Monday, July 28, 2014

Dutiful weekend report

It was the case of the weekend that wasn't, again. 

I think I define a weekend as downtime at home, and lately, that's just not happening and I miss it.  Two more weeks I think, then I'll do that. 

Saturday was a run, a massage, breakfast with friends, yoga, and then an afternoon at the pool with two friends and my godson.  It was so hard to talk to his mom because he was so talkative.  He kept interrupting, telling us to watch him jump in the pool, wanting me to read to him, talking about random things.  It was hard to get a sentence out, let alone for one of us to speak a whole sentence and the other respond.  He's a handful at 5 and a half.  The thing I should most remember at this age is that his pants just will not stay up.  It's so funny.  He has the permanent plumber look with pants and it's even worse with swim trunks.  In the few suits that seem to have real drawstrings, his mom said they loosen up somehow in the water.

Sunday was a long run -- 17 miles!  legit "long" -- followed almost immediately by yoga, then lunch at home, then Chinese class, then we had our neighbor over for dinner, then church.

I was fairly pleased with the long run.  Overall pace was only 1 second faster than last weekend's 16 miler, but I think I felt better.  I felt like the first 15 miles were pretty solid, and I was getting hot and tired the last two, but I'll take it.  My biggest complaint was that my socks and shoes were soaked.  I have no idea why.  I was sopping wet when I finished, as is the case with any run over 10 miles for me since it's often 80 or warmer even at 5:30 a.m. when I start my long runs.  But being soaking wet doesn't usually mean that much movement of my feet in my shoes.  Oh well.  No damage done. 

I think the most entertaining discussion of the weekend centered on our 2015 travel plans.  Just toying with some ideas.  Will have to post about that later.

Most exciting thing on the immediate horizon:  my boss is going on vacation on Friday and all week next week!  I think I'm going to work from home the entire time! 

Between that and hopefully having a quiet Saturday on Aug. 9, hopefully life will feel like it's settling down into the more relaxing pace that I prefer, but now that we're up to 17 miles on the long runs, in reality, every weekend for the next couple months is probably going to largely center on the long run.  I'll take it.  If only I could nap AND go to yoga AND go to Chinese class on Sundays after the run...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Finally on Pace

I feel like I've been in a lackluster training cycle(s) pretty much since the Berlin Marathon last September.  I dutifully took time off to enjoy Oktoberfest and time with my husband's family in Italy (who treat us like we're geese destined to become foie gras).  But I just haven't felt like I ever bounced back from that time off.  Even with no spring marathon, I started fall marathon training and have just remained out of the groove.

And it's dangerous to be 10 weeks into a training cycle (albeit a long-ish one) and be out of the groove still.  Because at this point, the runs are getting more intense.

This past Sunday's long run was 16 miles with 8 miles at marathon pace (which for me is not a pace, but a target heartrate zone based on my last lactate threshold test). 

I just didn't do it. 

I mean, I got in 16 miles, but they were all easy.  Looking at the pace of the last few was kind of scary.  Very, very slow.

Monday was boot camp, I took it easy per my usual rule for the day after any run of 15 miles or more.  I've found pushing hard is an easy recipe for injury.

Tuesday was 8 miles with 2 at pace.  The plan was 4 easy, 2 pace, 2 easy.  Instead I did 1 easy, 7 pace.  I was aiming for 1-6-1, but I couldn't bring my heartrate down enough of that final easy mile.  But it actually felt okay.  I was anxious for each water stop, about every 2 miles, but I survived.

Yesterday was boot camp, followed by a run to work, then a day of work, followed by a run home.  I was a bit nervous because I haven't been commuting more than one day per week lately and yesterday was 100 with an ozone alert.  The temp dropped a bit by 6:30 when I left work, but it was still over 95.  I took it easy, and it was fine, just sweaty and chafe-y. 

