So Effing Ready For Taper

I think I’ve lost track of what week of training I’m on, but I CAN tell you that I’m now less than a month away from running the Chicago Marathon. Ack! (so that puts me at week….12?)

Truthfully, I cannot figure out how I trained for 22 weeks for Savannah because 15 weeks feels ridiculously long. Haven’t I been training FOREVER??

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In the past 12(ish?) weeks I’ve run two 16 milers, two 18 milers, one 20 miler, some other long runs that I can’t remember — and on Saturday I’ll finish out my peak week with a SUPER FUN 22-miler.  “I’m so excited! I just can’t hide it!”

Thank goodness for Tyler because he tolerates my whining and complaining at end of the run — and my rambling throughout. He is training for his first marathon and every long run is incredibly motivating for him. It’s so cute. Ahhh, youth.

Had a great run this morning! Probably my best in weeks --14 miles at a 9:59 pace. It's bizarre how our 12-miler last week felt so much harder!

For the most part, I’ve hit my training schedule every damn week. There have been a few shorter runs that I skipped, but I assure you, you would have skipped them too with sick kids, thunderstorms (I draw the line at lightening), and late nights spent working. Life happens and thankfully, my body understands that.

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I’ve reached the point of training where I begin to doubt myself and a little anxiety sets in. I think – did I do enough? Did I push myself hard enough? Thanks to my previous experience, I know that race day does not boil down to one singular training run, but the accumulation of the time spent on your feet (and I have DEFINITELY spent some time on my feet this go round), but I won’t pretend I’m not feeling nervous and jittery. My mind is full of questions — will I start out too fast? Will the adrenaline hurt me in the first part of the race — or maybe carry me through those last few miles? WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE? Should I wear my hydration vest?? Will I bonk at Mile 22? Obviously, these are questions I can ONLY answer on race day, but it doesn’t mean I’m not driving myself crazy.

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Then I remember I’m running a second marathon at the end of November. What the hell was I thinking?

Yeah. I’m ready for taper. Can you tell?

Switching Shoes {A Continuation of the Mizuno Saucony Shoe Story Saga}

So, a while ago I bought and RAVED ABOUT Mizuno Wave Rider 17s.

SOAWESOME

I loved them. I PR’d in them. They were my jam. They made my feet happy!

1:54:14 (unofficial) #bestdamnpr @bestdamnrace

And then I started marathon training.

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ugh

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Not only was I running more, A LOT more, I was running more in higher temps. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that in Florida, in the middle of the summer, that shit gets HOT and it tends to destroy things.

This did not make my shoes happy.

Or my feet.

And, especially, my knees.

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My shoes seemed to start wearing early (with less than under 150 miles). I thought, “eh, I’m sure this is normal.”

I kept running. I kept increasing my mileage.

A few weeks ago I reached a weird breaking point and I started wondering why the runs after my 20-miler felt hard. At first, I chalked it up to training just feeling tough because I was adding more mileage and feeling tired. Except, I actually took a cut week, so that didn’t make sense. Then my knees started hurting. And my feet — oh my poor feet were KILLING me. I would just wake up in the middle of the night with them aching.

Then I remembered to check out the outer soles of my shoes.

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A-ha! Parts of my heel and toe were missing – and there was a lot of mid-section wear as well.

I was sad.

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Then I calculated my mileage (I started wearing my shoes at the end of May — I had JUST hit the 2-month mark and maybe 250, if that). W.T.F???

Maybe I’m spoiled, but I’ve never burned through shoes THAT fast before. I felt like I had been cheated, especially because I really LIKED the shoes. The kicker — I didn’t even RACE in those shoes.

So, I did what every person would do when they are angry at a brand for reducing the quality of their product… I found another one.

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Meet my new shoes — Saucony Ride 7s.

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I did a lot of research on these things. I needed shoes that could carry me through the next 100+ miles of training and 26.2 miles on October 12th (OMG, THE MARATHON IS IN 6 WEEKS).

