Alaskan Scavenger Hunt

If you’ve been reading my blog for a few months, you’ll know I did some Scavenger Hunt runs in the very recent past. I decided to take a break from that, but almost immediately after giving it up, I read this post by Kristen at Run Away With Me. In the post, she mentions how she hasn’t been able to do a Scavenger Hunt because living up in Alaska she doesn’t see the same things that have been on the typical Scavenger Hunt list (like a traffic light, for example). So, Kristen posted an Alaskan Scavenger Hunt List, and well, in the words of Barney Stinson…

challenge accepted

Kristen’s list was no easy feat for this New Englander. I think I did pretty well, but I’ll let you guys be the judge. (What do you think, Kristen? Did I rock it?) It included these 8 Alaskan items:

Mountains

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Not a strong start. Plenty of hills on my run, but no mountains. I did find this bump, though.

The Ocean

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Easy Peasy…the ocean is everywhere around here. 🙂

A Moose

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#notarealmoose #cheating

Salmon

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How much is that gold salmon in the window? Or cod? What does salmon look like anyways? I’ve only seen it cooked.

A Train

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Oh hey, I got another one without cheating!

A Glacier

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Kristen, have you licked a glacier? Does it taste like Gatorade?

An Eagle

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Eagles are EVERYWHERE. In addition to this plastic dealy, I saw four stone eagles, countless bumper stickers, and its the USPS logo, so every mailbox and mail truck…tons of eagles.

Boats

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Another easy one for New England, ending on a good note.

If nothing else, I’m pretty sure I get an A for effort! 🙂 It was quite fun trying to find these; it definitely got the creative juices flowing. Thanks for the great list Kristen!

Did anyone else try Kristen’s Alaskan Scavenger Hunt? What does a Salmon look like? If I didn’t admit it, would have have believed my moose? 

 

21 miles of mental training

OOoooff.  That is the best word to describe my long run this weekend. Well, I suppose it’s more of a sound than a word, but you get the point, right? It was a toughie. AKA: An opportunity for mental training…hooray.

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Pre-run selfie. I think I suspected what was coming?

The morning was chilly, in the 40s when I set out at 6:45ish. It was my first run of the season in long sleeves, and I didn’t regret them for a second. I did regret forgetting my sunglasses, which I think was due to the fact that the sun wasn’t really out yet when I left the house. It could also be attributed to my “mad dash” out the door.* I crawled out of bed at 6:07, which is apparently before the sun rises these days, and I was out the door in less than 40 minutes…practically a record for me. I barely had time to even check facebook, and I certainly didn’t have time to read any running blogs for a little motivation.

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I opted for a full sock today and not just the sleeves. Warmer ankles, but I missed my smart wool socks.

So, anyways, I went outside and started running. Then I just kept that up for a long time. 😉

I could tell pretty early on that I wasn’t feeling quite as spunky as last week. Something felt harder. The beginning miles passed as quickly as normal, and my pace was in the same range as last week, so it seemed that it was just my brain that wasn’t feelin’ it. Unfortunately, by the time I hit 9 miles I suspected that my legs weren’t really feelin’ it either. I usually have an inexplicable burst of awesome from about mile 9 to 14. Everything is sunshine and rainbows, and I pick up speed and have a grand ol’ time. But not this week. This week, I was counting down the miles I had left. I was feeling okay, but not great, and that was disconcerting.

The one exception to the mediocrity was unexpectedly running into Jeff, who was on his own long run, at mile 10. We don’t usually see each other out running, and it was a nice surprise.  

When I hit 15 miles, I felt okay about having 6 miles to go, but somewhere in that mile things started going downhill. Actually, that’s not too far off from what actually happened in mile 16: rolling hills. Things were quickly going from “okay” to “not bad exactly, but definitely not good”.

At the 3 hour mark, I was scheduled for my 4th gu and, more excitingly, a walk break! I decided that I’d rather have a Gatorade again than choke down the gu, but I couldn’t make myself wait for the store to take a walk break. And this is where my pace went out the window. Until this point, I was still averaging a pace around 11 min/mile. The walk break didn’t kill it, but together with the stop for Gatorade (which involved waiting in line for someone to get a breakfast sandwich), I lost something like 5 minutes. And I couldn’t make that time up. My legs were toast; I couldn’t even stop myself from losing more time. But I kept chugging along.

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At least I could enjoy the view. Well sort of, after a certain point, I have to keep an eye on the ground so I don’t trip over things.

And this is where the mental training comes in. Just after hitting mile 18, I ran by a shortcut home, and towards the bridge. I could have gone home, but I didn’t. I could have stayed in a flatter area until I hit 21 miles, but I didn’t. Instead, at 18.65 miles I ran over the stupid bridge. Then, at just over 20 miles, I ran BACK over the STUPID BRIDGE. And finally, when I was over the (stupid) bridge, I ran up yet…another….hill…before the final, blissful quarter mile of gradual decline that takes me to my front door (love).

