I Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

I have a moment to sit down and write type a blog post this morning because my children are currently being rocked to sleep by their robot nannies (a swing and a rock-n-play). Thank goodness for robots, you know what I mean? They are also fed with the help of a robotic milk-extraction device and, all the while, their mother’s life-blood is kept flowing by a robot barista. Where would I be without all this technology?

E and L will be two months old in a few days, much to my great disbelief. Feeding and caring for them has become a relatively smooth routine, with of course its own challenges. Trying to console a screaming baby when you can’t pick him up because you are strapped to a breast pump, for example, is a far-too-frequent occurrence around here. Waking a peacefully sleeping baby for a meal just because his/her sibling has decided it’s time to eat is another. On the whole, though, they are fed and clean and mostly happy, as are we all.

Stepping up our game today with pants AND hoodies. (Onesies say "twins" on them, made by friends at our baby shower.)

Eleanor's pants have ruffles on the butt, because why not.

(Seriously, though, these babies are SO FANTASTIC)

I could use a little improvement in the “clean” part of that equation, however. Trying to remember when my last shower was and I know for sure it wasn’t yesterday. Was it the day before? I hope? One specific piece of advice my OB gave me in the hospital the day she discharged me was “take a shower every day.” I have massively failed in this directive. When I’m home alone with the twins, if they both happen to be sleeping at the same time, it’s likely I’ll need to eat, wash bottles, or do something with the laundry. By the time I’ve done that, they’ll wake up and need me — no time to shower. Last time I showered when I was home alone, L woke up screaming inconsolably while I was mid-shampoo. I barely got rinsed off, so anxious was I that he was screaming like that and I couldn’t even see him. Why am I not showering now, you ask, when both babies are asleep in their electric rocking machines? Because we are in the living room and I don’t feel comfortable leaving them here in these devices unattended while I shower at the other end of the house, out of earshot. So. I am unclean.

Another thing I can’t seem to make time for is exercise. I’ve been trying to go out for walks/runs every now and then, which has been great. This relies on my husband being home during daylight hours, though, which only reliably happens on the weekends. By the time he gets home, it’s time for one of us to be cooking dinner while the other one watches the babies, then we eat, feed the babies, and everyone goes to bed. When will I have time for basics like showering and exercising? Soon, I hope, or I’m going to lose it a little bit. It’s really too bad there aren’t robots to shower and exercise me while I do other things. At least I can count on the days soon getting longer (the better to run outdoors in the evening) and warmer (the better to take the babies with me on walks).

In other news, I am trying out some of the different types of cloth diapers we have now that the babies are big enough (or, more accurately, now that at least E’s legs are big enough — L is still a little too skinny for them to fit right). So far, of course, the ones that seem to work best are the most expensive. Damn you, BumGenius.


Yesterday was my 6-week postpartum check-up at my OB and today was the babies’ one-month check-up at their pediatrician. (Due to the difficulties of scheduling appointments both of these happened at about five weeks out. Or doctors’ offices exist in some kind of time warp, which…yeah, that actually seems more likely.)

For some reason, having had both of these check-ups really gives me the feeling that things are moving into a new phase — a phase where I am recovered and the babies are settling into their lives on the outside and things are approaching some sort of New Normal. Is this it? Have we arrived?

File Jan 12, 12 50 01 PM

I seriously wish I had both babies in this photo, but I haven’t yet learned to tandem wear them. Maybe next time. In the meanwhile, please note the triumphant return of my wedding rings and my FitBit!

At the OB, I was weighed for the first time since my 36-week appointment at the beginning of December. Since then, I am down about 25 pounds, leaving me about 35 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. I figure that 25 pounds accounts for two babies, two placentas, two full amniotic sacs, and a good amount of water weight and increased blood volume — the remaining 35 pounds is, I assume, the fat I put on all over my body. I bought a new pair of jeans the other day and learned that I am fully three sizes above my pre-pregnancy size, which seems to make sense with the 35 pounds (I tend to go up or down a pants size with every ~10 pounds of fat I gain or lose, in my experience). This is all good to know.

I’m not one to get terribly hung up on the number on the scale, but I will say I would like to return to my pre-pregnancy clothing size (I have a lot of great clothes I’d love to wear again!) and certainly to my pre-pregnancy level of fitness. So starting now, as I have been cleared to resume normal activity, I am going to try to institute some exercise. I have a barre3 subscription for the next twelve months and I’m also going to start walking and see how my body responds to that and then gradually add in some running. I assume I will have to put some time into rehabbing my abdominals, because they are weak as all hell right now, so I’ll need to be careful not to hurt my back or hips while my core is still so imbalanced.