So I had no idea what was in the cards today.  The schedule was 6 miles with 4 pace.  The plan was 1-4-1.  By the time I started pace work, I was considering modifying the plan to 1-1-4 (which is to say 1 pace mile, followed by 4 easy).  I survived the first pace mile and had to go another quarter mile to get to the water stop, so I tried to hang on til then.  My heart rate came down a little when I grabbed a drink, and then I decided to try to push to the u-turn point, which would have given me 1-2-3.  That had a nice ring to it.  I hit the u-turn and the mile ahead seemed fairly brutal.  Somewhat uphill, and I was pretty much solo, though a few of my buddies were within shouting distance in front of or behind me.  I tried to push up the hill and while I was going fairly slowly, my heart rate was high.  I crested the hill and decided to push the last bit of down/flat road to get to the water stop.  After the water, I decided I'd just finish out the pace mile since it was just another quarter, which would give me 1-3-2.  We had a sharp turn in between miles 4 and 5, and my watch beeped in the middle, but one of my friends was right there with me, so I decided to try to hang on pace until the stoplight, which was about half a mile away.  And as luck would have it, no cars in sight, despite the fact that it's a fairly busy road 24/7 (Mockingbird).  So instead of getting the breather I hoped to wait for traffic, we sailed through the intersection.  Another friend caught us and by running with the two of them, I decided to try to hold on the final half mile.  I kept asking Laura how much further.  I was desperately hoping she wasn't irritated by it, especially since I had my own damn watch showing distance, coupled with the fact that this part of the run was actually part of my commute and an area within a mile of my house that I know insanely well, so I could have estimated very accurately how much further to finish the pace mile.  She said .4, then .3, then one lap around the track, then .1, and then ... it was over.  I managed the planned 1-4-1.  My final mile actually ended up being solo because I really tried to bring my heartrate down and relax.  I kept telling myself the real work was done, there was no need to push anymore. 

I felt so friggin' proud when I got done that I high-fived about 8 of my friends. 

It seemed like this was the first time I've actually run the plan in all of 2014 (aside from days when the plan was all easy miles). 

It was the first time that the voices wanting to dial it back were as loud as ever but didn't prevail.

 Does this mean I'll get my goal time in October? No.

Does this mean I'll even PR in October? No.  

But does this mean I have some chance at either or both of those?  Maybe. 

I'd really been having second thoughts about having registered for a marathon this fall.  Especially since my husband was adamantly opposed.  He thought it was ridiculous to spend money on a race, flight and hotel, given that we have a massive trip just a few days afterward -- meaning massive packing, massive chaos at work trying to get ready to leave, and massive expenses hitting the bank account.  He also thinks it's a very bad plan to be in India with a post-marathon immune system.  So as I completed lackluster run after lackluster run, I started to think registering was in fact a very bad idea. 

But as of right now, 3.5 hours after finishing my first solid run in ages, I'm thinking I'm glad I've got a race on the horizon this fall...

Perhaps all is not lost. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Randomness

I can't begin to say how excited I am for this week.  It SHOULD be the first week in over a month that I haven't gotten on an airplane for some reason.  There's a slight chance I'm going to Philly this afternoon for a couple days, but we have a call this morning and I'm expecting counsel to report that the setting has been continued.

So I figured a post of randomness is in order.

In my effort to do something other than work, when I was in Baton Rouge, I toured the state capitol: 


I need to memorize this chart for Chinese class (along with the accompanying sounds):


I came across this line at work and texted it to my husband.  He said it's totally cringe-worthy.  Any man would read that term and even when preceded by "zero" would still cringe, and possible even physcially recoil a bit:


I'm thinking of trying to do a surprise party for my husband's birthday (while he hasn't read the blog in soooo long, I'm hoping this point buried in one post somehow won't surface in the next 2.5 months). Maybe just having people over for desserts, which I could probably easily make and tell him were for Chinese class or something, and then have my best friend put out while people came over and we were out to dinner.  But the timing is tough.  We'll be in India probably for his birthday, and the weekend before our trip I'll be at the marathon in Portland (and the weekend before that, my folks will be visiting).  Hmmm...

The puzzle is done.  Just so you know, each photo was at least 12 hours apart from the last one.  I got it close, but then the last 50 or so pieces were tough.  All very dark and generally indistinguishable.  And being out of town did not accellerate my progress. 





Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the finished product!

