Coulda Woulda Shoulda

by Sue

I wonder how many blog posts I could title with a Sex and the City quote and somehow make them running related?

So this was actually the week before last. Obviously, I am behind.

Monday: On the schedule was 9 miles (goal pace 9:00-9:15); the last mile 8×30 second strides.

Holy. Humidity. The kind where you feel like you’re breathing in water. And it’s only June. That is the scary part. Should’ve paced it closer to 9:15 for the first eight, as I was SUFFERING through those strides, when I was supposed to be focusing on my form. At that point I was thinking, screw the form, I just need to be DONE. And the fact that I was dizzy at the end was not exactly a good sign. Finished in 1:20:01.

In hindsight, I really ought to have dialed my pace WAY back due to the humidity–like to 9:30-plus if I needed to, as I should have done on this particular day, and as I was advised to do when faced with these conditions next time around. But I have a tendency to look at my goal paces on my plan and think I must hit them at all costs, not really taking anything else into consideration. Lesson learned, right?

There’s an abundance of articles floating all over the place these days with tips for running in the heat….so I won’t reiterate, as most of them seem pretty obvious to me. As I have learned, the bottom line is that when running in extreme heat and humidity, it really is just a matter of adjusting your goals and expectations as far as pace. SLOW IT DOWN. Jeff Galloway suggests that on long runs in the heat, you should be running at least two minutes per mile slower than you would have normally run that same distance. “You’ll get the same endurance from the long run running slowly, as you would when running faster”. Not the first time I’ve heard this!

Wednesday: 8 treadmill miles in 1:12:16 (9:00-9:15 pace)

Thursday: 6 treadmill miles in 54:18 (9:00-9:15 pace)

Saturday: Long run on the trail with Kelly and Ryan. 14 miles in 2:11:24.

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It was overcast, but felt every bit as hot and humid as Monday’s run. Yet….for some reason this was an awesome run for me. I was just under my goal pace of 9:30. I fueled, I hydrated, and despite the less than desirable conditions, I finished strong and felt like I could have gone further at the end. Very happy with this one.

Sunday: 5 recovery treadmill miles in 50:04 (10:00 pace)

Lots of words today, not very many photos. So I will leave you with this randomness:

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Now that’s a happy nappy. Girl loves dog. Dog loves girl.

42 miles total for the week.

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The ABCs of Us

by both of us

So Kristin tagged us in the Old School Blogging–Alphabet Style. Everything you ever wanted to know about us and more. Here goes:

by Sue

A. Attached or Single? Married for almost 15 (wait, what?) years now.

Then….

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….and now.

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(At the 2012 Chicago Half Marathon)

B. Best Friend See above. But there is so much to be said for my closest female friendships. They are invaluable. I don’t know what I would do without Kelly.

C. Cake or Pie? Cake. But only for the frosting. And it must be REAL frosting.

D. Day of the Week? Saturday. After the long run is done, of course.

E. Essential Item? My iPhone. I will not lie. Sad, but true.

F. Favorite Color? Blue and pink. Does that mean it’s really purple?

G. Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms? Both.

H. Hometown? Bowling Green, Ohio. Small college town in northwest Ohio.

I. Favorite Indulgence? Red wine.

J. January or July? I love a good snowstorm, but July wins.

K. Kids? 2 girls, ages 10 and 8.

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Just in case you hadn’t seen the one million photos I’ve posted of them.

L. Life Isn’t Complete Without? My family, friends, dogs, and running.

M. Marriage Date? January 9, 1999. In the aftermath of a snowstorm. The police showed up during the ceremony at the church because there was a homeless person who walked in and threatened to set himself on fire. True story. Fortunately I didn’t find this out until after the fact.

N. Number of Brothers/Sisters? One younger sister who is the best aunt ever.

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples. Honey crisp.

P. Phobias? Crickets. I know. Irrational and Ridiculous. But a fact, nonetheless.

Q. Favorite Quote?

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R. Reasons to Smile? I have so many, I can’t even begin. And that’s a good place to be.

S. Season of Choice? Fall. Hands down. I love the clean slate of a new school year. And there’s nothing like some pumpkins and a giant pot of mums on my front porch.

T. Tag 5 People See below in Kelly’s post.

U. Unknown Fact About Me I love to knit. And I am a yarn hoarder.

V. Favorite Vegetable Have you noticed that I cannot give just one answer? In no order of importance: Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, avocado, tomatoes, fresh sweet peas, arugula….the list goes on and on.

