Week 9: A rocket launch, speed work and a trip to India!

Whew what a week! I had a slacker running week, running paltry 12 miles this week. It was a recovery week after our long run and I did my recovery week proud.

I did start the week with a little of a hard workout. During the hot afternoon sun. I was basically too lazy to get my butt up on Tuesday morning to run, so I punished myself and went running with my husband on Tuesday afternoon. I’ve started doing some interval running to help increase my speed. I looked up what my 400m pace should be, based on my new one mile time, and I came up with a 2:15 goal. I challenged myself to do 10x400m, with walk breaks anywhere between 1 min- 2:15. My first few intervals were energizing. At about the 4th interval, I started to slow down a bit, questioning whether I would finish the workout. I always try to make a deal with myself, like ” Well, 8 wouldn’t be so bad right?”. Then I get to 8 and think I would feel awful for not finishing the workout. It was definitely challenging, but none of my intervals were more than 2:25, and I felt accomplished when I finished. And dead tired and hungry.

On Wednesday, my friend Mel and I did our regular Wednesday run of about 3 miles. I’ve really enjoyed running with her, I know she can run faster but she keeps pace with me. I think she mostly does it for the beer we have afterwards. 

We had one beer then rushed to the beach (where we both live) to watch the rocket launch. 5 years ago, my husband and I moved from Denver to Cocoa Beach due to my his job. He works as an engineer for a company that launches these huge rockets, mostly carrying secret government payloads and satellites to make our everyday lives better. He wanted to be on the front lines, so we moved here! Well the Delta IV Heavy rocket is the one he primarily works on and this rocket usually carries important payloads, since the 4 boosters get it out into deep space. This was carrying a government satellite to enhance communications for our troops!

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Courtesy of: United Launch Alliance

It also makes the most sound out all the rockets.  The video is a little long, but here it is. Watching a rocket launch over the ocean at dusk is one of the experiences that makes me happy to live in Florida. At around 1:35, what sounds like a strong gust of wind is actually rocket breaking the sound barrier.

I slacked off on Thursday (and Friday and Saturday). I felt a little mentally drained. Working 2 jobs has caught up to me and I just had little energy. So Jerry and I spent the weekend doing some fun things. 

I’ve wanted to go to India for a long, long time. We had planned to go this coming year, but I don’t think it will be possible just yet. So we settled for the next best thing: IndiaFest! The Festival was small, but the food was phenomenal. I had this potato based dal, and we ordered a vegetarian plate with all kinds of curries. Not as good as a vacation in India but it will do. 

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I finished the week with an easy 6 mile run on my own (my team was taking an off week) and I greatly missed running with them. Running Marine Corps Marathon without them will be pretty challenging. I haven’t worked on my mental preparation as much as I need to and it was obvious this Sunday.  I did manage to snap this amazing picture of the sunrise though!

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We’ll be running 14.5 miles next week!

What is your exotic dream vacation?

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Week 8: All we have is this one life!

This week, my husband was out of town for the entire week so it got a little lonely around here. Having my own business part time, I have to find opportunities for me to get out of the house when I am here. Unfortunately, Monday I worked the entire day, not stopping until past 10 p.m. So if I was single I’d be a really successful, but very lonely girl. I am so glad to be celebrating 6 years of marriage with my wonderful husband later this month. And we’ve been on this running journey together from day 1! Well, not literally, he runs much much faster than I do. Image

I ran Tuesday afternoon in the neighborhood, and on Wednesday afternoon I decided to run a local bridge, AKA ‘The Hills’ here in Florida. There was this huge traffic jam on the way to the parking lot just next to the bridge and after 20 minutes. After the firetrucks and ambulances cleared the scene a bit, there was only this. 

ImageI usually don’t take pictures at accident scenes, but I think a picture like this sometimes shocks us into appreciating what we have. Life is so , so short. Enjoy the people that you have in your life, enjoy these beautiful runs, I am healthy, happy and safe and there is nothing more that I could need. 

Ok, enough with the inspirational Oprah talks right? 

Today we did 12 miles on the course that will be Space Coast Marathon. Our group was thrilled to be running a new course, but it was definitely a little more challenging since there is a slight incline. Training with these girls really makes me appreciate running with other people.  When I trained for my first half marathon I did it all on my own and I felt alone in the race, too. I know that there are new friendships blossoming and we will continue to encourage each other past this marathon. Speaking of which, there was a runner that coordinated the water stops for this course and she was a little rude about not being ‘notified’ of a large group coming, although this run is open to the public. I’m sure she was just frazzled, but to my group, she seemed like ‘another rude, fast runner’ and my group didn’t feel welcome. Do me a favor: If you see new runners, make sure you make them feel like you’re glad to see new runners. There is nothing more discouraging to a new runner than to not feel welcome. Just.be.nice.

