end of week 3

It’s the end of my third week of Santa Scamper training and this has been an all-time high mileage week. I ran 25 miles this week! The week started out with a easy 3 miler on Monday. I ran right when I got home from work and it was time for trick-or-treating so it was fun to see little kids dressed up in costumes. I would have stayed home to hand out candy but no one comes to my apartment. I ran 4 miles during my two hour lunch break on Tuesday. I don’t normally have two hours off for lunch, but I did a health screening in the morning until 10:30 and then had to come back to do health coaching in the afternoon so I had two hours off in between scheduled health appointments so I was able to sneak in a run.

Wednesday was horribly cold and rainy so I didn’t run that day. I stayed dry inside the apartment. On Thursday I ran a tempo run workout. I was supposed to run 3 miles at 8:30-8:45/min pace with a one mile warm-up and cool-down, which I did, but I did it a little differently. I ran my warm-up, and then ran the first mile in 8:15. Definitely a lot faster than I was supposed to, and I paid for it. I was out of breath and needed to take a short break. Then I ran another mile in 8:16…same situation so I took another short break. Then I really went all-out and finished the last mile in 7:59. I was pretty tired after that. I don’t think I have a good feel for how fast I’m going. I didn’t want to run that fast, but I couldn’t tell what speed I was going until I realized I was running much too fast and ended up totally out of breath. I might need to take M with me on a few of these tempo runs to help pace me until I get a better feel for the speed.

Friday and Saturday were easy 3 milers, and today was a long run of 7 miles. I was beginning to feel a little weak around 2.5 miles but I toughed it out and finished the total 7 miles. It was a very nice weekend of weather for the beginning of November. And the extra hour of sleep didn’t hurt either! It feels good to be done and to have run a high mileage week. I’m looking forward to the Santa Scamper coming up!

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week 2 wrap-up

Week 2 of Santa scamper training didn’t go as well as week 1. I changed a few things around in my training by running 4 easy miles on Tuesday, thinking that I could just switch my Tuesday and Wednesday runs (I really hate running on the days that I work in Green Bay because it’s late by the time I get home), but I was totally wiped out on Wednesday and didn’t feel like I could muster the energy to run…so I didn’t. Luckily I ran that extra mile on Tuesday! On Friday I went to the local middle school’s track to run my first track workout. I ran 4x 400m intervals at 1:41-1:44 pace with a 400m jog rest in between. It was a tough workout. I’m not really used to running short, fast distances, especially when I’m aiming for a certain time. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I ended up doing my 4 intervals in 1:45, 1:40, 1:39 and 1:40. So, overall they were on target. I tacked on an extra half mile in the warm-up and cool-down to bring my daily total to 5 miles. On Saturday I ran 4 easy miles. I added an extra mile on Friday and Saturday to make up for the missed day on Wednesday.

On Saturday night I went to a Halloween party at a friend’s house. I went as Lady Gaga in the meat dress…but I didn’t use real meat! I bought a red dress from Goodwill and then my mom and I sewed on pieces of gauze that was dyed red. I bought a blonde wig from the halloween store and colored the tips blue with a sharpie and tied pieces of fabric onto my shoes and on my head as a hat. It looked great! I will post a pic when I get them on my computer. M dressed up as Greece – he wore a torn up toga, olive leaves around his head and made a cardboard sign that said “help a debt-laden European economy”. He even had a tin can to collect spare change. It was pretty funny! We had a great time seeing old friends.

After a fun night celebrating with friends I didn’t feel much like running a long-run on Sunday. I will have to do better this week, but I’m already off to a good start. I was supposed to have the day off of running on Monday but I decided to come home and squeeze in 3 miles to make up for the bad week of training last week.  M is revamping my training plan so I’m not sure what I will be running today. I will update my blog with the latest plan when I find out!

Happy first day of November!

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training in progress

This first week of training for the Santa Scamper one mile race went well. I’ve not only met, but surpassed my goals for the week. I  completed two workouts and ran my easy days for a total of 20 miles this week. My goal was 18.5 miles but I changed my weekend running plan a little bit by running 5 miles and strides with M yesterday and 4.5 today. The weather was great yesterday and I was feeling good so I added a couple miles. I thought I might as well since I was feeling good and having fun running with M.

