2017 Pittsburgh Half Week 11: Muggy

My friends running the full are in a taper.  This was my last long run before the big event, and it was a tough one.

Monday: Rest – Rest day after a fun, but busy weekend.  Glad to have it and catch up on domestics.

Tuesday: 5 miles and TRX – Met a friend at the Frontrunners and I did five (she did seven).  Always a wonderful conversation!

Wednesday: 3 miles – Headed to the other Y, as my normal one was slated to get new cardio equipment, which still has not happened.

Thursday: 3 miles and TRX – Quick trip to the gym to get these miles in before having to wake up early to head to Cleveland the next morning.

Friday: Rest – Rest day after a very long meeting (and round trip).

Saturday: 12 miles – I was awoken to the sound of thunder.  I had planned on getting up early and running downtown before it got too hot, but didn’t want to run in a storm (Weather Hazards training, kicking in).  That meant I didn’t get downtown until about 9:30, when it was in the high seventies and muggy as crap.

These miles were a slog.  Walked for a little bit after mile nine.  Not really happy about that, but still got the miles in.  On last week’s 11 mile run and this one I’ve been trying out fueling strategies.  Eating a waffle at mile seven seems to work really well.  This time I ate it at mile eight and I just didn’t have any gas in the tank, but I’m sure so much of that was the weather as well.

Sunday: 2 miles, 60 minutes crosstraining – My schedule the week before the race is a bit nuts, so I had to condense a bit if I wanted to get everything in.  I was already signed up for a (free) yoga class, so I went down early to run in Oakland.  It was in the mid eighties and sunny.  I was disgusting and called it after two (as opposed to three miles).

Changed shirts and went over to the yoga class, which was good, although left me a little sore the next day, more reminders to do it more often!

One week left, and I’m bouncing between being nervous and excited!  Here we go!

2017 Pittsburgh Half Week 10: Mental Game

A good, albeit it busy, week of training.  And as I found out, I need to be wary of my mental state as well, especially in terms of ‘after care.’

Monday: 2.25 miles – Had hoped to get the gym earlier, but got caught at work.  Got some in of my planned three miles (added to it later in the week) before meeting a friend for dinner, possibly pre-date date.  Still open, so we’ll see what happens!

Tuesday: Rest – Swapped from my normal Monday rest day so I could take a class about hydrangeas!  It was really awesome, and I have a couple different options for what I want to plant now!

Wednesday: 5.25 miles and TRX – Had a lot to do this week, so I headed to the park to run the normal Frontrunners course (plus the loop around the Cathedral) by myself.  It was nice having that in my back pocket that I could do whenever I wanted.

Thursday: 3.5 miles and TRX – Another day on the treadmill to bust out some miles, and actually felt pretty good, which is a nice change.  The TRX lifting is going well, but I think I’ll be changing it up a bit after this training cycle, I’ll have to look at some other routines I can easily add in.

Friday: Rest – A friend came in from out of town and we had a mini reunion with other friends, which included the chance for me to grab a vegan milkshake!

Saturday: 11 miles – Headed out in the afternoon (which had the best temperature, low-mid 50’s overcast, slight breeze) and parked downtown for my long run.  I had it mapped out ahead of time, and got to cross all three rivers, plus explore a new park and a few trails I haven’t done before.

This was the first time I added nutrition to my run, eating a waffle at about mile seven.  I don’t think I necessarily needed it, but I think once I get to 13 and more, I will, so I wanted to start practicing and see what works with my stomach.  I wish I had passed a water fountain, but otherwise, it was a great run.

My mind worked through a lot, and I actually made some great realizations that I want to discuss with my therapist.  However, since my friend was in town, we met up with a mutual friend to go out Saturday night.  As grateful as I was to spend more time with them (and to get out to my favorite gay bar), I think I actually needed more time to process things and not be around that many people.

Something for me to work on in the future.  Especially since running is therapy for me, I need to make sure I make enough time for myself to process, otherwise it’s kind of depressing, not being able to work through it all on my own terms.

Sunday: 60 minutes cross train – Got caught up on house chores and whatnot and then finally got some cross training in while watching some TV.

