Friday, September 30, 2016

Runfessing Over Coffee

Today, I'm runfessing over coffee.   Let's get started!
My screen saver was taken at the Top of The Rock!
My favorite Starbucks mug was snagged on that trip as well.

Over coffee...

I'd happily report my September running miles were 135 and cycling miles were 106.  There were weekend slalom water skiing and a few swims in the mix as well.  One triathlon too.  It finally dropped below 70 for my morning runs just this week.  Thursday it was a delightful 63 and on Friday a quite nippy 53.  Fall, you have finally given us a little glimpse of days to come.  I thank you.

September blessed us with some stunning sunrises and sunsets.
I'd runfess...

I haven't read a book in ages.  It's not that I don't want to.  I once belonged to a book club and kept a whole stack by my bed at all times.  Nowadays my eyes are so tired at the end of the day and one of them has been twitching for three months, which is not a vision problem.  Pure stress they say. The twitch is not new.  It's something I've had occasionally since my mid 20s.  Once, it lasted nearly a year.  Oh please, not this time!

Over coffee...

You'd hear how I have no pace expectations at the Chicago Marathon.  After the summer-that-wouldn't-let-go, I no longer even know what it is.  I do very much want to beat my previous marathon time.  That will be the goal that I line up with.  Anything better than that will be a pleasant surprise and a huge reward for all that heat training. 

I have NO self control over a frosted shortbread cookie.  NONE.

I'd runfess...

Cooking has become how fast I can pop open the plastic container of a Zaxby's Cobb Salad.  At least the chicken is grilled?   Ohhhhh, and now that Panera's Autumn Squash soup has returned?  I see very little cooking in the near future.

Over coffee...

I'd tell you how (yet again) my beloved Amazon has screwed up an order.  I recently ordered Tailwind --  you know, the endurance drink mix?  Guess what I received instead?  An iPad keyboard case.  I don't even own an iPad.    You figure it out.   And I NEED that Tailwind!

I'm linking up with the lovely Marcia today from Marcia's Healthy Slice.
 Please stop by and join in with your own Runfessions!

I'm also linking with the lovely Ultimate Coffee Date hosts!
Stop in for coffee Saturday and chat with everyone.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

T minus 13 (WW # 60)

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap!
This link was created to support active women!
Click  > HERE <  to see complete rules.

M -  Rest
T  -  Ran 6 Miles Easy
W -  Ran 5 Miles Even Slower
T  -  Rest
F  -  Ran 7 Miles Progressive 
S  -  Cycled 20 Miles + Water Skied 2 x 20
S  -  Ran 12 Miles (2 w/u + 10 @ 9:39)

Total Miles Ran = 30
Total Miles Cycled = 20
Total Miles Water Skied = 40

The first week of taper started out pretty rough.  I could absolutely feel the prior week's peak mileage and long run.  Coupled with that, I awoke with a headache every morning that most days never went away.  I even skipped my Thursday bike day, which I enjoy so much.  By Friday, a little spunk had returned and I pulled off a progressive 7 miler (10:33 to 9:06).  As usual, I crammed in as much into the weekend as possible.  And in case you are wondering, IT IS STILL SUMMER here.  

Another cute tank by Sarah Marie Design Studio

Late Saturday afternoon we scooted to the lake (it was 97 degrees) where I very likely had my last ski "runs" for the year.  This is a sport that requires the aid of others -- two others in some states. So a special shout out to PoPo who has humored me all these years by being my boat driver extraordinaire. Thanks for another wonderful season.  I know it wasn't easy missing several hours of college football {wink}.  We stopped at our favorite Oyster Bar on the way home.  It was our official end to summer.  

The clouds were so pretty with their silver linings...which I took as a good sign of things to come.

Sunday, I was pleased with my last double digit run of this training cycle.  After a couple of warmup miles, I tried to run at steady race goal pace.  But honestly, I don't know what my pace will be come race day!   Every mile, every step, I ran in this training cycle was in our southern summer unrelenting heat and humidity-humbling weather.  

