Comeback Kid…Again! Weeks #7 – #10

Wow, I’m behind on posts in the weeks leading up to the races I have coming up.  Trust me when I say…I’ve been busy!

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When I left you about a month ago…I was getting back to running, easing my mileage back up, adding in some speed work and hills, etc.  Right?  Right.  Not all at once, mind you.  That would be Looney Tunes.

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So…basically my easing back into things started with a race weekend.  As you know from the previous blog, I ran (not raced) the Rodes City Run 10K with my friend Matthew.  It was a good way to train, and I learned that small, climbing hills and even the 10K distance were a challenge for this now endurance-less distance runner.  My endurance was shot.  Gone.  Kaput.

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I knew this needed to change.  I just wasn’t sure exactly how to go about it, especially on my own. That being said…I made a promise to not give up and to keep on going!

The following weekend, after Rodes, I was up to 7 miles for my long run (my PT wanted me to increase my long run each week by 1 mile).  Not only was I the milk maid for the #KDFMarathon training run (this simply means I provide the bottles of TruMoo in coolers for those doing the training run.  As we know, chocolate milk has been proven to be one of the most amazing recovery drinks around due to the protein:carb ratio).  I’m lactose intolerant and don’t handle dairy well at all, so I can’t use this method…but a lot of these runners look forward to that little reward at the end.  The run, however, was starting at SWAGS South.  And this meant…we were running Iroquois.  I guess I was about to test this hip flexor out against the hills of Iroquois Park.  It was an all-female cast of characters for the KDF Race Ambassadors that day too!

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Talk about trial-by-fire.  My running partner, Matthew, joined me and while everyone else was going 10 that day…we were hitting up 7.  It was nice to have company, because…once again…I had to do my own thing.  I just hoped no one followed me as I did it, because that would really screw up the mileage.  There were 2 options that day for those doing the entire 10.  Run to the top of the park (recommended for the marathon runners) or run past that hill and go around the base to some other road.  I didn’t pay that close of attention because Matthew and I were doing neither.  We ended up running to the water stop at the base of the giant hill leading to the top of Iroquois.  We grabbed some water…and then continued on around the base, turning the opposite way of the half marathon runners and going more toward the amphitheater.  We didn’t quite make it there before needing to turn around, so we just sort of turned into a lot, found a path, and ended up way off where we needed to be to get back.  Garmins paused and we crossed through the grass to the main road and got back to the run.  The hills did slow me down, but it was probably the best way to get back to running on hills.  There is no getting around them in Iroquois.  I was tired as we finished up…but as I was the Milk Maid…I needed to wait around for the chocolate milk to be gone.

Which I ended up icing the last 5 bottles because it was after noon…and I had a 2:30 pm Louisville City FC match to get to.  First kick.  And it was a draw.  No purple smoke that day.  But we had gorgeous weather.  And I got a sunburn.  Life was good.  Well, maybe not the sunburn part…

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Well, that following weekend would be my first real test.  And here’s why.  I wasn’t allowed to jump from 7 miles up to 10 because…well…obviously injuries happen to me.  A lot.  And the whole point was to ease the mileage back up there.  The challenge, however, was that there was no training run on tap.  Why not?  Well…two reasons…


Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon in Lexington, Ky, and the Papa John’s 10 Miler in Louisville, Ky.  Most of my fellow local runners and ambassadors were taking part in either RTB (and my coach was providing the pacers), or doing the last leg of the Triple Crown of Running with the Papa John’s 10 Miler (aka: my favorite local race…and I couldn’t do it this year  BOO!).  My running partner, Matthew, was out of town on a family trip.  So…there was me, myself, and I.

And on a morning in the low 40s…it was not easy for me to haul my butt out of my nice warm bed, do all my physical therapy exercises and stretching and get myself out the door to run by myself for 8 miles.  I don’t mind running alone.  I don’t.  I do it all the time.  I just prefer to run with people.  It takes my mind off all the mental stuff.  And it’s that mental stuff that tends to mess with me.  So the sun was long up before I finished up the stretches and stuff and made myself get out on the road.

The first three miles were awful…and that was the flat part of the course I was running.  All that being said, I found my stride when the hills came into play.  And these are some pretty tough hills.  I wasn’t worried about speed or time…just the miles…but I felt so amazing for those last five miles.  And when all was said and done, I finished up in just over an hour.  And I felt good at the end.  I showered.  My roommate made an great recovery breakfast for me.  And the weekend was now officially on.

