Wednesday, July 29, 2015

12 miles

Wow!  It's been almost 2 weeks since my last post!  Sadly not a ton has happened. 

Last week I had skipped my 7 mile run on Sunday because of the warm weather.  I decided I would run 2 extra days to make up for it, so even though I wasn't running 7 miles at once, my weekly mileage would be the same.  Well, I ran on Monday and Wednesday, which are usually a rest days for me and then was going to run on Friday, another rest day.  Last week was much cooler so I was running in the afternoon rather than the morning.  When I got home on Friday I was just tired.  I didn't want to do anything and the weather was really muggy, not too warm, but super humid, so instead I skipped it. 

I very rarely skip runs that I don't make up another day, but I just didn't want to.  And honestly, I didn't/don't feel any remorse for it.  I knew I didn't want to run on Saturday because I was going to be running 12 miles on Sunday (yes, I said 12).  So I only ran 16 miles last week instead of the scheduled 19, and I'm okay with that.

Which brings me to my 12 mile run.  On Friday I posted on my personal facebook page that I didn't want to run and needed someone to make me.  My husband's ex-roommate commented that he was going to be running on Saturday and wanted to know if I wanted to go up to Bellingham to run with him.  I had a hair appt and said I couldn't but was going to be running 12 miles on Sunday if he wanted to run then.  I wasn't completely serious because I knew he wasn't going to be running 12 miles, but he responded that he was going to do 70 min at a 9.30 min/mile and if I wanted to join him for that I could.  I said okay, and just figured I'd run however many miles I needed to afterwards to get to 12. 

He said he was going to start in a park in Bellingham (which is north of where I live by about 30 min) and I had been to that park and thought the trail he was going to be on was flat so I thought that was great, 12 miles on a flat trail by the Puget Sound.  HA!  Sure, it started on this flat "trail" (I say trail loosely because it was mostly well groomed, hard packed gravel), but it quickly veered off onto some streets (up a steep hill first) and then we went on another gravel trail through the woods . . . up and down a lot of hills.  Oh, and his 9.30 min/mile looked a lot more like a 9-9.15 min/mile, which in my everyday runs is fine, and even a little slow, but not for a 12 mile run on hills!  However, I couldn't slow down and go my own pace because I had NO idea where we were and would have been lost and not been able to get back to my car. 

Oh, did I mention he was pushing a jogging stroller?  Yeah, we ran up and down hills (some very, very steep ones) on gravel at a 9-9.15 min/mile with him pushing his son.  I was impressed.  And very worried.  Worried for my legs, worried about the last 4-5 miles, worried I wouldn't be able to finish.  Worried!

He estimated his run to be about 10 miles, which sounded about right to me at a 9.30 min/mile, but like I said we were going faster than that and we finished his 70 min at 7 miles. 5 miles on my own in an unfamiliar town after just running crazy hills. 

I ran the rest of the original flat trail next to the water (about a mile) and then ran through the town of Bellingham (which is bigger than Mt. Vernon).  I ran through downtown . . . stores, restaurants, lots of people.  I didn't want to veer off too far from a straight line because I wanted to be able to find my way back to the trail and my car.  =) 

Let me tell you, I don't know if it's the town, because it's bigger, it's definitely a more liberal town than where I live, and I don't know if that is the case, but I got so many stares and even some sneers and nasty looks while I was running through town.  It was strange.  I am used to much friendlier people on my runs.  Even some of the runners I passed looked at me strangely.  It was a different vibe, that's for sure, and mostly very unfriendly. 

But I did it.  I ran 12 miles. 7 of those on crazy hills at a much faster pace than I'm used to.  And my last 5 miles weren't even slower, I continued with the same pace, but it was flat.

Maybe the shirt was the reason for the
 nasty looks??
Ignore the first mile, I accidentally
paused my app and so the mile is wrong,
 it was actually a 9.19 min/mile.
And I haven't been very sore.  My hips are a little sore, but mostly I feel fine.  And the most important part . . .  my feet don't bother me at all.  How fantastic! 

