Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Week in Review and What's Coming Next

The last full week in April was a drop back week, so all runs were easy and with low mileage.

Tuesday - 4.3 miles, 9:29 pace

Wednesday - OFF

Thursday - 4 miles, 9:17 pace

Friday - OFF

Saturday - OFF

Sunday - 4.2 miles, 9:25 pace

So the race I'm currently training for is the Kennebec River Rail Trail Half Marathon in June. I've been having some reservations about this race. I ran it in 2012 and it was hot. My recap is here. And now that I think about it that was the last time I ran a half marathon and it was only my second one. Why does it feel like I've run more of them? Weird, but it's true. Anyway, like I said it was a super hot day and my running really suffers in the heat. 

KRRT Half Marathon 2012 - mile 10ish

The fact that it still is in the 30s at night and has barely been in the 50s during the day makes me think that the heat is going to hit us all at once. While that means I'm super loving these temperatures for training, there will be no acclimation period. I can only hope it is a cool and rainy day like it was last year. However, last year I ran the 5K instead. And was first in my age group. Race recap here.

And my standing 5K PR.

Part of me wants to defend my win and if the weather is right I know that I can PR. If it's hot at least my suffering will be over in under 25 minutes. 

At this very moment I'm not feeling ready for a half, but that could just be my own self-doubt talking and I also feel like I haven't been able to be consistent on my long runs. However, I want to race with Jen. Sigh. We had such a fun time running the Mid-Winter Classic together, I really want to do the KRRT Half with her. 

Mid-Winter Classic - mile 5 (photo courtesy Maine Running Photos)

We really helped each other have a strong race. Anyway, I'm going to suck it up, get in my long runs, and finish this training cycle strong. If I can execute the race going off my training paces and it isn't a million degrees, I'll have a 6:30 PR and a 9:30 course PR. I can't change the weather on race day, but I can go in as prepared as possible and with a positive attitude. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tommie Copper Compression Socks {Product Review}

I'm a huge fan of compression wear. I wear it a lot. Like nearly every day. There are times when I wear it while running, but I also love wearing it after a hard run or a long day of work on my feet. I struggle with aches and pains due to very bad varicose veins in my legs and compression helps relieve some of the discomfort. While I use products from several companies, some of my favorites are from Tommie Copper. You can read my other Tommie Copper reviews in the Product Review section of this blog. 

I use calf sleeves the most, but have never worn full length compression socks. I like the fact that I can wear sleeves multiple times before washing, while with socks I could not. But sometimes I wish I could have a little support around the ankles and arches. This is where socks come in handy.

Tommie Copper's Performance Compression Athletic Calf Socks are made with copper-infused yarn that gives natural anti-odor properties and well as great wicking properties to keep you cool. They are a challenge at first to get on, but because they provide great compression it only takes a little practice. At first I thought they were too small in the toes or short on my calves, but after a few wears I have gotten used to the fit. I received a size medium which is for shoe sizes 7-9.5 (I wear a 9.) I might try a size large the next time around to give my feet a little more room and a little more length in the calf. There is ribbing on the arch that provides great support and extra padding around the ankle bones that not only provide compression but as a protective barrier where shoes normally rub.

I wore them at the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler in February and had no blisters. My legs felt great the next day after racing on a hilly course. 

Photo courtesy Maine Running Photos

I've since worn them on training runs and kept them on through the day afterward to aid in recovery. I have larger calves and they hug them nicely.

They come in five different colors for women (black, white, pink, safety coral, and safety yellow) and black or white for men. Retail is $49.50 which seems about average for compression wear. For more information on these socks and the rest of Tommie Copper's product line visit www.tommiecopper.com.

Stay tuned for my review of the Tommie Copper Mock Neck Long Sleeve shirt and Compression Leggings!

Disclaimer: I was sent compression socks for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Week in Review

First, a huge congrats to all involved in an incredible Boston Marathon yesterday! While I only watched from home, I could still feel the energy and was so inspired by everything! Someday I will get there, but for now I just dream and continue to do the work to get myself to this epic race.

Here's a quick recap of last week's training - 

On Tuesday I literally ran errands around town. I had to drop off a summer camp application at Zeke's school and pick up something at the post office. It was an easy run, but I was a little sweaty when I got the counter at the post office. 

Also, I appear to be bald.

No one gave me funny looks at least. 3.4 miles in 31:44.

On Thursday I had an awesome tempo run done partially on the track.

I went into it in detail in this post, so I won't rehash it here. But I'm still proud of how that one went.

I worked all weekend, so I didn't run, but yesterday we held our 2nd Annual McEneaney Mini-Marathon - a 2.62 mile family run in honor of Patriot's Day, Marathon Monday, and the Boston Marathon. Last year I pushed the boys in the double stroller, but this time they wanted to run themselves. We didn't go the full distance, but they did run/walk 1.79 miles! Not too bad for their short 3- and 6-year-old legs.