Alone in my hotel room in Philly, I played some game where you tried to guess the name of an 80s song based on the first second.  I sucked at it, but it was still fun to see the videos.  How did we not know he was gay?


I did get to enjoy some of the polar vortex I guess.  It was 65 when I went running in Philly on Friday morning.  That felt cool to me. 
 


While in Philly, I accidentally ran in the hood. Big time. As in bars on the first AND second floor windows of the houses that didn't seem to be abandoned.  Pavement cracked beyond all recognition.  Abandoned vehicles.  Weeds.  The few people I saw awake seemed to either be homeless or up to no good.  By far the scariest run I've done in the US.  And significantly scarier when I realized I hadn't really told anyone where I was going or when I'd be back.  Of course it was fine, it was just very sketchy.  For anyone who knows the area, I ran in North Camden.  I basically went across the Ben Franklin Bridge, and I wanted to go to the right, toward Rutgers, which looked nice, but there were about 6-10 lanes of traffic separating me from that (only the north pedestrian side of the bridge was open).  So instead, I turned to my left.  Up 6th Street to Pine Poynt Park (which was beautiful), and then back down 7th to the bridge.  I concluded that I'd be okay.  Defense counsel knows I run and he was meeting me at my hotel, so if I didn't show up, I decided that he'd most likely confirm I'd checked in to the hotel and then raise the alarms that I was missing eventually.  He'd call my boss, who would call my husband, who would call my cell phone, which I wouldn't answer, and then he'd track my cell phone to the hotel room, hotel staff would go in and find no running shoes but all my other stuff, and then they'd start looking.  And my husband would tell one of my running friends.  And they'd tell my other running buddies.  And then the 6 people I'd talked to about my grand plan of running across the Ben Franklin bridge and crossing a state line during a run for the first time in my life would happen -- and they'd tell the police and then they'd know where to look.  (After discussing, we concluded it was the first run where I'd cross a state line, since there's no real state line in the Marine Corps marathon, since DC isn't a state, and since we concluded that the NYC marathon starts in NY, even though it seems like it could be another state.) 

I had a pretty dessert (white chocolate cheesecake) after a successful settlement conference in Philly on Friday:


My ankle still hurts. It's so bizarre. No pain when running or walking, but when I touch the outside of it, it hurts so much -- I don't spend much time touching the outside of my ankle, but when I'm attempting to do toe stand in yoga and I attempt to place my ankle on my thigh, crazy, shooting pain.

There was a dog the size of a horse in the hotel lobby in Philadelphia:

 
And the cold front is officially gone here.  It was only in the upper 60s yesterday for my "long" run (16 miles, which I guess is borderline legit long), but it was humid.  But the forecast this week appears to be getting back to normal -- lows in the mid to upper 70s, highs around 100.  Makes me want to go home, where I saw these temps this past week on my weather app:
 
 
I am attempting yoga moderation now.  With all the travel lately, I have only been going a few days per week.  But now, with the potential of two or more straight weeks at home, I'm going to attempt Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun and probably Tuesdays.  That would be 5 days per week, and if I wanted to skip one, it would still be pretty good.  I'm going to attempt to do 3-5 classes per week until the marathon. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Very Inspiring Blogger Award and TMI Questions

First a quick ankle update:  I think it's fine.  It still feels a little tender (and I cringe to think how much it would hurt if I took an uneven step and made it roll outward even a tiny bit), but I decided to try to run on it this morning.  It was fine initially, felt a little wonky around mile one to two, and then seemed fine the rest of the run.  I may have changed my stride slightly because my other Achilles is a little tight, but nothing concerning.  Whew!  That means I will get to enjoy the cold front from Philly.  Right now the low there Thurs night to Fri morning is 64, quite exciting! 

So on to my delayed post that I've meant to write for at least a week. 

When I first saw that on one of my long-time favorite blogs, Amazing in Motion, posted her answers to a TMI survey she'd read somewhere, I thought I'd play along as well at some point, especially since sometimes when I feel uninspired to write, I love doing those surveys. 

And then I saw that another newer-to-me favorite blog, Running Around the Bend, was nominated for a "Very Inspiring Blogger" award and in response to the award, posted his answers to the TMI survey Aimee had answered, so I was extra-inspired to answer them myself. 

