Thursday, January 29, 2015

Three Things Thursday - January 29

This post is coming to you live from the back corner of my apartment. My router has given up the ghost, so now the only way to get on the interwebz is hard-wiring to my cable modem. Lucky for me, I only have one cable hook-up and a very short ethernet cord, so for now I get to curl up between my lamp and entertainment center to use my laptop. I feel a bit like I'm in time out.

Faramir thinks it's the greatest. So many fun wires to play with!
But no matter what corner I'm trapped in, today is Thursday, so let's cover Three Things.

1. I forgot how many calories I need to eat during training.

During my injury, I had gradually scaled back my food consumption from ridiculous to just a lot, as my hunger levels naturally decreased. I prefer to eat something small every two hours or so to avoid getting hangry, so I still feel like I'm eating quite a bit.

When I dove back into training two weeks ago, I almost immediately started getting headaches, which would get worse as the day went on. I thought it might have to do with my new contact prescription, even though I had been wearing them already for a week. (I eventually realized I did have the wrong contact in my right eye, but that didn't seem to help any once I fixed it.)

I'm always obsessive with my water intake, so I finally decided to try eating more food. (When I had the headaches, I didn't really feel hungry, so I wasn't purposefully depriving myself.) I packed way more food for work than I thought any person needed, but after plowing through it all and feeling great at the end of the day, I realized I had found a solution.

I'm still working on getting my timing back to normal, but I'm feeling much better. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to eat a normal amount of food.

Unrelated, but this movie freaked me out so much when I was a kid.
2. I'm going bonkers without my sleep.

My next door neighbor, who is normally extremely quiet, has adopted a new habit of running her bathroom fan during the night. Her apartment is the mirror image of mine, so it basically sounds like the world is ending in my own bathroom when she does so. I think my bathroom fan vent is connected at some point to the heater vent in my bedroom, and there's just no way to sleep through the fan when it's running.

This has meant I've spent at least some time sleeping on my couch three of the last four nights. My couch is very comfy, but let's face it, I want to sleep in, you know, my actual bed. I think the worst part is she will turn it on some time in the middle of the night. While I can move myself to the couch and go back to sleep pretty quickly, I've noticed this large interruption is really affecting my sleep quality. (For example, Tuesday night I had to relocate at 1:45 AM.)

I'm getting plenty of hours (I usually tuck myself in about nine hours before I have to get up), but I'm still exhausted when my alarm goes off, and I'm pretty tired by the end of work. I hope this is just some new phase, and it passes soon.
I'm still avoiding confrontation, but the term bitch switch was too funny to pass up.
3. I have fun plans for the next few weekends!

This might seem lame and not worthy of a spot in my Three Things Thursday, but I'm a pretty lame person, so there you go. While I normally love sitting around (and running) by myself all weekend, I'm excited to have some real plans the next few weekends.

We still have quite a bit of snow on the ground (maybe 6-8 inches?), so this weekend I'm headed a bit north with some coworkers to go snow tubing. My plan is to do my long run in the morning, so I'm glad the place has a tow rope. I don't think my coworkers would appreciate dragging my back up the hill.

Then the next weekend I'll be headed down to East Lansing to meet Michael and my parents for the MSU/Illinois basketball game. I haven't followed the basketball team too closely this season (especially now that I cancelled my cable), so I'm excited to see them in person. Hopefully MSU will prevail!

And, it almost goes without saying, the weekend after that, I will be in (hopefully) warm and sunny Myrtle Beach relaxing. That might be the best one of all.

Ok, I know it won't look like this exactly, but I'm pretending!
We're supposed to get a few more inches of snow today, so I'm crossing my fingers the trail will be plowed in time for my run tonight. I would complain, but at least we aren't getting two feet!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Run Less Run Faster: Week Thirteen

Let's start up front right away again. This week didn't quite go as planned, but I dealt with some obstacles that came my way and actually listened to my body on my long run, so I'm going to count it as a win.

