Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just What I Needed.

I've been in a bit of a funk. Scheduling in the last week threw my training off a bit and it allowed in doubts of whether or not I am ready for this half marathon or not. I know I can cover the distance, it is just a matter of how fast I can do it. The competitor in me wants to succeed and have a great race. I want to run the fastest I can. And that's what I'll do. Maybe it's more just being nervous of covering such a distance in a race. Going hard for that long and far. But I know I can do it. 

I was on Facebook tonight when my high school coach messaged me.
Coach: "Have I mentioned how proud of you I am??"
Me: "Hey, thanks! :-)"
Coach: "You don't need to thank me. Just keep being the person that you are."
Me: "Nervous about this next race, though!"
Coach: "You will do fine. I have more faith in your ability to do your best than any athlete that I have EVER coached."
Wow! That's just what I needed to hear. 
It's sad that my old high school has gone so downhill. They are down to 170 kids total. When I was there, there were over 100 in my class alone. Only 13 kids are on the track team. Without Coach, there would be no team. I hope the kids he has now and has had in the years since I graduated (ahem, 17 years ago) appreciate all that he has done. Without a doubt, he is the best coach I ever had.

He taught me to never give up. Without his coaching, I'm not sure I would have won a state title. He had me read The Fountainhead in which the main character battles to keep his individuality rather than blindly follow the collective. Before major meets he had me watch the Rocky movies. He believed in me and my potential.
I guess I just needed to be reminded that no matter what happens, I will succeed because I will give it my all. That's who I am.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Awesome, awesome, awesome run this morning! I had a tempo run of five miles at mid-tempo pace on the schedule and of course I was getting outside on this glorious March morning. It was 48 degrees at run time and is my absolutely ideal temperature to run in. Though it's a tough route (what isn't around here?), I like doing my five mile loop for this run. It was also the first time running in the purple Pure Connects! What a difference a half size bigger makes! I love them even more now! I also wore my Team Tough Chik singlet, as well as my new Zensah arm sleeves to see how they faired on the run before the half marathon. I'm happy to report both were great. The only slight annoyance was that the shorts of my running skirt started hiking up and I stopped twice to adjust them. They only ride up a little and then stop, so it wasn't all that bad...just something to get used to. Despite the two quick stops, I ran the fastest I ever have on this particular route. It was the same route that I did a couple of weeks ago and felt like I had a terrible run. But today, though still tough, I bettered my time by over two minutes! Woo hoo! And I just want to give a shout out to the woman walking her dog where there is a very steep hill that I considered walking. Seeing you there made me keep going and eat that hill for breakfast. Thank you!

5 happy miles done!

2. 16 days until my first half marathon...'nuf said.

3. Photo-A-Day Challenge - here I am playing catch up again, but the summer, (I mean spring, I mean...wait, what month is it?) weather has been too nice to be inside and blogging. I could really use a laptop.

Tuesday's topic was Before and After. I seriously considered cutting Finn's hair, but just can not bring myself to cut his baby hair off, so he will continue to rock the mullet. Instead, here is the before and after of Zeke's first haircut.

"Before and After" - 3.20.12

Wednesday's topic was Delicious. Here are the boys enjoying their yogurt. Too me, they are more delicious.

"Delicious" - 3.21.12

Today's topic is Kitchen Sink. I'm not about to show you the real one, and this one is way cuter.

"Kitchen Sink" - 3.22.12

Monday, March 19, 2012

Photo-A-Day #19

Funny: today's theme for the photo-a-day challenge. Finn has a love of boots. He'll bring you a pair, put on a pair, go get some more and want to put those on too, at the same time. He has a pair of "cow" boots of which we can not find both of. (No surprise given the state of organization the house is in.) Funny thing is, Finn doesn't care. He will happily walk around the house in one boot or fall asleep with only one on. At least he finally fell asleep. It's four in the afternoon and this is his first nap since waking up at 8 AM. This translates into a bedtime of at least 10 o'clock. Yea, us...

"Funny" - 3.19.12

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Long Run Sun.

