Saturday, July 28, 2012

MTT Week 9- Ten miles

This week in some ways was better than last week, but in others was, well, not worse, but not as great.

I was actually on time for this run.  In fact, I was about 10 minutes early, so I was able to casually sign in, greet people, warm up a little, and listen to what the coaches had to say, so that was good.  However, I was feeling a little off.  Frankly, yesterday was not a great day for me physically.  My stomach was a little upset, I was abnormally tired, and I just felt drained.  I knew that part of it was that my electrolytes were imbalanced (I was craving Gatorade like never before), and I tried many number of things to make me feel better, but I was just off.  I was feeling better towards the evening, and I just prayed that I'd feel 100% by the time this morning's run came around.  I wasn't.

While I was much better, I was still worried about my stomach.  Had we only been running 3 miles, it wouldn't have been a problem, but 10 miles could have proven to be problematic.  Our route actually had us run within a quarter mile of the kennel, though, so I knew that if I had to stop I could.  So, as the run started, I went with it.  I ran with two of my running buddies, but I was really having trouble keeping up.  It wasn't so much the pace as it was just being around people.  I found I was having a lot of trouble processing what was being said, and I was having even more trouble coming up with responses.  My head just felt fuzzy, and when you're on the first mile of a 10 mile run that's not really good.  I actually mentioned something about not being in much of a talkative mood.  So, for a while, I just kept quiet, tried to keep a decent pace, and tried to focus on what my body was telling me.  All I was getting was, "I don't feel well" and I feared I would have to back out of the run.

Then, at around the 3 mile point,  I saw salvation.  There, in front of me, was the blessed SAG stop!  I was shocked I'd made it to 3 miles and still felt decent enough to keep running, but I was THRILLED to see SAG.  I had Gatorade with me, but the opportunity to stop and have some cool water or Powerade was much appreciated.  Today, though, they had more than water and Powerade.  Today, SAG had snacks!  I was surprised when I looked at the display of pretzels, gummy bears, and jelly beans, and my body screamed, "PRETZEL!!!!"  I guess I needed some more salt.  I grabbed a small handful to see how my body would react.  That pretzel was the most blessed gift.  It was manna from Heaven.  I only had 3 or four, but that bit of food helped me out a lot. 

The second SAG was only about a mile later, but I wasn't passing up on any help this week.  I got some more to drink, and this time I had just a few gummy bears.  While not nearly as amazing as the pretzel, the brief bit of chewing seemed to be helpful.  On we went.

By this point I was back to my regular chatty self, and the only issue I was having is that my bladder felt a little fuller than I would have preferred.  Oh well.  This, at least, was not an emergency.  We ran passed the field behind my kennel, and I waved (I still love saying "my kennel").  Then we turned a corner heading towards base.

The rest of the course was more psychologically challenging than anything.  There was one more SAG, and I had some jelly beans, but after that, most of the run was part of my Tuesday morning route...a route that leads me back to my house.

The sun was now up, it was getting hot, I was tired, my Gatorade was almost gone, and my legs were really starting to fatigue.  We ran past roads that would have lead me to friends houses where there were bathrooms and couches and air conditioning.  One of the houses I could actually see, and I almost stopped.  Then we ran passed the road that would lead me home.  It was less than 2 miles away, and I technically would have gotten my two miles in if I'd turned.  This is where running with friends is helpful.  I just kept chatting and thought about the ice pop waiting for me at base.  On I continued.

I finished 10 miles in about an hour and forty five minutes, and I felt wonderful!  Compared to last week, I walked less.  In fact, I only walked a few steps the entire time.  I had overcome that icky feeling I'd had since yesterday, and I still ran.  Plus, I ran 10 miles!!  Who would have thought that I'd end up running 10 miles?

Now, I feel great mentally, but I'm tired.  I'm at the kennel the rest of the day, but I'm looking forward to bed time.  All in all, not a bad day!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

MTT Week 8- Nine Miles

What a crazy week it has been!  The kennel officially opened on Monday, and it has been interesting trying to schedule all my runs in.  Plus, the schedule has been a bit of an adjustment, so I've been fairly tired.  To say I was uncertain as to how this run would go is a bit of an understatement.  I was really worried that I wouldn't finish!

