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Monday, December 05, 2016

ORRRC Week 3: Lesson Learned

Leaving work on Tuesday

Happy Monday! I'm back with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin to for their Weekly Review linkup. I'm training for about a dozen races, but concentrating on a half on April 9. You can read about my schedule here

Week of November 21-27
Monday: walk to work
Tuesday: #5Weeks2TTC 3 miles + walk to work
Wednesday: 2 miles walk to work
Thursday:  #5Weeks2TTC 3.5 miles + walk to work
Friday: rest
Saturday: unintended rest :/
Sunday: 6.5 miles

Total (running) miles: 15 miles
Elevation gain: 144 ft
2016 total: 906.2 miles

This week started on Tuesday and it was a bit weird. Alex and I went to the local track after work but it was under construction. One of our favorite Taco Tuesday deals is a few blocks away so we went to get tacos... and drinks. Directly afterwards we went to another track and did our workout: 4 x (400 on / 200 off / 200 on / 400 off) As expected, my speeds were not great, but I finished. Maybe I was unintentionally training for a beer mile.

Alex took my picture: Tuesday and Thursday at the track

Wednesday was a normal 2 miler after work and we returned to the track on Thursday for 6 x 800. Alex did 5 and didn't seem to enjoy it very much. I'm not sure if he's ever done a track workout, and here he had two in one week. Where Tuesday was warm, but hindered by poor taco planning, Thursday was very cold and a tough workout. I was thankful we only had 6 repeats. I jogged a lap between repeats 1 and 2, but decided to stop and rest between the others. By the end, my paces were better than normal, so I was pleased. (3:55, 3:53, 3:54, 3:49, 3:41, 3:45)

Alysia Montaño's #5Weeks2TTC playlist 
Note: I got this week's track workouts from Alysia Montaño's Turkey Trot plan. Week 1's coach was Kara Goucher and while the workouts were tough, I appreciated the shorter distances. When I found myself struggling I'd repeat a mantra of sorts ("Kara Goucher, Kara Goucher, ....)" and try to run faster. Kind of worked. Alex and I are going to follow it for our January 1st 5k. I've labeled them #5Weeks2TTC above. See the workouts here (they're in reverse order, so start from the bottom).

Alex enjoyed the tiki drink presentation
Friday and Saturday were a bust. Had I known how my weekend would play out I would have been more intentional about scheduling a workout. We had another weekend guest (this time Alex's cousin) and proceeded to take him everywhere. Showing off Columbus is fun, but we went to 6 or more places on Friday night - eating 2 dinners, meeting up with Alex's sister, drinking a giant, sugary and sharable tiki cocktail, and staying up way later than normal. We repeated the process on Saturday, but with a decadent breakfast, two wine tastings (Alex's cousin is a winemaker and was in town scouting out wine stores), and a heavy dinner.

Sunday's coffee fest took place at a local historical village (very cool)
On Sunday we went to a coffee fest and while it was lovely, by the time we were finished we were all craving vegetables and water. It was a weekend of excess. None of us ever drank too much, but the sheer amount of wine, rich food, sugary snacks, and coffee took it's toll. I had terrible stomach pain Sunday night and wasn't sure I'd make it to work Monday (thankfully it went away after eating some crackers and moaning).

One of my best runs in a while
Before the pain began on Sunday (a few hours hours after the coffee fest), I got out for a 6.5 mile run. I wasn't sure how far I'd go, but as soon as I hit a mile I could tell it would be a great run. It felt amazing and along the way I spotted items for #RunChatHunt. Two miles from the end it began to rain. Because it was so cold, it turned into freezing rain and the hard chucks hurt. Luckily, I had on a jacket and hat, so my body stayed protected.