Anyhow, since this week I was on my own, I ate simple, easy burritos all week. My Mexican side comes out, I crave rice and beans all the time. So here is my super easy, super nutritious way of making burritos

Martha’s ” Super Simple” Vegan Burritos

1 package of tortilla wraps

1 cup of brown rice, cooked (Instant brown rice works great here!)

1 cup of beans, any, pre soaked and cooked

2 c. of in season veggies- I used zucchini and corn

Soy sour cream, such as Tofutti

Hot sauce- my favorite is Tabasco’s Smoked Chipotle

Sautee zucchini or other veggies in a little bit of oil, adding salt and pepper. When ready, assembly by putting a small amount of rice, a scoop of beans, topped with tons of veggies, soy sour cream and sprinkled with hot sauce. 

This is my go-to “stick to my ribs” food.

What do you crave after long, hard runs?

 

 

Week 5 and 6 Marathon Training: I wish I could blog while running!

So I know no one was waiting on baited breath for my weekly marathon training updates, but I genuinely felt like a slacker for not having time to update my blog. Alas, here I am now.

Week 5 was a first for many things. On Wednesday, I did my first double workout. In the morning I did a short 2 mile run and came back home and did yoga. I highly encourage you to check out Do Yoga With Me, a free online yoga video site. I have been doing yoga from this site for my entire year of running, and I really think I have avoided injury due to practicing yoga. Check out the specific ‘ Yoga for Runners’ videos. I like the David Procyshyn Yoga for Hips, Hamstrings and Back . I had frequent IT Band issues especially when I was only running instead of run/walking and this helped a lot. I also do the Injury Prevention after runs and do the Pilates videos during cross training days. I get more out of doing yoga in my own house, as I am not under pressure or anybody else’s ‘labels’ as when practicing yoga with a group. Try it out!

In the afternoon I ran with my usual group and did 3 miles. This has become my ‘speed’ workout if you may. I was leading the group of two other ladies and I was pressured to keep a faster pace. I am convinced that training with a group at least for a portion of your training is important. Also, it helps that this is the course for the Space Coast Marathon  which I will run in December. It really is a beautiful course.

River Road in Cocoa, FL

The real doozy came on Sunday Morning. Training run: 13.1 Miles. Woah! My morning started by getting up at 4:00 am, to be running at 4:45 am. Luckily, I’m not fully awake yet so the first 5.5 miles were done by ‘sleep-running’.

I was really excited to see my final time though. My half marathon in Miami was very challenging and I was not methodical about my run/walk intervals. At this race, I finished in 2:37. On this training run, running a much slower pace and taking plenty of breaks (half of the distance was done at 2:1 intervals, the other at 30 sec:30 sec), I was only 20 minutes slower. And I felt amazing afterwards, with very little effort.

13.1

Week 6 was much more a rest week for me. My legs were a little tired on Monday and Tuesday, so I proceeded with my Wednesday run, pushing to 4 miles. I did 3 miles on Friday, the first with my new Ultimate Direction Strider Belt. I wasn’t pleased at all the first time I wore it, but my running store gave me a few tips, so I’ll refrain from a review right now.  Yesterday was an uber simple 6 miler with a 30:30 interval at a near 14 minute pace.

My spirits are higher than ever though, and I am feeling awesome about my training. At least until I start doing training runs in the 20’s.

What is the one thing about running that still kind of scares you?

Week 4 Marathon Training- Double Digits and Turtle Tracks!

This was a truly amazing week. On Tuesday, I decided to do 400 m repeats, as advised by the plan my husband is on. According to this, my speed should be about 2:25 for those segments. I did 8 with a 1 minute walk break in between and I was beat! The picture of me sweating below  was well before 7 am. The humidity has been above 90% here, and there’s no escape. 

ImageDuring the week I also made Seitan Saltado by Terri Hope Romero which appears on the book Viva Vegan. Now, I’m not really cool with giving out recipes that have not been previously posted online by the author, but if you google it, you’re bound to get some recipes. The premise is red or white seitan (I had a little of both) with Peruvian Aji chiles, onions, and tomatoes served with brown rice and fresh french fries. It was just what I needed for dinner after running and working. If you don’t already own a copy of this book, I highly recommend it. It’s been super delicious.

On Friday morning I woke up at 6 am and was delighted that there was a super low tide. Off to the beach I went to run. Once I got to the beach, no more than a couple minutes passed by when I saw it: two fresh sets of turtle tracks, and large turtles at that. If you don’t live anywhere near the ocean, you may be unaware that May-August is Turtle Nesting Season. Turtles of all kinds come ashore to lay their eggs which will hatch in about 55-75 days, depending on the turtle. If I haven’t told you the story of why I started running it’s simple: sea turtles. Over 3 years ago I conquered my fear of the water and got scuba certified. My first sea turtle sighting was unbelievable. So when I read there was a 5k to benefit the Sea Turtle Conservancy, I was all over it. A year later, and here I am still running. So to see the turtle tracks was something really exciting. On the off chance you ever see a turtle coming on shore, don’t disturb it. If it gets scared it will ‘false crawl’ meaning it will go back to the sea without laying eggs. If it goes too long without laying eggs, she will release them into the sea, where there is no chance of survival. 