I will admit that not being able to go the full 20 miles on Saturday has really screwed with my confidence. My legs felt tired from the get go, and my breathing was labored. But I made myself take a step back and honestly evaluate it. My run on Thursday involved 10 miles in sugar snow and really took a toll, the snow on Saturday had turned even more powdery, and I think my iron is low since it's that time of the month.

All of those things are either fixable (I've started taking my iron supplement again) or just won't be a factor at Myrtle Beach. (If I have to run through snow in South Carolina, I will probably just go drown myself in the ocean instead.)

I'm going to wait to see how this week goes before making the final call on my time goal for race, since my marathon pace tempo run Thursday honestly went great. There is one section of the trail kept completely clear, and, as much as I don't want to run laps on it, I've committed to doing so Saturday if that's what I need to to properly evaluate my fitness.

Monday, January 19
1000 yd swim

This workout brought me back to 20 minutes of continuous swimming. It was honestly harder than last time because I knew I could do it, so I got restless and bored.

Tuesday, January 20
7 mi easy + lift

My start group celebrated our one year anniversary at work (woohoo!) with Chinese for lunch. Totally worth doubling up my workouts in the evening. I thought seven miles on the track would be bad, but I broke it up as 50-25-25 in my mind, and it surprisingly went pretty quickly.

It's honestly nice to understand how to do my job now.
Wednesday, January 21
Love Yourself

I wasn't able to swim at lunch, so I did a new-to-me yoga video in the evening. It was incredibly gentle and almost felt like a waste of time, but then I slept amazingly well that night, so apparently it was exactly what my mind needed.

Thursday, January 22
lunch - lift
PM - 1 mi WU, 8 mi @ 10:53, 1 mi CD

I was amazed how quickly this run went by, and I only had some minor fatigue at the end. To me that's a very good indicator of my fitness being in the right place a few weeks out from my goal race. And let me just say, it's so weird to think about how hard running 4 miles was for me a couple years ago, to now being able to say 10 miles is "easy."

Friday, January 23

I felt totally wiped from running the day before, so I tucked myself in early and slept for 11 hours. Magical.

Saturday, January 24
14.5 mi long @ 11:24

I won't rehash too much what I said above, but this run was rough. My quads got very tight, and my low back started absolutely aching, so I think cutting the run short was the right thing to do.

Sunday, January 25
Slow Flow Yoga

I didn't do a very good job of quieting my mind in class, but I felt much more relaxed and calm afterwards. I feel like I've finally gotten the hang of the flow we move through. (Only took nine classes! I must be some kind of prodigy.)

Run Miles: 31.5  
Swim Miles: .6
Lifting Time: 46 mins
Yoga Time: 1 hr, 33 mins
Total Time: 8:43

This coming week officially marks the start of taper. Even with the three week layoff for my injury, this training cycle has flown by! I remember when my countdown at work for Myrtle Beach was over 100 days. Today it's down to 18. I will have some final thoughts to share on RLRF when it's all said and done, but at the very least I don't feel burned out. (Very important with all the marathons I have planned!)

I'm looking forward to only having seven miles to run Thursday, and only 13 miles for my long run Saturday! (Ok, I didn't run that much further this past Saturday, but I procrastinate more the longer the run will be.) We're supposed to get some snow Thursday, but nothing like the East Coast, so hopefully conditions will stay pleasant.

Time to soak up every minute of training before the taper crazies really hit!

Have you ever had to cut a long run short?
Any tips for measuring fitness when running in snow? 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Three Things Thursday - January 22

Another week has flown by! Having running back in my schedule is making the days go even faster, since I can't just loaf around on the couch all day every day (wouldn't that be nice, though?). I think Faramir is still adjusting to the change and wondering where I keep disappearing to. Don't worry, I've been making it up to him with lots of extra snuggles.

We have been hit with some nasty weather the last few days. It's comfortable out (mid-20s to 30s), but we keep getting just enough snow each day to keep the roads a mess. It feels silly to contemplate running inside when there's really no actual accumulation to speak of, but it's an icy, slushy sufferfest out there at the moment. Hopefully whoever is in charge of the running path will hop to it today and have it cleared for my tempo run tonight.