My verdict, so far, is that they run a little shorter than the Wave Riders – so I have to half-size up. BUT, I don’t feel like an old lady after I run. In fact I had one of my best long runs in MONTHS last weekend.

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They are the weirdest shoes in the best way possible – if that makes any sense. They are cushy, but not too cushy. They are light (around 8.5-9oz), but feel substantial. The outer sole is solid and from all of the 90878291 reviews I read – really hold up. I wear custom orthotics, so I can’t talk about the inner sole – but the one time I ran in them without my inserts, they were comfy and didn’t bother my ankle.

I’m hopeful. Which is a good thing since I just ordered another pair that will (if all goes well) be my Chicago Marathon Shoes, next month.

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Imagine these shoes with a TON of names written on them. Can’t wait!

TL;DR version… the running shoe love story saga continues because companies keep changing designs and quality. Or they just like to piss me off and keep things interesting (verdict is still out).

Will I switch back to Mizunos when I’m running half marathons?? Will I try Brooks again? Will Saucony become MY SHOE? Only time will tell.

Shoe love/hate… Which brand has disappointed you the most?? Which brand did you not expect to love/wear?

Things Lately

Hey, remember me? Is this thing on?

*crickets*

As you can probably tell, things have been…busy lately. Maybe busy isn’t the right word, because I swear I’m always busy. Hectic? Beyond busy? Chaotic? Yeah, that’s it. Needless to say, my life has been blowing up in front of my face — and for some reason I feel compelled to document it.

1. Rhode Island is GLORIOUS in the summer.

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Today we got a little lost and ended climbing over rocks (cue anxiety!) before hitting the Cliff Walk. Still ended up chasing the sunrise with this amazing view. #seeonmyrun #newport #wooendorphins #sunrise

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I could probably post 25 more images that look vaguely similar, but different than this. I was in Newport last week for work and while it sucked being away from my family – the rest of it really did not suck. Although, I think I said “I wish I was on vacation…” about 100 times a day.

While I was in Newport, I squeezed in some awesome runs with my coworker.

 

 

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What’s funny is that this was taken at 5:30am — those are some EARLY sunrises!

I love that I work with people crazy enough to meet me at 5am for a good run! Both times we managed to hit the Cliff Walk at sunrise and both times is freaking amazing. The second day, however, we got a little lost and I ended up climbing over rocks with a very apparent look of terror on my face.

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I’m a wuss. 

The last night we were there we took a group trip to the Cliff Walk and it turns out that Woody Allen was shooting a movie.

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All of that lighting was for the movie.

We didn’t see him (nor did we really care to), but we did see Emma Stone. Truthfully, it was more exciting to hang out in the beautiful weather, with my coworkers. You can tell we were having a horrible time. The weather was just terrible.

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Oh, I ate a eat gigantic lobster along with some mussels and clams. Give me alllll of the New England food, please.

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Newport, why must you be so fantastic? *sigh*

2. Girl’s Night Out happened. Again.

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For the 3rd year in a row, a bunch of us got together, got silly, and drank waaaay too much.

This year we went to a super secret speakeasy (which, I loved – maybe I’m a hipster?), a rooftop bar where I managed to tweak my knee dancing (don’t ask), a bar where one of my friends almost won a twerking content (technically she did win because we got free shots), and a club/tattoo parlor (?) with stripper poles.

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I don’t even recall taking half of these pictures. For more fun check out Paula’s post...

3. The Girls’ Night Out plague is REAL.

The first year we went out, I ended up with an ear infection and a horrible summer cold. Last year,was just NOT a good year for a bunch of us. I was in a postpartum/baby haze, so I don’t really remember details. This year was GREAT, until we got home. One person has pink eye, another ended up with a stomach virus. While I didn’t get sick – B came home with stomach issues and E ended up with Coxsackie virus (OMG THIS VIRUS IS SO HORRIBLE).

What sucks? Coxsackie virus What doesn't suck? Hanging out with this guy. Just wish it was for a happier reason.

Poor baby.

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It does not keep him from being adorable though.