THEN one of my newest favorite blogs, Spiritual Creaminess, was nominated for the same award and in turn, passed the nomination on to me.  And then Mike at Running Around the Bend did as well!  Thank you both.  You guys both have fabulously interesting blogs about running and beyond, and I wasn't joking when I suggested we all run Steamtown 2015 and get some other marathoning bloggers that we like to join us. 

veryinspiringblogger

So, the basics for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award are as follows:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Add the Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
  3. Share seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate a list of bloggers that inspire you and comment on their post to let them know.
  5. Post on their blog about it.
As I mentioned above, in lieu of sharing seven things about myself, I'm sharing 28 contained in this survey. 

But when we get to step 4, it's the obvious problem:  several of the blogs I read have already been nominated by Mike or Running Bear (Megan, Jennifer, etc.).  So I'm going with some on my reader that haven't been nominated as far as I've seen. 

I nominate:
Bella at Bella on the Beach.
Amy at 26.2.
Grace at Grace Dishes.
Sara at 100% Runner Girl.
Kim at Healthy Living in the City.
Anna at On Anna's Plate.

TMI Survey

Here’s a little TMI about me:

1. What are you wearing?
Brown slacks, and a striped button blouse -- not normal stripes, a-frame kind of stripes, blue and brown on white.  And brown wedges.  Accessorized with my work watch, sapphire earrings, and a necklace from my husband (see answer to 28 below). 



2. Ever been in love?
Yes.

3. Ever had a terrible breakup?
A couple, but by far the worst was while dating my husband.  I remember it well because it hurt so much, though it's funny because he totally denies it even happened if I bring it up now.  Less than three months after we'd started dating, he decided basically that things were going too fast.  He hadn't been divorced very long and he thought he felt too strongly about me, so he wanted to take a break.  That conversation happened over lunch and I went back to the office in a haze.  That night, I left work to meet two girlfriends for a previously scheduled run at the lake, and within a mile, I was walking with one of them and crying endlessly.  This may sound appalling, but I basically decided to kill myself -- the following week.  I had plans the next day to fly to Chicago to meet up with my folks in the airport, then we were all flying together to NY state, where my one of my brothers was playing ball at the time.  His now wife and now mother-in-law were going to meet us there.  We were all going to spend the long Labor Day weekend watching his games and enjoying the time together, visiting Syracuse and nearby towns.  In the back of my mind, I think I knew full well that as long as I held on for a few days, the pain and distress wouldn't be so bad and I wouldn't actually kill myself.  But in reality, I don't think I've ever been so unhappy and wanting it to end as an adult as I was then (there was of course plenty of teenage angst in my life, but I don't think I ever would have been characterized as suicidal, though I definitely told my parents I wanted to die more than once, usually immediately after being grounded, forbidden from going to a tanning bed, told I couldn't go on an unsupervised spring break trip as a senior, given an "unreasonable" curfew, being prohibited from getting another ear piercing, etc.).  I felt so thoroughly rejected.  I felt like I'd put my entire honest self out there for the only guy as an adult that really felt like the right match for me, and if he didn't want me, then what hope was there?  But like I said, in reality, I think I knew time (and in particular time with my momma) would help the process start to heal the wounds.  I woke up the next day with a puffy face and feeling nearly as miserable, I parked at the airport and boarded my flight to Chicago.  My flight landed, and as I was in the jetbridge deplaning, wondering if my flight had beat my parents', my phone rang.  Lo and behold, it was him, saying he had no idea what he'd been thinking, that it had all been a mistake, that there was no reason we should both be miserable just because we happened to find each other quickly, that I was all he wanted in life, and wondering if we could just pretend the entire prior day had never happened.  Oh, the relief!  It changed our relationship of course, and I think I was more conscious of not rushing things, but essentially, it was nearly back to before -- talking, texting or emailing pretty much daily, seeing each other several times per week, and starting to have vague discussions about possible future plans -- though I know I was more reserved and more waiting for him to make the moves, him to call, him to make plans than maybe I was before.  The downside to getting back together when we did, however, is that I was a fairly rotten daughter and sister for part of the weekend -- constantly on the phone talking or texting with him.  I didn't tell my folks what had happened, and I remember my mom snipping at me that if this guy was so special I didn't even see 3 of my brother's 89 pitches or whatever that I should have either brought him with me or I shouldn't have bothered coming.  Ahh, momma, but even that didn't make me stop smiling (though it did help me put the phone down). 

