Thursday, December 27, 2012

56 Days Until the Disney Princess Half Marathon

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Christmas is over.   Santa was very good to me this year.  I got a Bondi Band Princess hat, a medal holder, an awesome "Race You to the Castle" shirt, a Team Sparkle skirt, some new running clothes, a Handana, some Gu and a Garmin. 
I was SO excited to try out the Garmin on my run today.  I got dressed in my cold weather gear (complete with the hat so my ears wouldn't get cold.)  I have to use the Garmin and my Timex because the Garmin doesn't do intervals, so I looked like an 80s dancer or a Zumba instructor with all of the junk going up my arm.  Either way, I used the Garmin to track time and distance and the Timex to track intervals.
After the first lap, I noticed that the Garmin was tracking a shorter route than I had thought I was a tenth of a mile.  It was also showing me that I was pretty slow.  That was pretty frustrating.  I have not been going as far as I had thought and, obviously, I haven't really been getting faster.   I hate the Garmin.  I came home and told my husband that I was going to flush the stupid, lying thing down the toilet.  He just laughed at me.  Obviously, I am not going to do that.  I am going to use the information and get better (and hopefully faster.)
When I finally got a minute to upload the data, there were some interesting things.  First, there is a map of my actual route.  It looked like spaghetti on the plate.  I was all over the road.  Was I running drunk?  It shows that I totally cut through the court instead of running all the way around.  I didn't do that.  I ran all the way around every time.  Second, it tracked my average pace, my best pace, and my moving pace.  There was a moment during my run that I was running a 9.16 minute mile.  Who knew that I had it in me?   Obviously I can't sustain that, but it's in there somewhere.  Finally, it tracked my calories burned.  The treadmill lies to me.  I sort of believe the Garmin.  I wore the heart rate monitor today, so that makes it a little more accurate.
All in all, not a bad run.  I'm going to have to get used to the new technology, but I hope the accurate distances will remind me to keep going.
Today's Stats (from the Garmin):
2.41 miles (NOT 2.58 miles) on 31:31 (13.06 minute mile)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

60 Days Left

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I looked for any reason in the world to skip my run today.  It was supposed to be short since I attempted my long run on Thursday.  I got up early with the baby, so I was tired.  The plan was to run right after church  When I got home, my husband was just waking up, so we got to talking.  Then it was lunch time.  Then I just didn't want to.  One of the big boys told me to stay home and snuggle with him on the couch.  How can you resist that???
Then I started to feel some guilt.
So, I got dressed.  Since I waited so long to get moving, I couldn't run for very long, but I could get my usual short run in.
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Once I got started, I didn't want to stop.  My legs felt like they had the 11 miles in them that I couldn't finish on Thursday.  I wasn't trying to go fast, but it felt good to go.
It was a beautiful day to run.  I was in long sleeves, but I could have worn short sleeves and been comfortable.  I also got to see the new baby girl down the street.  (I'm having serious baby fever, but that is another post for another blog.)
Unfortunately, the watch stopped me today.  I would have liked to keep going, but my husband had to go to work.   If I wanted a shower, I had to go in. 
I took some great advice after my long run fail the other day.  I read through my previous posts and I really have come a long way.  I'm not going to qualify for Boston any time soon, but I am going to run a half marathon two months from today.....and another 3 weeks after that.....and another 5 weeks after that.....and I am toying with another 4 weeks after THAT.  I have already registered for 6 races in 2013 and I am planning to run in every race put on by a local running company so I can get a special gift (and 5 more medals!) at this time next year.   My typical short run is 2.5-3.5 miles.  My running interval is up to 2:45 and I could probably push it up to 3 minutes.  I was able to submit a time to runDisney that should move me out of the last corral.  I have almost put enough miles on my shoes to need a new pair.  I don't whine about how hard it is too much.  I finally got a good finish line picture at the race a few weeks ago (only to find out that it costs WAY too much to buy it).  I actually look forward to my running time, even if I don't think I want to go.  It's not getting easier, but I am getting better. 
Today's Stats:
2.58 miles in  31.28 (12.1 minute mile)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

63 Days Left

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Dear Jillian, I love you.  I think you are an amazing trainer.  I love that you are no nonsense.  I love that you yell at people on TV, but then take the time to talk to them and find out what is really going on.  I would love to have a training session with you.  But, for once, you are wrong.  Sometimes your legs just give out, even when you want to go forward.
The plan had 11 miles on it today.  I was prepared to run 12.  I had my pre-run breakfast and had all of my stuff ready to go.  My head was in the game.  I knew what I needed to do and I was ready to do it.  In fact, once I got started, I even toyed with the thought of running 13.1 today.....just to see if I could.  The run started nice and slow.  It was a beautiful day to run.  I was excited to be out there.  Everything felt great....and then, all of a sudden, it didn't.
Today I logged my first DNF.   I ran until I was tired, and then ran some more.  I ran until it hurt and then I ran harder.  My entire running board on Pinterest flashed through my head.  There was nothing that I could do to keep the legs going.  They just stopped.  I had only gone about 6 miles when they started to feel heavy.  At 7.5 miles, every step was hard.  At 8 miles, I felt like I was running so slow that I was going backwards.  At 8.5 miles, I felt like I was taking 5 steps during my 1 minute walking interval.  The last half mile was the longest, hardest half mile I can remember.  As much as I wanted to keep going and finish my 12 miles, my legs thought otherwise.
So, I stopped.  I didn't run 2 more laps at the park.  I walked to my car and drove home.  I'm irritated that I didn't finish, but I really don't think I could have done it.  But, then I remembered this:
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I ran 9 miles today.  In 2 weeks, I will try 12 again.  In 2 weeks, I will finish.  My training is a little ahead of the suggested plan because of the Wicked 10K and then the Surf-n-Santa 10 miler.  I have some time built in for a bad week.....but I'm still cranky that I couldn't finish.
Today's Stats:
9 miles in 1:59:36 (13.2 minute miles)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

