Training for the Columbus Marathon: When a Run Streak Butts Up Against Training

The Columbus (Half) Marathon is in 104 days. 3 months and 12 days. 15 weeks, meaning that I just completed my first week of training. It still feels far enough away that I don’t feel stressed about it at all, as if October is some super far off month and I have all the time in the world to train myself and my husband so that I can run a PR. Yep, no problem.

Training for the Columbus Half Marathon

When I started the Runner’s World Summer RunStreak on Memorial Day, I was actually already a day into my my streak as I ran the day before on Sunday, May 25. When the steak ended on July 4, I still had two days left in my own personal streak as the last week of the challenge ran right into my first week of training for the Columbus Half Marathon.

In short: Instead of 40 days of running at least one mile every single day, I ran 43 days in a row.

#RWRUNSTREAK FINISHER FTW

Goodness.

In 43 days I ran 81.99 miles, which equals out to an average of 1.90674419 miles per day. I wasn’t looking to run long during the streak, just to run every single day for those 40(+3) days. I did. And yesterday, on a five mile run with my husband, I decided that I felt more than ready to take a rest day today.

I’m glad I participated in the challenge. I feel like if I hadn’t, I would be starting out with depleted fitness and endurance. No, I didn’t run anything over four miles until yesterday during the entire streak, but I ran faster and harder than I had in quite some time. I worked on speed. I worked on footfalls. I worked on some hills. I worked on doing it even when I didn’t want to do it, which I know will serve this half marathon training well.

Days will come in the not-too-distant future in which I will say, “But I don’t wanna go for a run today,” in my most whiniest of voices. It will be too hot or too cold or too rainy or too sunny. I will be too tired or too busy or to lazy or too involved in whatever is going on in my life, including a really important work event, travel to visit family and friends, and the start of a new school year for the boys with soccer practices in the evenings to boot. I will look at my training plan and ask myself, “Does this run really matter?”

The answer will always be: Yes. Yes, this run matters. This run matters. This run matters. This run matters. THIS RUN MATTERS.

THIS RUN MATTERS

All that said, I’m kinda tired.

I’m glad I didn’t run longer distances, because the five miler with my husband yesterday felt a little like dying. Not lung-capacity wise, though the sun kept rising and the temperature kept rising with it, and I kept thinking, “Oh dear. It’s so hot and humid and if this flipping horse fly doesn’t leave me the flip alone, I may just cry or scream or die.” (I get even more dramatic when I’m hot.) But leg-wise, my gams felt heavy. And tired. And slow. And heavy. And dead. And oh my, so heavy. No one part hurt more than the other, I just felt as though my legs needed to pull off the side of the trail and take a nap while the rest of me went on a run.

But I ran. Or, we ran. My husband and I accidentally met up with a fellow firefighter coworker of his who ran with us for the first 2.5 miles. His training plan called for a 7.5 miler as he’s training for the New York City marathon. We turned back around at the 2.5 mile point and headed back to the start of the trail. When we ended, my husband officially checked off his longest distance yet. Hooray!

Running Together

The rest of the first week of training went rather well, if not slightly slow. I’m telling myself that the end of the RunStreak combined with summer temperatures affected my pace a little bit. I need to work on maintaining pace on these lower mileage runs. That’s what I’d like to focus on this week; you know, instead of starting way too fast and then crashing before its over. I could think positively in that I’m doing what the training plan calls for and running the lower mileage distances at a slower pace and saving race pace for my long run. Right? Right.

Saturday and Sunday were both run with my husband. Saturday was a perfect negative split, and Sunday showed almost negative splits. Mile two was apparently a bit slower than the first but then we dropped them down. My husband is naturally better at this than me, which probably means he’s better at pacing in general. I think we’ll be good for each other as we train together. It may be his first and my third, but it’s our first together, and I think that’s just stinkin’ awesome.

