Thursday, July 27, 2017


Does anyone else go back and read their own posts multiple times after posting, just to make sure everything makes sense and you agree with what you said?  Maybe it's just me, but I often do that, especially when I have a comment on a post.  I don't usually fix typos (my last post had several) but I'll fix things that I notice are really wrong or don't make sense.

Anyway, I had a comment on my last post and reread what I wrote and then looked at what Blogger decided to put at the bottom for "related posts" and noticed a post titled "Marathon training" which was the same title I used for my last post, so of course I clicked on it.  It was an interesting read, I was thinking about the cow that I talked about in that post just the other day (I now run that road on almost all my long runs that are between 8 and 13 miles). 

It was written in June of 2014, right after my second half marathon and right before I decided I needed to actually pay attention to the plantar faciitis pain and heal that before training for a marathon.  =)  Seeing that post led me to another one, one from 2 years ago while I was actually marathon training. 

This is the post where I talked about crying after my long run.  I had cut off part of my 20 mile run in the middle and ended up with a mile to go when I was thinking I was done.  I read that post where I talked about being so done I cried, and not being able to walk afterwards, then thought about and read about the run that I "broke into a church" to use the bathroom and ended up sitting on the toilet the rest of the day after the run, and then the run that I stopped with only 3 miles left (that was a 13 mile run) and wanted to die, but I finished that run.  All those posts were about bad runs, or at least they ended badly.  And even reading these posts, I still think about the good parts of the runs. 

You know why I missed my long runs last year as I drove past the road I ran on?  Because that road was at the beginning/middle part of my long runs, and that part is always good.  It is through the country and (as long as you look east to ignore the freeway on the other side) has a very pretty view.  The part of the long runs that I had trouble on is on the other side of the freeway, in the "uglier" side of town, through some industrial areas.  I don't go by that area.  It's easy to forget the bad when all I look at is the good. (What a good metaphor for life!)  (It's like giving birth and the reason women have more than one kid, once the bad is over, it's easy to forget.)  ; ) 

Anyway, this post is kinda all over the place.  I've been reminiscing a lot today.  I'm still debating actually doing another marathon, but the more I think about it, the more likely I'm going to actually do it. 

So that brings me to my last topic today (I think).  My hip hurts.  It's been bothering me a lot this week.  I have been assuming it's muscle related, being tight and not stretching properly, so I started stretching and foam rolling.  Yesterday it was really, really painful.  I did notice it hurt most while I was walking in my high heels, so I thought, maybe it's the heels.  Today I did not wear heels, and it does feel better, but it is still bothering me.  I haven't run since I was on the treadmill on Tuesday.  I have been thinking of running today to see how my hip is, but my sister tells me I need to give it a week.  The last time she told me that, she was completely right, but I just keep thinking about marathon training and that I'm supposed to run 14 miles on Sunday.

Sometimes when rereading old posts I hit on a significant event in my life.  I just read about my last days at my last job in 2014, and it made me sad.  I don't miss it as much as I used to, but I do still miss the coworker I worked closest with, who I haven't seen in 3 years.  I was hopeful that we would continue to be good friends, but I got a job south of where we worked, and she lives and got a job north of where we worked, and she doesn't answer my texts hardly at all, so we just don't talk anymore.  It's sad because we were pretty close for 4 years. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Marathon training

In January I decided that I wasn't going to talk about my weight anymore.  I am not super overweight, and really, I don't think anyone cares to hear about how much I obsess about it.  I have been very good at not talking about it on here, and I think I've even started to obsess less about it.  I note my weight and hate it, and move on.  I wish I could go back to the size 6 jeans that are in my closet, but right now I should be happy with the size 8 jeans I am wearing.

So that being said, I've been thinking about why I decided to train for another marathon.  There are two reasons.  The first one is simple and the one I tell everyone, I missed my long runs last summer.  I romanticized them in my head all last summer.  The road I ran on while training in 2015 runs right along the freeway, and so going to and from work, especially to work because it's so nice in the morning, I would think about how much I missed those runs.  I hated that I sprained my ankle last year and I hated that I wasn't running any more than 3 miles.  I guess as part of reason one is also that I do better with consistency when I have a goal race, and a marathon in Oct is perfect for summer running.

