An open letter to rest days

Dear Rest Days,

It’s me again. I know, I know – we often meet up at the most inopportune times. I’m usually cranky and not in the mood to see you.

I feel that I need to explain my actions, though. I usually dislike seeing you for one reason: I love to work. I love to sweat. I love to *not* rest.

I know that might sound a little bit harsh, but I promise, I mean no harm. In fact, I’m coming to you today with a refreshed perspective.

I’ve actually been looking forward to seeing you today.

It’s been a long week:
6 hours worth of barre n9ne classes
17 miles (and 11 more to come tomorrow) spent running
– No less than 9 hours spent commuting
= aching, sore, worked (but somehow still happy) muscles.

I know it’s time for a rest day meet-up and today’s the day. I’m embracing you!

And here’s why:
– There is no room for ‘junk miles’ with just about three weeks until race day
– After all that I learned in the intensive on Sunday, I don’t ever want my form to suffer due to a serious lack of rest days
– My body will never recover from all the work I throw at it if I never rest.
– I do not want to face an injury again. Ever (if I can help it).
– Rest days can be fun.

Yes, FUN, and here’s how:  
– I have time to clean the house. From top to bottom. It’ll be shiny, sparkly and clean-smelling (my favorite scent), in no time. Yes, I heart sweat. But I also heart cleaning. Fact.
– I am working from home which means peace, quiet, and lots of progress made on the good ‘ol to-do list.
– I can plan a carb-y fun dinner for two for tonight in preparation for tomorrow’s planned 11 miles <—any ideas on this one, I could use some! 
– I can daydream about how good all 11 miles will feel because my legs will be happy and rested. Oh yes they will.

So yes, I usually face you with annoyance. I don’t always love seeing your face. But today is not that day.

Today, rest day: I embrace you. 

Signed,
Me  

In one month, 13.1 (again)

In one month from today, I’ll be meeting up with my dear friend 13.1 once again, and I’m really hoping that I’m smiling as big as I was after yesterday’s sweatastic 5-ish mile #rundate with Steph:

(Melissa – ask and ye shall receive! Me in all my sweaty “I heart Sweat” glory, Ali – I’d like to put in a request for one of these in every color you have. They are amazing!!)

Honestly? It’s crazy how good and strong I’m feeling right now.  If it’s possible, I feel even stronger and more confident with one month to go before the Green Strides half marathon than I did just before the YuKanRun half marathon.

I’ve approached this “training cycle” (if you can even call it one) so differently. Mostly because I was already conditioned for higher mileage having just come off the half in August that really, the past month or so has been about sustaining the momentum more than anything. And this training cycle is also different because, well, all training cycles are different, right? And in my case, I “train” by my own rules, by a loose training schedule – four runs per week, averaging between 5-7 miles to upwards of 10 or 11 miles, with intervals mixed in for speed.

And I honestly think these two things combined are what have given me such a happy, confident outlook on running lately.

And a main reason why I’m all about finding a marathon to own in 2012…
…because I’m happy and confident.
…because I’m learning to “just run.”
…and I’m finding such joy in that. 

I even noticed more strength and endurance during last night’s series of barre n9ne workouts – particularly during the first class,  long & lean legs. A class that kills me everytime but that I love dearly because it *does* kick my ass everytime. I was able to go deeper in the moves (TWSS moment??), hold each poses longer and more effectively, allow the shake to happen.

It felt a bit like a turning point. I felt – and feel – like an athlete. A phrase I’ve always admired – in others – those that I’d define as “athletes.” But me? An athlete? I never thought of myself that way. Until now.

It’s all of these things combined – the confidence, the happy (and strong)  runner in me – that’s making me really excited for this 13.1

I’m not nervous.
I’m not anxious.
I’m looking forward to October 23.

The day I meet my 13.1 (again). 

Vroom vroom, beep beep

Vrooooom. Vrooooom
Beeeep!
Beeeep!

…yes, that was the truck that backed over me a few times between last night and this morning. (metaphorically speaking, of course, tee hee).

Apparently this week’s workouts have kicked the crap right out of me and without me even seeing it coming (kinda like that truck backing up…). In particular, last night’s double session at barre n9ne was way more killer than usual and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps all that focus on form and staying present during barre n9ne is kicking up those workouts a notch (or ten) on me, hmm?  I’m thinking that would be a big fat “yes!”

