Thursday, September 26, 2013

Week Fifteen: Marathon? What Marathon?

Another Kid

Just Relaxin

Week of September 16, 2013:

Monday: Long powerwalk, 82 minutes

Tuesday: Evening run, 45 minutes total with 27 minutes running

Wednesday: Off (date night!)

Thursday: Evening walk, 30 minutes.

Friday: Off to Austin!

Saturday: Walked around a sweet little neighborhood in Austin with Paul

Sunday: Off (and preparing for the new week)

{Both estimated}  Total miles run/walked this week: 11.4. Total minutes: 157.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Paul and I were in Austin over the weekend.  It was a mini-vacation for us, and it was lovely.  While we did do some walking (a utilitarian walk to HEB for ingredients to make migas and a walk just to enjoy the pretty neighborhood in which we were staying), there was no marathon-level training that happened.  On Sunday, we made it back to College Station by about noon, and I spent the day puttering around my apartment, cooking, cleaning, and reading.  What I did not do was go for a three-hour-plus walk.

Friends, I am starting to freak out about how severely undertrained I may be am for the Detroit Marathon.

After mulling over the consequences of my own laziness, I think the worst-case scenario for the marathon is that I don’t finish. DNF.  Honestly, I can live with that.  There are worse things in life than trying to complete a marathon and not finishing.  I’m not self-centered enough to think that my not finishing a marathon is a tragedy.  Other consequences of attempting this marathon, DNF or not, are soreness and/or injury.  The soreness is basically a guarantee, so let’s just agree on that and move on.  Potential injury?  Hmm, I don’t know about that one.  I’m not very prone to athletic injuries, and I’ll be doing a mix of running and walking during the marathon.  It’s possible I’ll get injured, but I think not, unless I get an overuse injury.

On the plus side, I have trained in hell for the past nine weeks.  The weather is summertime Texas is legendary for a reason, and I think I’ve done all my “long” work-outs outside in the steamy sunshine.  My fingers are crossed that I will have a good performance on October 20th in part because I worked so hard in more severe conditions.  As my friend Tonya says, “Slay the summer so you can win the fall.”

And in the grand scheme of things, I will get out of this marathon experience what I put into it.  I want to cross that finish line, I really do.  Maybe I will cross it at five hours and thirty minutes or at six hours and twenty-nine minutes.  I’m okay with either scenario.  Finishing in five hours could happen—maybe!—but if it doesn’t, that’s okay too.  The truth is that I’ve struggled to commit to marathon training.  My life feels very full right now, between my job, my boyfriend, my home, my cat, my friends, and all the other bits and bobs that fill up my days.  I’m not really sure how other people carve out the time to train for marathons.  Maybe they don’t cook for themselves, or only they sleep six hours a day, or they are less stressed out by their jobs.  Maybe they are just better at managing time than I am!  Whatever the case may be, I stand in awe of them.  26.2 miles is a long distance to cover in one day, and it takes tremendous dedication to train for it.  More dedication than I have during this season of my life.

Whatever happens on October 20th will be okay.  I have already reaped rewards from this training cycle: getting/staying in shape during a Texas summer, learning how to powerwalk as a way of getting more outdoor time during hot days, successfully navigating the United States passport system (anyone want to go to Mexico with me this winter?), and better stress management through exercise as I started a new job.  It feels good right now to acknowledge that my marathon training has been a mixed experience.  But I wonder if that’s the case for everyone.  I’m probably not alone here.  So here’s to doing the best you can, wherever you are in your fitness and goals, and here’s to the Detroit Marathon, for better or for worse.  Fingers crossed that it’s for better!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Night Postcard

Is There a Goat Behind Me{“Is there a goat behind me?”}

Paul and I just spent the weekend in Austin, and I feel incredibly refreshed and recharged.  We had a wonderful time hanging out with friends, some old and some new.  Among the adventures we had was a visit to Agua Dulce Farm, an urban farm in south Austin.  At the farm, we got to see the hydroponic “beds” (can I call them beds?), the seaweed that Paul’s friend Lewis grows for his company Austin Sea Veggies, and most charmingly of all, the goats.  There was one large brown goat who acted like a tour guide and accompanied us on our tour with Lewis.  The kids were adorable, frisky and fearless.  Here’s one on the porch:

Adorable Kid

We were all completely smitten with them.  They kinda liked us too.

Hi There

There was a lot of petting and laughing as the goats ran around among us.  It was a really wonderful weekend in lots of ways, but the goats may have been the highlight.  They were really special and perhaps even happy to see us.  We were definitely happy to see them!