ImageOf course now I am more motivated than ever to keep up my beach runs, maybe I’ll get to see the baby turtles or at least the tracks. If you want to find out more about sea turtles, check out the Sea Turtle Preservation society here.

Then Sunday came. As I might have mentioned before, my training program is for those training for the Space Coast Marathon here in Melbourne, FL, which takes place Dec.1st. Although I am running this race, I first have to run the Marine Corps Marathon a month earlier. This is why I’ve felt like I needed to do more. And more I did. I did over 11 miles on Sunday.

If you’ve never done the Galloway Run-Walk program like me, I can tell you that this Sunday made me a believer. I have never felt so good after completing over 11 miles. The experience marathoner group (which I tagged along with to get more miles) met earlier than everyone, at 5 am. Boy it was tough getting up at 4:15 am that day. But before I knew it we were done with our additional 5 miles and were joining the other ladies. We had done the 5 miles in 2:1 intervals ( 2 min run, 1 min walk) and kept a pretty good pace. We then continued with everyone else for the 6 miles at 30:30 intervals, which seemed really short, but I welcomed them on such a long run. We managed to keep about a 13 min pace for the entire way and finished the 11 miles in about 2:30 hours. Mind you I ran most of my half marathon in January and finished in 2:38 and I was BEAT. So with a little more juice I can see how this program works. I am a believer. We run on this two lane road in a wealthy stretch of narrow road, where the homes have a river on the front and a river to the back. If you hadn’t known that day that the road was meant for vehicular traffic, one would have thought it was a running trail. It is definitely marathon season. 

My husband and I are signing up for the North Face Endurance Challenge in Georgia in September. i don’t do much trail running, but I figured I can tag along and do the 10k while taking my time. He’s doing the marathon. Trail running interests me, but I have yet to set foot on a trail.

So on to week 5 and I am feeling pretty good! What did you accomplish this week? How’s your training going?

 

 

It takes a special kind of idiot….

“Any idiot can run, but it takes a special kind of idiot to run a marathon”

It all started with sea turtles. You know, those beautiful, gentle, mysterious creatures that burrow themselves in a reef to sleep, come up for air every now and then and nibble on jelly fish. Well, technically, it started with scuba diving. 5 years ago my husband and I moved from Colorado and being a certified diver, my husband convinced me i had to get certified as well. Snow skiing obviously wasn’t an option around here. Only caveat was, I couldn’t even swim. Swim lessons at the YMCA and one spectacular night dive filled with turtles so close i had to be aware of every inch of my body in order not to hit them, and my love of turtles was born.

Then I heard about the Turtle Krawl 5k in Indialantic. Having never been athletic and always being either somewhat active or in that ‘I’ll go to the gym tomorrow” cycle, a 5k was a challenge. When I started the Couch to 5k program, I prayed those 30 second running intervals would be over. A few months of slow and steady training, and when I crossed that finish line, I was hooked. I set my sights on the half marathon. Seriously, I quit high school soccer and softball and went to be a choir geek instead. I didn’t know what had gotten into me.

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Distance training is 90% mental in my opinion. Your body say either you can or can’t finish and either way, it will be true. That’s why training is so important, so you can train your mind to be your friend, instead of your enemy. It does still tell you every now and then ‘ What the heck are we doing running before sunlight?”

My first half marathon was the Miami Marathon. Sun, salsa, and one of my favorite cities, what could go wrong? 13 miles of running is what. I crossed the finish line at 2:37, so emotionally and mentally exhausted that when I saw my husband (also a runner) I burst out in tears. Crazy sh*t.

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You know those people that date in college, then the next step is getting married, then having a family and buying a house? Yeah I’m not one of those people. But with running. I am such a ‘next natural step’ kind of person. The marathon is the elephant in the room saying ‘ Is it my turn yet?’.

I started training with the Jeff Galloway program at Running Zone this morning at 6:30 am. I wish everyone training could meet an Olympian at the start of training. It’s so motivational and Jeff had nothing but positive and encouraging things to say, even to those with injuries and those old enough to remember the first time a woman ran a marathon.

The premise of this program is that by taking enough walking and running intervals, anyone can tackle the distance while remaining injury free and not running as many miles a week as other programs recommend. Jeff is an Olympian so I trust his judgement.

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We did a short 3 mile run (never thought I would think ‘Just 3 miles’) today and will continue to build up. There are some really amazing girls in my group including one that has registered for 3 half marathons and has never run one because she always manages to get pregnant. I asked her if maybe twins were in her future since she registered for the full marathon.

With the right support, training, and willpower, I really think anything is possible. Welcome to my crazy journey!

What challenges have you taken on lately that you never though you would overcome?