Fast forwarding to this morning…alarm blares in my ear, signalling the morning has arrived and with it, a planned 8-miler to get back on half marathon training plans. Rolling out of bed, and I instantly knew my legs weren’t nearly as happy as they were the other night during that speedy seven. I told myself that it was indeed “long run Friday” and to just “suck it up, Sally” as my lovely husband would say. 😉

But once we got out there, setting out on our “pretty run” path with the extra loop to make it a full 8 miler, I knew that 8  miles was just not gonna happen. Legs were moving but not in that happy-yay-we’re-running-let’s-move way. It was a much less happy pace, not grueling…just not quite so happy. So I made the executive decision to cut our long run back to 7 miles and was really happy with that decision. The miles ticked on by, kind of like the nice cool breeze that surrounded us. And it ended up being exactly what I  needed. Tired legs and all. We made it all 7 miles.

But what it *does* remind me of is that listening to your body always ought to come first, no matter what was on the “plan” originally. The world will not end because I ran one less mile today. I call that progress in the guilt-be-gone project I’m embarking on.

It also reminds me that this long weekend is much, much needed. This girl cannot wait to plant her butt right here for the duration of the weekend:

Happy long weekend friends – live it up, get your workouts in (if you so choose!), rest up, be present, and be a little disconnected if you can. I sure plan to be. 🙂 

Dear 13.1

Dear 13.1,

I think I’m addicted to you. I’ve been thinking about you ever since we met last. On Sunday, August 14. Around 10:15 or so in the morning. To be exact.

I just might be infatuated.

Can we meet up again?

Perhaps on Sunday, October 23 around noon-ish? In Newburyport, maybe?

I’d really love to see your face again.

…and maybe even sooner than last time.

Love,
Me

Hello dear,

I’ve missed you, too. I’d LOVE to meet you on October 23. My calendar is free and I’ve just blocked the entire morning for you.

I’m free right at noon, so please try not to be late, ok?

I’m dreaming of a gorgeous fall day. A crisp chill in the air.

And you, “meeting” me, your favorite 13.1, at the “Finish” – our favorite meeting spot.

With a huge smile on your face.

Right at noon.

It’s a date.

Love,
13.1

<Editor’s note: if you couldn’t read between the lines – tee hee – my husband and I are officially signed up for the Green Stride Half Marathon on October 23!! And this week marks the official “restart” of half marathon training. So, so, so excited. And yes, I realize I’m a gigantic dork for writing this post. Carry on. 😉 >

Back at it

Well, it’s Monday.
Which means one of two things:

1 – It’s back to work after a week off (oof)
2 – It’s time to kick those workouts back up after a recovery-ish week last week, post half marathon.

So, being the genius that I am (you can take that one with a grain of salt, ha!), I decided to switch things up a bit on the running front. You’ll never guess where I took my run this morning.

To the dreadmill.

Yup, you heard me right. The dreadmill.

Two reasons for that (sensing a pattern here…):
1 – Scott’s first day of orientation is today. He’s even MORE of an early-to-everything person than me and didn’t want to risk a run beforehand. Nothing worse than being late your first day on the new job. I can’t really blame him for that one, now can I?
2 – Since I was running partner-less and didn’t want to face a darker run solo, I figured hell, let’s give intervals a shot today. It’s been quite awhile since I last tackled those. And hell, if it’ll help me speed up a bit for the half marathon in October, I’m all for it. 😉

So I did. And it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was making them out to be in my head while I talked myself into getting out and upstairs to my treadmill.

Here’s what I’m calling my 30 mins in-out-and-done intervals (it’s a variation of this workout, actually):

Warm up: 3 minutes easy walk or jog (4 mph) 

1st Set
3 minute tempo run (6.5 )
3 minute sprint interval (sprint 1 minute , jog 1 minute, sprint 1 minute) (7.5, 6, 7.5)
3 minute tempo run (6.7)

Recovery: 3 minute walk or jog (4)

2nd Set
3 minute tempo run (6.7)
3 minute sprint interval (sprint 1 min., jog 1 min, sprint 1 min.)
(7.5, 6, 7.5)
3 minute tempo run (7)

Recovery: 2 minute walk or jog (4)

3rd Set
2 minute tempo run (7)
2 minute sprint interval (sprint 1 minute, jog 1 minute, sprint 1 minute) (8, 6, 8 )
2 minute tempo run (7)

Cool down:
2 minute walk or jog (4)

Sweaty. Fast. Good. Happy camper over here. Ready to tackle Monday before heading off to barre n9ne tonight for barre n9ne barre method class at 7:15. (wee!)