Ramblings aside, here are three things from my week so far:

1. I've realized I have a strange relationship with work.

All the way through college, a huge part of my identity was tied to my grades and doing well in school. It didn't matter what else happened, a B on a single assignment could send me into a tailspin for days. (Not the most healthy, I'll be the first to admit).

But I'm coming to realize I sort of have an inverse relationship with work. I obviously still work hard and strive to be the best employee I can, but no matter what happens at work, I can change my mood by working out or by talking to someone I'm close with.

I noticed this when yesterday I was asked to name something I had done at work that made me proud. I would certainly say there are things I've achieved at work that make me feel accomplished, but I don't think proud is interchangeable in this case. I'm not trying to sell myself short or be self-deprecating, I honestly just don't associate pride with work.

To be clear - I do really like my job and love my team, so I'm not some miserable grouch or anything at the office. I would even say my work is fulfilling - I get to use my brain and impact the financials. But I guess that question made me reflect that I get 95% of my validation from outside work. I'm not sure if this is normal, but it's very freeing to realize my self-esteem is not directly linked to a performance judged by others anymore.

2. Runners can be surprisingly vitriolic about hair.

I have very fine hair (to the point even hair stylists can't braid it), and I keep it pretty short - so that I can keep up my zero maintenance hair routine, because ain't nobody got time for that. The only real way for me to keep my hair up while I work out is pigtails.

I realize they make me look like I'm 12, but I get mistaken for being 12 no matter what I do, so no real loss there. Sometimes I will joke about them in good fun with people I know, because I realize a grown woman wearing pigtails is a bit humorous.

This is the best picture I could find of myself from the back.
I was shocked at my first marathon when two older women (maybe in their 50s?) made some really rude comments about how "stupid" my pigtails looked when I passed them. I don't know if they thought I couldn't hear them through my headphones, but I was still taken aback. I didn't feel bad at all, I was just so surprised that the way I had styled my own hair was so offensive to two people who had never seen me before.

It was pretty interesting to me then, when Zelle posted a hair tutorial for pigtails, that the comments blew up with people talking about stupid pigtails are. (Zelle's own Facebook post even admitted they looked silly....) Yes, they're sort of juvenile, but short hair doesn't give you much to work with. I'm curious as to why people seem mortally offended by the thought someone might wear pigtails for a run. I though runners were supposed to be welcoming!

3. Weddings make me normal people go crazy.

Okay, I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't really care for weddings. (If I had my way, I would elope!) I realize I can be an event scrooge and that I'm probably biased by the way too extravagant weddings I've had to attend, as well as the holidays I've lost. (RIP, two Memorial Day weekends.)

(I've been criticized before about being too open about my hatred of weddings, but I prefer to own it rather than silently stew. If weddings are your thing, awesome, I'm not trying to burst your bubble - I just don't want to be sucked into it!)

Sometimes I think I've made progress in my wedding hatred and upgraded it to ambivalence, until something horrid occurs, and I realize I'm right back where I started. The latest is someone I know deciding to have her wedding New Year's Eve. As someone who always try to be conscientious of how others feel, I can't imagine ruining two entire holidays for hundreds of people. Maybe I have some deeper issues I should work through, but my reaction to this news was immediate and visceral, even though it doesn't directly affect me.

I realize two of these three things have nothing to do with running, but I had to get these ramblings out somehow! Hopefully I can turn in a solid tempo run later and a great long run Saturday and have more news to report Monday.

What do you do with your hair while running?
Do you ever feel proud of things you do at work? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Scrumpy Skedaddle 10K Recap

  I hope everyone is ready for a blast from the past, as my middle school band teacher would say. I put off this recap for so long that I gave up on doing it for awhile. However, my OCD can't handle having this race sticking out like a sore thumb on my recap page, so here we go - three months later.

Readers, please don't tell me if it's the second one.
Over this past summer, my coworker/friend started really getting into running. She started upping her distance when she discovered running outside is infinitely better than the treadmill. We even ran together quite a bit, which was a nice change of pace.