W. Worst Habit? Procrastination. Pretty sure that explains why this took so long to get posted.

X. X-ray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound.

Y. Your Favorite Food? Tiramisu. Baked brie. Cream cheese frosting. Are you picking up on the common denominator here?

Z. Zodiac Sign? Libra.

by Kelly

A. Attached or Single? Married for 16 years to Clark (aka Ryan Hall). We dated for 7 years before that. Yes, we are dressed alike.

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B. Best Friend? Of course the one above; but I am also blessed with amazing girlfriends including Sue. She is my one confidant and is always there for me.

C. Cake or Pie? Pie-Black raspberry or strawberry.

D. Day of Choice? Saturday

E. Essential Item? Make-up-My grandma lived to 95 and I never saw her without makeup so I come by it honestly.

F. Favorite Color? Pink

G. Gummy Bears or Worms? Bears or worms as long as they are sour.

H. Hometown? Worthington, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus), but I was born in Lawton, Oklahoma

I. Favorite Indulgence? Pepperoni Pizza and an ice cold beer.

J. January or July? July-both of our birthdays and a lot of days and nights at the lake.

K. Kids? None of my own, but I am lucky to have friends that share their kids with me. We do have 3 amazing Godchildren that I love spoiling.

L. Life isn’t compete without? My family, friends, two precious mutts.. and running!

M. Marriage Date? November 8, 1997

N. Number of brothers and sisters? One wonderful older brother.

O. Oranges or Apples? Apples, preferably Granny Smith

P. Phobias? A fear of heights that I am trying to conquer.

Q. Quotes?

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R. Reasons to Smile? Countless-family, friends, dogs, running, being healthy…

S. Season of Choice? Fall-cool running weather, and our anniversary which always includes a great trip. (Last year it was Shanghai)

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T. Tag five People? Teresa, Sandee, Brian & Nicole, Jen

U. Unknown fact about me? I climbed Mt. Rainier two years ago with Clark led by RMI guides. It was the a huge accomplishment for me especially because of my fear of heights.

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V. Vegetable? Asparagus

W. Worst Habit? Clutter-You wouldn’t see it if you walked in my house, but it is there in closets and drawers. I am working on purging.

X. X-ray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound but my memories of them are bittersweet.

Y. Your Favorite Food? Sushi

Z. Zodiac Sign? Cancer

A Letter to the G2 Thief

by Sue

Dear Random-dude-on-bike-who-stole-our-strategically-placed-G2-while-we-were-running-long-in-heat-and-95% humidity,

Thanks. Thanks so much. Appreciate that.

We actually passed you and gave you a friendly wave and a smile, just like we do everyone. In return, you gave us a smirk. Because we think at that point, you had a pretty darn good idea who it belonged to.

You were not overexerting yourself in horrificly hot weather conditions by running 14 miles. You did not appear that you were desperate for a drink. Nor did you appear to be homeless, down on your luck, or otherwise confused as to the actual ownership of said drinks. We would’ve totally, and without judgement, given you a pass, if for one moment any of those seemed to have been the case.

Nope. You looked to be about 25 and riding your grandma’s bike. Why did it look like it was your grandma’s bike? Because it had a giant basket in the front which, coincidentally, now contained our bottles of G2.

How considerate of you, though, when riffling through our cooler bag, to leave us our bottles of water. Had you not, we probably would’ve really struggled to finish our training run. At least there was that. So we guess we should be thanking you?

So….we sincerely hope you enjoyed those ice-cold electrolyte-replenishing refreshments today. Cause we sure wouldn’t want YOUR electrolytes to be out of whack. Hope they got you through your tough day of taking what doesn’t belong to you.

Most sincerely,
Us

So, this actually happened to us this weekend, and it was NOT the first time! I mean really, who does this? Has anyone else experienced a situation like this??

After my rant to my husband, he came up with his idea of the perfect solution for us.

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Yep, that cooler used to be turquoise. Now it’s in full camoflage spray paint.

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And….it comes with special camo netting to cover it. The man thinks of everything.

Ain’t nobody gonna mess with his lady’s hydration.

What a girl wants..What a girl needs

by Kelly
Workouts
Saturday – 10 miles – trail
Monday – 3 miles – bike trail

The night before (and morning of) a long run or race are somewhat stressful for me. This is mostly because I have convinced myself that I need certain items to have a successful run and if I don’t have any one of them, the run won’t go well. Therefore I obsessively check and double check that all these items are ready for me. Ridiculous, yes, but it is the truth. From head to toe these are the items I need to have to feel good starting out a run.

-Non-slip headband- Sweaty Bands were the first brand that I used that actually stayed on my head. They really are amazing and have gotten me through a lot a runs without having to worry that they might fall out.

