Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Random thoughts by Michelle

I saw this on FB today and it just cracked me up.  Yep, totally me as I sit here sipping my pumpkin spiced coffee from my keurig.  I had pumpkin beer last night, as well as a pumpkin latte from my favorite local coffee store yesterday to celebrate national coffee day.   I embrace all the things pumpkin for sure.
This cracked me up too.  Every time I get excited for a cool down, it just turns around and gets hot again.  Like monday.  We sweated our asses off during our easy 6.  Come on summer, just leave already!  It was so hot stella ella couldn't even come with us.  Seriously summer, go away!
This came this weekend too.  I am a bundle of nerves, not about the run itself, just all of the details.  I know you aren't suppose to walk much the days before, but I HAVE to see how long it will take me to walk to my corral and gear check and map out a route.  If I don't,  I will be a mess the day of.  Still not sure how we are going to get from the airport to the hotel or from the hotel to the expo, but I guess we can figure that out when we get there.  I am such a planner, that going to a city i know nothing about and dealing with public transportation possibly scares the hell out of me.  OH well, we will make an adventure of it for sure and probably learn a lot in the process.  I am hoping I can do several big city marathons, so I'd better learn quick:)
This also came this week in the mail!  I won this super cute hat from Allie over at Vita Train for Life.   If you don't follow her blog, you are missing out.  She rarely gives things away, so when she had this new hat from Trailwind up for grabs, I had to enter.  My favorite hat sadly is having mold issues, even though I take care of it like my own child.  Even though I wash it, you can still see where the mold was, and it makes me feel very icky.   I took this hat for a spin monday on our sweat fest and it worked beautifully.  Will be interested to see how it does with my head lamp.  

Well, have a great hump day.  Just needed to get some randomness out.  Looking forward to a nice COOL run tonight.  I am really enjoying and embracing the taper.  My body needed it and I needed it mentally for sure.  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Volunteering for Konquer the Konza

 I ran this beautiful course last year as my first 25 K trail run.  This year, they had added a 10 K option so I had signed up for the shortened course.  Then I got into Chicago.  I decided it wasn't a good idea to do a trail run this close to the actual race.  I would be that person that tripped and fell and broke my ankle two weeks out. SO, based on that feeling, I recorded another DNS and instead volunteered.  The first year of this race, I volunteered to be at the top of the stairs.   I asked to be there again this year and my wish was granted.

The stairs are a set of irrigation measures that look like stone steps.  They are not evenly spaced and most people walk up them.  It is a tough ascent.  It kicked my ass both times I had to go up it last year.  I saw lots of puking the first year, but this year was better, thank goodness!

I got up to my spot pre sun rise.  I saw deer, heard turkeys, and saw lots of butterflies.  I cheered loudly and rang my cow bell, and almost lost my voice more than once.  I brought a pack with lots of goodies for runners, just in case,  but no one needed them. I only had one hiker that was a butt head.  Most runners were very appreciative and we took lots of pics and got lots of high fives and sweaty hugs.  I had two runners I was concerned about, but they all finished safely and healthy.   I LOVE cheering them on and ringing my bell, and If I get into another fall marathon next year, I will for sure be up at the top, cheering on my tribe.

I even got a nice hike in and out with my pack, so I could count that as cross training today!  It was perfect weather, cool at the start, with the temps heating up as the day went on.  The humidity was pretty high, so I totally felt for the runners, and the second time through, many were pretty much drenched.  I had brought Nuun tablets just in case and two big bottles of water, but everyone seemed to have plenty of water.  The best part of this race is hands down the views.  The worst part of this race, you are on the prairie, so not much shade.  You really are at the mercy of the sun and it can get pretty warm in september. Plus, well, the beautiful Flint hills are pretty, well, hilly. All in all, this is an awesome race and I love volunteering for it! I hope they continue to do it and make it better every year!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Training week 17: 3 weeks till chicago. Taper, maybe?

Well, I thought my taper would start after my 20 miler but my coach had other ideas.  Here is how the week turned out.

