Monday, July 21, 2014

Saturday's Run Recap: Shout Out to Swim Moms (and Dads)!

I braved the humidity and hills for Saturday's long run. It was another 11 miler on the schedule, and this time I took a route through Fairfax that includes a lot of elevation change. Then the route takes me back through my neighborhood, where there were unexpected treats.

It was the last day of swim meets for the local pools. My run took me past the Commonwealth Swim Club, which was hosting a meet and therefore had all the grills warming up by the time I rolled by at about 8:00. As I was drifting by on that delicious smell, I happened to see a caravan of cars headed my way. It was the A-team for another neighborhood pool, Lakeview, heading out to an away meet. Some of the members of this intimidating crew are super awesome runners from my neighborhood, so I got a couple of encouraging honks as they rolled by. This helped me get up and around the last four miles of the run with a smile on my face.

Our kids are not big swimmers, so after a few years on swim team, they moved on to other things. Saturday reminded me of the mountains of respect I have for all the swim team parents, getting up early every Saturday and sweating it out at the long and often thunder-plagued Monday night meets. And that's just for starters! I know plenty of moms and dads who get their li'l fish to extra practices at crazy hours, just so junior can reach a goal. They volunteer, they hang out for hours of practices, they spend big $$ on suits and gear, and they're giving their kids a gift of a lifetime of great exercise habits. My hat's off to those swim folks.

Especially when they honk at me on their way to dominate another team.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

In Praise of an Early Morning Run

Yesterday was a little bit of a milestone: I broke down and pulled out my headlamp for my morning run.

Believe it or not, it's getting to be pretty dark at 5:00 am, particularly if it's cloudy. After a few runs last week where it just felt Super Dark, I thought I'd be safe and bring out the lamp.

Usually it's a winter thing, so it made my forehead sweat a whole lot. And I had enough light to take it off after two miles. But I was still glad I had it.

With it being so Virginia-hot here the last week, I have appreciated early morning running more than ever. I like to get feet on the ground at five (and usually end up getting out the door shortly after five), and once you're out there, it's all good.

You know that if there is going to be any cool breeze to be had that day, you're going to get it.

You can smell the soap, showers, and odd cigarette that go along with people starting their day.

You can wave at the Washington Post delivery guy and the folks who drive the Metrobus route to the Pentagon (they often wave back and sometimes honk!). You can also call out a hearty "Good morning!" to the sleepy commuters, which surprises them quite a bit.

You can mix up your training surfaces by running across the grassy strip between the sidewalk and the curb.

If you're lucky, you can hear the sweet, sweet song of a sprinkler a few front yards ahead. There is something about the smell of that cool hose water as it sprays down a neighbor's lawn (and your legs).

You feel a little kinship with the other crazies out there with you early in the morning.

You come home to the promise of hot coffee, a hot shower, and if God is smiling on you, a husband who has unloaded the dishwasher.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Oh, Hey, It's Summer!

Yesterday was my first official long run of the fall training season and I was happy to spend it with these people:

That's Melanie, Robert, and Linda, some of my favorite running people. Actually just some of my favorite people, period.
Melanie is training for the Chicago Marathon in October, and she, Robert, and Linda were going 13 miles. I only had an 8 miler on my schedule but decided to add a couple so as to hang out for an extra couple of minutes. And I like to support Melanie, too, but am not as tough as Linda and Robert.

We started in the Reston, VA, area on the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail. Heading east for 5 miles on that thing gets you almost all of the way to Vienna, and I was lucky enough to see some Vienna-ites (or are they Viennese if we're talking about the Vienna in VA?). Joel H., who runs fast, ran by, and my cousin Megan, who also runs fast, happened to be biking fast yesterday. I see Megan almost every time I go run out there and really need to figure out a way to run with her.

Did I mention that it was hot out there? I mean, HAWT! Steaming, people. Muggy, too. It took it out of me; really, I don't know how those other three kept it up for that last three miles. Here's how we looked at the end.

But on the bright side, I gave blood yesterday afternoon, which prompted me to be very conscientious about re-hydrating. Maybe because of that, I feel just fine today. And on my new plan today is a rest day. Amen to that.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Return to the Pool!

Now that the run streak is over, it is time to get serious and start up some marathon training.

I'm doing the Richmond Marathon in November. I did it last year and it's a really, really nice race. To get ready for it, I am using one of Coach Jenny Hadfield's plans which is 20 weeks long. That's a long time! I missed the first week, doing that streak then resting over the weekend from the oft-mentioned streak, but I got started on Monday and it's on, y'all.