 It’s nice to be able to say I’ve done two workouts this week, although they weren’t very hard workouts. I wasn’t sure what kind of shape I would be in after the half marathon – I took two weeks off after the race and haven’t really ran many miles since then. But on Tuesday I ran a 3-2-1 Fartlek workout that went very well. I think I actually ran it a little too fast because I was huffing and puffing by the end and I was definitely running faster than mile pace, which was my goal pace to hit by the end of the workout. It was fun to run fast again. That workout covered about 3.5 miles, including the warm-up and cool down. I ran 3 easy miles on Wednesday after work. Then I did a tempo run workout on Friday with a one mile warm-up and cooldown and 2 miles at 9:00 pace. I actually ran a tiny bit faster and finished up 2 miles in 17:45 and felt really good. My training plan for this week was probably a little too easy so M might adjust the upcoming weeks to push me a little more. I also might add abs 4 days a week.

Over all I am very pleased with how this first week of training went. I’m optimistic that the Santa Scamper will be a PR. I will use this positive energy to keep my training on the right track next week!

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Back for more!

Hello again! It’s been a month since the half marathon and I’m refreshed and renewed to tackle another challenge. This time I have my sights set on a one mile holiday fun run. I ran the Santa Scamper in Appleton last year and finished in 6:56. This year I would like to set a goal of finishing in 6:50 or faster. M has written a training plan for me that includes workouts for faster, shorter distances. It will be different training for such a short race. I’m used to slogging through long runs at slow speeds but I think it will be fun to change gears and run faster and shorter. The Santa Scamper race will be held on November 22. I’m hoping for better weather this year…last year it was near freezing!

I’m starting my training plan with a 3-2-1 Fartlek workout today. I will do a one mile warm-up, run 3 minutes at a fast pace, 3 miles of a recovery jog, 2 minutes at a faster pace, 2 minutes recovery jog and then one minute at my target mile race pace, then a one mile cool down. I expect this workout to cover approximately 3-4 miles.

M designed my training plan around my new work schedule. I’m continuing to pick up hours at the nursing home and doing health assessments, but I work 3 days a week at a hospital in Green Bay from 8-4:30. M also got a new job in Green Bay as well. We live in Appleton and are able to carpool, but living further away from our workplaces and having to make two stops makes the commute about an hour each way. We have to leave the house around 7am and get back around 5:30pm. It cuts down on the number of hours per day that we can workout. M likes to get his run in before going to work and I really hate getting up extra early to run, so he gave me two “off days” each week which I take on the days I work in GB. That leaves just one day that I have to either get up early to run or wait til I get home. That day happens to be tomorrow…

Wish me luck with my new training plan!

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HALF MARATHON!!!!!

The day has finally come that I can say I am now a half marathoner! I can’t believe this journey has been completed. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really sure I could even finish a half marathon. I set this goal for myself last fall and have been training since March. It’s been quite the roller coaster. There were many days that I thought of giving up, but regardless of how I did at the actual race, I knew that training hard for such a big challenge would be good for me.

On Sunday I woke up bright and early at 4:30am, ate some oatmeal, drank some coffee and watched an episode of The Office before leaving for the race at 6:30. The race started at 7am. I didn’t use an iPod so I could focus on my breathing and stride, and it was just one more thing to deal with during the race. I hit every water station along the way up until the last couple miles. I alternated between water and gatorade to maintain a steady stream of hydration and replenish my body with carbohydrates and electrolytes. I thought I would have to take a walk break or stop at a bathroom at some point throughout the raced but I didn’t stop even once! Many people started the race running as fast as possible (I know it was too fast for them cause I saw a lot of them walking by mile 2!) but I concentrated on starting at a manageable pace and maintaining it throughout. On most of my long training runs I averaged 10+ minutes per mile, but my average pace during the race was around 9:25 min/mile. I was very encouraged to see that I could maintain a pace faster than 10 mins/mile. Although I ran the race alone, I had many supporters that stopped to see me along the way. My mom and sister were walking in the half marathon so I didn’t see them at all, but I saw my dad at two points throughout the race. M saw me around mile 3 and 4 and then jumped into the race around mile 9 and ran with me til mile 12. Then he jumped out and let me finish the race on my own. It was great having that little extra support when I was starting to run out of steam a little bit.

I ran it in at the end and finished in 2:02:19! I can’t believe I did it and I did it much faster than I had anticipated. It feels great to have accomplished my goal. I remember three years ago, as a spectator of the race, I made the goal to run a 5k at some point in my life. Even that seemed like a lofty goal. Looking back I can really see how far I’ve come and it gives me inspiration to keep going. I don’t know exactly what my next challenge will be, but improving my time for next year will definitely be a goal. I think I will set my sights on improving my time from last year’s Santa Scamper 1 mile road run in November. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep blogging that much either. But it has been a great journey and I’m very pleased with the results. Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and has supported me along the way. I appreciate all of you!