This weekend reminded me of the importance of finding time for the things you love. I had a great time touring Columbus and felt like a jerk any time I considered sneaking off for a run, but by the end of the weekend I felt absolutely terrible. I think a well-timed Saturday run could have made all of the difference. Every day I look forward to my run, but inevitably something comes up to challenge my plans (especially around the holidays). I daydream about having a treadmill so I can sneak off for a run at any time – regardless of sunset or weather – but bottom line: I need to make time for running. Last year's runstreak gave me permission to get out everyday. In an ideal situation I'd have time for at least 6 miles a day (minus rest days or during times of burnout). Maybe one of my 2017 goals could be finding even more time for my favorite hobby.

How do you make time for running? 
Have you ever had a week of excess that makes you miss and appreciate vegetables? 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Books of November 2016

Happy last day of November! Life slowed down a bit – or maybe my books got fluffier – but I was able to maintain a quicker reading pace. My last book of the month took eons, but I'll let it slide because it was somewhat entertaining (more below).

This month was full of ups and downs. Personal ups: work slowed down and I had more time than normal to relax, our house is clean and decorated for Christmas, we went on a mini trip to Indianapolis, I ran through several parks, we met up with friends, and Thanksgiving was lovely. The downs of this month were related to news: post-election politics, the OSU attack earlier this week, and the Tennessee fires. Sometimes it's tough to balance your own lovely life with the bleak news of the world without feeling too selfish. I'm not sure this is an appropriate intro for my monthly book post, but there it is...

Anyway, on to the books I read:
- - - - - - - - - -

What Light by Jay Asher
Review: 4 / 5
It's been a long time since I've read a normal, non sci-fi or scary missing girls YA novel. To compare it to something else, this felt similar to a Sarah Dessen book. It was a nice Christmas-y setting without being over the top cheesy. The main character was grating at times, but honestly, what teenager isn't? I didn't love this, but I obviously liked it enough to read it in one day. I think it's more of a 3.5, but I'll round up because I want the author to keep writing books. ;)

Replica by Lauren Oliver 
Review: 4 / 5
This book had an interesting structure: you can read Lyra's story, then Gemma's (or vice versa), or you can read them each one chapter at a time. I went the chapter at a time route so the story would be fresh in my mind. I liked the concept of this one. I'm not 100% sure about the ending and would have liked to hear more from Gemma's parents, but you know, I really appreciate that this wasn't another YA trilogy. I suppose there are similarities between this and other sci-fi stories, but I think it would make a good movie or even a show.

P.S. Grrrrr since I read this it's been changed to "Replica #1" on Goodreads which means it is, in fact, a series. 

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Review: 4 / 5
As always, Telgemeier's books are beautifully illustrated and this one is no exception. The theme is a bit odd for me after her memoirs and Drama, but I went with it. It was a heavy background for a story about ghosts, and I'm not sure I suspended disbelief or understand how Maya will end up, but I respect the author's path. Unfortunately, there are several negative reviews on Goodreads that make me wonder if I'm uninformed and should be offended by this story (using Day of the Dead as a basis). I'd be curious to see what others think.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson 
Review: 4.5 / 5 
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. 

I enjoyed this mystery/thriller and would have finished it sooner had I the time. It moved quickly and I appreciated the storytelling structure. I feel like some authors set themselves up for failure with symmetrical chapters from multiple narrators, but this was a a nice variety with the omniscient narrator following various characters over different timelines. I thought the mystery unraveled nicely, and while I wasn't completely shocked in the last third, it was a solid story. One of the best novels I've won in a Goodreads giveaway. 

Review: 2.5 / 5 
I didn't know who this guy was, but his book was a nominee for the Goodreads best of 2016, so when I saw it at the library in Indianapolis, I picked it up on a whim. It only took a few hours to read and I loved the artwork at the beginning of each chapter. 

I don't know if you need to read his first book to love this, but I was able to get a decent grasp of this guy after a few stories. He's a YouTube star and "director." I enjoyed his last essay about ignoring critics and doing your thing. Unfortunately his "thing" is not my jam, but it obviously works for lots of teens/true millennials, so you do you, Shane. 

P.S. A blurb on the back compared him to David Sedaris. Not yet, but if he works on his writing, maybe someday!

