Sunday, December 18, 2011

Training: 6 Weeks to Go!

So following suit from a few blogs I've been checking out, and a friend from college's blog (shout out to Katy Beth!), I've realized I need to be paying better attention to my runs, how I'm doing. And, as I've said lately, I feel so much more accoutanble when I verbalize what I'm up to. And that way, you know, for fun... you get to follow along!

So my blogging here really begins just over halfway through my training. If you didn't know, I'm counting this as my first official half marathon? Why, you ask? You can read here about my first training experience, or lack there of. This time, I'm taking it a little more seriously. Minus the cross-training, but you can read about that more below, and that fact shall be remedied in January I hope.

Sunday: Run
Omega Gamma ladies!
After the 8K I did on Saturday, the Madison Christmas Rush race, that kind of kicked my butt, I used Sunday to rest instead of throwing in a few extra miles. And, in theory, I was supposed to unpack from New York (yes, still) and clean the house. Neither of which happened. I did, however, make my way down to Atlanta for the Omega Gamma (sorority Atlanta-area alumni group) holiday party and ornament exchange! I haven't been to any of the OG events yet because they're usually on Wednesdays, when my students meet. So I was excited this wasn't on a Wednesday and I could actually go! Re-met and met a few wonderful ladies; I know I've gushed about this before, but it's so great knowing that no matter where I go (with few exceptions), I have a connection in someway, somewhere. Warm fuzzies! After the holiday party, I also met up with a friend from high school who recently moved to Atlanta with her husband and went and saw New Year's Eve. Super cute movies - yes, a lot like Love Actually and Valentine's Day, but still a good see! Go see it!

Poor Jane!
 Sunday also happens to be the day my car was the victim of a hit and run, while I was inside at the holiday party - in the middle of a neighborhood, no less! Weird thing is that I didn't even realize it until it was the movie theatre; it was groaning every time I turned right, so once I parked at the theatre I walked around my car to see what was wrong and lo and behold... there she is. All dented. Poor Jane.

Monday: Rest
3.2 miles = 25:30 minutes / 8:09 minute miles - New 5K PR!
Mondays in my plan are supposed to be rest days, but after resting on Sunday, I decided it was time to get moving. After the 8K and the butt-kicking I gave myself that day, I knew that these next six weeks are going to be crucial - either I'm going to make it to this half-marathon or I'm not! So... hit the road Monday morning. I woke up feeling kind of blah, with a lot on my mind, but apparently running under pressure does me some good! New 5K PR achieved; I definitely got home from this run feeling completely amazing and empowered for the next few weeks!

Tuesday: 4 miles
4.05 miles = 34:16 minutes / 8:27 minute miles
Dragged myself out of bed a little, but that whole concept is getting better! Nothing special about this run, other than it was an amazing 41 degrees! The last few weeks it's been under 35 in the mornings, so this 41 felt SO great.

Wednesday: 5 miles
At this point this week, I was feelin' it so took my rest day instead. I regretted it later; Wednesday and Thursday nights, I slept terribly. Funny how you realize that the exercise and endorphins contribute to a better, more high-energy day and better rest at night. Oh, the things you learn!

Thursday: Cross Train
So here lies my challenge. The last few weeks I've been using cross-train days as an extra rest day, which I obviously thorough regret because it makes my legs so much heavier and blah. I don't have a gym membership right now, but hope to start my campus rec membership in January when I get back, so I've been suffering through the heavy legs. Anyone have any suggestions for at-home cardio/XT things to do? I mean, I guess I could do the stairs of my apartment building... not.

Friday: Rest
Yep, again. Told you I was going to regret this. Molly and I had a beautiful 30 minute walk in the morning before work, though, so at least I was up and moving before going to work all day.

Saturday: Long Run Day!
8.07 miles = 1:14:29 hr/mins / 9:13 minute miles
So, naturally, after the 8K last weekend, I was nervous about this long run. I wanted it to be strong, but also a good test of where I really was in this training. The last (truly)  long run I had done (aside from the casual run in Central Park while in New York two weeks prior) was about six weeks back (told you I was/am behind!) - that run was 7.62 miles in 1:17:58. So that was my goal - I verbalized 8 miles to a few folks, just to see if I could push myself a little bit. And push I did.

Actually, no, it wasn't that terrible of a run! I made a loop up and around the huge block to the north of me - it goes up 2 miles to the Walmart, over 2 or so past the dog park and the residential area, back down south by the fire station, and the last 3 miles were snaking down the hill back towards my side of the block. I made an extra jut out to the next stoplight over from where I could have turned right, just to make sure I hit that 8-mile mark. The first two miles, as usual, were all about my finding my pace - I always chug out way too fast and too hard and then lose my stamina for the next few. My first two miles were just about an 8 1/2 minute-mile and mile 4 was at 10 minutes, so you can see my problem! I did maintain a pretty good pace throughout though, which I was pretty proud of for such a long run. I walked, in total, only about 0.80 miles of the whole thing, which was also quite the accomplishment.

Saturday also was a new experience for me - Brunswick stew. Move to Georgia, stew in the backyard! The things I learn! So this is an event, if you will, that the folks I tailgate with do every (?) year... and oh my, so glad I got to go! Six, seven hours of drinkin' and backyard stewin', complete with stirring with a paddle and campfires and most importantly, S'MORES! So basically chuck 30 pounds of chicken and pork, and then add tomatoes and onion and potatoes and ketchup and some other secret concoction, throw it in a vat and stew for like, fours hours. Delicious.
Don't you stir your stew with a canoe paddle?

Megans(cubed) stirring!

S'mores while we wait... yummm....
Final product, Brunswick stew... om nom nom.
Week Total: 15.32 miles
Second longest week yet!

After this weekend, I feel good. Five weeks to go and I feel ready for the next few long runs to see what I'm really capable of now. I know it'll be a challenge, since I leave for California and the holidays on Friday, but now knowing that I can do this... more power to me!

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