Running On Average

The Cold, The Warm, and The Rain

I wrote an entire post and then deleted it. #EpicFail

Saturday it was still cold, but warm enough and with nice enough weather that I got to run outside. WOO!!! I did 13+ miles at a 9:51 pace. My goal was to keep a 10:00-10:20 pace, according to my training schedule, but the pace I kept felt really great. I didn’t get tired until mile 11.5, but I finished strong so I’m happy.

Starting the run:

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I ran mainly on the roads, which were pretty clear except for some icy/slushy patches. I ran on the paths a bit, but they were pretty snow-covered so it was little agility game!

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Valentine’s Day and Battling Winter Training

Running | February 15, 2015 | By

Hey, how was your weekend? Did you have a great Valentine’s Day? Single or coupled? I’ve always loved it no matter my relationship status. But my first married one was amazing! Smile

To my great surprise, I actually DID wake up at 4:30 on Friday morning and get my butt to the gym!

It was SO FREAKING COLD.

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And dark.

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And I looked like this by the end of it.

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But I busted out 5 awesome miles, 3.5 at race pace (1 mile warm up, .5 mile cool down). And I felt so great.

Trying to wake up at 5am on Saturday was a bit harder. I made it out of bed for peanut butter on rice cake before snuggling back into bed until 6:30, since the sun doesn’t come up until 7am. Then it started snowing big, thick, fluffy, pretty flakes. Unfortunately, our roads weren’t getting plowed and since it’s hilly with no sidewalks, Dave didn’t want me running outside (he’s a good and caring guy like that). So he offered to drive me to the gym because I am terrified of driving in the snow and my car was in the shop anyway.

On the way to the gym, Dave’s car skidded out because the roads were worse than we thought, so Dave was SUCH a trooper and hung out at the gym for two hours while I churned out 10 slow miles on the treadmill. He took a BodyPump class then walked on the treadmill next to me for company. I haven’t run more than 6 miles since….June? Yikes!! Has it been that long?! Anyway, I did it, finishing with a mile at race pace…which actually seemed easier!

After a shower and 2-hour nap, my Saturday was super relaxing! For Valentine’s Day, Dave surprised me this BEAUTIFUL Fossil watch. The style is called Jesse….it literally had my name on it! haha

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My gift to him is a weekend at a lodge in the northwestern PA later in March. Look out for that post in a few weeks! Oh and a stuffed Woodstock that dances and plays the Peanuts theme song.

We ordered Chinese food for dinner (it’s what we ordered the night we got engaged and this was a throwback) and watched Gilmore Girls. That’s how we roll.

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ROMANCE.

Check out my awesome fortune. Also, shout out to my sister for the Chocolate Raspberry Wine! SO GOOD.

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Today was a rest day! Actually, it was a yoga day, buuuuut that didn’t happen. Whoops! Instead we braved the single digit temperatures to go to the Tanger Outlets, an outdoor mall, to check out the President’s Day sales, since we totally cleaned out our wardrobes a few weekends ago.

How’s the weather in your neighborhood? Who’s ready for some long days and warm(er) weather?!

Did you love Valentine’s Day?

National Running Day vs Nutella Brownies

In case you missed all the Facebook and Instagram hype, yesterday was National Running Day. Everyone was putting in their miles and posting them on various social media sites. Did you run? Did you post?

I didn’t. I had planned to run after work, so I didn’t bring clothes with me in the morning. Well. My stomach was wonky all day, all right, okay, but I was still going to get out there. Except that it started raining around 4 and didn’t quit. And my office/gym is on the other side of the city from where I live. So I just embraced the rest day and made some dinner instead.

1st course

1st course

Dinner and the new edition of RW!

Dinner and the new edition of RW!

Then I decided that if I’m not going to run, hell I might as well make brownies! But not just any brownies, no. Brownies with Nutella frosting! O.M.G.

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To my credit, I did do some ab work before letting myself indulge in a brownie and some coffee. So that counts, right?

I ran an easy 3.37 miles today. I tried to keep it slow and do negative splits and I really thought I was taking my time, but I started with an 8:35, then tried to slow down for an 8:41, then a stomach stop-off, then a 9:05. I have no idea how I’m going to handle my stomach Sunday. Arghh…

But the run felt nice so that made me feel good! 🙂

As seen on my run

As seen on my run

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Tomorrow after I work, I’m flying up to Boston to meet Danielle for the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Weekend! I’m equal parts nervous and excited. Part of me just doesn’t give a hoot about my time (to an extent) because I know I didn’t put enough work into training this time around, so I just want to enjoy the weekend and race. On the other hand, I don’t want to be a slow poke.

