Hitting the Pavement: 4 Mile Training Run

Earlier I posted about getting back to healthy, getting back to me. Well, there’s no better way to do that than to dive right into half marathon training! And that’s exactly what I did this weekend.

The weekend forecast was awesome, perfect for the first outdoor run of 2016–40s in the morning, 50s during the day. I had a full plate for my Saturday, so I couldn’t relish the 50s, but I did relish it being 38 degrees at 10 am (which was the earliest I could get out). I drove to the gym for a warmup on the elliptical and then hit the walking/running trail that was behind the building. Hamilton County (Indiana) has been working to add more and more trails for walkers, bikers, and runners. This particular trail was called the Midland Trace, and it runs through all of Westfield. It was my first time running on it, and I have to say I got a little lost at one point because there was no signage to point me in the direction of where to go once we hit a busy street. So I just ran along the road on the sidewalk for a while before turning back around to head back to the gym. Next time I’m hoping to be a little more prepared.

I started off the run nice and easy, and it wasn’t until I hit the spot that I “lost” the trail that I realized I was phoning in the run. That might not be so bad, but I really wanted to see how I’d feel during those 4 miles, after not running much this fall/winter (minus the treadmill runs on my lunch break).

After the second mile, I had to shed my pullover. I had a few issues during that third mile, and that really reflected in my split time. I really kicked it into gear for the final mile, wanting to push myself to finish with a 10 minute/mile pace.

4 Mile training run splits

What really kicked me into gear was running by the local Bible college. They had a sign that just seemed perfect for the start of training season. I stopped and took a photo because, c’mon, who wouldn’t think this was God talking to them during their time of seeking inspiration?

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When I returned to the gym, I did a quarter mile cool down on the elliptical, followed by some nice, long stretches. I decided it was definitely nicer to run from the gym than from my house because my cool down was still about me–I could take my time to properly cool down and properly stretch, gather my thoughts and reflect on that run. If I were at home, I’d rush inside to stretch a little bit, rush in the shower, and be dressed in no time to get back to being a mom. This forced me to continue thinking about me and thinking about my health.

When I returned home, I was starting to feel under the weather (a cold has crept up on me), and so was Baby A&W. We’re not sure if it’s teething or she’s just not feeling good, but after I showered and dressed, I gathered up my little girl for a snuggle session in the recliner so she could sleep some and momma could relax.

Poor Baby A&W

Poor Baby A&W, snuggled up with her blankie and her momma.

In my pre-momma training days, long run days were either spent recovering while binge-watching Mad Men, or going out and training the dogs in agility for an hour followed by log walks, etc. Now, it seems like I might be spending those days cuddled up with my little girl. And I think I’m OK with that.

 

Running While Pregnant Product Review: Mizuno Wave 18s

Just a day before I was set to run the Iron Horse Half Marathon in October, I was contacted via Mizuno on Twitter about trying their new Wave Rider 18 running shoes. At first I was really excited–I love trying new products! But then I was worried because I’ve been running in Saucony shoes for the past few years and love them. Plus, with my pregnancy, my feet are always changing, so I wasn’t sure I could give an accurate review.

But let me tell you, when I got that box in the mail and opened up to see those pretty teal, black, and white shoes, all worries went out the window.

What (runner) girl can turn down a new pair of shoes??

What (runner) girl can turn down a new pair of shoes??

I still ran my half marathon in my Saucony shoes, and waited a week to get back into running after the race (recovery, time, etc.), but I couldn’t wait to slip these on. I walked around the house in them a little, just to make sure the size was correct–I wear a 10 in my Sauconys, and luckily the 10s in Mizuno fit just fine.

I’ve finally been able to fit in a couple of 2.5 mile runs around the neighborhood wearing my Mizuno Wave 18s. The first run, the shoes felt great! I really couldn’t notice a difference between them or my Sauconys. The only thing I noticed was that my footsteps sounded louder, if that makes any sense. It’s like I was landing harder down on the ball of my foot…but it didn’t bother me.