NEGATIVE SPLITS FTW

This week doesn’t bring a longer long run, but it does bring one longer short run. And I’m getting back into circuit training on Wednesday and Friday. Today though… today I rest. Today I am thankful for legs and lungs and a back that carried me through 43 days of running. Today I am thankful for water and the ability to kick back when I definitely need to kick back. I am also thankful for supportive people in my life who, upon hearing that I completed all 40 days (and then some), reply, “Well, I never doubted that you would finish.” (My dad? He’s the best.)

Here’s to the second week of training!

 

Icebreaker Running

My First Stitch Fix, or: To Stitch Fix with Love

I resisted All Things Stitch Fix for a really long time—even though I looked at other bloggers’ awesome fixes and thought, “Ooh, that’s pretty. Ooh, I like that. Oooh, shiny.” But I just couldn’t do it.

Why? Mostly because I like having control. I didn’t want to surrender control of purchasing clothing options to someone else. Someone who didn’t know me, what I liked, what my problems spots were, what I hated, what I needed. Also, for a really long time, I was between sizes on the upper end of what I wanted to be. Weirdly, I’m now between sizes on the lower end of what I’d like to be, so maybe that’s just who I am: someone in between.

I finally broke down recently as I clicked into the site to look for available fix dates and saw one for the beginning of July. I still hadn’t found anything to wear for a Very Important Thing at the end of July, and so I decided to bite the bullet. I explained in my note that I love all things green, that I only wear dresses, and that I needed a dress for a special event. In green. Obviously.

When I showed Karen the photo of my fix when it arrived the other day, she replied, “OMG! Did they read your blog because that’s SO you.” And it was. Every piece. To do that, you fill out a lengthy survey about what styles appeal to you. You can also link to your style board on Pinterest so they can look at what catches your eye. My stylist sent me a lovely note explaining my picks, too.

My StitchFix Note

I don’t know who Stacey is, but I’m in love with her.

Let’s take a look at what landed in my mailbox yesterday.

Oh, My!

I expected to hate this dress. I looked at it on the style card and shook my head. A shirt dress? With buttons? But then I remembered that I’ve lost a lot of chest during my weight loss journey, so maybe the buttons wouldn’t gap. Maybe it would fit okay. Maybe it would be okay after all. Then I pulled it out of the box and the material was luxurious. I put the dress on and fell in love. It’s so comfortable with no gaping buttons and, oh my goodness, the material. I want to pet it all day long.

In Between Sizes

This is one dress that would have suited better in the smaller size I find myself in between right now. However, it’s not awful in the bigger size. I envision this getting a lot of wear during the transition in seasons. And winter. And spring. And lots of times, because I love it.

Green Top

The skirt in this shot was already in my wardrobe (Old Navy, 2013 if you must know), but the shirt is from Stitch Fix and I adore it. I don’t often like to tuck shirts in because I’m careful with my thrice-pregnant belly pooch. But this is really just perfect together. And the flyaway sleeves? LOVE!

And then there’s… this.

OH MY GOODNESS

This. THIS.

I asked for a green dress to wear to an event. And Stitch Fix delivered. And my stylist was right, the belt that came with it wasn’t right, though that belt rocks my socks. Or my waist. It’s way fun and I’m going to wear it eleventy different ways. I already ordered a silver belt to match the silver tabs on the sleeve (see above), and I’m hunting down a killer pair of silver heels. I’m already considering silver jewelry. And really, I’d wear this dress all day, everyday, for the rest of my life. It’s that perfect and comfortable and perfect and omgIloveitsohard.

Also, a beautiful gold necklace came with my Fix, but I didn’t photograph it well. Suffice it to say, it’s lovely.

And so, what’s my final thought on Stitch Fix?

I’ve already scheduled my next Fix. I’ll definitely do it again if I have a big event coming up. This was the easiest shopping I’ve ever done, and that’s really hard for the control-freak, perfectionist to admit. So if you’ve been putting it off for the same reasons, I encourage you to give it a chance. You might like what you receive!