2017 Pittsburgh Half week 9: Surprises

A week full of surprises and new friends!

Monday: Rest – Rest day and trying to desperately catching up with things.  That has been the hardest part I think of this training cycle,

Tuesday: 4 miles and strength training – Plan called for three miles, but I ran with the Frontrunners and got soaked.  Also got a direct hit from a car going through a puddle.  I saw it was going to happen, didn’t have any place to bolt to, and was already soaked from the rain, so I just embraced it anyway.  Note to self though: bring a towel to sit on for the ride home!

Wednesday: 3 miles – Three miles on the treadmill that actually went surprisingly fast, I was pleasantly surprised and feeling good!

Thursday: 5 miles and strength training – Met a friend from the Frontrunners and did an extra mile before the normal course.  Always nice to catch up with her and we tend to always have really good conversations while we run, I really look forward to them!

Friday: Rest – To my surprise, this was one of the first times in many weeks, probably since the beginning of Lent, that I was able to follow the plan in terms of running three days continuously in the middle of the week.  My legs felt really good, although with everything else (and the new Zelda), I didn’t sleep as much as I should have, so I need to pay better attention to that.

Saturday: 11.5 miles – I signed up for the half marathon preview run with the local road running club.  However, I wrote on my calendar the wrong time.  Thankfully, I like to get places early, so as I’m walking into Market Square, the first waves of runners are heading out, surprise!  I double timed it over to check-in, hugged a friend I randomly bumped into and then jumped in with the 11:00 pace group.  We all got jumbled together at a couple stop lights in downtown, and I know for a while, all the groups, from 9-12 minutes were together, so I really have no idea how fast I was running.

The sign-up also said “about 10 miles” which was on my training plan for the day, so boy was I surprised when I found out (after having already left the start) that we were running over 11 miles.  I gritted my teeth and went with it, no other choice, really.

The last bit of the run, which is nearby but not the actual half marathon course, had a giant hill that I wasn’t expecting and just drained me, but otherwise, I was happy with my time.  The constant stopping for red lights (I swear we hit most of them through downtown and then the South Side), gets old, but all in all, it was a decent run.

Ran past the tax day protesters at the City County building, and then they moved their rally to Market Square, so we pretended they were rooting for us having run so well!

I also met some friends from Runnit, although after the fact, since I arrived too late to meet them beforehand.  And then to conclude the (running) day, headed to lunch with one of my best friends who had put in 20 miles.

Sitting at church that evening for the Easter Vigil, I felt sore in a couple spots for sure, but nothing too bad!

Sunday: Cross train 60 minutes – Had my parents over for Easter dinner and then afterwards got caught up on a some TV while doing some walking/stepping, which kind of stretched me out a little bit, although I need to find some time to foam roll this week!

2017 Pittsburgh Half week 8: Weddings

This was a good week of running, and really just a decent week.  After this, it’s a final push to the half marathon (besides the mini-taper week) so no turning back now!  I was sick for most of the week, due to spoiled almond milk.  But once I figured that out (and tossed the offending material), things settled down!

Monday: Rest – Rest day, so mostly errands, laundry, etc.  The glamorous life of a runner!

Tuesday: 5 miles and TRX – Met a fellow Frontrunner to get an extra mile in ahead of the normal run, which was a great discussion, I always look forward to our chats!  We took a lap around the Cathedral of Learning and then we continued on the road course.

Wednesday: 2.4 miles – Again, I just couldn’t with the treadmill and called it a bit early.  Added it on to Friday’s run, so not a big deal.

Thursday: Rest – Swapped this day with Friday, it was our last ‘Theology Thursday.’  We finished up our book club discussion, and in giving a friend a ride home, I’m pretty sure I got asked out on a date!  I feel like I’m horrible at romantic cues, and there is a chance he just wants to be friends (he mentioned not meeting many people in town since he moved here), but we did talk about the Frontrunners and our different volunteer work.  So even if it’s not a date, I really do want to get to know him better!

Friday: 3.6 miles and TRX – Ran after work before heading to bed a little early, or at least attempting too.

