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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New Beginnings

by Sue

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Only four weeks til MCM training begins! Yikes. I have slacked more than a little lately. Time to buckle down, eat clean, and get myself in the best shape possible physically, so that when it’s time to really be serious, I will feel good about my diet/nutrition/what I’ve put into my body and my fitness level.

So I’ve done something I never considered until very recently. I got a running coach. NOT because I think I’m some kind of badass. Do I wish I were a badass? Sure, absolutely. But I’m a realist. I’m 42 and have only been running seriously for three years. I am probably never going to go out there and lay down a 6:30 mile. And that’s ok. But I do feel that there is something to be said about wanting to live up to one’s true potential as a runner, if that potential does in fact exist. I’ve made some huge-to-me improvements in my times lately and I would like to get better at what I love to do. Nothing wrong with that, right? Maybe it is my competitive nature, although my toughest competition is usually the girl looking back at me in the mirror every day. There is just so much that I don’t know, but I do know that I will benefit by having someone who knows what they are doing help me along the way. And the accountability will certainly be an added bonus.

So, for the month of June I will be focusing on these things:

  • Slowing down. Wait, what? This could not have been emphasized to me more. Obviously a very important part of the equation. I already know this is going to prove more difficult than I think, as it is just not what I’m used to. It is increased mileage that is going to build my endurance, NOT speed. Too fast now = injury later = no good
  • .

  • Keeping my mileage up
  • .

  • Taking care of what is most likely a recurring piriformis syndrome
  • .

  • Introducing some new-to-me running drills like strides and hill repeats. I feel kind of sick just typing the words “hill repeats”
  • .

  • Getting myself OFF the treadmill and outside as much as possible
  • .

    I’m really nervous about this. But I’m really, really excited about it too. I know it’s going to be a good thing.

    Next post I will fill you in on how the first week of my new plan went….Happy Running!

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    Summer, Sickness, and Snakes, Oh My!

    by Sue

    Helloooo, summer vacation….well for the girls, maybe not so much for me. Although I do have a few weeks off this summer which I’m really looking forward to. And I’m definitely glad to have them home more.

    My mini-Martha Stewart found and made these end-of-the-year teacher gift ideas almost all by herself. She can search out this stuff on baking blogs and Pinterest like nobody’s business.

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    And….good thing I was the one who baked the banana breads since she ended up with this later that evening.

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    Yikes. Not the way we envisioned the first day of summer vacation. Cold, cough, probable ear infection….shall I go on? Anyway, thankfully much better as of this writing.

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    It’s official. I now have a 5th and 3rd grader. Time can slow down any time now.

    The end of last week’s runs….

    Thursday: 6 treadmill (progression) miles in 50:39

    Sunday: Kelly and I met on the trail. The first near-step-on-snake-experience of the summer occurred. The trail we run on is well-known for its abundance of snakes. This time of year, it gets to the point where you really have to watch. This one was skinny and about 18 inches long (miniscule compared to some we have seen), but to me, a snake is a snake. It ended up being a slow, hot, and humid 9 miles in 1:19:21. Seriously, a week ago I wore GLOVES at the 5K I ran. Today was a little teaser of what’s to come this summer, since Marine Corps Marathon training starts in four weeks!

    Much, much more running talk coming up from me next week….something new and exciting!

    And next post we’ll tell you all about our husbands’ crazy race!

    36 miles total for the week.

    “What did you do with my wife?”-Finding my running Mojo

    by Kelly

    Workouts
    Sunday-9 miles-trail
    Monday-1.5 miles- First day of Runners World 2013 Challenge

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    Tuesday-3.1 miles-treadmill/Trainer Josh
    Wednesday-3 miles treadmill
    Thursday-5 miles treadmill
    Friday-1 mile outside / 1 mile treadmill /20 minutes bike
    Saturday-1 mile run

    What a difference a few weeks makes.
    During the Cap City half marathon I was slow, frustrated and didn’t feel like a real runner. The following Sunday Sue and I met for our weekend long run on the trail. 9 miles was my plan with no goal but to do it. Since Ryan is training for an ultra-marathon, he came along and decided to run with the faster half of the 2chix instead of his wife. I started out slow on my first mile and my legs felt stiff and heavy. I finished the first mile at 10:15. Then something happened and I started to feel good, so I sped up a bit. I saw Ryan and Sue after they made the turn, and that is when I thought about a quote I had seen that week.

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    I have always been happy with just finishing a race or being a middle or back of the packer, but why don’t I try pushing myself a bit. So I told myself get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Miles 4, 5 and 6 looked like this.

    9:45, 9:36, 9:38

    Not super speedy for a lot of people but anything under 10 minute miles is speedy for me, and I felt good. I saw Ryan and Sue with less than a half mile to go and Ryan yells to me “what did you do with my wife?” And my response, “I left her at mile 1”. 9 miles 1:29:10.

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    Total miles this week 24.9

    Listening to Your Body

    by Sue

    I’ve made a huge effort to increase my speed the past couple months. And I have been successful, for sure….I’ve had a couple awesome PRs that I’m really proud of. But, my hamstring/butt/sciatic nerve(?) has been bothering me maybe more than a little bit lately, and I’m thinking it’s my body’s way of saying I’ve been overdoing it a tad. I had a close-to-the-same-vicinity injury last year at the beginning of training for my first full which, coincidentally, also occurred while increasing my speed (although, much more painful….and which allowed no running at all for a couple weeks, as it hurt to put my pants on). I don’t know if these are related, but I’m trying to listen to my body and hopefully avoid going down that road again. Whatever this is, it’s really not too bad, and obviously, I’d like to keep it that way. So the ice pack, foam roller, and I have become friends again.

    Treadmill + progression + last mile at therefore, not-so-crazy speed:

    Monday: 9 miles in 1:16:27 (probably not the smartest idea after running 9 the day before)
    Tuesday: 6 miles in 50:39
    Wednesday: 6 miles in 50:39

    So let’s have a little more lighthearted talk.

    Three things I am loving right now:

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    These shoes. They are Swedish Hasbeens. They are, in fact, made in Sweden. A lot of time and effort went into researching that fact, as you can imagine. Total impulse purchase. They have a pretty high heel, yet somehow they are still comfortable. And since they cost approximately $1.2 million, you might want to get yourself two pairs.

    Moving on….

    Birchbox. Otherwise known as Beauty Product Christmas every month.

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    Kelly gave me a subscription for my birthday last year. Every month they send you a box of samples of the latest higher-end beauty products. Whatever you decide you like, you can easily order more of from their website, but no obligations. You can also fill out a profile outlining what kind of stuff you like and they will cater it toward your preferences. $10/month at birchbox.com

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    Even the box is pretty.

    And last but not least….

    Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Dip, recipe found on stuftmama.com. She has THE most amazing, healthy recipes.

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    Secret ingredient? Chick peas. Really, I cannot stop. Yes, I may have put in double the amount of chocolate chips it called for. And yes, they may have been the jumbo-sized ones.