4. How tall are you?
5’5″

5. How much do you weigh?
I have weighed between 100 and 200 for my entire adult life, though the actual numbers fluctuate daily.

6. Any tattoos?
No, my parents would never let me and while I sometimes consider it now, I've never done it.  I like to joke with my husband about getting one and he vehemently opposes the idea (he has one he got int the military on his upper arm that he's considering having removed).  But in June, thanks to a particular post I read by Running Bear, I entered the exciting world of temporary tattoos.  I am contemplating never having an uninked day again.  I promise I am going to do a regular post about this soon.  It's probably going down as one of the most significant developments of 2014 in my world. 

7. Any piercings?
I have two piercings in my each ear.  I totally wanted more in high school and wasn't allowed, and funnily enough, I totally wish I didn't even have the second holes now.  I wear earrings in the original piercing pretty much daily, but those second holes can still be seen.


8. Favorite song?
All time favorite is Angel, by Aerosmith. 

9. Quality you look for in a partner?
Kindess (stealing Aimee's answer, but so true).

10. Favorite quote?
This one was actually the toughest for me to answer, so I'm going with a half-dozen or so.

"That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger."
-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
 
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
-Mark Twain

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
-Aristotle
 
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
-Confucius (see also Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail."; see also Thomas Edison, "I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.")

"I can do hard things"
-Janae (hungryrunnergirl)

11. Favorite actor?
I don’t really have one but if pressed today, I think I'll go with Denzel Washington.

12. Loud music or soft?
I'm not super musical, but when I do listen in my car, loud; when on a treadmill, loud; when at home during dinner, soft. 

13. Where do you go when you’re sad?
Either to bed or for a run.  One of the saddest days in recent memory was last April when I learned my grandpa had had a stroke.  I remember running and seeing a cardinal, which either doesn't happen often or I'm usually oblivious.  My grandpa loves birds (except blue jays) and I think cardinals are his favorites. 

14. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Out of bed to out the door for work takes me about 4 to 4.5 hours.  That includes a run or a work-out (sometimes both), breakfast, getting dressed, packing lunches if necessary, etc.  Actual time from alarm to out the door to workout is about 15-18 minutes, including grabbing what I'm going to eat in the car.  In terms of getting ready for work, I'm pretty low maintenance.  It takes me a while (15 minutes?) to dry and do my hair (a couple times per month, if I'm doing a second run in the evening, I'll just leave it in a ponytail, but I usually wash it on Mon-Thurs at a minimum).  As for make-up, all I wear to work/court is eyeliner, lipliner, and lipstick (about 2 minutes).  If I'm going to a wedding or something, I'll sometimes do powder, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, but that happens less than 6 times per year on average I'd guess.  Showering and deciding what to wear are usually tied for what takes the longest -- shower is usually about 15-20 minutes (try to stay in long enough that I'm not sweating anymore).  If I manage to decide on outfits in advance by choosing them on a Sunday or if I'm traveling and don't have choices, then getting dressed and "accessorizing" takes minutes.  On some random day when I'm not working out, know what to wear, and don't have to worry about breakfast or lunch, I'd say wake-up, contacts, shower, teeth, hair, make-up, clothes, jewelry, shoes takes me about 40 minutes.  On a weekend day, it's wake-up, contacts, teeth, hair, clothes, maybe jewelry, and it's all done within 15 minutes. 

