Do you race wisely?

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Let’s face it: there are times when all the stars align and training goes well and you have a fabulous race.

And then there are the times it wasn’t a good idea to even start training — and if you stopped to think about it, you knew it. How did your race go then? Thought so.

Although to be honest, some of my most stressful training cycles have produced good races. It’s smart to choose your races wisely, though. You want to have a smile on your face when you’re finished!

Is it your busy time at work?
If you’re an accountant, it might not be the wisest decision to train for an April marathon. Of course, running off the stress of tax season might be just the ticket for you.

Know yourself; know if you thrive on the pressure of training hard while life is crazy or you have a habit of skipping runs because life is crazy and then you have a less than stellar racing experience.

Are you facing a major life change?
A job change. A move. A new edition to your family. A marriage. All of these events are majorly stressful and usually throw us some curveballs, too. When life is crazy, running often becomes something we have to do, rather than something we get to do — and it leaves us burned out in the end.

Heat loving or loathing?
A Fall marathon can sound pretty enticing. Colorful leaves, crisp Fall air . . . but you’re going to be logging a lot of summer miles, too. Are you more likely to skip a hot and humid run, or shorten your long runs if the heat gets to you?

A longer spring race sounds pretty good, too, but you’ll be training through the winter. Depending on where you live, that could mean running through extreme cold and snow, or having to endure a lot of treadmill runs.

What about the course?
Are you a flatlander who won’t run on the treadmill? A hilly race may not be your best choice.

Do you live at sea level? A race at elevation is absolutely doable (I’m about to tackle my second) but you need to consider if your goals align with a race that may or may not be slower than you want due to that elevation.

Big or small?
If you’re a runner who struggles with social anxiety at large races, Vegas or NYC or Boston probably aren’t the right choice for you.

If you need a crowd to draw energy from a small local race may leave you feeling deflated.

There is no perfect time to train
Just as there is no perfect race. Life will always throw us curveballs and the weather can be unpredictable and wacky at any time of year. You always have to be prepared for the unexpected.

No training cycle is ever perfect, and most of the time you may need to skip a run or shorten a run on occasion.

You can stack the odds in your favor, though, by putting some thought into the races you choose and racing wisely.

Talk to me:

Do you put a lot of thought into the races you choose to run?

Have you picked a race at a time that you knew wasn’t a good time for you to train?

Ever regretted picking a race because of training through a season you don’t enjoy?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Packing it Up: 7/9 – 15 Weekly Wrap

And taking it on the road. Most of this week was spent getting ready for our upcoming trip. It was its usual slog. And why did my dentist appointment have to fall a couple of days before we left? How about the moment I was afraid I’d lost my license (I didn’t)?

I’m joining up with the Weekly Wrap from Holly @ Hohoruns and Wendy @ Taking the Long Way Home to share how I handled heat again, training, and packing this week.

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Workouts update

  • Monday: 5 miles easy
  • Tuesday: Dogwalk
  • Wednesday: 6 x 800 (total of 5 miles), PB Total Body Kettlebells (15 minutes)
  • Thursday:  Travel to MILs
  • Friday:  4 miles easy
  • Saturday: 9
  • Sunday: Travel to Boise

Mileage: 23 (-3)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running Updates

Monday
Although the heat is on again, the humidity isn’t, at least it wasn’t for this run. But that sun was sure beating down on me and had me wishing it was just the 4 miler I thought was scheduled, rather than five. But as usual, it got done.

Wednesday
6 x 400s. I can’t say as I looked forward to it, despite the nice cool weather — but the cloud cover made a huge difference and I actually nailed my paces (except for the first repeat). Not only that, in the past I’ve needed to walk more than I should to recover between each repeat, but I didn’t today.

Not that I’m ever going to find 400s anything less than hard.

Friday
There are truly lovely trails at a park near my MILs & I sure appreciated lower humidity, although WA was having a heatwave too!