As I later found out, my best friend got married this day!  I knew he and his wife were going to do a small ceremony with a judge, but I found out today was the day after I got a photo from her of their hands with rings.

Saturday: 10K Race and cross-training – This was the spring Zombies, Run! Virtual Race, and this year three of us met to run it!  Once again, there was another race going on at the park, and we ended up taking off about ten minutes after they started, and going a different direction, so we didn’t overlap much.

I’m a fairly steady runner, which, as I found out, translates to me zooming past others as they struggle to go up hills.  I’m passed real quick once we’re back to flat or downhill sections, but on uphills, I easily take the lead!

It was a great run (although due to user error, I didn’t hear the story, so I’ll run it again this week to listen), and I PR’d by about a minute and a half!  New personal best for a 10K: 1:02:25

After a fantastic lunch, I headed home and played some more (a lot more) Zelda, and then headed to a wedding reception (friends who got married in August).  Not to brag, but we drank the bar out of booze.  Also spent a long time dancing, so plenty of cross-training in there as well.

Sunday: Rest – Game day, but I really made an effort to not eat too much this time.  Didn’t totally succeed, but a marked improvement!

2017 Pittsburgh Half week 7: Plans

Back at it after a step-down week, and it felt good.  I certainly don’t want to jinx anything, but I was really proud, and a little surprised at myself this week!

Monday: Rest – I swear I say this every week, I need to make sure I add some foam rolling to this day, or any other day really.  Need to work on that.

Tuesday: 5 miles and TRX – Added a mile to the Frontrunners course ahead of time.  Two of our runners were out doing their own thing, so even though it was a beautiful night, it seemed more empty than usual without them meeting back up with us.

Wednesday: 2.5 miles – This was supposed to be a three mile run.  I just could not take any more than two and a half on the treadmill.  Decided to call it a little early.  I felt bad, but then kind of got over it, running on the treadmill has been feeling worse and worse lately, so I tried not to obsess over it.

Thursday: Rest – Book club with the young adults at church.  There was a choir concert that night, so we’d hear singers wandering past the room doing warmups, even through the heavy door, which made for an interesting evening.

Friday: 3 miles and TRX – Was committed to getting all three miles on the treadmill this time, and achieved that, although not without grumbling inside my head.

Saturday: 9.5 miles – I wanted to run with the Frontrunners, so I had to add five and a half (that extra half from Wednesday) beforehand.  Friends from the group run about my pace, and also had to get some extra miles in, 6 and 7 in total, so we made a plan!

I parked, ran to meet the two of them, we ran back to the park, and met up with the group.  Because it was rainy and muddy, we opted to run some miles exploring the neighborhood, while the rest of the group took to the trails and the road course.

We ended up wandering and just going wherever we wanted, and it was really awesome!  We found Dan Marino field, which was kind of our goal, making us running treasure hunters!

We met up with the rest of the group and I gave 6-miler a ride home, while 7 added another mile on and met everyone else at Panera.

Afterwards, I headed to the homebrew store.  I realized that if I wanted beer for Tabletop Day, I’d need to brew this weekend.  Picked up a Honey Blueberry Ale and followed that plan…

Sunday: 60 minutes cross training – And woke up the next morning to a loud pop/bang/not quite explosion.  The beer had very, very happy yeast, and it blew the airlock right off my carboy!

I was able to move it to the counter before it started pouring out foam, and it did that for a few hours before finally settling down enough for me to put the airlock back on.  We’ll see what happens.  It’s now slowly finishing up its fermenting back in it’s place.

Headed to Phipps later that day with a (new) friend and we toured the spring show, which was really, really awesome, I’m so glad I went (although it was way more than 60 minutes of walking)!

2017 Pittsburgh Half week 6: Allergies

Good god, my allergies.  My sinuses have felt like they want to forcibly break out of my skull, my throat and stomach are killing me from post-nasal drip and I’ve got chest congestion on top of all of that.  I’m finally starting to feel better, but still not quite 100%, but hopefully I’m past the worst of it.

