My blog, My rules

Last week, when I didn’t write a Throwback Thursday post I said I would do it this week. Turns out…..I lied. What can I say: my blog, my rules. And in this case, there are no rules that say I have to write a Throwback Thursday post EVERY Thursday (or even every other Thursday for that matter). Don’t you agree that that would be a crazy rule? Good. Glad to know we’re all on the same page here. Now, moving along to the important things – let’s talk about RUNNING. YAY!

Let’s see….

It got hot. And humid. Monday was still pretty nice out, but Tuesday and Wednesday were difficult. I followed Monday’s easy run with another easy run on Tuesday. But with the heat and humidity, my 10:30/mile pace felt a lot harder than it normally does. Luckily, Jeff and I were running together – providing a welcome distraction – and we somehow managed to speed up over the second half of the run. That’s success in my book. It’s going to be hard, but I’m trying to do my best to not be bothered by the inevitable slowing down that occurs when the weather changes.

After Tuesday’s less than encouraging humidity run, I had pretty low expectations for Wednesday’s run in the same weather. I had already done my easy runs for the week, so I was planning to do a key workout. I debated taking a rest day and hoping for improved conditions, but for some reason (I’m still not sure why), I decided that I’d rather give it a shot than postpone.

Then, somehow, the run went amazing.  I’m not really sure how this happened. The workout was to run half a mile at goal pace, jog 3 minutes, run a mile at goal pace, jog another 3 minutes. Then repeat. The goal pace I was shooting for was 9:30/mile. I’ve been struggling at that pace recently, but last night it was easy. I kept accidentally going too fast. So weird. I really can’t explain it, but I’ll take it. Don’t get me wrong, it was harder than I’d like goal pace to be, but it wasn’t so hard that I couldn’t have run at least another round; I think that’s a good sign.

In honor of my successful run, I took a running selfie:

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Selfie on the run!

I took this on one of my 3 minute jogs, and I was really careful not to drop my phone. Or trip. I was successful, but man was it HARD. I’m surprised that I look so care-free. I was actually concentrating very very hard.

And, I wrapped up the run looking at this beautiful sky:

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Not the best skyline photo, but I don’t think that detracts from how lovely the sky was.

I’m glad I decided to give the run a chance. Aside from being a surprise success, it was the first goal pace workout of my current training plan. I haven’t done a run exactly like this before, and it was really fun. New workouts usually are.

Have you ever had a surprise good run? Does it make you less likely to skip in the future?

 

That time I didn’t want to run but did anyways, and it was great

Honestly, this title could describe most of my runs. Confession: right before I go running, I never want to go; I always want to skip. Always. I’m just getting really good at knowing better and not listening to that voice.

On Monday I almost skipped my run, but made a last minute decision to go anyways and it was a good choice. You know how it is when you know that a run is the best thing for you, but your bad mood has you convinced that you should just skip it? That was me on Monday.

I’m taking my second actuarial test in less than a week, and I really don’t have a good feeling about this one. (I know, I never have a good feeling about tests, but this time it’s a little worse.) I spent Monday reviewing practice test questions that were WAY harder than I expected, which made me feel like I am woefully unprepared. It was a MAJOR BUMMER.

By 5 PM I hadn’t run yet, and I was pretty discouraged and grumpy. Even though I only had a short easy run planned, I was pretty sure I was just going to skip it. I took a 10 minute break, googled “failing actuary exams”, and then Jeff got home from work and we had dinner and went for a walk. All of these activities gave me a little more perspective, and by the time we got back from our walk I was feeling okay about my back up plan (in case you’re interested, the back up plan is to retake the test in August), and had moved on to talking about/planning my next marathon.

I was still iffy on whether or not I wanted to run, but nothing gets me interested in running faster than thinking about an impending race – and when I started thinking/talking about a fall marathon, I’d planted a little seed – so I decided to get changed and see how I felt. Once in my spiffy running gear, I still didn’t feel like running, but I’d gone through the effort of getting changed, so I figured I might as well just go. (Ha…it’s one of the ways I trick myself).

Once I got going, I had a great time, as usual. I did a short easy run which included (5) 20 second strides. I ended up going quite fast, burning off all the frustration of the day, and by the time I got home I felt much better.