I did feel bad because she decided to start when we had an awful heat wave, so it was truly a trial by fire. But she kept it up regardless, which I give her major props for. (By the way, I don't know if she wants her name shared on my blog, so I will now refer to her as L, so I don't have to awkwardly use pronouns for this whole recap!)

L has done two 5Ks (apparently I never recapped the one we did I can't link to it), and she was now interested in stepping up to the 10K. I think we had only one overlapping weekend free before winter, and there was one 10K being offered - the Scrumpy Skedaddle 10K.

But here's a picture proving it happened!
The Scrumpy Skedaddle was put on by Running Fit, which is the running store chain near where I grew up, so I knew it would be well-organized and a good first 10K. The race was about an hour away from us, but it didn't start until 10:30, so we didn't even have to get up stupid early.

L's brother joined us, and we caravaned down to Flushing. The drive wasn't too far, which just had a long-ish stretch on country roads to get to the apple orchard where the race was being held. There was only one entrance, so there was quite a backup getting in to park. L thought I was being way too anal retentive with our departure time, but we ended up having only about 15 minutes to spare.

After parking in a field (and getting our shoes completely soaked), we headed to packet pick-up. You could pick up for other people, so I ended up getting all three packets, while L and her brother got spots in the bathroom line. There weren't nearly enough port-a-potties, so this strategy worked out well. It didn't take overly long to get the packets, but we still had a bit of wait for the bathrooms by the time I returned.

We returned to the cars to drop off our stuff (L's brother had keyless entry, so I just put my keys in their car, which was a lifesaver!), and we all had to make our game time clothing decisions. It was in the mid-40s but very windy. But since I knew the course went through the orchards, I figured a lot of the time the wind would be blocked by the trees. I opted to keep my hat and gloves but stripped down to a t-shirt. Waiting for the gun was freezing cold, but I was very comfortable once we started running.

You can how bundled up lots of people were.
Now here's where it gets interesting. The race did start just about on time, but despite all our collective puzzling over the course map, we couldn't figure out where exactly we were going. Turns out, it didn't really matter, because the course had changed last minute. The county decided to redo the bridge we needed, so the course had to be re-routed (and ended up being a tad bit short).

I wish the race had let us know, and I also wish they had let us know ahead of time it would be a cross-country style course. Since everything was so so muddy, I would've worn an old pair of shoes that could've just been thrown out afterwards. I think my new shoes were coated in mud for a good month after this race!

In any case, we were off through the apple orchards. I normally despise running on grass with a terrible passion, but I guess the rain had softened everything enough that my Achilles didn't feel like they were about to explode with every step. I'm as surprised as anyone, but I really enjoyed the course and would be interested in doing more cross-country style races in the future.

My secret goal for the race was to beat L. I knew my legs were very tired from the Monument Marathon the week before, and I was way out of shape. My plan was to keep her in sight and wait for her to positive split and pass her then. I thought the fact L would positive split was a given since it was her first 10K (not trying to put her down, it's just very common!), but as the race continued, we were the same distance apart.

I was still surprising myself with how well I was running, turning in 9:30 min/miles, which was a lot faster than my expectations. I had my normal mental struggles between the fourth and fifth mile mark, but I now expect this in 10Ks and basically ignored it. By the time I hit mile five, I realized I had a big decision to make.

L had started increasing the gap at this point, and I had to decide whether to catch her or let her go. Usually I'm very much about competing with just myself at races, but for some reason (maybe because I thought I had a real chance), I decided to go for it. I think I frightened the other racers as I suddenly took off like a bat out of hell trying to catch her. I did so almost in fartlek fashion - making up ground and then maintaining for a bit to catch my breath.

I also knew the key at this point was not to actually pass L until the very last possible moment. I'm convinced I honestly have about zero fast-twitch fibers in my body. Just about anyone can beat me in a sprint. Even simply thinking about having to suddenly explode and keep up the pace makes me a little queasy.

