Looking Ahead

I hope y’all had a lovely Valentine’s Day! Hubby and I aren’t really into such a commercialized holiday so we kept it low key and enjoyed some wine and fantastic steaks.  I married a man that can throw down on the grill.

I did get some really beautiful roses. <3

I did get some really beautiful roses. ❤

I can’t believe it but tomorrow is my last long(ish) run before Rock-n-Roll New Orleans – EEK!  I say long(ish) because it’s only 10 miles.  I know the people who came up with tapering know what they’re talking about but I get a bit nervous that my legs are going to go dumb and forget how to run.

Also, during taper, I find myself with lots of extra time which leads to looking to the future and planning more things to do.  {side note: There are a TON of cool races out there.}  I’m what I like to call a spontaneous planner.  I really love having races on my calendar (gives me something to look ahead to) but I also am guilty of spur of the moment or impulse registering.

Case in point, last week I added two new events to my race calendar and have a third event in the works.  To remind myself that money doesn’t grow on trees, I thought it would be good to look at what I have coming up next month and also what I goals I plan to conquer.

These are the two major goals I want to accomplish in March & April:

  1. Go to an actual crossfit class.
  2. Take swimming lessons.

I have been wanting to try crossfit for awhile now but didn’t want to risk injury during marathon training.  Now that I don’t have that excuse, bring on the pain!

My newest fitness items.  Weight lifting gloves and a jump rope.

My newest fitness items. Weight lifting gloves and a jump rope.

As for the swimming lessons, in order to even consider a triathlon I need to be able to do more then doggie paddle or float while holding a drink with a little umbrella in it.  I can swim, but not proficiently.  I have a small, very small, triathlon that I’ve been eyeballing for May but I’m not registered for it yet.

And these are the events that I’m looking forward to:

rnr

2/24 Rock-n-Roll Marathon (full), New Orleans, LA.   This will be my last marathon until November.  Apparently I’m a masochist because I’m really going to miss training.

viking
3/30 Viking 1/2 Marathon, Greenwood, MS.  The same event company that put on last week’s half in Greenville is doing this one.  I have high hope for this half to be just as amazing!

zombie

4/6 Zombie Run, Gulfport, MS.  Oooooooh yes! I will be in full zombie costume (clothes & makeup) chasing runners.  This is just going to be way too much fun! Proceeds go to benefit the smile train which helps children with cleft paletes.

yoga
4/13 Yoga for Nonviolence, Ocean Springs, MS.  It will be interesting going from being a violent zombie one weekend to a peaceful yogi the next.  I will be doing 108 Sun Salutations (YIKES!) in observation of nonviolence.

WarriorDash_Logo1

4/20 Warrior Dash, Jackson, MS.  This is the last event I’m registered for and most likely will be the last big event until fall.  By the beginning of May, the heat is already so hot in South Mississippi that racing season is basically over.  I know I’ll want to move to Antarctica.  Call me crazy but I’m looking forward to jumping over fire and getting my fuzzy, horned hat.

So that’s everything, minus a few local races that I’m undecided about.  I’m hoping that I can just pull this post up whenever I get the itch to register for something new…Here’s hoping my logic works.

Oh, and I just have to show you one picture from the half marathon last week.  (Of course the professional pictures came out the day that I released my post…)  The picture was taken right before crossing the finish line and I think my smile says it all.  I rarely buy a professional race pic but this was such a special race that I think I might just get this one.

half

Question:  What events do you have coming up that you’re excited about?

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MCM Training Recap: Week 15

For some reason I had the hardest time writing this post.  I don’t know if it was because I didn’t feel like I had a lot to report due to the reduced miles, or if my reluctance to write this post reflects the fact that  by writing it, I’m actually acknowledging the fact that I’m officially in my last week of training and will be running a marathon in 6 days.  Either way, this post was hard to write (hopefully not hard for you to read).

Like I said a minute ago, I had reduced miles this week.  Only 24 miles to be exact.  A year ago I would have died laughing at the idea of me complaining about only running 24 miles but now that I’ve been running in between 30-40 miles for the past few months that number seems foreign.  So how did it break down?  Well, Monday was a short 3 mile run with strides.  This was the day after I ran the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon in Mandeville, LA, and it was nice to shake the legs out.  The professional race pics from the 1/2 are finally up so I thought I’d share one with you.  Proof that I did actually run the 1/2 and not just douse myself with water and steal a medal. 😛

It’s like Where’s Waldo? I’m even wearing a striped shirt….

Cheeeeezzzzzze

Wednesday was another short 4 mile marathon pacing session. Boring.

By Thursday I was beyond ready to move and I knew I’d get the chance during the 7 miles of speed work that was on the calendar.  However, I spent the first 4 miles feeling sick to my stomach and wishing I could hurl.  It was bizarre but I pushed through it (after stopping several times) and got the speed work done at a faster pace then was on the plan.  I think I just wanted to be done.  I was worried I was getting sick but I’ve felt fine ever since.  I guess it was just one of those freak runs.

