Scenes from the Weekend

Hello and happy Monday! I hope you had a good weekend. I know I had a good weekend, so I thought I’d share some of it in photos.

Saturday kicked off with an early morning WOD at Man O’War CrossFit, followed by a chiropractor appointment for Dally (good news: her swollen disc has healed!), agility work session with LaMesa, volunteering at the Friends of the Dog Park Doggie Paddle, and then hitting the Kentucky State BBQ Festival for dinner with the hubs.

Sunday was much more relaxed, with me attempting a new pancake recipe (corn muffin pancakes with blueberries–rather dry, will have to see about improving them) and a trip to the gym to support the hubs (it was supposed to be my rest day, so I just did a light 15 minute session on the elliptical and then spent 30 minutes stretching out all the tight spots). We cheered the Indianapolis Colts to a victory (which makes up for my Notre Dame Irish and Texas Longhorns losing Saturday) and then relaxed the rest of the day.

20130908-210418.jpg

Friday & Saturday’s WODs: Rough! I’m getting better at my Toes to Bar, though–more like Knees to Armpits now. I finished Saturday’s WOD in around 10 minutes.

20130908-210436.jpg

I love training agility here–my friend Sandra built this barn with astroturf, Big Ass Fans, and brand new equipment a few years ago. So lucky.

20130908-210454.jpg

I went outside the box at the Kentucky BBQ Festival Saturday. Dinner was the “BBQ Sundae” at Fireside BBQ: Bourbon Baked Beans, Key Lime Cole Slaw, and Pulled Pork layered on top. Desert was salted caramel gelato (with caramel truffles) in a waffle cone shared with the hubby, and a couple of cupcakes (Elvis Preseley–banana cake w/peanut butter inside, chocolate icing on top & PB&J–yellow cake w/jelly inside, peanut butter icing on top w/jelly in the middle, split with the hubby)

20130908-210507.jpg

Even Dally was taking “relaxing Sunday mornings” seriously.

How was your weekend?

Have you ever tried anything that look gross, but turned out delicious? The BBQ sundae was that for me–doesn’t look pretty, but it was sooo good!

Advertisements

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?

Running Groups — More Motivation than You Thought You Needed

Last year, when I was training for my first half marathon, I did it almost essentially on my own. My shorter, morning runs were with a couple of friends on the treadmill, but for the most part my longer runs were alone (some times a friend would join me for a small chunk of the course). It was so hard to get motivated to wake up early and get outside and train, no matter the weather. I remember my last long run–the weather was chilly and rainy and I  was thinking of pushing the the run back (I didn’t have anyone to run with, so there was no one to worry about disappointing). But I got through it. It was excruciating  It was demotivating. It wasn’t fun.

So this winter, while I was contemplating running half marathons, I started thinking about joining a running group. I was a member of one on Facebook, but I hadn’t met up with them. Then another local running group tweeted their run was going to be over part of the course from another half marathon in the area and I jumped aboard. (Another downfall to running by yourself is not being able to branch out to try new running routes because you don’t know the area that well and are afraid to go to the unknown by yourself.)

I loved it! I might not have ran with someone by my side at all times, but to see other people along the course (either behind or ahead) and knowing there would be someone to cheer you on as you pass them, made me feel awesome. Now I cannot wait until the group run locations are posted for the coming Saturday run, where someone will coordinate the location and then have everyone post how many miles they’re going and their pace.

Because of these two running groups (shout out LexRunLadies and John’s Striders), I feel stronger and more confident in my runs. I’ve explored parts of Lexington and Midway that I never would have before, and I’ve loved every minute. I’ve been inspired by running with a 60-year-old marathoner, or a mother of a college-aged daughter who looks younger than me, and those who are even just running a few miles compared to my double digit runs.

The LexRunLadies group preparing for a run in Midway (my first group run).

The LexRunLadies group preparing for a run in Midway (my first group run).

The past few Saturday mornings, I haven’t wanted to wake up at 5 to get my runs in, but I did because I know I posted on the wall that I’d be there and how many miles I needed to get in–I’m afraid to let anyone down, even if they don’t know me very well yet. I know we’re all “suffering” together waking up early on a supposed “day off” and sweating through our layers of clothes, even though it’s barely 20* out and snowing.

I do enjoy my (shorter) runs alone, especially on beautiful afternoons after work, when I need to clear my head or just want to run without worrying about someone keeping up with me. But it’s good to know I have a support system of runners who knows exactly what it’ll take to achieve the goals I’m pursuing.

Do you run alone, or with a running group?

Hills, Hills, Everywhere There are Hills!

It’s only 11 am and I’m exhausted! This morning I tackled 11 very hilly miles around some of the prettiest running scenery you’ll ever experience.

The organizer of the Run the Bluegrass, the half marathon I’ll be running in at the end of March, has organized some training runs over the course with 4, 7, and 13.1 mile options. It’s a great way to learn what you’re going to find for the race. And let me tell you, if you think you train on hills, you haven’t until you run this course! As you’re going up one hill, you think you’ve reached the top, but you find another incline with a curve. It was tough. I was wanting to do 11 or 12…hoping for 12, but when we got to about 10 I could feel my calves burning and my left hip flexor hurting and I knew I shouldn’t push myself past 11 and save 12 for next week. I ran the 7-mile loop, then turned around and did the 4-mile loop.

Mile 1 – 9:55
Mile 2 – 10:14
Mile 3 – 10:13
Mile 4 – 10:04
Mile 5 – 10:03
Mile 6 – 10:10
Mile 7 – 10:24
Mile 8 – 10:31
Mile 9 – 10:25
Mile 10 – 10:12
Mile 11 – 9:51
Total: 11 miles in 1:52:08

Miles 7-9 were all uphill! Crazy! But yet, when you’re running next to Thoroughbred horse farms and rolling hills with foals and horses sprinting next to you, you can’t help but push through the run and enjoy everything about it.

One of the best parts was having fresh donuts waiting for us at the parking lot. The race organizer got with a new, local bakery and they provided donuts for all the runners this morning–you can’t beat that! I’ve learned runners will basically run for anything–beer, donuts, Starbucks. If it’s food and/or drink related, we’ll do it!

11 miles = No Guilt Donuts

11 miles = No Guilt Donuts

The rest of the day my legs will be rocking compression socks for recovery, that’s for sure! I’ll be doing some agility training with the dogs (have to get it in today before the rain tomorrow) this afternoon, then tonight M and I are going to celebrate his new job!

Happy Saturday!

8 Miles that Turned into 20!?

Saturday dawned with a lot on my plate. I woke up early, dressed in my winter running pants, short sleeve tech shirt, zip pullover and fleece, and headed out to meet with the LexRunLadies at yet another new running spot. My plan was to run 8 miles, and the leader of our run said it’d be easy with a down-and-back course.

This time I was smart and took my fleece off before we started running–it was 34, and I knew I’d warm up within the first mile. Great thinking, because I later even took my pullover off after the half-way mark and ran in my short-sleeved shirt (thank you, sun!).

The run itself was very nice–we ran along part of a road that then turned into a running trail along some horse farms (this is horse country, after all, so most of my runs are along horse farms–I won’t complain!). We crossed one major road, but it wasn’t too bad because it was pretty safe. I was able to run with two other ladies who were at my pace, which was great! It was a lot of fun to be able to chat with someone throughout the entire run–it made it go by so quickly!

Only one time did I stop to walk, and that was when Jill and I took off our extra layer when we were about 3/4 of the way back. We knew where the 2 mile mark was and we were completely surprised at how quickly we were already done with 6 miles. At this point, I should have checked my GPS on my phone, but I didn’t. (Once again, I forgot to charge my Garmin, so I was just using my RunKeeper on my phone.)

It was fun talking with Jill because she had finished an IronMan, so she was telling me about training and her and her husband’s experiences with the races. She’s training for the Run the Bluegrass too, so we talked about future training runs, etc. When we finished our run, she pushed me to run two short cool down laps around the parking lot and then walking–which I needed. Usually I’ll walk to cool down, but I really need to think about making myself run a little longer to cool down after my runs, no matter how tired I am. (I totally forgot to take any photos from our run! The weather was perfect with sun and clear skies and a bit of a stiff wind at various points.)

RunKeeper

RunKeeper

So why does my title say 20 miles when I said I was running 8? Because, according to RunKeeper, we ran 20 miles in 01:15:08. That’s like a 4:30 mile! Crazy, huh?? I don’t know why it messed up so badly like that, but it frustrates me because I couldn’t see my splits and accurately record my miles and pace to go with my training. Has anyone else had any problems with RunKeeper?

So, we believe we ran the 8 miles in 01:15:08 (rough estimate, since I don’t recall the total time, and we weren’t sure exactly what time we started our run). Not bad. I felt great! I came home, quickly foam rolled and stretched a little more (I had stretched in the parking lot before I got in the car), showered, and then I was off to meet with a couple of friends for a presentation.

That afternoon I went to work the dogs in agility at an indoor facility (I was totally rocking my ProCompression socks all day after my run to help my legs recover). I was hoping to be able to rest more after my run, but the only time to work the dogs was Saturday afternoon. I did my best to not push myself too much, and I think it worked.

Then it was time for a date night with the hubby–using up wedding gift cards for dinner and then we saw “Broken City” at the theater with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe–definitely recommend it.

How was your weekend?