Another blog? And my thoughts on Strava…

I decided to dedicate another blog to satisfy my love of cooking/baking, separate from this blog…I forgot how “tough” it was starting this blog a couple years ago. Below is a link. It is a work in progress–of course, the wonderful weather has delayed my work on the blog, as my priorities revolve around outdoor activities rather than blogging ūüôā Feel free to check it out!

That (Vegan) Girl in Sneakers

Views from Overlook Mountain, taken last week on a hike

Views from Overlook Mountain, taken last week on a hike

For the past couple months or so, probably starting February when I started running more in preparation for the marathon, I began using Map My Run to follow my progress. I do have a very expensive Garmin watch and heart rate monitor, but do I use the $350 watch? Nope. The watch still works though…Maybe I’ll start wearing it again now that I feel guilty about never using such an expensive watch. Anyway, Map My Run is a great way to log your progress–the app is free, which is also awesome. However, many of my biker/runner friends use Strava. I used this app maybe twice last year, then deleted it…Not really sure why I deleted it. If you are unfamiliar with Strava (which, I doubt you are if you are up to date on cycling apps), it is basically the same thing as Map My Run. However, there are segments where you can actually “race” other riders (or runners). These segments are usually hills, but can also be segments, like a long, flat road that people use for time trials, etc. The fastest people are called “Queen” or King.” The program then places you according to your time compared to other peoples times. You can also analyze your performance online.

A couple weeks ago, I downloaded the app again. Let me tell you, I think I have actually seen a difference in my cycling. That, or I’m actually focusing more on my rides and pushing myself harder. Perhaps it is the latter. For the first time in a couple years, on my ride, I didn’t simply say (to myself), “Ack, it’s a hill. I’ll go slow.” Nope. My new mantra while going up hills is “Power up!” Pushing myself has definitely improved my tolerance to pain and burning thighs…As well as lead to me beating my “nemesis” female cyclists (road and mountain) whom I have never met.

Strava can also be used for runs…I’m pretty sure it was the reason for one of the fastest 5miles I have ever done.

View of sunset behind the Catskill Mountains

View of sunset behind the Catskill Mountains

I need to warn you, though. It is not always reliable, as I found out today after my run (trying to beat the time I managed for the “fastest 5” mentioned above), when it stopped recording for some reason mid run–and I swear I made a new PB on that run. Grrr! Frustrating! Ohh well, I guess it simply means I will have to do the run again.

Another possible negative regarding the program is it hinders your ability to “go with the flow” if something happens mid run (or mid ride). For example, I ran into an acquaintance on a run once, and had to stop to say hi. I feel it would have been rather impolite to run past her saying, “Sorry, can’t stop–I’m Strava-ing now.”

What are your thoughts on Strava? Is there another app or program you use to keep track of rides or workouts?

 

 

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Ramblings of a Twenty Something Year Old

If you haven’t noticed, there is a pattern to this blog, of which I do a race-recap after each race: reflections on what went well and what I could have done more to prepare for races.

Once again, I am going to focus on training and preparation, or in my case, lack there-of.

I just finished the Shires of Vermont Marathon this Sunday (perhaps you remember when I signed up for it a couple months ago). Kevin and I made a weekend trip out of it. He truly deserves a gold medal for his support in all my crazy sports endevours.

Indulging in mandatory hydration of team support at Madison Ales Brewery

Indulging in mandatory hydration of team support at Madison Ales Brewery

We stayed at the Four Chimneys Inn, a bed and breakfast less than a mile from the race start in Old Bennington. If you are ever in the area, you must stay there. The Inn keeper, Lynn, greeted us and made special arrangements so that I could eat breakfast early the day of the race. (Marathon man actually stayed there too, and ate breakfast next to us). It is within walking distance to downtown Bennington, as well as the Bennington Monument and Robert Frosts grave.

View of the Monument from behind the Inn

View of the Monument from behind the Inn

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Our room

Our room

Birthday running ribbon

Birthday running ribbon

At the start

At the start

I was not completely unprepared for this one–atleast I did some running in advance. At the half way point, when my legs began to hurt, I remember thinking to myself, “Man, it would have been good to get some more long runs in.”¬†The longest “long run” I did in preparation for this event was a 14miler, back in the middle of April.

Where's Molly?