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Review: 3 / 5
Technically, this was well-written and well-researched, so I'll give those elements a 5. But it took me forever to get through. It went fast when I actually read, but I found myself avoiding it. In fact, it's now overdue from the library. 

Regardless of my laziness, it is a good book, but there was something missing. I kind of felt the same with The Host. Clinical tone, one-dimensional characters, with hyper-realistic details related to the main character's field of study. Say what you will about Twilight, but I flew through those books because I had to know what would happen. (The last few movies sucked, by the way.) I never felt that urgency with this book. It's been compared to the Bourne Identity and I get it because that was another book I found pretty lifeless and dry. And like BI, I think this would make a better movie or even TV series. 

- - - - - - - - - - 

As always, these reviews were taken from my Goodreads. For past months, click here.

What's the last book you read?
What are you looking forward to reading? 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

ORRRC Week 2: Flying Feather 4 Miler and more

My favorite mural ("Ohio Birds")
Happy Sunday! I'm linking up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin to for their Weekly Review. I'm easing into my training cycle for a half on April 9. You can read about my schedule here

Week of November 21-27
Monday: walk to work
Tuesday: 3.1 miles + walk to work
Wednesday: 2 miles
Thursday: Flying Feather 4 miler (recap below) + 2 mile walk
Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 6 miles

Total (running) miles: 15.3 miles
Elevation gain: 194 ft
2016 total: 891.2 miles
We have different ideas about outfits during a 30º run
On Tuesday Alex and I went out for 2 miles (8:08, 7:47) and I continued for 1 solo mile until dark (8:47). Last year during my 100 day run streak I convinced Alex to run mile days with me at his slow pace and my fast. The mile days really helped my speed. Even though I'm not participating in a streak this winter, I'm going to try and run with him 1 time a week. He wants to start training harder and I'm going to use him as speedwork. I rounded out the pre-holiday portion of the week with 2 miles after work Wednesday.

On Thanksgiving morning we ran the Flying Feather 4 Miler (recap here). I technically PR'd by almost 30 seconds, but maybe it doesn't count because I ran 4.1 miles and my official race time was the exact same as my existing PR (?). Anyway, after the race we cleaned up and drove to Cleveland for Thanksgiving with Alex's family. It was a great time and we were back by 9pm so Alex could go to work Friday.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream 
On Friday we had an out-of-town visitor coming, so I spent the day furiously cleaning our house and setting up a temporary guest room (we're replacing our carpet soon and removed most of the furniture upstairs... but we were too slow to get it finished before two upcoming visitor weekends). She arrived around 5 and we went out for dinner, drinks, and ice cream, then came home to watch the Winter and Spring Gilmore Girls episodes (I have since watched the rest. I did not like the very end, but the rest was entertaining.).

This fundraiser is catered w/yummy food and has excellent drink specials (+prizes!)
On Saturday, we had a nice at home brunch with our visitor then went to a bar for a combination NPR fundraiser and OSU/Michigan game-watching party. I know many of you are from SEC country, but the OSU/Michigan game was pretty exciting. Michigan has been in a bit of a slump (and OSU was dominant for a while), but it's kind of nice to see them coming back. Makes the big rivalry game much more exciting!

Along the Olentangy River
On Sunday I finally got back to running. The weather was lovely for November (almost 50 degrees!) I ran a point to point 6 miler from Glen Echo Park, continuing to Walhalla Ravine (a fantastic and beautiful neighborhood), along the Olentangy Trail, through Ohio State's campus, and back to my house. Alex dropped me off while he walked Tobias. Along the way I took a million photos for #RunChatHunt. This will be my 4th (I think?) scavenger hunt. It's a great way to explore the area around you on a run! I'll probably do a round-up post once I find all of the items.

Saw a family of 4 deer to fulfill the item "Wildlife" (crappy photo)
On Sunday night Alex made a feast for dinner while I put up the Christmas tree and some decorations. There's still some work to do (outside lights, mainly), but it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. I feel like I need the holiday spirit more than usual this year.

