Monday, July 21, 2014

Marathon Training Week Six

Week six is kinda where marathon training hits you that this is going to be a long (and for some) slow road. The funny thing is, this week was a cut back week, so we ran just seven miles. After this, all long runs will be in the double digits until the week before the marathon. At least my mid-week runs aren't too long.

Nothing really exciting happened this week. I got all my miles in. I ran home again on Wednesday and took my second Divvy ride which was fun. I didn't do as much strength training as I needed to do so that 70 second plank was pushing it (next week's long run is 12 miles - that's a long plank). I have no injuries to speak of (luckily). My brother watched baby H. on Saturday morning which he really enjoyed. He's been asking if Uncle J. will be there when he wakes up pretty much every day since. I was able to charge up and sync the old Garmin my sister gave me, so I didn't have to spend any money on a new watch. And, I received two more donations (thanks Jayme and Brian). So all-in-all it's been a pretty good week marathon wise. 

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 18
Miles left to go: 357.2
Raised so far: $619.20
Left to go: $380.80

Monday, July 14, 2014

Runnin' in the Rain - aka Marathon Training Week Five

A little fall of rain / can hardly hurt me now...


OK, so the Saturday morning run wasn't quite as dire as Eponine's situation, but the thought of slogging out 10 miles in pouring rain didn't sound too enticing. But let me back up this tale of woe a bit.

First, I had the pleasure of searching for a babysitter who wants to come over at 5:30 a.m. Apparently this is not a desirable time to get up, even if the baby four-year-old you are sitting won't (most likely) be up for another hour and a half. So I spent the last week texting and calling pretty much anyone and everyone who I thought could use some extra cash. Eventually I found a couple of people ready to contribute to the sacrifice the running gods demand.

Second, when I put my running watch on Saturday morning it seemed to have some issues. Namely, it is dead. And not dead as in not charged, but dead as in the display is burned out and even though the buttons still make a beeping sound I can't see anything on the display and of course it's out of warranty so now I don't have a running watch dead.

Third, it was raining. Well, technically it didn't start raining until we started running, literally - and I mean that. It wasn't raining while we were waiting around to go run, we all line up to leave and then we start running and then it starts raining.

But, just as Eponine knows the flowers will grow, there was some good from all of this. First, I did find a couple of babysitters and, as we are always looking for sitters even when it's not 5:30 a.m., it's good to have some who know us and are available. Second, I have been contemplating switching from a Nike+ watch to a Garmin watch - now I can. Third, it didn't really rain all that much and it was nice and cool on the run and 10 miles seemed to go by pretty quick.
Donations make monster's happy!

On the fundraising front, my raffle for a monster has motivated five donations, and I've raised another $100 (thanks to Jenny, Amy, Andrew, Yaz and Ali). Those are pretty good odds. So, if you want to get in on this month's raffle for a one of a kind, knit expressly for you monster, donate today: Click here to donate.

Stats for the week:
  • Miles run: 18 (missed a 3 miler)
  • Miles left to go: 375.2
  • Raised so far: $594.20
  • Left to go: $405.80


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mid Week Run and Divvy Bike Ride

Last time I trained for the marathon, I had a hard time finding time to complete my longer mid-week run. I would try to do them on the treadmill at work, but once they got up over 5 miles, I was spending too much time away from my desk (not that I cared - but other people might have). I tried getting up early to do them in the morning, but that too became difficult as the miles increased. 

This time around I started thinking of other ways ways to get the runs in. Mr. H. has run home a lot - the direct route being slightly over 6 miles. But the direct route is not very shady, along heavily travelled roads and generally sucks. It would be so much nicer going along the lakefront path. So I figured I could run along the path and then take the bus or train. But then a friend suggested I take a Divvy the rest of the way and an idea was born.

I mapped out where I'd end up for each week's distance and then found the nearest Divvy station. Serendipitously, there seems to be one within a couple of blocks every time. So that's what I did today - my first 5 mile mid week run. I "ran" from work to the lake and then up the lake to Fullerton where I hopped on a Divvy and rode home, docking the bike at the station a couple of blocks from my house. I say I "ran" from my office to the lake because I happen to work in the west loop, so running through the loop at rush hour, during Taste of Chicago no less, was a lot of walking and going slow to get around people. Added to that, stopping and starting my watch while I waited at stop lights meant that once again I forgot to start it and so lost some mileage.