First run back from the half marathon and first run in my Mizuno Wave Rider 18s!

First run back from the half marathon and first run in my Mizuno Wave Rider 18s!

Last week I wore them for another 2.5 mile run. Again, comfortable, the only thing i noticed was that I felt the stitching from the logo cradling my foot. This could have been because maybe my feet were a little more swollen, or I was tuning into the shoes a little more. I didn’t see any rubbing when I got home, though, so it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

My heel was sore the day after, though. I’ve been battling something with my left heel after my runs, where it’s like my tendons/ligaments are really tight and take a while to allow my foot to totally flex and allow me to walk normal. I get up from sitting and I walk stiff for a little bit because of this, and it’s rather painful. I realized that I’ve been running with PowerStep insoles in my Saucony shoes, but I have not tried them in my Mizunos, so I might see if that helps the next time I go for a run.

I’m thankful to Mizuno for allowing me the opportunity to try these wonderful shoes. I’m excited to have them in my rotation for runs, even though I’m cutting back on my running as my pregnancy is progressing and winter comes.

Your turn: What’s your favorite running shoe?

Running While Pregnant + FlipBelt Review & Discount

By now you know that I’ve been continuing to workout, almost like normal, throughout my pregnancy, and that I plan to continue to do so until I absolutely cannot. That includes running. Back in April I had signed up for the Iron Horse Half Marathon, a race that takes place just 20 minutes from my home that I’ve been wanting to participate in since I started running half marathons. They only allow 1,600 registrants, so you have to register early. Then when I found out I was pregnant, I also found out you couldn’t sell your bib. Doing the math, I’ll be 21-22 weeks pregnant the day of the race (Oct. 12), and my running group was very supportive of helping me continue to train and run in the race. (Some runners have done the same race at 4, 5, and 6 months pregnant.)

So every weekend that I’ve been home, I’ve joined my running group for long training runs. I’ve knocked back my pace from the usual 9:30 to 10:30-11, and have learned to swallow my pride so I am okay with walking when I need to walk. This weekend I tackled nine miles on the Iron Horse course, and while the last few were harder than the first six, I still finished in 1:41:29. According to RunKeeper, my average pace was 11:13, so not too bad. I initially started doing the run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute interval most of the group was doing for the first mile, but running like that seems to make my legs tighter, so I decided I’d just run on my own, watching my pace on my Garmin, and try to see if I could run a certain distance without walking. I made it 3.5 miles before I walked at the turn-around, mostly to grab some Gu Chomps and some water. All in all, it was a decent run.

This was my first run rocking my new FlipBelt. Yep, that’s right!! As part of my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship, FlipBelt sent me a free belt to try and review. At first I was concerned about having to order a specific size because things don’t fit me like they use to right now, and my belly will only continue to grow as the pregnancy went along, but after I measured around where I usually wear my running belt, I went with the large. large fits comfortably, and leaves plenty of room for growth. I’ll keep you update on how it feels as my belly continues to grow, but right now it’s so comfy!

You can select any color FlipBelt, but I went with the classic carbon...blends well with my running clothes!

You can select any color FlipBelt, but I went with the classic carbon…blends well with my running clothes!

I had a few friends from the running group say they didn’t even notice I was wearing a running belt and they loved how sleek it looked, compared to the “pouch” you get with other running belts. Nothing jiggled, nothing moved. I chose to wear it with the slits out, so I could access my Chomps and my phone during my run. The one complaint I had about the FlipBelt was with my Samsung S4 in it’s (sleeker than most) case, it was hard to get in and out while I was running. (I’d try to get it out to turn on Pandora while I was running, then at one point the change stations when I couldn’t take any more slow songs.) Other than that, nothing bounced, and I’d forget I was wearing it until I got home to strip out of my clothes to shower.

I’ve worn it to walk my dogs, and I wore it when we went hiking on Sunday. I love the Carbon color. I also got the recommended (and free) waterproof plastic bag to place my phone in if I worry about it getting wet from sweating through the fabric or rainy runs, but I haven’t used that yet.