Where’s Molly?

At mile 18, when uncomfortable turned into pain, all I kept thinking about was the finish.

Honestly, once I passed the start, all I thought about was said finish, 26.2 miles away.

Super happy to see Kev

Super happy to see Kev

My not-too-shabby pace increased mile by mile until, at about mile 20, the running turned into a painful-attempt-to-run, then walk, back to painful-attempt-to-run. At that point, I turned off my iPod (there is just so much of Daft Punk’s TRON¬†soundtrack one can listen to before they go mentally insane) and just focused on not keeling over.

The course, however, was very nice– only a few stretches were along roads with traffic. The rest were on country roads–some gravel/dirt roads. Too my surprise, it was a hilly course as well.

Having completed the Boston Marathon in 2008, I am aware of hilly marathons. The exception in that case was I was regularly running up Heartbreak Hill (easy when you go to school at Boston College). I never looked at the course elevation of this race. For future races, I think that is something I will plan on doing, to mentally “prepare” myself.

There were plenty of water stops, and two stops along the way had gels. We all know my thoughts on Gu (if you don’t, you can read about it here), and this race was an exception to my “no-gu-for-you” rule. I managed two gels during the race, and used them as a distraction more than anything else, as I knew well that no amount of caffeinated artificial gel would miraculously save my legs and make the pain dissapear. At mile 13, I consumed my first, which wasn’t horrific (A mocha flavored Cliff Bar gel). I decided to consume it slowly, over two miles, which helped pass the time. My second gel was over two miles as well, at around mile 20.

Yes, I stopped mid race to take a picture.

Yes, I stopped mid race to take a picture.

It was suprising to have Kevin meet me at different points throughout the race, which ended up giving me a bit of a second/third/fourth wind, considering the fact I was not expecting him to meet me anywhere along the course except for the end.

Finally, after what seemed like the longest half-mile of my life, the finish line was infront of me. No matter what pain you feel, you cannot walk across a finish line. (Well, you can, I just try not to). A nice touch to the small marathon was that as you finished, the MC announced your name and the town you were from. Time: 4:41. I cannot complain about my finishing time, as my goal was to simply finish the race in about five hours.

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Voila. Marathon completed. On the day I turned 27.

Eeeek so old!

Eeeek so old!

The finish had fresh Battenkill Creamery Chocolate milk, which I devoured, despite my feelings towards dairy milk, and, it was the most amazing chocolate milk I have ever tasted. (Infact, this chocolate milk is given to participants of the Tour of Battenkill).

The best part of the Shires of Vermont Marathon, other than being on the celebration of my birth, are the finishers medals. They were all made by a local potter. Definitely more meaningful than mass made bronze medals (although, those are always pretty sweet).

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The weather held up for the duration of the race–some of the misting/showers actually felt good mid race. After, though, it rained the rest of the day. So Kevin and I bummed around Manchester until a celebratory birthday dinner–an early bird special at the Seasons restarurant in Manchester. I had the most amazing veggie burger I have ever had in my life–even Kevin, an omnivore, agreed it was amazing.

Exhausted, achy, and feeling amazing

Exhausted, achy, and feeling amazing

Nothing beats a birthday sundae

Nothing beats a birthday sundae

The next morning, after enjoying fantastic homemade breakfasts, we explored a little more of Old Bennington before heading back to Rhinebeck.

Yummy yummy in my tummy

Yummy yummy in my tummy

Lilac love

Lilac love

For someone used to doing some sort of physical activity every day, “muscle recovery” and “complete rest days” are hard. With such nice weather awaiting our return, I decided to rest my “running muscles” and use my mountain bike muscles on a leisurely paced ride at Ferncliff. Plus, Kevin took a vacation day, so I could not have it go to waste!

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Channeling my inner beaver. Hard to imagine I turned 27, right?

Channeling my inner beaver. Hard to imagine I turned 27, right?

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Kevin playing with his newest bicycle project...Sporting the new Fats in the Cats jersey

Kevin playing with his newest bicycle project…Sporting the new Fats in the Cats jersey

After the marathon, I announed my accomplishment to my mother over the phone. She said something which really struck home: “Moll, imagine how you’d do if you actually¬†trained.”

Hmm. Interesting. Actually train…

We’ll see how that goes.