Monday: planned 3 x 2 mile repeats with a mile warm up and 0.5 mile cool down.  What happened: hip was tight and sore during warm up, and pain in my left leg started and continued through warm up.  Took off compression sleeve thinking that might make it feel better.  It did, but there was NO speed work in these legs.  In fact, there wasn't even 8 miles in these legs.  I settled for 6 with walking interspersed.  Came home and did an ice bath on my leg immediately.  I don't mess around with pain and certainly not this close to the big date.  6 easy peasy miles
Tuesday: A much needed off night.  I hate not doing things when the weather is SO nice, but this was the last night of soccer.  

Wednesday: Planned was a 9 mile progression run.  Each mile would get faster by 10 seconds.  I was so looking forward to this run.  I know, weird right.  I love different types of work outs, and i haven't done a progression run in a long time.  What actually happened: an 8 mile easy paced run thanks to my leg.  While it didn't hurt during my run, it pretty much hurt all day during the day. 

What is so odd (other than the fact that his helicopter circled us the whole time we were running and then landed right next to us) is that my leg had zero pain during the run, and I actually felt like I could do the run as prescribed.  My very speedy, very wise running pal Mel held me back and said nope.  8 miles of rain, helicopters and good music.

Thursday: Strength

Friday:  Planned 4 mile recovery run.  What happened: No run.  Decided while the pain is much better in my leg, another day off from running wouldn't hurt.  Honestly, if I wasn't volunteering for the Konquer the Konza on Sunday and needed to be there so early, I would have just moved my long run till Sunday.  At this point, rest is a good thing and junk miles don't help anything other than prolong healing.

Saturday: 14 mile long run with some race pace segments built in.  What happened: Lots of things I haven't experienced in a long time like an upset tummy, my right hip having severe cramps at mile 12 and making me walk for a while, and me wanting to quit multiple times.  I ended up at around 13.5 miles when I passed the house and i just threw in the towel.  I seriously feel like an old woman right now.  We did complete our virtual half marathon so there is that.
This was a fun virtual to do with a super cute tech shirt and medal with a doggy on it.  I printed the bib and put stella's name on it instead of mine.  I LOVE doing virtual races that benefit dogs or activities with dogs.  

Sunday:Strength and volunteering for Konquer the Konza 25 K and 10 k race (will probably post a recap even though I am not running this year).  

Total miles this week: Not as many as i was suppose to but eeked out 27.

After talking to my coach, I know this is normal, but I hate that I feel so tired and so out of it when I am getting a ton more sleep lately.  I am ready for the taper to do it's magic and heal me.  I am also looking forward to my trip to Body First to get some help on getting the kinks out.  To be continued till next week:)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Training week 16: 4 weeks till Chicago!

Wow, only another month and only one more week of hard work outs.  I AM SO READY FOR TAPER.  Remind me I was yelling this as I am going taper crazy.  Of course the weather has taken a turn back to more summer like temperatures, just in time for my last hard week.  I am sure once I am in taper, the weather will be the most perfect weather EVER.  That is my luck.  While I am getting more sleep thanks to miller miraculously recovering, I am still opting to do weekly runs at night versus getting up at 4 am due to the length of the runs.  Here is how my week went:

Monday: a repeat of last week's repeats that I didn't get to due to sleeplessness (Scheduled 2 mile x 2 repeats, 400 meter recovery, 1 mile repeat, 400 meter recovery, 1 mile warm up and cool down)  Recruited the speedy Mel G to come suffer with me.  The run went surprisingly well.  We had no issues hitting our paces, in fact sometimes we had to slow down.  I was amazed that I didn't struggle with this run, even with the 20 mph sustained winds.  I had a pretty big runner's high after this one for sure.

Tuesday: Day off due to Andrew's soccer practice.  Soccer was more about running around the field and playing with his friend than doing actual soccer. I think he just got bored when they gave lengthy discussion about what they needed to be doing instead of just doing.  Oh well. Just glad he is staying on the field for the majority of the 45 minute session and not crying.  

