“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Training Update: Weekly Chase

Week of July 23-29, 2012:
Current Weight: 162.6 (Down 2 lbs from previous week)
Total Lost to date: 58.2 lbs
Monday: ST with Adam, pushed myself.
Tuesday: 5 mile run in 55:55
Wednesday: Forced rest day, left quad issues
Thursday: 5 mile run in 59:32; ST with Adam
Friday: Planned rest day, 1 mile unlogged walk with the family
Saturday: 12.06 mile run with MiT in 2:22:06
Sunday: Giant Eagle 5K - recap - 28:55
Well, I lost the 2 lbs I gained during my week of funk.  No net loss, but I'll take it!  However, I was too lazy to pull out the tape measure and take measurements.  I think all of you will find a way to live without the excitement of my hip and chest measurements...some how.

Several bloggers are doing this thing called the Weekly Chase.  
Basically, each week the bloggers participating post at least one goal that they want to accomplish for the week.  It's another way to stay motivated, be accountable, and feel accomplished.  I like the idea, so I'm adding it to my training updates as a motivator.

Goals for this week:
Goal #1:  Get strength training in at least 2x.  My trainer is on vacation this week, but I don't want to use that as an excuse to ignore strength training. 
Goal #2: Pick up my bike from the shop and go for a ride!  I haven't ridden my bike all summer!
Goal #3: Get a Rainier workout in.  I've skipped these for the past two weeks, time to suck it up.

How'd this week go?  After my strength training session on Monday night, and the run on Tuesday morning, I developed a really strange left quad issue.  It felt like it was misfiring, and really freaked me out.  I took a bonus rest day on Wednesday, scratching my planned 4 mile run, to let it work itself out.  It was still not completely normal on Thursday, so we ran our 5 miles easy, and I took Friday off as originally planned.  I'm happy to report that it felt normal by Friday afternoon and didn't reappear during either my Saturday long run or the Sunday 5K race!  (And it still feels normal today!)
Me and more of my training buddies post-race.
You can never have too many (training buddies or medals)!
Overall, not an earth-shattering training weak, but not a terrible one either.  The sub-30 minute 5K definitely has me on an emotional high though!

Random Author's note: This didn't get posted last night, because I had a girls night with my non-running friends (yes, we're all allowed a quota of non-running friends, it's in the rules, I checked).  We had a great time even if my one margarita got me a little tipsy!  The alarm for my early run this morning was not my favorite sound as a result.


How was your training week?

Are you going to join the chase?

How many margaritas would it take to make you a little tipsy?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Giant Eagle 5K Recap

Race: Giant Eagle 5K
Distance:  3.1 miles
Date:  July 29, 2012, 7:15am start
Finish time:  28:55 - 9:18 min/mile average
What sets this race apart:  Part of the Giant Eagle Multisport Festival, part of the Bicentennial Fitness Challenge

This is the first 5K that I have ever raced!  As I have started getting better at this whole running thing, I was hoping to finish a 5K under 30 minutes.  Honestly though, I didn't think it would happen at this race for two reasons:  (1) I ran 12 miles as part of my marathon training, including hills, the day before; (2) To date, I had not turned in a run of this distance under a 10 min/mile average.  (I run my LSD runs with the 12 min/mile pace group).

The weather was clear and around 70 during the race, which is as perfect as we're going to get at the end of July. 
From left to right: Lynne, Me and Lindsey
Training buddies pre-race!  Lindsey ran the 10K!
This was a big event in that the Giant Eagle Multisport Festival is a big event.  Only 117 people finished the 5K though - so it was nice running in a slightly smaller race.  They had a 10K and a 2K fun run/walk starting that same morning, but the race officials did a great job in spacing all three out.  (10K started 5 minutes after the 5K, and the 2K started 5 minutes after that.) 

Lynne and I started the 5K together.  We agreed that we were going to race it, but also see how our legs felt because of the 12 mile run the day before.  I looked down during the 1st mile to see 9:25 on the Garmin pace and was a bit shocked.  I considered slowing down - but then we heard the grunting man.