The ladies joined me early this morning in Wiscasset for our weekly long run. I put together a 13 mile loop on roads I had never actually run on (drive, yes). I knew I was still going to have to cut it short due to Ian needing to leave at 8:30, but I was going to get as much in as possible.

Nice and flat, just like we like it!

Oh, how we love hills! Right, Jill? Ha, she swears at me every time another just happens to pop up in front of us. I tried telling her that they are just a figment of our imaginations, but no dice.

But look! We did go down more than up!
You complain, but I only have you run hills out of love. <3 And hey, I don't think any of you had to work tonight either... :-P I'm just kidding ladies, you know I really do love you.

And here I am actually posting the Photo-a-Day challenge on the actual day. Today's theme: "A corner of your home." Here is Zeke researching Transformers on the Kindle surrounded by his beloved Rescue Bots - 

"A Corner of Your Home" - 3.18.12
I hope everyone had a safe and happy weekend, have a great week!

19 days until Race the Runways...AAAHHHHH!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday's Six

1. Thursday I tried out my Brooks Ghost 4's during my tempo run. I was worried about reverting back to heel striking due to the higher heel-to-toe drop, but I was able to midfoot strike the entire run. I even purposely ran a few steps on my heels and it felt so wrong. Here's to good improving form!

2. Despite waking half an hour earlier than usual to get my run in, I had to cut it short to register for this race!

And I got in! 4000 spots were filled in a record-breaking five minutes! I was in between registering for this race or a half marathon in Freeport the following weekend as this will be the last race before the Maine Marathon in September, but I really wanted to do the Beach to Beacon. Last year the weather was super hot and humid and I'd like to try it again.

3. The girls and I are running our long run in Wiscasset tomorrow and I'm super excited. Ian is heading out to Long Island to check on the cottage so I need to be home first thing. I've planned a scenic 13-mile route and they have all agreed to start half an hour earlier, but I'm still going to have to cut it short. At least now I can have treats and coffee ready for when the rest of them get done!

4. Thursday's Photo-a-Day theme - "Car." Zeke and his Beemer, age 1.

"Car" - 3.15.12

5. Friday's Photo-a-Day theme - "Sunglasses." Zeke trying to give thumbs-up...with the wrong fingers, age two and a half.

"Sunglasses" - 3.16.12

6. Today's Photo-a-day theme - "Green." The boys showing their Irish spirit.

"Green" - 3.17.12

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mid-Week Montage

It's been deliveries galore here the past two days! First, my Camelbak arrived yesterday right before leaving to pick Zeke up from school.

Then my purple Brooks Pure Connects came just as we got back home. The prettiest shoe ever made!

A little later on, my Brooks Ghost 4's arrived. I am hoping to rotate these in for long runs and will be trying them out during my tempo run tomorrow morning.

Today, my Team Tough Chik kit came and I had to try out the shirt and visor. This is a preview of my Race the Runways Half Marathon outfit.

And now for yesterday's and today's Photo-A-Day challenge entries. Yesterday the theme was "Sign." This is what is hanging above our bed. It is made to resemble the signs posted on the  islands where the ferry docks. We got married on Long Island, ME. Oh, and I made this sign with my own two hands.

"Sign" - 3.13.12

Today's topic is "Clouds." While it is cloudy today, it is just a blanket of white and doesn't make for a great photo. Instead, this is from last summer on Long Island at Fowler's Beach.

"Clouds" - 3.14.12

Missing in this collection of photos is the last delivery that will be made tonight by the one and only Michelle of Average Girl Doing Average Things

Yum! And no, I did not order this many...

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Unintentional Half Marathon

When I first contemplated running a half marathon and started the training plan I wanted the first time I ran the distance to be the actual race. It's a milestone in my books and I thought I'd like it to be something special. I don't know really what the big deal was, I'm otherwise someone who hates not being prepared for something. The girls and I have purposely only run 13 miles the last few weeks in preparation for the Race the Runways Half Marathon on April 7th. Even if we were not quite to our destination, we would stop running at 13 and walk the rest. Yesterday, I threw that plan out the window. 