Wednesday: My last tempo run.  Nine miles of glorious speed.  This run was going to be tough thanks to me pushing it back to try and avoid the horrible heat we have had this week.  I was kind of nervous to go out at dark, especially if it was too hot to take Stella too.  AND there was the wind.  14-20 mph out of the south, south east.  I ended up putting my big girl panties on and heading out with Stella in tow and my headlamp.  While it wasn't the ideal run ( 2 miles directly into that sustained wind, I finished, ending with almost 9.5 miles.  The 2 miles into the wind were my slowest, but managed to stay in the low 10:20s.  I managed a 10:15 on my 3 mile segment, a 10:23 on the 2 miles directly into the wind, and a 10:18 for my last two mile segment.  Of course I couldn't sit up and enjoy it, as it was 10:00 by the time i got home so a quick chocolate milk and shower were all I got to celebrate with before hitting the hay.  9.43 miles total.

Thursday:another rest day.  Yeah, I know, I need to do strength but I just felt exhausted and hungry and I gave in to my lazies.  Boo.

Friday:Recovery run.  Was suppose to do 5.  Headed out with storms to the south and the radar promising that they would stay to the south.  While I never had any rain, the clouds crept closer and closer and the lightening got brighter and brighter.  It was enough to convince me to head back after a little over 2 miles and stay safe. I think I ended up with 4.4 miles total.  Deuce ran with me and someone was NOT happy she got left at home.  

Saturday: 20 miles.  See recap here.

Sunday: Strength

Bring on the taper craziness!

20 miles: A long run story

I am going to write part of this post before i run and then part after so forgive the tense shifts:)

What I was thinking beforehand:

You know, I hadn't really haven't been dreading this run like I think I should.  For me, it's just one more mile to build on the long runs i have been doing.  Of course, now fall is here so this run should go well.  The high today is suppose to be 60.  It's 53 right now with 95% humidity.  Sigh.  Stupid humidity.  And I can't find my arm sleeves.  That was suppose to be last night's mission, find the bag of winter/fall clothes that I stashed away so neatly, so neatly that i can't for the life of me remember where the hell I put them.  I think I used one of those nifty ziploc bags you suck all the air out of.  That sucker could be cleverly anywhere.  Anyway, just had my UCAN and coffee, hoping for some digestive action before I meet up with my BRF to hit airport loop.  I have perfected the art of getting 16 out there by looping and back tracking and double backing.  I should totally do mapmyrun during, so you could see the crazy map but i value my phone battery more than my readers:)  I have several podcasts cued up.  My plans is like normal, go out and talk with my BRF, bathroom break around 4ish, podcasts start around the 1 hour mark post BRF, and then podcasts till I need a lift and then it is rock my run.  I just downloaded a new to me mix of 80s music and I am PUMPED to hear it!  I have my new shoes just in time to do my 20 miler, my new compression socks, and stella ella by my side.

What I was thinking during:

God is great.  Nature is beautiful.  I need to poop.  Time to gel.  Can I walk for a few minutes, NO.  Why did they just rock this road?  I wanted to see some harvesters out this morning.  Hi Robin, bye Robin.  I love porta potties.  
Oh look, a rainbow.  Must take a pic and instagram.  Yes, I can take a pic and instagram and type and run all at the same time.  Done with podcast, bring on the music.  Time to head home for one last fueling and to get my sun glasses and ditch this coat.  4 more miles, I got this.
Hi moo moos. See you next week.
80s music rocks.  This is the best music mix ever.  I could so do an ultra.  I could so do 6.2 more miles.  Come on hip, hang with me, we can do this.  DONE.  Time to eat all of the things. NOW. Chocolate milk done, sausage egg biscuit done.  Time for a shower and TAPER MADNESS!

That wasn't the best long run i have ever had (last weekend took that award) but it was  a good run and I feel great.  A little sore, a little tired, but VERY happy with my nutrition and fueling and training.  Bring on Chicago!!!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Training week 15: 5 weeks till chicago!