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Did I happen to mention that a few other things happened that weekend that sort of altered the way my weekends as of late were rolling?  As a side…I started prepping healthy and vegan meals for friends of mine.  I love doing this stuff.  The problem was, my little side business was growing faster than I could keep up with.  I was spending Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday morning in my tiny little kitchen.  And there was more stress than letting the cooking relax me like it had been.  So, due to upcoming races and out-of-town trips, I cancelled service through May so that I could come up with a better way of doing this for people, that wouldn’t take up all of my spare time and still allow me the opportunity to help others.  I’m still working on that.  But for the first time in 2 months, I didn’t have to jump right into the kitchen to meal prep meals that I wasn’t going to even eat.  That was also part of the issue.  I was cooking for everyone else and letting my own food prep and nutrition slide.  That wasn’t the point of this.  So I needed to take a step back and figure it all out.  It’s a work in progress.

My roommate and I did FINALLY get patio furniture for the balcony.  She hung up some lights and now…I just want to have people over to kick back outside, eat some food, drink some wine, relax, and just talk.

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Doesn’t it look amazing?  I’m so happy with it.  Since putting it all up, we’ve been dining al fresco pretty much every night for dinner.  When it hasn’t been too chilly out.  And I think that only happened once.

Let me fan-girl rave here, as well, about something I found and wanted to share with all you ice cream lovers.

Nada Moo.

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That’s a coconut milk ice cream. It’s completely dairy free.  And it is made from real ingredients.  None of that low calorie, low nutrition, chemical-laden crap (Halo Top and Arctic Zero, I’m looking at you) that people actually buy.  If you’re worried about calories to that extent, maybe you just shouldn’t eat ice cream.  If you’ve found a happy, balanced lifestyle…a serving (1/2 cup) of Nada Moo will astound you.  It’s the creamiest, most amazing non-dairy ice cream I have ever had.  And I’ve pretty much had them all.  Locally, I’ve only been able to find a few of the flavors.  Vanilla…Ahhh is the only one I can find that I have yet to try.  Otherwise I have indulged in, and enjoyed, Gotta Do Chocolate, Lotta Mint Chip, Cookies and Crème, That Snickerdoodle Dough, and Mmm…Maple Pecan.  If you live in the Louisville area and spot any other flavor…please alert me!

Which now brings us to this past week.  I got up to meet at Senaca Park for the training run for the half marathon.  I was supposed to do 9.  The group for th half was doing 10.  I figured, if I felt good, and the hills didn’t kill me, I could do my first double-digit run since the Disneyland Light Side Half Marathon (which I did injured, as you recall).  The running gods were with me.  Matthew and I took on the hills of Cherokee Park and did, for me, the entire route as it was mapped out ahead of time for the training run.  And these runs have been going on since Rebel Challenge weekend when I was in California.  I walked around for most of these runs, showing up in the cold just to suffer longer than most as I was not allowed to run.  This run felt so good and gave me the mental boost I needed.  Double digits.  And now…taper.

It was an all-female cast of KDF Ambassador characters that morning too.  And I also ended up being overdressed, despite the 39° start.  When I finished about an hour and a half later…I was dying in the sunlight.  It heated up quickly.  I was wishing I had gone with shorts at that point.

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And this past month, I’ve gotten back into a training plan using my coach, incorporated strides after my easy paces, stuck to my assigned paces, and yes…have done 1 round of fartleks, and 2 rounds of 4x400s as far as my speed work goes.  So, yes…I am incorporating it.  Speed work and I are still…not friends.  In fact, I normally wake up those days not feeling well because it does just wind me up.  And I have yet to have speed work day go smoothly.  But, at least I’m out there getting it done, right?

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Oh…and with the free time I have at the moment…I also snuck in a bit more “ME TIME” by going to the movie theater to see Beauty & The Beast.  And it was a beautiful, amazing movie.  And I’m glad, after putting it on the back burner and never having a moment to just go see it…that I finally made time.

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Tapering because I have 2 weekends in a row of half marathons coming up.  I think I’m running 8 with the group this weekend.  And that’s it.  That’s what I’ve been up to.  Pretty boring, right?

Stay tuned…I’m sure there is more to come.  But I need to foam roll and get some sleep…because it’s another wake up at the ass crack of dawn morning with body pump and some cardio after.  But, hey, I’m getting stronger and faster and better…and that’s only for the better.