The morning did not start off well.  Instead of waking up at 5:00 am like I'd planned, I silenced my alarm a few times and did not wake up until 6:00 a.m.  This is not such a good thing when I have to be on a run by 6:30, and I'm tired and not moving at full speed.  I fed Cody, Lollie, Merlin, and the cats, got dressed, had some water and a banana, and was out the door by 6:25.  However, it takes about 10 minutes to get to my run start, so I was late.  I was hoping the team would have left late, but apparently they're more punctual than I am.  They were nowhere in sight.

I started running the scheduled route with the hopes of catching up with my group, and I was joined by a coach from the half-marathon training team, so I had someone to chat with.  I figured my average pace on a good day is about 9:45/mi and on a bad day is closer to 11:00/mi, and some people on my team have an average of over 12:00/mi.  Depending on exactly when they left, I should hopefully catch up to the back of my team by the S.A.G. team at the halfway point.  Well, apparently yesterday was a good day.  I was running about a 9:45-10:00 mile, and I caught up with the back of my team within a mile.  However, the people I usually run with were a little farther ahead, so I had some more running to do.

At one point, my route intersected with an intermediate team, and I had a bit of a panic attack.  Surely the runners on this team would recognize that I was an imposter.  I would be too slow or awkward, or, I don't know, a big light would come on over my head saying, "THIS IS NOT YOUR TEAM!  GET OUT!"  Imagine my surprise when no one asked me which team I was actually from.  Imagine my even bigger surprise when I realized that I was not only keeping up with the team, I was passing quite a few!  Sure, I was running faster than I often do, but the run felt good, and I had no intentions of slowing down.

Right around the half way point I hit the main group of my team.  I saw them up ahead, and I charged a little harder because I knew I was close.  Finally, I ran into some of the girls I normally run with.  Hurrah!  I was back with my people!  I slowed down a little and relaxed into running and chatting with them.  Then we hit the hills.

The run yesterday was beautiful, but it was full of long, steep hills.  People must have thought I was praying really hard, because I kept exhaling, "Sweet Jesus!"  It was exhausting, and if you look at my times at that point you can see a clear time difference.  Still, we made it through those hills continued on.

Once we were past the hills, the run should have been easier, but by this point I was tired.  I was feeling particularly fatigued when we reached a local park.  On the other side of the park is the Cathedral, and the view was one that I don't often get.  Seeing it from the angle I did, bright and early on a Saturday morning was amazing.  I continued on.

By the time I reached the end of the run I was tired.  Nine miles is the longest I've ever run (I'll be saying that a lot from here on out), and I felt it.  All in all, I did take 2-3 short walk breaks to catch my breath, but I think that's OK.  I also really enjoyed the S.A.G. stops.  Oh, and I thoroughly enjoyed the fuel belt Hans got me last week.  It very much came in handy.  Next week is 10 miles, and in a few weeks I'll be running my first half marathon.  Wow!  I'm excited!

Me at the end of nine miles...lookin' like a runner!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Five Years

Yesterday Hans and I celebrated our five year anniversary.  We celebrated one of many milestones to come, and our day was great.  We did things differently from last year.  Last year, our anniversary was about being alone.  We both took the day off and drove into the mountains with Cody.  We enjoyed a day of hiking and took time just to enjoy each others' company.  This year was different.  This year we were in the midst of opening a kennel.  We had dogs to take care of, and Hans' dad was / is in town and we wanted to spend time with him.  I guess you could say that our five year anniversary was spent celebrating each other in a different way.  We celebrated our hard work, we celebrated our family, and we celebrated the simple fact that we were alive and could do things together.

Yesterday was fun but uneventful.  I went for a five mile run, and Hans was there to pick me up at the end.  After coming home and showering, Hans and I took his dad to a local coffee shop where we sat and enjoyed just being out together.  Then, we went to the Hanover Tomato Festival.  It was a fun event, and we had a blast, but we ended up leaving early when we were caught in a small summer storm.  So, off to lunch we went.  We decided to go to a small, country store that sells really good barbecue, and on the way I fell asleep...apparently while Hans' dad was talking, so that was a bit embarrassing.  I was really tired, though!  After lunch, we went to the kennel for a bit to let some dogs out, and then we went home.  With a few hours to rest, we took a nap.  Oh, what a good nap it was too!  When we got up, we went back out to the kennel and to do a quick drive in search of a lost dog.  After that, we returned home, had a quick dinner, and then we too Hans' dad to see Spring Awakening at the November Theatre (where Hans' works).  When the show was over, we went out to the kennel one last time and returned home.  We had planned on going straight to bed, but since Hans' dad was still up we all sat down and talked.  Our anniversary ended with us all gathered in the living room discussing family and books and the show we had just seen earlier.  It was a lovely anniversary.