This week was exhausting. But it was worth it. Well, the hanging out with my ladies was worth it. The kids being sick though? Totally sucks.

Oh and one side effect of this whole ordeal is that E refuses to nurse (can’t blame him) — so we might be done. I’m still pumping (barely any milk) in the morning and at night – just in case this is a strike (he still loves the milk), but it’s not looking good. I never thought I’d wean this early (it’s early for me!) and without any kind of warning. My Dr. wasn’t kidding when he said “third kids tend to be a bit of a wild card.” The saddest/possibly most ironic part is that it’s during World Breastfeeding Week. Sigh. Bad timing.

4. I found myself a long-run running buddy!

Cut back week! 10 miles with Tyler. Running buddies are the best.

It’s funny because even though Tyler and have raced together — I never thought to harass him to come run with me. Although I think we are very similar in that we don’t necessarily NEED to run with anyone, but the company is always nice. He’s also training for Space Coast (you know that OTHER marathon I am running this year?).

5. I MET MY FUNDRAISING GOAL!!

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I actually had to change this writing my post because I received a donation from my aunt that tipped me over. Wooooo-hoo! One less thing to worry about. Now I just have to worry about running that race. #cuepanic

But in all seriousness — THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you who have donated! I can’t wait to share my Chicago Marathon experience with all of you.

6. I finally FINALLY cut my damn hair.

Suddenly, I feel 5 yrs younger and 10lbs lighter. I also feel kinda like a douche taking a selfie in these sunglasses.

I’ve been procrastinating – but the last time I had my hair done was in JANUARY. I love it though and I love my stylist. She is seriously the best.

I’ve gotten a little wiser and scheduled my next appointment already. It’s 2 days before I leave for Chicago. I might have to go a little crazy… hmmmm.

7. If you need a good dystopian book to read, I’m currently reading/rereading the MaddAddam trilogy. I’m pretty sure I read Oryx and Crake years ago — but I have book amnesia.

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Apparently, it’s going to be a series on HBO, so you should read it now and throw in your friends faces when they get addicted to the series and want to know what happens. Not that I would do that.

And with that… it’s 9pm and time for bed. I have 14 miles in the morning, Taste of the Nation Orlando tomorrow night, and a whole bunch of other stuff in between.

What’s the last book you read? Where’s your favorite place to vacation? 

Chicago Marathon Training – Month 1

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon for a month now. So far, I’m hitting my training schedule.

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I actually can’t believe I’ve already hit 18 miles. I still have 14 miles to run the rest of this week – and 10 on Saturday (since I’m not running on Sunday), but I should be able to hit them without a problem. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed about the mileage I did this month – and the consistency of my pace.

18 miles - Done! It wouldn't have been so bad if the heat index wasn't at 95 degrees the last 5-6 miles. It's going to make me stronger, right? #chimarathon #teamrmhc #crazy

Latest Garmin Selfie. That Garmin is just so photogenic.

I have a few rambling thoughts that I’m going to put into somewhat coherent bullets.

**Base training was worth it – adding an extra run each week and longer distances hasn’t been too bad. The longest I ran during base training was 12 miles (once), but for the 3 months I was in base-training mode it was mostly 7 to 8 milers, hitting 20-25 miles a week. I actually felt more aches and pains during this base training than I have since I’ve upped my mileage. Go figure.

**It’s f*cking hot. Ok, so that’s a given because a) it’s the summer and b) I live in Florida, but I don’t think I realized HOW hot it would be. I did this training 3 years ago and mostly avoided the sun because I had people to met at 4:30 in the morning. This time I’m running it on my own (I’m open to running with other though!) and it’s hard to leave the house. I actually get up pretty early (like 4 or 5) but then procrastinate.

**3/1 Long runs are hard (but probably worth it). For my long runs I’ve been running the first 3/4 of the run at a pace between 10-10:15 minute/mile — and then the last 1/4 at race pace – 9:30 (or a little slower if the heat index is 100 degrees). I feel like it serves two purposes – teaches me to reserve my energy AND gets me to run faster on tired feet/legs.