Somehow I ran that last mile 40 seconds faster than I had been averaging, in 8:49(!!). I felt like I was dying, but at this point I was hanging right off L's shoulder and knew I couldn't give up everything I worked for. It was so tempting, but I knew I would be terribly disappointed in myself if I had killed myself for that great split and then didn't convert it into anything.

The race finished with a final turn before the last .1-ish miles. The plan was to pass L about 50% of the way down to give me enough space to make my move but not enough time for her to react. (I later found out L thought anoter lady running off her other shoulder was me, and that's why she ran such a killer pace at the end.) I was really excited at this point that I was about to beat someone by executing a real race plan.

Spoiler alert - it was all for naught. The 5K and 10K merged near the end, so we were caught up with the 5K walkers, who were honestly not being very respectful of the 10K runners. Right before the turn, L almost got squashed between the walkers and a construction barricade and had to turn sidewise. Of course she turned in my direction, realized it was me, and took off. I chased as hard as I could (and the last bit of the race was at a sub-8 pace), but I just couldn't catch her. L beat me by a few seconds.

Time: 57:38

I thought I would be disappointed with how the race ended, but I honestly wasn't. I had pushed myself so hard, far harder than I thought I could, and had a solid race plan that was only foiled by a freak incident. I also found I wasn't jealous of L at all, and I was genuinely excited for her finish time. This will make me sound like a terrible person, but it took me months to go sub-60 in a 10K, and she did it her first try. I honestly expected to feel pretty upset about that (so petty, I know), but I didn't.

After finding L's brother, we went back to our cars to get our jackets to wait in line for the finishers' breakfast and cider. Apparently the pancake company promised Running Fit lines no longer than 15 minutes, but I think we waited over an hour. The race was a little pricey because it included the breakfast, so I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out.

The pancakes were really good, as was the cider. I opted for the soft cider since I'm allergic to hard cider. But I was really excited to learn after studying the bottle L's brother bought, that apparently organic hard cider is sulfite-free, meaning I can enjoy one of my favorite adult beverages! I just have to act like a hippie to do it. There was also a bluegrass band playing, and that was fun to listen to while we waited and ate.

I love long-sleeve cotton shirts! I wear this one all the time.
I also really like the mugs!
There were quite a few problems with this race, but Running Fit actually sent an email out a few days later apologizing and outlining what they would change the following year. The email addressed pretty much every problem we encountered (a lot of which weren't the RD's fault, like the bridge closng), and I know RF is a reputable company and put on a lot of great races, so I wouldn't hesitate to run this one again. I better start getting my speed back now!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Run Less Run Faster: Week Twelve

I'll cut right to the chase - this week I returned to running, and it was glorious.

I won't pretend like there weren't challenges, but I hit all of my planned miles. It was difficult jumping back into longer runs right away, but any time I began to waver mentally, I reminded myself that I was out running, and I was able to keep going.

I'm still a little unsure about my goal for Myrtle Beach. I did my runs based on a 4:45 finish time, and they were very doable. I'm just a little nervous that I'll blow up trying to hold that pace at a much longer distance, though. But I think my fears are mostly unfounded. I have a few more weeks to whip my butt back into shape. I'm sure after more training and a solid taper, plus race day adrenaline, (hopefully) ideal weather, and a pace group, I will be ready to rock a 4:45.

But most importantly of all, I'm really excited for training, in a way I'm normally not this deep into a training cycle. I'm pumped to go out for each run and work toward my goal. Maybe this layoff was a blessing in disguise because it renewed my motivation. The year is young, and I still have a lot of race miles to run, so this boost might be exactly what I needed.

As for how my injury is doing, the original pain is all healed. Even when my chiropractor went pretty deep on Wednesday, there was no pain. I am having a bit of knee pain and some ankle pain, but I'm attributing this to less than ideal running conditions (indoor track and snow outside), plus my change in shoes. None of it feels like it will blow up into something major (knock on wood), just some minor aches while I re-acclimate to running. We had quite a good thaw this weekend, so hopefully I will have lots of clear outdoor running this week.