ūüėČ

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This post is dedicated to my biggest supporter, endless motivator, chauffeur, personal race photographer, top rated at “I know how to annoy Molly,” and kick-ass best friend, Kevin.

(And also my folks…If it wasn’t for them, I would not be here today.Literally.)

This Spring I’ve Been…

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Running early in the morning.

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Strolling in the late afternoon.

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Planting.

Who said women can't build walls? Before and after

Who said women can’t build walls? Before and after

Repairing stone walls.

A new daffodil species?

A new daffodil species?

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Taking in spring beauty.

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Soaking up some vitamin D with furry friends.

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Exploring local trails.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

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Celebrating holidays.

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Creating messes in the kitchen.

Homemade peanut butter- never buying PB again

Homemade peanut butter- never buying PB again

Juicin' up a storm

Juicin’ up a storm

Making things from scratch.

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Sporting spring stripes.

Bagpipes, Bagpipes, Playing Loud and Clear

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It’s that time again! Duathlon season in the Hudson Valley (semi) officially started this past weekend in West Hurley with the Trooper Duathlon, a duathlon dedicated to three New York State Troopers who lost their lives in the line of fire. It is different than other New York State Triathlon series event because it is a time of reflection of those who perished, and a time to really reflect on how fragile life is. Before I begin, I would like to thank all of you New York State Troopers, Police, and other emergency responders for everything you do. You are the reason we are safe today, and also a big reason to why I drive my car within 5 miles per hour of the speed limit.

After competing in the duathlon as a team last year, and wanting to continue the legacy of the Valley Girls, at first I was on a quest to find a female I know in the Hudson Valley area who would enjoy being on the team with me. Little did I know, there are not that many people I am aquainted with who were willing or able to do this race. (My teammate from last year was out of town).

Then I thought about Kevin’s sister, Meg, who is a Collegiate Cross Country coach. Tada! A runner! When asked if she would do it with me, she said yes!

Now, all you internet readers, remember how a couple posts ago I said that Kevin had running in his genes? Running IS in his family. This girl is a running beast–in the positive sense of beast. You immediately know this when she is off doing her stretching.

Hardcore warm up and stretching

Hardcore warm up and stretching

She finished the North Face Endurance Challenge 50mile race last year, which is, like the name, an endurance challenge. During her college running career, she ran in the NCAA Championships, and awarded a bunch of awesome titles, that you can read about here.  Thank you, Vassar Athletics webpage for allowing me to stalk info on your coaches. 

My stretching...Not sure what zone I am in.

My stretching…Not sure what zone I am in.

Meg finished both two mile segments in about 13minutes each.

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Having competed in this race twice before (last year with S.Z.B. and in 2011 as a one-woman team ), I failed to remember how absolutely horrible Dug Hill Road is. If you are unfamiliar with this road in West Hurley, thank your lucky stars, because unless you have a vehicle, or are being towed by something, you do not want to know it.

Starting the bike

Face of determination…starting the bike

It is basically 3 1/2 miles of uphill. The first three miles are straight uphill. Okay, okay, the first couple hundred feet are a rolling incline. But then it goes up. And up. Even when you think you are at the top, it is still rolling in an upward direction. The first eleven miles are fine, and you can even build speed, boosting self confidence. On numerous occasions, as my lungs flamed (why? who knows), I found myself thinking, “Man, this is a piece of cake.” Come Dug Hill, all positive self-talk plummets. Inbetween labored breathing come grunts and groans. And bless John McGovern, who played his bagpipes half way up the hill. But, really?¬†I love bagpipes, but in the middle of Dug Hill, when I am already spewing every curse word know to man, you decide to play the bagpipes? Who, who, who¬†enjoys hearing bagpipes when they are near death trudging up a goddamn hill? It’s as if tricking you to think you are at the end of the bike course, when you still have miles to go.* We are in West Hurley, not riding into a Scottish sunset with the theme of Braveheart in the background.

...And ending the bike, completely oblivious to troopers cheering me on

Face of defeat by the hill, completely oblivious to troopers cheering me on

Hence, I forced myself to the finish, bronchospasming, with remenants of my breakfast inching up my throat. I felt that no rides this season have helped prepare me for this. To be honest, I’ve spent more time running this year than years in the past when biking has taken priority. Marathon “preparation,” i.e. running, has a hold of me, full grip.¬†The only thing keeping me from walking up Dug Hill was knowing an athlete was waiting for me, so that she could start her last leg of the race. To my surprise, I beat my best time on the hill by one minute.