Or LOVE it!

___
Links to Stitch Fix are affiliate links.

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Pirate Ship

ARRR-GAHHH

Last week on vacation, we took one morning off from our usual beaching to go do something as a four person family unit. When vacationing as a multi-generational family, we find great importance in taking time for our individual family unit. Sometimes we go to the aquarium. We’ve hit the Blackbeard museum a couple of times. We meant to go on a pirate cruise last year, but ran out of time.

So last Wednesday, we loaded the boys in the car and, per our usual, didn’t tell them what we were going—only that it was a surprise. We did, however, tell them they could wear the pirate hats they got at the pirate museum two years ago.

Pirate Hats Are the Best

When we walked up to the dock and they saw a pirate ship situated at the end of it, the excitement level sky rocketed.

We chose the Beaufort Pirate’s Revenge because it was child-centered, not overly long, and omg, pirate ship!

ZOMG PIRATE SHIP

Honestly, the cruise was quite fun. But it also showed the brothers’ personality differences quite well.

BigBrother got into the pirate role very well. He was all pirate, all the time. Intense, arrrg-gahhh-ing. Facial expressions that only he can make. Very dramatic, all the time.

Getting a Goatee

LittleBrother enjoyed himself, but he was more laid back, a little bit unsure. He had a lot of fun, but took a minute to warm up to each thing that they did—from the face painting to the sword fight… though he loved the water cannons. He’s just a little more introverted than Mr. All On All The Time. I like that about both of them; their differences.

Getting a Black Beard -- GET IT?!

I’m glad we took a morning off from the beach to drive to Beaufort and do something new, different, and fun. Watching these two get into the fun of imagination, of “being” a pirate, of laughing and playing and being on a boat on the Intracoastal Waterway. We, the parents, sat and watched them line up and follow orders; we smiled as the water cannons got us wet, cooled us off under the sun’s strong rays. They had a blast, and I hope it’s one morning they remember for all time.

THEY'RE GONNA MAKE YOU WALK THE PLANK

 

Training for the Columbus Half Marathon: Begin (and a Look Back at June)

Training for the Columbus Half Marathon begins for me today. The race is in 110 days, or three months and 18 days. Or in 16 weeks. Any way you look at it, it’s time to get out and start training.

Training for the Columbus Half Marathon

But apparently not at 5:30 this morning.

When I looked at the weather last night, the AccuWeather app informed me that heavy storms would move through the area in the afternoon today. So I set my alarm for 5:00am as my husband’s 24-hour shift day falls today. I needed to run three miles before he left for work. The alarm went off, I rolled around and tried to go back to sleep, and eventually rolled myself out of bed.

Only to hear thunder.

ZOMG BWAHHHH STORM

I opened the app, looked at the radar, and sighed. I walked to the window to watch as Mother Nature treated me to quite the light show in the form of constant, crazy lightning. I got back in bed and waited for it to pass, which didn’t happen until my husband left for work. Figures. I now need to text our teenage babysitter to see if she’ll come “watch” the boys after they go to bed so I can run three miles in the neighborhood in the not-sweltering-midday-heat. I also hate running more than one mile back and forth on our half block like I do sometimes to get my mile in when my husband is at work; three miles of back and forth would be torturous. Hopefully she’s available, or you can watch me run repeats this evening. Yay?

Not exactly how I imagined my training for this half marathon starting out. Whatever the case, I’ll get my run in at some point in time today.

As far as training plans go, I’m using a simple “beginner’s” training plan offered by RunKeeper as I’m training my husband through his first half marathon. Yes, he’s officially registered. Yes, we’re running the whole thing together. Yes, it will be the most awesome thing since sliced (rye!) bread. He started running with me every now and then after the Pittsburgh Marathon, and even ran two days with me during our beach vacation.