65 Days Left

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The dreams are starting again.  It's been a while since I had a dream about the race.  Last night, the dream was WEIRD.  I got to the starting line and started when the gun went off.  Then I got tired and went back to sleep.  (In my bed, not sure how I got back there.)  But, then my alarm went off at 6:00 and I was in a panic because the race started at 5:30 and I was late.  So some random girl that I don't know in real life, but who was my friend in my dream, offered to take me to the start.  I told her that I had started the race already, but she could drop me off at mile 5 or so.  She did and I just jumped right in to the race that was already in progress.  I got to the finish line faster than all of my running friends (all of whom were in my dream.  I cheered them all across the finish line.)  Even though I was a big fat cheater in dreamland, I told everyone not to worry.  I wasn't running for time because of the crazy start.  It's going to be a long 65 days if the dream stick with me until race day.   I guess my letter to Santa would ask to start every race that I finish.
Maybe the crazy dream stems from the crazy running week I have.   I almost ran 12 miles today, but I hadn't mentally prepared or physically prepared with fuel and hydration.  So, I ran my short run today and I am going to run my long run on Thursday....when my husband is home and awake, which will not be the case at any point during the weekend.
My body might be starting to believe in this distance running thing.  Maybe I should ask Santa to help me love the runs.....all of the runs.  I am starting to dread the short runs.  They seem like an irritation in the schedule.  I look forward to the long runs.  I plan for them and, even though they scare me half to death every other week, I have been enjoying them.  My body is fighting me on the short runs.  My legs scream at me - every part of my leg hurts at some point during the short runs.   My breathing isn't right.  The music on my iPod isn't what I want to listen to.  Then, at about 2 - 2.5 miles into the run (right about the time to stop if it's the really short run), it starts to get easier.  My body parts start to work together.  It's almost like my legs stop throwing a tantrum and give in to the fact that we are really doing this running thing.  Then the run is over.  I fought my body for the entire thing.
Today's run was supposed to be just under 3.5 miles.  My legs and I were having a battle of wills, but I was making decent time.  Then, in the second lap around the neighborhood, one of my neighbors was out.   He and his wife JUST had a baby (like last night was their first night at home).  They are a Navy family without a huge family support system in the area.  I started asking how everything was and offered to bring a meal and before I knew what was happening, my watch had beeped through 1 walking interval and 1 running interval.  I sort of lost steam after that.  Then, as I was coming up the street, the boys were getting off the bus and started running toward me.  The baby ran to me and wanted to be picked up.  I really lost steam after that.  It was getting close to lunch time, so I cut my run short.  Instead of 4 laps (which I am trying to make the norm), I did my usual 3.
Maybe tonight I will dream of running a whole race....with speed and ease.  Maybe I will dream of snuggling with my children.  Maybe visions of sugar plums will dance in my head.  Either way, hopefully Santa grants my wish to run faster.  It would be a Christmas miracle.
Today's Stats:
2.58 miles in 34.36 (watch time.....spent 3.45 talking to the neighbor)
- 13.3 minute miles if you don't subtract for the stop
2.58 miles in 30.91 (actual running time - adjusted for the chatting)
- 11.9 minute miles

Sunday, December 16, 2012

67 Days Until the Disney Princess Half Marathon

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Today was a busy day.  I sang 2 full church services for our annual Lessons and Carols services this morning.  It was magical.  It was tiring.  Then I came home to be mom...alone....for the third day in a row....on a weekend.  The kids called their grandparents and invited themselves over to watch the Redskins game.  My mom came to pick the up.  The baby thought he needed to go too.  So, I had the afternoon to myself.  It was cloudy today and cool in my bedroom - PERFECT conditions for a nap.  My house has been neglected the past week or so.  It desperately needed to be cleaned.  I knew that I had at least an hour all alone.  I could have taken a nap or cleaned my house.  Instead, I got into my running clothes and got on my treadmill. 
I did my warm up walk and got to going.  Last time I started too fast.  I'm not ready for 6.0 on the treadmill.  So, this time I ran at 5.5 for 2:45 and then walked at 4.0.  As I was finishing up my second running interval, I noticed that the treadmill was reporting an insane number of calories being burned.  While I LOVED the number that I was seeing, I was concerned that it may be incorrect.  So, I pressed a button on the treadmill.  It switched to a 9 minute fitness test.  I couldn't figure out how to switch it back.  So I hopped off and turned the treadmill off.
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When you turn the treadmill off, it loses its data.  I had gone a half mile into my 3 mile run.  I hadn't set my watch, so I couldn't pick up where I left off.  So, I started over.  I lost that half mile like it never happened.  I kept my 5.5 running speed for 2 miles then I was fighting it and losing so I dropped the speed to 5.3 for the next 3/4 mile.  It was hot.  It was hard.  I was tired.  I really prefer to run outside, but the treadmill will do for short runs.
Either way, I got my run in.  I'm glad I did.
11 miles next week.
Today's Stats:
3.1 miles in 36.36 (11.7 minute mile)
(with the lost half mile - 3.6 miles in 42-ish - 11.6 minute mile)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

70 Days Left

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We lost a princess last night.  I am heartbroken.  I shouldn't be, but I am.  My Princess friend, Jen, decided that it is not the right time for her to run the Princess Half Marathon.  In fact, she decided that it is not the right time for her to run at all.  She wrote all about it over a Running @ Forty-One.   It seems like Rhode Island makes her sick.  It's also tundra cold up there from about October 1st until June 1st (or even later).  It's hard to run in the tundra cold.  She made the decision that is best for her.  I'm glad that she is going to be happy with her fair weather running.   But, I am still sad.  I was looking forward to running with her.  I do hope to see her during the weekend because she is going to be in Florida anyway.
On the other side of the emotional spectrum, I found out some GREAT news yesterday!!  I was accepted into the Inaugural Nike Women's Marathon in Washington DC.  It's 13.1 miles, not a full marathon.  It was also a lottery registration, not a first come, first served registration.  There are people that didn't get in.  But, I did!  And so did Princesses Elizabeth and Jennifer.  Not only do we get to run another half marathon together, but we also get a Tiffany necklace at the finish line.  Yes, please!
Running partners come from all over.  I have my Newport Princesses who I can run with in spirit.  We stay connected through our super secret Facebook page.  I also have my Moms Run This Town running ladies.  I have yet to actually make it to a group run, but one day I will and it will be great to run with them.  They have been familiar faces at races.  It's always great to have people to talk to as you are waiting for the start.  Then there are the Princess Half Marathon Facebook pages.  Those ladies are a hoot.  I am hoping to meet some of them in Florida.  Even though my actual runs are solo, I still share them with these different groups.  They celebrate my victories with me and pick me up when I have had a bad day.  It makes this adventure easier and I am so thankful for them all.
It's a low mileage week.  I went a little extra today because I ran an extra lap for Jen.  (Pouring a drink for my homies just didn't seem appropriate....the extra lap did.)  I was almost as fast as her!
Today's Stats:
3.44 miles in 40.39 (11.7 minute mile)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

72 Days Left


It's Tuesday.  The schedule says to run.  I came up with a million and one excuses today.  Some were pretty much in my head and some were legitimate.  I promised myself that I would just run tomorrow.