If you've ever run a central Ohio race, you would know about the grunting man.  He loudly grunts HUH every couple hundreds of a second the entire race.  The. Entire. Race.

I told Lynne - "That guy CANNOT beat me."  How's that for motivation?  I know, I'm evil and will burn in hell or something of that nature.

After the first mile, Lynne needed to fall back, and after she wasn't there to talk to, I struggled mentally a bit.  (Can I really run sub-10 minute miles?)  Thank goodness for the grunting man and being competitive!  After the second mile where I was still under a 10 min/mile average, I started telling myself that it was only a mile left.  Only half a mile left, etc.  I'm happy to say that I passed several people in this last mile and wasn't passed by anyone after the first 1.5 miles.  Races are definitely more fun when you're passing instead of being passed!

I skipped both aid stations (which had water) because I actually wore my fuel belt for a 5K.  My excuse?  Somewhere to put my keys and the inability to drink water from a cup while running.  (I didn't want to walk through water stops).

I enjoyed the course, despite the concrete sign labeling the park we had to hop over to get to the finish line.  The finish line was up in a grassy area in McPherson Commons downtown.  The post-race refreshments were awesome.  Apples, bananas, orange slice, bagels, frozen greek yogurt bars and water bottles.  (I think they were so awesome because there were also a bunch of triathletes that were going to be finishing in the same spot!)

After grabbing an orange slice, bagel, water and my finisher's medal, I went over to the Bicentennial Fitness Challenge table and picked up my SECOND medal.  Yes, second medal.  It's like second breakfast, but better.   Anyone that ran the Capital City race and any Giant Eagle Event got  this medal for doing both.  I won't lie, it's the main reason I chose this 5K to race.  Both medals were AWESOME.  Large with cool ribbons.  
Lynne and I by the Finish Line with our 2 medals each!
By the numbers:
Mile 1: 9:10
Mile 2: 9:38
Mile 3: 9:18
last bit: 7:49
Total: 28:55 official time; 28th out of 117 and 2nd in F 30-34!

I cannot tell you how exciting it is to NOT be in the bottom half of the results for the first time ever!  I was on a race high for the rest of the day yesterday!  To add to the awesomeness?  I wasn't sore and did not injure myself by running faster.  Woohoo!

My favorite part though??  Staying around and cheering obnoxiously for my friends as they also crossed the finish line!
We rocked the 5K.  I love that Rachel is also wearing her husband's medals.
The race swag was pretty nice as well.  The shirt wasn't.   It is white with simple graphics and the sizing was crazy.  I got a medium, and it's still baggy.  All of my usual race shirts are L or XL.  Here's my swag bag (minus the not-so-great shirt - forgot to put it in for the picture)
Bag, bottle, visor - not bad!
All in all, great race!  I would definitely do that again, despite the packet pickup issues, but maybe that's the sub-30 excitement talking.  I guess that'll get me out of my funk!  :)

This one is my medal, right Mommy?

Have you ever received 2 medals at one race?

Did you race this weekend?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Caught in a Funk

So, I didn't do a training update this week.  I have read little to no blogs this week, and my only post has been a short acknowledgement of my Dad's Rainier summit achievement.
From my Dad's earlier 2nd attempt this month that was derailed by weather.
The lead guide was a photographer, and got this amazing shot.
You might think this means that I am super awesome and enjoying life so much that I don't have time for the internet.  If only I were so lucky.  :)  For some reason, I've been in a bit of a funk.  It started last Friday, after reading about the Colorado shootings, seeing backlash on some stay at home mommies, and dealing with organizing and planning for MOPS.  (Did I fail to mention that I got suckered into being the coordinator for my local MOPS group?)

All week long, I'd been on the edge of a funk.  I noticed I was stress eating for the first time since Avery was born.  Some examples: I sat down on the couch after Avery went to bed with a giant bag of gummy bears and a book.  I also took down an entire box of Cadbury ice cream bars within a couple days by myself. (and wow were they yummy!)  
If you try to take my fistful of cheese Mommy, we will have REAL issues.
Needless to say, at my weigh-in on Monday, I was not surprised to see that I'd gained 2 lbs.  I was not happy about it, but also, not surprised.