Have a good week, friends!  I’ll be back later this week with my marathon training update.  Tomorrow night I head out on another 3+ hour work-out—yeehaw!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week Fourteen: The Heat Rolls On

A few photos from my weekend…

Butter in Skillet

Pizza with Onions Ricotta and Figs

Lucy Loves a Good Reading Pile Too

{Lucy loves a good reading pile as much as I do.}

Week of September 9, 2013:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Evening run, 39 minutes total with 30 minutes of running.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Off

Friday: Longer evening powerwalk for dinner + groceries, 93 minutes total.

Saturday: Bike ride across town to hang out with friends

Sunday: Off (so…hot…)

Total miles run/walked this week: 9.8.  Total minutes: 132.

The heat got the best of me this week.  90+ degrees every day, temps close to 100…I’m melting just thinking about it.  Thank goodness this was a step-back week: the long work-out is only 60 minutes.  I ended up skipping it today (so lazy!), but I’ll get it done tomorrow evening.  Today was filled with lounging, cooking, cleaning, and some academic reading.  Tomorrow begins another work week and a busy weekend, as Paul and I are headed to Austin for some to-be-determined fun.

I had a good Saturday.  There was a lovely morning spent cooking at home, the evidence for which you can see above.  I popped in for a visit with some friends over the A & M football game, then Paul and I had a driving lesson followed by dinner and a movie.  I felt super inspired this weekend to start thinking about big dreams and five-year plan; I even started drafting notes on a new book idea.  Despite the neverending heat and the skipped work-out, it’s been a great weekend.  Here’s to carrying that momentum forward into the new week!

Have a wonderful new week, friends!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week Thirteen: The Sweetest Taste



Three Hours Oh Yeah

Week of September 2, 2013:

Monday: LONG WALK!  2 hours 36 minutes total.

Tuesday: Short evening walk, 23 minutes.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Evening run.  41 minutes total, with 30 minutes of running.

Friday: Short evening walk, 34 minutes.

Saturday: Bike ride to HEB for groceries

Sunday: LONG WALK!  3 hours.  Details below.

Total minutes walked/ran this week: 434.  Estimated miles: 30!  WHOA!

Today’s post is a three-parter story.  First of all, I watched No Impact Man after reading about it on Chrissy’s blog (thanks, friend!).  I really enjoyed the movie—it was a quirky, fun story about a family that embarks on a mission to reduce their environmental impact to zero (hence the title).  What I really loved about the movie is the personal growth that one of the family members experienced—and she was the family member who went along with the project to support her husband, not because it was her idea.  This person, Michelle, gives up A LOT to make the project happen: shopping, coffee(!!!do not like!!!), her television shows, even electricity and a normal refrigerator.  There’s a scene in the movie where she’s at work, and she shows us her new secret vice.

Are you ready for it?  It’s iced water.  Iced water!

The backstory is that by the time that scene rolls around, the family has given up electricity in their apartment, so there’s no ice at home.  No burning dinosaurs to cool water into a delightfully frozen state.

I too love a chilly glass of water.  But I love it more than anything on this planet during my long walks for marathon training—it is by far the highlight of those work-outs.  On Monday, when I power-walked my way to Target, I stopped by the Starbucks counter.  When I asked for a cup for water, the kind woman working behind the counter gave me not just a cup that I could fill at the drink dispenser, but a cup of iced water with a lid and a straw.  Bless you, kind Starbucks lady.  You are the best!

I think I’m getting better at this thing where I’m trying to train for a marathon in summertime Texas.  Today I was on my feet for THREE HOURS and with 36 minutes of running mixed into that.  Here is what I did differently today to make it more tolerable, despite the still-formidable heat and humidity of my training location.

* Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  I drank a lot more water during my walking today.  Some of it was even iced, which was amazing.

* Take breaks.  Go inside, even, to stretch.  I took a few breaks to refill my water, stretch, and give myself pep talks.

* Adjust paces as needed.  Today I ran, walked, and took breaks.  I tried to keep the pace strong when I was moving, but I also tried to stay aware of how good (or not good) I was feeling.  Building endurance is a bit of an art, I think—you want to push yourself outside your comfort zone, but you do it by walking the line between discomfort and flirting with disaster.  It’s still really hot and awful outside for us here, and I need to respect the multiple challenges I’m throwing at my body during this training cycle.

I do need to step up my game in the fuel department.  I didn’t eat anything during my work-out today; I should probably have eaten something salty to make sure I replenish the salt I’m losing from sweat.  This one is hard for me because I don’t like eating during my work-outs, but I know it will help my performance.