I woke up this morning feeling icky.  I can't even define what icky means....I just felt icky.  So, instead of putting on my running clothes, I stayed in my pjs.  I didn't even walk my kiddos to the bus.  My husband did it.  It didn't get dressed until it was time to take the baby to the Little Gym at 10:00.  I put on my race shirt from the 10 miler this weekend.  It made me think about running.  It made me play hard with the baby at the Little Gym.

We had an altercation with the substitute bus driver today when the big boys came home from school.  The altercation was that she wouldn't let one of the boys off the bus.  They were the only 2 kids left on the bus at the last stop.  One of the boys had lost his id card.  Even though I had mine...with his name on it, which she could have opened his backpack to confirm, she made him sit down and took him back to school.  I went into mama bear mode.  Once I got my baby back and then went and made a fuss at the school system transportation office, it took me a good hour to calm down.  All I could think about was running it out.

But...we had a project to finish first.  In preparation for Christmas, hubby and I started cleaning the big boys' room YESTERDAY.   We had to finish today.  It took 3 more hours today (on top of 3 yesterday.  Who knew that when we told those stinkers to clean, they just threw everything into the nearest bucket or under the bed?  We had to separate Legos from Lincoln Logs and Star Wars from Spiderman.  They are lucky that we didn't take all of the toys out.)  After that was dinner.

Because I am waiting patiently with no patience whatsoever to find out if I got into the Nike Women's Marathon in Washington DC, I have been all over e-mail and Facebook like a stalker for two straight days.  During one of the Facebook checks, a Princess from one of the Facebook groups asked who would be joining her (virtually of course) for an evening run.  Like a moron, I told her that I would.  Then my chicken ranch tacos started to settle in my tummy and my run didn't seem like a good idea, but, there's always tomorrow.  I tucked my sugarplums all snug in their beds and came upstairs to check email and Facebook like a stalker again do some work on the computer.  I was ready to get back into my pjs and call it a night. 

Tomorrow you will wish you had started today - Nike

The stupid treadmill started staring at me.  I remembered that I ran my mouth on Facebook and said that I was running tonight.  So, I sucked it up.  I went and put on my big girl running clothes and I got on the treadmill.  I didn't have my watch and I didn't have my iPod.  I found a Mickey Miles Podcast on itunes and got going.

Before we get to the particulars of the run, let just say that there will be no more podcasting during running.  I need my tunes.  I need a beat and I need lyrics.  People talking makes me watch the numbers on the treadmill slowly tick by.  

Back to the run....amazingly, I felt good.  I started my walk at 4.0.  Anything slower just felt....slow.  So, I went with it.  After a quarter mile warm up, I was ready to run.  Since I didn't have my watch, I was forced to use the clock on the treadmill.  I hit the treadmill up to 6.0 (which, as you will soon see was not the best idea I have had in my life) and got to running.  Without my watch to beep at 2:45 and because I was running at a gazelle-like 6.0 (I am a 5.2-5.5 kind of girl, usually), I dropped my intervals to 2:1.  I could keep the 6.0  running/4.0 walking pace for 20 minutes.  Then I hit the wall.  I mean, crash test dummy style. I was sweating and out of breath.  I had a cramp and those tacos I mentioned were threatening an encore.  So, I slowed it down to a more manageable 5.5.  However, the damage was done.  I couldn't recover during the walking breaks.  I was dying for water.   I made it 2 miles.  I went another half mile to cool down a little bit.

I didn't get my 5K in.  But, I ran.  I did it.  I didn't die and I didn't puke.  I had sweat dripping off of me like it was summer again.  It was a rough 2.5 miles.  I hated it today.   It was hard.  But, it calmed me down.  I don't feel as icky.  I'm still checking my email like it's my job.....running can't cure everything.

And I don't have to run tomorrow because I ran today.  Thursday had better take notice.   We have a date.

Today's Stats:
2.5 miles in 32:34 (12.9 minute mile)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