File Jan 12, 12 50 40 PM

Look at those cheeks and chins!

At the pediatrician, the scale was moving in the other direction. L, who came home from the hospital at just 4lbs 11oz, had gained a full 3lbs and now weighs 7lbs 11oz. I am so happy to see that! It really shows in his delightful double chin. He’s still apparently in the first percentile (is that how you would say that?) for both weight and length, but we are happy with the gain and the doctor thinks he’s doing great. E, who weighed 5lbs 15oz when she came home from the hospital, now weighs 8lbs 6oz and feels like a tank (12th percentile). She is doing great as well! Clearly they are both still very small, but they are growing really nicely.

File Jan 12, 12 51 08 PM

Also they are super adorable. 

In other news, my husband is back at work full time this week, which will include some extra committee obligations and working dinners, so it’s really going to be a shock to the system not to have him around as much. (And I fully realize and appreciate how lucky we are to have had the last few weeks together at home!)  We team up on all the baby care, so doing it myself is noticeably much harder. I’ve had a few half days here and there when he went into the office and I flew solo at home, so I have had a little practice, but I know it’s not going to be easy to be home alone. Thank you in advance for putting up with the exhausted flailing that is sure to ensue.

Half Marathon Training: Week 5

Soooooo. This week started out great but then took a nasty turn somewhere in there. I’ll just skip to the play-by-play:

Monday: Rest and chiropractic adjustment. This was my first time getting my bones cracked by the doctor; it went pretty well. I was already feeling a HUGE reduction in my pain and discomfort since the previous week, and hopeful that the adjustments would get me back in full working order soon. The doctor assured me it was OK to keep exercising as normal, especially since I was able to do so without pain during or after.

Rejoice, for today is Track Tuesday!

Tuesday: Speedwork, 4x800s (5 miles total). I finally took myself to the track and I don’t know what I’d been so scared of! It went perfectly. I stayed well within my target pace range and felt great & pain-free the entire time. I found it much more pleasant than the treadmill, too. Target pace for the 800s was 8:05-8:25, and I did the reps at 8:13, 8:17, 8:20, 8:15. I noticed I was slowing down a bit so I pushed it on the last one to try to finish faster than the previous two. Success!

Wednesday: Chiropractic adjustment and bike trainer workout, 45 mins. My first bike workout in quite some time. I have temporarily abandoned the Betty Rocker workouts, so I decided to do a simpler cross training that I thought would be easier on my back.

Thursday: 8 mile “tempo.” This workout seemed impossible before I even began — 8 miles at a speed I find difficult at even half the distance? I told myself I’d try to keep my effort up and not worry about pace. On my dead legs, that was unfortunately a pace as slow as my long runs usually are (9:50-ish instead of the target 9:15). My legs just felt heavy and slow the entire time. Later Thursday night, I started to feel my back pain coming back, too. Had it been the run? Or the previous day’s bike?

Friday: Rest and chiropractic adjustment. I woke up without pain and felt good all day, but I mentioned the previous night’s pain to my doctor, who said it had probably been the bike workout that was to blame. He advised me to try cross-training workouts that allowed the back and hips to move more (elliptical, swimming, walking). I left feeling good.

Saturday: Long Run, 6 miles. Total fucking disaster. I started out feeling fine and headed out for an 8-mile out-and-back along the half marathon course. Three and a half miles in, I made an awkward half-jumping step over a branch in my path and just brutally wrenched something in my back. I could feel it immediately and it hurt to run or walk. Because I was not even to the turnaround point of my out-and-back route yet, I somehow had to manage to get back to my car, 3.5 miles away. I had no phone, so I just started walking. After some walking and stretching, the intense pain abated a bit and I realized I could jog just as well as walk (no more real pain, just tenderness either way), so I jogged back to the car. At home, after immediately icing (per doc’s instructions), I tried to get up off the floor and realized I was well and truly fucked.

Sunday: Rest. I’ve spent all day Saturday and today resting and trying not to have to change positions too often. It hurts to get up, sit down, lie down, roll over, bend, twist, lean, or sit directly on my butt. The only things it does not hurt to do are walk or lie flat on my back. I feel helpless, worried, stupid, and in constant pain.