Meg (pink) looking strong

Meg (pink) looking strong

Meg finishing strong...And as it looks, me ducking out of the photo to hurl

Meg finishing strong…(I’m not hurling to the side, I swear!)

Another differing aspect of the race than other races I have been to is the post-race food spread. A BBQ, salads, sweet foods, beverages…If I was not still feeling ill from the ride, I probably would have indulged in the amazing food.

Lo and behold, we took first place for the Women’s Relay Team. The Hudson Valley Girls did it again! (S.Z.B, you were missed)

First place Women's Relay Team

First place Women’s Relay Team

A fellow mountain biker and incredible athlete asked me how my training was for the marathon, and if I felt prepared. I’m pretty sure I just stared at her, as my “training” for this marathon (in less than two weeks, mind you) has encompassed six mile runs and a couple 13 milers. She said my training should be “winding down” now…And, I guess if the last time I ran longer than six miles was the half marathon in April, then, yes, my training is winding down. To be fair, I have developed an even greater love of mountain biking, and so on days off, I’ve wanted to save leg strength for rides as well.

Training

Basically, my training for the past couple weeks can be seen below, in the exact same sequence:

Wake up, inhale coffee, catch up on The Real Housewives, or other Hulu classics (What WAS Tamara thinking inviting Vicki to her gym?

Go for a run…Attempt to Strava the run, give up on Strava, and use Map My Run instead

Drink more coffee–usually iced, usually black

Go for a mountain bike ride, or road ride (I need to start spending more time on the road, as it is duathlon season)

Attempt to blog, but end up browsing potential races instead, then realize I have loads of errands to do

Prepare dinner

Meet up with Kevin and go for mountain bike ride #2 or walk (depending on my legs)

Eat, sleep,work

One would think that these upcoming races will be pieces of gluten-free cake, right?

Well, we will see….That is, if I survive this marathon.

*It was a nice touch, though. And, John McGovern is a triathlete wonder. In retrospect, it was pleasant having my attention diverted from the pain I was in.

Run On

This past weekend, Kevin and I headed north for a ‘weekend get-away.’ It was planned around the Lake George Half Marathon and 5k, in which we participated. As it was Kevin’s first time to the lake, and my first time back in over thirteen years, we decided to do some sight seeing the day before the race.

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Even though our destination was Lake George village, I had to take a detour to Bolton Landing, to visit “The Camp,” a lakefront house where I spent summers, and some winters, growing up. It was all too familiar, and yet eerily unfamiliar, as we navigated to the house. Kevin was a little nervous and sat in the drivers seat as I enthusiastically trespassed on someone else’s property to get a glimpse of childhood summers of the past. Indeed, the property was just like I remembered… Memories of family, holidays, swimming, skiing, boating (I could go on) flooded back as I showed Kevin around…The room where I’d sleep, where we would fish off the dock, where my grandmother did her pottery…Such joyous, warm memories.

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We ventured into Bolton Landing, which brought back it’s own share of memories: the Ben and Jerry’s we’d go to on occasion, and the “Indian Tepee Store” (not the most politically correct name of a store, I must say) which we’d visit whenever ¬†at the Camp. A store I remembered being full of amazing handcrafted arts, games, amazing jewelery…A store, when revisiting it thirteen years later, I realized was a slightly upscale tourist shop filled with “Made in China” gifts, cheap jewelry, and, basically, junk (why my parents allowed us to spend our savings on items from this shop I will never know). IMG_2462

After stopping at Bolton Bagels for a bite, we ventured down to Lake George, a village rarely visited when I was a child. And now I know why we never went there when we were young…What was once a town filled with history has become a tourist trap, with (more) junk filled, seasonal stores than are needed. Really, how many “purse” stores does a town need?¬†Not to mention, not ONE of the six ice cream shops within a mile radius were open.

We explored the village by foot after checking into our hotel, which, to our surprise, was actually very pleasant with amazing lake views.

We did some sunbathing,

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And spied in windows of lakefront houses.

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We ended the day by engaging in pre-race hydration of locally crafted brews (and water, of course).