75 days Until the Disney Princess Half Marathon

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This morning I ran the Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler.  It was another race in Virginia Beach put on by J&A Racing.  They put on a great race.  Everything is so organized and fun.  There are always great costumes!  (For this race, I donned my best Santa outfit - all black running clothes, my $10 underwear Santa skirt and bra from Roses, my candy cane striped socks, my Christmas tiara, and my Christmas tree earrings.  Quite festive, if I do say so myself!)  They also had carolers and radio stations and we ran under the Christmas lights on the Boardwalk. 
This is only the second time in my ENTIRE LIFE that I have run this distance.  I mean, seriously, 10 miles is a long way.  If I left my house and starting running south, I could get to North Carolina and have a BBQ sandwich in 10 miles.  Normal, sane people just don't run 10 miles.  (If you are not detecting a theme throughout these posts, I will spell it right out for you.  Runners are crazy people.  I am getting pulled to the dark side.  I don't love it, but I don't mind it so much.  I am starting to embrace the crazy.)
Anyway, just like the Wicked 10K in October, the race started at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.  I left my house at 6:30 am (yep, in the morning) to get there and get parked in time for the race to start at 8:00.  (Glad I wasn't running too late.  Some of the ladies that I met this morning waited for 40 minutes to get into the parking lot.  I didn't have that problem.....which is good.  It would have stressed me out to be running late.)  I got parked, got all of my running stuff, and headed into the warm convention center to find a real, flushing, non portable toilet.  As usual, the line for the ladies' room was approximately 500 miles long.  I did some walking around and found a super secret one in the exhibit hall that had no line.  While I was on my search, I ran into my friend Jenny.  She pushes a stroller for Team Hoyt.  I got to meet the amazing little kid that was racing with her and I checked out their gingerbread woman/gingerbread house costumes.  It's always great to see a friendly face in the sea of runners. 
Then I headed back outside to meet the lovely ladies of Moms Run This Town for a group picture.  Since some of the ladies were stuck in traffic, the picture was a little late.  A few people had moved the waiting game to the porta potty line and missed the picture.  I got to see my new running friend, Kris, who I met at the Wicked.   After a quick picture with most of the ladies that were there, we rushed off to our corrals for the start.
Not being one who likes to be rushed or late, I started to get a little panicky when there was a line to get into the corral and no room for any more people.  Once the gun went off for the first corral, the others starting moving up, which made room.  However, the last corral moved up without letting all of the people waiting in.  I ended up in corral 4.  That was not going to work out for me, so I worked my way up to corral 3 just in time for the start.  (Hey, my bib said 3 and I was going to start in 3!)
There was also a 5K race today and both races started at the same time and ran the same route.  There was a lot of traffic at the start.  I started running and just kept running.  There was no place to stop and walk.  All of a sudden, I saw mile marker 1.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep that up for too long, so I set my watch, found a hole, and started my intervals.  There were a few times when it made sense to keep running when the watch beeped - too many people, no place to stop, didn't even hear it. 
At 3 miles, the 5K split off to go to the finish line.  The 10 miler kept going.  Right at the split, I got caught up with a church group.  They were dressed as a Nativity Scene and they were singing Christmas carols.  I tried for miles and miles to get past them, but I couldn't.  Maybe it was their singing or maybe I was trying to decide if I would actually be able to finish, but somehow I completely missed mile marker 4.  I starting thinking about it when my watch said 45 minutes and I ate my first GU Chomps.  I had planned to eat them at mile 4, but I never saw the sign.  I was as excited as a little kid on Christmas morning to see a man giving high fives at mile marker 5.   I was halfway there and somehow missed a whole mile!
Once we passed 5, the run started to get easier.  It was just happening.  I was still with the nativity scene.  They were still singing.  At about mile 5 1/2, they decided to start running Indian sprints.  They kept that up for about 2 miles.  I was in awe and they kept my spirits up.  At about mile 6, I caught up with some girls dressed as gingerbread men.  I started the race right behind them.  (I know it was them because they had "Run, Run as Fast as You Can" and "You Can't Catch Me" on the backs of their outfits.) I tried to stay with them at the beginning of the race, but they got away from me.  I couldn't even keep them in my sights.  Then, at mile 6, there they were again.  I thanked them for making my day.  It took my 6 miles, but I caught them and I passed them.  I got past the nativity at about mile 8.  I ate my last 4 GU Chomps after I got past them.  The last 2 miles were calm and bright.  I am hoping it was the GU.  The crowd had thinned out considerably and I could do my intervals with no problems. 
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Amazingly, I was passing people.  We got to mile 9 and the home stretch.  With about 1/2 mile to go, I turned off my intervals and just ran to the end.  The race finished inside and when we came around to the back of the building, I saw my wonderful husband and beautiful children clapping and cheering.  That gave me the energy that I needed to finish.  A man caught up to me right as we were heading inside.  He reminded me to smile for the camera.  Then he ran past me.  I decided that I wasn't going to let him cross the finish line in front of me.  I found a burst of speed from my inner Kenyan and I passed him again right at the line. I got my medal and my finisher glass.  I looked up and saw my friend Kris who finished in a super fast time.  I came around the corner and saw my family again.  I got hugs and kisses from my biggest cheerleaders and then we headed home. 
My goal for this race was to finish.  I hoped to finish in about 2 and a half hours.  (That would have shaved 9 minutes off of my last 10 mile long run.)  My 5K and 10K splits were not promising.  In fact, they were a little discouraging.  My 10K split was the same time as my Wicked finishing time and that was in a hurricane.  Surprisingly, I wasn't all that concerned about it.  I knew that I would be able to run 4 miles in less than an hour when I saw the 10K split.  I knew that, despite the slower pace than the last few races, I would finish in less than 2:30.  Really, it came down to the face that I got the time I needed to submit to Disney.  Today, I just needed to run.
When I saw the clock at the finish, I realized that I had CRUSHED my time goal.  Official time was 2:09:21 (exactly the same as my watch time!)   I wasn't fast.....I was far from it, but I ran 10 miles today.  I ran one mile without stopping and then ran 9 more after that.  I ran when my watch said I should walk.  I stopped my watch and ran to the finish.  I was able to sing along with my music (in my head, but there was a time in this training adventure when I couldn't even do that because I had to concentrate on breathing).  I laughed at the jokes on the Boardwalk.  (How many reindeer does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  1 to screw in the lightbulb and 7 to hold Rudolph down.)  I had fun.  (Yep, read that says that I had fun.)  I ran 10 miles this morning and it was fun.  (Don't get me wrong, it was work.  My toes started to ache at about mile 7.  My water belt made my skirt ride up so I was mooning all of the people behind me.  I ran out of water in the bottles.  The GU Chomps, while wonderful for energy on the course, tend to make my stomach cramp for a while after the race is over.  It was work.)
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My watch splits are off because of missing at least 1 mile marker (there may have been more....not quite sure.)  But, I do have my official results.  I am very proud of myself.  I did it!  I ran faster than 380 people for 10 miles.  I will take it.  Princess Half Marathon, here I come. 
Today's Stats:
10 miles in 2:09:21 (12.56 minute mile)
Jessica Meier
Bib#: 2570
Place: 2364
Finishers: 2744
Age Group
Women 30 to 34
Place: 243
Finishers: 281
Gender: F
Place: 1302
Finishers: 1607
presented by - Bon Secoures In Motion
(Don’t forget your goodies!)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