What the hell HAPPENED? What did I even DO? Why did I have to waste $30 earlier this week by registering for a 10K race for the 14th? WHYYY??

So yeah. This may be the last training update for a bit — I am assuming I won’t be able to continue this training cycle unless a healing miracle happens. Things are not great right now. I have a full day of work tomorrow that I really don’t think I can cancel, so I have to get through that somehow (HOW?) and then another chiro appointment tomorrow afternoon. I hope they can do something to bring me some relief, but I don’t even know what that would be at this point. I can’t even imagine.


Half marathon Training: Week 4

This has not been the greatest week of my training so far. I did not get any cross-training done and skipped one of my runs, all sue to some stubborn back pain. I occasionally sleep wrong or tweak my back somehow and am almost always able to resolve it through a day or so of rest and stretching. I assume this sort of thing is normal. It happened just a few weeks ago, in fact, and I attributed it to sleeping in awkward positions in order to protect my sore shoulder.

This week, however, the back pain I had on Sunday never really went away. It didn’t hurt me to sit, stand, walk, or run, but bending, twisting, or getting up from a seated position really did hurt. When I thought the pain was going away, I ran on Tuesday, but that may have been a bad idea.

I saw a chiropractor on Thursday, who told me that running was probably fine since I was able to do it pain free. However, he said to watch out for any increase in pain after the run or on the following day. I have some specific stretches and instructions to ice immediately after a run.

My consultation and X-Rays revealed that the problem is the same culprit that so often causes me hip flexor issues — it was just showing up on the other side this time — a rotated/misaligned hip. We think that the PT and hip strengthening I’ve done has helped me avoid hip flexor strain, but that the misalignment was going to cause problems somewhere, and if it wasn’t the right hip, it was going to be the left SI joint. It makes sense, the two areas being in complementary positions.

I had some ultrasound and electro-stimulation for pain relief on Thursday and I’ve been stretching and icing as recommended. I feel better enough to resume running, and on Monday I’ll go back for adjustments that should hopefully help me continue to run without re-aggravating my back.

So, with all that going on, workouts were minimal. Here’s what I managed to get done:

Monday: Rest. My back had been hurting me all day Sunday and felt no better Monday, so I skipped any workouts.

Tuesday: Speedwork, 3×1600 (5 miles total). This run went really well. I felt capable of the pace and felt satisfied with how I did. I just dialed in the requisite 8:57 for the first two reps, then took it down to about 8:50 for the final 1600. Not too shabby. My back felt OK the whole time, too.

Wednesday: Rest. Woke up with the back pain a bit worse (due to the prior day’s run?!), so I decided to make an appointment with a chiropractor to see if they could help.

Thursday: Rest and Chiropractor. This day was scheduled to be my 4 mile tempo run, which I had been excited to try outside, but instead I found myself lying flat on my face at the chiropractor with electrodes stuck to my lower back and butt. I could, I suppose, have run afterward (the doctor said it would be OK), but I thought it better to wait a couple of days.

Friday: Rest and PT. 

Saturday: Long Run, 10 miles. I woke up feeling much less pain when I moved around, and I decided that this day would be the day to put the doctor’s words about running to the test. This would be my longest run in quite some time. A year, maybe? The weather was perfect (40s and sunny) — I snapped the header photo for this post at mile seven. The entire run was pain free, and there was no increase in pain/discomfort afterward OR the next day. Victory! I didn’t try to push myself on pace because I was worried about angering my hips/back, but even still, I managed to be significantly faster on this hilly stretch of road than I was two weeks ago. My target pace for long runs is 9:45-10:00. Two weeks ago on these hills I ran 8 miles at 10:24 pace. Not so great, but okay. This week, I did 10 miles on those same tough hills at 10:13. Much better! The pace was even better than that average suggests, at least before the last mile or two, when my hamstrings tightened up. I need to work on that, because tight hamstrings cause problems for my hips, back, and knees.

Sunday: Rest and PT. 

I hope to get back to my usual 3 runs + 2 XTs training plan this week. I’ll likely not workout on Monday, because that’s the day of my chiro adjustment. Tuesday I hope to hit the track for 800s, and then Thursday I’ll have a brutal 8-mile tempo run. The Saturday long run will be a stepback at only 8 miles. Maybe a spin class or two for cross training? If my back allows it? Fingers crossed for me!

Working [Out] Lunch, Ice-Cold Parking-Deck Shutout

How on earth do people get in a workout on their lunch breaks, I ASK YOU. Really, though.