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At the Cap City Expo I purchased the cutest sparkly headband from Heads Up Bands to match my running top. It was also equally effective at staying on my head during 13.1 miles.

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-Oakley Drizzle Sunglasses- How I was ever able to run with any other brand of sunglasses is beyond me. I am sad on cloudy days when I can’t wear them. They are so comfortable I forget I have them on.

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-Extra Polar Ice or Winter fresh gum. Helps me from feeling that my mouth is too dry during runs. Without it I feel like I am going to dehydrate.

-IPod Nano – Even when I run with friends, I still clip it on. I might need some extra motivation to push through a hard part of run and a good song can help me block out any negative thoughts running through my head.

-Pro Compression Low Trainers-I was having trouble with tendonitis in my left foot. I purchased these socks after reading a blog post by Skinny Runner and within a week my tendonitis was gone. Coincidence, maybe but I won’t run in anything else now.

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Does anyone else have items you can’t have a good run without?

Pass the Meat, Please

by Sue

Last weekend’s dance recital.

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My week in runs:

Tuesday: a much needed rest day after Monday’s hill catastrophe workout.

Wednesday: I cannot lie. I was glad to be back on the treadmill. I will never, ever refer to it as the Dreadmill again. Autopilot at 9:00-9:15 pace = pure awesomeness. I could get used to this. Plus I was having huge withdrawals from The Walking Dead. Is anyone else watching this? It absolutely has me on the edge of my seat. 8 miles in 1:12:12

Thursday: same as above. 6 miles in 54:08

In keeping with trying to eat as cleanly as possible during these weeks prior to MCM training, like Kelly, these books have been on my reading list.

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I just finished the Racing Weight Quick Start Guide. A lot of valuable and logical info. Just like the title says, it’s basically a 4-8 week plan to get to one’s racing weight.

What exactly is “racing weight”?

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There are a bunch of calculations in the book to help you determine your racing weight.

I’m definitely NOT where I want to be as far as racing weight right now. The plans in this book are meant to be followed several weeks prior to a training cycle. Crap.

That being said, I did learn a lot. My own personal takeaways–not necessarily everyone’s–are this excerpt (which was EXACTLY what my running coach explained as my goal):

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Makes total sense, yes? Of particular emphasis for me, in my current slow-things-down training plan, is the part about developing endurance in order to maintain greater speeds over longer distances.

….and, I really ought to be incorporating more protein into my diet in general (although the book discusses higher protein intake as part of the “quick start” method). I do eat meat–I’m not a vegetarian–but really not that often at all, when I sit down and think about it. If one can obtain all the protein one requires from nut butters, Quest bars, and Greek yogurt alone, then I’m good:). But I have seen some amazing-looking egg dishes on Instagram lately! Protein is so important for muscle building, repair, and maintenance–seems like a no-brainer to me. One that I’m probably not the most conscientious about.

It also has some good core exercises.

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Side planks, anyone? Just when I was getting better at the regular ones. I have yet to try. It’s quite possible I’m doing all I can to avoid them.

Saturday: met Kelly on the trail….it was a beautiful morning.

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Two happy running friends. 12 miles in 1:53:35, goal pace 9:30.

Sunday: 5 recovery miles (treadmill) in 50:03, goal pace 10:00.

Anyone have any protein-packed recipes they love?

40 miles total for the week.

Phone Dump Friday

by Kelly

Workouts
Tuesday- Bike 30 minutes
Thursday-3.1 miles Treadmill
Looks like a lazy week but my knee has been bothering me so I have been trying to give it significant recovery time.

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I took my mom Zipliining for her 71st birthday. Post and more pictures to follow.
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Much anticipated arrival of Flips to rural Ohio

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We had a great weekend at the lake. Spent a lot of time kayaking.

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This one, when our backs were turned for a minute, ate 10 jalapeƱo poppers and did not get sick. This was his post popper nap.

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Summer Shandy, lighter fluid and a grill that wasn’t getting hot enough, are not the best combination.

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My longest plank so far.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. We are off to the lake again!

I Can’t Make You Love Me if You Don’t

by Sue

So let’s talk a little bit about hills.

They suck.

Or I suck. Not sure which.

On the schedule for Monday was a 1-mile warm-up, 6 hill repeats, and a cool-down for the remainder, for a total of 9 miles. Goal pace 9:00-9:15, excluding the hill repeats; the objective of those being to finish strong and not fade out at the end.

The short story: nothing in this run said “cool-down” to me.