Can you see my running belt? (Please disregard the growing preggo belly...) I love how sleek the FlipBelt fits. The girls give it four paws up!

Can you see my running belt? (Please disregard the growing preggo belly…) I love how sleek the FlipBelt fits. The girls give it four paws up!

Think you might be interested in trying the FlipBelt? Well, you’re in luck, because they’ve agreed to let my readers use a discount code for 10% off until September 7! Simply go to the FlipBelt website, select your purchases, order it here, enter discount code sweat33 for 10% off your entire order.

This is great for those walking their dogs, working out in gym, running, biking, or even running errands. If you’ve been thinking about trying a running belt for any reason, using this discount code is a big help!

Share the news–Click to Tweet: Tweet: Run, play, explore with #FlipBelt! Use the code sweat33 for 10% OFF your entire purchase! http://ctt.ec/9fPaF+ @flipbelt @fitapproach

**Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge as part of my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship and was not compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Your turn: What running products have you tried and liked?

Getting My Groove Back

Ever since M and I discovered we were expecting, it seems like life has gotten even more crazy…yet not much has changed. I’m still working basically two full-time jobs and one part-time gig, he’s back on second shift (4pm to midnight) so we rarely see each other, and I’m still working out like usual.

Saturdays have been full of activity lately–wake up early to get in a long run with my running group (usually 6-8 miles for me right now), errand running, etc. Then Sundays have been the days that I am supposed to devote to my freelance writing, but they mostly end up being the days I wake up with a crick in my neck from falling asleep on my laptop at least two or three times throughout the day. I’ve heard everyone tell me making a baby is hard–they weren’t kidding! I’m about to say that’s my third full-time job.

I’ve still been working out regularly. 3-4 days a week you’ll find me up bright and early at Man O’War CrossFit getting my sweat on. I’ve toned back on my weights (not going as heavy as I normally would) and my intensity (taking more breaks during WODs to catch my breath). My coaches have been great, offering different options for me and making sure I’m not overdoing things.

My coach at Man O'War CrossFit is always inspired by WODs he does in competitions, so this week has been all about mirroring some of the CrossFit Games WODs... Oy! Monday's was fun, though--finished in 7:37 with 1 35lb kettlebell. Also, accidentally, earned a new PR in the overhead squat--80 lbs (I didn't realize it, I promise I wasn't pushing it--it actually felt easy).

My coach at Man O’War CrossFit is always inspired by WODs he does in competitions, so this week has been all about mirroring some of the CrossFit Games WODs… Oy! Monday’s was fun, though–finished in 7:37 with 1 35lb kettlebell. Also, accidentally, earned a new PR in the overhead squat–80 lbs (I didn’t realize it, I promise I wasn’t pushing it–it actually felt easy).

 

Right now I’m running only once a week, but I know I need to add at least one more day to that list. I run on Saturday mornings with the Striders and have slowed down my pace from the usual 9:30 to 10-10:30. At first I thought it would be difficult to scale back on the intensity of my runs, but surprisingly I’m OK with it already. I’m just hoping to stay as close to 10:30 as possible for as long as possible right now. For my half marathon in October, they have a pace cut-off of 14 minutes, and while I know I am still pretty far from that, that’s also still two months away and a lot can happen. I’m trying to keep my distance up, without pushing it too much, so it’ll be easier as I get heavier.

I got new running shoes!! Found the same Saucony Ride6 on Ebay for 46% off the regular price! Score!! (Can you tell it was time to get new shoes??)

I got new running shoes!! Found the same Saucony Ride6 on Ebay for 46% off the regular price! Score!! (Can you tell it was time to get new shoes??)

I’m finishing up the summer league playing on two sand volleyball teams, and after that I think I’ll be done playing until next year. I’m careful not to dive too much for balls (and, if I do, I lead with my leg so I’m not flopping on my stomach), but I’m finding that I’m moving slower than I used to. It’s not fair to my teams to have them cover for me, especially on my exhausted days. Plus, there are too many circumstances that I need to be conscious about. I’m going to miss playing because I’ve had so much fun this summer, but I’ll still be reffing for a couple more months, so at least I’ll be somewhat part of the action.