I am lucky in a couple of relevant ways when it comes to midday workouts: 1) we have a really nice gym/rec center here on campus where I can go work out, and 2) on days when I’m not in the classroom, my schedule is fairly flexible. Today I decided to take advantage of these things and do my run at the gym in the middle of the workday. I prefer morning runs, but today I had an appointment that made that impossible, so this was my Plan B.

Y’all, it took me over two hours from the moment I stepped out of my office until the moment I returned. Here’s what happened during that time:

  • Walked to rec center, stopping to grab my gym bag from my car on the way
  • Changed clothes
  • Grabbed a treadmill and did a quick walking warmup, stretched, ran about 5 miles in about 48 minutes, then a walking cool down and stretch. (This, the workout itself, took up an hour of the total time.)
  • Went back to the locker room, showered, dressed, dried hair, did super-quick minimal makeup routine.
  • Walked back to my office, stopping to drop off my gym bag in my car on the way.
  • Total time: two hours and ten minutes.


If, like most people — including myself on most days — all I had was one hour free, I have to imagine that the only way I could get this done in time would be to do only about a 20 minute workout and try not to sweat too much so that I don’t have to shampoo my hair. I mean, I think I could feasibly do that. But what would be the point? For me to really work out, even if just a 30-minute run? Showering and shampooing are non-optional. There’s a lot of sweat.

So to anyone who is cramming a good midday workout into their day, first, let me salute you. Second, let me beg you for your secret. Please!

On another topic, please allow me to tell you how absolutely ice cold I was in the parking deck on my way to the gym. I was stopping by my car to grab my gym bag. I had parked in a pretty nice spot near the entrance to the deck, which is pretty large and has 4 levels of parking. It was fairly full, but I could see a few open spots here and there. Despite those open spots, it appeared someone really wanted mine.

A BMW convertible stopped right at the beginning of the row when I was still maybe 50 yards away. Clearly, the driver had seen me coming and assumed I was going home and wanted to take my space. I wasn’t leaving. There’s no real way to communicate this to someone in a car 50 yards away, though, is there? Plus, I really despise when people lurk in the parking lot waiting for me to leave — especially if they commence lurking and watching when I’m still so far from my car. The only thing worse is when someone (especially a male driver) slowly follows me to my car. *Shudder*

I really wasn’t invested in trying to communicate to this BMW driver that I wouldn’t be moving my car, so I just coolly went on my way, stopped by my car, grabbed my gym bag, and locked the door. As soon as the car dinged it’s little “doors locked” noise and I started walking away, man you should’ve seen that BWM do the angry, tire-screeching peel out! The dude was pissed. I couldn’t help myself; it gave me such a frisson of pleasure. Okay, fine, this is not that great of a story, but I smirked to myself the rest of the way to the gym. Better luck next time, sucker!

Half Marathon Training: Week 3

Well, this week I did not have any reason to back off my training — at least not the one I was thinking of when I wrote last week’s post –, so I carried on mostly as planned. This was a slight step back week in terms of the long run, but the speedwork and tempo run were both increases from previous weeks. It all went surprisingly well.

Monday: Cross Training. Betty Rocker Days 17, 18, and 19. These workouts targeted the core, then total-body, then the posterior chain. I had to modify a few moves for my shoulder, but overall felt very capable during all three of these. It was a nice 45 minute session — and, spoiler, it turned out to be the only XT day I got in all week.

Tuesday: Speedwork, 4x800s (4.5 miles total). Dialed in 8:20 pace for the 800s and recovered at about 10:30. I did this on the treadmill because I am still a big fat chicken about taking my speedwork to the track. This coming week I have 1600s, but when I get to another 400 or 800 workout, I WILL go to the track, I promise. I just don’t want to start going on my first mile repeat workout, because chicken.

Wednesday: Rest. My plan this week was to rest on the days before my tempo and my long run, to reduce the chance I’d have trashed legs and not hit my paces. It worked pretty well, I think.

Thursday: Tempo Run, 5 miles (6 total). Dialed in my target 9:05 pace and hung on. I did this on the treadmill because last week’s tempo run had me feeling scared. It worked out fine, and this coming week I only have to do 4 tempo miles, so I am going to take it outside again and see if I can do better than in the past.

Friday: Rest. 