Monday, January 12
Hip Flexor Heaven
Flow for the Shoulders

A new team member started work, so we went out for a long lunch with him. Evening swim doesn't start until 7:30 PM, and I didn't feel like heading out again in the cold, so I did my two new favorite yoga videos instead. They left me sore but relaxed.

Tuesday, January 13
6 mi easy (11:07 min/mile) & lift

We had a farewell lunch for a former team member (accountants love to eat, let me tell you), so I hit the gym after work to both run and lift. I really wanted my first run back to be outside, but there was a windchill warning, and it was so cold it hurt. The run probably started feeling tough at about mile four, but overall I was happy with pace and how I felt.

Wednesday, January 14
1000 yd swim

This swim started off with 500 yards of kicking (with rest), followed by 500 yards of continuous swimming. Before I would've been nervous about swimming that far, but after doing 800 and 850 yards without stopping last week, I felt confident and strong.

Thursday, January 15
lunch - lift
PM - 1 mi WU, 8 mi tempo (10:53 min/mile), 1 mi CD

There was still plenty of snow on the ground, but it was comfortable out, so I threw on my Yax Trax and hit the road. No one else was out, and it was so peaceful listening to the crunching snow and my breathing. I kept waiting to hit the wall or explode or to want to lay in the snow until I died of hypothermia, but I felt surprisingly good the whole run. I had to dig a little deeper the last three or so miles, but it still wasn't horrific.

Friday, January 16

Good Lord, I forgot how hungry and sleepy running makes me. I basically ate food like it was my job, and then slept for 10 hours. It was wonderful.

Apparently someone wrote books about my life without telling me.
Saturday, January 17
15 mi long (11:06 min/mile)

My goal pace was 11:08 (MP+15), and it felt easy. I really had to hold back and kept dipping down to MP, which I'll take as a good sign. My legs were pretty beat at the end, but it feels like my cardio capacity is still almost intact, which is the harder thing for me to build. Hopefully with a couple more long runs before race day, my pep will come back.

Sunday, January 18
Slow Flow Yoga

I did a great job following my breath in class and felt much calmer and centered when I was done. I'm getting close to having to make some big decisions (sorry, I promise to stop vague blogging ASAP), and this really helped put me in a good frame of mind.

Run Miles: 31 (hell yeah!)
Swim Miles: .6
Lifting Time: 48 mins
Yoga Time: 2 hrs, 14 mins
Total Time: 9:19 (<<that's more like it!)

I don't have any crazy lunches scheduled this week, so I should be back on my normal routine this week. This will also be the last intense week of training before taper begins. (Though the first week of taper is still pretty hard, especially after my layoff.) I expect it will be challenging, but knowing my fun race is so close is really helping me push through this discomfort. Train hard, race easy, right?

I can't wait to earn that sweet medal!
How are running conditions in your neck of the woods?
How do you re-motivate yourself?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Three Things Thursday - January 15

My weekend always ends the same way - lamenting that it's over and I have to go to work the next day. I'm not sure why, because the week just seems to fly by! How is it already Thursday?!

There's not too much to report from the home front that's not running related. The good news is we finally got a replacement for a team member who quit at work (yay!), but HR still has not delivered his computer (boo!). On top of that, the person his job supports has yet to be replaced, so there's currently zero people taking care of that area.

Half of the new guy's job is similar to mine, so I imagine this will largely become My Problem at month end. I'm not trying to sound whiny - I honestly think it's pretty funny just because it's so absurd. (Like even the camera broke when the new person tried to get his ID badge made.)

I've also realized what a small world it is. I live in a relatively small town (about 40,000 people), but I somehow sit next to someone I went to high school with, and the new guy is someone I worked with at my internship (at a completely different company). It gets crazier because my high school had 6200 people, so I actually know very few people that went there with me. (I didn't sit by a single person I knew at graduation.) My internship was also at one of that firm's smaller offices, so it's also quite the happenstance that I know our new team member. I certainly don't go out of my way to burn bridges, but every day is now a reminder never to do that.