I’m trying to do better about eating healthier. I figured, while this baby-making stuff has me eating more often than usual, I need to be more attentive to what I’m putting in my body in mass quantities. Granted, there are days I say, “Screw it…I want ice cream” and I get ice cream, but luckily that doesn’t happen everyday, and we don’t keep it in the house.

Healthy meals, healthy snacks, for a healthy baby & momma--I've tried to keep us stocked up on fruits, and making filling meals that are easy to heat up for lunches.

Healthy meals, healthy snacks, for a healthy baby & momma–I’ve tried to keep us stocked up on fruits, and making filling meals that are easy to heat up for lunches.

This blog has always been a work in progress ever since I started it over two years ago. My plans for right now are to try to document life as a 30-something active, extremely busy, woman who just happens to be pregnant. I’m currently at 11 weeks and we’re one week from our second ultrasound. I have a lot of conflicting feelings about things, and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to share them on here. Right now I’m just trying to wrap my head around how much my life is about to change and how much I’ll have to really find myself before I can bring a child into the world.

So, stick with me as I continue this journey!

Racing Medals…Just for Half & Full Marathons?

I remember that first time I received a metal for a half marathon. It was my very first half marathon and I was so emotional as I neared the finish line because I had actually done it. I couldn’t wait to wear that heavy piece of metal around my neck and I didn’t want to take it off–I drove the whole way from Louisville to Lexington still wearing it around me neck.

For some of us, running in half and full marathons is partly for the bling, not to mention the sense of pride in your accomplishment of training. Tell the truth–Have you ever thought twice about entering a half/full marathon when the medal wasn’t what you expected?

ANYWAY, medals are a big deal. I believe they are your trophy of accomplishment. When I got a medal for finishing my first Warrior Dash, I thought, “OK, cool…this was a pretty big deal, even if it was only 4 miles” Same with Extreme Rampage.

But the only races I feel I earned my medals (and got them) were my half marathons.

Until I ran in the Noblesville Mini Marathon series over Memorial Day weekend. There were four races that day–1 mile “fun run”, 5K, 10K, and the half marathon. I chose to run the 10K, and then ran the 5K course to get training miles in for the half marathon I was training for. When I got an email last week saying my medal from the Noblesville Mini was ready for pick-up (they had run out of medals that day), I was confused, because I hadn’t run in the half marathon. So I replied that I ran in the 10K and she commented that I still received a medal for the 10K, and it’d be in the mail.

Well, I received the medal on Friday. It’s a beautiful medal, surprisingly for a first-time race. But I have mixed feelings about it.

 

The Noblesville Mini Marathon for the half marathon, 10K, and 5K

The Noblesville Mini Marathon for the half marathon, 10K, and 5K

Sure enough, if you finished the 5K or 10K, you received the same medal the half marathoners earned.

Now I know there are quite a few races that are starting to do that because they know that draws in the entries. And maybe for some runners who may never be able to run a half or full marathon, for whatever reason, that’s a pretty big deal to them. But to me, it feels like a medal is a right of passage, that you’ve spent 3-4-5 months training for that one day, to push your body passed the point of exhaustion and pain for a few miles of triumph and a lifetime of memories.

I will forever love these three half marathon medals I've earned (and hopefully earn a few more along the way).

I will forever love these three half marathon medals I’ve earned (and hopefully earn a few more along the way).

I ran in a few 5Ks before I attempted my first half marathon. To me, my badge of honor was my race t-shirt. I didn’t expect a medal–I looked up to those runners who had medals hanging on their walls because I knew the dedication they had to train for that wearable piece of art.