Our route started in Richmond at Jess's house and ended at Jen's, though Jen was not running with us and had won an entry in the Midcoast Half Marathon the day before and was up running her own half in Lincolnville. It's over near Camden in case you were wondering (and don't worry I've lived in Maine my whole life and had to look it up.) Anyway, one of Stacy's co-workers, Mollie, joined us for the run. On an interesting side note, I ran against Mollie's twin, Maggie, in high school and we were on the track team together at UMaine.

The route had some hills and was challenging and we started off at a pretty fast pace in the low-nines. But what really stood out about this run was the amount of dogs we encountered. It was insane and one was the reason I ran my first unofficial half marathon. 

All of a sudden this dog, medium-sized, excited, but friendly comes racing out to the road. We stop, yell at it to go home, and try to keep going. The dog must have thought that it would be fun to go for a run with us because it would not leave us alone. Despite all our yelling and coaxing, it would not go back. Stacy asked me what we should do, I mean we had already gone about a quarter mile and the dog showed no sign of turning back. So I volunteered to run the dog back. I thought that by running back a little ways it would get the idea. It ran next to me, but everytime I stopped and tried heading back to the girls it would start following me again. So I ran it all the way back to it's house. It ran to the house - okay, I'm good to go - WRONG! It was following me again. By now, I'm sure the others were wondering where I was. I got it to go up on the covered porch and knocked on the door for the owners to come out and take care of their damn dog, but no one came to the door. Then I spotted a crate in the corner. With no other options, I just put the dog in the crate and left. I'll bet once the owners finally got up, they were scratching their heads on how the dog got locked in the crate. And it wasn't until I was running the quarter mile back to the girls that I realized that I'll be running over 13 miles in the end. Oh well. I suppose I could have stopped before everyone else does, but really it is silly and I don't care anymore. It's not a big deal and now I have the great feeling that comes with reaching a new distance.

No more dogs interrupted the run like that one again, although we slowed down every time we saw one to make sure it was on a leash, tied up, or not going to charge us. We saw lots of breeds. A Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, Chocolate Lab, Yellow Lab, some white fluffy thing, and two ginormous Great Danes. Those things are friggin' huge! Anywho...

We finished the 13 miles in record time - 2:06:08, almost a full seven seconds faster than the week before. I added another four minutes onto my time, though it isn't exact and I'm not sure of the extra mileage from the dog incident, but it's got to be close. In my log I recorded it as 13.4 miles in 2:10. I'm an unofficial half marathoner!

And here I am catching up on my daily photos for the challenge. Writing this post has been an all-day affair. In my defense it hit 60 degrees today and we spent a lot of time enjoying the warmth outside. So here we go - for Saturday, "Loud" is a baby photo of Finn, just shy of five months old. He's only gotten louder with age.

"Loud" 3.10.12
Sunday, "Someone you talked to today" is a picture of Zeke and I. We actually got all silly and made a series of funny faces for the camera after taking this one. He's such a ham.

"Someone You Talked to Today" - 3.11.12
Today, "Fork." It was the last Monday yoga class tonight and both Stacy and Jen made us yummy treats. They were both equally delicious so I had to show both. Thanks ladies, you spoil me.

"Fork" - 3.12.12
Oh, and I did a headstand in yoga tonight! Woot!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Photo-A-Day #8 and #9

I decided it was time to update the blog for Spring with a new header and background. Though the seasons haven't changed on the calendar, the snow melted yesterday when it hit 60 and the forecast is in the 50s for the next week or so!

The camera battery died yesterday before I could post my photo for the Photo-A-Day challenge, so here's another two-photos-for-the-price-of-one-post.Yesterday's topic: "Window."

3.8.12 - "Window" or "We Really Need to Paint the House"
Today I had help again from my little photo assistants to gather everything red they could find for today's theme "Red." Zeke liked this one as he always reminds us, "Red is my favorite cah-ler." I love how he pronounces words that have an "L", they twist up his tongue so. Or in the beginning of words they have a "wo" sound. And truck sounds more like fruck (without the "R"). Gotta work on that.

3.9.12 - "Red"
Ten points if you can identify everything in this photo.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is it Spring Yet?

