Monday, December 29, 2014

Run Less Run Faster: Weeks Eight & Nine

I want to apologize for my absence from the blog-o-sphere the last couple weeks. Between getting work wrapped up for the year, the holidays, and traveling, blogging fell off my to do list entirely.

But, if I'm being honest, it normally would have just plummeted to the bottom, but I'm officially injured, and I somehow decided blogging about it would make it real. (As if sitting on my couch not running doesn't...injured brain is almost as bad as taper brain!)

My brain is Peeta.
I've mentioned that my peroneal tendonitis has been problematic, but it's finally sidelined me. After a blah easy run two weeks ago, I just couldn't get anywhere in the neighborhood of my planned long run. Every step was painful, and my goal pace was out of reach, even though it shouldn't have been. It's incredibly frustrating because my body feels awesome otherwise, and I'm getting fitter every week.

Looking back, it's obvious I had overtraining syndrome this summer when I tried Hanson's, but even then I wasn't injured, just exhausted. Now I'm running at realistic paces at a weekly amount of mileage I know from experience I can handle. My tendonitis has bothered me before but never flared up this bad. I can only assume it has something to do with the intensity, but I'm not sure what pushed me over the edge.

I am happy to report that after less than one week of rest, the inflammation has already greatly abated. My chiro has treated someone else with this problem, who had it much worse, and he said it only took two weeks to clear up. Right now my plan is to take a total of 12 days off running, so I'm hoping I can dive back in.

While it is a bummer to replace running with cross-training, it's especially hard over the holidays when I'm traveling. I love swimming and don't mind spinning, but there have been days when I haven't had access to a pool or bike. It's really hard, but I'm trying not to beat myself over this since it's basically out of my control.

In the end, I hope the rest does my body good, even beyond my problem tendons and preps me for the last six weeks of training. While losing two weeks of training mid-cycle is tough, I'd rather have it happen now than four weeks out. But I'd still appreciate any tips for getting through a moderate injury!

Monday, December 15
800 yd swim

The goal was to swim and kick 25 minutes continuously, and it felt easier than when I first swam 20 minutes straight. It was good to see some improvement in the water.

Tuesday, December 16
lunch - lift
PM - 1.2 mi easy

This run was the first hammer of the nail in the coffin of my injury. (Wow, that metaphor got a little awkward.) The warm-up felt fine, but the pain was too bad to get up to speed to do repeats. My stomach was also upset because I was nervous to see the last Hobbit. (Nerd alert, heyoo.)

Still not 100% sure how I feel about the movie, thanks for asking.
Wednesday, December 17
850 yd swim

Same workout as Monday, but I managed to go an extra 50 yards. Maybe the residual adrenaline from the Hobbit pushed me through. Or, you know, the pool was empty instead of packed.

Thursday, December 18
lunch - lift
PM - 2 mi WU, 3 mi @ 9:06, 1 mi CD - 6 mi total

My leg actually felt pretty good on this run. The discomfort went away at the start of the second mile, and it didn't bother me during the tempo portion.

Friday, December 19

Saturday, December 20
12.1 mi long @ 10:42

I cut this run short because my capris got wet from my fuel belt, it was cold enough I didn't notice, and I got a tiny patch of frostbite on my hip. I tried changing and going back out, but I went right back in. I thought it was all mental at the time, but my legs felt tender the whole run, so I think it was partially my body trying to make me stop damaging myself any further.

Sunday, December 21
Slow Flow Yoga

I did a much better job staying with my breath during class, and the extra hip openers we did felt great. Since my run was much shorter the day before, I also was stronger and enjoyed the practice a bit more.

Run Miles: 19.2

Swim Miles: .9
Lifting Time: 50 mins
Yoga Time: 60 mins
Total Time: 5:55

Monday, December 22
lunch - lift
PM - 5.3 mi easy

The easy run felt slow, heavy, and awkward. I think I saw the writing on the wall after this one, even though I didn't want to admit it to myself.

Tuesday, December 23
1100 yd swim

This swim was almost all sets of 50's. Each set felt long, but overall the workout went fairly quickly.

Wednesday, December 24
3.6 mi easy

I had grand plans to do a 20 mile long run, but I couldn't even make it through one four mile loop before crying uncle. I just couldn't make my legs get up to speed, and the pain was pretty bad. I called it quits and made the very hard decision I needed to rest.

Thursday, December 25
Do Yoga With Me - Nourish Your Soul

I selected a intermediate flow class to at least get something in on Christmas. It was challenging, and I had to take child's pose a couple times just to recover. My injury did feel much better after the practice.