Saturday
I talked my SIL into taking me to the East Lake Samamish Trail, which was great. I even got to see Mt. Rainier when I got off the trail for a bit.

Favorites of the week
Those 400s on Wednesday  — such a confidence booster. I really thought the run would suck but I nailed it (if you throw out the first repeat).

Getting out of Dodge! Okay, the real fun doesn’t start until next week, but even having the break from furkid duty — even if I miss them — feels good.

There have already been a few desserts, I picked up Garret’s popcorn in the Chicago airport, & I leave you with just a few photos of our shenanigans so far.

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This week I am also linking up with the Sunday Fitness & Food Linkup brought to you by Ilka @ Ilka’s Blog and Angela @ Marathons & Motivation.

Let’s get the conversation started:

Are you able to pack the night before a trip & not stress?

How long is long enough for you at your MILs?

Does your dentist make your next appointment at your cleaning — even though that’s 6 months away?

What is this rolling out of bed . . .

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. . .  that you speak of?

I have to admit that sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just roll out of my bed and do a half marathon. Would you believe I never have? The longest race I’ve ever done at home is a 15k.

I am joining the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy with five reasons you should get out of your comfort zone and consider a racecation, too.

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Bust the boredom
Maybe you’re blessed to live in an area with miles of trails outside your door. While there are many lovely places to run where I live, most require a drive. Often I don’t have the time. So I run around the same neighborhood I walk the dogs around every day — a lot. And tend to stick to about two to four different paved paths to do long runs. It gets old — really, really old.

Enjoy new weather
NOLA at the end of an upstate New York winter? Yes, please! Utah or Idaho when we’re sweltering in the humidity and high dew points at home? Pretty please!

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We’re not in NY anymore, toto

Explore different views
I love the ocean, but it’s a long drive from here. We do have mountains, but they’re not quite the same as the Cascades or Rockies. We definitely don’t have a lot of cacti around here — you’ll only find that in someone’s house, not growing wild in our backyard like we did when we lived in TX.

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We didn’t see this during the race, but it wasn’t far away afterwards

Explore a new city
A long run through a new city is one of the best ways to explore it (maybe the best way is with a food tour — you know me, everything leads to food). Most of the time they close off the streets for you, feed you at the end, and provide beverages throughout. Plus the medal they hang around your neck when you finish.

Leave the stress at home
I won’t lie: prepping for a racecation, at least for me, is stressful. All the cleaning. Arranging for pet sitters. Prepping all the furkids’ stuff. Writing up a bunch of blogs in advance.

When I arrive in my new home away from home, though, I can breath a sigh of relief. I don’t have to walk dogs, scoop poop, scoop litter, constantly refill the water dish, clean, cook, do laundry, get out of bed early . . . I need that every once in a while to recharge my batteries!

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

Racecation or local race? Why?

What was your best racecation ever?

Firecracker 4 Race Recap 7/4/18

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Ah Firecracker: the race we love to hate and yet keep coming back to, year after year. Always hot (except for one fluke cool year), it was much hotter than previous years. We all set out to take it sort of easy and enjoy the race — and we did!

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Good thing we did the group photo before the race!

Getting There & Hanging Out
We have a group that has been either meeting up at the race and/or going up together — like this year. A few others come and meet up with us too, and we all ran into more people we knew as we walked around, as usual — including a few ladies from the Freihofers training challenge, which was nice to see.

Thankfully the city center, where packet pickup is, is air conditioned. And real bathrooms. You would think that we would just hunker down inside there — that everyone would hunker down inside there — and we pretty much did.

It wasn’t quite as bad as we all thought it would be, though. We had time to take a few group photos before the race began. Afterwards we were all a hot mess!

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Skirt Sports was well represented

The weather & dressing
Skirt Sports for the win. I went with the Racecation Tank (yes, I wore the exact same one last year!) and Cool It Skirt; Newton Motion on the feet.

It was hot — 80F — and not a cloud in the sky.