The second reason I decided to train for another marathon is more of a secret desire.  In 2015 when I was training I felt and looked my best.  I got to the closest I have been in close to 25 years to my (secret) goal weight of around 135, and got to the weight I tell everyone is my goal (140).  I guess I've been telling myself that if I train for another marathon, I will start losing weight again, and maybe I can get back down to 145, which is where I was happy, even though I still wanted to lose weight. 
Different lighting, different room (home vs. work) but I still think that in September of 2015 my face and collar looked smaller than today.  And I wish I could get back to that look from 2015. . .

When I started marathon training, or maybe when I started talking about it, Chris has started reminding me of all the bad runs I had, he even mentioned the run (or runs) I cried after.  I didn't have the best long runs.  In fact, I hated most of them.  And it's true that I dread my long runs, every week.  I dreaded having to run 13 miles yesterday, and already I'm dreading the 14 miles scheduled for this next Sunday.  So I'm not sure if I really want to run another marathon.  What's the point of running more than one?  I ran the first to say that I did it, why do I want to run the second other than missing runs that I actually hated, and wanting to lose weight I'm not sure I'll be able to?

40 is tough.  5 years ago when I started running I wished I had attempted to lose weight in my 20's, I bet it would have been easier and it would have fallen off faster.  Now I'm wishing it was 5 years ago again.  My weight lose journey has been slow, and frustrating.  And again, I'm only talking about the 30 lbs I wanted and have lost, not some astronomical number that blows people away.  But at least I felt like I was going somewhere 5 years ago, not this frustratingly stubborn 10lbs that won't get off my body.

Anyway, I will stop whining about it.

This year the marathon training plan I'm using is Hal Higdon's intermediate 2 plan, vs the one in 2015 that was Hal Higdon's beginner 1 or 2 (can't remember) plan.  It started me at 10 miles for my long run and it incorporates race pace runs.  I have never done a race pace run before, so I was pretty skeptical about it when I attempted it with my first 5 miles.  If I want to run under a 4 hour marathon, I have to run 9:09 min/miles, that seems impossible for 26.2 miles.  So that means that my race pace run needs to be at an average of 9:09 min/miles.

The training plan says that the run before the long run should be race pace, and the long run should be 30-90 seconds per mile slower.  I have actually been surprised with this.  I decided anything under 9:10 would be good for me for race pace, and my long runs no more than 60 seconds slower.  I've done 3 race pace runs, one 5 mile, and two 6 mile ones.  All of them have been under 9 min/miles.  5 miles was 8.39 and both 6 mile runs were 8.49.

I've been even more surprised by my long run times.  My first long run time was 10:04 min/mile for 10 miles, but all of them since have been under 10 min/miles.  In fact, yesterday's 13 miles was an average of 9.35 min/mile.  Looking at that on my calendar makes me happy. 
If you can see that, the red is the actual runs and the pencil is the training plan.  Maybe this is why I want to run another marathon, to beat my time from my first.  Maybe it's for the sense of accomplishment . . .
Seriously, after my run yesterday, my feet hurt so bad.  And my legs hurt.  And I have a hip problem that I don't know what to do about.  I've been stretching (not as consistently as I should) and I started foam rolling.  I guess I will see how that works for the next week and reevaluate if it doesn't start getting better. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Month in a nutshell

Well, it's been a minute since my last post.  Not since June 22, that's almost a month of no posts.  I guess I haven't had a lot to say recently.  I guess I will try to hit the high points with this post.