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Race Day

Sunday morning brought sunshine but weather slightly chiller than we had planned, however I cannot complain, as it was perfect weather for running. Here is a breakdown of what happened:

Lake George at dawn

Lake George at dawn

There was some last-minute weather checking,

Last minute check on the weather

And potassium filled breakfasts.

IMG_2472During the race, I rocked serious compression socks …

Compression: my best friend

…And stopped at mile 8 to take photos of the church my parents were married in…At least where I think¬†they were married.

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Personal records were broken*…

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…And mandatory post-race photos were taken.

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…Including artsy shots…

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…And dorky shots…

First place for awkward/frozen photo

First place for frozen dorkiness

Things the Lake George Half taught me:

1. Do not rely on special map-logging, high-tech gadgets or apps.They will let you down. Timex $30 watch, thanks for always being there for me.

2. Do not take off your iPod and fiddle with Pandora whilst running. It is dangerous, and the focus away from running will lead you straight into a yellow barrier cone. Literally. I’m glad I could bring laughter to runners behind me.

3. It is possible to run your fastest time without being a slave to speed-based training runs. Although, fartleks could have helped.

4. It’s also possible to do the above after waiting in line for a portajohn. Something I have never had to do mid-race…Germaphobe in me had a MAJOR meltdown.¬†

5. It’s always good to have an idea of the course elevation, i.e. if it is hilly or not. One would think the fact the race was in the Adirondack mountains would have given me a hint as to the extent of its elevation changes.

6. In the words of Moby, Run On

*This was Kevin’s second 5k race ever. He’s a natural, and I am so proud of him. Perhaps this has sparked the start of his running career??

It’s a Beautiful Day

Mother Earth decided to skip spring and head straight into summer weather. Two days ago the weather was in the 20’s. Today it hit mid- 70’s. Okay, okay, it is still spring. But what a difference! I ran in shorts and a t-shirt today for the first time since before Christmas! Not to mention, rode in similar attire. It’s about time!

I just got back from my first group ride of the season–last year, the first one was in the beginning of March– and it’s great to be riding with a bunch of riders through the woods. The fact that the sun now sets around 7:40 adds to the greatness. Group rides means spring is really here.

Riding at Taconic 909

Riding at Taconic 909

In the sneakers category, I’m trying to decide on whether to run the Lake George Half Marathon in two weeks…It’s my next weekend “off” and would be a lovely weekend away; affording an opportunity to go back to a place I used to spend summers. It would also allow Kevin and I to do some more exploring of the area–which is something we’ve decided we need to do more, as there is a plethora of activities and sites in our area that we have not explored.

Last weekend, we ventured to Stockbridge, MA to visit the Norman Rockwell museum. For any art enthusiast, or American who may be familiar with Norman Rockwell, this museum is fascinating. During the summer, you can visit his last art studio (we were unable to visit it as, despite the lovely weather, it isn’t quite summer yet).

Kevin next to Norman Rockwell's 1965 Rudge--Kevin has the same one at home

Kevin next to Norman Rockwell’s 1965 Rudge–Kevin has the same one at home

Norman Rockwell (front) riding his Rudge through Stockbridge--a painting he composed

Norman Rockwell (front) riding his Rudge through Stockbridge–a painting he composed

Norman Rockwell: incredible

Norman Rockwell: incredible

We also checked out a special church…Kevin had to see it…It was on his “Bucket List” (well not really, but he acted as if it was). I grew up where we had Thanksgiving on a day when my mother did not work and had time to bake a feast, so when he mentioned a Thanksgiving song, I was at an utter loss as to what he was talking about. Perhaps you know?

Arlo Guthries's "Alice's Restaurant"

Arlo Guthries’s “Alice’s Restaurant”

I do not see the connection between the song and this building, as this is a church, not a restaurant….But I obliged in Kevin’s desire to take a picture.

On the food aspect of life, I’ve realized I love baking (which may have already been apparent to those who read this blog–sometimes it takes me a while to realize things). I baked my first donuts for Easter–Carrot cake donuts with cream cheese frosting!

My colleagues at work have been quite happy with my love of baking, as they are the main recipients of the end products. I have yet to meet a healthcare worker who does not devour fresh baked goods when offered to them.