My Race Plan
Coach Rachel @ Runningonhappy had a plan for me and it was basically to use this as a progressive run. I didn’t ask, but with the hot temps, I threw the plan out the window and just ran by feel.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:59. Last year I talked about being frustrated by slow racers/walkers in this mile, but mused if I’d started out faster maybe I would have slowed down in the last mile. Somehow this year I started out much faster and for the most part, just maintained a consistent pace.
  2. Mile 2: 11:00. The first water stop isn’t until this mile, but I carry my own water and never stop at a stop (but I sure ran through every sprinkler and hose out there, and I quickly lost count of how many there were — the spectator support is one of the reasons I love this race!). Because parking is difficult and we have to leave early, I’d have filled my bottles with water the night before and froze them. Otherwise it would have been like drinking bath water — that worked well for me.
  3. Mile 3: 10:50. Almost exactly the same pace as last year; it’s a relatively flat mile.
  4. Mile 4: 10:57. This last mile is always tough. There’s no shade. It’s mostly uphill. Always a hot race, this year was the hottest one ever — 80F at the start as opposed to last year’s 70F at the start — and as usual, not a cloud in the sky. There was a man that went down right in front of me in the last half mile — always so scary (I assume it was due to the heat).

44:02 — Official Time
11:04 Average Pace
43 out of 100 in 55-59 division

Previous years:
2017: 44:17
2016: 47:10
2015: 44:11
2014: 47:48

I had no clue what my past race finish times were. I just went out to run by feel and not kill myself. I was astounded to snag a course PR (not my 4 mile PR, that was set in a race in early Spring quite a few years ago that was much, much cooler) — by a mere 9 seconds but I’ll take it!

The best part? Of course it wasn’t easy, but it didn’t feel as hard as I expected it to.

Was the race well run?
This race is so much fun — if you’re ever in Saratoga, NY on the fourth you should check it out. There’s a ton of spectator support and the locals are out in force with hoses — much appreciated — even on a hot fourth like this one!

The late start is a pain, as is parking. Unless you know Saratoga well, the parking situation can be nerve wracking.

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

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This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Let’s taper, shall we?: 7/2 – 8 Weekly Wrap

The theme for this week — until the weekend — was unbearable heat and humidity. I am not at all ashamed that two of my runs ended up on the treadmill. Recently a relatively young runner died in a race due to heat stroke. And I saw someone go down right in front of me in Wednesday’s race, too.

I’m joining up with the Weekly Wrap from Holly @ Hohoruns and Wendy @ Taking the Long Way Home to share how I handled heat, racing, and training this week.

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Workouts update

  • Monday: Dogwalk, Speedwork 8 x 400 with 200 recovery on TM (total of 6 miles), PB Total Body (30)
  • Tuesday: Dogwalk, Swimming
  • Wednesday: Firecracker 4 (and yes, that was it for the day!)
  • Thursday:  Dogwalk, 4 easy treadmill miles, PB Kettlebell Legs (20 min)
  • Friday:  Dogwalk
  • Saturday: 12 blessedly cool miles, Iron Strength Glutes
  • Sunday: Dogwalk disguised as a Short Hike

Mileage: 26 (+1)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running Updates

I definitely do have my limits (unless with friends, apparently)

Monday
With a real temperature of 93F (feels like 106) I am #sorrynotsorryatall that I did my speed work on the treadmill. I just couldn’t get out early enough to beat the heat — well, I did to walk the dogs, which is part of why I couldn’t run early.

Was it tough? It wasn’t as bad as I had made it up to be in my mind. Will it help in Wednesday’s hot & humid race? Nope. Not sure anything really will . . .

Before the race. We were all a hot mess afterwards.

Wednesday
This was my fifth year running Firecracker 4 — and the hottest year yet! I went in prepared for a slow race. Rachel @ Runningonhappy had a race plan for me but due to the extreme heat, I ignored it and ran by feel (a wise decision).

A group of my friends goes most years. I was waiting for people to bail, but no one did.