This Sunday a half marathon is on the schedule.  Since I didn't see any in my area that I wanted to do this weekend, I'm just running 13.1 miles.  It will be interesting . . . and I'm definitely not going to Bellingham to run hills for it!  I'm thinking I'll go find some nice flat tulip fields.  ; )
The tulips are gone, but look at how flat that is. =)

Monday, July 20, 2015

A mental break

I went to my parent's house this weekend.  It felt like such a short trip. The last time I went was in May (I think) for the Insane Inflatable 5k, and I took Friday off, before that I hadn't been since Christmas.  And last summer when I went, I wasn't working, and then before that I worked in Mt. Vernon and got off at 1 on Fridays, so this was the first time in many years that I worked a full day and went to my parent's afterwards.  We didn't get there until 8:30pm.  And we left on Sunday just before 11am.  So we were only there for almost a day and a half. 

When I was younger and would go after working a full day, I would stay for most of Sunday and get home in the evening.  It seems now, though, that every year traffic gets worse and worse in the summer going over the mountains, and I don't want to sit for hours in traffic going over the pass, so I leave earlier to avoid it (not that 11 is very early).  And I do like to be home and able to relax Sunday evening before going back to work on Monday.  Just one more negative thing about my job. . . (it's an hour south of where I live, so I have to drive north to get Damian and Maddox, just to turn around and go back south to get to my parent's house.  Although, this weekend Damian's friend came with us and he has family that lives about 5 min from my work, so they went there and I didn't have to go back to Mt. Vernon to pick them up.)

Pictures I took
 I did have a good visit.  We went to a park along the Columbia River where there was a swimming area, on Saturday and hung out with my parents.  I had a really good visit with my Dad.  I really, really enjoy sitting outside at their house in the summer, especially in the morning and evening when it's getting cooler.  (Afternoons are too hot.) 

When we came back from the river I sat outside for a little bit with my Dad (I talked to my Dad a lot this trip, it was nice) and enjoyed the sunset. 

The park, and then the sunset.  Pictures on a camera phone
really don't do justice to the beauty of sunsets (or sunrises).
I really think I needed the break away from my world.  I know it's still there, and all my concerns and worries don't go away, but it's nice to take a break from it being in my face all the time. 

The thing that's been on my mind the most lately is my job.  Several weeks ago, I had some troubles at work that really had me questioning whether or not I should stay at my current job.  In a moment of frustration I applied for another job, and then got 2 interviews with this job.  Last week they told me they were checking references and then on Thursday they offered me the job.  (We won't even talk about how frustrating it is to be unemployed for 5 months and not able to find work, and then one application and I'm offered a job.)  Anyway, even though I had some problems at my current job, I still like what I do.  I don't like some things about it, but those things have nothing to do with what I actually do, but is more political job stuff.  The new job was a job that I wasn't terribly interested in doing (chronically homeless case manager), but it's with a bigger, more established company, and better benefits, and a pay raise.  But, like I said, I actually do like my job (similar to mental health court that I was doing before this job), and the political type stuff is getting better.  I decided to turn down the new job.  I don't regret that decision (yet) but it was very, very, very tough for me to get to it. 

It is usually very hot at my parent's house, and I always say I'm going to run, and then never do.  So this weekend I decided I wouldn't run.  I would be home early enough on Sunday to run 7 miles, which is what was on my schedule.  I did my Saturday run Friday before work and was happy with
the decision to run Sunday evening.  It is usually very hot at my parent's house, and I always say I'm going to run, and then never do.  So this weekend I decided I wouldn't run.  Guess I should have looked at the weather report a little better.  It was almost 90 degrees at 8pm last night in Mt. Vernon.  That is just too warm for me.  Funny thing is, I was up before 6am yesterday and was sitting outside enjoying the morning when I thought, this is perfect weather to run in . . . too bad I left all my running stuff at home.  Anyway, I skipped my 7 mile run yesterday and decided I'd get up and run this morning, it wouldn't be 7 miles, but it would be an "extra" run, and then if I did that one more time this week, I would have made up for most of the 7 miles I was supposed to do.  I forgot to set my alarm for a run, but when it did go off, I jumped out of bed and was out the door in 6 min (a record, I'm sure).