It's every closer every day.  Just 7 more hard work outs till taper time and then I can loose my mind in the taper crazies!  Here is how the week went down for better or worse:

Monday:Scheduled 2 mile x 2 repeats, 400 meter recovery, 1 mile repeat, 400 meter recovery, 1 mile warm up and cool down.  After another long night with miller waking me up about every hour after I had finally given up and went down stairs because a certain little two legger wouldn't go to sleep, I woke up very late and very tired.  After discussing with my speed work running partner Mel, we decided we were willing to try for 8, just not a hard work out.  She had things going on, and I was exhausted, and it was already in the 80s with 88% humidity.  We took it easy, and still had to walk a few times.  I don't mind walking at all, would rather walk a minute or so, than pass out.  We got it done and were drenched by the end.  I was SO glad to be done with this work out.  Other than the heat, it was a beautiful morning and the wild sunflowers are in full bloom right now.  We saw tons of beautiful butterflies and had some laughs along the way.  I am super blessed to have so many awesome women in my life that run with me.

Tuesday:Day off for Andrew's soccer practice, take 2.  Last week was kind of a bust but after a week of playing in our new soccer socks with our new soccer ball, we had hope that he might want to play along this time.  After seeing his friend from school and figuring out the grass wouldn't poke him with his new tall socks on, he was willing to try the drills. While I do think they tried to talk way more than just having the kids try things, andrew seemed to have a good time and spent most of the time on the field versus sitting in our laps crying.  I call this a WIN!

Wednesday:  Another long night with miller but not as bad as the night before.  I was probably on up 2 times and got in bed and asleep at a decent hour.  Made the decision to sleep in anyway to try and make up for the last two nights of missed sleep meaning running post work.  The high was only suppose to be 83 with the humidity low by 7ish so I felt like I could try the proposed work out.  Work out to be done: 3 miles at MGP, 3 minutes recovery, 2 mile MGP, 3 minutes recovery, 1 mile MGP, 3 minutes recovery with 1 mile warm up and cool down.  Mel G joined me and even though it was still in the low 80s, we were able to hit our MGP and hold it no problems.  The biggest difference, NO HUMIDITY.  I hate humidity!!!!  It has been killing me all summer and maybe, just maybe it is going to go away???  That would be awesome!  We did have to deal with the little gnats that come out at dusk and I probably ingested my fair share as well as had a ton in my eyes.  We had to stop once during my 2 mile tempo and pour water in my eyes because I seriously had like 10 go in my left and right eye all at the same time.  Even when I got home, I pulled 2 out of my left eye and one out of my right.  YUCK!

Thursday: Strength

Friday: an easy 5.  I got to run at night and the weather was PERFECT.  However, my legs were lead.  At one time I saw a 12 on my watch.  Now yes, I was taking it easy but usually when the weather cools down like this, I see my easy runs drop way down in pace as in like low 10s with little to no effort.  I am so ready for taper, it's not even funny.  I think my body is exhausted.  I was also super sore from my work out thursday.  I did several new exercises that I haven't tried this training cycle and they kicked my butt!

Saturday: 19 miles.  I LOVE fall running.  No more getting up at 4 am to beat the heat and avoid the sun.  The sun actually becomes my friend.  I decided to get up around 5:30 and head out around 6:15ish.  It was 50 with 91% humidity when I got up and started to get ready.  The humidity quickly dropped as the sun came up which made the run amazing.  I was going through almost 40 oz of water per long run.  Stella and I probably drank 20 oz if that much.  I had been pretty much walking every mile thanks to the heat and humidity.  Today, I only walked when I fueled so at mile 8, 12, and 16.  I some how got 16 miles done on the gravel before heading home for my last hit of fuel.  Stella and I hit 19 as we were coming to the house so got to walk a little bit for a cool down.  I have pretty much had a runner's high all day.  That really was the best long run of the entire training cycle.  Now let's hope I get that lucky next week when I run 20.


Total miles for the week: 40

ONE MORE WEEK AND THEN TAPER.  Yes I am screaming because my body is so tired.  I am so tired.  I am ready to be taper crazy!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Training week 14: 6 weeks to go till Chicago (and three weeks till TAPER!)