  • Summer is here.  Well, western Washington summer is here, which means weather in the 70's, which I will take over the 8 months of rain we had.  (Seriously, 8 months solid.)  Do you know how you know you live in western WA?  When people start complaining of 31 days with no rain.  I would prefer to go 8 months of no rain and 31 days (maybe) of rain.
  • I changed my hair color.  I was going for a black that looks purple in the sun, but it didn't really work out.  It's more black.  I'm kinda disappointed in it.  =(
    From this . . .
    to this.
  • Marathon training has started.  I sorta started a week early, but then just did week 1 two times.  When I wrote down my marathon training miles this time around, I told myself that I was going to follow it to the letter, no skipped runs, no shortened runs, exactly the amount of miles I am supposed to do (although different days than what the schedules says is okay, just as long at the weekly mileage is correct), but now that it's here, I don't know that will be how it is. However, I have already cheated.  I've skipped two 3 mile runs.  But I am trying very hard to do the longish mid-week run.  Right now I'm at 6 miles mid-week, and I'm dreading it, but when it gets up to 8-9-10 . . . I may have to rearrange miles.  I'm already thinking I may make all my mid-week runs longer so that I'm not running so far after work one day (instead I'm running far after work three days).  We'll see how it works out.
    Not my longest run lately, but my most recent long run which
    is a scale down week.
  • I completely skipped going to workout at the gym for two straight months.  Well, I guess I went in and did 20 min on the elliptical 3 times in May.  Not even once in June.  I even skipped checking in at all for the first week of July.  However, I ran on a treadmill 2x last week and once this week.  Last week I ran 6 miles on the treadmill in the gym.  That's the most I've run on a treadmill ever, and surprisingly it didn't feel that hard.  I do have a hard time listening to my audiobook, which is my preferred choice while running, when in the gym but I found I don't concentrate on the book enough in the gym so I have to rewind a lot.  I don't find that there are more distracting things in the gym, but I guess my brain doesn't ever get in the "groove" of just running and zoning out.
  • My garden is great.  I have had numerous salads from it this year.  I haven't seen cucumber yet, which I'm disappointed in, but I have had radishes, one carrot, two snap pea pods, and lots of butter lettuce.  My broccoli and cauliflower are huge, onions are going rampantly, potatoes.  Pumpkins are flowering . . . oh, and I keep hoping my jalapeno plant will take off, but no luck so far.  Oh and I discovered a love of basil.  I LOVE basil.  I even put it on my grilled cheese this last weekend and it was delicious (made with mozzarella). 

  • We had a great 4th of July day.  We went fishing at a local no motors allowed lake, and Damian got to take out his kayak for the first time.  I went out in it twice and fell in love with it.  So much so that I decided to buy a paddleboard with Damian. We just got it this last weekend and are going back to the lake with both this coming Saturday.  I'm really looking forward to it. 

  • Maddox caught his first fish while I was kayaking (so of course, no picture) but he put it back because it was "too pokey."  =)  Apparently it had some spikes on it's back and it poked Maddox and he didn't like it, so he put it back and had to fish on the other side of the dock because "that side has pokey fish."   
  • The fireworks show on the 4th was okay, we went to Bellingham, which is about 30-45 min north, but what ruined it was sitting in one single spot for an entire hour before getting out of the parking lot.  It was horrible.  I went to bed at 1am and was up at 430am.  It was awful. 
    We were so tired after the whole day on the lake.
  • I'm not losing weight and I'm very frustrated by it.  I seem to be gaining again.  That's all I'm going to say about that.
Well, that seems to be my month in a nutshell.  I'll try to be better at posting.  =)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

San Juan Island weekend

Well, I did it.  I went camping and ran a half marathon.  I'm so glad it's over.  I've had a very busy few months and I'm ready to take some time off to do things I enjoy (like laying in the sun when it's hot.) ; )  This weekend is supposed to be very warm (for western WA) so I'm excited about that.  I should get out the kiddie pool and patch it for Maddox for this weekend (ummm, and maybe for me too).  =)  Damian is going to eastern Washington for his "senior trip" with a friend.  He's going to the Lake house that we go to in August.

So I have a lot of pictures from our trip this last weekend, but instead of posting all 134 of them, I'll just post the collages I did for Instagram.  ; )  And, yes, I will talk about my half marathon, but it might make this post kinda long.

The trip to San Juan Island
At the last minute we found out that Damian's girlfriend was able to go.  We were all super surprised because her stepdad is very, very strict and won't even let her hang out at our house (she's 19, and I don't understand it).  But for some reason she was able to go.