I’ll recap it Tuesday, because yes, I like to tease that way.

Thursday
Today we actually did get thunderstorms — good news being the heatwave is finally going to break — yup, another treadmill run. Four miles I have to admit I wasn’t feeling and they felt oh-so-much harder than yesterday’s four mile race — but got it done!

Early morning miles and smiles

Saturday
I couldn’t have asked for better weather for my longest run of this training cycle. The heatwave broke, it was cool and dry, and the sun was shining brightly. It was a confidence building 12 mile run — and no taping. I felt a little tightness towards the end, but it quickly dissipated after the run.

I happened to “run” into a Skirt Sister right before the run, who was kind enough to take some photos of me even though she was a little late.

Favorites of the week
The heatwave breaking! It’s going to heat back up, but nowhere near as bad as last week. And the weather this weekend was so beautiful.

We finally booked a room for my 1812 race next month! In fact, we booked two rooms. The first place looks a bit sketchy, but we wanted to make sure we had something. Both have a relatively liberal cancellation policy.

We did split it. Sort of. I may or may not have eaten most of the brownie.

I decided that since I felt I liked the brownie sundae better than the cupcake sundae — don’t get me wrong, they’re both good — that I had to go out and get the brownie sundae to celebrate 12 miles.

I’ve run at the bikepath for many years, but it was only in the last few that I realized there are all sorts of trails around it too. Mr Judy, the dogs, and I got out this morning to explore just a little.

Blog posts that caught my eye this week:

link-up-badge

This week I am also linking up with the Sunday Fitness & Food Linkup brought to you by Ilka @ Ilka’s Blog and Angela @ Marathons & Motivation.

Let’s get the conversation started:

Do you feel you deserve a reward for a double digit run?

Would you rather swelter than ever run on the treadmill?

Do you have a cut off point for running outside when it comes to the heat?

Let purring cats lie: Spilling over tea/coffee July 2018

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I won’t lie: the last couple of weeks have been tough. Some of the stress going on I’m sharing here, others I’m not yet ready to share on the blog. In the scheme of things, though, I’m still pretty lucky and I’m still writing my gratitude list every night.

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Pull up chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me for the ultimate coffee tea date.

Yes, he still loves his boxes

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I took Gizmo to the vet for a long overdue annual, which was part of my stress this week, but the one nice thing from that visit is the vet said he has the teeth of a seven year old cat. He’s 17. He only had one dental, when he was five. Aside from a very short time when he was a wee kitten, before he came to us, he never ate kibble in his life.

We raised him on raw, although we switched back to canned several years ago when his brother got sick, but over the last few years we’ve fed a mixture of canned and raw — it gets harder and harder to keep him eating all the time, although inexplicably he’s actually a little overweight for the first time in his life. He doesn’t eat much at one time, and I’ve actually cut back on his food somewhat.

He’s not very overweight, though, and at his age, they can lose a lot of weight quickly so being just a little overweight isn’t always a bad thing (but it’s never a good thing if they’re really overweight, of course) — the vet didn’t seem worried.

Unfortunately, as I suspected, he’s in kidney failure. The good news is he’s still eating okay and keeping himself hydrated so at this point in time he doesn’t need fluids — very good, considering we have a vacation coming up!

Funny story: Gizmo has never been into people food, unlike his brother Simba who had some really weird tastes. Chicken, turkey, beef — of course. The one real exception is melon — which is not so uncommon with cats. Simba once ate through the rind of a cantaloupe I had ripening on the counter.

Anyway, if I eat melon he’s right there demanding some. If Mr. Judy eats melon? Crickets. The other day Mr. Judy was having some with breakfast — nothing. So I got the bowl from him and sat down near Giz and he immediately demanded his share.

The “family” all together

He’s still purring and happy, thank goodness.

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that I am making a real effort to get in a little more strength training. Those downhill races require strong legs, and I also have my longest race ever coming up just a short month after this month’s half.