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Northwest vacation: part two!

Okay where was I…ah yes, Monday. Monday was our last full day in Oregon. We started the day off with a hike up Spencer’s butte. Up until now, the weather in Eugene had been gorgeous. Warm weather during the day, cooler at night, beautiful sun all day, not a cloud in the sky or any precipitation. Monday was not quite like that. During our hike up one of the most scenic spots that we saw (or almost saw) in Eugene, the weather decided to be overcast, foggy and cooler. The temperature wasn’t a problem – it was nice to have cooler temperatures while we were hiking – but our view of the surrounding valley was obscured by the fog. Oh well, we made the best of it and took cool misty pics on top of the butte. It was still very fun. The rest of the day was spent exploring downtown Eugene more while Dan taught music lessons. The guys ended the day by meeting up with Dan’s running group and going for a group run. They returned with dinner from Cafe Yumm! I had never heard of this chair of healthy fast-food restaurants before but I would love to have one around here. We eat got a yumm bowl which consisted of rice, beans, salsa, special yumm sauce, cheese, black olives and sour cream. It was delicious! M and I tried to recreate it when we got home.

The next morning we got up at the crack of dawn, packed up Dan’s car and headed out on an adventure to San Francisco to visit another friend. The three of us took the coastal highway all the way to San Fran. The journey took about 15 hours and two of it’s passengers ended up getting mildly car-sick…

Highway 1 was an amazing route to take for M and I who had never been to northern California before. The highway took us past the redwoods, through mountains and along the gorgeous coast of the Pacific ocean. The drive was harrowing at times (driving right along the coast which dropped off a hundred feet to the ocean! Switchbacks…) but ultimately it was a beautiful route to take and though it took 15 hours it was a great decision to drive highway 1. We arrived in San Fran around 9:30pm and headed out for dinner with David, the friend we were staying with.

Wednesday was spent touring San Francisco. We started the day out with a run in the Tennessee Valley. The guys ran together and I ran solo (I’m slow!) but it was a beautiful trail and I enjoyed the scenery and solitude. We met up on the beach and ran through waves a little and turned around to head back to the car. After the run we stopped at the Dipsea Cafe and had a fantastic breakfast. I had an avocado and bacon omlette with a giant cup of coffee. Mmm… After breakfast, we took a drive up Mount Tamalpais, the highest point on in the bay area. It probably wasn’t a great idea to drive up the winding route to the summit right after eating a big breakfast. My stomach doesn’t do well on such swisty roads, but the view was amazing. San Francisco Bay gets very foggy at times throughout the day, but it’s still sunny. On Mt. Tam we were above the fog and looking down on the bay was a cool sight. There was fog, sun and a full view of the bay area.  We went back to David’s house to shower and then we embarked on a tour of San Fran. We stopped at all the touristy spots – the Golden Gate bridge, the painted ladies, and fisherman’s warf. But we also saw some cool beaches and drove around the downtown. We had a cup of amazing chowder at the fisherman’s warf! Later that night we went to David’s father’s house for an awesome cookout. David invited a couple of his friends over and we had a delicious dinner of burgers on the patio. It was great to relax and enjoy some downtime after a busy day.

That pretty much brought our trip to an end. M and I had to head back on Thursday. We both didn’t want to go home. The trip was so much fun that we wished we could stay and the idea of returning to our jobs back in Wisconsin was sad compared to the wonderful time we had on the west coast. We will return!

Hope you are all well! Just one update…the half marathon is in ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Where have I been??!!

August has been one of the busiest months ever! It seems like everything has happened at once and I’ve done so much this month. So much that I haven’t had time to blog! I promised a Door County update but I never had a chance to do it. I will have to find time to do it cause it was a lot of fun, just like it is every year! 🙂

Right now I’m on vacation in Eugene, Oregon. M and I flew out to Oregon to visit a couple friends. One of our good friends, Dan, lives in Eugene. We flew to Portland on Friday, spent the day exploring Portland and then drove down to Eugene where Dan lives. While in Portland we had lunch in the large lunch cart district and then proceeded on to shop in some of the awesome stores. We hit up an amazing bookstore called Powell’s. It has to be the biggest bookstore I’ve ever been to – it takes up an entire block! They sell new, used and rare books. I spent a lot of time perusing the health, nursing, art and yoga sections while M spent his time shopping in the running and finance section. Both of us would have walked out with a cartload of books if we had any way to transport them home. I wish they had one of these back in Appleton! In addition to the bookstore, we stopped at a music store and whole foods for a bottle of ‘buch (aka kombucha). I also found a LUSH store and bought two soaps! 🙂 Later Friday night we had dinner at a fantastic pizza place where the three of us split two amazing Sicilian pizzas.