The plan I'm following calls for four days per week of running and two of cross training. Accordingly, I got back to the pool yesterday for the first time in about three weeks. Oh, it was tough. Because (a) I don't love swimming, and (b) I finally have made up my mind to figure out how to breathe on both the right and left sides. It took me forever just to get the hang of breathing on my right side (that is to say, at all) and now when I try on my left, I sink. But I have been glued to a great swim website, Swim Smooth, and their terrific info on switching sides. They tell me that after about 2-3 weeks I should catch on to it, so I'm swimming twice a week throughout July, then I plan to switch my cross training to one day of swim and one of biking each week.

And this is why they say marathons are mostly mental. Because you think way too much about this stuff.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Streakin' and Reston Firecracker 5K and Dog Poop

Well, I finished the Runner's World Summer Run Streak and ran at least a mile every day from Memorial Day through yesterday, the 4th of July. Here's how I did:

Those three days where it said I didn't run? I did. I just hadn't figured out the app. I know in my heart that the streak got done! The woman that "won" the summer streak did almost 900 miles in the space of time that I did 134. I bet she didn't have any one mile days. I sure did.

And I got to finish the streak in a fun way at the Firecracker 5K over in Reston VA. It's put on by Potomac River Running, a community running store that puts on some really nice races. I was able to meet up with the Reed fellas -- two of my neighbors who run on their school cross country teams (one in college and one in high school -- they are so fast that I only saw them at the end, after they had finished running) and Debbie, who writes Deb Runs, along with the group of amazing runners that she trains with. Those are some fast mamas and meeting them was a treat.

The weather was a surprising treat, too. Cool and misty -- very unusual for a Virginia Fourth of July. The course was fairly flat, and not too crowded, and the race was pretty uneventful until the last 25 yards or so. I was trying to scratch up some energy to have a little kick at the end when I was passed by a guy with his dog. They pulled in front of me and all of a sudden the dog came to a screeching halt for a "nature call."

I was able to jump out of the way of the dog poop, and caught a glimpse of the owner's face as he was jerked backwards by the stopped dog. He was horrified, and started pulling the dog along with him. The dog was still pooping while trying to run. People were stepping in dog doo right and left. It illustrated why dogs are kind of discouraged during a race.

But it didn't slow me down too much and I finished in 25:43, which is not a PR but it's definitely my second-fastest 5K. As I enjoy my first rest day since late May, I'll take it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Last Day of Juneathon (Post #30)

I believe this is the first Juneathon where I've run each day and managed to log it and blog it properly. Yay me!

And though it's made me late for work a time or two, it's been very satisfying (good thing no one I work with reads this thing) (in fact, I know of only two people who check this blog out with regularity, and for you two, I am profoundly grateful).

Jim asked me if I'm done run streaking today and got all congratulatory but then I told him, no, that goes until the 4th of July so he's over there shaking his head. He is also looking for squirrels in the back yard because he wants to shoot them with the super-soaker water gun and I sure wish he'd get ready for work instead because hello, I'm going to need the shower.

It's going to be a low mileage week this week, and real marathon training will start up next week. I need a tiny break. But in the meantime I DID run 117 miles this month, which I hope will set me up for a great marathon season. My goal is to get it done in 4 hours 20 minutes, and beat Oprah's time in the process. More on marathon goals later on, but not tomorrow because I bet you're knackered from hearing for me.

Big thanks to Cathy White, the queen of Juneathon! Hope all of you all Juneathoners in England are getting together and pubbing it up for lunch like you like to do! If you see my daughter over there in London over the next day or two, tell her to send her dear old mom a text. I'm going to great myself to a nice pizza slice and I'll be thinking of you while (whilst) I'm enjoying it.

Until Janathon!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Recovery Run (Juneathon Post #29)

Yesterday was rough, y'all!

I hadn't had enough sleep the night before. I had too much wine the night before. I got up yesterday morning and got on FB fully planning to bail out of it and make plans to run today instead but the very fierce Melanie P. had left a message on my wall wishing me a good run and so then I decided to suck it up and do it anyway.

It was hot. It was hilly. It was sunny. But it got done. Then I ran around yesterday doing Anne stuff (including an oddly and inappropriately painful pedicure) (which looks fabulous, nevertheless) and we took our boy out to dinner for his birthday. Maybe it was the running but even that tasty dinner sat kind of poorly. It felt GOOD to go to bed last night.

This morning I took a quick recovery run and feel much better, thank you very much. Maybe a crappy run where I pay for not getting enough sleep is important. It reminds me that I'm not 22 and if I'm going to do this stuff, I ought to take it seriously.

Hot and sweaty yesterday. Really, people, where is my ginger ale?
Greeting at the door (because they'd forgotten they'd been fed):