15. Ever been in a physical fight?
No (assuming fights with my brothers as kids don't count). 

16. Turn on?
Kindness (generally sweet disposition), strong arms, bilingual, well-traveled, smiley.

17. Turn off?
Smoking, shorter than me, shouting, obesity, not married to me.

18. Fears?
My husband dying, financial ruin, dogs not on leashes, serious injury prohibiting me from running and/or traveling, my parents or siblings dying, drug addiction (since I went through the gate by attempting to smoke marijuana in Amsterdam in October 2013, it's only a matter of time before I am hooked on all drugs of all kinds), being left by my husband (I've said it before, he's a better person than I am and I wonder how he puts up with me when I'm particularly unsufferable), and gaining a lot of weight. 

19. Last thing that made you cry?
I think it's good I don't really have any idea.  I know I got pretty teary a few weeks ago when we had a friend visiting and we had a big conversation at dinner about some tough issues she's dealing with, but those were tears for her sadness and not my own.  The last time I clearly remember crying my own sad tears was at Christmas when I saw my grandpa.  It's hard to see him in a wheelchair, so small and frail and in need of assistance -- and most of all, so sad.

20. Last time you said you loved someone?
This morning at about 4:00.

21. Meaning behind your YouTube name?
Not applicable.

22. The relationship between you and the last person you texted?
This one's hard to answer because as I've been finishing up this post this morning, I've been going back and forth in two text conversations, one with my husband and one with my running buddy CW.  Right now, the technical answer is "he is my running buddy." 

23. Favorite food?
Probably cheese.  Or olives.  Or peas.  Or grapes.  Or baked goods.  But probably cheese. 

24. Place you want to visit?
Right now, the top new-to-me destinations that come to mind are the Taj Mahal (going in October!), the pyramids, Fiji/Bora Bora/etc., Israel, Dubai (going in October!), and South Africa.  And the permanent "I'd love to go back any day, any time" list at the moment is Calabria (Italy), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Greece, Istanbul, and anywhere else in Italy. 

25. Do you have a crush?
Yes!  I'm sure he knows, but I should make a point of telling him today anyway.  I hope it's mutual.

26. Last time you kissed someone?
This morning at about 4:00 when my husband left the house to go for a run, a shower/change at the gym, then to work. I kind of can go either way on Tuesday morning kisses.  I love getting a kiss before he leaves, but I hate being woken up 45 minutes before my alarm if it is a random day when I can't fall back to sleep.  The best is when he can kiss me goodbye and it doesn't totally wake me up, but I woke up this morning and we chatted for a few before he left.  And I managed to go back to sleep!  I'm counting on more kisses at about 7:00 tonight. 

27. Last time you were insulted?
Nothing recent in particular comes to mind, but one of the most stinging insults ever came my freshman year of college from some pre-law type class professor.  I went to talk to him about a C I'd gotten on an early exam in the class.  He told me I had a placid mind.  I don't give him any credit for where my life took me, but I will say that his comment spurred me to pull case synopses for class from Westlaw to review, and caused me to study harder for that class (and eventually earn an A in the class, despite the initial C).  And I do think having a good grade in that class encouraged me to continue with the pre-law plan I'd had in mind since high school, and you know, eventually got me to a top 10 law school and to one of the best firms in the country (I believe). 

28. Favorite piece of jewelry?
Very tough call.  I've got a group of favorites (and hmm, seems like I've posted about all of them at one point or another): my engagement ring (a sapphire solitaire, which I almost lost), a diamond necklace from my husband (um, yeah, which I also almost lost), diamond earrings from my husband, a special Boston necklace from my mom, pearl earrings and a necklace from my husband's family in Italy (given to me to wear for our wedding), pearl bracelet and necklace (from our amazing friends in Shanghai), TWO charm bracelets (both with a lifetime collection of charms, the very first given to me by my grandma the day I was born).  But I'd have to go with probably the traditional answer:  my wedding ring (3 interlocking bands of white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold).  Hubby and I have identical rings, which was important to me, but the inside of his is engraved (mine was too small to engrave).  The only time I take it off is during a Bikram yoga class (when I set it on my towel, next to my water) or occasionally if my nieces want to play with it (but no one gets up until I've put it back on, nearly losing other favorite pieces of jewelry has taught me lessons).  Honestly, just looking at the ring makes me feel warm, happy, loved, safe, and mushy. 

A picture from the web (if the image doesn't work, I just searched "Cartier interlocking ring"):