If I run Monday-Friday then I will be one mile short of the weekly mileage I should have had if I had done the 7 miles yesterday.  So my tentative plan is to run 3 miles today (done), 3 miles tomorrow (regular schedule), 6 miles on Wednesday (which would normally be on Thursday), 3 miles on Thursday (which is my usual Saturday run), and 3 miles on Friday (extra run), then rest Saturday before my 12 miles on Sunday.  And when I was coming up with this plan, I was thinking Tuesday and Thursday's runs were 4 miles, so I could do 3.5 miles on those days and I would be exactly where I should be, without the long run. And since it was a scale back week, I figure missing the 7 miles all in a row is okay.  It's the really long ones I don't think I should miss (like the 12 miles next Sunday). 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Question and answer session with my son

About a week ago Shut Up + Run did these questions with her daughter.  I liked them and was curious how my son would answer so I asked him the other day.  Here's his response.

 Here’s what he said, he's 16  (the blue is my input).

1. What does your mom eat before a run?
An egg. (True. I eat at least 2 eggs every morning.  However, I don't run in the morning very often, so when I run in the afternoon I don't usually eat anything unless I'm starving, and then it's usually one egg.)
2. How far does your mom run everyday?
Average 6 miles, that includes a long run on the weekend.  But probably 5 miles a day.  (I have been running 3 miles daily with a long run of 6 miles until I just started my marathon training.)
3. What was your mom’s favorite race?
Half marathon  (I think my second half was my favorite, although I also was very proud of the Bloomsday I ran in 2014)

4. Why do you think your mom runs?
She enjoys it and wants to lose weight. (True and not true.  I do enjoy it, but I don't think the weight lose is an issue anymore, sure I'd love to lose more, but I doubt I will.  Now it's mostly not regaining the weight . . . and so I can drink wine.)
5. What injuries has your mom had from running?
Bee stings, dog bites, scrapes, plantar faciitis.  (All true, although I don't think I was actually bitten by a dog, just jumped on and my shirt was ripped.  I'm pretty sure I tore a muscle in my calf in 2012.)
6. Do you like going to your mom’s races?
At first he said it was okay as long as he didn't have to watch Maddox and then he said "boring, you're just standing around watching people, waiting for the person you came with to cross the finish line.  (And as much as I want someone to cheer me one at races, I completely understand his point of view.)

My first 5k that I made him go to.
7. Does having a mom who runs make you want to run?
No, not necessarily, I like sprints. (I have periodically tried to get him to run with me, and he hates it, so I stopped)
8. What have you learned from having a mom who runs?
Try to avoid things (I think he's talking about bees, dogs, neighbors) Pace yourself.  (True, if a bit superficial.)
9. What is your least favorite thing about having a mom who runs?
Having to watch my brother.  (I knew he was going to say that before he said it.)
10. Do you think you’ll run when you are your mom’s age? (38)
Not sure, when it's time we'll see.  I'll see how my life turns out. (I think he will because we talk all the time about the importance of staying healthy and active.  I have told him that I was very active in high school like he is and then when I graduated wasn't and gained a lot of weight.  He doesn't want to gain weight, so I think {hope} he'll remember our conversations and will take up something when he's older, and what better sport to take up then running?)

Monday, July 13, 2015


Is "swarmed" a word?  Oh well.

As my running increases, I could possibly see that my desire to write about it also could increase.  It's been almost a year now since I've been in a slump running-wise.  I was still running last year in July and August, but I was gradually decreasing the miles to try to ease my foot pain. 

At the end of November when I ran for the first time in 2 months I was elated to go run, but taking a slow approach to increasing my miles, while good for my feet, seems to have affected my desire to go run negatively.  Lately I have noticed that I just don't want to run very badly, even now the thought of running 12 miles in 2 weeks (this next Sunday is a scale back week to 7 miles) does not excite me.  A few years ago when I decided to do a half marathon, the higher mileage excited me.  I was excited to see if I could run 8, 9, 10 miles.  Now it's not as exciting to me.  I don't know why and it bothers me.  I'd really like to get that excitement back.  Maybe once I go over the half marathon mileage it will, I'll be in new territory again.  But after this marathon, then what?  I don't want to be an ultra runner, it seems crazy.  (I've said that before, about a half marathon and about a marathon).

Last week I was a little worried about running 9 miles.  I looked on MapMyRun to find out when the last time I had run 9 miles was (June 2014).  I obsessed about going to get some sort of fuel for the run, I even laid out my clothes the night before and decided what to eat and drink and how early to get up.  Yesterday I laid around all morning, drank some coffee, ate my eggs, and then decided to start getting ready for my run about 10am.  I was almost out the door when I thought "crap! 10 miles, I hope I have fuel!"  Luckily I had some left over from last week.  And off I went. 