I've composed many blog posts in my head in the past week, and every time I actually thought about getting onto the computer, my inner lazy came out instead.
You can stay lazy mommy, I've got the dishes.
Now, I could blame it all on Avery's short attempt to drop a morning nap, or a million other things...but the bottom line is that I've just been in a funk.  I actually took 3 rest days last week.  (I'd only planned for 1 one of them, but I do think all of them were needed).  I also did not do any mountain training sessions at all last week, and I won't be this week either because I have a race on Sunday.

I've already taken an unplanned rest day this week as well, because my left quad started misfiring after my Tuesday morning run.  I'm blaming pushing too hard in Monday's strength training session until proven otherwise.  I've never had a quad injury before and it was making me really nervous.  It would misfire every time I tried to go down the stairs.  I honestly don't know how to describe it.  That is a similar motion to the isolated lunges I did Monday night, so I think I'll avoid them until it's completely healed.

Is it coincidence that last week was the first week where I really felt like I was training for a marathon?  In my large Saturday morning group, half of the people are training for half marathons and the other half for a full marathon. This past week was the first week where our mileage for the day was significantly different.  

Anyway, I'll stop rambling.  Just thought acknowledging being in a funk and being lazy would help me get out of it!  I am composing a purposeful running story and a review of Salt Stick capsules, so I'm not a complete waste of internet space.  ;)
Mommy, get it right.  Posting pictures of me is a privilege, not a waste!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Just got word.  The weather finally cooperated and my Dad reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning!!!

I'm so happy for him!

I promise to share pictures/stories when I hear more from him!
Ok Mommy, I'm starting my Rainier Training now!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Echo Location

My kid is a genius.  She uses echo location to figure out this whole walking-without-running-into-walls thing.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Training update: Focus change

Week of July 9-15, 2012:
Current Weight: 162.6 (Down 3.8 lbs from previous week!)
Total Lost to date: 58.2 lbs
Chest: 38.5" (Down 0.5" from previous measurement)
Hips: 43"  (No change)
Taken June 19th, at the start of Run With Jess's Lose a Marathon challenge.
I'll take another set at the end of the month.
Side view!
Last week, when I did not do a training update, I weighed in at 166.4,  a gain of 1.2 lbs from pre-vacation weigh-in.   Completely understandable that I had a gain on a CRUISE, despite how good I tried to be.  Thankfully, it all came off this week (and then some) with things being back to normal.
Ha, ha, ha!  I didn't think we DID normal in this household!
My week actually looks kind of crazy work-out wise - but it really wasn't, honest!  Almost every night (except Thursday and Sunday), we took a walk after dinner for some family time.  Amazing what you can do when you don't have to rush out for a workout before dark!  We walked 7.7 miles together this week.
It's about time you included me in the workouts lady!
I also returned to a normal running schedule - except for the fact that this week was a "fall-back" week in my marathon training schedule.  I ran 4 days this week: Tuesday, Wednesday,Thursday, and Saturday.  (A slight shift from normal because last week, my long run was on Sunday).  I ran 5, 3, 5 and 6 miles respectively.  The mid-week runs were around an 11:30 min/mile average pace and the Saturday run was a 12 min/mile LSD pace.

I also returned to strength training workouts with Adam with one on Thursday night.  My core had been neglected while on vacation, and thus, I spent Friday and Saturday a bit sore.  