I look forward to some crazy taper days as I'm on final approach.  I plan to second guess everything I've done, obsessively review my training log, calculate my pace over and over, think every little niggle is impending doom, stalk the weather, obsess over what to wear, eat too much, do my mental packing, Google Chicago repeatedly, and generally drive everyone around me nuts.  

And that's a wrap! 

What are your best taper tips for keeping me distracted?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Accomplishachieve or complete successfully

A Mother's Day gift from 15 years ago,
this lily finally accomplished a beautiful bloom!

Sometimes, just getting through a tough day is an accomplishment for me.  {It's an added bonus if my left eye doesn't twitch.}  We've all had those days, right?  My point is -- although many times they are, accomplishments don't have to be big goals or bucket list items.  They can also be simple day to day achievements.
Getting up to run in the dark
Catching the spectacular sunrise
Drinking enough water
Catching more green lights than red
Getting to work on time
Saying a kind word 
Eating your vegetables
Smiling despite yourself
5:00 p.m.
Cooking dinner
Not eating that bedtime snack
Getting enough sleep


Looking at that list, well now I feel very accomplished.  (Ha!)  But, I think we should celebrate the smaller accomplishments too.  As for the ol' bucket list, I have ticked off a few items this year:   Helicopter Ride, Parasailing, and Sprint Triathlons to name a few.  I have a pretty big one on the horizon as we speak:  Actually Complete Chicag-O Marathon Positively Loving It & Staying Healthy! 

Getting through the taper will be a huge accomplishment for me.  We all know what happened during last year's taper?  [The dreaded stress fracture!]  So although I want to very much complete the Chicago Marathon, I think lining up at the start line will be the bigger accomplishment.  This time, running will simply be the sweet, delicious, decadent icing on the cake.  I plan to lick my fingers.

What's a small thing you feel you accomplish every day?

I'm linking up with Deb @ Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word.

Please visit Deb and the other participating bloggers.  It's fun!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Where's My Bubble? (WW # 59)

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap!
This link was created to support active women!
Click  > HERE <  to see complete rules.

M  -  Ran 9 Miles Slow
T   -  Ran 6 Miles -- Intervals (1 w/u + 6 x 800's)
W  -  Rest Day (Strength)
T   -  Ran 9 Miles (1 w/u + 8 @ 9:34)
F   -  Cycled 16 Miles
S   -  Ran 21 Miles
S   -  Cycled 23 Miles

Total Ran = 45
Total Cycled =39

Monday is usually a rest day but since I skipped my previous Sunday's long run, I felt I needed a medium-ish run to compensate.  I was tired and I struggled.  Tuesday's interval training was a surprise, just like the last one.  I can't see my watch in the dark (and don't want to constantly push the light button anyway) so I'm unaware of my pace until I'm done.  I was surprised to see the splits were all between 4:06 and 4:12.  It was very warm and muggy that morning and I was pleased.

It's still pretty dark in the park after I'm finished.

I wanted Thursday's run to be at steady marathon goal pace.  I got it done but my body is telling me that pace is going to be hard to sustain for the marathon distance -- at least in this unrelenting summer weather.  Chicago, will you be cool?

I'm sporting a tank from Sarah Marie Design Studio on Friday's ride.

My last planned 20+ miler made me a little nervous all week.  I was dreading the heat and humidity poop-fest that I was certain would ensue.  It was warm and muggy, but with plenty of cloud cover and a nice steady breeze -- it was quite tolerable.  I was able to run strong, although slow.  I played the keep-my-HR-low game for 17 miles and then ran the last 4 at a faster pace.  I was overcome by emotion at the end.  Total.Blubbery.Mess. 

I'm still nervous because I'm approaching the time when I developed the stress fracture during last year's Chicago training.  It happened a few days after the last long run -- during taper.   I'm acutely aware that getting through the last long run doesn't necessarily mean I'll line up at this race.  Part of me wants to lay in bed for the next 20 days.  Where is my protective padded hover bubble?

Saturday afternoon was spent cheering our football team to a nail-biting narrow victory (Roll Tide) and capped off with dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant.  I indulged in my favorite: Red Curry Chicken atop a mountain of steamed rice.  Sunday I intended to rest but just had to get outside for a little while and went for a spin.
Take a look at this wonderful race!