Is it because of the growing mentality in our country that everyone deserves an award? Nowadays it seems like every kid gets a trophy for participating in a sport, whether they won a single game or not. Growing up I showed horses, and we maybe would get participation ribbons in Mini 4-H, but we still earned placements of first, second, third, fourth, etc. I knew the importance of working hard and practicing my craft/sport because I wanted to win, I wanted to be recognized. Had I gotten trophies for every class I showed just because I walked through the entry gate, would I have worked as hard? Maybe not. So is that what we’re teaching our children now? Don’t worry about practice and hard work, we’ll reward you anyway?

I grew up understanding that if I worked hard and practiced, I would hopefully be rewarded. It wasn't expected, but I still tried. If I hadn't, would I have been awarded this World Championship belt buckle 10 years ago? Who knows...

I grew up understanding that if I worked hard and practiced, I would hopefully be rewarded. It wasn’t expected, but I still tried. If I hadn’t, would I have been awarded this World Championship belt buckle 10 years ago? Who knows…

I know I just went totally out of left field comparing running medals to children in sports, etc., but I think it’s all connected. And I really want to know what you think.

Your turn: Is it OK to have medals for races less than half and full marathons? How do you feel about the reward for just participation? 

Runner who CrossFits, or CrossFitter who Runs?

A year ago, I would have answered this question easily: I’m a runner who does CrossFit for my cross training. I started doing CrossFit in April 2013 as a means of cross-training to overcome my injuries from training for a half marathon. I knew I needed to do more cross-training than running to prevent the repetitive use injuries, and I was always intrigued by CrossFit thanks to reading Lindsay and Tina’s blogs.

A year later and I have more miles under my wrist wraps than I have in my running shoes I think.

I basically stopped running last summer, but the urge to race never died. I got back into running in the early Fall and hit the Race for the Cue for my big 5K personal record.

But now I’m trying to get back to running, but I still want to stay active in my CrossFit box. I know there are CrossFitters who still run half, and full, marathons–they’re just diligent about their nutrition, rest days, and athletic scheduling. So I need to be the same.

For right now I’m sticking with hitting Man O’War CrossFit four times a week, making Friday a complete rest day (minus a long dog walk for the pups). Tuesday evenings, when I can, I’m going to continue running with the West 6th Brewing Running Club (3-4 miles), and then Saturday mornings I’ll get in my long training runs with the Striders. Sundays will be recovery days.

I have been really lax on my nutrition lately, which is frustrating and unfortunate. Because of that, I’ve gained five pounds in the last couple of months, so I’d really like to get back down to my manageable weight. I know they say you don’t go through half marathon training to lost weight, but I would have to beg to differ because I know that if I weigh less, that’s less stress on my joints/knees when I’m pounding the pavement.

Your turn: Are you a CrossFitter who runs? Or a runner who CrossFits? If you have any advice, or nutritional programs you like to follow, I’m all ears!

CrossFit 14.4 & a 6 Mile Run

This weekend was supposed to be about getting everything done that I needed to get done before I leave for Pennsylvania for the 2014 American Kennel Club (AKC) National Agility Championships. You might remember me going to Tulsa last year with Dally, and this year we’re lucky to get to experience Pennsylvania in March…ugh. Looking at the 10-day forecast I’m not so excited. But, I’m trying to look at the positive! 🙂

Friday I tackled 14.4 at Man O’War CrossFit. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the 50 toes to bar–I do well to squeeze out one real toes to bar. I really wished it went 50 wall balls–I can sail through those! Anyway, here’s the WOD:

CrossFit Open 14.4

14 minute AMRAP
60 calorie row
50 toes to bar
40 wall balls (20/14)
30 cleans (135/95)
20 muscle-ups

I outfitted myself with some hand guards made by Taylor for the toes to bar. It was my first time wearing such things, and I kind-of liked them! But I definitely need to practice making them myself…Taylor wasn’t impressed with my attempt (I wish I could have taken a photo). I did kipping knees to elbow instead of the toes to bar and zoomed through the wall balls. Half-way through the cleans I realized I hadn’t changed my weight from the warm-up 65 (we did a mini WOD to warm up) to the need 95. Whomp whomp. Udder FAIL. I just continued through the WOD, pushing myself harder. I got through the cleans, then started on my (red) banded ring dips, another modification. I finished the WOD in the 14 minutes allotted.