Friday, December 26
30 minute circuit @ Planet Fitness
Do Yoga With Me - Mindful Yin Yoga

My mom had a guest pass for Planet Fitness, and I had plans to spin, but all three bikes were taken, so I opted to try the 30 minute workout instead. It did a great job getting my heart rate up, and it was fun to shake up my weight routine.

No one was doing this, but I still hated them.
Saturday, December 27

Michael and I drove five hours to Illinois and then spent almost 10 hours at the family party. Needless to say, I had no energy for yoga when we were finally released. I gloated as we watched Nebraska lose and then promptly passed out.

Sunday, December 28

Michael and I then drove five hours back to Michigan, and I still had no energy for anything, especially after unpacking and grocery shopping.

Run Miles: 8.9
Swim Miles: .6  
Lifting Time: 50 mins
Yoga Time: 2 hrs, 16 mins
Total Time: 5:22

I was feeling pretty bad about last week, but typing it out has helped me see I did a pretty good job. I got in both my swims, both my gym sessions, and did some extra yoga. Yes, it would have been great if I were home and could've spun too, but I wasn't and couldn't. I'm only spending one night away from home this week, so I will probably swap my rest day to get in all my workouts - just replacing the runs with cross-training.

Cross your fingers that I will have good news to report after another week of rest! Today (day five) was the first day I felt marked improvement in the pain, so I'm hoping a few more days will really make a difference.

A motivational quote to balance out all the snark.
I will probably be quiet again until the New Year's, but rest assured, blogging regularly is on my resolution list for 2015. (I even made an Excel spreadsheet to help me plan out my posts!) I hope everyone has a happy New Year's and enjoys the last bit of the holiday season. Me and my healed legs will see you next year!

Have you ever had a running injury? 
Any tips on mentally coping with a layoff?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Depression and the Holidays

I promised a post on this topic, and unlike some of my other post promises, I'm actually getting around to this one in a timely manner. I don't really think this needs a trigger warning per say, but know that I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer on anyone's holiday by talking about how they can be hard for me. I promise I'm not trying to be a Grinch or ruin your Christmas spirit! I just need to get out my personal feelings instead of bottling them up.

I'm trying desperately not to be this bear.
I had planned to write this post sooner, but the topic is pretty raw for me, so I took some additional time to contemplate what I wanted to say. I honestly wrote quite a bit of this in my head over various runs the last week or two.

I'm trying to be more open about my struggles with depression (...on my blog with relative strangers - hey, it's a start!). I think one of my goals for 2015 is to be less secretive about it, or at least not view it as a wonderful victory when I successfully can keep it hidden from others.

A bit of background - my depression started in high school and was the worst then, and I went to therapy for a few years. I didn't really have any major, or even minor, episodes with it in college. I did have some sad times, but they feel completely different, especially because I know they will pass. I thought I had beaten it, but I was wrong.

My depression unexpectedly flared up this year after graduating. I didn't expect it because I love my job and where I live. I've become good friends with some of my coworkers and have the most amazing cat ever, so I'm never lonely. Michael does live five hours away, but we've been making do pretty well, so that's not even too terrible. However, in hindsight, I don't cope well with change at all, so it's really no surprise I started to feel depressed again following graduating from college, moving to a new city, and starting my first full-time job.

I think this is the trickiest part to explain - my parents have even questioned why I'm sad when I have all these good things. The answer is I'm not sad at all, I'm just depressed. I'm honestly quite happy, the depression just mutes my ability to feel that happiness.

The holidays are always a time when I feel pretty down, even if my depression has been otherwise quiet. If my depression is already bothering me, I can feel downright hellish.

Part of it is all the travel and altered schedule. Having my daily routine changed and often my workout schedule rearranged is very stressful for me. Even if things are changing to accommodate fun things with fun people, I still have anxiety about not having my security blanket of routine.

Another issue is that I no longer have my own place to retreat to. Even if I have a bad day at work, I know I'm coming home to kitty cuddles and peace and quiet. When away, not only am I bent out of shape because the things I'm doing are different, I don't necessarily have a place to retreat to re-center myself and put things back in perspective. This isn't too bad at my parents' house (they know it's a weird adjustment and are understanding if I need to go have a bit of alone time in the guest room), but my extended family lives out of state, which means I have lots of hours in the homes of others without an escape.

This leads to the other big issue - judgement. When I have my own routines and my own space, I'm much more confident in identifying that the hurtful opinions of others aren't worth my time and I can move on (albeit sometimes slowly). When I'm surrounded by judgement (or even just the fear of judgement) with nowhere really to go, my depression can become overwhelming. I don't remember how many nights of disrupted sleep I had last Christmas worrying about this, but it was far too many for my liking.