77 Days Left

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Happy St. Nicholas Day!!  My husband's father is from a German family and St. Nicholas Day is a tradition that my husband brought with him when we started celebrating Christmas together.  So, when we woke up this morning, we all had treats in the shoes that we left on the fireplace.  St. Nicholas brought me an iFitness water belt.  Of course, I had to go for a run to check it out.
Today was only a short run, so I filled one of thee water bottles just to get a sense of how the belt feels with water in the bottles.  I also wanted to see how it felt to pull the water bottles out of the belt and get them back in.  Even though I didn't really need water on this run, I wanted to do a trial so I can use the belt at the 10 miler on Saturday. 
When there was an opening in the schedule after lunch, I wanted to sit on the sofa and snuggle under a blanket with my boys.  After 2 days of beautiful, unseasonably warm weather, today is back to being chilly.  My brain told me that I like to run in chilly weather way more than I like to run in warmer temperatures, but my body was telling me to sit on the sofa and take a nap.  Self discipline won and I got dressed and headed out.  (Today would not have been a good day for a finish line picture....I look like a hot mess.  I don't match and my hair is sticking up all over the place.  But, I was out there.)
Hubby had to go to work this afternoon, so I only had about 30 minutes.  I did 3 laps around my neighborhood.  The jury is still out on the water belt.   (If you recall, I has some growing pains with the handheld water bottle too.) The belt frees up my hands, which is nice.  The handheld was starting to rub my thumbs during longer runs.  It's not heavy and it doesn't rub or ride up.  I love that there is a big pocket for my phone, keys, and GU Chomps.  I am a little concerned that there won't be enough water on the super long runs.  Each bottle holds 8oz and both bottles together are less than the handheld.  On my last 10 mile run, I drank 2 full  water bottles.  But, my husband reminded me that there will be water stops at a race, so I should be okay. It's a little toasty around my middle.  Not quite sure how I feel about that.   I'm going to keep running with it to see how I like it.
For not really wanting to be out there, I am pretty pleased with today's run.  Resting tomorrow in preparation for the Surfin' Santa 10 Miler Saturday morning!
Today's Stats:
2.58 miles in 30.16 (11.7 minute mile)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

79 Days Left

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One of my very fit and active friends told me that she thinks I am becoming addicted to running.  I don't think so. People who are addicted to running love it.  I don't love it.  It's just becoming what I do.  I think that the quote pretty much sums it up.  Training is homework.  My brain is wired to follow a plan.  If running is "assigned", then I am going to do it.  The calendar said that I need to run today, so I ran. 
It a beautiful day in Virginia.  It's sunny and breezy and 70 DECEMBER!  It's a beautiful day for a run!  After a pretty busy morning, the baby stayed home with Daddy while I went for my run before the big boys came home on the bus.
I stayed in the neighborhood because I needed to be close to home to catch the bus when it came to drop off the boys.  Since I wasn't running far from home, I decided to play with my intervals.  After the race on Saturday, I knew that I could probably run my short run (2.58 miles) without stopping.  But, I believe in training how you race, so I stuck with the intervals instead of trying to just run.  I set the watch for a 2:45 running interval and a 1:00 walking interval.  I didn't run hard during the running intervals.  I took it pretty easy, but I was able to run longer, which was pretty exciting.
The run felt pretty good.  I got tired, but at the same time, I felt like i could have kept going if I had needed to.  I noticed some things on my run today: 
1.   I am almost to a 3:1 interval.  I started this adventure with 2:1 intervals, which I dropped down to 90 seconds:1 minute intervals because 2:1 was too much.  I have added 45 seconds to my running intervals.  Not only that, I can keep it up for lots of miles. 
2.  I don't look at my watch very often.  Don't get me wrong, there are some runs where I am lucky that I don't slam into a mailbox because I am looking at it so much.  But, overall, I just run.  When the watch beeps, I walk.  When it beeps again, I run.  I don't curse it (very often) or will it to beep.
3.  I am getting faster.  Way back in July, when I registered, my time was usually a high 13/low 14 minute mile.  Now I am consistently around 12 minutes. 
4.  I don't watch my feet anymore.  Way back when, I ran looking down.  I don't know if I was trying to make sure that I didn't trip or if I was watching my feet to make sure they were still moving forward.  Either way, now my head is up. 
And something I noticed when I got home from my run:
1.  The bids need to hurry on up and fly south.  Apparently, I got bombed by a bird.  I didn't feel it or see it, but there is definitely bird poop on my right sleeve.   Not cool birds, not cool. 
Today's Stats:
3.44 miles in 42.20 (Actual watch time - 43:50.  I have no shame is subtracting 1:30 off of that time.  I had to stop and wait for the bus to come into the neighborhood, turn around, open the door, and let the boys off.  I started walking them home and the watch beeped to start running again.  I figured they knew the way and started running.  Don't worry, I had to go around the court, so I could see them as they were walking home.)
12.2 minute mile
And just in case the Mayans are reading this blog, they had better be wrong.
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Well, a Half Marathon (or two...maybe 3), but the idea is the same.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