Plotting and planning

So apparently a ‘staycation’ in my book involves lots and lots of “things” and not very much down time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of lounging this week too – this picture is proof of that:

But it’s also given me plenty of time to sit back and ponder, plot and plan.

There’s been lots of cleaning, organizing (buh-bye FIVE bags of clothes to goodwill from my closet and Scott’s combined) and prepping. For Scott’s new job that starts on Monday (YAY!!!) and for my return to work with a renewed and refreshed focus (I hope!) and getting back to what I love – barre n9ne and running. While I have definitely fit in some great workouts this week, it’s been more of what I’d call an “active recovery” week – a term I use loosely, haha.;-)

So what have I been plotting and planning? Well – what’s front and center in my mind is the next half marathon (that I have yet to officially register for but I will be doing so on Monday – Scott challenged me to “wait and be patient” and to register on Monday so I’m trying very hard to obey, not something I’m used to doing, waaaay too stubborn for my own good!).

The big question for me – how how do I want to train or continue to train for the Green Stride race in October?

What it comes down to is this. I’m pretty well trained now and simply want to keep my legs happy and conditioned for the two months. Yes, that means training, but I use that term “training” rather loosely this time (there’s that phrase again!).

For one – it’s getting darker in the AM and with Scott’s new schedule, we’ll be running around 5am in the morning which means a largely dark AM run from now on (*sniff!* summer please don’t leave me!!). And given what time he’s got to be out the door, our weekday runs will be limited to the 4-5ish mile range for the most part.

So what I’m thinking is this:
– For the next few weeks, we’ll do 2-3 runs during the week in the 4-5 mile range with a “longer” run on Saturday in the 6-7ish mile range.
– From there, we’ll continue our fairly shorter weekday running but turn that longer run on Saturday into progressively longer runs – mainly in the 8’s or so until about a month before the race.
– Pause for our return to wine country in mid-September (wine country three-peat baby!!) where any running we fit in will be short, very short.
– Upon our return, kick it up a notch – get back into the double-digits for our long runs
– And before we know it, race day will be here.

See? Doesn’t that seem nice and loose and kinda fun?? Especially since I’ll still be embracing my love of barre n9ne throughout (I *am* a barre n9ne spokesmodel afterall, haha). I’m thinking the next two months are going to be just as fit and fun and balanced as the last two. (I say “balanced” because I’m pretty sure those 2 rest days a week will still be part of the equation this fall…who am I???).

So yeah, that’s where my brain has been wandering in between bouts of relaxation and fun this past week. And with that…I’m ready to live the sh*t out of the rest of this week and weekend, starting with some sushi and wine tonight with my love. *cheers!!*

Yes, I’m ridiculous

Sooooo…
….I *think* I’ve found another half marathon to train for.

Yes, I’m ridiculous.

It hasn’t even been a week since the YuKanRun Half Marathon and I’m now itching for another.

Who am I??

This is SO not the “me” after last year’s Wicked Half – I wanted NOTHING to do with 13.1 after that race. But this time is different.

This time I am honestly excited to give 13.1 another run for it’s money. The race this past Sunday gave me confidence in my abilities as a runner and it made me proud.

And hell, if I can simply continue to maintain my mileage this fall and into another half marathon, why not, right? Sort of like one training cycle for the price of two, yeah?

Ridiculous? Yes/No?

So the race I’m looking at? It’s on October 23 in Newburyport which is about 30 minutes from where I live and is beautiful. And after reading this overview of the Green Stride Newburyport Half Marathon – how can you*not* want to sign up for it?

Will This Race Be Awesome?

The race director and his wife have been active in the racing community for years at both the top levels….and the mid pack levels.  This ensures you that they have worked diligiently to make sure that this race is full of awesomeness for all levels of runners.  So, really it should be named “The Awesome Newburyport Half Marathon”, but we’ll let you decide.  In fact it is so awesome, we are totally expecting the dictionary to change the definition of “Awesome” to “the newburyport half marathon” in their next edition.   So, ya.  This is an awesome race.  You should enter it.

Um yeah, an awesome race? An awesome race that also happens to be deemed a “flat and fast” course??

Sign. Me. Up.

Signed,
Ridiculous Runner (like whoa)