It sure felt like it this morning. I got up at 6 AM to do five miles and HAD to get outside. The sun was just about up and it was in the low 40s. (It's now after 9 and is in the 50s!) I got to wear capris (with calf sleeves - of course!), a short sleeve shirt with my Brooks vest, arm sleeves, no gloves and no hat. And I was more than warm enough. If not for the necessity of wearing the high-visibility bright green of the vest, I would have been fine without it. 

I wish the awesome weather would have translated into an awesome run, but it did not. It wasn't terrible, but I had higher expectations. I felt tired and slow. I now find myself comparing myself to my last race, a 10-miler. That was awesome. But somehow, I felt like absolute crap running half the distance almost a full minute per mile slower. WTH? Then that little negative voice creeps in and obsesses about my first half marathon that is coming up in 29 short days! It could have been because I was thirsty and hungry before the run and it was a lack of fuel. Or just an off day. I've just to deal with it and move on.

Speaking of fuel, I did make a delicious quinoa salad yesterday. I love that stuff!

Oh, and here's yesterday's Photo-a-Day submission. Theme: Something you wore. It seemed like my running shoes are a worthy subject. Plus, I'm sending these guys back and I want to remember them. It's not because I don't like them, I LOVE them, but I want to get a half size up and really want the purple version. Gotta love Road Runner Sports and their 90-day Wear 'Em and Love 'Em Guarantee! And I'm also looking at the Brooks Ghost 4 to have a more substantial shoe for long runs and high mileage and save the Connects for speed work and races. Funny how I went all minimal and now I'm going the other way. I think it is a good idea to be able to rotate between shoes though, especially if you are upping mileage like I am. I had my first 20+ mile week last week and this week was the same. 

"Something You Wore" - 3.7.12
I'll post today's photo later. I still need to take it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Treadmill Tuesday

I got my first short-distance speed workout on the treadmill this morning. Last week was 1600m repeats, but today I had 400s on the schedule. To hit my required pace, I had to crank the 'mill up to 8.6 (7:00 pace). I felt like I was flying and it felt great! I was supposed to complete 10 repeats with 400m of rest in between, but ran out of time before needing to get everyone ready for the day, so I had to cut it short at 8 repeats without a cooldown. Oh well.

This Thursday's tempo run is five miles @ mid-tempo pace. Even though it is still a bit dark in the morning (and next week be even darker because of Daylight Savings - I hate losing an hour of already precious sleep), the weather forecast is this:

57 degrees! I wonder how warm it will be at 6:00 AM? Should I run outside? Too bad I can't run during daylight hours.

Today's Photo-a-Day theme is 5 PM. Since this post has been somewhat focused on the sun, here's what it looks like at my house at five.

"5 PM" - 3.6.12

Monday, March 5, 2012

Photo-a-Day #4 and #5

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday's photo for the challenge. The topic was "Bedside." Missing is the chapstick that Finn ran off with.

"Bedside" - 3.4.12

And today's topic is "Smile." I decided to post one of my favorite photos of Zeke. This is from when he was eight months old.

"Smile" - 3.5.12

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Photo-a-Day #3

Today's photo theme is "Your Neighborhood." Since I worked all day and it was dark by the time we got home, I wasn't able to take an outside shot. Instead, I enlisted the help of the boys to create a scale model. Okay, so there are no tall buildings where I live, or such busy streets, or helicopters on the top of skycrapers...

"Your Neighborhood" - 3.3.12

Friday, March 2, 2012

March Photo-a-Day Challenge

I mentioned yesterday that I was going to participate in Fat Mum Slim's March Photo-a-Day challenge where you are given a list of topics and you take a picture of it on the corresponding day, however you choose to interpret the item/topic. 

I'm going to create a tab on my home page to display all the photos I take, so if you'd like to see my collection as it grows, you can view it there. 

Today's topic was fruit, so here you go!

3.2.12 - "Fruit"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tommie Copper Winner!

Just a quick note to let you know who the lucky duck is of my final Runniversary giveaway. I first wanted to thank all who entered and especially the good folks at Tommie Copper for allowing me to host such a great giveaway. The winner of a Tommie Copper hat and pair of sleeves of choice goes to: