Category Archives: Weekly Running Recap

Up the (fake) creek

So the rowing machine at my gym is a piece of shit.

That’s not a commentary on the facility’s condition generally. I go to an L.A. Fitness that is pristine by big-box gym standards: it’s bright and clean with new equipment that is always in working order. The clientele consists of midtown professionals and polished residents of the surrounding gayborhood. The drinking fountains dispense ice-cold water. Really, who needs more than that from their gym?

I rarely find reason to complain, but today…well, there’s only one rowing machine in the building. And today, when I strapped my toes in and gave a tentative tug on the wooden handlebar, the screen spit out a mess of random pixels. Cue me trying to explain this to a front-desk gym person who was probably hungover from last night too, and didn’t really care about my cardio issues.

Anyway. In general, I’ve been digging the rowing machine as a quick-and-dirty cross-training device during this training cycle. Honestly, I’ve never been big on XT. Usually, it either:

(a) Takes too long. As in: cycling. I’m sure there are varying opinions on how cycling miles translate to running miles for comparative purposes, but going with what my college coach used (4 cycling = 1 running), I’d need to pedal for at least an hour in order to have a meaningful workout. Plus, I might hit a patch of gravel and fall over or get a flat tire or get hit by a car and die. Too much risk for not enough reward. I’d rather just run.

(b) Requires a whole mess of logistical effort. As in: swimming.  I don’t hate the act of swimming itself, but good lord, I have to practically pack an overnight bag in order to make it happen: goggles, cap, shampoo, conditioner, hefty moisturizing lotion to placate my dry skin, makeup bag with under eye concealer to patch up the mess left by the goggles. Ugh. I prefer a workout where I can take a 30-second rinse and blow-dry the sweat out of my roots, thanks. I’d rather just run.

(c) Is similar enough to running that I feel like I’m not really giving my legs a break from running. I’m looking at you, Elliptical. You’re just contrived, lower-impact running. Unless I am injured and looking for a gentler running substitute, I see no point. Assuming I’m healthy and just looking to give my legs a break, I’d rather do something that gets my heart rate up in a totally different way. If not…I’d rather just run.

So that’s how my butt landed on the padded saddle of my gym’s (busted, as of today) rower. Oh okay, I’ll admit: I was nudged by the devotion of Crossfit and similar style workouts to this machine. Obviously I’m not a Crossfitter (although I remain simultaneously humbled and skeptical, a la this post) but I’ll admit that CF workouts seem to be, if nothing else, highly efficient. And that is what I value in my cross-training.

Anyway. When I use the rower, I typically crank the resistance almost all the way up, and pull hard on that thing for like 20-25 minutes, which is usually about 3K. At that, I feel like I’ve gotten a great little burst of cardio and am all-over warmed up for my strength workout.

Of course, I could have just dealt with a wonky screen today. I could have set my phone’s timer for 20 minutes and pulled hard for that time, in spite of the lack of feedback on my strokes per minute (heh) and average stroke length (double heh) and all of that garbage that is just computer generated anyway because it’s not like this machine is on an actual river, right? It would be like running on a treadmill without knowing MPH. Or pushing up on a random loaded bar without knowing how much you were benching.

Um yeah, not appealing. One thing I like about gym workouts is having that feedback and information. If I wanted to exercise without parameters, I’d go for an easy run sans watch. Which I do fairly often. Because it’s fun.

So I headed to the treadmill (which I hated doing, because if I’d planned on running, I could have run outside) and knocked out two fast miles: the first at 7:45 and the second at 7:10. Efficiency on the brain, I guess.

Then I did an upper body weight circuit:

  • Bench press: 3 X 12 @ 75 lbs
  • Low row: 3 X 12 @ 75 lbs
  • Bicep curls: 2 X 15 @ 15 lbs, 1 X 10 @ 20 lb.
  • Shoulder press: 3 X 15 @ 15 lbs
  • Head bangers: 3 X 15 @ 30 lbs
  • Lat raises: 3 X 32 (4-position circuit) @ 5 lbs
  • Lat pull down: 3 X 12 @ 75 lbs
  • Push-up ladder, 10 down to 1, all on toes (yay!)

It was a good session overall, but I was most excited about the last one. This push-up ladder has been an on-and-off part of my routine for years, and being able to easily complete the whole thing without dropping to my knees at the end of a workout has always been something of a personal benchmark…for me, it’s like running a 6:00 mile. It means that I might not be in the best shape ever, but I’ve got something going.

(And believe me: I am not in the best shape ever at the moment. I’ve definitely put on a layer of fat since my boot-camp shape-up this summer. It comes and it goes, I guess. I’m okay with it.)

On that note, since this post lacks pictures, I’ll leave you with a glimpse of our first day of 2013.

cat_pajamas

 

This is appropriate attire for making a stay-the-hell-in-your-car beeline to the McDonald’s Drive-Thru. (Chicken McNuggets. With Sweet Chili Sauce. McAwesome. McAlways.)

Is the fast-food drive-thru attendant judging you? Yes, of course. Have they seen worse in the last twelve hours? Absolutely.

As for 2013 goals, I don’t really have any that I’m ready to share, but I’ll say this: I am absolutely looking forward to the first new year in several years where moving to a different state isn’t on the table. Staying put is a huge relief.

Seventeen to go

Week One of Boston training is finished and I got through it with no ill will toward Sir Pfitzinger. Although with weeks Two though Eighteen still in front of me, I’m sure that will change.

I stayed 100% faithful to the plan with the exception of swapping Saturday and Sunday (assigned recovery run and long run, respectively) to accommodate meeting my normal running group on their long run day.

This was probably the most disciplined week of training I’ve undertaken since college. Here’s how it went down.*

Monday: XT and weights. 15 min on the rowing machine and 45 min of upper-body-focused lifting.

Tuesday: 8 miles Lactate Threshold with 4 miles @ 15K/Half Marathon pace. Looped around Piedmont Park to avoid traffic lights; finished in 1:05:24 overall with 4M tempo portion in 29:40. Wasn’t sure what pace to target; this felt challenging but manageable.

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: 9 miles General Aerobic. Nice and chill, did this one at lunchtime and enjoyed the sunny 60-degree weather! Finished in 1:19 (8:47 pace).

Friday: Weights. An hour of of heavy lower-body lifting: weighted lunges (45 lbs), hack squat (50 lbs), leg press (180 lbs), dumbbell hamstring curl (30 lbs), prone hamstring curl (70 lbs). 12-15 reps.

Saturday: 12 miles Medium-Long. Met up with my group and did our usual 10-mile loop. Finished that in 1:25 exactly. Tacked on an extra two miles solo afterward and ended at 1:42. 8:30 pace for the run which I was pretty happy with considering that I accidentally consumed an entire bottle of Pinot Noir the night before (ahem.)

Sunday: 4 miles Recovery. Easy run around GA Tech campus in 37:00, 9:15 pace. Am trying to purposefully keep recovery runs very mellow because that’s what this book says to do.

Total for week: 33 miles.

In other happenings:

Saw the Hobbit movie today. For fucking real, I did not realize they were going to squeeze three movies out of this thing. Halfway through, I was sitting there wondering why on earth things were moving so slowly. I get that some of the content comes from Tolkein’s appendices or whatever, but seriously…I don’t think making nine hours of Hobbit film does any service to the literature. And generally, I really don’t like this trend of splitting books in to multi-part movies.

(Looking at you, Twilight Part Eleventy. Can’t wait for, like, Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 6, in which we extend battle scenes to such ridiculous lengths that we forget what the fight is about and burn minutes by watching various characters stare at each other balefully. Not that they’re planning on doing that – I have no idea – but I wouldn’t put it past them.)

My Christmas Shopping. It’s in a disastrous state. There are so many things that need to be shipped off, like, tomorrow. Things that I haven’t purchased (or even necessarily identified) yet. I have no excuse for this because it’s not like I haven’t had time to do it. Apparently I just enjoy procrastinating.

But the stockings have been hung with care! I have no idea what will be put in these (nothing, probably…see above) but they are darn cute.

(Yes, our walls scream: Colonel Mustard did in in the Living Room with a tacky can of poo-colored paint! This color came with the house. And custom window treatments to match it, so it’s not changing any time soon.)

And I’m almost done with cards! I can’t even remember the last time I sent out holiday cards. Many years ago, when the concept of being an adult was still an exciting novelty.

But there are a number of people (mostly, my entire family) that we won’t be seeing in person this year, so I ordered ridiculous custom cards (complete with photos of our cats in festive attire…do not judge me), collected addresses, and got to it.

Because I had a moment of panic at the VistaPrint checkout and ordered approximately four times as many cards as I needed to, I’ll have a number of these gems leftover, so if you want one, feel free to email me your address.

Finally, about that bottle of Pinot Noir. I’ve recently rekindled my relationship with red wine. Even though it’s not particularly chilly here, it just seems right these days.

I picked up this the path 2011 Pinot Noir last week on the afternoon of an impromptu dinner party. I was serving lamb and didn’t have time to do much in the way of wine selection beyond flagging down the guy in the Whole Foods wine section, gesturing at the contents of my cart, and begging for HELP PLZ.

It worked out well, especially since there was an extra bottle left over all for me.

With lots of ripe plum and a hint of black pepper, this bottle was nothing but enjoyable. The winemaker (Don Sebastiani and Sons) is probably most known as the operation behind supermarket labels Smoking Loon and Pepperwood Grove (both of which, if my memory serves me, are okay for the price point) but at just $12, this bottle seemed to be a cut above those in terms of value.

Bottom Line: Yes, I’d absolutely buy this again. Maybe not to drink the night before a long run, though. (Purchased at Whole Foods, $12.)

Time to address a few more cards before hitting the sack. Hope you all had a great weekend!

*Two things here:

1. I want to document my weekly Pfitz 55 adventures because (a) personally, it’s beneficial for me to sit down at the end of the week and reflect, and (b) it seems like some people are genuinely interested in reading about it. In the past I’ve done chart-like thingies but I’ll admit I’m a little turned off from formats like  that because so many people are using it to whore for Pinterest now. And I’m not really in to updating my RunningAhead log these days. So for this Boston training cycle, I might just write a weekly day-by-day narrative, unless y’all have other suggestions.

2. I realize it’s controversial to write out a training plan’s workouts on the internets, where someone could theoretically piece it together for free rather than buying the book. This particular plan is sooooo already out there online that I’m not going to worry about it. But if you’re thinking of following this plan, I’d definitely suggest you buy the book, as there’s a lot of background and other info that’s very helpful.

This is not going as planned

When August turned to September, I was all set to increase my mileage. November Half Marathon! 40 and 50 mile weeks! OMG!

That hasn’t happened.

I seem to be stuck at 20-something miles a week. Sure, there are reasons: busy weekends, a streak of poor sleep, those pesky “funjuries.”  But at the end of the day, if I wanted to run more, I would have. Because even with those minor setbacks, I certainly could have.

Here was two weeks ago (which I never posted because look how much it, with the exception of that track workout, sucks):

Partying it up at a music festival was more fun than going running.

Last week:

After five days off, my shins were feeling better (no more pain walking around) so I tried an easy run. That went well, so I jumped into a 10-miler with my running group on Saturday. Although it was sucky to get out of bed in the dark (and I almost bailed), I was so glad I went.

Looking back, it wasn’t like it was a horrible week of working out. It’s not like I spent the week on the couch or something. I just have a hard time getting over the fact that I only ran 21 miles.

For the last few years, my “low” weeks have generally been around 40 – not 20 – miles. After my last marathon last April, I deliberately decreased my running for a few months. 20 miles a week (along with lots of cross training and strength training) became the new normal, which was fine.

But I assumed it would feel easy and natural to bring the mileage back up once fall hit. For whatever reason, it hasn’t.

I’m not really worried about my short term plans. The Atlanta Half Marathon is still 8 weeks away, and although I want to run hard, I’ve never had my sights on a PR there. The course is hilly and, realistically, I’m NOT going to be drinking wine while prepping Thanksgiving goodies the night before? Unlikely. I’m running it because it’s supposed to be a fun race and to give myself something to focus on this fall.

And also to motivate myself to build up my base so I’m in a good spot going in to spring marathon training.

THAT is what I’m more worried about with this whole, “Oh, I’m running 25 miles a week but I feel like I’m in good shape and it’s fiiiiiiiiiine….” attitude.

An attitude adjustment will be needed. At some point. I’m not going to force it quite yet though. I’m still hoping it will happen on its own, especially as it starts to actually feel like fall. (We are still having highs in the 80s down here.)

Blah. Running is hard and all of that.

Anyway, since this post has been nothing but me whining about my lack of motivation, I’ll leave you with a picture of  my newest subcontractor:

Our concrete patching project is currently on hold due to rain. Sub is napping on a fleecy blanket. I hope she doesn’t think she’s getting paid for today.

Weekend at porky’s

I swear, this wasn’t intentional.

Friday night: Pizza from Antico’s (yeah…not on the low-carbage plan) topped with prosciutto and spicy sopressata.

Saturday: Sole food intake: the Atlanta BBQ Festival. All pork, all day.

Sunday morning: Usual weekend breakfast of bacon, eggs, fruit.

Really, I have nothing against pigs that lead me to consume them so enthusiastically over the weekend. It just happened.

Our adventure-walk to Atlanta BBQ Fest started in the early afternoon. The festival was within strolling distance from our house, and as we departed around noon, it seemed like a no-brainer to fix some road sodas for the journey.

But we had slept in, had worked out, had not really had a real breakfast…so I decided to combine the smoothie concept with the daiquiri concept and make us cardboard cups full of blended frozen strawberries and rum.

I will say, in retrospect: that shit kicked my ass.

We got to the BBQ Fest and immediately started in on the dollar samples. The festival is an actual competition, and the competitors offer dixie cups of their entries for a buck a pop. After about fifteen of these, I was ready for a beer. And some ribs.

I’d heard good things about Williamson Brothers, but they’re OTP (outside the perimeter) and we don’t venture there very often. But after this box of deliciousness, I’d be willing to make the trip.

Cole slaw…counts as vegetables? Maybe?

The ribs melted off the bone without being overly fatty, and the flavor was in the meat – not totally dependent on the sauce. Yum.

Baby back rib score: four out of five. Although I had sucked down that ridiculous “daiquiri” and two (three?) beers, so….

…home we walked, and with a belly completely stuffed with roasted pork, I fell asleep. For the night. Literally: I only consumed frozen strawberries, rum, pork and beer that day. Although we resisted this:

Um, WAT….you chase the lemonade with the vodka? That is brilliant.

We went home and passed out. Totally full of slow-cooked pork, there was nothing more that the day could offer us.

Sunday was a little more balanced. It started out with our usual weekend breakfast of eggs, bacon, fruit.

(Still: the pork theme, though….)

And after digesting for a couple of hours, I headed out on a run. It was 1 PM and 85+  degrees. I loosely planned to make it five miles.

But…oddly enough, I felt good. And having missed my usual Saturday long run (because I was really sore from lifting on Thursday and Friday) I decided to go for something a little longer on this Sunday afternoon.

10 miles. Hilly as hell. High eighties, no water, no “fuel.” And although most of the run wasn’t super speedy (around 9:00 pace) I managed to crank out a couple of sub-8 miles at the end, which included some monster hills (um…some of the same hills I’ll face at the Atlanta Half in November).

I know I  should be running more mileage right now. Especially with a goal half in November.

But I’ll take a relaxed 10 on a pork-dominated weekend.

You say Frittata, I say Give Me Two Hours

I’ll admit: my two-person household is not always totally organized when it comes to meal planning. There are a lot of one-off trips to the grocery store to gather ingredients for a particular meal.

The worst is when this happens during weekend breakfast/brunch. Because inevitably, it’s 10 AM and I’m starving.  Maybe I slept in because I stayed up too late the night before, or perhaps I’m exhausted because I’ve already been up and out on a long run, but regardless of the cause, it’s past breakfast time and I am effing HUNGRY.

“Let’s make a frittata,” my husband called to me from the sofa as I stumbled down the stairs at 9:30 this morning. (For the record, I actually wasn’t lushing it up on Saturday night. And 9:30 isn’t that late to sleep in my happy world.)

You…have a frittata recipe,” I challenged, pouring myself a cup of coffee. I thought to myself: what is a frittata, anyway? Frittatas are what I make when I screw up an omelette and try to spin the mangled results as intentional, right?

But he fired back: “Yes, I do.” And with a few taps on his laptop keyboard, he emailed me an Epicurious recipe.

Of course, we had to make a trip to the store for this. We had plenty of eggs – I eat eggs on the daily these days and we buy them in big Costco flats. We also had sweet potatoes, onions, sausage, and bell peppers. But we did not have fresh herbs or cheese…and I was not about to skip out on the cheese. That’s what turns eggs with meat and veggies in to breakfast pizza.

Between the trip to the grocery store and the various chopping and cooking steps that this recipe required, it was almost noon by the time we sat down to eat. But this frittata was so good that it was 100% worth it.

Recipe: Bacon and Potato Frittata via Epicurious. I subbed sausage for bacon and sweet potatoes for potatoes (nuked them in the microwave for a few minutes before chopping them up, because sweet potatoes always seem to take longer to cook than regular potatoes).

Seriously. SO GOOD. After we had stuffed ourselves, I divvied the rest up into breakfast portions for the rest of the week.

…and there’s a meal I don’t have to plan. See? My lack of organization works itself out. This frittata was totally worth a one-off trip to the store.

Although breakfast was served on the late side, it was a productive Sunday afternoon around here. I cleaned out the garage while my husband attacked our weeds with the mower. (I can’t, in good conscience, call our yard a “lawn.” It is weeds. And snakes and mice and spiders. Which is why I don’t like mowing it.)

Once the garage was spotless, I decided to go for an easy 5-mile run to round out the week:

Gotta admit, I don’t feel like I “only” ran 27 miles last week. After a hard leg workout at Boot Camp on Thursday, an intense upper body weight workout on Friday, and a long run (+ a holiday make-up Boot Camp) on Saturday, I was damn tired.

But one of my goals for this fall is to keep up strength work while training for the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving. And I need to remind myself that if I’m doing three 45-minute strength sessions a week, that’s the equivalent, time-wise, of running 15+ additional miles.

Not sure if that’s the right way to look at it, but for me, it seems like a good way to compare my level of fatigue from doing, say,  45 miles a week of running with zero strength training (which is basically what I was doing this past spring, and which lead to me being in crappy shape) to that of my current training.

Anyway. After my run today, I wanted nothing but to sit on the porch and wallow in my sweaty filth for a while, so naturally I cracked a beer:

I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed Brooklyn Lager before. But this beer is actually one of my favorites. I’ll pick up a six-pack if we’re having company and I’m not sure if they’re beer drinkers: it’s easy-pleasing enough to serve an unknown audience but excellent in its own right, so you’ll enjoy it on your own if it doesn’t get consumed.

And sometimes, like when you’re covered in garage scum and sweat from an afternoon run, it’s the perfect thing to drink.

Billed as a “pre-prohibition” style lager, it has an amber, caramel-like color and much more flavor than your typical American lager.  But it’s not particularly dry or hoppy or bitter, and will please the vast majority of beer drinkers in any crowd. In short, it’s a safe yet enjoyable choice.

Bottom line: Yes! It may not be the most exciting beer, but I’d keep a pack of this in my fridge for easy drinking or serving to guests any time. (Purchased at Dekalb Farmers Market, $8/six)

Obviously, I’m much better at stocking my refrigerator with beer than I am with food.

Miles, slobber, beer

Thanks for all of your kind comments on my last post about my disgusting itchy feet. I almost didn’t post pictures because…well, they were disgusting and I realize that no one wants to be cruising through their Google Reader over their morning coffee and come across images of an internet stranger’s welty foot.

But it was too bizarre not to share, so I did.

Still not sure what exactly happened. As a few of you pointed out, it definitely could have been a reaction to poison ivy or poison oak or poison-something-else. That would be weird because we were camping in a sandy field and there weren’t many plants around, but who knows. Shady business, that Indiana.

Anyway, it’s better now and I went for a run today. Yay!

I ended up taking exactly a week off due to this rash/bite nonsense. Although it was unpleasant, I can’t say I am totally broken up about it. It was kind of nice to spend the holiday weekend being unabashedly lazy, especially since it was so hot out. Last week’s stats:

And for the month of August:

How’s that for a conservative mileage increase? I probably should be up closer to 150 with this half marathon on my docket, though. Oh well, I’ll get there.

Meanwhile, it’s been a really productive evening over here.

It’s difficult to get a photo that captures Parker’s Snaggletooth in all of its slobber-coated glory. But he has been extra clingy today and this rank drooly thing has been up in my business all night.

I’ve been smelly-slobbered on so much that I’m going to need a shower before bed.

And since it’s Wednesday and it’s been a while…beer!

I’ll admit that I bought this Ass Kisser Double IPA solely because of its moniker. I mean…obviously.

Ass Kisser Ales is the actual name of the brewery and apparently they’re in San Jose, CA. I’m of the opinion that if you come out of the gate with a name like that, you’d better be making some good, bold, in-your-face beers to back it up.

Sadly, though, this DIPA is pretty weak. I mean, it isn’t terrible, but the body is on the thin side with more bitter citrus and malt than hops. On the plus side, the 7.8% ABV is well masked: for a higher-gravity beer, it’s easy to drink. I just expect my DIPAs to be a little more…well, hoppy.

Bottom line: Buy this one for the label – I’m sure it would be a party hit. But don’t expect the flavor to pack the same punch as the name. (Purchased at Tower Beverage, $7/22oz)

Once again: thanks for putting up with my stupid “injuries” and lame whining. And I promise I’ll try to stop complaining about bugs…I realize I’ve been doing that a lot lately. In fact, throughout this post I have been resisting mention of the earwig (shudder) that I found in my bathroom* this morning.

Well, what can I say. Georgia has some serious bugs.

Eat, Drink, and Exterminate. It does have a certain ring to it, right?

*And then trapped under an empty water glass. With a towel thrown over the top. That thing will either starve to death or become someone else’s problem.

Gross and creepy

I came downstairs this morning – braless and barefoot and beelining toward the coffee cabinet – and promptly stepped in a watery puddle of cat puke, conveniently deposited right at the base of the stairs.

Gross.

Then, coffee and smoothie in hand, I sat down at the breakfast bar to finish the post I started yesterday about Saturday’s 5K. I looked up and saw this a few inches from my nose.

Creepy.

When I try to explain why spiders are so much worse than other bugs: THIS IS WHY. Other bugs hide in corners and skitter away when approached. Other bugs buzz obnoxiously and crash repeatedly into the window and land on your cheeseburger. Other bugs bite you and make you itch. But at least they don’t stalk you from the ceiling above your favorite chair and then silently lower themselves on to your face like this crafty asshole.

Where was I? So much for finishing that other post about the 5K. I’ll summarize instead: mediocre.  Right off the bat, there was an enormous hill. We are talking 100+ feet of elevation gain in a quarter mile. It’s the sort of hill that I’ll run extra miles to avoid during a training run. I thought they were joking when I saw the course map.

My first mile was 7:17. I don’t remember the last time I had a mile split that slow in a 5K.

The rest of the course was rolling and downhill, which you would think would make it fast, but apparently I suck at running the downgrades too. Going in to mile two, I was the fourth female and gaining on third, but every time we’d go down a hill she’d open the gap back up. Somewhere around the second mile marker, we were both passed by another girl, who was moving pretty quick. Fifth place.

Then, on the final (downhill) stretch, this other girl came up and blew by me. Oh hell no, I thought, and chased after her. She beat me by a second. Sixth place in 21:33.

I was mad, but comforted myself by deciding that she looked pretty young and maybe was a couple of years out of college running or something like that. Then I checked the results: she was 38. FML.

Given the hilly course, my time is okay, but I’m disappointed in how I raced this one. Third place would’ve been better than sixth.

Anyway. I didn’t have a ton of time to dwell on it because I had a (make-up for a rained out) boot camp session to attend. (Not ideal, but I’d already paid for the session so off I went.)

It’s been a while since I tracked weekly workouts on here, but now that I’ve got a goal race, I’m bringing ’em back:

Later this afternoon, I’m headed up to Boston to meet up with Meg (of Candy Cat Story fame). She’s moving to Chicago and I’m joining her for a little moving road trip! We have camping gear and no real plan; I have a flight out of Midway on Friday night. I can’t wait.

We’ll try to stay out of any feline-themed strip clubs we might encounter along the way. Because that, too, would be gross and creepy. But I can’t make any promises.

I’ll check in from the road when I can. Have a great week!

P.S. Happy Birthday to another college girlfriend, who happens to write a beautiful and hilarious blog herself. Miss you! (And I hope you get home okay!)

Fire hydrant fury

I missed yesterday’s track workout.  About an hour before I was supposed to leave, I started feeling migraine-y and if there is one thing I don’t mess with, it’s migraines.

Instead of running, I snuggled on my bed and watched crazy storm clouds dance with the skyline. Maybe it was a good day to take a pass anyway.

This morning, I woke up with every intention of doing a nice little treadmill tempo to make up for the missed speed session. But when I got out of bed, it came to my attention that my ass was, in fact, on fire.

Okay, not really, but holy hell delayed-onset muscle soreness! At Tuesday’s boot camp, we did these slightly embarrassing fire hydrant things. You know what I’m talking about.

It’s awesome that we do these in the middle of a crowded public park. I’m sure the after-work picnicking-and-frisbee-tossing set appreciates it.

I’ve been doing this boot camp for six weeks now, and I have to say that (public humiliation factor aside) I’m rather enjoying it. I’ll write a complete review at some point (right now I’m at six weeks, and I think I’ll continue through twelve weeks) but I have no doubt that I’ve become stonger.

(Photo credit: Ramped Revolution Fitness.)

Those damn ropes are heavy and I know that the first time I tried this, I barely got them past my boobs. But now, I own the ropes around the tree. For whatever that matters. Which is probably doesn’t.

I’m a few days late, but here were last week’s workouts:

That average pace was a little surprising to me – at first. Generally speaking, as I’ve cut my mileage way down this summer, my pace has improved a bit. But this last week I didn’t do a track session (because of Peachtree), and aside from that race (which was pretty slow, for me) all I did was super easy mileage. Not hard to get to an 9+ minute average.

Looking at body comp, I continued to make small moves in the right direction:

It may not seem like much, but I’m pretty happy with my progress. I no longer have a flabby gut. And I think most of it is due to a higher protein diet and minimizing shitty carbs (which I’m officially terming “carbage”) but I’ll write more about that later.

And for the record? My ass is still on fire.

The low-mileage identity crisis

As I’m sure you are aware, it is July, which means it’s now halfway through the calendar year. And that means it’s time to check in with my New Year’s Resolutions!

Just kidding. I don’t have any resolutions. But here’s how much running I (haven’t really been) doing this year:

(That isn’t a typo, I really did log the same exact mileage in June as I did in May. Purely coincidence.)

In 2011, I ran approximately 2,000 miles. Obviously, I’m a little (a lot…) behind the ball if I want to do the same this year. And with no fall marathon, it’s unlikely that I’ll make up the difference.

To which I say: eh. Does it actually matter? Nope. I don’t think I’ll look back on 2012 and mourn my average weekly mileage.

Hopefully, I will look back and remember a summer when I actually enjoyed (!) the hot weather because, guess what? I didn’t force myself to go out and run a zillion miles in it.

I’ll admit that I’ve had a few moments of blog-induced panic during this whole lower-mileage period. For someone who has been logging 150-200 miles a month for the last couple of years, recording a 75-mile month can feel, at best, like a regression.

At worst, it feels like a total failure and an unpleasant contradiction of the very person that I am. Because twenty miles a week! That’s not me. I’m a forty-mile-a-week person.