Saturday: Long Run, 6 miles. Target pace: 9:45-10:00. This run went much easier than my hilly 8-miler last week, when I was nowhere near my target pace. Even better, it was also much easier than my 6-miler from two weeks ago, when I did make my target pace but it felt a bit too hard. This week, I was actually ahead of pace for most of the run and finished with an average of 9:42 — and it felt easy and fun! I think this training plan just might be working, friends! I took this run out to the last 6 miles of the Auburn Classic course, which go through some neighborhoods at first but mostly loop around/through campus. This section of the course is much flatter than the section I ran last week, and thankfully it comes later in the race. I guess we’ll get most of the hills out of the way early and then cruise on in. Two things I learned about the course: 1) it takes you within sight of the finish area about 1.5 miles before the finish, and 2) it ends on a massively steep uphill — one I’ve complained about before. So, you know, it’s a typical Auburn race. As Britney would say, “you better work, bitch.”

Sunday: Rest. Sunday was supposed to be my second cross-training day of the week, but I woke up with a completely tweaked back, thanks once again to sleeping in a bad position to spare my sore shoulder. I could not do much of ANYTHING. Better to miss a cross day than a run day, though, right?

I ran a total of 16.5 miles for the week, slightly less than last week, and completed only 3 Betty Rocker workouts. Part of that is that it’s a step back week and part of that is my tweaked back. Things should change this coming week: I’ve got mile repeats, a four-mile tempo (outdoors!), and a ten-mile long run to look forward to. I haven’t run double digits in quite some time and — dare I say?! — I am excited.

Half Marathon Training: Week 2

Week two of training is in the books! I got all the workouts done, even though I had pace problems a couple of times. I wonder if the paces I’m targeting are too ambitious for me, or if I’ll simply begin to improve and find them easier as time and miles go by.

This week, I got a new pair of shoes – Newton Distance S III, which are lightweight stability trainers for speed work and racing, pictured in the header photo – and I tried using the virtual pacer on my new Garmin Forerunner 10, which was a Christmas present from my husband. I love both. Hooray for awesome new gear!

Monday: Cross Training. Betty Rocker Days 10 & 12. One 15-minute workout was full-body interval training; the other was a 1-12-1 pattern of box jumps and ab work. The ab work was substituted in for pushups, which I still can’t do on my bad shoulder.

Tuesday: Speedwork, 4×400 (4 miles total). I took this run to the gym treadmill and dialed in my target pace for the 400s, which was exactly 8:00. It wasn’t easy, but it was doable.

Wednesday: Rest & Shoulder Rehab.

Thursday: Tempo Run, 4 Miles (5 miles total). I took this tempo run to the streets in order to see how well I could do without the help of the treadmill. The first three miles clicked by at my target pace (9:06, 9:05, 9:05), but the fourth mile pretty much fell apart and I came in at 9:18. I also have to admit I paused for a few seconds between each mile — just long enough to cross the street, or something, but still. Not ideal. These training paces are not easy! I hate to think how easy they would have been two or three years ago, before my hip injury saga and when I was 10 pounds lighter. But I can’t turn back time, so I’d better work with the body I have now.

Friday: Cross Training. Betty Rocker Days 13, 15, & 16. One full-body tabata, one pilates, and one longer stretching workout for a total of 60 minutes. I am pretty tired of these, to be honest. Looking forward to getting in some “Real” cross training, e.g. cycling.

Saturday: Long Run, 8 Miles. First off, I did not at all hit my target pace on this run. I had decided to head out to the race course and get some practice on the hilliest part — which includes a stretch of road about a mile long that consists of varying gradual and steep inclines and which I know to be KILLER. I kind of told myself I didn’t need to hit the pace because I’d be focusing on hills, and maybe I let that give me an easy way out. The run sure as hell did not feel easy, though. My legs felt heavy and tired and it was honestly a slog. In good news, not only did I not need to walk on the killer hill (in fact, I never even considered it), I somehow kept my pace consistent. Okay, then.

Sunday: Rest & Rehab.

I ran a total of 17 miles for the week and completed 5 Betty Rocker workouts (having skipped her upper-body routines in favor of my own shoulder rehab). Not too shabby. I am really enjoying the training cycle so far, even though my fervent wish is that I’ll have a certain tiny reason (ahem) to back off. Conflicted.

Half Marathon Training: Week 1

I just love training for a race, don’t you? I love making out the schedule, checking off the workouts, and just having that sense of purpose — the feeling that all my miles are adding up to something. Last time I trained for a half, I kept track of my progress every week here on the blog, so I thought I’d do that again this time. I’ll be posting these every Monday. This is mostly for me, but hopefully my fellow runners will find something of interest here — if not, no worries.