Once I got to Fullerton, getting the Divvy was easy. An added bonus, I get a little cross training in. As we all know, the path is crazy and Wednesday's directly after work is no different. While I'm comfortable riding a bike, I hate riding when you have to dodge people and worry about speed demon bikers who won't slow down for anything. So, I took it slow and stayed to the right. Once off the path, it's pretty much a straight shot to my house on side streets that have bike lanes. It may have actually taken me more than half an hour to get from Fullerton to my home. I'll have to check to see if I incurred an overage charge.

So my take aways from this experience:
  • "Running" downtown during rush hour is not advised. Next time I may run/walk to the lake but not start my actual run until I get there.
  • That construction they're doing at Navy Pier for the path flyover - yes, I know in the end it will be great - but right now, it SUCKS!
  • Fullerton to my house on the lakefront path is pushing the half hour allocated for Divvy rides. This will cease to be an issue once miles start going up. 
  • I am not the only person who thought up this brilliant plan (duh). I saw at least two other runners stop and then get on a Divvy. We should start a club or something.
  • One final note about the Divvy, I saw the elusive Divvy Red this morning (failed to get a picture). I took this as a good omen about my Divvy riding experience.
  • Running along the lake is one of the many great things about this city. Today was a perfect day, there was a nice breeze (but not too much); it wasn't too hot (or humid). 
In other news, I've only had a couple of donations this month. Remember all donations during the month of July are eligible for a one-of-a-kind knitted monster

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Marathon Training Week Four

Did a nine mile run this morning - my longest run since the half marathon in February. The weather has cooled down, and so the run was quite nice. The first couple of miles felt rough, and then everything started to click and it was smooth sailing. I had a weird achilles pain in my left leg for a couple of miles, but it went away and I made sure to stretch.

After each long run, our group stretches together and to celebrate/torture ourselves more, we do the plank - 10 seconds for every mile. So today we did a 90 second plank. I've been practicing during the week. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep this up the whole time - I mean, can anyone actually do the plank for 200 seconds? 

Floppy Monster made for Baby H.
and England Monster made for Mr. H.
I haven't made much progress in my fundraising lately. So instead of just badgering people to give me money because CARA's Road Scholars program is a great organization that does great work, I've come up with an incentive. Every person who donates this month will be entered into a raffle to win a monster. And not just any monster. A made to order knitted monster - you'll get to pick your colors. So get those donations in now. 

Stats for the week:
  • Miles run: 19
  • Miles left to go: 396.2
  • Raised so far: $494.20
  • Left to go: $505.80

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Marathon Training Week Three

Ugh, this week at work was one of the worst. It's times like this that I really appreciate running. Even though there were days where I had to remind myself just to get out there, as usual, once I was out there, I felt better. Toward the end of the week I was tired due to work, so I just let myself go slow. During my Tuesday run I had pushed myself to do some sprints, my own little bit of speed work, but Wednesday and Friday I just ran not paying much attention to my pace.

Saturday, Mr. H. and I were up bright and early and biked down to the lake. With a race starting at Montrose pretty much every weekend, it's just too frustrating to drive. Even though traffic is fine on our way down, and there's pretty much always parking at 5:30 a.m., on the way home it sucks getting out of there. So bikes are much easier. The one down side of biking at 5:30 a.m. is that apparently red lights are optional for cars. I almost got nailed going through an intersection where I had the light and a car made absolutely no effort to stop or slow down. I'm hoping that he was just caffeine deprived and didn't realize he was running a red light. And I'm very thankful that I was fully aware of what was going on because I could have easily been hit.

It was our first cut back week, so we had only 5 miles. It's the shortest long run of them all. Next week it goes up to 9. Training seems to be going fast this time, but then I look at the schedule and there is a lot left to go.

On the fundraising front, I haven't raised anymore money this last couple of weeks. I'm half way there, so doing good, but I'd love to get this money raised so I can concentrate on training (and of course continuing with my 80s Movies challenge).

Stats for the week:
  • Miles run: 15
  • Miles left to go: 415.2
  • Raised so far: $494.20
  • Left to go: $505.80

Sunday, June 22, 2014

80s Movie Marathon / Marathon Training Week Two

With Mr. H. and baby H. out of the house for the weekend, I have moved into the staying in bed, eating ice cream and watching television (possibly knitting) phase. As such, I thought I'd tackle a few more movies on my Iconic 80s list.

First up, Spaceballs. This is one of those movies I have seen bits and pieces of but never all the way through. I am a huge Star Wars fan, so you would think I would have seen this already.  I've seen many Mel Brooks movies but my favorite is Young Frankenstein. I can watch that movie over and over again. I'm pretty sure I won't want to watch this again anytime soon. But it was funny. The first actual laugh I had was when the Jawa type guys find the princess et al and are signing/humming/something the tune to the Bridge Over the River Kwai march. There were several movie references, and one of them was Rambo, one of the other movies on my list. It's like the movie gods are guiding me. 