I don't want to air my dirty laundry out here, but it's obvious most of my extended family is not a fan of me (don't worry, Michael gets to come under the bus with me by proxy, so I'm not alone!). They've also deemed my depression unworthy, unlike other family members who have struggled with, which isn't exactly a self-esteem booster. This causes a huge amount of stress and really puts a damper on any attempts to get into the spirit beforehand. (This party usually falls after Christmas, so I can't really relax.)

But I think the worst part of all is that I'm expected to pretend to be happy despite all this, because everyone else is. I'd say I'm pretty damn good at it (see wanting to keep my depression as secretive as possible), but it creates a ton of cognitive dissonance, which really just makes everything worse in the end. It usually results in me trying to pretend to myself Christmas is the best thing ever and getting excited with other before flipping out and acting like the Grinch and straight-up telling people the holidays are the worst. I feel doubly bad because I too want to be genuinely excited, and I also don't want to rain on anyone else's parade. It's just so much negativity builds up inside me that it has to come out somehow to be validated.

I've been told to let it go and stop worrying before, and believe me, if I could flip a switch and stop, I would do it in a heartbeat. Instead, I turn to running (and cross-training) as my main coping mechanism. My depression leads me to often value perfectionism above else - I still have this trait when not depressed, but I have a much more healthy attitude towards it. Following my training plan to the T is what gets me through.

The problem this year is a pesky injury that has flared up just in time. I think I've suffered mild to moderate peroneal tendonitis (on the insides of my calves) every winter I've run. It doesn't seem to matter how old my shoes are, what surface I run, or how many miles I'm logging. I suspect this major flare was caused by increased intensity, so I'm going to switch my interval day to an easy day at the same mileage. (While I do hate intervals the most, they are the hardest of the three runs on my body.)

Today I cut my 18-miler short to 12 miles for various (pretty good) reasons, including the very beginning of frostbite on one of my hips and a terrible blister. I tried to go back out for the last six, but my mind just wasn't in it. I conceptually understand 12 miles is better than nothing, but I still felt like a failure. It took a lot of mental effort not to just lie on the floor and do nothing.

I guess I could pretend I'm doing yoga?
At this point, I think the holidays are really going to be a struggle. I've updated my training schedule for next week to reflect what I need to do for my body, but it still feels like "cheating". Yes, Depressed Rebecca thinks taking some time to rest an injury is cheating. The normal bit of me still kicking around in my brain knows that is incredibly stupid and that with eight weeks to go still, I should do whatever I need to be healthy to enjoy Myrtle Beach (and the rest of my 2015 marathons).

I've tried focusing on the positives, but the problem is I'm already happy about those things! Like I said, they just get overwhelmed by the depression. And I can't just focus on getting through day by day by focusing on my workouts, because I don't know if they'll need to be amended or even cut.

I don't really know how to wrap up this post (lazy writing, heyoo) other than to say depression royally sucks. Here's to hoping things will look up once this season passes.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Run Less Run Faster: Week Seven

I didn't mean to leave anyone hanging without my post (because I'm sure everyone sits around just waiting to read about my training!), but I've been struggling with the holiday blahs right now (which I do plan to post about), and it's been throwing off my normal schedule and routine. I still have the energy to go to work and do my workouts, but I don't necessarily have much left over for anything but watching Netflix after that.

I am happy to report that I made it through the first week of the holiday celebrating with missing only one workout (and it was my optional yoga, so it's only half a miss!). I also was dismissed from my first jury duty summons without ever having to report and got my other summons deferred to mid-March! This is a huge weight off my mind.

We've also been blessed with some amazing weather - think high 30's, low 40's - making my outdoor runs much more pleasant than I ever expected in December. They're just now predicting some snow on Christmas Eve, so I might still get a white Christmas out of it too, so I'm very happily having my cake and eating it too, right now.

Monday, December 8
1350 yd swim

The assigned swim for the week was very challenging for me - a reverse pyramid alternating fast and slow repeats, building from 25 to 75 yards, and back down again. Last week I wasn't sure if I was in shape for the swim portion of a sprint tri, but this workout had me swim 450 yards consecutively three times, so I guess I'm fitter in the pool than I thought!