Did you run a Thanksgiving race (any day this week)?
Do you watch Gilmore Girls
Get any great Black Friday deals? (I bought some stuff on Kohls.com)
Anything new and exciting? 

Race Recap: Flying Feather 4 Miler

Packet swag: the shirt is fantastic, hat is nice, gloves just ok. 
The Flying Feather 4 Miler took place November 24, 2016 at 9:00am in Dublin, Ohio.

Pre Race
Each race packet came with a color-coded parking pass to make day-of parking seamless. Unfortunately, traffic was insane for those of us in the yellow and green lots (located on the same main road). Yellow lot was the largest and we were stuck in an endless line of cars. When we finally parked the wait for the shuttle bus was enormous, so we chose to walk to the starting line. It was almost a mile and I had to go to the bathroom, so that was fun. Luckily, we arrived with about 5 minutes to spare (race was moved back 10 minutes) and there weren't any lines at the potties. But still, not a stress-free start to the day. Plus, this was our first time at this race, so it didn't make a great impression. (We left an hour and a half early, so it wasn't like we got there late!)

The weather was cool and overcast, but warm enough that I wore shorts, a tee, and gloves (48º). I didn't have set goals, but wanted to run a steady pace around 8:30 and maybe PR (under 34:00).

Photo by M3SSports
The Race
Unfortunately, Alex and I couldn't get close to the start line. Instead of seeding myself in the 8-8:30 area and Alex at the very front, we were with the 11-12 minute folks. Needless to say, once we finally got going Alex and I were bobbing and weaving through traffic. I lost him pretty early and just kept trucking. The course was narrow and I kept getting stuck behind people. The roughest part was between seven tenths and the one mile marker. There was a steady hill that slowed everyone down and my pace dipped when I got stuck behind a line of people. Had I been in the correct starting area, congestion probably wouldn't have been an issue, but because of our parking issues I spent the entire first mile dodging. (By the way, we saw a shuttle bus blocked by the race with runners still on board! They had to get out and walk to the start. What a mess! And I haven't seen any apologies or acknowledgements from the race company. Weird.)
Mile 1: 8:35

The course
The course had a few rolling hills so I didn't think I'd beat my previous 4 miler PR (set on a flat course). I'm a faster runner, but I'm not in peak shape nor did I train. Mile 2 was pretty uneventful, honestly. The most exciting part was seeing my friend Andrea and the spitting mist/rain/whatever coming from the gray, overcast sky. Mile 3 brought us to Glacier Ridge Metro Park. We ran along a park access road and a pre-teen stopped right in front of me. Whoa, kid. After that I settled into a decent pace as the field finally spread out. I was beginning to feel tired, but I know my default pace is under 9 minutes so I didn't worry about the slowdown.
Miles 2 and 3: 8:15, 8:34

With my wine
We went through a nice patch of tall trees in the park (they should put a photographer there!) and out towards the park exit where we encountered another uphill. I knew the rest of the race was downhill so I sped up. If I had trained I would have crushed my PR. Regardless, when I turned the second to last corner at 3.9 I knew I'd beat my PR and that I'd go over 4 miles. I sprinted in and finished with 4.1 -- must have been all the dodging and weaving before.
Mile 4: 8:05

After the race we grabbed our bottles of wine (white wine instead of the red they normally have. Not a big deal.), snacks, and chatted with friends. Then we were off to walk back to the car and get ready for Thanksgiving in Cleveland. Thankfully, no traffic on the way out. I thought the course was really pretty, but Alex doesn't want to run it again. He said it's too far from our house... plus the whole parking fiasco. We have a Turkey Trot 5 minutes from our house, but the course is so ugly. We'll see what happens next year...