 When we got to the campground it was pouring rain.  Everything was so wet.  It sucks to camp in the rain, but it's even worse when you have to set up in the rain.  There's no way to keep anything dry.  The rain in western WA is not "good" rain, it is not big drops and then it's over, it's a drizzle, it soaks everything, and never ends.  I often compare it to walking through a cloud, because it really is wet (not fog, but a rain cloud). 
 The weather forecast before we left said that Friday was supposed to be scattered rain, and Saturday and Sunday were supposed to be nicer, sunnier days.  Well, Friday was beautiful.  Sunny, warm.  My face got a little red from it.  I expected the rest of the weekend to be just as nice because, after all, Friday was supposed to be the worst day.  Well, Saturday came and it was cloudy and cold.  I was so bummed. 

We went to a state partk and went for a hike and then into Friday Harbor to walk around a little, and then went to go pick up my race packet for the half marathon on Sunday.  At the time I thought it was a good day to be in town and out and about because of the clouds.

And then I woke up on Sunday to rain.  =/  I was so unhappy.  But I figured it would stop raining and the day would be okay.  After all, before we left the weather said Sunday was supposed to be nice. . .  Yeah, that didn't happen at all.  It drizzled all freaking day.  And stupid me, believed the weather report and didn't bring a long sleeve shirt for my race or a jacket, just a light running shirt and a tank top.  =/  Thankfully I did bring my hat, I would have been very unhappy without the hat, I hate rain in my face.  I ended up wearing a cotton long sleeve shirt for the first 3 miles and then gave it to my family at one of the spots they were stopped at.

 So how did I do on my very hilly half marathon?  I did great.  I was so pleased with how I did.  I ran the entire race, all uphills were conquered!  And I finished in 2:09:26, which is only about 20 seconds slower than the half I did in January.  I was also the second female in the 40-44 age range.  Sadly they only gave prizes to the first place people, but I was really pleased with that.  The first place female in 40-44 finished at 1:53:something, so there was no way I was going to beat her.  That is faster than my PR on a flat course. 

While I was running, in the last half, a couple of guys passed me, and then we came to an uphill and they started walking, so I passed them.  They got to the top of the hill and started running again and pass me.  And then on the uphill I passed them again.  They ended up getting much farther ahead of me, and I didn't catch up to them again, but I thought it wasn't fair that they walked so much and was still faster than me. 

So to explain the picture above, the top left picture is the start of the race, it was small, only 64 people total in the half marathon (only 13 total in the full marathon).  The middle right one was my long run treat, a San Juan Island Ice Tea from the Crabhouse.  I love these.  I don't know what they put in them, but I love them. And in the bottom middle and right is me laying on the bathroom floor with my feet up.  I've mentioned it before, but I have found that putting my feet up after a hard run really, really helps.  I looked all over at the finish line for somewhere, but it was all wet grass and very few trees.  So I decided that when I took a shower I was going to lay down and do it.  I figured I was going to shower anyway, so laying on a nasty bathroom floor would be okay.  I did put my jacket down under my head, because . . . well, ewwww.

 Sunday was also Maddox's birthday.  We had been counting down for awhile because he's been excited for it for months.  So when he woke up on Sunday his eyes popped open and he said "it's my birthday!!"  He continued that all day.  Everyone we came into contact with he would say "it's my birthday!"  He was one excited boy.  =) 
 We've been going to San Juan Island since 2009.  Not every year, but regularly.  This year the log that is in the day use area was so deteriorated that it was almost unrecognizable.  (The log is in the upper middle and left pictures.)
We went home on Monday, which ironically, looked like it was going to be a very nice day.  We went back to the Crabhouse and got another San Juan Island Ice Tea while we waited for the ferry.  Everyone fell asleep on the ferry except Maddox and me.

When we got home I had scheduled a massage for 4:45 (We got to our house about 4:20, so I went straight there while everyone else unpacked.  I have to say, I planned that pretty well.  ; )  However, I didn't get a chance to shower or anything before getting the massage.  I apologized, but she was nice about it.  It probably helped that I had showered the day before after the race.  =)

I don't know if I'll go back to this lady.  She doesn't seem to listen to where I want to be massaged.  I told her my legs were really sore, especially my quads.  (Seriously, I hadn't been that sore in years.)  She spent 10 min on my back and 45 min on my hamstrings and saved 5 min for both quads.  I was pretty unhappy, and left still sore.