It was actually a pretty eventful run, which usually isn't a good thing. 

I did the same route that I did last week, and knew I was going to add a loop that was about half a mile, so I figured I'd just run an extra half mile at the end of the run.  I always end on the same trail and it's 2 miles long, but I usually end at the one mile mark, but if I need to keep going to get the mileage I know that I can.  I don't like adding the mileage at the end because I'm tired and it's a psychological pain to run past where I normally end, but I can do it. 

In mile 5 I thought that I should find a bathroom and remembered that there was one at a park I was going to run past, it was out of my way, but I needed to add that half a mile to my run so I thought I'd take a detour and see if it was enough.  I ended up not needing the bathroom, but the detour was exactly the half mile I needed, so I was happy I wouldn't have to tag it on at the end of the run. 

And then 2 things happened in mile 8.  First a guy walking towards me kept smiling really big at me.  As I got closer he said "you passed me on Divison." I smiled and said something brilliant, I'm sure, and kept running.  The spot I had passed him was in mile 3 and even though I had run 4.5 more miles, he had walked around 3 miles.  Such a coincidence, which I found nice.

Then right before I hit the 8 mile mark I hit something with my hand.  I looked down and saw something fly away, which I thought was a fly, maybe a bee, and then a second thing hit me.  And then a whole swarm of them were chasing me and stinging me.  I screamed, ran faster, screamed, and screamed again.  And then I was falling.  It's funny how things in your mind seem to take forever, but happen so fast.  That fall seemed to take forever, I was probably halfway down and still thinking I could recover.  I didn't, and skidded on my hip and elbow about a foot (or it felt like a foot).  Again, that whole thing where it feels like forever, but is actually only a few min.  As I was laying on the ground I was thinking I need to get up now before the bees really attack, I was probably on my feet seconds after I hit the ground, and was running again. 

Somehow the bees left me not long after I fell and I ran to a grassy area and sat down.  I assessed the damage, I could only feel one sting at that time, but the scrapes on my elbow and hip were pretty bad.  I thought about stopping my run, but decided I could finish.  So after sitting for  few min, I got up and continued running.  The last two miles felt terrible, but when I got home and looked at my splits, the last mile was my fastest one.

I finished my 10 miles and felt badass afterward.  The utter exhaustion I felt last week after my 9 miles didn't hit me this week.  I think it was the late night on the 4th and the early run on the 5th that made me so tired.  I was happy that I was able to function much better this week.  I even cleaned my house.  ; )  I am also less sore today, and other than my hip and elbow, feel okay.  =)  (Oh, and in case you're wondering, my feet are fine.)

When I told a friend that I was attacked by bees, he said "you've been attacked by a dog, by your neighbor, and now bees."  He's right, maybe I should quit running?  Not likely.  =)  (I'm so happy we moved away from those crazy neighbors, by the way.)

Yesterday evening I got curious as to when my last 10 mile run was, so I looked it up.  My last 10 mile run was Sept 1, 2013.  2013!  And my last run longer than 9 miles was Sept 8, 2013, my last half marathon.  It seriously doesn't seem like it's been that long.

Friday, July 10, 2015


The temperatures here have cooled down quite a bit, and there was even a smattering of rain . . . or mist . ..  on my windshield as I drove into work today.  Not enough to do anything other than frizz my hair, but it's more moisture than we've had for several weeks. 

I have still been waking up early to run in the morning, which I don't like but am getting used to.  I don't think I will be waking up at 5:30am tomorrow or Sunday though to run like I did last weekend though.  The weather is supposed to be considerately cooler than last week which means I'll be able to run in the late morning, which I prefer on weekends.  I love the hot weather, but I don't like running in it.  So part of me hopes it cools down next week so I can go back to running after work, and part of me wants it to stay hot. =)

Yesterday I was up at 4:30am to run 5 miles.  I didn't leave the house until about 4:45, but I thought that was pretty good.  I have been trying to eat an egg before I run and gulp down some water.  I am not willing to wake up any earlier just so I can eat more and drink some coffee and water . . . and then let it all go through my system, so I figure as long as the runs are very long, I can get away with an egg and a little water.  When I run 3 miles in the morning, I don't always eat anything.  I try to drink some water, but I figure 3 miles isn't that far, and I can get away with no food.  So far I haven't had any issues. 