On Saturday we started the day with a 4+ mile run on the famous Pre’s trail. It was a little more than a 4 mile loop running along the Willamette river and near the University of Oregon football stadium. The weather has been perfect. Warm, but not too warm, sunny and dry. Excellent for running! M and Dan are much faster runners than me so they had to slow it down quite a bit and I still lagged behind, but it was a lot of fun to run around the famous trail in Track Town USA! On the way back from the run we stopped at Voodoo Doughnuts – probably the most amazing donut shop I’ve ever seen. To give you an idea about this kind of shop, they are open 24 hours a day with a large post-bar close crowd of customers. You can buy donuts such as bacon maple bars, donuts with cereal sprinkled on top and donuts in the shape of voodoo men and (pardon the crudeness) ‘cock-n-balls’. We really scored with a giant box of probably 3 dozen assorted donuts for $5!!!! We’ve been working on eating all the donuts but there is no way that the 3 of us can finish them before they become stale. After heading home for a shower and gorging ourselves on donuts, we headed out to explore Eugene. We stopped at a farmer’s market and an arts and crafts market as well. I got feathers put in my hair at the market! M picked up a cool carved, wooden bracelet and we bought some fresh produce to use in dinner that night. Then we toured a beautiful rose garden. Oregon has the right climate for growing roses so there are several rose gardens in the state. In the afternoon, Dan showed us around the U of O campus (he’s a grad student there!) and we visited the famous Hayward field. M was really in his element! Unfortunately the track was closed for resurfacing but we could still take pictures outside of the gate. For dinner we cooked the Seb Coe pasta dish that M and I love. Dan enjoyed it even though I added a little too much red pepper – it was spicy! Later that night we met up with some friends who happened to also be in Eugene (what a coincidence!) for a drink downtown. It was a busy day!

Yesterday, Sunday, M and Dan went for a run along the Willamette river on the river path. When they got back we went to a cool coffee shop called Perk where Dan played his saxophone with a bassist while we enjoyed delicious coffee. It was a really relaxing way to start the day listening to awesome jazz played by a good friend :). Later in the afternoon we headed up to King Estate winery. The drive to the winery was very winding and scenic. At the winery we took a tour and enjoyed wine and appetizers out on a patio overlooking the vineyard. The three of us split three appetizers – crab cakes, scallops and a crudite platter. We tried the signature pinot gris from the winery. Everything was to die for. The wine and appetizers were some of the best I’ve ever had – and not cheap either! After licking up every last morsel of our phenomenal meal, we had a wine tasting which featured 6 of the winery’s best wines. Everything was wonderful. It was a beautiful afternoon to spend at a winery, enjoying good wine, good food and great company. After the winery, we stopped at a great bakery in Eugene. We were pretty stuffed after eating at the winery, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat delicious cake at the bakery. The three of us shared two kinds of cake – a chocolate mousse cake and marionberry cheesecake. Both were fantastic. I had never heard of marionberry before coming here, but from what I understand, it’s kind of like a sweet blackberry. Whatever it is, it was very good! After having our fill of delicious foods, we headed back to Dan’s place to hang out and watch a movie.

Today we got up early to hike up Spencer’s Butte. It was a little more than a mile climb to the summit. Today was the only day that has been cloudy since we’ve been out here and when we got to the top of the butte we were surrounded by foggy clouds that blocked our view of the valley below. It was very cool to see the mist rising around us, but it was a little disappointing not to see the great view. Not a big deal, we still ended up getting some cool pictures! We came back to Dan’s place and he cooked us an amazing brunch of sauteed italian sausage, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, potatoes and eggs. I shredded a little pepper jack cheese on top for a little extra zest. Mmm! We spent the afternoon exploring downtown Eugene and stopping at the Nike store. Dan and M are on a group run right now and when they get back we are going to eat dinner at Cafe Yumm!

So far the trip has be so much fun and I don’t want to come back. Oregon’s climate and social scene are so great. There is such a focus on organic, local, sustainable living out here that it’s never hard to find fresh, healthy food. M and I really enjoy it! Tomorrow we are packing into Dan’s car and heading down to San Francisco along the coastal highway to visit another one of their friends from college. It’s going to be so fun!

I promise to update as much as I can, but I probably won’t be able to write again until I’m back home. There’s a lot of other news going on aside from the vacation too which I will explain as well. I’m not trying to ignore blogging, but it’s been tough to find time this month. Thanks for reading and I hope you are having a great day!

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