forgot what that felt like!  After having a lazy morning, Steph and I hit the snowy roads for a quick few miles.  Snow packed roads, kinda chilly, but absolutely gorgeous scenery.

We thought we were doing ourselves a favor by moving our long run to today, thinking that we'd have a shot at better weather.  Well, the streets were plowed but the temperature?  Oh just a nice NINE DEGREES.  It was bitter.  So chilly in fact, that this happened again:

welcome back, frozen hair.

Although it was frigid, my body felt pretty darn good on the run.  We did a two loop route and stopped back at our cars after the first loop to refill water and to get some more warm and dry gear on.  Since my lungs hate me and the cold temps weren't helping my breathing at all, Steph gave me her sweet head cover to wear so I could breathe in warm air.  I felt like a badass rocking this thing.

bring it on mother nature

As we set off for the second loop it was crazy what a difference this little bank robber mask made in not freezing my lungs.  As cold as it was, it made for another darn pretty run:

Nine miles in nine degree weather and we've got another long run in the books!  The last mile or so was tough but when we were done I felt like I could have kept running if I had too.  Always a good feeling!

Mileage Recap
Total miles: 15.65    Scheduled miles: 19 

Thanks to my Tuesday night snooze my miles are lower than scheduled, but the quality of the runs I did do was awesome, so I'm still calling this week a win.

Week 4, here I come!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Week 2 Recap

Two weeks down and we're truckin' right along...

Monday - rest, glorious rest

Tuesday - 3.63 miles 

Wednesday - 30 minute personal training session at gym; arms & abs focus

Thursday - 3.2 miles

Friday - rest, glorious rest

Saturday - 7.17 miles

Sunday - 2 miles on treadmill & 60 minute yoga class

Total Miles: 16;   Scheduled Miles: 15

Last week was a crazy week and there really wasn't a whole heck of a lot of exciting things that went down.  My weekday runs were tougher than usual but Saturday was a rockstar run so it all evens out in the wash, right?

Tuesday's run, although pretty brutal for me, was memorable because Steph got engaged!  Coach Rob proposed right before our group run at Fleet Feet and I'm pretty sure that I screamed louder than Steph did.  I love me some love.

congrats guys!
I'll leave you with one more thing before training week 3 and corporate america swallows me alive for the next 7 days.

So I occasionally check out my blog hits and see what crazy search phrases land people on Molly's Miles.  I thought I hit the jackpot of weirdness when the term "Best Calves Ever" was one of the Google searches that lead someone to my blog.  That is, until I discovered this new gem yesterday...

I'm sorry, what?  It must have been quite the buzzkill when whoever typed that into Google found themselves on my wholesome little running blog.  Better luck next time dude?

And on that note.... Week 3 here I come.  Fully clothed, don't worry.