Final time: 34:00 (33:31 at 4)
Overall: 449 / 3276 (14%)
Gender: 136 / 1854 (7%)
Age Group: 22 / 447 (5%)

The medal
Up next: First on the First 5k on New Year's Day unless we sign up for something else. This will be our 4th time! I PR'd last year, maybe I can do it again.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

ORRRC Week 1 (?): Indianapolis + Cold Front

Monday's sunset in Indianapolis 
Hola! I'm linking up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin to for their Weekly Review. I guess I'm officially training since I picked my spring goal half (April 9). You can read about my schedule here

Week of November 17-20
Monday: 3.4 miles in Indianapolis
Tuesday: walking 6 miles around downtown Indy
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 2 miles
Friday: 2 miles + walk to work + 2 mile dog walk
Saturday: 2 miles
Sunday: 8 miles

Total (running) miles: 17.5 miles
Elevation gain: 0 ft
2016 total: 875.8 miles

Alex had a tree conference in Indianapolis on Monday and Tuesday, so I went with him to enjoy the city. On Monday evening there was a welcome event: a 2.5 mile fun run. We ran to and from our hotel (~1 mile) and stayed with the lead pack during the fun run. I ended up winning an "award" as second female (many of the others walked). It was on a lovely trail along the river with a gorgeous sunset. We chatted the whole way and somehow maintained a 8:12 pace. After the "race" we got cleaned up and went out to dinner and did a mini beer tour. We were back by 10 to watch HGTV. Not bad!

City Market for lunch

Alex woke up early on Tuesday to go to his conference. I intended to run, but decided I'd enjoy the hotel breakfast and get work done before checkout at noon. I'm so glad I did because between noon and 5pm I walked 6 miles and read a book! I took the scenic route to the library (with a stop at City Market for lunch), found and finished a book, then walked back to move the car. I parked near the Canal Walk and meandered around until Alex's conference finished. We then went to dinner and drove back to Columbus. It was a quick trip, but so lovely. Plus, it was warm and sunny!

I don't really remember much about Wednesday, which leads me to believe my workday was busy and I was still recovering...

Night time essentials

I had my first night run of the season on Thursday (at 6:30pm). I'm thankful it was a shorty. I had a headlamp and many reflective / light up items, but I'm always a little paranoid -- especially when I come upon bikers or walkers in all black! C'mon, people. Be safe!

Friday was my sole morning run, but it was a lovely start to a very warm day. I walked to work after and we had our (probably last) patio lunch of the season during work. After work, Alex and I took Tobias on a 2 mile dog walk. Temperatures reached 75 and it was glorious, but it did not last long: the cold front arrived Saturday morning. The lovely part about not meeting up with my group right now: I didn't run until 4:30pm! It was still cold (36º), but it was another relaxed 2 miler. Unfortunately, I wore some new leggings and they did not stay up. After the 3rd stop to hike them up I decided they are for lounging or short runs only. Bummer!

Posing (I also wore a vest for part of the run)

My best run of the week came Sunday (and my other new leggings stayed up). I'm traditionally a Saturday long run kind of gal, but Alex had a quick tree job on the northwest side of town so he dropped me off at Glacier Ridge Metro Park. I had 5 miles on my plan, but decided to round up to 6. I stopped for some photos, but it was a unplanned progression run, minus one mile (9:39, 9:03, 8:43, 8:36, 8:39, 8:27*). When I finished and hadn't heard from Alex, I hung out in the (nice) women's bathroom for a bit... then decided to head back out until pick up. I got in another 2 miles for a total of 8. It was super cold and windy, but I had a fantastic time. In fact, I wouldn't have been upset to go 10+ miles! I think it's a sign that I'm ready to get back to the longer distances. *I have to admit it still boggles my mind that paces in the 8s feel comfortable. If you would have told me I'd be running times like this last summer, I wouldn't have believed you! 

Glacier Ridge is mostly flat

Random thoughts on... 

Weather: While I love hot weather and sunshine for daily life, I sure do love 30 degree runs!

Distance: I'm really enjoying the 2 milers during the work week. It's enough to make me feel mildly accomplished and I look forward to my long runs on the weekends. Obviously, in a perfect world I'd have time for at least 6 miles a day, but I know my (time) limitations right now.

What day do you do your long runs?
What's your perfect running weather? 

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