Regarding the shoulder rehab I mention below, I’ve had an injury bothering me off and on since summer — something that I think started in my weights class. I was really worried lately, since it wasn’t improving and may have been getting worse, that I may wind up needing surgery. Luckily, my doctor doesn’t think that I do. It seems to be bicep tendonitis, and I’ll be working on rehabbing it at home to start with. Luckily it doesn’t interfere with my running, but I do have to modify certain moves in my other workouts. Fair enough.

So here’s how the week went:

Monday: Rest. I had no idea at this point that I was about to start training for a race. In the future, these will usually be cross-training days. On this particular Monday, I had my shoulder and back checked out at the doctor and got prescribed some rehab exercises for each.

Tuesday: Rest-ish. Shoulder & back rehab plus a 4-mile walk. My back was back to normal by the end of the day, which is what allowed me to get out the door on that walk.

Wednesday: Cross Training. I did two Betty Rocker workouts, one of which was a full-body tabata-style workout and the other focused specifically on the lower body.

Thursday: Tempo Run, 3 Miles. I wrote more about this workout the other day. In brief, my prescribed pace was 9:00-9:15, so I dialed in 9:05 on the treadmill and just stayed there. The distance for these runs doesn’t include warm-up or cool-down miles, so my total distance was a little over 4 miles for the day.

Friday: Cross Training. I did two Betty Rocker workouts plus a 4-mile walk. The BR workouts were one yoga (20 sun salutations) and one core, which was an interval workout that had both cardio and strength moves. I also did my shoulder rehab.

Saturday: Long Run, 6 Miles. The FIRST plan’s target pace for this workout, based on my race goal, is 9:45-10:00. I set up the virtual pacer on my new Garmin and went for it. It definitely felt like a bit more work than I thought it should, but nonetheless I totally nailed my pace at an average of 9:52. Splits were 10:06, 9:37, 9:58, 9:42, 9:56, 9:53. Totally happy with that.

Sunday: Rest + Shoulder Rehab. I had a couple of Betty Rocker workouts I could have done, but I had a tight, sore calf (surely from some of her previous stuff — her workouts tear UP my legs), so I rested instead. Monday (today), week two starts with cross training, so Betty and I will have our chance.

Looking ahead to the coming week, I’ll have my first real speed workout tomorrow (4x400s). I’d love to just head to the gym and dial in a pace on the treadmill, but I don’t think that’s what the authors of the training plan have in mind. I could go to a track, but…well…for some reason, I’m dreading that. We’ll see. Wish me luck!

Note on the header photo: this is my in-laws’ farm, seen from  the very long, straight road I ran on while visiting over the holidays. The runs were more fun than you’d think.

January Check-In: 10 Days In

As I write this post, it’s now January tenth, which means I’m one third of the way through my January healthy eating and exercise…thing. I don’t know what to call it, exactly. It’s not a diet, really. I think “reset” is a good word for it. My January Reset, then

When I last posted about it here, I had been going for two or three days and was just in that stage of getting re-accustomed to eating a normal amount of food — food that did not consist entirely of pies, cheeses, casseroles, candy, and alcohol. Things were rough.

Now, a week later, I am in the zone. I’ve gotten into a good rhythm with cooking and eating; I’ve started my half marathon training cycle (which has the benefit of adding a sense of purpose to my runs, which I already enjoy); I’m keeping up with the Betty Rocker workouts.

Highlights so far include:

  • Drinking kombucha as a replacement for an evening glass of wine
  • Not feeling even a teeny bit bad about spending money on Honeycrisp apples
  • Eating lots of sweet potatoes in various formats (baked, oven fries, roasted, etc.)
  • Putting a spoonful of peanut butter in my smoothies
  • Snacking on half an avocado with lime juice and salt
  • Running, always and forever

I do have a weight-loss goal — it’s not only about re-establishing good habits — but I don’t want to think about my weight every day. So, I’ve decided to weigh myself just once a week. I stepped on the scale this morning and was quite pleased to see a loss of 4 lbs since last Saturday. I assume a good bit of that is water weight coming off, but hopefully a pound or so of it is fat. Off to a pretty good start, I’d say! I assume I won’t see a big loss like that again, because at this point I’ve already reset myself enough that I’m no longer so bloated. Everything from here on out should be Actual Fat coming off — and I’m looking forward to that.