Next up, The Explorers. I noticed that the special effects were done by Industrial Light and Magic. So in a weird way, The Explorers is related to Spaceballs and it made dumb sort of sense that I chose this movie next (movie gods again). I do miss me some River Phoenix. He's such a cute nerd in this film. And just the other day I watched Sinister with Ethan Hawke - he was cuter back in the 80s - so again, connections and what not. This seems like a film I would have seen when it came out as I was 13. And Mr. H. was pretty surprised I hadn't seen it. However, it was also 1985, and that's the same year Back to the Future came out, so I was full on into my Michael J. Fox phase. The movie itself was cute, but the plot was very simplistic - boys build space craft, boys meet aliens, boys go home - that works on 13 year olds, not much 42 year olds.

I did drag myself out of bed to do my Saturday morning long run. So just if you're wondering, I'm didn't actually spend the entire weekend in bed. However, after I got home, I pretty much crawled back into bed and chose my next movie: La Bamba. Again, this is one of those movies I am kinda amazed I hadn't yet seen. Lou Diamond and I share the same birthday (though he's a few years older than me), and he's pretty easy on the eyes, but I guess that wasn't enough when this first came out to get me to see it. Whenever I watch any sort of biopic, I start googling to see what the "real" story is. The movie kept pretty close to the truth. It's amazing how quickly he rose to fame and realizing he was just 17 when he died (and Buddy Holly was just 22) is sad. Of course, I cried at the end.

After La Bamba, I took a break for to watch the Germany/Ghana World Cup match. It's rough going on a movie bender. You want to keep watching films, but at the same time, it has to be the right kind of film. Something entertaining. Something that hits you right depending on the mood you're in. I've had a crappy week, so my preference right now is for light-hearted, funny movies. I've gone through Netflix and Amazon to see what movies on my list are available for streaming. Quite a few and so far I haven't paid any money to watch them. I promised baby H. that I would watch the Muppets Take Manhattan and the Secret of Nimh with him, so I'm running out of free options. It leaves me with Another 48 Hours, Raging Bull, Hoosiers and Drugstore Cowboy. Sure, Another 48 Hours is supposed to be funny, but of course, I go with the uplifting Drugstore Cowboy. It's probably one of the better movies on the list, but Gus Van Sant or at least his movies are so fricking weird and I've never really liked Kelly Lynch. I'm not sure why I don't like her. Just something. Anyway, it was good; Dillon really is a good actor. However, like the other movies on the list, I probably won't ever watch this again. But now I can cross it off the list.

So as I mentioned, I did actually do one productive thing this weekend, I did my long run. It was a hectic week what with traveling back and forth to Paris and then sitting on my bum all weekend watching movies. So I missed a couple of my short runs, but I got back on the horse for my 7 mile long run. Again, I am really enjoying running with the CARA group. It's great to talk to people and I'm liking the 11 min pace. I wasn't liking the crazy humid air, but it's Chicago, so not much you can do but just get used to it.

Stats for the week:

  • Miles run: 9 (boo)
  • Miles left to go: 430.2
  • Raised so far: $494.20
  • Left to go: $505.80

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mid Week Run in Paris

The bad thing about international travel is the time difference, and if it's a work trip, finding the time to run and having enough energy to run after you've been out until 2 a.m. The really cool thing about international travel is getting to run new and interesting routes - such as up and down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.

On Monday, I had an all day work  conference that ended with a dinner that went until about 11 p.m. Then at midnight, I made he decision to watch the US Ghana match at the James Joyce Pub, conveniently located just down the street from my hotel. So I didn't make it out of bed early enough for my Tuesday morning run.

However, even though I was again up until 2 a.m. the next night, since I didn't have to get up too early, I did run this morning. As my hotel was just off the Champs-Elysees, I decided to run up and back along it to ensure I wouldn't get lost. However, even though it would seem like an easy thing to go around the Arc de Triomphe, after crossing a bunch of streets, you kinda losing your bearings a bit. As you can tell from the map I almost went all the way around before realizing I had actually missed the the other side of the Champs-Elysees (I have no idea how drivers make it around that traffic circle). Since I kept pausing my watch when I would get stopped for a light, I forgot to restart it at one point so I lost some distance. Also, the Arc is sits on the top of a hill, which isn't that bad when you walk it, but is more noticeable when you're running.

But it was a great run and now I can say I ran in Paris!