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Carrot cake cupcakes with marzipan carrots

Carrot cake cupcakes with marzipan carrots

Lemon blueberry cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, and strawberry cupcakes with buttercream

Lemon blueberry cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting, and strawberry cupcakes with buttercream

Caught in the act of my baking craze

Caught in the act of my baking craze

…Who knows, perhaps when the spirit moves me, I’ll add recipes to this blog as well.

Outside of biking, running, and baking, I was able to plant seeds in the garden today. Like last years crop, I hope to have sugar snap peas and sunflowers. I decided to add wild flowers in a patch where my carrots did not grow last year.

Lastly, I’ve been experimenting with fashion. I’ve been wearing:

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Fancy flats

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And fancy hats.

Wet motivation

Wet motivation

Sometimes the best runs are the wet ones.

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This Weeks Weekly Round-Up

I have big plans to one day add a new “page” to this blog which simply has training-related information on it. I’ve actually been meaning to create it in the past as well. But as easy as it is to do, I still have not done it. One day, though, one day, I shall create it. Below is last week’s training schedule.

Monday

Run: 4.5 miles

Tuesday and Wednesday

Rest days (well, they were actually pretty nuts at work with a lot of running around involved so they were not really rest days)

Thursday

4.5mile run and mountain bike ride (first time out on my mountain bike since early December…Boy, have I missed mountain biking)

Friday

Due to a  snow storm, I ended up switching an indoor trainer ride for a scheduled run ( I did go to the gym and started running on the treadmill, but my true dislike of gyms caused me to simply do a weight training session instead).

Day-after-snow storm shot

Day-after-snow storm shot

60min bike (inside) involving

WU:10min

MS: 4x (4min at Z-2, 4min at Z-3, 2 min recovery)

CD: 10 min

Saturday

12 mile run (which was Kevin’s first longer-than-five-miles run ever!)

One mile left to go!

One mile left to go!

Sunday

Rest

Non-Training

Below is, what might be, one of my favorite cakes I have made to date: a piglet cake for a friends birthday. I now have more left over Kit Kat bars than I know what to do with. It was a hit.

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Run- uh – Jogging

I had a stark realization the other day: my body is not what it used to be.

This may sound silly to you. But for some reason, “aging” and “body” were never an issue with me. I mean, aren’t the twenties the peak of a persons athletic performance?*If I felt like running for fourteen miles one day without running months before, my body would say, “Yeahhhhh here we go!” I ran my first marathon without training whatsoever for it, and my body was okay with it.

That was six years ago.

Now, when I want to go for a long run, my body screams, “Hellllllllll no!”

Okay, my body isn’t in that bad out of shape. But it is slightly out of running shape, as I found out the other day after my eleven mile run. Fine, even more honesty: it was less of a run and more like a jog. A very.Long.Jog.

The last time I ran longer than ten miles was last summer when training for a half iron man. Weather, work, life (and biking) became priorities over running. So runs became fast walks, and then strolls.

I know it takes time for muscles to get used to the motion of running, and, as it turns out, I think I might have started running a little too intensely (shin splints anyone?). Between the fatigued legs, and the painful shins, starting up running again has been the stark contrast of when I used to “pick running back up” a couple years ago, which is frustrating for a person who wants to be great right away.

I suppose we’ll just see how it goes. (I’m hoping the shin splints go away fast!….Any hints on how to get rid of shin splints?)

Last Week’s Training Round-up

Sunday: 4 mile run

Monday: 11.5 mile run-uh-jog

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: in AM: 60 minutes on trainer (too yucky to ride outside) WU: 10min MS: 4x (8min at threshold, 2min recovery) CD:10min

in PM: ¬†3mile run (on a treadmill–gasp! In a gym filled with germs–double gasp!!**)

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Same cycle workout as Wednesday, with a 4 mile run outside

Saturday: 40 min spin on the trainer***

Non- Training 

To combat the gross winter weather outside, I decided the inside of my house should have a “spring” feeling, hence began decorating for Easter.

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The ceramic birds are from a town close to where I used to live in Luxembourg, Nouspelt, where these little birds were (and are) made. There is a festival every Easter Monday  about these birds.