These last hilly miles were hard. I kept telling myself “well, this is not awful”. Ha. I don’t like to think of a run as “bad”, I prefer a “it could be worse” attitude. I kept reminding myself about what good mental training this was, and thinking that “hey, at least I didn’t trip and fall”. It’s important for me to stay positive in the last hilly miles of training because my marathon has a hilly second half. If I’m going to get to the finish line, I’m going to have to not give up on the hills.

I ended up finishing 20 minutes slower than last week, which was only 1 mile shorter. Bummer. But I wouldn’t call it a bad run. Just a hard run. A necessary run. And now, let’s hope for smooth sailing for the remainder of training.

Is it cold where you live? Are you like me, or do you curse every step on a “bad” run? If I feel like this during the marathon, how on earth am I going to run 5.2 more miles?

*Why must I leave so early if I don’t need to beat the heat? Well, Jeff and I have a standing Saturday lunch date. And we like to leave the house at 11AM. Yeah, we could go later or on Sunday, but we don’t want to. So, I leave the house as early as possible considering my personal “do not get up before 6AM on a weekend” rule. I may complain about having to rush, but it’s totally my choice to do so. (Also, FYI, we left after 11 today because I was slow.)

 

 

A 20 Mile Saturday

WordPress has a filter that catches spam comments on your blog, and they don’t get posted. Occasionally, I read them. Most of them are hilariously composed. Here’s one of my new favorites:

Excellent web site. Plenty of useful info here. I am sending it to
some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious.
And of course, thank you on your sweat!

Oh, so close. That made sense for a while, and then….crash and burn! Although, I’d like to say, you are very welcome for my sweat!


Now, about those 20 miles. They were pretty great. Not very eventful, but I had a good time. I didn’t take any pictures on the run (guess I got my fill of that last week), so for the most part, I’ll have to try and paint a picture with my words. 🙂

I was out the door and running by 6:45 AM. It was tough! I don’t like to get up before 6 AM on the weekend, but I also like to take my time getting ready. It was only with Jeff’s help (he filled my camelbak), that I managed to get out the door only a couple minutes later than my target time.

I’ve been having a smoothie for breakfast on long run days, and it’s working quite well. I don’t like to eat immediately when I wake up, but I’m usually thirsty; the smoothie works well dealing with both of those issues. Also, it’s really easy. I’ll just have to figure out a way to do this on race day when I’m spending the night before in a hotel.

***I interrupt this post to bring you a smoothie recipe***

  • 1/2 Frozen Banana (I have a bag of frozen half bananas in the freezer)
  • 1 Cup Plain Soy Milk
  • 2 Ice Cubes
  • 2 TBS Peanut Butter
  • Pinch Cinnamon (if you like cinnamon)

Put it all in the blender and blend. The ice tends to make it a little icy. If you don’t like that, try a smidge more smilk instead.

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Pre-run smoothies go best when served in a pint glass from your last half marathon.

***Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.***

Even though I say my run was uneventful, I did try out a few new things. First, I ate and drank more than usual. I brought enough gel to have one every 45 minutes, and I forced myself to actually follow that plan. For water, I made myself take one extra sip every time I had some.

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Birds-eye view of my gu pocket. I look like a pack mule when I run. Full pockets and a camelbak. I’ve never been one to travel light. 🙂

This fueling plan had two consequences. One was that I felt better at the end of the run than I normally do. Those last few miles weren’t easy, but I felt less like I was running on fumes. So that’s good. The other consequence was that I ran out of water at around mile 17.

At that point, I went into a convenience store and bought the most refreshing gatorade I’ve ever drank in my whole life. I only had a credit card with me, and there was an $8 minimum, but after I offered to have the attendant charge me for 4 gatorades, he just let me pay with the card anyways. I was very grateful, but honestly if I had had to pay eight bucks, it would have been worth every penny.

Over the last 3 miles, I carried the bottle and drank the entire thing.  I really think it gave me a little extra burst of energy (remember the gummy bear show on the disney channel where they would drink gummiberry juice and get a burst of power…that’s how I felt) Now, I’m planning on getting another one next week, and trying to figure out how to get some on race day.

The other new thing I tried was taking less walk breaks. I usually walk the first 0.1 of every mile, but this week I walked only while I was eating gu (and later, drinking gatorade). I was nervous that this would lead to some pretty tired legs, but like I mentioned before, I felt strong at the end of the run. So, I’m happy with how that went, and plan to stick to that plan for the rest of my long runs and the race. I ended up w/ a faster average pace than normal (even including the gatorade stop where I did not pause my watch – once I start it, I never pause it during a run), and I didn’t notice any adverse effects. Another win!

Overall, I’d say it was a pretty productive run.

How much do you eat/drink when you exercise? Do you remember Gummiberry juice? Do you pause your watch at all on long runs? And, as always…thank you for your sweat, guys and gals!

 

So long, Scavenger Hunt…for now

I’m finally getting my photos up from my last scavenger hunt! I haven’t been hunting continuously for two and a half weeks, I just got a little lazy about posting the final photos.

