Week Three – Recap (the good, bad and ugly!)

Miles Run: 24.5

Total Elevation Climbed:  1856 ft.

How many times I wanted to punch Tony:  12

This week was nothing short of ugly and amazing all at once.  Work failed to slow down (another 52 hours and some sleep deprivation) and I developed RAGING heartburn that started during Week 2 and lasted almost all the way through Week 3.  After a particularly painful run where Tony decided to get me frickin lost in Kingman Farm… hold on… let me set the stage….

11 degrees.  Windy.  Trail/field run.  Rippin’ heartburn.  Tony thinking he knew the way to this magical field.  Getting lost.  Backtracking.  Almost punching him 10 times.  Nearly puking 3 times.  4.75 miles later… emerged from the woods to get a call from my best friend saying she was engaged (love you ‘Manda!!!).  This run was epically disasterous (I don’t think those are words) and all I wanted was a damn helicopter to come get me.  I should mention we were not far from home on very non-technical terrain.  I still wanted to die. 

After toughing out the heartburn up to that point, I gave up and started a two week cycle of Prilosec.  I think the heartburn is partially female related, partially work stress related and partially training related.  Just a tough week.  To be proactive about it, I reached out to Kristina Folcik-Welts, a local ultrarunner.  She has been using Flora products for some time now with success.  Between talking to her and a rep from the company, I decided to try their Digestive Enzymes as well as their Choice Oil.  I will be getting them this week and will keep you posted on my progress.  I hate the fact that I am on the Prilosec right now, but it has worked it’s magic and I am no longer in misery.

Weekend Long Runs….. 

belknap me

We hit the Belknap Range on Saturday for some 16 degree (sub zero at the summits) fun.  We climbed Mt. Major then split off to do the Straighback Peaks.  My legs felt incredibly strong, my gut was great and my new pants (round 2) did not fall down!!!  I will review these pants soon.  They are windblock running pants from Road Runner.  Anyway…. climbs were fantastic, I had tons of energy (leaping through snow drifts like a snow nymph) and had a blast.  6.3 miles, 3 peaks and about 1500 feet of climb.

signs

Our Sunday long run was supposed to be two laps at Northwood State Park.  This would have been 10 miles on the trail.  The first lap absolutely beat me down.  The snow was not as well packed as Belknap so my calves and ankles took a beating.  Tony and Bill were so kind to walk it out with me as needed.  It was beautiful in the fields despite having to break trail:

nalmc

We finished lap one and I told Tony I wanted to go home and get the last miles on the road.  He thought I was a crazy and went along with it.  These were easily the hardest four miles, mentally, I have had in quite some time.  My heart rate was out of control and I just couldn’t find my rhythm.  But… we got it done.  And some gem of a pep talk came out of it.  During a particularly dark moment, I asked Tony if I was ever going to get strong.  Our conversation and subsequent text conversation revealed this (I left it unedited):

so you made a comment today about wondering when you were going to get strong

I know you know this but I’m going to re-enforce it. I think you secretly like when I tell you how strong you are. hehe

We started out at about 80% half-marathon prepared. This plan is for those who had just finished a marathon about a month prior.

Look back at the other back to back weekends. This past weekend you hiked and ran Mt major and straight back. This is only a few miles short of the franconia loop. It was technical, slippery and cold. You finished STRONG. 6 miles up and down some very steep stuff.

and we were ready for more.

Today you backed that with a 5.2 mile hike/run and then another 4 miles on the road.

16 miles for this weekend with about 2k of elevation. If not more. Last weekend was just saddleback and a road/trail run ..much less technical and much less elevation.

SO the answer to your question again is

You are getting stronger. More than you realize.