Yesterday?  Apparently was Mandy-Tries-To-Kick-Her-Own-A$$ day.  Exercise wise, I started with a Core with Marie class at 10am.  This is a free (for members) class done by my running group at the local running store.  Since the local running store is walking distance from my house, I really felt like I needed to go at least once! Much tougher than I expected!!  A lot of holding planks while doing other things.  I admit, I gave myself an extra rest here and there - I could definitely tell my core had just recently been sore!  We also worked our butt and hammies a lot with a lot of bridge work.  45 minutes of core is a long time, or so it seemed.
Cry me a river lady!  I'm the one with real problems!
I came home to help with Avery until her afternoon nap.  During this time, I also re-loaded my mountain pack to 30 lbs.  (32 lbs when I added the full water bottle).  When Avery went to bed, I went to High banks park near my house and tried to kick my own a$$.   I hiked for 2 hours with boots and pack.  My goal was FASTER, especially since the pack was a little lighter.  During the hike, I decided my goal was 18 min/miles or less, regardless of the presence of hills.  My total average pace for 6.7 miles was 18:03 min/mile.  This despite the first mile being over 19 min/mile (warm-up mile) and the final miles being slower as I got way too desalinated.  Now, for a runner, 18 min/miles doesn't seem that fast, but for hiking, it's quick!
Try climbing through tables instead Mommy!
Big things I did different from previous Rainier training:
  • Pace.  My average moving pace was 17:30 min/mile.  Pre-Rainier, closer to 20 minute miles.
  • Water.  I only hydrated at 45 minute and 1 hour 20 min.  Before Rainier, I wore a hydration pack and drank whenever I wanted.  On Rainier, however, you can only hydrate at the breaks.  Because it was 91 degrees, and my hands were swollen, I allowed myself an early (45 minutes in) break for the first water stop.  At the 1:20 water stop, I was feeling pretty bad from sweating so much.  I drank the rest of the water and actually rested on a bench for a couple minutes.
  • I kept going when I felt bad from hydration.  I didn't push myself in a dangerous way (I slowed pace and watched for signs I was getting any worse), but I kept going even when I was worried I might puke up the water I just drank.  Mountain training is supposed to suck.
  • No mountain rest-step at all.  On the hills, I just powered through and kicked my own bootie.
When I left my house, it was cloudy.  I didn't check the weather, just packed water instead of Gatorade, thinking "it's overcast, and I'm not doing the steps".  Dumb!  Salt pill or Gatorade next time.  Lesson learned.

This was a tough workout - I felt sore and tired when I finished.  And, I beat myself up about the fact that THAT was what I should have been doing pre-Rainier.  Training is not the time for rest step or being efficient, it's about beating yourself up to make you stronger.
Blah, blah, blah...I'd rather read about animals.
Change in focus.  In general, until October 21st, my focus will be running.  That's the day I run my first FULL marathon.  Nonetheless, I want to do a mountain workout as cross-training once a week.  We'll see how feasible that is as my marathon mileage increases.
How was your training this week?

What are you currently focused on/training for?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

When Lazy Has It's Rewards

I'm not sure if I failed to set my alarm this morning or if I turned it off when it went off without really waking up.  All I do know is that around 5:45am, my husband woke me saying, "Mandy, aren't you running this morning?"  To get to our group meeting location at Antrim Park by our meeting time of 6am, I need to leave my house at 5:40am.  Damn.
This is Antrim Lake, from Tuesday's run
I texted Lynne telling her what happened and that I wouldn't make it in time.  I told her that I was still going to run, just at my house and closer to 6:30am.  She called me at 6:05am.  Apparently, everyone else in the group ALSO slept in (except poor Lynne) and had to cancel!  She wanted to know if I was still running and was willing to drive to my house to join me.  That's a true friend.  And shows that oversleeping can sometimes pay off.  I still got to do the group run, plus 45 minutes of extra sleep and no driving!  Triple bonus!

I decided to take us on a slightly different route than normal this morning and run along the Orange township path.  Little did we know that a section by the water tower was fenced off because of the storms.  (I'm assuming that's the reason).  We wound up cutting through the grass and running on the side of a semi-busy road to get to the other section of paved path.  At this point - we decided that meant we were being "wild" and went on a "trail run".  Shh! Don't tell me it doesn't really count!  Ha!