But what I’m really nervous about is my stomach. Because, you know, I’ve been stopping every mile lately and that’s just not a good thing. And I don’t even know how to fix it. That’s the thing with colitis; sometimes there is nothing you can do except tough it out. And. It. Sucks. UGH.

Well that’s my ranting for the day. Your turn!

Is anybody else running the Heartbreak Hill Half this weekend? Anyone doing the hat trick? Overachievers. 😛

Welcome to Summer Weather Running!

This weekend showcased some gorgeous weather out here in the Burgh! But along with that, came some…adjustments…in my running. I had a 10- to 12-miler scheduled for Saturday and was debating running around the neighborhood (hillier) or on the trail (flatter, though not flat). I ended up going with the trail because of its convenient porta john stops.

I woke up around 8:45 and was on the trail by 10:20, which for me to be ready that quickly is unheard of. I usually take 2+ hours of waking up, getting up, and eating before I make my way outside. It was a pretty nice run, not too many complaints. Plenty of porta john stops because my mind was messing with me, but whatever. I went a mile passed the furthest I’ve gone on the trail before, which meant exploring! I got to run down a steep hill and up some very, very shallow steps. I also got to run along a train track for a mile or so before stopping and turning around.

Sunny skies, country music, and the faint smell of the beach...running bliss

Sunny skies, country music, and the faint smell of the beach…running bliss

Stop and enjoy the turnaround point

Stop and enjoy the turnaround point

It wasn’t a bad run and I actually quite enjoyed it, but it was hot and I was tired and sluggish. To the point of walking a little and actually just all out stopping and sitting on a bench at one point. I’m not sure what my deal was. I didn’t start out too fast. I think the heat, quitting a medication on Friday (it was making my stomach totally haywire), and Friday’s eats (not exactly healthy) were making me sluggish. I was also battling the usual stomach-ness, where if I stretch my body too much or run at a certain pace, my intestines get all cranky and I need to walk, pause, or find a porta john asap. Which feels a little like cheating to me, but there’s nothing I can do about it except push through and just run the best that I can.

I dont care what that says, it was hotter than that!

I dont care what that says, it was hotter than that!

Anyway, like I said, I actually enjoyed the run. I was glad I did 12 miles because I went into it only anticipating 10. I’m running the Heartbreak Hill Half in Boston next week with my friend Danielle. I had big goals for this race, but honestly, I got cocky after running Knoxville and undertrained like woah. One (dreadful, stomach-sick, walk-filled) 8-miler, two 10-milers and Saturday’s 12-miler were my longest runs and most of the others hovered in the 3-4 range (with a fun fantastic 6-miler thrown in one mid-week). Still I’m hoping that the hills I run will help me out for Boston. My shorter runs haven’t even been that fast, I’m now realizing. I’m pretty much screwed for this race. Oops. Live and learn, I guess!

So, Danielle, if you’re reading this, be ready for my turtle pace on Sunday!

The weekend as a whole was just amazing. After running, Dave and I explored the Tanger Outlets and I found some great deals, though perhaps too many. (I’m looking at you, J.Crew!) For dinner, we bought the Blue Moon summer case and grilled up steak, potatoes and veggies and ate al fresco, hanging out on our patio until 10, then going inside and watching American Hustle. It turned out to be pretty great! Sunday, we went to mass and had brunch before Dave packed and had to leave for a business trip. Which is fun for a while, but then gets lonely. I countered the loneliness with Chinese takeout for dinner and a lot of cleaning while watching reruns of Castle.

How was your weekend? Did you log any good miles, fast or slow, hot or cool?

Shirts, Shots, and a Super Flat Trail (Hallelujah!)

The Pittsburgh Marathon was this weekend and through my work I got to volunteer at the expo on Saturday afternoon. I also signed Dave up to volunteer with me, since he wanted thought it sounded fun. We got there early to walk around the expo a bit and tried some tasty and not-so-tasty samples. We were on the schedule to work for the guest speaker series, but when we got to our station, the next shift hadn’t shown up for the t-shirt exchange, which was ridiculously busy, so Dave hopped over to do that. Since there was really nothing going on at my spot and another volunteer was there as well, I went over to help him.

The shirts must have run small this year because everyone was coming up trying to get a bigger size. So we had piles (literally) of women’s small shirts and only a handful of other sizes. Which made it a little hectic, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Plus, since we were right next to the speaker series, I still got to hear the speakers talk and rubbed elbows (sort of) with Bud Coates, the author of Running On Air. He explained his breathing techniques to me and let me check out his book while we were sitting there.