I want to do some comparison pictures with Damian, but that may wait for another day. . .

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Here we go!

So I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I've been very busy the last few months.  Every weekend has brought something new.  It started in April, my dad came for a weekend, then I went over to eastern Washington for Bloomsday, then my Mom was here for a weekend, then I went back to eastern WA for the Insane Inflatable.  The next weekend was Memorial Day weekend, which I spent at home, but worked on cleaning up my yard, lots and lots of work in my yard for the next two weekends, and last weekend was Damian's graduation and party.  But it doesn't stop there, today I am leaving to go camping on San Juan Island and doing the half marathon I've been running hills for on Sunday. 

This trip also includes Maddox's birthday (Sunday) and Father's Day (also Sunday).  Whoever made my schedule for this spring (me) was CRAZY! Oh, and next weekend is Chris's birthday . . . thankfully we are not doing anything big for it even though he's turning 40.  Honestly, I think at this point he just wants a quiet weekend at home with nothing to do.  That's what I would want after the last almost 3 months.

So what has my running been like the last couple weeks?  Almost non-existent.  June 4th I ran 11 hilly miles, my average pace was 11.03 min/mile, which I'm actually okay with.  As I've mentioned many times, this race's hills are steeper than any of the hills I've run, but they are pretty close to the same elevation climb . . . sorta, so I may be okay, slow, but okay.

After my 11 mile run I ran 4 miles on the treadmill on June 7th, 5 miles outside on the 8th, and nothing again until this last Sunday, the 11th.  I had planned on doing 12 miles, but after my crazy weekend I ended up with 8.7 miles.  I planned 12, then changed it to 6, and then while I was running I was headed home and felt good, so thought I'd add a part of a route that I don't really do anymore (all flat) and thought I'd get another 2-3 miles.  I was okay with 8, and then when I got home and saw that I was so close to 9 I thought about trying to add that 0.3 that was left, but decided to just go home.  I did run my long hill 2 times, that was the plan with the 6 miles, but after that it was all downhill or flat.
I don't feel that I trained for this half marathon well.  I didn't go the distances I wanted to go, and I didn't get the hills I would have liked to have gotten . . . however, it is what it is.  I have no runs planned until this Sunday. 

I was going to run on Tuesday but ended up getting home late and had to go birthday shopping for Maddox.  Then I thought I would run yesterday, but as soon as I got home I started looking for and organizing camping stuff and got stuck with that and packing until almost 9pm.  Today I'm working for part of the day and then I'm going home and loading the car and leaving. I'm not going to go running while we're over there, at least not until the race.  I just don't want to put that pressure on me too.

So I'm as trained as I'm going to be.  And I have to be okay with that.  When I ran my first half marathon in 2013, I ran 11 miles at the end of March, March 28th, then got sick and didn't run more than 8 miles for all of May (May 12th).  Then June 2nd I ran 11 miles and did the half marathon on June 15th.  So I think I'll be okay with the distance, it's just the hills that scare me.  A friend of mine told me that he thought I could be ready for a 10k, but at the same time be not ready for a 5k that was hilly, so I guess we'll see if my hill runs were affective.

Okay, Cathy, stop obsessing about it.

Yesterday I was packing, and I got a little panicky about if I had everything.  I was the same way for my full marathon in 2015.  But it's so nerve racking to be going out of town for a race instead of being at home.  I believe I'm all packed, but who knows if I've missed something. I'm probably over packed . . . I tend to do that.  Plus, in this area there's no weather guarantee, so I have to pack for both rainy and cool and warm weather, just in case. . . speaking of, I didn't pack my jacket, but I think that would be too much.  It's supposed to stay in the 60's and that's too warm for a jacket.

Anyway, have I mentioned I started getting massages?  I found out that my insurance will pay for 20 a year, and I don't need a referral.  So I called and scheduled one, and then scheduled another.  She has been really focusing on my back, where I carry all my stress.  But I think once I start gearing up with miles for marathon training, I'm going to ask her to focus on my legs. 