As so often happens in our racing calendars, I’m wondering what the heck I was thinking? But sometimes I thrive on that kind of pressure, and training for the half kind of hid the fact that I need to start running what are — to me — a lot of miles.

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I was not unhappy to say goodbye to this hill!

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you I’m happy the downhill repeats are over and done with. Now I just have to struggle to make sure I keep up with the aforementioned strength training so my legs are strong!

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that my resting heart rate has been higher this year than it was last year. Not a lot, maybe 4-5 beats. While I struggled with a long (although not serious) virus in the winter, I’ve been feeling much more like myself finally in this training cycle. Training is going well and I feel as though I’ve recovered well from my workouts.

It was interesting to me that my RHR was much lower Tuesday morning, the day after I went swimming for the first time in many months. Coincidence? I have no idea. Stay tuned.

Hopefully he’ll be this chill at the pet sitter

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you we left Bandit with a pet sitter we’ve used for Lola in the past when we went to see Andy Grammer. It was only one night. We’d already done a meet and greet, but this was a test to see if she wanted to take him for our trip to Idaho which will be long (and includes a side trip to see my MIL).

We had told her not to pick him up. We can do it, but he’s not super fond of it and that’s when he nipped Mr. Judy way back when they first met. As we were leaving she just bent down and hauled him up (so he wouldn’t run out the door) and he snarled at her, but was okay. She said she picked him up later in the day and he was fine. So that’s where he’s staying when we go.

As I told her, I wouldn’t have brought him if I thought he would be a problem, but he’s still a sensitive dog who doesn’t always adjust well. It definitely makes things easier to take both dogs to one person!

Tea? Iced Tea? Coffee? Decaf? Green smoothie?

Any funny furkid stories recently?

Any funny stories at all — I could use a good laugh!?

Does heat cause you to eat less? Stress, too?

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Today I am also  joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy. I’m pretty sure this won’t be readable in five minutes so I apologize in advance!

How does running change as you age?

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Dazzling: to impress deeply; to astonish with delight

Dazzling and running are not two words I usually put together. Sure, my race tomorrow will no doubt be dazzling with sunshine and heat, but I couldn’t find a post in that (and I’ll recap it next week anyway).

My running is not often referred to as dazzling, either. No Age Group awards, no races won, no superhuman paces going on, just a solid back to middle of the packer who keeps working on improving and challenging herself.

And then I found this quote:

The aged love what is practical while impetuous youth longs only for what is dazzling.— Petrarch

Were you dazzling as a younger runner?
Did you win more as a younger runner (age group awards, races, meets)? Did you set PR after PR?

I didn’t start until my late 40s, and while I may have been dazzled that I could run 13.1 miles, I sure wasn’t dazzling anyone else back there in the back of the pack.

Have you come to accept that you won’t be dazzling as you age as a runner?
Do you find yourself in the position of slowing down as you age? Are those PRs and dazzling fast races a painful (or happy) memory slowly fading away in the rear view mirror?

They say that you keep continue to improve your first 10 years of running, and I am fast approaching my tenth year of running — which is rather dazzling to myself if to no one else. But I see plenty of people who continue to improve, and so I try to ignore that little voice that says someday you’ll slow down, too.

I’m sure that little voice is right, but in the meantime, I still feel I have more improvement in me.

Have you come to value the run more than just dazzling others with your speed?
I had this conversation with another runner just this weekend. She’s very fast, but has struggled with injuries for a while. And she has come to the place where she’s just grateful to run, no matter how long or how fast.

I hope that when the inevitable happens to me, I embrace it with as much grace, and continue to give thanks for the simple act of running. I know I spend some time in gratitude for the fact that I can run on almost every run.

In the end dazzling isn’t about speed. Dazzling is about whatever makes your heart sing and your feelings lift. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Deb Runs

I am linking up with Debruns and her Wednesday Word

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Tell me in the comments:

Have you had a dazzling running career?

Do you think you value running more as you get older?