I'll be running the Panama City Beach Half Marathon on December 3rd (renamed from the old Run For The Redfish).  I've run this half more times than any other.  I twisted the arms until they cried "uncle", begged,  gently persuaded a few other Weekly Wrap ladies to join me.  It would be wonderful to see even more of you there!  How about it?  If you want to run a small town half (or full) in a beautiful coastal Florida Panhandle town...and connect with some of the ladies who link right here...come on down (over, up or across -- as the case may be)!

And that's a wrap!

There were a ton of races this weekend!  Tell me about it!

Do you like Thai food?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Teach Me!

You learn something every day if you pay attention.
--- Ray LeBlond

As my Chicago marathon training cycle winds down, I think about what this summer-tough training cycle has taught me.
  • The devil himself must live in my neighborhood
  • I sweat like a mother...
  • I can rust the inside of a mailbox
  • No one ever picks up a dropped Q-tip
  • Those runners still will never wave to you
  • Throw those wet running clothes in the sink so they don't stain the carpet
  • The paper delivery person drives way too fast!
  • Take your shoes off outside
  • Tailwind tastes better when ice cold
  • The Dew Point is a cruel, cruel joke
  • The smell of rotting grass makes me nauseous
  • The school bus driver drives like a bat out of hell
  • Some people let their dogs out unattended...with no fence
  • Whining still changes nothing
  • Crooked light poles are a new pet peeve

All kidding aside...
  • I love seeing the little lighted church framed perfectly at the end of the street
  • Birds sing loudly and beautifully
  • I never tire of watching the sun rise
  • There are very nice people who do wave
  • I can do hard things
  • I'm stronger than I give myself credit for
  • There are some amazingly strong women out there providing invaluable support

What does your running and training teach you?


I'm linking up with Deb @ Deb Runs for the Wednesday Word.

Please visit Deb and the other participating bloggers.  It's fun!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I Was Transported (WW # 58)

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap!
This link was created to support active women!
Click  > HERE <  to see complete rules.

M - Rest Day
T  - Ran 6 Miles Easy
W - Ran 8 Miles (1 w/u + 7 @ 9:37)
T  - Cycled 15 miles (15.0 mph)
F  -  Swam 20 minutes
S  -  Transporter Sprint Triathlon
S   - Water Skied 2 x 15 (30 miles) + Strength


I was recently given the opportunity to review products from Skinny & Co.   As you probably realize, Coconut Oil is quickly becoming a staple in our kitchen and bathroom cabinets.  The difference is that Skinny & Co. cold-processes 100% raw coconut oil from wild-harvested, handpicked coconuts. Their Sugar Scrub is excellent for exfoliating my dry elbows and knees and I must say I'm addicted to its heavenly scent.  And the Facial Oil?  It's a great way to remove makeup and moisturize too.  Next up I'll be trying raw coconut oil in the kitchen. Honestly, it's many uses are endless.  Use code SKINNYCO15 to receive a discount and experience the difference for yourself.  

Since this was a cut-back week for marathon training, I decided last minute (aka the evening before) to register for my fourth sprint triathlon.  The Transporter Triathlon was held at The Waters, an elite planned community.  Ironically, during this past week they posted no swimming signs around their lakes due to the recent removal of alligators and snakes.   Hmmm.....

While waiting for my swim start from the back of the line, I tugged on my goggles and they came apart.  I realized I would need a tool to repair them.  So off I go into the water, a goggle-less contacts wearer. My feet were immediately buried in muck.  It was like...thick snot.  Uh-huh.  The swim was shallow enough in places to put your feet down -- if you dared.   There was a little pack of us older ladies that stayed together and encouraged each other.  We exited the water and ran along the beach.  As we jogged past the community pool, there was a lady splashing water on our feet to remove the sand.  How nice!  Time = 11:38 (??)