Because of this detour, I took us a different way back.  The new way took us past Orange township hall and it's pond - and the view was so lovely that I stopped to take some pictures with my phone.  You're welcome.
We even had some wildlife!
When I got home.  Avery was awake and ready for breakfast.  She has a nifty way of telling us when she's done eating now.  She does the sprinkler.  I kid you not!  I attempted to video-tape it this morning for your viewing pleasure.  Of course, the first one, that looked perfect did not record.  I made her sit there a bit longer to try one more time.  You're welcome again.
Last, but not least, I now have a desk in my living room to read all of your blogs and write my own from!   We had to take down the old display bookcase, because it was becoming dangerous with a walking Avery.  
I have new WALKING shoes!
This gave us the space for a small desk, that we purchased at Costco.  (I may have a slight addiction to Costco.)  I really like having a place for my computer and stuff!
Don't mind the cat in the excersaucer - I mentioned that she defies Darwin, right?

Be honest.  Have you ever done the sprinkler?

Do you like seeing pictures from other people's runs?  
I love seeing where people are actually running!

Are you a morning runner?  
I am in the summer!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Alaskan Fun

Warning - this post is picture heavy!  Proceed at your own risk!

As most of you know, we spent the week before our attempt at Rainier on an Alaskan cruise.  To spice things up, we flew into Anchorage and took a trip on the Alaskan Railroad to Seward, where we would get on the boat.  Prettiest views from a train ever.
Looking back on the train from the back of our car.
The mud flats.
The car my family was in.
Of course, Avery preferred playing with cousin Charlie and Gamma....or napping.  Kids these days!
How do you open this Gamma?
I'm dreaming of taking over the world.
In Seward, we walked around for a bit so that Avery could con Aunt Sharon into buying her a stuffed Alaskan Huskie dog, and then we boarded the boat.
And I will hug it, and hold it, and squeal with delight...
Our ship, Celebrity Millenium
Our first "port" was an at-sea day...but it wasn't a normal at-sea day because we cruised to the amazing Hubbard Glacier!
My whole family was impressed!  There were 26 of us on the boat!
One word.  Awesome.
Our next port was Juneau, Alaska.  The weather was GORGEOUS.  So gorgeous, some shops were closed!
In Juneau, Gamma, Aunt Heather and Aunt Jeanette were nice enough to watch Avery and her cousins....so that the rest of us could ride in a Helicopter out onto the Mendenhall Glacier for a hike with crampons.
Ready to get my hike on!
The gang
Aren't we cute?
What we were walking on and with...I'd be nice to anyone wearing these things!
In Skagway, Pops was nice enough to watch Avery so that Mark and I could go on a long excursion.  We took the White Pass Railway and then hiked out and onto the Laughton Glacier, a very different glacier from Mendenhall!
We were walking along this Glacier-fed river for a long time...yes, on those rocks.
Laughton Glacier
We're B.A. Two glaciers, two days.  Bam!
 Avery was so happy to have us all to herself when the ship was in Icy Straits, Alaska. 
I'm so happy I could spew oatmeal!
Although, Mommy and Daddy got a little cabin fever.  I even resorted to the evil treadmill so that I didn't kill anyone.  :)

We did get off the boat in Ketchikan, even though it was raining.  We took Avery into town and ran from shop to shop.  Somehow, in the process, she fell madly in love with a stuffed eagle.  At least it was on sale!
See Pops, the thing about Eagles is, they don't need glasses to see me.
The cruise ended in Vancouver, B.C.  My parents, Mark, Avery and I stayed in Vancouver for a couple days and really enjoyed it.  Stanley park is awesome!  I was able to get a perfect long run in along the waterfront.  After that, we drove from Vancouver to Washington for the Rainier climb (see: Humble Pie).

All in all, it was a fabulous trip.  However, I do not think I would recommend a cruise to anyone with an infant.  It was really hard to truly take advantage of all the typical "cruise things," and without my family, I don't know that it would have been fun.  Two hour dinners were an exercise in patience and ingenuity.  Avery got to try a LOT of new foods.  HA!
If you take my green beans, I'm gonna have to hurt you.
Many thanks to my awesome family for some incredible memories!!!  Extra thanks to those family members that helped out so that Mark and I could have some baby-free time as well!

