Holidailies is here again

Well, I somehow missed the first day of Holidailies this year, and it looks as if we’re currently without prompts, but I’m still excited to see it back again.  It’s always incentive for me to blog.  Of course, frequently, when I get home from work, the last thing that I want to do is get on the computer, which makes it hard, but I’m going to try.

For whatever reason, it doesn’t feel like the holiday season this year.  It’s my first year in my new house… and I’m not putting up the Christmas tree.  This is mostly due to time.  My goal was to be all settled into the house by Christmas.  I moved in March.  Most of my walls remain bare.  It’s something I’m working on, but it’s very slow going.  At least 95% of the boxes are unpacked.  Just a few little things left to deal with, mostly because I’m scared of my attic so I haven’t gone up there yet.  (Yes, I said it.)  So instead of wrestling with the Christmas tree and all the struggle that goes with it, I’m using what little free time I do have to finish getting the house in order.

I do have some decorations up though, and my office is going overboard with decorations, so it’s not as if I’m without the holiday spirit. Plus I don’t spend Christmas day at the house, so there’s no missing out there.

It still seems a bit strange to not have a tree though.


I remain a terrible blogger.  Mainly because once I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is get on my computer and type.  It was one thing when I could blog on my lunch break, but this is a bit more difficult.

(Yes, I could just write the entry on my break and then post it later… but that seems to be too many steps for my brain.)

Still running.  Still in one piece.  Seem to have screwed up my wrist somehow, which is strange, since you’d think it would be my lower body taking all of the abuse.

Fall racing season has come to an end, with an amazing half marathon near the tail end. I’m pleased to be finishing the year with two new PRs – 10K and half marathon.  Of course, I still have never actually “raced” a 10K.  I tend to sort of lollygag my way through, chatting the whole way.  I wonder what my time would be like if I actually ran.

I’m approaching a challenging spring.  I’m registered for seven half marathons between January and May.  I don’t plan to all out race any of them – they’re all just for fun.  There were too many bonus bling opportunities.  I’m registered for a total of 8 races for next year, and expect to get three pieces of bonus bling (meaning an extra medal just for the race combinations):  Disney’s Coast to Coast (running Tinkerbell and Princess), Iron Girl Titanium (Frederick and the Iron Girl Half), and the Maryland Double (Frederick and Baltimore halfs).  Yes, that’s right, I’m really just in it for the bling.

Race Recap – Baltimore Relay

Time to catch up on the race recaps.

Working backwards:

This past Saturday (October 15) was the Baltimore Relay.  This was my second of four races in four weeks, and my 4th of 6 in 2 months.  Yes, I’ve gotten a little crazy.

I was on a team with great friends – Jen, Katie, and Kim.  We ran in that order, with me taking up the fourth leg.  We were lucky enough to have three other relay teams from our running group, so we all had friends with us at the relay points.  That was especially welcome at leg four.  I didn’t expect to start running until at least noon (the race started at 8am).  Jen’s leg was a hilly 5.7 miles through the zoo.  Katie’s leg was 7 miles involving zombies.  Kim’s leg was 6.3 miles run with the Godfather, and I picked up with the last 7 miles.  No, that doesn’t quite equal 26.2, but none of the exchange points avoided any parts of the course, so we’re sure that it actually adds up.

I was ready for the long wait at the relay point.  We boarded busses to get there at 8:30.  (I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a long caravan of school busses.)  We grabbed ourselves a spot by the race course, set out some trashbags to sit on, and waited.  I brought food and snacks with me, and wore multiple layers, which was definitely a good plan.  We joked that next year, we need to bring a BBQ grill.

The wait wasn’t as bad as I feared.  Why?  Because of all the runners coming through!  We could get in lots of cheering, which we definitely did.  We were on an incline, and the hand cyclists were really struggling, even the first guy in the pack.  But they all made it up!

This course had an 18 minute mile pace limit, and my relay team all runs sub 13:30s.  We were actually running faster that day, but I was still one of the last people out of the relay point.  I think that made me want to run faster.  At first, I decided I wanted to try to run sub 13:00’s.  I was doing well and mentally adding up the time I was gaining (“Okay, that mile was a 12:15, so that’s an extra 45 seconds…”) which is how I race when I’m trying to hit a certain average pace.  Then one hilly mile hit me at a 13:10, so I decided to aim for 13:15’s, but still kept trying to push myself.  I really wanted to get the team in under 6 miles.  I wasn’t sure when Jen started, so I was basing it off of an 8:00am start time.

I kept passing marathoners who were slogging through the last miles.  Lots of pairs of people, with one experienced runner bringing a newbie through the end of the race.  Very cool to see.  Lots of people still going strong.  Power walking, but going strong.  One girl commented that this was her first and she was from Florida.  I told her to pick a flatter race for her second marathon.