RUNNING IS LOVE

While our training plan doesn’t offer anything in the way of speedwork, I know we both have a goal in mind. I’d like to shave a few minutes off of my PR, set at Columbus last October. Then again, I shaved 9 minutes off at Columbus last year, and if I manage to do that this year, well, I’d be shocked and thrilled. I’ll talk more about our time goal after we get through the sweltering summer running season. Running in this heat does slow your pace, so I’m not going to fret too much if I’m not hitting my pace goals on my runs until the temps drop a little… or a lot.

And now let’s talk about running in June a little bit, shall we?

As you know, I’ve been participating in the Runner’s World Summer RunStreak. It’s almost over, ending on the 4th of July. (Of course, my training plan has me running on the 5th and 6th, so I’ll have 42 straight days of running, not just 40!) That means I ran every single day in June.

Every. Single. Day.

Even when my grandmother passed away. Even on vacation. Even when I didn’t want to run.

When I finished up my 2.5 mile run yesterday morning and looked at my mileage in comparison to May, I laughed out loud. What’s the difference between 78.7 miles (May) and 52.5 miles (June)? Oh, you know. Just 26.2 miles. Or a marathon.

June Running!

So the difference in mileage between May and June was that little, itty-bitty Pittsburgh Marathon that I ran. Oh. And pace? My pace average in May was nearly 11 minutes because of the marathon. In June? 9:37. Yes! As you can tell, I spent a lot of June focusing on pace and speeding up. In order to do that at all in July, I’m going to have to continue waking up early—and pray the thunderstorms cooperate.

Here’s to the Columbus Half, to the end of the RunStreak, and to running with my husband! Let’s go, July!

 

Happy 2nd Birthday, Callie!

Yesterday Callie turned two!

Two-years-old. She’s totally not a puppy anymore.

Callie Turns 2

Except for how she still jumps. And whines. And annoys the ever-loving snot out of us sometimes. I keep hoping she’ll wake up one morning and think in her doggy head, “Oh hey! I’m no longer a puppy! That means I should no longer jump up on my owners or at the fan or at the window or in general. I should start to relax and be a good adult dog. I am a good adult dog.” Because in my head Callie speaks positive affirmations to herself on a regular basis.

But she’s Callie.

Callie Turns 2

And sometimes she jumps. She always sits on our feet with her bony back dog-bows and butt bones. She still gets too excited when people she loves come to visit and pees on the floor from a secondary, super-sensitive bladder. She barks a lot; less so than she used to, but it’s still so big and loud that the less doesn’t really matter. Less is more when you’re super loud. I should know.

She’s also awesome in eleventy billion ways.

She Loves Her Boys

She loves the boys so stinkin’ much. When she came home from the Doggie Hotel today, she happily flopped onto her back at my feet for me to rub her belly. But when she saw the boys? She whined and peeped and exclaimed her absolute joy as best she could, and then followed them around the house for a few hours. Also, don’t get in between her and her boys if she doesn’t know you. Bad choice. She’s really good at lay down, play dead, shake, “no the other paw,” sit, and stay. Not so much with the “roll over,” but I figure she can’t win them all. She’s a sucker for routine, which fits wonderfully in with how I like to run the daily household. She’s super great at shedding. She loves to play ball or frisbee or anything really. She’s really great at fielding a whiffle ball, even if you don’t want her to field the whiffle ball. She’s learned to be a great short-distance running companion for me; I think I’ll wait until it cools off before I attempt taking her on longer runs.

And she loves us adult owners too.

She hasn’t yet been part of our family for two years. That day comes near the end of summer, and we’ll probably celebrate that with an attempt at a family picture with the dog. For now, we’ll just celebrate the fact that two years ago yesterday, in a storm that apparently both knocks down churches and causes dogs to go into labor, our Callie came into this world. A couple months later, she untied the shoe of our oldest son and firmly secured her spot within our family.

Callie Turns 2

We can’t imagine life without her.