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I finally found a chocolate rabbit this morning small enough to complete my trio of decorated jars. The cashier saw it and exclaimed, “How cute! Perfect for a mid-day chocolate craving.” Naturally, you would think someone who is buying chocolate is going to consume it. My reply, “Not really, it’s for a decoration.” She looked at me puzzled, and smiled politely. I guess I am not the average person who buys chocolate. (That, and I am refraining from eating chocolate and sugar, which I will discuss later).

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The above cupcakes are cinnamon spice (I modified Martha Stewart’s Cinnamon Cupcake recipe) with maple buttercream and a maple syrup drizzle. The buttercream has real maple syrup– why is it so hard to find maple buttercream recipes that have real maple syrup instead of maple extract in it? A hit with coworkers.

* I’ve come across this in many fitness articles. However, aren’t some of the best atheletes in the world–Iron Man Champions and Ultra marathoners older than their twenties? Chrissy Wellington for example. In local duathlons, the largest age groups are those ¬†30+ which gives me hope for the future.

**I loathe the gym. Especially in the winter, when sick people continue to work out and spread their germs on everything. Yes, you would think since I am a nurse and am around sick people all the time, germs would not ‘bug’ me. And, to an extent, in a hospital, they do not. But ‘bugs’ outside the hospital bother me. However, living in the Northeast, gyms are, on occasion, a place I need to go to run.¬†

***Or rest day–being on your feet for twelve hours makes early workouts before work tough.

Hello, My Name is ___.And I’m a Raceaholic.

If you have ever participated in a race (running, cycling, duathlon, or triathlon), you may understand the thought process associated with racing. I do not mean with the actual participation in a race, or emotions during a race–that is a completely separate post–but what is involved when choosing races. For me, looking at potential races is, ehh, addicting.Sometimes I think there should be a support group for people like me who constantly search for races that I can participate in.

“Hello, my name is Molly. I am a raceaholic.”

I came to this conclusion the other day, still on holiday, when I turned to Kevin and showed him a race website.

“Maybe I should train for this one?” I suggest, with a spark of excitement in my eye. Kevin let out a soft sigh.

“Molly, no. Put the laptop away…No races right now.” I silently shut the laptop, and did not think about races.

Less than twenty four hours later, while everyone was sleeping, and after failed attempts to watch ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ on Hulu (FYI, Hulu does not work overseas), I found myself yet again searching for races. Working certain weekends affords less opportunities to participate in certain races, as most races take place on weekends–which is a reason why I think I cherish when my schedule does let me participate in a race.¬†¬†I find myself scrolling through races throughout the state (or outside the state for that matter). Ouu…a 50k on September 8th of 2013! That is a weekend I am not working—I could totally pull that off. Wait, even better, a 5k on Saturday, and a duathlon the next day….Perfect!¬†There have been times when I’ve had to stop myself, and think realistically regarding certain distance races, which, I guess most people do not have to do. I.e. When I decided that running a 50miler on a Saturday and doing a sprint Triathlon the following Sunday would not be a good idea.

Returning to the night of the sad acceptance of my inability to watch trashy television shows overseas, I decided to run a marathon this May. On my birthday. Why not? I ran my first marathon on my 21st birthday…Running another one on my 27th sounds like fun!’** Mind you, the amount of time to train for said marathon will be cut a little short, but I am not worried about that. I’m not one to stick to training plans…Or train at all for that matter. However, I am determined to change that aspect of running races, as my body is not the young, limber one it was when I did my other marathons. Long gone are the days when I can decide two days before a marathon to actually take part in it, and have a functioning body post-race.

Anyway, there is a thrill associated with registering for a race. Once you click that “Register” button, or send in that mail-in registration form (which do not exist with too many races anymore), there is no going back. The challenge of the race awaits. It is exciting! However, my mentality of “just finish the race without dying” does not apply to multisport races. Different emotions errupt when registering with those. A competitive drive forces me to study my past results, and the results of others in my age group…To train so that I will be faster than last year…Get through transition times quicker and more efficiently.

Finishing the Luxembourg Marathon--my first marathon

Finishing the Luxembourg Marathon–my first marathon, 2007

Do you share similar thoughts and feelings towards racing?

*I admit it, I watch TRHW.

**Not too many people consider running marathons fun. Truth be told, it is fun when you finish.

***I convinced Kevin to run the marathon with me in May. This will be his first marathon. Ohh what I can convince people to do.  

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