I still don’t feel confident about my test, but having been hyper focused on studying all day, failing had started to seem like a lot bigger deal than it is. Once I got some perspective, I stopped freaking out about it. I knew when I made the decision to take the test in June that it was pushing it a bit, and with a 53% pass rate on the last sitting, I certainly won’t be alone if I fail. If I don’t get it this time, I’ll just stick with it and get it in August.

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True in running and everything else in life.

It’s funny how sometimes the best way for me to get out of my head is to just get out the door.

A Short Recap of a Long Run

This weekend I ran my first long run in quite a while. (I’m not sure there’s any logic behind this thinking, but I’ve always considered 6 miles the distance that I can call a weekend run a long run.) I was shooting for 6 miles, but forgot to start my watch, and ended up going about 10k. I didn’t mind the extra bit of running, and really the whole run felt terrific.

I haven’t had a great weekend run in a while, and I really wanted this one to be a win, so I decided to run/walk it. I needed my legs to feel less brick like, and run/walk always works for that (for me). For the first 3 miles I ran for one song (~3 min) then walked a minute, then for the next 2 miles I ran for two songs (~6.5 min) then walked a minute, and for the last 1+ mile I ran the whole time.

The running sections felt fast and easy, and I ended up with an average 10:30 min/mile. I would have preferred to run closer to 10 min/mile, but this is not bad for me, especially for run/walk. I like lengthening the running sections as I get further into the run. It usually results in a quicker second half, which always makes me feel awesome.

In other news, my right calf has been giving me some trouble on and off by being tight and sore. I wore compression socks all day long last Thursday and Friday, and after my long run on Saturday, and now it feels fine.

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Compression Socks for the win!

I’m not sure whether running in compression socks has ever done anything for me, but I’ll take this as proof that they help for recovery. I have 3 pairs now, quite the little collection, and all different brands. I’m thinking of writing a little review/comparison soon. Get excited!

Now, a few questions for you folks:

Do you ever run/walk? What distance makes a long run? Compression socks: yay or nay?

#100HappyDays – Days 85 – 91

So. Close. To. The. End. 

I missed some posts and pictures this week; I’m so tired of the twitter posting. I can’t help forgetting to take pictures when I’m busy having a good time! While this is turning out to be a great challenge for recognizing happiness in everyday occurrences, it’s just annoying on the “obvious” days. Make sense?

On with the recap:

Day 85: Bunny Dog! 1st trip to Old Man River in 4 years. A bunny dog is a carrot, marinated and cooked up like a hot dog with all it’s charcoal grilled goodness. 

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Day 86: Brunch w/ some Mounties High school friends are some of the best friends. By a lucky coincidence, two of us out-of-towners were back on the same weekend! The iced chai and apple brie crepe was pretty delicious, too.

Day 87:A Day-off with Jeffy One of our rules for life: always take a day off at home after a trip. 

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I get excited when I have no plans

Day 88: Hard Cider I like hard cider, and I tried out a few new kinds this week (thanks, Nana). 

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Day 89: New Socks I got 50% off a pair of compression socks, and they arrived in the mail today! Of course, I took them out for a spin.

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Day 90: Ironing This one is a stretch. I’ll just say this: lately I’ve realized that Ironing isn’t really all that bad. Kind of relaxing actually. 

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Day 91: Grilled Cheese Club  It’s been a while since grilled cheese club met, and we were short one member, but it was a fantastically fun lunch. So fun, I forgot to snap a pic. The picture below is from our first meeting…it was so good that time.

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9 days to go! Not that I’m counting!

 

The Friday 5 – 10th Edition

It’s Friday! Last night I ran an easy 2.5 miles. This run felt much easier than Tuesday’s easy run, although my legs felt somewhat creaky after Wednesday’s interval workout. I was considering doing a tempo run today instead of taking a rest day, but now I’m thinking my legs might want a rest even if my brain doesn’t.

Now, a list of five things:

1. I bought teeny tiny little shoes for my niece, baby C. Aren’t they just the cutest? My other niece, baby S, will most likely also be getting some teeny tiny shoes in the near future. (I want to buy a million pairs!) Although, I’ve heard she likes to have bare feet.

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Those are not your shoes, Snowth!

2. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.  This is an actual sentence. It’s grammatically correct and everything. It works because the word Buffalo is a place, a noun referring to the animal, and a verb meaning to bully. The sentence means: Bison from Buffalo that are bullied by bison from Buffalo, also bully bison from Buffalo. Fascinating! I probably wouldn’t love it quite as much if I wasn’t from Buffalo. 😉

3. Lists. I love making lists. I’ve been trying to come up with what kind of challenge to do when I finish the 100 happy days challenge, and I think I may make something up that has to do with making lists. Another idea I’ve had is that I want to start a grateful/thankful things journal. I’m not sure if I’d do one or both of these things. I’m also not sure whether these would go on the blog. They’re not really running related, but I do think the blog is a good place for making lists. 

4. Boats are out!  A little change in scenery on my runs. Another sign that summer is right around the corner. 

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Those tiny white dots are boats. They looked MUCH bigger in person.

5. Game Night! Tomorrow is game night with some friends! I love playing games and we’ve been trying to get this group together for AGES! I’m excited that it’s finally happening. Woohoo! One of my non-running related New Year’s resolutions was to play more games. My plan was to try to have one game night per month with friends/family. We haven’t done that exactly (I think we’ve missed 2 months), but we have definitely been playing more games. We started a “Journey of Games” (I think I’ve mentioned this before), and we’re playing all the games we own, rating, and decluttering them. There is a spreadsheet involved, so this has been doubly awesome.

I hope you have a great weekend! 

Aside from the weather, what other differences do you notice about summer running? What’s your favorite game? 

What’s Up? Niawanda Park, Easy Running, Intervals

Hey, it’s Thursday! When did that happen? I’m still a little behind from my short trip, I guess.

Let’s talk about running!

Last Thursday Jeff and I hopped in our car and shuffled off to Buffalo. I made sure to get as many of my planned weekly runs in before we left so that Thursday could be a rest day and we could spend several hours visiting Baby C (our new niece!) immediately upon our arrival.  It’s a nice thing about my training plan that it doesn’t matter which days of the week I do which runs, so I can mix it around and then spend 8 hours in a car followed by 6 hours on a couch holding a tiny two and half week old baby.

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I hate to say it, but: more fun than running!

Because I front loaded my week with running, I only had one run to complete while visiting the City of Good Neighbors. My schedule called for a 45 min run at a medium pace/effort. It was technically my long run for the week, but my long runs aren’t currently very long (I ran longer in my speed work on Wednesday), so I’m not really sure what to call it.

Normally when I run from Mom’s house I just run around the neighborhood, but this time I wanted to get a little more scenic. So, Jeff and I made the short trip over to Niawanda Park to run along the Niagara River. And, scenic is just what we got. It really is beautiful over there.

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That water’s heading to the falls, folks!

We started out running towards the Grand Island bridge, I thought this direction was more scenic than running towards the Canal, but it resulted in us running into a pretty decent head wind.  Along with the dead legs feeling I have at the beginning of most runs, this had me feeling like I was running in molasses. We ran along the path for 25 minutes and then turned around, I think we also took a walk break sometime in the first half and/or around the turnaround point. The sun was feeling hot, and neither of us were feeling very fast.

After turning around, I slowed us way down for about a half mile. My super easy pace is uncomfortably slow for Jeff to run, so normally when we run together I try to limit the amount of time spent at that speed, but I just knew that if I could only slow down for a bit things would turn around. And it worked, when we picked up speed again, I finally started to enjoy the run.

I even felt up to snapping a picture!

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Look at this cute little bridge Jeff is running over!

The second half of our run felt like it went by much quicker, and we had picked up our pace for a decently quick last mile and a half. I’m glad the good half of the run was the second half. I wouldn’t have been in a bad mood if the whole run had felt hard, but it’s nice to finish on a high note.

Overall, I had a pretty good time running along the river. The view was nice, and of course I was reminded of all the times I had walked down/around there as a kid with family and summer camp. There weren’t too many other people out because it was Friday, but I imagine it might get busier on the weekends. The path is pretty much dead flat (as is most of the area), so there were no uphills to whine about or downhills to give me a little oomph!

I would definitely run here again when I’m in the area, especially if I have a longer run on the schedule. The one complaint I had was that there weren’t enough trees. I suppose they might block the view a bit or get in the way of some of the open spaces, but I know we both would have appreciated some more shade on the path.