After running 9 miles on Sunday, I was a little worried how my feet would feel later in the week.  I have noticed when I have aches in my feet, it's often 2 or so days after my runs.  I haven't had any issues all week.  I've been rolling them regularly (speaking of, I should do that now) so maybe that is why I haven't had any issues.  Even today after running 17 miles already this week (I have another 3 scheduled for tomorrow) they aren't bothering me.  This makes me feel really good about my chances of actually being able to run the marathon. 

Last year at this time I was training for the same marathon in October, using a much more rigorous training schedule, and I had to give up the training and marathon about this time, maybe a few weeks later. Of course, last year I was running 5 days a week, 5 miles a day with one long run of 8 or so miles, so somewhere between 25 and 30 miles a week.  And I picked a training schedule that started me off with higher mileage. 

This year my training is only 4 days a week.  And this week, after almost a month of training, I am only up to 20 miles.  It's going to increase, but I think it's a much gentler approach than what I had last year.

Anyway, I'm optimistic about my feet (I've been boarding on pessimistic about it).
As I typed I rolled my feet.  =)
Tonight we're going to a Mariner's game.  My work offered everyone cheap tickets, so I invited my sister, her husband, and our neighbors/friends.  There are 11 people in my group alone, so it will be fun.  =)  I don't follow baseball, I always say, the only baseball I watch is Damian's, but going to the games in person is fun.  I haven't been in close to 10 years, so it will be good.  =)

Monday, July 6, 2015

9 miles and I survived

I hope everyone had a safe and good 4th of July (well, everyone in the US).  We went our friend's inlaws house, which we have done for 4 years now.  The kids (including the adult kids {the husbands}) set off their own fireworks and we have food and visit.  Since we've been going there for so long, it has gotten a lot more comfortable for me to be there and I enjoyed it a lot this year. 
Maddox was high up in that tree on the bottom.
We didn't get home until midnight or so.  Poor Chris had to get up and work, and poor me had to get up and run 9 miles.  It's been so warm here, so I've been doing morning runs (hate it, but it's cool) and with 9 miles I really didn't want to be out running in 75+ degree weather (I know, some places would be happy to run in 75 degrees, this western WA acclimated girl doesn't care for it).  So I set my alarm for 5:30am and was going to try to get out the door by 6 (I was also trying to avoid having to wake up Damian to watch Maddox).  However, I remembered that I have to eat and drink something before doing 9 miles, so I readjusted and decided to leave by 7am. 

I did it.  I ran 9 miles and survived.  =)  I knew I would survive, but honestly I was rather worried about making it through 9 miles.  It's been a little over a year since I've run that far and I wasn't sure if I could.  This training plan I am using for my marathon had me do 7 miles, then 5, then 9, I felt the jump from 7 to 9 was a lot, especially since it scaled me down last week, but I did it.  Not only did I do it, but I crushed the last mile, coming in with an 8.46 min/mile, my fastest mile for the whole 9 miles. 
At mile 7 I stopped to take a picture of the river (I really love running along the river, even if it's not very long) and shortly after that I started seeing sayings and stuff chalked onto the sidewalk.  I was running past them all thinking there must have been a fun run on the 4th when I thought "I need to stop and take a picture" and how appropriate that the first one I took said "You are Strong."  I felt I needed it.  Then at 7.5 miles I came up to "Run Happy" which is one of my favorite hashtags to use on Instagram, so of course I had to take a picture. 

I got home about 9am and both Damian and Maddox were still sleeping, so I was happy about that.  I took a shower and then decided to have a 3rd cup of coffee (I usually only drink 2, which I did before I ran) and roll my feet to (hopefully) prevent any pain. 
The rest of the day I was completely wiped out.  I was so tired.  I don't know if it was the 5 and a half hours of sleep, or the long run, or both, but I was exhausted.  I couldn't make myself do anything.  I laid around on the couch all day.  The kids across the street came and got Maddox to play for a little while and I took a short nap, even after that I could barely keep my eyes open.  When Maddox came home I decided to go lay in our little kiddie pool, but even that proved to be too exhausting, so instead I had some wine while Maddox played with the water. 
My pool boy. =)
I did cook dinner, so that is something, right?  ;-)  I ended up falling asleep on the couch (or nodding off) about 8pm., so I finally drug myself to bed at 8:30 and slept pretty good.  =)  I also managed to drink a lot of wine.  So I guess I accomplished a lot.  =)