Tuesday, December 9
lunch - lift
PM - 1 mi WU, 6x800s @ 4:24 w/ 90 sec jogs, 1 mi CD - 5.8 mi total

I didn't think the 800 repeats sounded like the most difficult track workout going in, but I just felt off the whole time. I did have two cookies soon before the run, so I'm not sure if I had a mini-sugar crash or what. While the total average pace was 4:24 per repeat, it was 4:12 excluding the last repeat, so I'm pretty happy with my performance.

Wednesday, December 10
1350 yd swim

I was worried how sore my triceps would be after lifting the day before, but the DOMS went away after a few laps. If anything, I felt stronger this day than on Monday.

Thursday, December 11
lunch - lift
PM - 1 mi WU, 6 mi @ 9:37, 1 mi CD - 8 mi total

Thursday was my first of four work holiday parties. There was a short event after work with apps and drinks at a local hotel. I devoured enough apps to make a meal, but I also fell into the trap of wanting to be "cool" and drink like all the other kids. I had the bartender make my drink very weak, but all its weakness nearly came back up with some meatballs on my run. Lesson learned - never drink and run.

Friday, December 12

Michael drove up, and we went to BWW. Because I hadn't done enough eating yet.

Saturday, December 13
13 mi long @ 10:26

I was very nervous going into this run - the pace just seemed so fast to me! I figured I would try my best and could always slow down if needed. Michael also had 13 miles on the schedule, and the pace wasn't nearly as hard for him, so it was really nice to run with him, especially since he could hold up a conversation and help take my mind off the pain. I was so proud of myself when I finished!

Afterwards, we went to my second work holiday party. The venue does weddings, so the food and location were excellent. I only had one shot and two mixed drinks the whole evening, but I discovered (spoiler alert) the next day that that was still too much for me!

Sunday, December 14

I skipped my yoga class to spend more time with Michael (yay!), but didn't do any yoga on my own because a terrible delayed hangover hit me in the evening (boo!). Now I remember why I don't really's just not worth it to me (since I'm a total lightweight). I felt pretty bad for missing a planned workout, but I'd say missing one (optional at that) in seven weeks, is a good record.

Run Miles: 26.8
Swim Miles: 1.5  
Lifting Time: 43 mins
Total Time: 6:27

It felt really good to have a step-back week. I have some tendonitis and a weird spot on my ankle that are bothering me, and I think the rest did them some good. I'm worried my chiro will still make me cut back on running when I see him Wednesday, but I'm going to cross my fingers and then ignore his sound advice.

It'll be another big eating week - one holiday party for work and two retirement parties. (Thank God I'll be missing the potluck brunch!) However, everyone was polite enough to plan the parties around my workout schedule, so I don't anticipate having any trouble getting everything in.

I'm super stoked for this week as well because The Hobbit premieres tomorrow night! I'm still not sure why it's coming out at 7 PM on a Tuesday, but I'm rolling with it. I opted for the 9:45 showing to see it in 2D, so it will still feel "late" but won't make me feel like death since I normally go to bed early. I decided to treat myself and take Wednesday morning off work to sleep in, rather than feeling like death all day.  I hope all the excitement can propel me through my 400s tomorrow evening!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Run Less Run Faster: Week Six

I'm not going to lie, this week was challenging in terms of training. Close wasn't that bad at work, but I have an extra project I was supposed to work on at the same time, and it just sucked away lots of time I didn't have. I worked 12 hours Wednesday and easily could've worked more, but I decided when I was almost in tears from exhaustion, it was time to go home.

I let myself out of work a bit early on Thursday (I was well over 40 hours for the week at that point) and just laid on the couch for a few hours, rather than doing anything I had planned on. It was so tempting to skip my run, but I finally got my butt out the door and felt much better when it was done. I also had big plans for this weekend that didn't happen, but I'm trying to recognize self-care is important.

The good news is this week is my last full week of work until 2015! I also am in the clear for jury duty this week. I might need to go next week, but work will be very quiet, so it wouldn't be an issue. I still need to deal with my double summons (District Court still hasn't excused me!), so that might be an adventure.

This is what it feels like. Why can't they just recognize I can't be in two places at once?
Monday, December 1
1250 yd swim

This swim was about twice as long as any others on the program have been so far. My triceps definitely felt it, but it was fun to challenge myself in the pool again. I did a fairly good job pacing myself, even if the pace was slow.

Tuesday, December 2
lunch - lift
PM - 1 mi WU, 2x1200 @ 6:16 then 4x800 @ 4:13 w/ 2 min jogs, 1 mi CD - 6.5 mi total

There was a mass influx of problem people on the indoor track. I nearly got run into by some dude's two y/o three times because Dad evidently thought letting him run the wrong way was okay. Dad also freaked out at me when I exclaimed in surprise when he pushed his son in front of me without looking and I barely had enough time to stop. (This was immediately after yelling at his son to watch where he was going. Irony.) The gym seriously needs to get a monitor for the track during peak times.

Wednesday, December 3
1250 yd swim

Same swim as Monday, but it didn't feel as difficult, knowing I had done it before.

Thursday, December 4
lunch - lift
PM - 1 mi WU, 5 mi @ 9:23, 1 mi CD

I felt a little off during the tempo run because I was so tired, but I'm so happy with how it went. I was expecting it to be almost impossible. However, while it required some extra mental focus, I banged out the miles just fine. I'm so thrilled to see so much progress week over week.

Friday, December 5

Saturday, December 6
20 mi long @ 10:57

This was another run I wanted to give myself a giant gold star for. When I put RLRF on my calendar, it was scary seeing I would have to run 20 miles at sub-11 pace. I'm surprised how easy an 11-min pace feels now, and it took quite awhile for me to get the pace right - I kept speeding up, because I assumed the pace would feel harder than it did. It was in the low 40's, so I did 12 miles and then stopped back at my apartment quickly to refill my water before running the final 8. Other than one or two other very quick stretch breaks to release my quad, I kept chugging along. This in and of itself is a huge improvement over two weeks ago when I needed a few minutes a couple times to collect myself.

Sunday, December 7
Slow Flow Yoga

I had hardly any soreness from my long run, and my legs held up surprisingly well during the strength portion. The hip openers really tested my mental strength, but I felt so much more relaxed when we were through. My studio is located downtown, and there is a holiday event running on weekends now, so it was a little strange taking savasana with the Beach Boys Christmas album blasting in the street below.

Run Miles: 33.5  
Swim Miles: 1.4  
Lifting Time: 43 mins
Yoga Time: 60 mins
Total Time: 9:01

This coming week will be my first step-back week of the program, and I'm really looking forward to it. The long run is going to drop back to 13 miles(!), which is the shortest distance I'll have run since week one. This works out perfectly, since Michael will be visiting, and I obviously want to maximize my time with him.

I also have two Christmas parties for work this week (and then two next week, whoops). I certainly want to enjoy myself, but I'm going to try to stay mindful and make sure I'm truly enjoying whatever I'm eating and drinking and stop when satisfied. But hey, one of the reasons I train for marathons is so I can indulge on special occasions guilt-free!

Don't really know what's going on this picture, but I do love donuts.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Turkey Trot for a Cause Recap

When it came time to discuss Thanksgiving plans with my parents, the one really important thing to me was that we fit in my hometown Turkey Trot. In the past, it hasn't been a problem, as my family celebrated at home with just the three of us. We would get up early to get the turkey in the oven and then head out to the race.

This year, however, I made the choice to go to Cleveland to celebrate with Michael's family, and my parents went to see my grandparents in Illinois. We had a brief discussion about running a different 5K, maybe around Christmas, but I really wanted to run this with my dad for the fourth year in a row. In the end, my parents simply told my grandma that they would be there in the late afternoon, so we were on for the race!

Last year was very cold and snowy, with a lot of snow and ice already on the ground, so this year was gorgeous by comparison. It was right around freezing, but the ground was clear, and there was only a light wind.

Displaying IMG_0458.jpg
Look how not miserable we look! (I'm only grimacing because the cold wind hurt my sensitive teeth.)
My mom and I picked up packets the night before, but we still got to the race earlier than normal so I could do a two mile warm-up. (Side note - I was so brain dead from work I completely forgot about packet pick-up, despite multiple reminder emails, until my mom asked why I hadn't gone out yet. Fail.) I felt like one of the cool kids out there warming up. I've never run a warm-up before a race (gee, and I wonder why I haven't PRed recently), so it made me feel like a "hardcore" runner. My pace was far from hardcore, but that's besides the point.

We lined up one minute before the race start, but they gave everyone an extra five minutes and then had some brief announcements. I hadn't thought to wear a coat, even though my mom would've been able to take it, but luckily my dad hugged me inside his coat, otherwise the wait would've been pretty miserable.

The race raises money for epilepsy and was started by a local family with an epileptic child, and they announced before the gun that he had been officially seizure-free for six years. This was awesome news, and it made me reflect on how lucky I am to have my good health.