And then finally it was time for my final “long” run.  It was 10 easy miles .  I got up at 4am to meet a couple of my running girls.  It was a chilly morning (temp was 53* – don’t judge, I live in MS) but it was absolutely gorgeous.  The stars were out for the first hour and then I got to see a gorgeous sunrise.  It was strange stopping after 10 miles.  My body was confused and then I had all this pent up energy the rest of the day.  Grrrrr….

Random big fish right before the sunrise.

These girls stuck out the entire training with me! ❤ Stacey (L) is running the MCM and Lorena (M) trained even though she’s not running the race.

So now I get to play the waiting game.  I have 3 easy runs totaling 10 miles before next Sunday.  I guess my legs will be good and rested but I question if they’ll remember how to run or not.  Either way, functioning legs or not, I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon in memory of my brother.

Question:  What is your favorite time of day to workout? Do you ever get to see amazing sunrises or sunsets?

Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash & My Next 1/2 Marathon

This has been the lowest amount of midweek miles in almost two months.  I had 7 miles of speed work last night and spent the first 4 feeling like I had to throw up.  Y’all, please pray that I’m not getting sick.  I’ve only run 14 miles this week (7 of them last night) and have an easy 10 mile long run tomorrow.  It’s strange to have dropped from 40 miles two weeks ago down to 24 (and next week I’ll only log 10 miles before marathon).  So much extra time in my week…  I figure if I keep myself busy, maybe I won’t notice the “taper madness”.

How exactly have I been filling my time?

If you ever check out my races tab, you might have noticed a new addition.  I might have registered for another ½ marathon. *Hangs head sheepishly*  “Hi, my name is Gina and I’m a compulsive race register(er).”  To my credit, I had a discount code for 50% off.  How could I pass up a deal like that?  It’s a women’s only race and for finishing you get a necklace instead of a medal.  Saaahweet!

I’ve been working on getting things ready for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I met with the artist at the print shop that’s making my race shirt which I’m super excited to show y’all when I get it next week.  And I’ve also been releasing my inner crafty self working on the hubster’s poster for the race.  He’s less then thrilled to have to carry a poster but I’m going to love seeing him with it.

And finally, I’ve been pretty June Cleaverish this week.  My house is spic and span.  The laundry’s done. And for the first time in a long time I was able to get into my kitchen and make something other than a 5 minute, I’m starving, must have food immediately, GET IN MY BELLY type meal.

My friend Stacey went out of town last weekend and brought me back a spaghetti squash (she really knows the way to my heart).  I’ve been wanting one of these squashes for awhile but I haven’t found them down here yet.

Can you spot the photo bomber??

I may have gone a bit overboard with my excitement.
I wasn’t so in love with it after trying to cut it open.

I was feeling in a Greek/Mediterranean type mood so I stopped at the store at and picked up some staples – kalamata olives and feta.  Then I proceed to murder open the squash.  Hooooooly cow was this sucker hard to get into.  I seriously thought I might lose a finger in some tragic knife accident.  However, I was finally able to get into it.  (Mental note: STOP procrastinating with the upper body training!)

I cooked the squash according to directions and then tossed it together with the other ingredients.  For not having a recipe, the Mediterranean spaghetti squash turned out pretty tasty! I’d give it a 1 ½ thumbs up; not two (it was good; not great).   I will say that it was surprisingly sweet which confused my taste buds a bit.  I’m used to spaghetti squash having a milder taste.  I think the sauteed onions added to the sweetness so next time I’m going to leave them out.

{Click on recipe card for larger view}

Question:  What do you like to do when you find yourself with extra time?

MCM Training Recap: Week 14

When I was typing the title to this post I seriously had to double check that I had the right week – 14.  14?? How in the world did that happen? I mean there’s only 16 weeks in my training plan so (go ahead and take off your socks for this insanely hard math problem) that means that there’s only 2 weeks until the Marine Corps Marathon!

Hello butterflies.  Nice to meet you.

This is the first week that I got to enjoy the benefit of {somewhat} reduced mileage.  I can’t really say I ‘taper’ because I still ran 32 miles.  I am happy to be backing down the miles because I’ve been experiencing pretty severe muscle aches that run up and down the side of my legs between my calves and shins.  They go away after 3-4 miles but then come back as soon as I’m done running.  Growing pains? Maybe I’m going to get some oober-bulgy calves?  *Sigh* Probably not.  I’ve actually taken to sleeping in my favorite compression socks (Pro Compression) after speed work helps relieve some of the post run pain.

Ummmm yeah, those are Mr. & Mrs. owls on my PJs. Don’t judge.