The long story: I thought I found a hill that met all the criteria–long, slow and gradual climb of about 0.25 miles. And it was pretty spot-on.

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I live, let’s just say “outside of town”. In case you couldn’t tell from the photo. The only thing missing from this picture is a loose farm animal.

So, I felt pretty confident in executing the hill repeats. I tried to focus on just doing them and not looking at my Garmin too much. I also think next time I could put forth a better effort, but this was a first for me, so it’s a learning experience.

Hill repeats, as defined by my current bedside table reading material, The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training are:

“A workout that includes sprinting uphill fast, then jogging downhill at an easy pace to recover, then repeating the sequence. A workout thought to be an efficient way to build up leg strength, speed, and aerobic capacity. Hill repeats reduce your injury risk by limiting fast-running time and because the incline of a hill shortens the distance you have to fall, which reduces impact”.

Makes sense.

Where I wanted to sit down and cry ran into difficulty was the remainder of my run, which was supposed to be the “easy” cool down portion. At that point I had about 5.5 miles to go to complete it. Piece of cake, right?

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What I did not take into consideration was how ridiculously hilly the rest of the route was. All of it looked like this, and worse. Running these hills was way harder than the hill repeats since they were short and steep and there were lots of them. As soon as I got down one, it was right back up another. You would think that choosing a road with the name “Hill” in it would’ve been my first clue. Add into the equation that the humidity was 85%. Epic awfulness. I didn’t hit my paces. I gutted it out but seriously considered walking home and running the rest on the treadmill.

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9 miles in 1:24:07.

Lucky for you, I spared you the photo of me lying in my driveway at the end.

For hours afterward, I physically felt like I had raced a half that morning. Not good.

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Any hill lovers out there? Will I ever learn to love them?

Accountability 101

by Kelly

Workouts
Tuesday-3 miles treadmill
Wednesday – 4 miles treadmill
Thursday- 5 miles treadmill
Friday-10 mile hike
Saturday-9 mile trail run
Sunday-4.5 trail run/walk

On April 15, I was 4.5 pounds less than I am today. From February until mid-April, I religiously logged my calories and exercise everyday. Beginning April 15 I stopped logging and chose to eat (and drink) whatever I want. My runner’s knee is recurring and Marine Corp Marathon training starts in a Month.. I need to get serious.

I am reading the following books to help ensure I am consuming the correct foods and calories to get to my ideal racing weight.

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Book reviews to come soon.

I am trying to add as many fruits and vegetables into my diet. Doing this is easy when I have my favorite raspberry, spinach, protein smoothie for breakfast and a salad in a jar for lunch.

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My tried and true ways to help me stay accountable that have worked in the past are….

-Weighing myself every day

-Taking my measurements weekly

-Logging my calories

-Telling friends, family and blogging about it

So tomorrow I will follow my above rules of staying accountable in hopes of losing those pounds.

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Operation #slowdownsue

by Sue

Why is it that hashtags make me laugh so much?

This week my new training plan for the four weeks prior to the official start of MCM training began. As usual, another crazy week, which required a lot of juggling of my runs. They didn’t all occur in the exact order as they were supposed to, but I got the miles in–which I’m thinking is the most important part.

So, like I mentioned in my last post, the major objective for me for the month of June is to slow myself down. Way down. At least for right now.

Monday: 8 miles outside in 1:11:09. Goal pace of 9:00-9:15. Ended up being a little under pace….I knew going in it would be harder to slow things down from my usual pace than I thought. The last mile I did eight 30-second strides. Yep, that was definitely hard, but it did feel good to push it at the end. In case you’re wondering (as I wasn’t exactly sure myself–who am I kidding, I really had no idea) what strides are, they are, as defined by The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training:

Also called striders or “pickups”, these are typically 60- to 100-meter surges that are incorporated into a warmup or a regular workout. Strides increase heart rate and leg turnover; they get your legs ready to run hard. Strides are run near 90 percent of maximum effort for 20 seconds at a time with easy jogging in between.

So I went from my baseline pace to a sprint for each stride. Basically the goal here was to really concentrate on my form….not so sure I achieved that, however I’m pretty sure what I did achieve was looking like a crazy woman to all the walkers on the one-mile trail loop I was on. Especially after running it EIGHT times.

Tuesday: 7 treadmill miles in 1:02:43. Goal pace 9:00-9:15. Right on target.

Wednesday: 7 treadmill miles in 1:02:45. Same as above. I am so used to doing progression runs on the treadmill and I’ve gotta say, it was pretty nice to just run on autopilot like that.