Okay so I am SO over summer.  The humidity is killing me and I am so tired of it!  Okay, whining over, at least I am not injured and getting to run.  Here is how my week broke down.

Monday: 1.5 mile repeats with 400 or 800 meter recoveries.  1 mile warm up and half a mile cool down.  Woke up at 4:30 to get this beast done.  Also chose 400 meter recoveries over 800 so I wasn't out for 3 hours.  Was able to hit my goal pace for three of the four repeats.  Still not sure why the fourth repeat was craptastic, as it felt much like all of the other repeats.  It was 100% humidity at the start and a dense fog started to descend when I was out.  We were wearing the air.  Stella looked like a puff ball by the end and I was soaked not from sweat from head to toe.  Ended up cutting my cool down short.  Was not feeling like running up and down the block several times to complete the half a mile.  My phone says I did 8.6 miles but my watch claims 8.2.  Not sure which one is right so will split the difference and claim 8.4 miles:)

Tuesday: night off.  Andrew had soccer and then by the time we got home, we had dinner and bath and bed.  Will switch my work outs to thursday/sunday for the rest of this month.  Working on a blog about our first soccer experience.

Wednesday:  My marathon tempo run with 10 minutes at MGP and 2 minutes at easy pace, 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down.  Basically 6 miles of repeats LOL!  When I had looked at my weather app the night before, there was a little thunderstorm symbol at 4 am, but the chance was very low.  I checked radar before I left, and it looked like everything was north and south of us.  I kept thinking I saw flashes of lighting to the north, but couldn't tell for sure.  I would catch it out of the corner of my eye, and not really know what it was.  Well, about 2 or so miles out, I saw a HUGE cloud to ground strike.  To say I was freaked out was an understatement.  My only option at that point, since i am out in the middle of no where on a gravel road, was to  high tail it back as fast as I could.  Let's just say that was the easiest tempo run ever!  Fear is a great motivator for speed.  Unfortunately I had 8 miles to do total, and had only completed 3 of the 6 tempo miles and 1 mile warm up.  I quickly took a bathroom break once I got home, looked up the treadmill pace chart and hopped on the mill with some OITNB.  While it wasn't ideal and had a break in the middle, I got it done and am happy to have easy runs this rest of the week.

Thursday: Strength training
This is my, WOW this work out is kicking my butt face!

Friday: 5 easy miles with my BRF.  We took it easy and walked when we felt like we needed it.  It was super humid, yet again and we were both drenched after 1 mile.  I am so over summer.  Have I said that lately? URGH!

Saturday: 18 miles.  I started out on suboptimal sleep.  I haven't had a good night's sleep in three days thanks to a toddler who WON"T go to bed at a decent hour no matter how hard i try and an old dog who suddenly needs things throughout the night.  He had me up at 2 am and then when I decided to re set my alarm and try and get one more hour of sleep,  he had me up again at 4:20, at which time I gave up and got up and starting my pre long run ritual.  Let's just say this run was tough.  The humidity was high as usual, the temp was already hovering near 80 and I just felt deflated.  I managed to run 2 miles at a time before walking my 10th of a mile and I counted down nine 2 mile sets versus 18 miles total.  I ended up getting almost 15.5 miles on the gravel road before hitting the house and re loading on water/gel.  After that I kind of ran around wamego trying to find shaded streets for stella and i to stay on.  The sun was out full force and nasty by the end, thanks to my late start.  I feel like the last time I did 18 was much more successful but oh well, every run can't be sunshine and rainbows.
My splurge post run

Sunday: strength

Total Miles: 39 miles

I am looking forward to completing the tough stuff. I keep telling myself, you can do this, just two more weeks till taper.  I am tired and starting to not love running as much as I usually do.  Every work out feels like, well, work versus pure joy, which is what I usually feel.  I keep telling myself, think about all the injured runners that would die to be in your spot.  I am very happy (knock on wood) that my body is cooperating with this higher mileage.  This is probably the most I have ever run in a week and other than the fact that I feel like i did an 8 hour trail ride today, I feel pretty good.  Let's continue this trend and slide on into TAPER TIME so then I can go taper crazy!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Another red story

Okay so need to get something out of my head and out of my heart and on to paper.  My miller man, my old man, and one of my first red aussies isn't doing well.  I have been down this path with my very first aussie berry, but it was a much simpler path.  She got sick, was already pretty senile, and the choice to let her go was rather easy.   Her mind was gone and she was sick so putting her out of her pain and suffering was a quick decision.   This is proving to be a bit harder.