Finally, here are the details on the running portion of today.  I mixed it up quite a bit because three hours is a long time to be on your feet.  I’m finding that a mix of walking and running is good for my muscles, especially my hips, as walking and running don’t see to use the exact same muscles with the same intensity, so running can give my tired walking muscles a bit of a break.  Does that make sense?

So, 36 minutes of running in the following forms, spread throughout three hours of training.

* Two rounds of 10-minute jogs.

* A ladder: 1 min. run, 1 min. walk, 2 min. run, 2 min. walk, 3 min. run, 3 min. walk, 4 min. run, 4 min. walk.  (That adds up to 10 minutes of running.)

* A smaller ladder: 1 min. run, 1 min. walk, 2 min. run, 2 min. walk, 1 min. run, 1 min. walk.

* And at the very end, two 1-min. run intervals.


On the calendar for next week is a break: only one hour for the long work-out.  I’d love to do more running than walking during that one, but we’ll see how I’m feeling and how the weather is that day.  On cooler days, a 30-minute run feels great outside.  On a day like today, getting through those 10-minute running intervals was challenging.  Thank goodness that in less than five weeks, I get to fly north to much cooler temperatures.  Hopefully all of my struggling through Texas heat will pay off in Detroit!

Happy week, friends.

PS  Weekly cat picture on this blog: yay or nay?     

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week Twelve: MIA?

Sleeping Lucy

Week of August 26, 2013:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Off (tired legs from walking around campus for about an hour)

Wednesday: Treadmill work-out.  37 minutes total, running portion was 25:20 continuous, with a ladder of increasing speed for the last 5:20.

Thursday: Treadmill work-out?

Friday: Off (off to Houston to help a friend move)

Saturday: Off (off in Houston!)

Sunday: Bike ride to HEB and back

Total minutes walked/ran this week: 37.  Estimated miles: 3.5  (Sad trombone!)

It seems I’ve been a bit delinquent in the marathon training department, but can you blame me?  I’m spending all my time cuddling with the most adorable kitty.  Her name is Lucy, and I just adopted her from my friend Courtney.  Lucy is a wonderful companion.  She enjoys sitting on the couch with me, or sprawling underneath the table while I’m eating, or sleeping on my feet while I’m sleeping.  She likes to be close to me, but generally she’s happy to sit near me without sitting on me, which I appreciate.  (A few days ago, however, when Paul and I were sitting on the couch watching Forrest Gump, she decided to sit on both of our laps at one time.  It was adorable.  Thank goodness Paul is a cat person because Lucy loves having his attention.  They’re pretty cute together!)

Back to training.  You’ll notice I didn’t do a long work-out on Sunday—I ended up kicking that to Monday because I was so tired on Sunday from a busy weekend in Houston.  To double-up on my to-do list, I did my long walk to Target and back (with a long swing through campus and several neighborhoods).  To reward myself for walking ten miles in the searing Texas heat, I bought a new shirt.  I adore black-and-white prints, and today I paired it with my red skirt that Paul just tailored for me.  I should have taken a picture!  It looked awesome.  But I came home and changed immediately so I could bike to the pet store to buy food for Lucy.  Later this week, that outfit is going to make another appearance, so maybe I’ll get a photo then and share it.  In the meantime, here’s the new shirt by itself. 

New Shirt

New Shirt Closeup

Do you think it will go well with the “Property of Lucy” tattoo that I should be sporting?

Happy September, friends!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Special Edition: “She freaking made it.”

FLF_Diana Nyad JPEG_cropped{Screenshot from here}

There was a very exciting event this weekend.  Diana Nyad (do you remember I blogged about her TED talk long ago?) finally conquered her dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida.  It took her five tries (damn those jellyfish), but today, TODAY, she made it.

What an exciting accomplishment!  My friend Liz posted about the event on Facebook, and I was excited to catch the last part of the 50+-hour swim.  Diana’s blog feed is full of fun real-time updates from the swim.  At two miles from the Florida shore, she stopped to say thank you to her crew, and I bet it was a very touching moment for all who got to hear it.

“I am about to swim my last two miles in the ocean. This is a lifelong dream of mine and I'm very very glad to be with you. Some on the team are the most intimate friends of my life and some of you I've just met. But I'll tell you something, you're a special group. You pulled through; you are pros and have a great heart. So let's get going so we can have a whopping party."

Such an inspiring story.  It makes a marathon look like a walk in the park.

(More about marathon training soon.  Happy day to you!)