Anyway, it is just a fun thing to do with the boys and Ian and I'm sure it won't be many more years before it will be hard to keep up with them.

It's school vacation week here, so I have to get used to waking up early to get in my training runs. But at least I don't have to run in the dark.

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Three Things Thursday - Snow, Tempo Runs, and Big Butts

One - 
I most definitely jinxed myself when I declared spring was finally here in my last post and then I woke up to snow covering the ground yesterday. 

I wonder if I'm going to have to reseed my lawn? At least this is my perfect running temperature, though I'm a bit sick of the white stuff.

Two - 
Last week I talked about how changing my attitude from negative to positive really helped me successfully complete a difficult training run. I would be lying though, if I said I wasn't a little worried about my tempo run on the schedule today. I noticed last night on my way to work that the relatively flat bike path in Brunswick is under water due to the river overflowing its banks. I like doing tempo runs on flat areas since it is easier to stay at a constant speed. However Bath is not flat. Really the only flat place is the track, 1.5 miles away. So I ran a slow warm up mile, then started the first tempo mile on the road and finished it on the track in 8:07. 

I really wanted to set up those hurdles.

Exactly the pace I was supposed to run. Tempo mile two came in at 8:08...close enough. Tempo mile three - 8:00. Okay, a little fast, but I'm feeling really good. I started the fourth and final tempo mile keeping up the slightly faster pace knowing the last half mile would be on the road and up a quarter-mile fairly steep hill. I left the track to start heading home and was not going to let this hill defeat me. My watch beeped just as I crested the hill, I look down and it says 7:56! Woo-freaking-hoo! 

I win again, hill!

Another easy mile got me home for a total on six miles in 51:29, an average pace of 8:35. It's a few hours later now and I'm still feeling amazing.

Three -
A week or so ago I was checking my Blogger stats and noticed that someone had found my blog by a search for "big booty women in compression shorts."


Okay, I know I'm a little thick through the hips and quads, but I was curious as to what image was out there that matched me up - a picture of me in my Tommie Copper compression shorts. Then I recognized the person in the picture next to mine. 

Christy from My Dirt Road Anthem. Christy is one of the fittest people I know through blogging. She most certainly does not have a big booty and honestly I don't think mine looks that big either. What the heck, Google? Anyway, we both had a good laugh about it and enjoyed being bootylicious together. 

What about you?
If you have a blog, has anyone found you through a funny search?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Week in Review - Believe in the Run

It's been another good week of running. I think spring is finally here for good. I am ignoring the fact it is calling for a mix of rain and snow tomorrow night. 

On Tuesday I did an easy 3 miles (8:58 pace) in the rain before picking Finn up from preschool. 

Wednesday is an off day and I spent it worrying about my speedwork session the next day - mile repeats. Yes, back in the day I was a sprinter, but running faster than my 5K PR pace for multiple miles had me a little concerned. 

I woke up Thursday and decided that my negative thinking was just setting myself up for failure. Believing in myself and embracing the fact that this run would probably hurt was what I had to do to complete this run with success.

After a mile warm up, I got to work and clocked the first mile repeat at 7:25. I was pleasantly surprised. I knew the second repeat would be tougher since I have to go up a gradual incline, then up and over an overpass, and turn around and go back up and over before the mile was over. I still managed to beat my goal time of 7:37 by two seconds. 

The last 800 meter rest interval seemed to go by so quickly, but I knowing that I only had one more fast mile to go and the fact that I had met my goals for the previous two got me motivated to finish strong. The last one was tough, but I felt pretty good the whole time. My breathing never got out if control and when it started getting hard, I'd just tell myself to relax and it really helped. My last mile repeat was done in 7:22!

One more mile as a cool down and I completed 6 miles in 52:58 and an average pace of 8:46. I was riding a runner's high for the rest of the day and felt so proud that I absolutely crushed that run. 

Maybe it was the shoes?

Friday and Saturday were rest days from running, but it was pretty busy at work. We headed to the library on Friday and had fun playing in the park. 

We also made apple-cinnamon muffins to take to Finn's Art and Music Show for preschool on Saturday morning. 

So yummy.

It was so cute. He did a great job with all the singing and motions.

Preparing for his performance. Note the extreme concentration.

Sunday was my long run day, but unless I am meeting up with the girls to run, I find it very hard to take the time to get out there myself. It is the one day that all four of us are home for several hours at a time, so sometimes I would rather spend our family time together unless I already have plans.

So I did my long run Monday instead when Zeke was in school and Ian can spend some one-on-one time with Finn. Plus it was a much nicer day yesterday than on Sunday. Actually the weather was gorgeous! 

Ian wanted to get in a run too, so I decided to only do 6 miles instead of the 11 on my plan, but chose a route that hits some of the steepest and/or longest hills to make up for the shortage in mileage.