 It’s time for me to get over getting upset about not meeting the ridiculous training goals in my head and stick to the fundamentals of WHY I am doing this.  I am doing this for fun.  To push myself beyond my limits.  To be a better person.  To quell the monster in my head.  And most of all….. because it is my dream.  I am not saying I won’t slip up again, but I need to remember how far I have come.  Two years ago, I was running 5 miles a week and dealing with all sorts of leg pain that finally took PT and hard work to over come.  Today, I am blasting down mountains on spikes and laughing the whole way.  My biggest issue is trying not to pee my pants when laugh hysterically.  That my friends is happiness.

Week Two – Recap

Finally got some snow!

Finally got some snow!

Miles Run: 20.2

Total Elevation Gain: 1501 ft.

Total Falls: 5 

Here is an excerpt from Tony’s Facebook post about our Saturday run:

At any point during this 3 hour trek today you would have seen the following:

-Heather’s new pants falling off.
-Tony standing shin deep in water
-Heather sprinting up FU hill which was a sheet of ice. 
-Heather pointing and laughing at Tony while he slid 20feet down a rock face
-Heather ignoring Tony and sliding down Saddleback road on her ass, then standing…and then standing while touching her toes..don’t ask I have no idea how she stayed upright.
-That was followed by heather crouched over laughing and crying…A lot..
-A moment of silence for the lady in Virginia that was killed by a drunk driver while running.  
-Followed by Heather making weird noises mimicking the guy wires at the top of saddleback.
-Both of us coming out of the woods yelling “I just made yellow snow!” at the same time.
-Heathers pants falling off again and causing her to fall.
-and she fell again
– now we are on fall number 4 ….
-Tony asking Heather to hand him the sharp spikes she had in her hands since she refused to put them on….it was mostly for my safety.
-She refused.
-Not getting lost …for once. (ok we got lost once but it wasn’t too bad)
-Finding a big lake in the middle of the trail
-Tony falling face first after getting off the rough trail..refusing to get up and crawling 100 yards. My snack pocket was full of snow.
-Cramps…Cramps…more cramps.
-Way too much anatomy talk.
-Tony and Heather counting days out to May to see if Heather will be cramping during Pineland….we are both bad at math..
-Heathers epic farmers blow to end the run. 
-Tony being polite and not hi-fiving her with the snot soaked glove on his right hand.

Dunkin donuts. 40 min slow car ride home from Northwood..followed by lunch with lise..Not a bad run!

I had a miserable set of runs this weekend.  And despite that, I still managed to laugh my ass off.  

fall

The ice under the snow was just plain insane.  And here is the problem.  I started our Saturday run in my new microspikes:

spikes

The spikes are fantastic on ICE but suck big time on wet sticky snow.  Our lovely meteorologists said we would get 1-3 inches of snow.  They lied, we got about 8 inches!  And due to being in the dense woods, Tony and I had no idea how hard it was actually snowing.  So… wet, sticky snow lead to huge snowballs under my feet on the chains and made it nearly impossible to run.  MISERABLE.  Combine that with nasty nasty cramps (thanks lady time)

lady

Score is: Lady time – 1. Heather – 0.

incredible heartburn for the entire 7.75 miles and the ice, I wanted to quit.  I actually fell at one point and just started laughing and crying all at the same time.  At the end of the run though, I was alright with the effort and so glad we got it done, especially since we dedicated it to Meg’s Miles.  Plus we actually knocked out Saddleback Mountain (just over 1,000 ft of elevation)!

Sunday’s run was slightly better.  We got out onto the trails as the snow ended and skipped the spikes this time.  Our run was 7 miles, with about 3 of that on pavement.  No heartburn for this run, no lady cramps but some very minor IBS cramps.  I got it done though!  14 miles for the weekend.  I missed two midweek runs due to work, but my legs felt strong.  I swear the universe was against me this week, throwing long hours, a head cold, a cat emergency (he is OK, but still at the vet with a UTI issue… yeah brought him in before Sunday’s run), a mystery snow storm, nasty heartburn, PMS and IBS… but despite it all, I got it done and feel really strong and ready for more.  And another nap.  But it’s Monday, so here we go again!!!