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Crazy Busy Life

Ever feel like you just don’t have enough hours in the day?  Because I thought that after I got through The Kauai Marathon and home from the rest of the vacation in Hawaii and San Francisco.  When in fact…I’m pretty much spending every day like this…

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Complete calm…and then panic.  Yep.  That pretty much sums it up.  I have promised a few blogs on products and places, but I just haven’t had the opportunity to really sit down and give the blog the attention that it deserves.

Let’s start with training these days…

I’m really not training for anything as of late.  I’m focusing a lot on my form and just making myself a better runner overall.  Slowing down is not easy for me, but I’m really, really, really trying.  That being said…speed work is back on the training plan.  And I did the same training run 2 weeks in a row, and failed to hit the pace my running coach assigned the first week…but nailed it this past Tuesday morning.  That was a good feeling.

I’m continuing with my spin classes…because it’s fantastic cross-training.  Eventually, I’d love to get up the nerve to clip back into my road bike and give that a go.  I’m just still working on getting over my vehicle-induced fall back in the summer.  So, for now…it’s a whole lot of this:

giphy-62And, I’ve finally gotten around to incorporating the strength training into my weekly gym routine.  It’s only been…almost a year…since my physical therapist insisted I start doing this.  So…yeah…weights are slowly working themselves into my routine.  It’s not easy, because strength training doesn’t excite me.  I’m a cardio girl…and weights tend to not even make me crack a sweat, even while lifting heavy.  So…there is that…

giphy-63AND…to top all of this off…my running has been pretty much shit since running the Kauai Marathon.  Hawaii sort of…killed me.  The hip has stopped hurting, but the ligament in my foot is still troubling me.  And…a friend of mine noted the limp-run I was doing back when I got my stress fracture last year was back.  Note that is why I am focusing more on form rather than speed (except on speed work days).  But, I find that while I physically feel okay (aside from the extra weight I wish I wasn’t carrying around right now…but it just won’t go away!) and capable, mentally I am struggling.  I find myself stopping more…crying more…and just having to talk myself through each run. This is where I really miss running with people.  It helps me.  It does.  It’s a big, big work in progress for sure.  I know this all takes time but…I’m so tired of it.

giphy-64And…work has pretty much been insane since I got back from my trip.  Non-stop.  There are days I don’t get to take a full break because I have so much to do.  And there are days that work has had to come home…or that I’ve had to put in overtime just to make sure things that needed to get done.  Honestly, I would love to have a moment to just have some breathing space.  You know…where you can just sit for a moment and do something non-work related at work…

giphy-60It’s good for the soul.

But these days, I feel like my workload should be decreasing, but it’s getting bigger.  I’m not really complaining. The job security is great, but I feel that so much of my day is spent doing this…

giphy-65…non-stop…at the office…sometimes at home…

…while certain other person(s) are basically spending their day like this:

giphy-66All that being said…I’m going to make a point to commit a bit more to this blog.  Because I love writing and I love writing here.  And I love all of you who read this and tune in…whether it’s a rant, a post on running, a recipe, a product, a restaurant…you guys are loyal and I love you.

For now, I do have a free evening free of…stressful stuff…so I’m off to watch Hell’s Kitchen!!

Because Gordon Ramsay makes everything better.  For realsies!!

giphy-67I promise…new stuff is coming very soon!

Quick Thoughts From the Week

It was a long, holiday weekend.  YAY!!  And, as is usual for me over the 4th of July…I was out of town.  At a convention.  In Indianapolis.  Now, normally when I am up in Indy for this convention, my Saturday morning is spent running the Monon Trail.  It’s gorgeous.  Seriously.  I always look forward to it.  The past few years (last year I wasn’t able to run at all at this point), I have managed to get out there for my long run of 10-12 or so miles.

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But, this past weekend, Saturday’s Monon Trail run wasn’t happening…

MEH.

SO…on Saturday morning, I was down in the fitness center at 6 am…and on a treadmill to do 12 miles that morning.  I started easy and worked up a ladder to a comfortable speed and then took it back down.  It was mind numbing, despite the music (and to think, I almost left my iPod in my room).  But, my training run was done.

And if that wasn’t enough punishment, I got up on Sunday morning to do my shakeout run.  I decided to do an easy run for an hour…getting 7.36 miles in during that time.