**Running 4 days a week isn’t bad. When training for Savannah, I ran 3 days a week – but ALL of those runs were intense. I did a long run, a tempo run, and speedwork. I did not enjoy a single run. This time around, the runs are less intense, but I’m hitting my tempo run and hitting my mileage. I’m also just enjoying the miles. Some might call them junk miles, but I consider it time on my feet and a great way to get rid of stress.

**Ducks are really the cutest birds ever. Every morning I see ducks, ducks, and more ducks. I would be lying if I said they didn’t make my day. There was one day where I witness the world’s longest duck crossing. Sadly, a car came and broke it up (no ducks were injured – turns out, ducks are pretty smart about cars) – and a few of the ducks left behind were so angry/confused. I’m considering starting duck blog I love these damn ducks so much (not really).

Just out for a jog. #seeonmyrun #ducksofinstagram #hopetheyarentoffendedisaidjog #wooendorphins

Today's run was meh, but at least I felt like the duck posse was cheering me on. #seeonmyrun

**Ice baths hurt a lot less when you’re already sitting IN the bath and then you get “iced.” Yes, it’s taken me 36 years to learn this trick.

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Don’t get me wrong, ice baths are still pure torture, but they are a good kind of torture because I can walk (even run!) the next without issue.

**The best part of running in the middle of the summer in Florida (which is kind of like an oxymoron, right?) is the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

So pretty. So f*cking hot. #seeonmyrun #wooendorphins #pardonmyfrench

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Happy Friday! What a peaceful sunrise... balancing out the crappy humidity. #seeonmyrun #wooendorphins #teamrmhc #whyamimarathontraininginthemiddleofthesummer

It never gets old.

**Falling still sucks. I fell during my 2nd long run (at mile 2.75). I managed to shake it off and keep going, but it really sucked and I felt the after effects for a few weeks (the bruising on left hip was pretty bad – as was the scrape on the inner pad of my right hand – I have NO idea how that happened).

Long run #2 and I had a meet up with the pavemen at mile 2.75. I'm banged up pretty bad, but at least I didn't have to get stitches! #chimarathon #teamrmhc #klutz

I also now really paranoid about sidewalks, so I try to run on the road as much as possible. Turns out that not a bad idea because I run faster and more efficiently on the road. Who knew?

**Bring on the carbs! Actually, my appetite is super weird. Long run days I crave food, but get full really fast. Rest and bootcamp days I eat the most. Is this normal?

**Since I’ve hit 14 miles on my long run, I’ve worn my Nathan Endurance vest on my long runs. I feel like I have a love – hate relationship with this thing.

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This is my trying not to die while foolishly taking a selfie because I’m an idiot face.

I love the ease and accessibility of my fuel/water – and I’ve finally gotten to the point where it actually feels comfortable to wear it – but I hate, hate, HATE the straps touching me while I run. Now I could wrap them up all neatly, but that is SO unrealistic and not going to happen. Instead I spend half of my trying to fix them so I don’t feel them. It is just me?

**I have the best cheerleaders waiting for me at home. Every single time I get home from a run I get cheers and applause. And also sometimes I get this…

Better than a medal any day.

**I need more pop-culturey running shirts.

Just got back from a 5-miler with Castiel. I hope he didn't get any bugs in his mouth like I did. (Thanks @eatwatchrun for the awesome birthday present!) #spn #extraprotein #wooendorphins

Running with Castiel is the best. Thanks to Paula for this fantastic birthday gift.

And that’s pretty much it for the first month.

14 disgustingly humid miles done (I wish that gigantic rain cloud would have just rained!). I met a turtles, gave dirty looks to more than 10 bikers riding on the sidewalk, and didn't fall. #chimarathon #teamrmhc #wooendorphins

TL;DR — I ran a lot, I feel once, I saw a lot of sunrises, sunsets, and ducks, the heat really sucks — but it’s ALLLLLL worth it. Hopefully. Also, 1 month done… 2 more

Favorite pop-culture tee/tank? I might have to get an “I Am Groot” shirt next… more about that in my next post.