Week 2 – bombed

Image

I had to know it was going to happen.  Last week went SO well, of course this week was going to bomb badly!  I should have gotten two runs in by now, three by the of today and then resting for the weekend.   I have one 4 miler under my belt (plus an awesome cross-fit session… think a WOD that includes 9 exercises, each being 54 reps… including 54 burpees) but that is it!  I got stuck on a 16 hour shift due to a late afternoon/evening hospital transfer and didn’t get in bed until 1AM.  I am already scheduled for a double at work today.  I am trying so hard to take it in stride.  I love my job, so that helps.  However, each time I miss a workout, my anxiety spikes.  I keep sending messages in caps to Tony, screaming about not being in shape for Pineland.  I am being an idiot…. he reminds me.  My base is great.  I am getting stronger by the day… did I mention I have a sore throat?  That could be the four hours of sleep I got last night.  

Sitting in front of my bright light energy lamp that I used when I worked mids and gulping coffee.  Green smoothie up next before I start this day.  Fingers crossed I can get a damn run in tomorrow!  If not… then NO ONE IS STOPPING ME THIS WEEKEND!

Week One – Recap

Miles Run:  24.7

Total Elevation Gain:  1637 feet

I am actually very surprised at how well this week went.  I also realize not every week will work out even close to this!  I got in every workout without a single work interruption and they all went smoothly.  OK, I lie.  Yesterday’s run was sucky and hysterical all at once.  In a single photo recap of my 5.5 miler at Pawtuckaway:

ice

Holy shit.  Yeah, that was the last half mile climb to the fire tower.  It was on and off raining and icing the night before and still drizzling during the run.  Two weeks ago, Tony and I had beautiful snowy trails for this run.  On this day, it was pure ice.  I used my Yak Trax (run version…. more on that later) as did most of the group.  Craig was the only one in actual microspikes and he powered both up and down the ice.  As we got to the ascent, I told Bill and Craig to go ahead.  Katie and Steve were a bit behind me.  This left me alone for the duration of the climb.  I picked my way along, trying to remain positive and then my head just took over.  I became irrationally angry at mother nature.  I actually stopped and started yelling out loud.  I used some very unkind words for her.  I told her it was bullshit that it was icing and ruining my snow during the winter I chose to train for a 50K.  I LOVE training in the snow.  It makes me so happy.  But this is just SHIT.  In addition to being pissed, the arches of my feet hurt so bad.  I don’t usually have foot problems but they both hurt equally bad.  I am assuming it was from clenching my feet over all the ice and nasty rutted snow.  I stopped for a minute or two and finally collected my anger and started to power ahead.  I made it to the completely socked in summit and met Craig and Bill.  I instantly felt better.  Despite no view, I had made it to the top.  Katie and Steve (along with Izzy Pup) joined us and we took a few minutes to chat before heading down.  Down was way easier, the pain in my feet subsided and while it was tricky to make it down that ice, we laughed uncontrollably at times over the stupidity of it all.  Thank you friends for getting me through that run!  And run it was…. I would say we ran 70% of that.  And it was NASTY.

I had a significantly better 8 miler today… the sun and 40+ degree temps helped significantly:

skybay

Katie and Tony joined me on the half dirt road, half pavement loop:

partners

Best running pals ever!  I got flipped off after I finished my pee break behind a stone wall.  Oh the joys of running!  This run felt great overall.  Legs were strong, no foot pain at all and that pesky hip is finally getting better!  I had tailwind in my pack and one Honey Stinger Waffle along the way.

This week was only marred by some significant belly issues that go back to Tuesday afternoon.  Not to be gross, but I have been spending every day on the toilet.  I was thinking hormones, but I am actually more inclined to believe I have a bug of some sort.  My energy level is good, I have plenty of appetite, but I am very unsettled.  VERY annoying.  There is a stomach bug going around, so going to keep an eye on this.  I have a rest day tomorrow (yoga) and won’t be back to running until Tuesday AM.  Here is hoping I settle before then!  Only good news is it doesn’t effect me at all when I do run.  Thankful for that!