Thanks for joining me on this picture-tour of my trip!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Humble Pie

A view from the start of our climb
Mountain: 1
Mandy's climb team: 0
Mandy: -1
Let's start at the end of the story.  No one on my climb team achieved the summit of Mt. Rainier.  8 out of the 9 members of my climb team made it to 12,800' before unstable snow conditions made them turn around and return to Camp Muir.  2 days before our climb, the upper mountain received 18" of snow.  Avalanche risk was high.  When they talked about hearing the snow crack beneath them...

Notice I said "them".  I did not make it that far.  In fact, I could not keep the pace set by the lead guide.  My team reached Camp Muir in 4.5 hours.  (Average is 5 hours, 15 minutes).  My team only took 3 breaks on the way there, skipping the typical first break.  At our first break, I was about 10 minutes behind the team.  The guide with me convinced me that it was more beneficial to the team if I did not continue with them.  Instead, I joined another RMI team descending from Camp Muir and returned to Base Camp.  In hindsight, after speaking with my parents who have achieved Camp Muir, my pace was not truly hurting my team, and I could have continued to push for Camp Muir.  

The bottom line though?  I was not in good enough condition to maintain their pace.  This means I was also not in good enough condition to achieve the summit.  On the upper mountain, we travel in rope teams for safety.  Up there, I would have endangered my team.
Me and my Dad at base camp
I learned a lot from this failure.  (and may or may not have shed tears over it).  I know what I need to change about my training.  The night the boys were still on the mountain, my stepmother and I spoke for a long time, and agreed that we are going to try again next year.  (She reached Camp Muir last year, but did not reach the summit).  
Mountaineering school taught me a lot.
You can also see that I tore my hard shell with my crampons.
Nothing a little duct tape can't fix!
Here is my list of training challenges and changes for the next year, hold me to them.

  1. Continue with the weight loss.  I will lose the remaining 20-25 lbs needed to achieve my goal weight.  This will make the climb significantly easier.  
  2. I will incorporate training sessions with a heavier pack (at least 50 lbs).  My pack on climb day felt as heavy as my heaviest pack trained with.  I want it to feel lighter.  :)
  3. I will train for longer sessions without a break.  It is entirely possible that my next guide will also skip the first break.  In addition, the section with Disappointment Cleaver is typically 1.5 hours.  I want to train for 2 hours minimum without a break.
  4. I will incorporate speed sessions with a pack.  Bottom line, I need to be faster.  Especially when training at the Dam Steps.  The down portion of those steps is a built in break, and I think that ultimately hurt me.  Thus, when on the steps, I need to go even faster.  I am considering using only every other step.  I will also do these year round.
  5. On my ski trip next spring, I will spend as many days climbing the ski slopes with my pack as I do skiing.
  6. I will spend the final 2 weeks pre-climb in Colorado.  I will also make another trip to Colorado to climb as many 14'ers as possible.  Although they are not as technical as Rainier and do not gain as much in elevation, it will still be good to practice at elevation.
  7. I will incorporate some time-specific training.  Where, I go to bed before the sun, and get up in the middle of the night to workout.
Now, that you've read all that - here are some pictures my husband took from the rest of the climb.

A view along the way to Camp Muir
Mark hanging out at a rest stop
My Dad at a rest stop
The cozy accommodations at Camp Muir
My Dad and Mark at Camp Muir
A view after sunrise
A view from the upper mountain - near sunrise
Returning home
So gorgeous!  I will see these in person next year.  When you miss a goal, it's important to learn from it, make necessary changes and move forward.  Don't stand still and cry about it!  (That's what I keep telling myself!)

I look forward to catching up on all that I missed while on my 2 week long trip.  I will also post stories and pictures from the Alaskan cruise in the next day or so.  Oh, and Avery is fabulous, and practically walking.
Put me down mom, I got a city to walk around!