Saturday: Met Kelly and Ryan and friends Tara and Justin at the trail. Ran the majority with Ryan at my prescribed slowed-down goal pace of 9:30. Ended up being a little faster than I was supposed to be (felt like I was slowing Ryan down–he was ready to be done, as was I), but….I’m working on it. Baby steps. 10 miles in 1:33:43.

Sunday: Met Kelly on the trail again and did my 5 recovery miles (10:00 pace) in 50:08. Definitely the slowest I’ve run in a while.

So the other thing Kelly and I have made a point to work on is planks and wall sits. We are trying to be accountable to each other in doing them every day. Unlike Kelly, I pretty much do absolutely nothing as far as core work and it shows.

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OUTPLANKED by my 10 year old. Pretty sure that explains why my abs don’t look like hers.

However, we’ve made huge improvements in a relatively short amount of time. These are our most recent:

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What’s on deck next week? Hill repeats. #sayitisntso

37 miles total for the week.

The Day Our Husbands Ran an Ultra

by Sue

My husband has always been runner, although at times sporadically, as long as I’ve known him. Running enjoyment to him consists of hitting the hills in the woods behind our house, with the dogs, on trails only known to himself. He likes a slow pace and does not like to run for hours on end. He ran two of the same halfs I ran last year, but he knew going in it was really not his preferred running scenario. Which is why I was a bit surprised when he told me he was signing up for a 50K trail run with Ryan. The trail run part I could see; the 50K part?….not so much. The first thing he said was “But we have nine hours to do it.” Nine hours?!?!

His idea of torture is the way I like to run: fast, flat, and long.

My idea of torture: precisely what he signed up for.

I give him huge credit. He trained really hard for this. And I only got mad at him once for monopolizing my treadmill time. Conveniently, the course loop was in the state park that can be reached by cutting through the woods behind our house. So there really were no surprises for him and Ryan.

I will start by saying this was NOTHING like a regular road race. Very limited support in the way of water/fueling stations (I think Kelly has some photos of the ridiculous sparseness of it all), no crowds, etc. So Kelly, the girls, and I basically moved back and forth multiple times between the two locations where you were allowed to hand off drinks/food/change of clothes, etc.

Did I mention it was 80-some degrees and humid?

The girls worked hard on their signs:

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Here they are at mile 20 and about 4:40 in.

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Better them than us. But still looking strong.

I have no idea how they did it, especially considering the weather conditions. Not to mention the steepness of the terrain. I think if Kelly and I said it once, we said it a hundred times yesterday….there is NO WAY we would ever do something like this.

And finally….7 hours and 45-ish minutes later….the finish:

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We are so proud of them!

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So congrats to Paul and Ryan. Well done and definitely hard-earned.

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Why are we smiling? Because we got to be the cheerleaders this time around. With maybe just a little bit of medal envy.

by Kelly

Late last year a friend sent me an email with information on the Buckeye Buster 50k. I forwarded it on to the five people I thought would be crazy enough to do it…including Ryan. I actually thought about it until I WALKED 1 ten mile loop during the winter.

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This is me and the beasts halfway up one of the smaller hills.

If the terrain wasn’t enough to discourage me, the fact that every time Ryan came home from a training run he was pulling ticks off of him and had scratches and bruises on his body, solidified my decision to not sign up for the 50k.

Ryan is a 6 time marathoner, but has never run trails, so what Sue’s husband lacked in distance experience, Ryan lacked in trail running experience. To be honest I was worried about how they would do.

As Sue mentioned above, there are very few similarities between a road race and a trail run except for a lot of people wanting to challenge themselves.

The fueling stations are basically full of junk food. Potato Chips, Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, Candy were some of the foods for the runners to fuel with; there was not a GU in sight.

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Most the runners we saw hung out for awhile at the fueling stations, not the grab and run like in road races. Our husbands even took the time to change their muddy, wet socks on each loop and made a shoe change on the last lap.

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It was small, only about 100 runners, and that meant a lot less people cheering you on. One rule is you can not give aid to a runner outside of 100 feet of an aid station. Therefore We set up camp right before the second fueling station.

20130605-205223.jpg There were about 10 people (6 of who we knew) who were the race cheering section at this point in the race. We told each sweaty, scraped up runner how good and strong they looked. When I am racing I need strangers lining the street telling me to finish strong, obviously trail runners don’t need this because there is very little crowd support.

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This is the last stretch before the finish, not a spectator in site.

We had no trouble spotting them coming to the finish, and as with any race I watch I did get teary as i watchef them finish. They both inspire me!! They earned every bit of this medal.

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