Finally…. on the microspike front.  This is a long overdue purchase!  I picked up a set of Kahtoola Microspikes at EMS this morning.  I am done slipping.  Irunfar reviewed these and loved them for running so here is hoping to a slip free winter.  Seems as if these nasty weather patterns are refusing to bring back the big snow I had hoped for so I plan on making the best of it.

Overall…. training felt great.  So, now onto week 2 and rolling with the punches, both work related and personally!  I have vowed to be a better wife when it comes to home cooked meals… $165.00 at the grocery store today should help with that.  I will post what I test too!  Standby for recipes!

Tired but feeling good!

Week 1 is almost done, all I have left is my “long runs.”  This plan is set to run through the end of May is fairly aggressive.  My running partner/coach failed to let me know it was designed for someone in Marathon condition.  HAHAHAHA!  That being said, we are shaving where needed, about 10% off runs.  I have done the following:

Monday:  Massage and chiro…. also known as a reset!  Desperately needed and way overdue.  My SI joint on my right side has been bugging me so massage therapist worked on it and then gave me some pointers on how to roll it better.  I also got instructions to stick an ice pack down my pants regularly!

Tuesday:  5AM run… it was -6 with wind!  Holy crap.  Katie and Steve joined Tony and I.

us

We completed 3.7 miles on the snowmobile trails.  Upper body sore from massage, but hip felt good.  Yaks and headlamps were key!  I followed this up with a crossfit session in the evening.

Wednesday:  4.1 miles (49 minutes) on pavement.  Ran solo with my tunes, felt good.  Hip feels strong.

Thursday:  Steve and I got very lost at Kingman Farm.  3.4 miles, 47 minutes.  Beautiful night sky:

kingman

This run consisted of ice skating, bushwacking and postholing.  And lots of laughing.  I was so tired when we were done.

I feel really good today, just tired and so ready to be done with this work week.  Hip feels good (best it has in months) and hamstrings are tight so more rolling is in order for tonight.  I have been getting a lot of sleep (at times a bit restless), have been incredibly hungry so consuming calories like a pig and in general feel ready for more.  We have somewhere between 10-15 miles on tap for the weekend so I will recap when we are done!

Here we go!

Pineland 25K (2013)

Pineland 25K (2013)

The time has come!  Tomorrow I officially start down the path to my first ultra (again!).  I was sidelined in 2013 but I am entering 2014 stronger than ever and well rested!  I am pumped to start training and am looking forward to running in the potential mudfest for 32 miles on May 25th.  I even added a countdown to my blog 🙂

The last few months have been spent just running for fun and incorporating cross training…

Jenga... Sharpfit style

Jenga… Sharpfit style

sharpfit

I am officially serious about total body (especially core) strength and have been doing strength and weight work for about 6 weeks now.  I am either attending Sharpfit (cross fit sessions) or Body Pump and/or Body Combat at my gym.  I can already feel myself getting stronger and leaner and want to keep it up!  I am thinner, leaner and stronger than I have been in almost 14 years and I am officially down to my academy entry weight and arguably the strongest I have been in my entire life.  I plan on not letting go of that!

Last weekend, we ran Pawtuckaway and it was AMAZING!

woods trailsnow ice south

Little bit of ice didn’t stop us (as usual!).  I love that we live so close to some fun little summits and can make a day trip of our the Whites.  So lucky to live where we do.

So week one will look a little like this:

Monday: 5AM 45 minute run (Massage Monday afternoon)

Tuesday: Sharpfit

Wednesday: 5AM 55 minute run

Thursday: 4PM 45 minute run

Friday: Rest/Yoga (Jillian Michaels DVD on the way)

Saturday: Mt. Major or Pawtuckaway Run (approximately 5 miles)

Sunday: Sweet Trail (approximately 8 miles)

Look for updates as each week progresses!!!  Thanks for following along on my adventure…