Today I am feeling okay.  My feet aren't hurting more than normal fatigue from running farther than they are used to.  I can feel how tight my hips are, and it was getting really uncomfortable, so I decided to do a yoga pose that is supposed to help with that while I read a training online.  (very boring, by the way) 

This is "Happy Cow Pose" supposed to be very good for tight hips.
Next week is 10 miles . . . I should be okay, right?  ;-)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

9 miles, oh my!

Last weekend I had a second interview, and then we went to Lake Padden for Chris's birthday.  He invited a bunch of his friends (after all, it was his birthday) and I invited one friend (I needed someone to talk to).  I had met all of them (Chris's friends) at least once, but wasn't very comfortable with most.  And then my friend text me to say that she was sick and couldn't come.  =(  Anyway, for the most part, I had a good time and I think Chris did too. 

Sadly, the only picture of Chris I took.
The rest of the weekend I just sat outside and enjoyed the sun.  It has been very warm here (I always hesitate to say hot because it's nothing compared to places like eastern WA where it was 112 yesterday but it's hot for this area).  It was a record setting June here.  3 degrees hotter than the last hottest June from 1992.
Frozen cherries as ice cubes.
 Well, I guess that on Sunday Chris got a call saying his brother, who is in the Army and stationed in California, was at his mom's house in Bellingham, so we went there after he got off work and hung out for the evening.  His brother is getting married next year, so we met his fiancĂ©e. 

I LOVE our house.  We got an air conditioner last year from a yard sale (they said it had only been used for one year) and we have found that we don't really need it at our new house.  It is warm, and it would be nice on some evenings, but there's a ceiling fan and then with all the windows and the sliding door open it keeps the living room fairly cool.  Plus, the kitchen is on the west side of the house, and that is where the sun beats down (it does get hot in there) but the living room is sorta insulated.  Plus, we have a big deck, so we can go sit outside on that if it gets too warm.  It really is nice.  Even though we were only in the Burlington house for 6 months, in the winter/spring months, there were a few days where it was warm, and that house was really hot, so maybe that's another positive for having to move again.  (I really am seeing more and more positives to the move back to Mt. Vernon than staying in the Burlington house, even though it was bigger.) 

Last week was a scale back week in my marathon training.  My long run was only 5 miles.  It's been so warm in the evening that I haven't wanted to run after work. On Tuesday I decided to skip my run and get up early on Wednesday to run.  It is so hard for me to get up, but I did.  I set my alarm for 4:30am, and was out the door by 4:45ish after drinking a little bit of water and eating a hard boiled egg.  I am usually pretty slow in the morning and my first mile was slower than normal, but then I sped up (it was the egg kicking in) and all 3 miles averaged under 9 min/mile. 

Then I saw that today is supposed to be hotter than yesterday so I set my alarm again and told myself to get up.  In fact, I set 5 alarms . . .  and ignored them all until the last one.  At 4:30 I thought about it and decided I just do my run tomorrow.  Then at 4:50 (the last alarm) I thought, if I do my run tomorrow I'll end up running 3 days in a row and I've been trying to avoid that. I thought maybe I'd run this evening, but it's supposed to be even hotter today so I jumped out of bed and left for my run.  I think it was a record for how fast I got out of the house.  I was walking out the door at 5am.  I am glad I did, it's already 73 degrees and it's only 9:30am.

This week my long run jumps to 9 miles.  I'm fairly worried about it.  I haven't run 9 miles since last June.  I haven't even run 8 miles since last July (7/13/2014).  I definitely won't be as fast as I was a year ago.  My 3 mile runs are close to 9 min/miles, sometimes a little under, but not usually.  Last year (6/22/2014 to be exact) my 9 mile run averaged 9.18 min/mile.  I don't think that will happen on Sunday. 

I need to remember to buy some sort of energy chews.  I haven't had a long enough run to need energy chews in so long that I no longer have any.  And 9 miles is definitely past the point of needing them. 

Wish me luck!  ;-)