Monday: Rest – Scheduled rest day.

Tuesday: Rest – Unscheduled rest day (just moved from Friday).  My sinuses were so sore, I crawled into bed and that was enough effort.

Wednesday: 3 miles – Took it slow, it was a little bit of torture, but I felt a bit better after the run, so that helped.

Thursday: Cross-training and TRX – Was going to go to a church function (young adult book club), but was coughing too much, so I stayed home, did some cross training and a TRX workout.

Friday: 3 miles – Slow again, but a little faster than Wednesday (had firehall fish waiting for me at home!).

Saturday: 4 miles and TRX – Ran in the park with the Frontrunners, and had a pace buddy, which is always great!  Headed to Panera after and then after spent a quiet day at home.  The humidity kind of sapped the energy from me, as well as being sick, so I was wiped out.

Sunday: 5K training race – Grabbed some mucinex to break everything up, which was a big help.  Then headed to the gym’s track for a 5K as a way to see how I’m progressing.  Ended up running almost a minute faster than my previous track record, so that was pretty awesome!  So now my track PR is 26:33 and my race PR is 30:31.  Still hoping to get the race time below 30 this year, been my goal for a while and I’ve been so close!

That also wiped me out for the day, but I woke up today feeling better than I have in a week, so I’m finally on the upswing, hopefully it continues quickly!

2017 Pittsburgh Half Week 5: Real progress

I’m finally starting to feel some real progress, almost.

Monday: Rest – Rest day, nothing too exciting, trying to catch up on household chores and whatnot, and anxiously awaiting my copy of Breath of the Wild to come in!

Tuesday: 3 miles and TRX- I was still cold from last week’s long run, so I opted for staying inside.  Boring miles on the treadmill, but at least it was warm!

Wednesday: 3 miles – Another three miles, just feels like getting the miles in, but I like the routine.

Thursday: 4 miles and TRX – Joined the Frontrunners for our Thursday run.  In Lent, our young adult group at church is doing a book study, but not this week, so I took advantage of it while I could.  Only four of us showed up, but we enjoyed the run, saw a ton of deer.  I also saw a Hacidic Jew (the park we run in is right next to the stereotypical Jewish neighborhood, so this is not a strange occurrence) get out of his van and take a brown paper package into the woods.  Either he was burying body parts or eating a bacon cheeseburger where no one would see him.

Friday: Rest – No Breath of the Wild yet.

Saturday: 8 miles and cross-training – We missed all the accumulation from the nor’easter last week, but instead we got two inches randomly when none was predicted overnight.  I woke up early to get to the park with the plan of running the four mile road loop and then (hoping I timed it right, spoiler, I didn’t) join the Frontrunners for the four mile trail loop.

Looking at the trail from a couple vantage points on my first four miles, I could see I wouldn’t want to run on it, it was snow covered and iced over in a few spots (and if those were, there were more that I couldn’t see from the road for sure).  So I improvised and ran some loops through Oakland to get up to four miles.  A few of the bridges were icy and slushy, but otherwise, it was good.  I used this opportunity to run the 10K Run the Solar System virtual race, which was a cool running tour of space, before I turned on Zombies, Run!

Afterwards I joined up with the rest of them and we headed to Panera for another great meal out.  Later that night I was volunteering at Outrageous Bingo, which I’m counting as my cross-training for the week: 5 hours on my feet selling bingo games and cleaning up after.

Oh, and Breath of the Wild showed up in my mailbox literally ten minutes before I had to leave for bingo.

But more importantly, after running eight very hilly miles, I felt a lot better than I did after my eight mile run in my training for the 10-miler.  Then I was wiped out the rest of the day, and it was all flat miles.  This time, after all the hills I conquered, I felt good.  Tired and sore, but not at all wiped out like I was previously.  Even if I feel like I’m running a little slower (I’m thinking due to the temperature, but maybe it’s just my feeling, I haven’t been paying attention to times, just distances), I’m in better shape and it’s showing.  I hope this trend continues all the way to my half!

Sunday: Rest – Mostly played Breath of the Wild, and holy crap you guys, it’s amazing!