I have to say, it was quite a nice day.  It may not have been lovey and romantic, but we will have lovey and romantic anniversaries in the future.  This day, however, was just as important.  It was a day that was limited in stresses where we could have fun and do things we don't normally have the opportunity to do.  I would gladly take a repeat of yesterday any time (especially with the naps).

I am so happy that Hans and I have made it this far, and I can't wait to see what the future will bring us.  On a nearly daily basis I find that I am proud of and impressed by my husband of five years.  I'm impressed by his caring and generosity, I'm impressed at his understanding and patience, and I'm uber-impressed at his mad skills in carpentry (and electrics and plumbing).  I feel like I am the luckiest woman alive to have found him.  Five years down, an indefinite number to go!

Oh, and for those who are wondering, Hans did get me the fuel belt.  It will take some getting used to, but I love it, and he chose well!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

MTT Week 7

One of these days I'll start posting more than a weekly post again.  In the mean time, I hope y'all are enjoying my marathon training tales.

Today was a fall-back day in marathon training, meaning today was a shorter run day.  Today's run was only 5 miles.  Pretty easy stuff.

The thing is, I remember a time not so long ago when 5 miles was really hard.  Five miles would leave me gasping for air, sore, and tired.  I remember that first time I ran 5 miles and being SO proud of myself.

Then, I remember going an extra mile.  I went 6 miles and then 6.2.  I remember wondering if I'd be able to finish.  I remember that any run meant that I was super-strict with what I ate the night before.  Generally I'd only have salads and pasta the whole day before, although sometimes I'd have sushi for lunch.  I was so worried about having tummy troubles and not being able to finish.  Now, I do try to make sure I don't eat too much, and I still often stick to pasta for dinner (I like pasta, and running is a good excuse to have it), but I don't really worry about it too much.  I used to only eat a banana before I ran.  Now, I've been know to have my whole breakfast (last week I ate 2 pieces of pizza before running 8 miles).

The fact that today I finished 5 miles with ease, the fact that I chatted with another runner throughout the entire run, the fact that I was shocked when it was over because I hadn't really struggled at all, that's all amazing to me.  I'm in shock and awe over what my body has accomplished.  Not only has it accomplished these things so far, it has done so while working hard to expand my business and open a kennel.  It has done so on only 4 hours of sleep a night.  It has done so with blisters on my hands from hammering all day.  I can't help but be proud of myself.

Granted, my pace is a little slower.  Things are a little harder than I'd like them to be, but it's not necessarily unexpected.  After all that work, my body is tired.  I could push harder and make it my times faster, but I'm just happy that I'm accomplishing these things.

In Other News
- Today is Hans and my five year anniversary.  I find it quite fitting that the run this morning was five miles.  Hans was waiting for me at the end of my run, and I was quite happy to see him.  I'll do another post on that, hopefully this evening.

-The kennel opens on Monday.  All that's left now is some decorating and cleaning.  I know there will be a lot more to do once we open, but the big things are done, and I am so excited.  This is something else I'm in awe over, and there will be more on that later too.

For now, I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

MTT Week 6

This week has been EXHAUSTING!  Hans and I, along with our friend, Shannon, are preparing to open a kennel in just over a week (more on that soon), so the days have been long.  In addition, I've been getting my runs in.  Sure enough, I made it out this morning.

This morning was hot.  It was very hot.  I was extremely grateful that the majority of our run was in the shade and that we left 30 minutes earlier.  I don't know that I would have made it otherwise.  Why?  Today's run was for 8 miles.

I'm super-stoked that I just ran 8 miles.  Even better, other than being wiped out by the heat, I felt pretty good physically.  My legs weren't tired, I didn't feel defeated.  I just needed to rehydrate a bit.  It was a pretty good feeling.  It almost makes me want to run another 8 miles...almost.

The best thing about today's run was the company.  Shortly after I got to the meeting sight, I saw a girl I run with on Thursday mornings.  She keeps about the same pace as me, so she's good to run with.  She was talking to a friend of hers, so we all ended up running together.  Running with them definitely helped the time to pass faster.  It also helped to keep me motivated and moving.  Otherwise I would have walked A LOT more.  All in all, it was a good run.