Let me back up.  A few days ago, or I should say nights ago, Miller suddenly took a turn for the worse.  It wasn't a turn I was expecting.  He has been fine most of the day, eating, drinking and going outside like normal.  Now, Miller isn't a cuddly dog, never really has been.  He has a crate in the dining room and he prefers to stay in it with the door open on his orthopediac bed most days, and has been that way for many years.  He also has a bed in our living room (one room away), but with the hustle and bustle of having a toddler in the house, he tends to choose the dining room as his hiding spot.  Well, to make a long story short, in one of his travels from the living room to the dining room, he slipped and fell.  He has been having small problems with footing here and there, and we had just decided he was ready for a ramp to be built to get him from the back yard up on our deck, but nothing like this.  This was like Bambi on ice, all four legs going all four directions.  I will admit, I don't keep up with his toe nails like I should, mainly because he HATES having his toe nails done and no amount of positive rewards has changed his thought process over the time we have had him (wow, 14 years is a long time:).  Anyway, I promptly got him on his dog bed and trimmed his toe nails and trimmed the hair on the bottom of his feet just in case.  After doing so, he still couldn't get up and going, so we started carrying him around to help him get from place to place.  We tried a towel sling, but he seemed weak on both front and back end, so we had to do a double sling for that to be effective.  Through trial and error, I rigged up a double sling using deuce's running harness for the front end, and stella's running leash on the back end, so I could steady both ends, as I can't carry him like my hubby can.  I thought this was the end and was pretty emotional.  While I haven' had a dog go down in the back end, I have heard several cases and it never ends well, especially dogs of his age.  I got up the  next morning hoping by some miracle he would be different but he wasn't.  However, when he was outside, he seemed to be more sure footed and actually did his normal toddle around the back yard and sniff and pee.

I immediately went to FB for ideas for footing, since we have all hardwood floors downstairs.  Many of my friends gave me great advice on things from runners to plastic pieces for his toe nails.  I felt like there was hope, even though I know he is 16 and we are living on borrowed time.  I also called and talked with my vet who gave me the suggestion to go ahead and try buffered aspirin to see if that helped at all for a few days before bringing him in.  We saw an immediate improvement in his getting around after just having one dose of aspirin.  He still doesn't want to eat dog food and I am struggling to find things he will eat.  Some times one thing works and then the next time, he turns up his nose.  Right now he likes bread and cheese.  I am trying to get his belly full so we can keep up with the aspirin therapy a few more days.   Like I said, I know we are living on borrowed time, I just want him to be pain free and happy but boy is it going to be hard to euthanize a dog that still has a very sharp mind.  You can see his soul in his eyes and they are still bright and shiny.  I don't think today is the day, or maybe even tomorrow, but it is coming.  I have been very emotional and crying a lot as he is a very special dog to me.  While berry brought me into the world of dog agility, Miller kept me there for many many years.  He taught me SO much about dog training and agility, about mental management and the highest of highs along with the lower lows.  I feel like with his passing, an era of my life will end and I am very sad about that.  He took me across the USA from North Carolina to Arizona.  We won our way into many finals at local shows and into the semis at USDAA nationals three years in a row.  I am just not ready to be back to red aussie 3 again, but I want to be fair to him and to allow him to keep his dignity.  I hate this part of dog ownership. I am going to watch him over the next few days, cook as much food as I can and buy him some baby food/catfood or whatever I can get down him.  He needs to eat so we can continue pain meds and be strong.  So if you would, if you could, think a good thought or say a little prayer for my miller man?  Say a little prayer for me to know when it is time?  I would really, really appreciate it.