That probably sounds ridiculous, and it is. But running is something that I’ve devoted several hours a week to for my entire adult life, so I think it’s understandable to have mixed feelings about cutting way back.

However: at the moment, I’m happier this way, and that’s what’s important. I mean, I’m actually liking summer instead of hating it! Life is too short to hate an entire season simply because it’s incompatible with your hobbyjogging.

I’m sure I’ll increase my mileage again in a couple of months, when it comes time to think about fall/winter races (half marathons, probably). In the meantime, logging lower mileage doesn’t make me any less of a runner or a running blogger or a person.

So anyway. Guess what I’m doing tomorrow?

Oh hey! I submitted for the Peachtree lottery months ago, before I even moved down here. I got the acceptance email and put the race on my calendar. Then I kind of forgot about it (which, I don’t even know how…this thing is a huge deal here) until a couple of weeks ago.

Needless to say, I’m not exactly treating this as a goal race. But a good hard tempo effort would be nice. It will be warm and the course is hilly. I’m sure it will be a little crowded, even with most of the 60,000 participants seeded in later starting corrals. If I can hang at 7:30 pace, I’ll be happy.

Assuming I can manage to actually finish this one, I’ll see you tomorrow with a race recap!

Simple solutions to trivial issues

I wanted to have a serious discussion about strength training efficiency, and you guys just mostly wanted to talk about fruit flies.

But that’s okay, because thanks to your advice, my kitchen is fly free! Apparently the cider vinegar + dish soap combo was irresistible. Ugh, good riddance. I can appreciate the important role that fruit flies play in high school biology labs, but I don’t want to share my home with them.

So here is a related question: how do you store your onions? Because I’m 90% sure it was a big Costco bag of onions tucked away in my pantry-slash-closet that initially attracted the fruit flies. I’ve always been under the impression that onions were supposed to be stored like potatoes (cool, dark place) but obviously I won’t be doing that again.

Ah, first world problems.

Speaking of which, I also discovered a great solution to my iced coffee problem yesterday.

The problem being that I really like consuming it, but I don’t like having to haul my ass to a coffee shop and to pay five bucks for a cup of it. And yeah, I know there’s that whole cold-brew-at-home thing, but that takes way too much forethought and planning for me.

So I’ve been using those Starbucks VIA packets. But it bugs me that the iced coffee version has a ton of sugar already mixed in.

Yesterday, I ran out of packets, and found myself at the Starbucks counter, forking over a wad of cash in exchange for a cold Venti cup. I asked the barista why the iced VIA thingies didn’t come in an unsweetened version.

“Oh, you should just use the regular hot ones. That’s what I do at home,” she confided. “They’re the same thing without the sugar and half the price.”

HA. I feel as if I’ve beaten the system somehow.

Anyway. A quick rundown of last night’s track session, which was one of my favorite benchmark workouts:

Let me count the reasons why I love the classic 12 x 400M:

1) It’s easy to break it up in to thirds and visualize it as a 5K. (Now if only I could run a 5K at sub-6 pace…)

2) You get SO much feedback. Twelve pieces of feedback in a single workout. Awesome for drilling that feeling of “that’s what X pace feels like” in to your head.

3) For me, it’s mentally easy to tackle. I take it one rep at a time and tell myself it’s only going to hurt for 90 seconds. I can do anything for 90 seconds.

4) Because it’s so simple, it’s easy to compare against previous efforts. For example, I did this same workout on May 29 (and apparently never blogged about it, but here’s the recap from my training log) and averaged 90.1 seconds per quarter. My average from yesterday was 88.3. That’s moving in the right direction.

Here are some other number-y things. Last week’s workouts:

And feedback from my good buddy, the bathroom scale:

Eight weeks and it may not seem like a significant weight loss, but hey – if those body fat % numbers are accurate, that’s almost a percentage (and over a pound) of body fat gone! And that’s really the goal here, so I’ll happily take it.

Well, it’s a cool and crisp 80* here today, so I’m off to get some outdoor projects done before the heat and humidity settle back. Happy Wednesday!