Lining up for this race is always a bit strange, as everyone forms a sort of Y-shape, and it can be hard to get far enough forward to be in the "neck" and away from a lot of the congestion. We made a better effort to line up closer to the front than in past years, but there were still a lot of people that seeded themselves inappropriately. I'm glad everyone is getting out and being active, but it drives me nuts when people in jeans line up in the very front! I know they probably have no clue, but they announced several times the race was chip-timed. I guess it comes with the territory.

Displaying IMG_0439.jpg

The first mile winds through a neighborhood and leads runners out to the golf course. The road is closed to traffic and quite wide, so a lot of congestion is relieved in this area. It's very important to jockey for position here, since the path on the golf course is very narrow. It's always tricky navigating through with my dad, since he can't squeeze through as small of gaps as me, but we stuck together well. (It helps that he's very tall, so it's pretty easy to keep track of him with my peripheral vision.) Our goal was to run a sub-30, and we clicked off the first mile in 9:33.

I tried to get my dad to dial it back a notch, but he kept passing people of his own accord through the golf course, so I just hung with him and let him know how we were doing. Since there was no snow this year, we were able to pass on the grass, rather than being trapped on the path, so we made great time in this section. I was amazed how fast it felt compared to last year, even though we weren't running that much faster. I guess it was just mentally easier when we didn't have to dodge people the whole way. The second mile went by in 9:29, and my dad was still going strong.

After leaving the golf course, we wound around a pond. This was the area where the course was diverted last year due to ice, but it was thankfully back to normal. Once again, my mom was waiting to cheer us on halfway around. This is always a great boost and marks the beginning of the end, with about half a mile to go.

Displaying IMG_0448.jpg

My dad was really going faster than necessary at this point, but he seemed comfortable, so I let him know we could slow down if he needed, but we kept pushing. The last bit of the course winds around some small hills before the final turn to the finish. We passed quite a few people here and then made our last push. I have finally accepted not being able to see the finish until almost the very end, and I think I've gotten much better at pacing this part, rather than getting mentally defeated. To my amazement, we had run the last mile in 9:16.

Displaying IMG_0453.jpg

Time: 29:15

I'm so proud of how my dad did! He always blusters that he won't be able to finish, but I thought 29:59 would be a challenging time for him, since he only runs about three miles a week. He dictated the pace the whole way and did an awesome job. Not only did we end up with negative splits, the third mile was the fastest by far, and he was still able to push harder at the very end. This is a big improvement from a few years ago, when I accidentally left him behind when I kicked. 

It was a little strange to shower and leave for Ohio afterwards, rather than spending more time with my parents, so I'm really grateful we were able to fit this in.

And for the record, my dad wasn't sore the next day, but he's already telling me how he doesn't think he can finish next year!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Run Less Run Faster: Week Five

Happy December, everyone! I can't believe how fast time is flying. It seems like just yesterday I was moving into my first Big Girl Apartment, and now I've been here almost a year.

This week was great to enjoy time with family and take a step back from all the work stress. I had a ton of fun, and I consciously noticed how rejuvenated I felt when I got back home today. Don't get me wrong, I would love another day or two off, but I'm in a much better mental place than I was on Tuesday.

It's a bummer I have to transition right from a holiday to close, but hopefully some lingering issues will get resolved in the next couple days and I can move on. (Plus only 12 work days until I take some more vacation time!)

I'm happy with how I was able to fit all my workouts in this week, despite the travel and new environments. I had to do a little rearranging, but it really made me appreciate how flexible RLRF is (since Hanson's was the polar opposite). I still got everything in and never ran two days in a row, so I will give myself top marks.

Yep, this is totally me now.
Monday, November 24
500 yd swim

It was back to alternating kick and swim sets. I feel like I've finally built my swimming fitness back up, which is good since my swim distance is more than doubling this coming week.

Tuesday, November 25
lunch - lift
PM - 1 mi WU, 3 mi @ 8:37 w/ 400 jogs, 1 mi CD - 5.75 mi total

I had been dreading the mile repeats all day, but I reminded myself that I had permission to back off once I was spent. I accidentally ran the first mile way too fast (I miscalculated the lap splits for the indoor track), which hurt me for the second two miles, but it showed me how much my mind gets in my own way. I didn't have any real confidence I could do the repeat in 8:35, like the plan called for, but I banged one out at 8:22. The following pain was almost worth seeing that.

Wednesday, November 26
lunch - 500 yd swim
PM - lift

I got early dismissal from work at 12, and I think the whole world did as well, because the pool was far more crowded than I've ever seen it as lunch. There was only one slower person there, so I managed to just get into a lane share with her, instead of the hardcore dudes flying around.