82 Days Until the Disney Princess Half Marathon

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Today was race day.  It was a small race.  Our church has hosted this race for 3 years now as a fundraiser for Young Life Youth Ministries.  There was no medal.  I am never in my life going to be fast enough for a prize.  It was just a training run.  I didn't think that I was even going to run it, but I decided last week to just do it.  It helped that my little people asked to do the 1 mile fun run at the same time.  So, at 7:45 this morning, all 5 of us piled into the car and headed to church for the 8:30 start.  I wore my black long sleeved shirt and my black running pants.  I had a super cute Christmas tiara and a Santa skirt that I found at a discount store that I never go to.  It was $10 and in the underwear section.  It has a bra with it that I am going to wear next week.  I thought it was a bit much for a race at church.
There was no packet pick up prior to race morning.  The race organizers did a good job of getting people their bibs and their shirts in time for the start.  We got there later than I would have liked to, but it all worked out in the end.  Since we were running in 2 different races, I had to check in twice.  The timing company donated their services, so all of the bibs were recycled from old races.  I had a recycled bib from this year's Wicked 10K, which I ran.  The boys and my husband had recycled bibs from last year's Surfin' Santa 10 Miler (which I am running next weekend.)  They were so excited to get to pin on their bibs.  (I was not so excited to pin the bib onto the shirt while it was on my body.  It was probably crooked.  I am glad there was no mirror.)
Since it was a pretty small race, there was no corral start.  The 5k runners lined up and the gun went off.  The faster runners were at the front of the pack.  I was closer to the back of the pack.  Either way, it took me 6 seconds to cross the starting line.  5 minutes later, the 1 mile started.  (Thank you to my husband for taking the boys on the 1 mile run.  Jeffrey is STILL wearing his race bib and his jingle bell "medal."  It was the highlight of his day to be in a REAL running race.)
I started the race just like I usually do - I ran.  Typically, I run until the crowds thin out and I can walk without getting in some one's way.  There weren't any crowds at this small race.  So, I ran.  After I had been running for about 6 minutes, I realized that I hadn't stopped to walk.  So, I told myself that I would take a minute walk break at the 1 mile marker.  So, I ran to the 1 mile marker and stopped to walk.  Then I ran again.  I told myself that I would run too the 2 mile marker.  That plan was derailed by the water stop.  I didn't carry my water for a 5K, so I took a cup of water at the stop.  (That's what it's there for.)  The race was on residential streets and there was one water stop with one trash can set up at some one's house.  This was not the place to throw your cup on the ground.  I stopped for a bit and drank my water, threw my cup in the trash, and then kept running to the 2 mile marker.  I probably lost 20-30 seconds, but those nice ladies didn't have to pick up my trash.
During the second mile, I started to get tired.  I also felt like I was slowing down a little.  (But, I was still running.)  When I passed the 2 mile marker, I set my watch to start my intervals.  I think that was a good decision.  I was able to pick up the pace a little on the running intervals and get to the finish line still feeling pretty good.
I had set a time goal for this race.  I wanted to finish in 36 minutes.  It would be my fastest race pace ever and my fastest 5K ever.  I knew that my pace was pretty good.  I felt myself slow down, but the first mile was fast enough to make up for that.  As I came around the corner to the finish line, I saw that the race clock was pretty much in sync with my watch.  I crossed the finish line and saw the 4 most beautiful faces waiting for me.  I also saw the clock and knew that
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My watch said 36.15 and the official clock time said 36.13.  I did it!!  According to the official results, I finished #119 out of 150 runners.  My pace was 11:41 minutes per mile.  I was 6th in my age group (there were only 9 of us) and the 49th woman (out of 73) to cross the finish line. 
No time to rest on my awesomeness.  I have a 10 mile (yep, that says mile) race next Saturday. 
Today's Stats:
3.1 miles in 36.13  (11:41 minutes per mile!)
Mile 1 - 10.51
Mile 2 - 12.15 (this was the water stop mile)
Mile 3 - 11.55
.1 - 1.09

Friday, November 30, 2012

83 Days Left

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I was excited for today's run.  I try to schedule a rest day before race days, but my husband offered to go to the trail with me and ride his bike while I did my run.  I decided to take him up on his offer and have some quality time together and run at the same time.  Great plan.
Too bad my body didn't hear about the plan.  Every single step was work today.  We went to the lake park - my new favorite running spot.  We walked to the start and got going.  I thought the run started out okay.  It wasn't an easy, feeling great start, but it wasn't terrible.  It took me 2 minutes and 30 seconds to get to the first 1/4 mile marker.  I walked for my minute and then got past the 1/2 mile marker during the next running interval.  This went on for about a mile.  Right about the 1 mile marker, then my legs felt heavy and my breathing wasn't right.  I had only gone a mile but I felt like I did after I ran 10 last week...and I still had 2 miles to go. 
So, I slowed down a little bit.  A 2:30 1/4 mile equates to about a 10 minute mile.  That's too fast for me.  I started too fast and paid for it.  I am not ready for a 10 minute mile.  Maybe one day, but not this day.  It felt better after that.  I don't think that I could have gone much further, but I finished my 3 miles.
My husband, however, also missed the part in the plan that we were going to spend quality time together.  My pace was obviously too slow for him and he took off.  He passed me about a mile and a quarter and then again at about two miles.  He got 3 laps (4.5 miles) to my 2 and went out of the back of the park to explore a tunnel under the interstate.  Our quality time was not so quality and I think that I will leave him home next time. But, I am glad that he came out.
Hopefully today's rough training run will mean that tomorrow's 5K race will be awesome.  I am still hoping for a 36 minute 5K.  My fastest 5K ever was 37.01 and that was 2 years ago, before I got pregnant with the baby.  I will need to average 11.6 minute miles to do it.
Today's Stats:
3.1 miles in 37.31 (12.0 minute miles)
Lap 1 - 18.02  (11.6 minute miles)
Lap 2 - 19.28  (12.4 minute miles)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

86 Days Left

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 My goal this week was to have a plan.  My husband has to work days this week, so I had to figure out when and where I was going to run.  The middle of the week is usually pretty hectic for me.  I try to run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but those are the days that the baby stays home.  My original plan was to go to the gym and run on the treadmill or even outside while he played in the childcare.  Of course, he had croup over Thanksgiving and now has snot.  No childcare for him.  But, I REFUSED to be thrown off by this kink in the plan.
After we ran our errands this morning, I came home and put the baby down for his nap.  I took the big boys upstairs to our room over the garage and offered them the opportunity to play on the computer.  (This is a BIG deal at our house.  The computer lives upstairs out of sight of every other room in the house.  They are 5 years old and are not allowed online unsupervised.  The Disney Channel, which they watch every single day, does not have commercials for toys, but has plenty of commercials for their online games.  This results in a game of 20 questions about when they can play on Disney Junior dot com.)  This very generous offer put the big boys doing something that they want to do in plain sight of me while I got my run in on the treadmill.  Yep, I am pretty brilliant, if I do say so myself.  This is pretty much what it looked like:
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One of my offspring wanted a turn on the treadmill.  So, I let him have a turn before I started.  I did a 1/4 mile warm up and then started my intervals.  It has been MONTHS since I ran on the treadmill.  I set my running intervals at 5.5....completely neglecting to set the incline to mimic the road.  My walking intervals were at 3.8.  Once I figured all of that out, I set the watch and got going.  It was easier than I thought.  I didn't stare at the numbers on the treadmill.  I didn't check the watch over and over.  I think 5.5 is a little faster than I run outside and 3.8 is a littler slower than I walk, but it worked for today.  I don't plan on using the treadmill any more than I have to.
In other news, the interval beeping also served as the timer for the boys to switch.  It was so peaceful.  The watch would beep to walk and the boys would switch turns.  When the watched beeped to walk again (3 1/2 minutes later), they switched again.  There was no yelling or fighting or anything.  I might run on the treadmill once a week because of the 40 minutes of harmony in my house.
Since everyone was cooperating, I did 5K.  The 5 minute warm up is included in the time, so that slowed me down a bit.  All in all, it was a good run.  It's done.  I have to fit in another on Thursday and then we are all running in a race at our church on Saturday.  The boys and the husband are going to do the 1 Mile Reindeer Run while I am doing the 5K Jingle Jog.  They will wait for me at the finish line.  And just so it is out there for accountability, my goal is to run a 36 minute 5K. 
Today's stats:
3.1 miles in 38.10 (12.2 minute miles)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