Next week we drop back down to 6 miles, and the weather should be cooler...two things to make life easier.  Next week is also Hans' and my 5 year anniversary, so it will be a big day.  I'm hoping I get a fuel belt as an anniversary gift (did you catch that Hans?), but I guess I'll just have to wait and see.  Speaking of anniversaries, does anyone have any ideas for a 5th anniversary gift?  Hans isn't being very helpful, and all I have now is a kennel.  Thanks to anyone who can help me out.

For now, my posts may be fairly sporadic as I try to adjust to the new kennel life.  I will at least try to keep up with my Marathon Training posts.  You can also follow some dog-related posts at my other blog,  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

MTT Week 5

Well, this week turned out to be much more interesting than I had originally intended.  My original plan had been to run 7 miles with my group on Saturday morning.  I was especially looking forward to seeing some of my regular running buddies plus a girl I met on Thursday during a group training session.  In addition to that, this week we were running the same mileage as the intermediate group, so I was also looking forward to the possibility of seeing some other people I know on other teams.  Things didn't quite work out that way.

Friday, I got sick.  Not sniffy nose, achy body sick.  More like leave a clear path to the bathroom sick.  It was completely unexpected and not at all fun.  I went to bed early Friday and hoped that I'd feel better by Saturday. 

While things had much improved by Saturday morning I still wasn't feeling quite right.  I had woken up early so I could really assess how I was feeling and to allow time to see how food would affect me.  Hans made me oatmeal (a fairly safe option), and one bite sent me back to the bathroom.  Since it was 80 degrees out, and I could eat anything, I decided to go back to bed.  The run would have to wait until later. 

As the day wore on, I started feeling better, and by late afternoon my appetite had returned.  I was able to keep down a bagel, bread sticks, and pasta.  Yep!  I wanted carbs.  I thought about going out that night, but two things stopped me.  First was that I was just so tired.  I'm sure my system was still a little out of whack, and going up the stairs exhausted me.  The thought of running 7 miles in the now 90-100 degree heat did not sound appealing.  Second, was the incoming storm.  If I did go out, I wanted to go out after the heat of the day (around 7:30), but they were calling for severe storms for the evening.  At one point I almost changed into my running clothes, but one look at the sky made me hesitate.  Boy, am I glad I did too.  The rains came about 30 minutes later.  Running would have to wait a little longer.

This morning, Sunday morning, I was determined to go out.  I could join up with Sunday MTT training group, or I could go out on my own, but either way I was going to go out.  I decided to sleep in a little more and go out on my own.  Hans was lovely and agreed to be my SAG crew.  So, around 7:45 I left in the 75 degree heat and humidity.  Luckily there was cloud coverage.

Around mile 3 the sun came up, and that made things much warmer.  My pace slowed considerably.  I did see the MTT SAG crew just before they packed up, and they offered me water, but Hans was right down the road with water, Gatorade, and watermelon, so I ran on to him instead.  That first stop felt good, but I was ready to move on, so on I went.

As I continued running I got much hotter.  My pace slowed some more.  I stopped at one point to use a restroom and splash some water on my face, and I stopped at another point for something more watch a squirrel try to carry an old package of cookies up a tree.  I wish I'd had my camera!  By the time I reached Hans the second time at 4.5 miles I needed the break.  I dumped cool water on my head, I sipped some Gatorade, and I ate a couple pieces of watermelon.  This helped settle my stomach which wasn't being entirely cooperative.  I also asked Hans to only go short distances ahead, because I feared I might need him.  Then, I continued on.

For the next 2.5 miles my only thought was of stepping into air conditioning.  Oh how wonderful that would be!  I finally had to stop for water again with only .6 mile left.  If there had been more I would have had much more trouble finishing.  After this, Hans only went 1 block ahead at a time...just in case.

Finally, after 1 hour 17 minutes and 40 seconds I had completed 7 miles.  My average pace was exactly 11 minutes per mile.  I'd say this isn't bad for being sick the day before and for the unbelievable heat.  If it had been cooler it would have been much easier.  Still, this is a new accomplishment for me.  I've never run 7 miles before, and I'm now over 1/4 of the way to a marathon.  Woohoo!!!