Speaking of speed work.  This week was chock full o’ it! Which is good because I know that speed work = faster running.  Yep, I did it.  I pointed out the obvious! Monday’s run included 6 miles with 6 strides, Wednesday’s run was 8 miles with 8 Yasso’s, and then Thursday’s run was 5 miles with 3 at marathon pace.  I got to chat with Duckie (the elderly guy I met while running Yasso’s last week) on Wednesday.  Turns out he was special forces in the army… i.e. The type of person who could kill you 36 different ways with a pencil.  I’m sure he has some awesome stories to tell.  I think it may become a Tuesday routine to stop and chat with him.

Then Saturday was the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathong which was my first half of the fall! I’ll have a full recap on Wednesday’s post but let’s just say it was awesome! (And included a surprising PR, too!)  I have to admit that it was really strange only running 13.1 miles which is my shortest long run distance in almost 2 months; my legs were totally confused when I stopped.  I can honestly say that I feel very prepared for the MCM.  If any of you are training for a marathon, I highly recommend running a ½ a few weeks before your full.  It will give you a huge boost of confidence!

Annnnnnnnnnd with the end of week 14, I officially start to taper.  I’m pretty nervous about dropping down the miles and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t encounter the taper madness everyone talks about…  I guess we’ll see!  For now, I’m off to foam roll the kinks out from today’s ½ marathon.  I hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend, too!!

Tell me, what exciting things did you do this weekend? I want to hear from you!

MCM Training Recap: Week 13

After last week’s not so fantastic training I was determined to get back in the right frame of mind this week.  And I’m happy to say that I loved week 13 – I guess maybe 13 isn’t an unlucky number after all.  I may have enjoyed it a bit too much…the training plan called for 36 miles but I ended up doing right around 57. (To be fair 16.5 of those miles were from cycling.) My legs are pretty trashed…

Week 13 started out on a somber note as I ran 3.1 miles for my brother’s 31st birthday Monday morning and then ran my scheduled training run Monday night.  Tuesday’s run was 8 miles of speed work (Yassos) which means lots of running in loops.  Sounds boring right? Well it can be but on this particular run I got to make a new friend – yay!

My training partner Stacey and I were running and noticed an elderly gentleman sitting  in a wheelchair on his porch.  I waved at him the first time we ran by and he waived back.  The second time we ran by he gave us a thumbs-up; the third go-round he yelled to us that we were “looking good”.  Well by the 4th Yasso I couldn’t stand it anymore so I stopped and trotted up his ramp (he looked a bit frightened… I can’t blame him; I was covered in sweat) and introduced myself.  I told him if I was going to keep running by him we at least needed to know each other. His name was Duckie – how cool!! We chatted briefly, I told him how much his cheering meant to us and then Stacey and I continued on.  Duckie continued to cheer us on for the next few Yassos – he totally made my night.

Thursday’s run was a marathon pacing session; nothing worthwhile to report there.  Then it was time to get ready for my last 20 miler!  It’s so hard to believe that I was getting ready for my last long run before I start tapering.  After my epic 21 mile run two weeks ago I had really high hopes for this run but I’m not going to lie, this was a super difficult run.  We (me + my training girls) spent the first 3(ish) miles in the pitch black dodging open man-holes (no joke, I wouldn’t be surprised if a person went missing from falling in one) and jumping huge sections of the sidewalk that were torn up from Hurricane Isaac.  Not off to a good start.  Then we tackled a huge incline and since this was an out and back run that meant that we would be tackling the same huge incline at mile 15.5. Yikes! Now,  throw in the mix that I was having pretty bad GI cramps the entire 20 miles…  Not fun.  We did get to see an amazing sunrise and we had some really gorgeous scenery along the way.

Beautiful sunrise over the beach.

We ran by this church just as their bells started to toll. Very cool.

Really cool carving from a dead tree.

But by mile 19 I was beat and all I wanted to do was finish…which thankfully we did!

Flashing my gang signs…HA! It’s supposed be a 20.

We stopped at a local farmer’s market to “refuel” before heading home.

Drooooool…..

Ok, so the ginormous cookie really wasn’t mine.  I got it for my hubby. (I’m such a sweet wife, right??) I bought a cranberry scone but greedily devoured it before I could snap a picture – woops.  I headed home, showered, changed and then headed back out for a 16.5 mile bike ride on the Long Leaf Trace with my hubs.  ❤ ❤ ❤

I love this guy so much!

Blinded by the light….Sorry, I’m just abnormally pale.

I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to hold up during the bike ride but they did pretty well.  I totally feel it today, but ll-in-all, it was really a fantastic Saturday and a terrific training week altogether.  Now I’m just excited, nervous, anxious to see exactly what this ‘taper madness’ people talk about is and before I know it the MCM will be here!

Question:  Have you ever experienced ‘taper madness’? What did you do to combat it?