I'm not sure how useful it was to lift two days in a row, but I really wanted to do it twice, and this was pretty much the only way to make it happen.

Thursday, November 27
Turkey Trot for a Cause @ 29:15, 6 mi total

I don't have any pictures from this year yet, so just imagine.

As luck would have it, Thanksgiving fell on my tempo run day, and I had three miles on the schedule. We got to the race early so I could do my warm-up (I felt like such a real runner doing a warm-up before a 5K!), and my parents dropped me off on the way back to their house so I could run my cool down. My goal was to pace Eager Feet Dad to a sub-30 5K, and he crushed it with a 29:15! I'm so proud of him, I know it wasn't easy. It was also a great indicator to me of what kind of shape I'm in. I don't think I could PR in the 5K today, but I'm getting closer.

Friday, November 28

I went Black Friday shopping (for the first time!) at some running stores and manged to score a new pair of capris for 75% off! My old pair is super stretched out, and I've really wanted new ones, and I'm super happy with the deal I got.

Saturday, November 29
18 mi long, 10:57 min/mile

I got my butt out of bed relatively early Saturday morning to get my long run done before the Michigan/Ohio State game. Michael's aunt and uncle live less than a mile from a metropark, so I was able to try out a new running path. The park was beautiful, and the new scenery really helped take my mind off things!

Michael had six miles on the schedule, so I ran the first 12 and then met up with him. Breaking the run up that way really helped me tackle it mentally. The run had over 600 feet of elevation gain (a typical long run for me at home has less than 100), so I'm super proud of myself for beating my time goal by a minute.

Sunday, November 30
Flow for the Shoulders & Hip Flexor Heaven

I discovered these two yoga videos when I was taking my short break after Stone Bridge. Between them, they target all my problem areas, and I feel like I have a brand new body when I'm done. The chiro always tells me to work on my hip flexors, and that second video almost brings me to tears with its intensity. I missed going to my normal class, but it was nice to spend a little more time with my parents before heading home.

Run Miles: 29.9
Swim Miles: .6
Lifting Time: 42 mins
Yoga Time: 1 hr, 14 mins
Total Time: 7:59

I'll be back to not knowing exactly when I'll be able to leave work again this week, so I need to really kick my own butt again and get my runs done in the morning. After Thursdays things should quiet down, so I just need to push through a few days. We're scheduled to go back down to some colder temperatures, but no snow, so I'm crossing my fingers that I will be able to head outside.

While fun, this past week was a bit of a holiday whirlwind, so I also want to focus on getting enough sleep. Sometimes it's hard because I want time to wind down if I get home from work late, but I often fall into a trap where "winding down" means fooling around doing nonsense and then going to bed late. I work my best and run my best when I'm well-rested - besides just being a much more pleasant person overall - so I want to be conscious of my efforts in this area. Luckily I have this cute face to help me out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I Mustache You Some Questions

I swear I really will write up The Sports Gene at some point, but Sam over at The Running Graduate tagged my in a blogger survey. Not only am I a sucker for surveys, but I have severe Thanksgiving-itis, so this is about the highest quality post my brain is capable of at the moment! (I also owe Sam a shout-out for telling me my comments were all messed up. If you wanted to comment before and couldn't, give it another try.)

Four Three Names That People Call Me (other than my real name):
-Garb (short for Garbage Disposal): My coworkers call me this (in a joking way) because I'm always eating at my desk.
Rascal: Childhood nickname from my parents, because I liked to think I could bamboozle them, even though I have no poker face to speak of.

-Becky/Becca: (Note - please don't call me either of these!) I'm always shocked how many people assume I use a shortened version of my name, even though I introduce myself as Rebecca. One of my life goals is to meet someone else in my age group who also chooses to go by Rebecca.
Four Jobs I’ve Had:
-YMCA basketball ref: Parents are shockingly competitive about four y/o basketball games, even when score isn't kept.

-Administrative Assistant: copied tax returns until the smell of toner gave me a headache
-Tax Intern: did tax returns until they gave me a headache
-Associate Accountant: manage closing activities for Information Systems

Wow, being an accountant makes this question the most boring ever! Feel free to go take a nap now.

Four Movies I Have Watched More Than Once:
-LotR: It is the best. No other words needed.
-Star Trek reboots: Sometimes I think I'm the only person who likes the excessive lens flare.
-The Lion King: Watched this sometimes three times a day when I was little.
-Marvel movies: Whatever criticism you might have for the franchise, they've done a great job making a non-comic reader like me fall in love with the stories.