It was kind of funny to see mile markers that I’ve never seen before.  My longest race has been a half marathon, so this was my first experience with mile markers 19-26!

I kept powering through, though my heartrate would get too high, and I’d have to walk.  I was running 2/1s, but frequently, needed to walk about 15 seconds early.  I think for next weekend’s race, I’m going to try to run 1:45/1, and see if that helps.  It can’t hurt to try, though I should probably try it in training at some point before I do it in a race.  Or not!

I knew I was running faster than expected, so I figured that my friends wouldn’t be at the finish line waiting for me yet.  But I was wrong!  I rounded a corner and there they were, all cheering!  Now that was a great part of being the last one in.  Everyone was there waiting for me!

I finished the race and the clock said 5:56!  I did it!  I got us in under 6.  But little did I know, I got us in well under 6.  Our final chip time was 5:51:36.  We averaged 13:25, which is an amazing pace for us.  And my pace?  Well, I got a little ridiculous out there.  I finished my leg in 1:31:26, giving me a 12:30 pace!  I haven’t seen those kinds of numbers in a long time.  I paid for it later – by 6:30 that evening I was ready for bed.  But it was great fun.  Makes me think that maybe my half marathon PR (a 13:01 pace) isn’t going to be as hard to beat as I thought.  Won’t happen this year, but maybe next year.

I think I do better on hilly races.  I love the downhills.  My half PR is on a very hilly course.  Maybe I should be searching out the hills.

Race Recap: Disneyland Half Marathon

Half marathon number seven is now complete.  It wasn’t my best, but wasn’t my worst either.  And I have now successfully completed Disney’s Coast to Coast challenge (run a half or full in Florida and a half in California in the same calendar year).  

Disney races are always hard for me.  Why? Because I don’t get the proper rest before the race.  Sure, I do my best to taper, but then I arrive at the parks and I want to do things! I’m usually good the day before the race, but two days before tends to be quite busy.  Lots of walking and way too much time on my feet.  This never bodes well for a good race.

That said, my second best half time was one year ago at this race.  I think that was because it was my first half and I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to finish.  So I sped through that one, and went through a range of emotions and pains.

This race, the goal was to finish.  We stopped for a few picture opportunities as well, which I will add to the blog at some point.  I ran it with my sister and it was our first race together.  She is clearly going to be a much faster runner than I am.

I am not sure what has been going on with my training.  I I’ll say my cross training has fallen off a bit and I wonder if that’s the problem.  I knew this race wouldn’t be great, as my last few weeks of training have been a serious struggle.  It could also be because I have gained a bunch of weight over the past few months. I am not sure why, but it is something I would like to fix.  Unfortunately, this is the start of fall racing season, so it might be tough.  I think for my next races, I may actually cut back on the running and run 3 days a week instead of four (frequently at 4th day was under 3 miles anyway) and try to add in some weight work and more cross training.  Maybe it will help with the running, maybe not, but it might help with the weight, which should, in turn, help with the running, right?

All in all, it was a great weekend.  Finished a race, saw a bunch of friends I never see, and I got to meet Jeff Galloway thanks to the generosity of runDisney (more on that later).  And I got two shiny medals.  Gotta love the bling.

Home Gym?

Clearly I’ve not found my blogging groove.  But I have had a good running month so far.  My goal this year is to run 600 miles, which is 50 miles a month.  Given my racing schedule, that shouldn’t be a problem.  But unfortunately, I’ve been slacking.  Not this month though!  As soon as I finish today’s 9 miler (on the treadmill, sadly – stupid heatwave), I will have topped 50 miles for the month.  Of course, thanks to the previous months, I need to do around 57 miles for July through December to hit my goal of 600, but I’m pleased to be on the right track.

I bought a treadmill this month.  It was on super sale because it’s summer and people run outside.  I love it.  I love having it.  And it meant that I could cancel my gym membership as well.  For so many people, a treadmill becomes a coatrack or a place to pile things.  Some of my friends have made similar comments.  Given the miles that I ran on the treadmill at the gym over the past few years, I think it will get quite a bit of use.  Probably more than the gym did, even.  I don’t have to travel to the gym, so on those awful weather days, I can just get dressed and hop on the treadmill with no trouble.

I also bought a road bike yesterday!  I’ve wanted a bike for years, and I finally took the leap.  That was definitely an investment, and I hope that it’s something that I love.  I haven’t gotten a chance to take her out yet (see previously mentioned heat wave), but I’m hoping to get out for a few miles this afternoon and maybe a few more miles tomorrow with Laura.  I just have to do my best to not crash!  But I have a helmet, so I’ll be fine.  Went with platform pedals to start rather than clipless.  I want to get used to the bike first, then in a few months, switch to clipless.  Eventually, I’ll get a trainer for the winter, so there will be no excuse for not working out.

And now it’s time for a  9 miler on the treadmill.  Wish me luck.