I was feeling it Saturday and I really felt it Sunday.  I hate running on treadmills.  They seem to do more damage to me than road running does.  I was sore through Wednesday, honestly.  I don’t know how people do long distances on these things on a regular basis.  My body couldn’t handle it!

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My runs have been suffering since those treadmill runs.  The hip was not mad…but not happy either.  MEH.  Not enough foam rolling in the world.  Of course…the epic humidity with air so thick you could cut it with a knife…isn’t helping either.

But, despite the humidity and the fatigue from late nights, I’ve been keeping up with my training runs.  Which…is impressive for me.  It’s not been easy to get out of bed to just go outside and melt…but…

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…I’ve been getting it done.  It hasn’t been pretty…and I’m not always happy with the results on my Garmin, but I’m doing what my body is currently capable of…so, there is that.

OH…and this past week, I got to play around with recipes that I created.  I made 6 different recipes…2 pasta dishes, a fusion pizza, a rice dish, a sandwich, and a dessert.  I was quite proud of the results…all based off of Peter Cincotti’s recently released EP, Exit 105.  Check out these images of the completed dishes…

 

Top (L-R): Island Spell Pizza (song: Palermo) – Jerk seasoned tofu, topped with onion, bell pepper, pineapple, cheddar cheese, and a Jamaican jerk coleslaw; Missing Sara Sammie (song: What’s Sara Doing?) – sammie layered with sweet potato, hummus, avocado (or guacamole), and kale; Unexpected Beat Tagliatelle (song: Long Way From Home) – tagliatelle pasta in a bechemel sauce and topped with shredded beets, goat cheese, parsley, toasted pine nuts, and toasted bread crumbs

Botton (L-R): Roamin’ Skies Pasta (song: Roman Skies) – my take on the traditional Roman dish – Cacio e Pepe – pasta mixed with butter, black pepper, Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses; Exit 105 Rice-A-Roni (Album Title: Exit 105) – my version of the San Francisco Treat (after all, Exit 105 takes you to the Golden Gate Bridge)…and it has been dubbed my “best rice dish in the history of ever”; Sexy on the Beach Ice Cream (song: Sexy) – a vegan ice cream made from coconut cream, pureed raspberries, pureed pineapple, chambord and vodka…just like the drink Sex on the Beach…

I love getting chefy.

So, aside from a little bit of work stress…that’s what’s going on thus far.  Stay tuned as this weekend is going to be amazing.  I can tell.

It’s A New Week

Happy Monday!

That’s a bit of an oxymoron, yes?  It can be.  In fact, the past few weeks for me have been nothing more than a big ball of S-T-R-E-S-S.  Running and working out weren’t helping.  Escaping work wasn’t easy to do either.  But, so far, this week is off to a much better start.

For one thing…I had coffee this morning.  So, yeah…already a better day than yesterday…when the tea did not quite measure up get this brain functioning on 11 (because why stop at 10, when it goes to 11?).

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Work didn’t have me running around like a lunatic.  Which was a nice change of pace.  I did, however, make the mistake of hitting “REPLY ALL” on the e-mail to our HR person keeping track of mileage for our “Walking the Great Wall” challenge in the office.  All miles are cumulative and there are no prizes for anyone who puts in more mileage than anyone else.  But, man, I kept getting…”There is NO WAY you did that much…”

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It’s called marathon training, friends.  Try it sometime…

Doesn’t matter, all of it is tracked on my Garmin Connect…so I can show them, in living color that I’m not lying when I submit my miles for the week.

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I…swear…to…GOD.  People sometimes.  They should know…I run, I spin, I bike, I gym, I walk, I workout.  Mileage happens.

But, you know, nobody likes an overachiever…I guess…

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On the subject of people, I do believe the weird people in my building who are up at weird hours of the day must wonder why I am hopping around on the sidewalk every morning between 3-4 am (depending on what else is happening that day and how early my run has to start).  It’s fine…because I often wonder why the hell they are sitting out on their balcony, with their dog, at 3 am, on their tablets or phones watching YouTube.  And I’m all…

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Well…maybe nothing quite that dynamic…but I am jumping around past their balcony quite a few times…because I never miss a day of my PT exercises.  When you’re injured for as long as I was…you just do it.

I guess we’ll all just carry on with our early morning rituals and ignore each other.  And then whisper nervously to our roommates about one another in the privacy of our own apartments.

So Monday went well…without stressing me out too much.  So, I hope the rest of the week continues on this trend.

Hope all of you had a good start to the week!