Ok...and maybe more than just the stories. Let's all be real here.
Four Books I’d Recommend:
-LotR: Yes, FotR is pretty slow, but suck it up because TTT and RotK are amazing. And I promise they're so different than The Hobbit. Every time a person says they haven't read LotR because they didn't like The Hobbit, a kitten dies.
-Battle Royale: The "original" Hunger Games, and about 1000% better. Don't let the length scare you away, I blazed through it in one week.
-The Last Unicorn: I loved this movie when I was a kid (despite the fact that it always made me cry, which made Eager Feet Mom feel guilty for letting me watch it), and the book is even better. It's like a milder version of Tolkien (that's not a bad thing, to be clear). I know it's technically for young adults, but I find it beautiful.
-Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Because dry humor is the best humor.

Four Places I’ve Lived:
-Royal Oak, MI: I was born there but don't remember it.
-Canton, MI: Growing up with the best library in the state has spoiled me.
-East Lansing, MI: Go Green!
-Saginaw metro area: I don't mean to be a vagueblogger about where I live, but I don't want to be super open about it, because it would then be painfully obvious where I work and where I do most of my runs, and I'm not really comfortable with either.

Four Places I Have Been:
-New Zealand: I can't wait to go back! The country is absolutely breath-taking, and I didn't even make it to the South Island.

-Southwest: I've gone here many times on National Park trips with my parents. I can't wait until Michael and I do our marathons in those states. I could definitely see myself retiring out there.

-Germany: I'm sad that I'm already starting to lose my German. I need to get back to practice.
-UK: I went with Girl Scouts before high school, and we missed a lot of cool stuff because the other girls wanted to do a bunch of shopping and acted like going to the a museum for five minutes to see the Rosetta Stone was awful. I need to go back and see what I missed (and stalk some Tolkien sites, obviously).

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
-MSU: I miss the atmosphere of campus right before a big break. Plus, you know, I miss the schedule of a college student.
-Cleveland: Because Michael is there and not here, and that is sad.
-Myrtle Beach: Because then my training cycle would be over!

And because this weather looks so much better than what we're having right now.
-Out West: I basically would always rather be out West.

Four Things I Don’t Eat: 
-Fish: Apparently I'm not allergic, but it fishy. Which rhymes with icky for a reason.
-Condiments: I prefer everything plain. Most people find this extremely amusing.
-Pop: Ok, this is a drink and not an eat, but I can't remember the last time I even wanted a pop.
-Ground beef: I don't mind the taste, but the texture really bothers me.

Four Of My Favorite Foods:
-Bagels: Especially from Panera.
-Portillos: Have some Italian beef next time you're in Chicago. You will be converted.
-Froyo: The only thing better than ice cream is pretending it's healthy and then loading it up with toppings.
-Pretzels: I could subsist on these.

Four TV Shows That I Watch(ed):
-Criminal Minds: I used to watch every week, but I gave up when they added Jennifer Love-Hewitt. Maybe I need to give it another try.
-The Amazing Race: It's pretty non-trashy for reality TV.
Because watching people roll down a hill with cheese is still more wholesome than most shows.
-The Walking Dead: I just recently got into this on Netflix. It's fantastic! I'm hoping to binge-watch some over Thanksgiving or Christmas, since it tends to wind me up too much on weeknights.
-College sports: Ok, not a show, but 90% of my TV consumption during the fall and winter is in this category, so I'm putting it on the list.

Four Things I Am Looking Forward To in 2015:
-Running in six new states: South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Montana, and Rhode I come!
-Getting out of apartments: I'm so over living in a building with other people. I think the first day of home ownership will be spent lying on the floor in complete silence, since I don't always have that luxury now.
Because yelling "Emma, stop!" over and over does not work.
-Growing in my career: Accounting in the real world is so different than school, and I love the role I have now. I'm excited to keep learning and improving.
-Getting a marathon PR: I'm training really hard right now to PR at Myrtle Beach, but I'm confident that if it doesn't happen there, it will at some point next year.

Four Things I’m Saying:
-"Why did I eat so many ?!": Girl Scout cookies got delivered Monday at work, and I'm already through box one. comment.
-"Is budgeting over yet?": It is the worst. It's technically over, except it's not. I now secretly think it never ends.
-"Is it vacation yet?": The worst part of being an accountant is lots of holidays fall right before close, so your stuff has to be ready to go before you can leave.
-"Why are you so cute?": And various other obnoxious phrases I say to my cat basically the whole time I'm home. I'm sure my neighbors appreciate the songs I sing to him.

Four people I’m tagging:
I think every blogger I follow has done jump in and do this yourself and link below!