Then Saturday morning I hit the pavement for 6 miles around the neighborhood. I’m trying to keep a routine of long(er) runs on the weekends until I really start upping my training for a half marathon in June. I had 6 miles on the docket, and none of my friends were around, so I turned on the tunes on my phone and belted out 6.3 miles in 1:00:54:

Mile 1 – 9:17
Mile 2 – 9:15
Mile 3 – 9:40
Mile 4 – 9:34
Mile 5 – 10:08
Mile 6 – 9:47
0.3 nubbin – 9:03
9:35 avg/mi

I did walk a little twice, but I definitely need to work on my pacing more and keeping things consistent. I felt great during my run. It was lower 50s and perfect weather.

I followed up the run with a 2-mile dog walk, which included a friend’s two dogs that I was dog sitting–let me tell you, the looks I got from people in my neighborhood when they saw me walking four dogs… LOL

4 dogs? No problem!

4 dogs? No problem!

I ended the weekend grilling some chicken breasts for M to have for dinner while I’m away in Pennsylvania, making chocolate chip cookies for the trip, and cheering on the guys at MOWCF for 14.4. One of our guys, Jon, made it through 8 muscle-ups (8!!). Rough WOD!

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Your turn: How was your weekend?

We All Have Rough Runs, Right?

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that I’m not doing as much running as I used to. I’ve been trying to do more cross training and less running in hopes of preventing the usual overuse injuries I suffered the past two years when I was training for half marathons.

And while I’m not specifically training for a half marathon right now (though I need to start figuring out my training schedule), I have been running long runs with a couple of friends who are training for half marathons later this month. I gradually built up my mileage on the weekend runs, starting at 4, then 5, 7, 8, 6, … and every run has felt great the whole time. There were some tough moments, but I was able to push through them and not stop running.

That is until my run this past weekend. Normally we do our training runs early in the morning, but Kaitlin had to work until 3, so my schedule was flip flopped. I was able to wake up whenever (but I still woke up at 7), eat a leisurely breakfast, and do some laundry. I had training for agility with my dogs plus a couple others, so I packed up the dogs, their equipment, and my running stuff and headed for 2.5 hours of training. Then I loaded them back up in the truck and we headed to the Legacy Trail to meet Joy and Kaitlin for our run. I changed shoes in the truck, made sure the pups were comfy (windows  open, water bowl) and we hit the trail.

I already knew my legs were going to be tired–dog agility is a lot of sprinting, stopping, turning, and while it only lasts 40-60 seconds, it’s intense. I warned the girls I was only going to do 6 miles to their 8, which was fine with me and with them.

Unfortunately Kaitlin learned quickly you can’t train for a half marathon hungover…whomp whomp. Her run wasn’t going well, but we encouraged her through it. After I hit 30 minutes, I turned back and cheered the girls on to finish their run. I had hoped that I would do negative splits for the last half of my run, but my legs had other thoughts. My hips started tightening up and my old friend the IT band started to flare up. (I had bad IT band problems when I was training for my first half in 2012, but I was able to rectify that last year.) I was forced to walk a little bit every mile, nothing that I was proud of.

I wasn’t even this sore during our 8-mile run a couple of weeks ago. But I pushed through, especially when I knew I had just one mile left. And when I made it back to the truck, I stretched, got the dogs out, and walked them for two miles while I waited for Joy and Kaitlin to return from their run. The walk helped loosen up my hips some, but I was already starting to get stiff.

The pups didn't mind the extra exercise. In fact they loved the new surroundings of the Legacy Trail.

The pups didn’t mind the extra exercise. In fact they loved the new surroundings of the Legacy Trail.

This is when I realized I had done too much. I would hope that had we switched the order of the day, my run would have been better. Running mid-afternoon meant my nutrition was off (I was starving by the time we ran, but hadn’t eaten much because I was afraid of an upset stomach) and I had already tired my legs with the pounding during agility. I’m usually a little more aware of my energy levels when we train agility.

We all have rough runs… We all have to know our limits… If I want to stay injury-free, I have to remember that I don’t need to push myself. We don’t always have to set PRs, but just to finish the run is the accomplishment.

So here’s to better runs. Some foam rolling, stretching, and rest has remedied my IT band, but I know it won’t take much to get it to rear its ugly head again.

Here’s to better runs!

Your turn: Have you had one of those “gut-check” runs that reminded you of your limits? How did you deal with that mentally?

Tapering Week Randomness

This week has just felt so unorganized, random, and unsettling for me. I hate taper weeks! You work so hard, trying to increase your mileage and your speed, push yourself to the limits, and train hard for months for your half marathon/marathon, then you’re expected to take a week off to allow your muscles to relax, restore, and be ready for the big race. But yet your mind is still reeling and thinking.

Less than 48 hours until I conquer this race!

Less than 48 hours until I conquer this race!

I ran 8 miles on Saturday and then 3.5 Monday after work. Since then, I haven’t done much. I did a Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD Tuesday morning, then did some heavy lifting after work (mostly my upper body, but I threw some squats in there). Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings have been long walks in the park with the dogs to stretch their and my legs. I’ve been itching to run, but worried that I want to have my legs for the massive hills I’ll be running on Saturday. Plus, I’ve been wanting to rest my knee. This am I did another yoga DVD to stretch my body and hopefully ease my mind.

But then I see tweets from people running in the same half marathon I am doing that are still running 3-5 miles this am, just two days before the race. I think to myself “Am I going to be prepared for this? Is resting up the way to go, or should I have pushed for a few miles last night?” You seriously can drive yourself mad doubting your actions during a taper week!

After work last night I was about to set out to the gym for some time on the elliptical and more upper body weights when suddenly I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s weird for me to just not feel like going to the gym at all, especially in the middle of the week, but I figured it was a sign and listened to my body. I drove straight home and M and I took the dogs out for a 2.25 mile walk instead. Then I cleaned the house to keep myself busy and my body moving.

I have a packed evening schedule today, but I’m suddenly wanting to get in at least 15 minutes on the elliptical to stretch the legs and get the blood flowing. I just gotta try to not push myself too much.

And now for the randomness…

There have been a few blog posts that have really stuck with me this week that I want to share.

Matters of Course (RunningHutch) – Tiffany put together a great blog about runners who CrossFit (or CrossFitters who run). It was fun to read the different views of people who “do it all” in fitness because I’d like to still try my hand at CrossFit, but I was worried it’d affect my running training.

Piloting Paper Airplanes – This post was something I needed after having some confidence issues this week. What Makes Me Powerful made me really think about what makes me feel powerful in my life. You know everyone has their lackluster moments, but it’s always good to read that there are others who have those moments (even the people who appear to have it all together) and how they handle those moments. I hope to do a post like this soon.

The Lean Green Bean – Finally, Lindsay has perfect timing when it comes to some of the things she puts together on her blog. She posted a follow up blog post on Things Blogging Has Taught Me today, and I really needed that. I’ve been inspired with my recent Sweat Pink Ambassadorship to do more with my blog, but I don’t really know how to get the ball rolling. There is a big world of potential when it comes to blogging and you have to really dig deep and be persistent to grow your own brand. I get inspiration from bloggers like Lindsay, Anne, Clare, and Tina, and I want to do more awesome things like them everyday.

Time to get my mind straight and focus. I’m hoping the rest of the week flies by.

A Weekend Full of Running

I know it’s Wednesday, but I’ve been meaning to post a quick weekend wrap-up!

Over the weekend I was back up in Ohio for another dog agility trial. I know, I know, I had just returned from Oklahoma from Nationals, but this was a fun trial and I was surprised I got in, so I went ahead and took the dogs to have a little fun. Because it was also the last weekend before my half marathon, I knew I needed to try to get some sort of long training run in. (I didn’t run at all while at Nationals because my hotel ended up not having a workout room–fail.)