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After running last Friday, I didn’t run again until Tuesday. We got back home late Sunday night, and I was too busy missing my little BFF (baby C) to get a run in on Monday. Tuesday’s run was an “easy” 25 minutes. Easy is in quotes because I didn’t really take it easy – effort wise at least. I think I need to do a better job of warming up and starting slowly, so my legs don’t feel like concrete blocks so often.

Then, yesterday, I ran intervals. It wasn’t the first time I’ve run intervals, but it was a first in a few different ways:

1. It was the first time I had run 800m intervals. In the past, I’ve done 400s on a regular basis, and last week I did 8 minute intervals, but this was my first time with 800s. It was tough!

2. It was the first time I ran measured intervals on the road rather than a track or treadmill. Our local track was redone a year or so ago, and now there are ALWAYS people using it in such a way that I cannot. Harumph! I mean people playing sports on the field in the middle and watching from the bleachers outside the track and/or standing on the track, or people from the high school track team using it for practice. So it’s not as available as it used to be. I didn’t even bother checking it out yesterday, I just decided to run my intervals on the road.

I picked a long straight stretch of road that’s about a mile long and ran back and forth until I was done (4 intervals). I wasn’t really sure what pace to run the intervals at because the road is not flat. I tried to stay in the 8’s and I think that worked for the most part, although it’s hard to tell if I stayed consistent over all 4 intervals because my speed was impacted by the inclines and declines. My overall pace, including warm-up and 3 minute recovery, came out to 9:45/mile. This is a bit slower than I’d like, but hopefully I’ll improve.

And, that brings us up to date on my running adventures. Next week we should be back to our regularly scheduled programming.*

*In case you noticed that this is not a Throwback Thursday post and you are concerned (not sure why you would be, but just in case), let me explain. I love and am excited about writing the Throwback Thursday posts, and they will continue, just not today. I had some more recent runs to recap.

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Okay, one last picture with Baby C because it’s my blog and I said so! You can’t tell but her onesie says “Auntie is the Best” (that’s me – auntie…bet you can’t guess who got her that!)

 

#100HappyDays – Days 78 – 84

I can’t believe I’ve been doing the happy days challenge, for over 80 days! I better start thinking about what I’ll be doing next when it’s finished!

I’ve been out of town for the last few days visiting with my family, friends, and brand new niece! I managed to write last Thursday’s post ahead of time and schedule it to publish itself (crazy!), but after that I was too busy hanging out and traveling for any others. I’m trying to get myself caught up; I’m sorry if I haven’t responded to comments, I’ll get there! Now, here are some happy days, although slightly behind my actual time line:

Day 78: Stocked up on snacks for our road trip It’s not a terribly long road trip, but we still need snacks! 

Day 79: Getting out of the woods The best part about trail run number 2 was getting away from nature! 

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“I can see the end!”

Day 80:Making Faces A lot of times, one of the happiest things I do all day is run, but it would be lame to have the same happy thing multiple times per week. Also, I don’t always feel like taking photos of my run. On these days, I end up with a somewhat “weak” happy thing. Like this one. I enjoy taking pictures of myself making funny faces and then texting them to my husband. His response is always equally (if not more) entertaining.

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Day 81: Lunch w/ Friends for Christine’s Birthday Tried out the Latin Spoon food truck, and better yet some ice-cream food truck. Good times with Christine, Sara, and Kate. Oh, and free Nutella. Can’t forget about the free Nutella.

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I should get better at selfies. Also, not a fan of my front facing camera quality. But, love hanging out with Christine.

Day 82: National Running Day Celebrated with a nice long (it’s relative) 5 mile interval run. First time to Salem in quite a while.

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There were no dead horses on this beach.

Day 83: Finally met my Niece She’s amazing. But knowing her genes, I shouldn’t be surprised. 

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We just got back from a long run, and baby is pooped! j/k She has to grow into her sneakers first, and learn to hold her head up, and walk…details, details!

Day 84: Running in Niawanda Park  A beautiful view of the Niagara river. Unfortunately, it was quite windy; the river was certainly moving faster than me! 

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And that brings another week of happy days to an end. It was a good one.