I really ran on feel and rarely looked at my watch. I just focused on keeping it easy. This was a little hard because of my need to attack the hills and the fact I was already sweating like crazy within the first mile. I was so thankful for the light headwind during the gradual mile-long hill between 2.5 and 3.5 miles of the route. I ran down by the athletic fields and track and prepared myself for the last doozie of a hill. I really focused on my form, lifted my knees and pumped my arms, and before I knew it I had conquered the last big hill. I felt pretty badass after that one. 6 miles done in 56:37, an average pace of 9:26. I'm hoping that I can acclimate to the warmer temperatures quickly (though I never really do) and will have to get used to carrying a hand-held water bottle again.

My springiest outfit.

Tell me - 
What's your ideal running temperature?

For me it's between 40-50 degrees. I race the best right around the freezing mark. Needless to say I was melting yesterday at 59 degrees.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Week in Review

Okay, so now all the sickness is out of our house. Despite my hopes in my last post, both boys got sick again, but I'm happy to say they are better and finally have their appetites back. 

I have to get started with P90X2 again. I did the first two days then the sickness hit, so I need to just start over.

I did run over 20 miles last week, which is a HUGE win for me!

Tuesday I did a very, very slow 3 miles. I could pretty much count on one hand the things I managed to eat over the weekend when I was sick, so my energy levels were still pretty low on Tuesday. 

Everything is still so brown, but the sun is shining!

Thursday I did an easy 4 miles. If you remember, last week I accidentally did this week's tempo run a week early. I am thankful now that I did, so I get to ease back into running with an easy one. I did my normal 4 mile loop on an absolutely gorgeous day. It finally is feeling warm here!

Yay for 40+ degrees!
No tights!

Sunday I met up with the girls on the Rail Trail in Gardiner. It had been such a long time since we had run there. There were still a couple icy and snowy sections, but for the most part it was clear. Stacy, who is running the Sugarloaf Marathon again in May had 19 miles on her plan, so Jen, Jill and I joined her for part of it. 

I ran 13.42 miles! The last time I ran over 10 miles was way back in October at MDI! My calves were pretty cramped at the end, but I slipped on my compression sleeves and by keeping moving that night at work and using the foam roller, they were perfectly fine by Monday morning.

I've also been digging up the backyard to put down grass seed. Hopefully, we'll have a nice lawn this year rather than the sunken dirt pit with a few weeds and clumps of grass like last summer. Anyway, I've been turning the soil by hand with a shovel and leveled it all out. 

I got to spread the seed yesterday and we had a nice soaking rain overnight, so hopefully in a few days it will start to grow! And we can enjoy more afternoon naps in our newly landscaped backyard...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The sickness has left the building.

I think. I hope. I really, really hope. 

So after my awesome tempo run and second day of P90X2 last Thursday I was feeling great! I was looking forward to a rest day on Friday, but also excited to keep this going and finish March up strong. However a nasty bug flew in and found a place to visit - our home. 

Let me start this by saying I am rarely sick. I'll maybe get the sniffles once a year, but I honestly can't remember the last time I was all out sick like what I just experienced. The same goes for the rest of us. We've been pretty lucky with the boys as well...I think this past weekend was making up for the lack of illness in our house.

I went to bed Thursday night at 11 and Zeke woke up at 1 AM Friday morning and was sick all. night. long. I stayed up with him on the couch. 

4 AM

It was a very long night and I wasn't loving the two hours of sleep I got with no chance to sleep the next day and having to go to work Friday night. After 21+ hours I finally got to go to bed and slept reasonably well.

Saturday morning I was feeling okay all things considered until about 11. Then I couldn't decide if I was actually getting sick or it was due to the lack of sleep. So I went into work and about an hour in I wasn't sure how I was going to make it another eight hours...chills, light-headed...not fun when my job requires standing 99.9% of the time and dealing with the public. I managed to stick it out for half my shift and an awesome friend came in to close for me. 

I was sick. I got home went immediately to bed with a fever of 100.4 and pretty much stayed in bed for the rest of the night until it was Finn's turn to be up all night. There was no way I would make it another night up with a sick child, so lucky Ian got to deal with all the fun stuff this time around. 

I was feeling a lot better Sunday, just really run-down and dehydrated. I went to work that night and thankfully it wasn't busy and I was able to get out early. I would have liked to run yesterday to get in a last few miles for the month of March, but I didn't want to push it so I had to leave my month running miles total at 53.18. I was really hoping to hit 60, but it is what it is. I'm still happy with that number, so it's okay.

So why did I tell you all of this? Well, it's my blog and I can do what I want. No, but I just to say that just because you have a goal, sometimes things are out of your control and you have to step back and be patient before continuing on. Whether it be an illness or injury, taking a short break and getting healthy first is the best way to go, else you risk lengthening the time it takes to really get back out there. I know I am stubborn (and so are a lot of other runners I know), but sometimes you just have to LET IT GO

P.S. We might be the only family with young kids that has yet to see that movie.

What about you? 
Are you impatient when faced with sickness or injury?
Have you seen Frozen yet?