To everyone else out there who is using this month to get your focus back on healthier eating, exercise, weight loss, or anything of the kind, I hope you’re feeling great! High five to you, my friends!

Half Marathon Training Begins

The other day, as I was lying around on the couch bemoaning the state of my aching lower back, I happened to see a surprising announcement on Facebook that my town’s half marathon would be taking place in just nine weeks — I knew they’d changed the date from previous years, but I wasn’t aware it was coming up so soon. “Hmmmm,” I thought to myself. “I am currently injured. What better time to start training for a half marathon, am I right or am I right?!” So that’s what I’m doing.

If that sounds completely insane to you, let me first reassure you that the injury I had at the time is completely resolved two days later (I had just cranked my hamstrings up way too tight thanks to one Ms. Betty Rocker and was dealing with the repercussions on my SI joint — I just had to loosen things back up again and now I’m fine). Also, while I know people usually go into a half marathon with more than nine weeks of time to train, I am using a ten week plan, slightly modified, and I am starting with a solid base where an 8-mile long run is already comfortable to me. So. It should be totally fine. Right?

I realized today, as I was hitting the treadmill for my first official run of the training cycle, that it’s been a year and a half since the last half I ran. It’s been even longer than that since I trained to race a half. I think I’d like to race this one, if circumstances allow. That is to say, as long as I won’t be carrying a tiny teammate along with me. If I am, well, I’ll be happy to do whatever my body allows, even including stay home on race day. But if I can race it? Man oh man, I’d really love to.

I don’t mean I’ll be racing to break the tape, of course, but I would love to be able to PR. For me, that would mean a time faster than 2:06:xx. Do I have it in me? I’m not sure. I’m heavier and arguably less fit than I was three years ago, when I got that 2:06. But I’m more than willing to work on that.

Here’s what I’m trying — the FIRST half marathon training plan. It’s set up to have you run three times a week, each workout with a specific purpose (speed/trackwork, tempo runs, and long runs — no easy/”junk” miles), plus cross-training twice per week. I like this approach because every time I’ve tried training plans that have me running four or more times per week, I tend to injure myself. As much as I’d love to be that person who can run every day (or even, say five times per week — I wish!), my body just doesn’t like it. I think this training plan could really work well for me, so here’s what it’ll look like (with the caveat that I’m not sure how Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays will shake out; I may swap those around from week to week as needed. One will be Cross Training and the other two will be rest/PT):

  • Mondays: Cross Train (probably a spin class or bike trainer workout)
  • Tuesdays: Speed Work (sets of 400s, 800s, or 1600s, different each week)
  • Wednesdays: Rest Day (should do strength/PT exercises)
  • Thursdays: Tempo Run (hitting a target pace around or a bit faster than goal race pace, increasing distance each week)
  • Fridays: Cross Train Option (probably a spin class or bike trainer workout or another cardio-based gym class) or PT/Strength
  • Saturdays: Long Run (I start with a six miler, work my way to 12, then taper. Target pace is goal race pace plus one minute)
  • Sundays: Cross Train Option (probably a bike trainer workout) or PT/Strength

The only thing I feel this training plan is missing is a hill workout. I usually like to incorporate hill repeats into my training for a few reasons: it’s a great form of interval training; it builds leg strength and cardiovascular fitness; it makes you stronger and faster overall; and, well, my town does not have a single flat race. So, I’m currently thinking about ways to work hill repeats into my training plan. I could occasionally substitute them for either speed work or a tempo run, or I could simply plan to run hilly routes for my long runs. I’m not sure what I’ll do yet, so we’ll see.

Today was the first official run of the training cycle (yay!). It was a 3-mile tempo run, plus warm up and cool down (4-5 miles total). The target pace, according to the range I’m using for my race goal, was 9:00-9:15. I had to run on the treadmill due to weather, so I just warmed up, then dialed in a pace of 9:05 and went with it. It felt okay, but definitely not easy. I knew I was working the whole time (and so, I’m sure, did everyone around me). I suppose that is the goal of a tempo run — to run “comfortably hard” — and that it shouldn’t necessarily be easy. I just wonder whether I could run the same pace on the road for three miles. I suspect not. I hope this pace will be feeling more “comfortable” than “hard” by March.

So that’s that. I’ll update on my training progress week to week. I’m pretty excited! Anyone else training for a spring/late winter event?