The week of June 26th is the start of marathon training.  I'm already half marathon ready, so starting with my first long run of 10 miles will be easy.  =)  I'm going to continue with hill runs, but probably only once a week, so we'll see what that does to my pace.  It would be cool to get under 4 hours for the marathon, but I don't know if that will happen, and to Boston Qualify I'd have to get down to 3 hours and 45 min. I don't know if I can do that.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I have a high school graduate!

My son graduated high school on Friday.  It was a crazy busy weekend, and I'd rather just say it with pictures.
Kindergarten and his last day of high school

He graduated in a class of 365, the entire town where I went to school was 500 people . . . 14 people in my graduating class.

 He ended up with an extra ticket and chose to invite my sister.

My favorite picture of the whole weekend.

 His girlfriend didn't graduate, very long story I didn't understand, but she came to our house afterward to give him a hug.

Saturday was his party . . .

My very first friend from when I very first moved to western
Washington showed up.  He has known Damian since he was
about 4 years old.  (My sister jumped in the picture because he
was complaining he was in one alone.)

All my work friends
Honestly, I had more friends show up than my son did.  They were all "busy" but he said he had a really good day, so that's all that matters.  =)

After a very long 2 days.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Long distance runner

After posting yesterday, I spent awhile on my blog reading about my marathon training from 2 years ago.  I think I romanticize the training in my head.  I definitely don't like the constant short runs, but I forget how difficult some of my long runs were. . .  how about the 13 mile run I did where I just wanted to stop running at mile 11 and actually sat down during my run. 

Or the time I broke into a church to use the bathroom and then spent the rest of the day sitting on the toilet at home?

How about the 24 miles that ended up being 22.5 miles instead?  And that one was the last long run I did before my marathon, not exactly confidence boosting.

What I guess I'm getting at is that running is hard.  Some days I have good runs, and some days they are hard.  I keep pushing myself to run.  I am very hard on myself when I'm not successful at whatever distance I set for myself, weekly or daily distance. 

Last Friday I ran 5 miles on my normal route, not my hill route, and when I got home Chris asked me how it was.  Truth is, I didn't remember, and maybe that's the best type of run.  The type of run that you forget you're running.  That doesn't happen very often, and it tends to happen more when I'm training for a long distance race and then do a shorter distance on familiar routes.  I remember the audiobook way more than the actual run.

And I think that is what I strive for when I go running.  I want that zoned out feeling, it's a nice break from what is normally in my head.  I also think that is why I don't care for the short distances so much.  3 miles is not enough time to get to that place, so even though it happens rarely, that is what I'm always looking for. 

I've had some pretty big personal problems at home the last week and a few days.  I've talked to a friend and my sister about it, and both those people told me that I am a strong person.  My first reaction when I was told that was denial.  I am not a strong person.  I have never felt that I had good self-control or was capable of doing hard things on my own.  But then I stopped and I thought about it.

I am a strong person.  I have become a strong person.  Part of that started when I was a single parent.  You have to be strong to be a single parent.  But I think the majority of my "strongness" comes from being a long distance runner.  There is something inside you that changes when you start running past your comfort zone, not just once, but many times. 

In reading back through my blog about my marathon training, I found these quotes

"Run on cruise control. Do a mental check during the early miles and midway through the race. 'You should feel relatively comfortable up until mile 18,' he says. 'You should be able to get to that point comfortably, then you have to go to work and see how tough you are. At that point, it’s all about what you have left.'  Found here. 
"Every marathon has moments when the effort starts to feel uncomfortable. Backing off from physical discomfort for self-preservation is a natural human tendency, but one of the characteristics that makes runners unique is their penchant for seeking out discomfort. Hitting a rough patch in the race is when you learn about yourself and what you’re willing to do to meet your goal.  Found here"

Ironically I shared those quotes on the same post that I talked about the "failed" 24 mile run.  You know what, I didn't run 24 miles that day, but I did run 26.2 miles a few weeks later.  I didn't give up on my overall goal, I continued. 

Hitting a rough patch in your life is the same as hitting one in your race, or run, that is when you learn you're made of.  That is when you grow.