I tried hard to transition quickly and think I did well, but the times are not accurate.  {No, I did not stay in transition for 23 minutes and 59 seconds Mr. Timing Company.}  The bike route began and ended by weaving around in the community with it's excessive number of large speed bumps.  I guess it's good to know my brakes work adequately.  I was terrified to take one at high speed and they cautioned us several times not to.

Lots of small rolling hills = constant gear changing.

Once we got to the main rural road I was able to maintain some speed.  The route was basically two different out and back legs but neither closed to traffic.  Cyclists were hugging both sides of the road with cars trying to pass from both directions.  Drivers seemed respectful, but they were awfully close at times.  Law enforcement did stop traffic at the turnarounds.  There were plenty of rolling hills but I actually enjoy those on the bike.  This remains my favorite leg -- passing young and old, male and female. Garmin Time = 44:33 

Me and my Sanity.    I've still got my game face on!

I transitioned lightning fast (I think) into the run and was immediately overwhelmed by the oven blast of our southern summer morning.  Only a small portion of the route was shaded and there was no cloud cover or breeze.  I shuffled along and ate a GU as I waited for the dragging-concrete feeling to pass.  It did and I overtook a few people on the run.  There were a couple of hills thrown into the last mile for good measure.  As music is officially not allowed, I was entertained by the loud squishing of my shoes. How can I still be wet?   Garmin Time = 29:00

We also received a nice visor but I was too lazy to retake this!

My total time was 1:28:21.   I do think the finish time is accurate, just not the pieces.  I squeaked onto the podium with a 3rd place age group finish.  There weren't many people in my age group [three hee-hee?]. Knowing how hard I worked and what a tough, hot day it was -- heck yeah, I'll take that pretty copper extra medal. 

After Saturday's brutally hot event, I chose an early morning at the lake instead of my usual Sunday run. I'm not sorry as the opportunity will soon be gone until late Spring.  The water was like a mirror.  To compensate, I'll do a mediumish run Monday morning instead of taking my usual rest day.  And, it's not like I was slacking...  

I also captured a glorious sunrise on the water (no filter).

Quickly one more thing: I was honored to be chosen as one of the first brand ambassadors for Sarah Marie Design Studio.  I'll be excited to share her wonderful running themed apparel, jewelry and accessories in the coming weeks. 

It's back to marathon training where I'll peak at my highest mileage and longest run this week.

And that's a wrap! 

Did anyone else race this weekend?

What are you currently training for?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Weekly Wrap # 57

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap!
Click  >>HERE<<  to see rules.

EEK!   Look, it's under 35 days!
M  -  Ran 6 Easy Miles
T   -  Ran 8 Miles 
        (1 w/u + 7 @ MRP)
W -  Cycled 15 Miles
T   -  REST
F   -  Ran 7 Miles 
       (1 w/u + 8 x 800's w/ recovery)
S   -  Cycled 20 Miles
S   -  Ran 20 Miles 

Total Ran = 41
Total Cycled = 35

Tuesday's run was a practice at steady marathon race pace.  I wish it had felt easier, but with the weather still at it's peak humidity and dew point levels I really didn't expect it to.  I will continue to do these runs once a week, hoping they get easier. 

I had two wonderful bike rides this week. 

I chose speed work for Friday's run.  I didn't have my Garmin set properly to see my pace (only distance) during my intervals.   I was pretty surprised to find that I averaged 8:37 for the eight 800's.   I feel good about that, again considering the 77 degrees steamy morning.

Sunday's 20 miler wasn't as tough as I expected.  Even though it was still warm, there was a nice breeze blowing.  Once the sun came up, I had cloud cover as well.  Karen and I decided we'd virtually run together.  Knowing she was out running at the same time sure did help.  I was very grateful for all of these things, which translated to my strongest long run during this training cycle.  

I haven't switched teams.  I'm trying my visor from Chewacla Tri.

I'll just keep this post short and sweet.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Labor Day holiday weekend.  We are heading to the lake Labor Day morning (if the wind dies down) and will host a family backyard BBQ later in the day.

And that's a wrap!

What are your Labor Day plans?  (Or, how did you celebrate?) 

Do you run 800's?  Do you like them?