Things I’m Loving Lately – Marathon Training Kickoff Edition

Yep, that’s right. Marathon training is officially underway. Not that I’m really doing anything wildly different this week. This week I’m running 23-25 miles, which has become my norm. Next week, however I’ll start (gradually) upping the miles. I guess I’m ready?

Not only is marathon training back, but so is the ridiculous heat, humidity, and daily thunderstorms. For a few months I was actually managing to do my long runs at night after the kids were in bed (and I kind of liked it), but with thunderstorms rolling in anywhere between 4-9pm, I decided I need to commit to morning running again.

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Why is sooooo hard to get up??

There are a few perks to marathon training. Mainly, it’s a good excuse to buy new things. It helps that it was just my birthday so I can say things like “I’m buying these for myself, for my birthday.” Even though everyone knows that I would probably buy them anyways. It’s just fun to have an excuse.

So here a few recent buys that I have been worth buying (none of these links are affiliated, click away)…

1. Amphipod Hydraform Handheld In-Touch (20oz)

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So, this isn’t new. I bought it back in February and it was love at first run. I have never really been one to run with a water bottle, but it now goes with me on every run. Even the 3 milers. It’s very light and cozy in my hand and it holds my phone (I’m actually able to use my phone without taking it out as well). When it’s super dark outside I reverse my phone and use it as a flashlight. Basically, it’s great. I haven’t decided if I’ll use it on longer runs or on race day, but I will use it on runs up to about 13 miles.

2. Nike Breeze Tanks

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I finally found the PERFECT shirt for running in Florida! I probably could run with just my sports bra on, but I like having something to absorb my sweat (it dries fast) and protect me from those stupid gnats that are everywhere (if only I could find something that kept them from flying into my mouth). The material is so lightweight and bonus, it’s long.

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If the shirts weren’t $35, I would probably have one in every color. Instead, I’m slowly adding them to my collection.

3. Salted Carmel Gu

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Don’t get me wrong, Gu is still disgusting and makes me gag, but this is the most tolerable flavor I’ve ever eaten. Maybe it’s the salt? I just realized it’s a winter flavor, and salted watermelon is their summer flavor. I can’t decide if that sounds gross or not.

4. Elta MD Sports Sunscreen

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My dermatologist probably makes a fortune off of selling this stuff, but I have to give him credit because it’s pretty great. It doesn’t make my skin breakout (and I have SUPER sensitive skin), it doesn’t smell too disgusting, it’s not sticky, and it doesn’t sting if it you’re a moron (like me) and it accidentally gets in your eyes. I also now use this on all of my kids – including Mr. Sensitive Baby Skin himself.

Oh, and I make my ginger husband use it so he doesn’t burst into flames the minute he walks out of the house.

5. Ridiculously Bright Colored Clothes

I’m all about the neon.

I'm obnoxious. #wooendorphins

I’m obnoxious and I know it.

6. Fitness Blender workouts

I’ve been wanting to add an extra strength/HIIT workout to my schedule — but I don’t have time (nor do I want to wake up early) to go to the gym, so I’ve been doing these Fitness Blender workouts from home. Here’s one that kicked my ass and only took 20 minutes….

I love that they visually include the countdown clock and have a pretty broad variety of workouts (which also list the calorie burn range). Maybe I’m the last person on Earth to discover these workouts, but if I’m not, check them out!

7. This book.

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Ok, so it has nothing to do with marathon training, except it’s been keeping me up because I can’t put it down. If you want to read something and think, “Wow, she’s batshit crazy and we need to be best friends.” Then this book is for you.

8. Cute kids and a supportive husband

So, I’m pretty lucky (and nobody even paid me to say that). My husband may not understand my crazy hobbies, but he’s my biggest fan and cheerleader. I could not fathom training for these marathons (or writing this blog) without his support.

He seems really excited about this for some reason.

And as always, the cute kids help too. Especially, when they pretend to like each other.

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WHICH IS ALWAYS (ha).

Anything running (or non-running really) that you’re loving lately?