By the end of the day, all we had to offer were women’s smalls and one men’s XXL.

Can we interest you in a womens Small?

Can we interest you in a womens Small?

Or a Mens XXL?

Or a Mens XXL?

Our shift lasted from 1:30 until the expo closed at 6, then we met up with some of Dave’s friends at a new bar called Emporio: A Meatball Joint. Dave and I got there first, so we put our name in for a table and sat down at the bar just in time to see the Kentucky Derby race and watch California Chrome win. It was crazy how excited all the people in the bar got! Since it was Derby Day, naturally I had to have some bourbon. And because I love bourbon.

Makers Mark double. Pure goodness.

Makers Mark double. Pure goodness.

The rest of the guys showed up and we got our table. The idea behind this place is meatballs, obviously. They have meatball grinders, mix n match meatball sliders, meatball paninis, meatballs just by themselves. So what you do is pick what kind of meatball you want, choose your sauce, then your sandwich. I got chicken meatballs with spinach pesto sauce on a Panini. So. Freaking. Good. While all the boys had beer, I had another double Maker’s Mark, getting much more…feel good…then I intended to, since I was scheduled for a 10-miler on Sunday. Oops. Luckily, I’ve been pretty much immune to hangovers up to this point in my life.

I’ve been meaning to try the Montour Trail for a while, since running around a neighborhood cut through by busy streets can get boring (except when playing chicken with rush hour traffic). So yesterday afternoon I drove down to the closest trail entrance with no idea what to expect from my run or the trail. But I was feeling pretty annoyed with myself and my speed lately and as compared to some friends, so I really needed to just run.

It took a few miles for me to calm down (I should mention that this was following an argument with Dave that may or may not have been was definitely PMS’s fault). But once I did, the run was awesome. First of all, I couldn’t believe the porta johns had flushable toilets. I shit you not. (See what I did there?)

The worlds most advanced porta johns

The worlds most advanced porta johns

Second, it was SO FLAT. I didn’t know flat was something western PA knew how to do. As I was running my 5 miles out, I was thinking how the run back was going to be harder since it would all be uphill, but I swear I ran downhill both ways. Of course there were exceptions, but mostly, it was flat.

There was also this really cool tunnel I ran through.

Seems legit.

Seems legit.

I hadn’t really given myself a set pace to run, other than faster than my recent turtley speed. But I also hadn’t gone on a run of any distance since my marathon (my longest was 6 miles last week), so I kept telling myself that it might get bad. Because, you know, why not set yourself up for disappointment? #fail

I started out just under a 9-minute mile and at mile 5 I decided that if I kept it under a 9-minute mile the whole way I’d get ice cream or a frappacino when I was done, because I was really craving some. At that point I was averaging an 8:41 pace, but was at the turn around point thinking the uphill was all ahead of me.

Mile 5 turnaround

Mile 5 turnaround

I finished the run in glorious fashion, 10.1 miles at an 8:39 pace and feeling awesome, though my ass and hammies started getting a bit sore about 8 miles in. My fastest mile was mile 10 at 8:19. I walked a ¼ mile cool down and went back to my car and drove home. I talked myself out of a treat because I truly am broke…but my unexpected decently fast pace was reward enough!

Okay, okay I didn't REALLY run 26 miles...

Okay, okay I didn’t REALLY run 26 miles…

BAM.

BAM.

I definitely will be revisiting the Montour Trail! It’s 46 miles of trail, with porta johns, a flat course and relative good looks. It’s not as pretty as Gring’s Mill, but it’s well-kept and the trail is wider, so I’ll take it as my western PA alternative.

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So apparently Maker’s Mark is my new night before long run fuel? But seriously, I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. That run just goes to prove MIND OVER MATTER. There’s no reason I should have run that well yesterday, except that I was damn determined to, especially once I’d started realizing what my pace was. I need to know, for myself, that I wasn’t toooo embarrassingly slow, so I put my mind to it and BA-BAM, the perfect storm.

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Side note: last week it was really windy out, so I didn’t want to wear my usual ball cap, but it was also really sunny. I’d bought a cheap (under $20) pair of Nine West sunglasses from Boscov’s the weekend before that fit pretty snug, so I thought what the hell, I’ll give them a try. I always thought I’d hate sunglasses while running, but these are amazing. They don’t move, they’re really dark, and I basically don’t even notice them. I love it!

Do you have a favorite trail to run?

How did you celebrate Derby Day? With some good ole bourbon or do you have another favorite?