I know, none of that is related to the actual topic of my blog - but it was just so funny and strange I had to share! Anyway, let's talk about three other things.

1. I'm back to running!

I did do six miles, I just don't have my watch calibrated correctly.
I'm so so so excited about this one. So excited, in fact, that it should be all three things on this list. After three weeks of rest, my peroneal tendonitis seemed to be pretty well healed. Walking and climbing stairs were no longer painful, and I could do a pretty intense self-massage without pain. (Before, any pressure was practically unbearable.)

I also did some yoga on Monday since I couldn't make it to the pool, and I could sit in hero's pose pain-free. (Okay, that's a lie, I can only do it for about a minute because my quads are so tight, but before, my bodyweight put so much pressure on my tendons that I almost cried trying to do the pose.)

It was super cold Tuesday after work - I think maybe the actual air temperature was about 5? - so I decided to hit the indoor track instead, for an easy six miles. There were some minor aches and pains in my soft tissue from disuse, but everything eventually evaporated (how's that for alliteration!) as I continued. The track has a concrete surface and is 12 laps to a mile, so I'm writing off the little bit of tenderness I had Wednesday to that.

It was a bit sad to note that my legs were tired when I finished and I had some soreness yesterday morning. I know my running ability will come back quickly, but it's at such odds with my self-identity. I'm a marathon runner, damnit, six easy miles shouldn't hurt!

2. I've adjusted my goal for Myrtle Beach.

My original goal was to run a 4:30, but I think that's a little bit out of reach at this point, with one more full week of training before taper starts. (This training cycle flew by!) I know the fitness I built is still in there, and I don't want to sell myself short out of fear, so my new goal is 4:45. I think this strikes a fair balance.

This would still be an 11 minute PR, plus there will be a 4:45 pace group. I edited the last few weeks of my training plan based on this pace, and I started getting really excited about running again! I wasn't not excited before, I just had a more challenging goal, which took a lot more mental energy to wrap my head around. We'll have to see how my tempo run goes later today, but these paces at least sound very doable. I'm not even freaking out about my long run any more!

I will admit making this adjustment was still pretty hard for me, even though I know it's the right thing to do. I've realized I get caught up in reading other running blogs and seeing how fast others can do marathons, and then self-imposed a lot of pressure to get to that level. I don't think I was consciously aware of this - I never feel bad about the paces I run in training, and I don't feel particularly jealous of faster runners. I want to emulate their success, sure, but I wasn't constantly thinking, "oh, I have to be as fast as them or I suck."

But I guess somewhere in the bowels of my Type A mind, my subconscious grabbed the wheel and went full speed ahead to injury land. I'm hoping to truly learn my lesson this time around. When I pick my next marathon time goal, I want to have a real reason why - "because I should be able to run that fast" does not count!

3. It is really freaking cold.

I'm trying really hard not to complain too much about this winter (but clearly failing), since November and December were so mild. However, yesterday was a little much: it was -17 (air temp, not even real feel) when I got up for work. My coworker had her condo at 65 degrees, and all her pipes still completely froze.

We also came in to find our coworker from Texas sitting in her winter jacket, hood up, with a scarf wrapped all around her head. I think she sat that way for at least another hour. (Just to be clear - we all poke fun at her about this, but she laughs about it too. I don't want any of this to come across as mean! She got to win her battles in the summer, when she'd comfortably wear jackets in 90 degree weather.)

It does lead to interesting cross-cultural discussions, ie the Texan thought putting your heat at 65 to sleep was far too cold. I polled my chiro from Florida, and he concurred. We also had to explain what a scraper was (and why she needed one), because her initial reaction was that scraping a car sounded like a bad thing. She now jokes she should start a Youtube channel to document learning about winter. I think it could honestly go viral because she is so genuine and funny.

The good news is the weather forecast is calling for a high of 40 on Saturday! I can't wait to hit the road with my favorite podcast again for a long run!

Have you ever experienced the small world effect?
What temperature do you consider to be absurdly cold?