89 Days Until the Disney Princess Half Marathon

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There are two types of runners - fast runners and slow runners.  Today, I was the crock pot of running.  I ran long and I ran slow.  It felt fantastic! 
Even though I ran an AWESOME 10K on Thursday, this weekend had 9.5 miles on the schedule.  I am running a 10 mile race in 2 weeks, so I couldn't count the 10K as my long run.  I couldn't find a 9.5 mile run that started at my front door that was safe and easy.  There were too many turns.  I was worried that since I got lost on a 4 mile run with 4 turns, I would never be able to remember the turns on a longer run.  So, I decided to go back to the lake park.  It made me a little nervous to go running at the park at 7:00 on a Saturday morning, so I waited until after lunch to go.  The park path is a 1.5 mile loop with an unmeasured bit between measured posts.  Map My Run says that the loop is 1.55 miles all the way around. 
It was a little chilly today, but not downright cold, so I wore knee-length pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a short sleeved shirt over it.  I have been running out of water on runs over about 5 - 6 miles, so I took a second water bottle to make sure that I had enough.  I ate my Gu Chomps as I was walking out the door to drive to the park.  I got there, walked to the trail, and found a place near the path to stash my extra water bottle.  I used the walk to the trail as my warm up, so I started running at the mile post. 
I knew from the first steps that it was going to be a good run.  I started out slow.  My goal was to finish the mileage, not to break a time goal.  The running intervals felt good.  I wasn't huffing and puffing (much).  I could talk to people if I needed to.  I just ran....and ran....and ran. 
There were a lot of people out running.  Some of them were FAST.  Some of them ran past me (in the opposite direction) twice during my loop.  But, after a loop or 2, I didn't see them any more.  I just kept on going.  They were running fast, but I was running far.
After 3 laps (4.5 miles), I stopped to refill my water bottle and then turned around and ran the loop in the opposite direction.  The opposite direction was HARD.  It was windy going the other direction.  It was cold going the other direction.  But, I finished those 3 laps too.  For my last mile, I turned around again and went the way that I like better. 
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Everything felt great until about 8 miles into the run.  Then my legs started to hurt.  I was running at about the same speed that I was walking.  The minute walking interval seemed to keep getting shorter.  But, the amazing thing is that the 2:30 running interval wasn't hard.  I didn't look at my watch.  I didn't will it to beep.  I just ran.  When it was time to walk, I walked.  I talked to myself a lot for the last two miles.  I would tell myself that I only had to go another lap and a mile and then counted down from then.  I talked myself through the last mile.  I cheered myself on.  I told myself to keep going. 
When I had a 1/2 mile left, I came across an older couple who was enjoying the day together.  The man was taking pictures of the woman.  When I caught up to them, I offered to take their picture.  I told them that I would be happy to so I didn't have to run any more.  I didn't really mean that.  I was glad to stop and take their picture.  I maybe lost 30 seconds doing that for them.  But, it made me happy to help.
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I was so happy to see the mile marker.  There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment.  I did something today that I have never, ever done before.  I ran in the double digits today.  I had another long run that felt great.  I only have 3.1 miles left to get to 13.1.  I did it.  I got a little teary when I finished.  I called my husband to tell me that I did it (and to tell him that I still had to walk a half mile to get to the car.....darn 1.5 mile loop!)
After I picked up my water bottle and started back toward the car, the older couple had caught up with me.  The woman offered to take my picture.  (I declined.....I looked like a hot mess.  I didn't put my hair up for a finish line picture, I put it up for a 10 mile run.)  We got to talking and they asked my how far I had gone today.  I told them ten miles.  They were impressed.  That made me happy too.  I thanked them and wished them a good afternoon.  Then I headed home to my family. 
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I'm a little sore now.  Not really, really sore....but a little sore.  It's not as bad as it has been after shorter runs.  It's hard to go up and down the steps.  It's a good hurt.   It's the hurt of accomplishment.
Today's Stats:
10 miles in 2:19:10  (13.9 minute miles)
10.2 miles in 2:19:10  (13.6 minute miles)**
**Not completely sure how far I went......
I took 1.5 mile splits:
Lap 1 - 19.52
Lap 2 - 20.44
Lap 3 - 20.34
Lap 4 - 21.28
Lap 5 - 21.01
Lap 6 - 20.53
Last mile - 14.36