So after doing four runs with the dogs (two each, which is mainly a lot of sprinting, turning, etc., for about 40-60 seconds a piece), I gave them some extra water and told my friends I was heading to a local park to get a long run in. They were going to stay behind and watch more of the competition and would keep an eye on the girls for me.

Now I love this park! I have to say that Ohio takes great pride in their parks, and this one is no exception. Every time we’re at this particular trial site, we always take the dogs for walks in Sharon Woods Park. There are plenty of trails, plus a beautiful creek that comes off the lake. The dogs can swim in the creek during the hot days and enjoy hiking on the trails to unwind after a competition.

This place is so beautiful, every time we're here there are professional photos (wedding, engagement, senior, family, etc.) being taken all over the place. How can you not enjoy a run here??

This place is so beautiful, every time we’re here there are professional photos (wedding, engagement, senior, family, etc.) being taken all over the place. How can you not enjoy a run here??

But I had never gone for a run there until Saturday. I parked in our usual area, warmed up a little and then took off. My goal was to get in at least six miles, but I wanted to try to go for more. I started on a steep uphill climb on a gravel trail (that’s one way to knock you back into running reality) that we usually just walk the dogs on. That was tough! The sun was out and it was a little chilly, but after only a half-mile I had shed my pullover and was in short sleeves for the rest of the run.

I then got onto a paved trail with varying inclines. I ran along Sharon Lake and under highway overpasses, but it was still pretty peaceful. (I didn’t have my headphones with me, but I didn’t really need them.) There were plenty of other people out enjoying the rare sunshine, probably trying to get some exercise in before the snow that was supposed to hit Sunday.

I ended up going about three miles when I decided to turn around and go back the way I came. There was more after where I stopped, but I wasn’t sure how much longer it would take me to make it all the way around the park and I didn’t want to leave the dogs at the trial site too long.

I then found myself on this Parcourse Trail, which had stations where you could stop and do different activities like log hops, squats, balance beam, etc. It seemed like something fun you could do to mix up your run, but I just wanted to push on and just run. My Garmin beeped 7 miles and I was still feeling great, so I pushed for 7.5….which then turned into pushing for 8. I wound up at the parking lot where I left the car, so I decided it was probably best to leave the run at 8 miles. I hadn’t brought my foam roller with me and I needed to be able to run the dogs tomorrow morning as well. Plus, I didn’t want to push too hard with the half marathon just a week away.

I was proud of my last long run. I was amazed at how easy the 8 miles felt and how I was finally one of those runners who was just running to run and not just run a couple miles, but running 8 miles!

Here were my splits:
Mile 1 – 9:36
Mile 2 – 9:01
Mile 3 – 8:58
Mile 4 – 8:47 (umm, who am I??)
Mile 5 – 9:17 (I think this is when I realized how fast I was going and toned it down a little)
Mile 6 – 9:31
Mile 7 – 9:07
Mile 8 – 9:20
Total – 8 .01 miles in 01:13:45 (about a 9:17 average pace)

After stretching I headed back to the agility trial to pick up the girls and then I met my friends back at the park to take them for a walk. We ended up covering about 2.25 miles on our walk, so overall I did more than 10 miles on Saturday (not including the courses I ran with the dogs in the trial). My legs were a little tired, but not too bad. Nothing a cold beer at dinner couldn’t cure! 😉

The "Stump Kids" (as I call my pups) always love getting in the creek to get a quick drink and cool their bellies. (Dally, the Corgi, like to swim, LaMesa not so much.)

The “Stump Kids” (as I call my pups) always love getting in the creek to get a quick drink and cool their bellies. (Dally, the Corgi, like to swim, LaMesa not so much.)

I really enjoyed my Saturday doing that. I think I might have to run around that park more often when I’m in town. At agility trials we tend to eat a fast food breakfast (Egg McMuffin for me) and then snack until we have dinner. You end up feeling like poo at the end of the weekend, but this run refreshed me!

Have you tried to combine two activities like an agility trial and long training run like I have?