Before you check out my results, I have a confession to make. When I created this final list, I cheated a little. I decided to throw out one of the items that was randomly chosen and pick again. The item was a Santa Hat, and it was replaced by Disney Lawn Ornament. My reasoning was that we’d already had “Christmas Lights” and “Out of Season Decoration” and I wanted something easier and “new” to find.

I was wrong; by doing that, I’m convinced that I jinxed myself!

I had a tough time finding a bunch of these items, especially the Disney Lawn Ornament, and you can tell that from my pictures. I did however, within the first half mile of my Scavenger Hunt Run, run by a Santa Hat. Argh! I then ran by the same Santa Hat three more times throughout the week. (Someone had put a box of junk to the curb and a Santa Hat was sitting right on top!). I feel like the universe was laughing at me.

Here’s what I did find:

A Disney Lawn Ornament

Half points? A quarter?

When I spotted Olive Oyl, I was 98% sure that Popeye was not a Disney owned cartoon. I thought that it could be possible, since Disney owns a lot of things (including the Muppets), but I really didn’t think I’d found a Disney character. Since then, I did a quick internet search and found that while Disney doesn’t own Popeye, they did produce the live action Popeye movie with Robin Williams in 1980. So, with all those qualifications…..this counts, right?

A Running Trail

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This is a walking path, but is the closest I could get. It feels “trail-like” to me, and I run on it, so I snapped a picture. 

A Water Bottle

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Could not believe how many crushed water, soda, gatorade bottles are left on the side of the road.

A Curvy Slide

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This is barely a curvy slide. I saw at least 4 of these, where did all the really curvy slides go?

Neon Clothing

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One day I decided to wear calf sleeves on my long run. I had a good run (probably unrelated) and now I must wear them for every long run.


And there you have it, the end of this series of Scavenger Hunts. I had a good time doing them, but I didn’t want it to start feeling like an obligation. I still have my master list and will probably “host” more hunts in the future. I just need a little break, so things don’t get stale.

I’m glad some of you played along! I enjoyed seeing everyone’s interpretations of the lists, and I hope you had fun while doing it.

10 miles – A photo diary

I’m behind on some posts (my last Scavenger Hunt post, a recap of August), and I’ve had some other half written posts in the works for quite a while (a camel bak review, a Throwback Thursday race recap), but you’ll have to wait for those because today I have a photo journal of my long run!

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It was just barely cool enough (high 60s) to try out my new “knickers”.

 

This week, as a step back week, I covered 10 miles. I did a different route than my normal long run, and even ran down a new street. I tried drinking more water than usual and taking a gel more often (every 45 min), but I have no idea whether that made a difference because I normally make it about 15 miles before I start to fade. At the very least, I didn’t suffer any adverse effects from the added fuel, and that’s good to know.

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Ready to go! Yeah, I wasn’t terribly excited.

I took a picture at every mile. This means I don’t have pictures of some interesting stuff, but it should give a more fair view of what I see on my run. I was a little surprised that I got some fun things in almost every picture. Especially if your definition of fun is a loose one. 🙂

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Mile 1: Park + Ocean

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Mile 2: Check out that greenery. Contrary to what everyone and their pumpkin spice lattes are saying, it’s not fall yet.

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Mile 3: I’m not really sure what this building is, but I like the fountain.

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Mile 4: Looking back where I came from.

At mile 4, I took my first gel, salted caramel gu. It’s pretty good, as far as this stuff goes, and I like the picture of the yeti on the front. I didn’t take my usual walk breaks this week, but I stopped to snap a photo at every mile, and walked while I ate my two gels so it wasn’t really too much different from the norm.

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Mile 5: Cool little gate on a street I had never run down.

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Mile 6: Stone Eagle.

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Mile 7: The sun is officially out, and I think it actually felt nicer out than when it was hiding behind the clouds. Good.

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Mile 8: Me running down a residential street.

I took my second gel at this point, chocolate cherry clif shot gel. This is the one with all the caffeine. It is also delicious. Last week I had 2 gels over 19 miles, today I took 2 over 10 miles. I was hungry, so I don’t think it was too much, probably too little last week.

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Mile 9: More ocean views. I see the ocean a lot on this particular route. My kind of run.

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Mile 10: Finally a run where I finish before arriving home rather than the other way around. Running past my front door to finish up is the worst!

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Finished! I felt like a watch photo would be fitting, of course, the screen is not visible. At least I didn’t drop my phone while taking a left handed photo.

And there you have it. That was my 10 mile run! There’s nothing like marathon training to make 10 miles feel enjoyable. And I’m still on a pretty intense runner’s high. (Don’t believe they exist? You should have seen me dancing around and jumping up and down while we cooked pancakes.)

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Bonus photo: crazy hair! And looking a lot more excited than pre-run!

I hope you all are having a good weekend. Have you ever made a photo journal? Aside from this one, I took a series of photos of an all nigher I pulled in college (to complete schoolwork), and those photos are pretty hilarious. That was back when I had to use an actual camera to do it. 🙂