Thursday, November 22, 2012

91 Days Left

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I am convinced that runners are not right.  Today is Thanksgiving.  It's a day for eating.  It's a day for It's a day for watching football.  It's a day for scanning the Black Friday ads to plan your Black Friday shopping.  If you don't have to get up and put a turkey in the oven, it's a day for sleeping in.  It's a day for reflecting on all that we have to be thankful for in our lives.
So, what did I do this morning?  I ran 6.2 miles.  I even paid to do it.  Who runs a 10K on Thanksgiving?  2413 people.  That's who wakes up and runs 6.2 miles on Thanksgiving morning.   2413 crazy people.
This race had a bit of a later start than most races. It started at 9:00.    We got to sleep in a bit.  This was a good thing because we spent much of the evening at the ER with the baby.  A dose of steroids for croup and we were home in bed by 1:15am.  I got up at 6:30 to have my bagel and banana and to take a peek at the Black Friday ads before I headed out.  (A girl has to have her priorities in order.)  I drove to Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach to meet up with the Moms Run This Town ladies for an 8:00 picture.   I met two new ladies at this race and saw someone that I had met at the Wicked 10K.  It's really comforting to go to a race with 2400 people and see a friendly and familiar face.  I also caught up with my friend Susan.  She waited in the bathroom line with me for a bit before scampering off to the fast person starting line.
Anyway, it was a chilly start to the morning, but not chilly enough to wear cold weather clothes, so I froze for a bit before the race started. I was wearing a short sleeved shirt, long tights, and a cute running skirt.  I was also rocking a turkey hat.  If I'm going to be there, I'm going to be festive.   It was sunny and a little bit breezy, but a refreshing breeze instead of the hurricane force winds of the Wicked.  At a few minutes before 9, we made our way to the starting line.  I found my predicted finishing time (actually, I picked my preferred finishing time, but that is neither here nor there) and got ready. 
The gun went off and the fast people started.  2 minutes later, I got to the starting line.  I was DETERMINED to finish in a respectable time so I could submit to Disney.  I knew the time I needed to get (1:14) and was going to do it or die trying.  There was a bit of a traffic jam for the first half mile and I found myself weaving to get around people.  (Read that again.  I'll wait.  It said that I was getting AROUND people....that means PASSING!  I was running faster than other people!!)  I ran for the first 5 minutes without stopping to walk.  After about 5 minutes, I felt comfortable starting my intervals without irritating the people running behind and around me.  We had a good 3 miles of neighborhood running.  It was pretty boring.  There were a few people out, but not too many.  Right at mile 4, we entered Mt. Trashmore Park.  It's a big loop with a lake and an old landfill made into a mountain in the middle.  I was chasing a couple that was running slow, but always running.  I would pass them on my 2:30 running intervals and then they would pass me during my 1 minute walking interval.  I kept up with them for a good 3 miles, then they sped up and I slowed down.
My hat was hot.  I didn't like it.  I kept saying that I was going to take it off at the next walking interval.  I never did it.  I kept running with the stupid thing on.  Now I know.

I also had some snot issues.  I felt fine when I got to the race, but once we got going, my nose got going too. I'm going to have to plan for that happening.  Snot bubbles are NOT festive.  Maybe Santa will bring me a Handana to keep my nose (and my shirt) snot free.
Back to the matter at hand....I got tired at about mile 4.  I probably should have had some Gu Chomps to get be through the last 2 miles, but I didn't.  Now I know. 
My fast friend Susan met me at about mile 5.5 and ran the rest of the way with me.  She told me about her fast person problems while we ran.  Those made me laugh and got us to the finish.  I slowed down for the last .2 miles.  An older gentleman passed me.  He told me to pick it up.  He told me that I had been in front of him for the entire race and that he better not beat me.  I found a little energy after that.  I caught him and finished right in front of him.  He didn't care.  He said that I helped him finish the race. 
I crossed the finish line in 1:16:27 (or something).  I knew that it took me about 2 minutes to get to the finish.  My watch said 1:14:42.  Official time - 1:14:02.  I did it!!!  I needed to finish in 1:14 to predict at 2:45 half marathon and I ROCKED it!!!  I finished 141 in my age group, out of 172 people.  I finished faster than 260 other people.  Looking back on my race goals, I met every single one.  I crossed the finish line.  I wasn't last.  I met my time goal!
I got some water and a a Krispy Kreme donut (just one....don't hate) and went home to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  Runners are crazy, but it's a good crazy.  I have never FELT this good after a long run.  No aches, no pains, no swelling. 
Next up:  9.5 miles on Saturday!
Today's Stats:
6.2 miles in 1:14:02 (11.9 minute miles....for 6 miles!)
Mile 1:  11.10
Mile 2:  11.42
Mile 3:  11.57
Mile 4:  12.0
Mile 5:  12.23
Mile 6:  12.34
.2:            2.51
(Yeah, I slowed down every mile, but I finished in 1;14!!))

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

93 Days Left

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It's a big running week for me.  I have a 10K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and a 9.5 mile long run this weekend.  So, today I did a little run.
I'm still chasing the feeling I had a few weeks ago....when every step was easy.  That has not been the case.  Today wasn't hard.  I wasn't waiting for the watch to beep or cursing the steps.  I was just running when it was time to run and walking when it was time to walk.  It just wasn't easy.   It wasn't terribly fun either.  It was a running day, so I ran.
It's hard to get back into a running schedule when you've gotten off schedule.  I've been doing my runs every week.  (Well, except last week.  I only did 2 runs last week.  I missed my "long" run.  It was only supposed to be 3 miles, so I am not too devastated about it.)  I just haven't been running in the mornings.  It was hard to get going again. 
You see, my husband is my biggest cheerleader for this running thing.  He does whatever he can to help me get my runs in.  He makes breakfast on Saturday mornings.  He reminds me to take out my running clothes.  He makes sure my race bibs are straight on my shirt.  He has started a job with a crazy schedule.  That crazy schedule has him at work during my running time or asleep during my running time.  So, I am left to find someone to watch the monkeys.  Who wants to do that at 7:00 on a Saturday morning?? 
Yeah, I have a treadmill.  Yeah, I have a membership at the Y.  I don't really have an excuse.  I should be able to get my runs in, but I don't.  I'm losing motivation for the short runs.  Intellectually, I understand that the short runs are training for long runs.  I get that.  I know why the short runs are important.  It's just hard for me to want to go out and do them.  I'm fine with the long runs.  I plan for those all week.  Everyone knows they are going to happen and what that means for the family.  The short runs just sort of happen.  There is a vague outline of how it's going to work, but no real plan. 
Hubby is home this week.  I can run when I am supposed to. That helps me get back on track.  He works during the middle of next week.  That has the potential to derail the plan.  My goal for the week is to have a plan.  I need to know how I am going to get my runs in.  The holidays are always crazy at our house, but training can't stop.  I have just over 3 months until this half marathon.  Then I have 1 (maybe 2) right after.  There is not rest for the runner in training.
Today's Stats:
2.58 miles in 31.14 (12.0 minute miles)