Half Marathon Training, September Update

img_0060

 

It’s October! We are running the TMC Get Moving Tucson Half Marathon in about 4 Weeks! We chose this run because we just bought a second home in Tucson and thought it made sense to run in our new community, and it would be a new challenge to run in the desert environment. It does make sense, but we really underestimated how much of a challenge it would be to run in the heat, at elevation (Tucson in 2200 ft) and the hills! Oh my, the hills! But I am getting ahead of myself, let’s take the month in order!

This was the plan for September.

September 2017
Monday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 2 3
Run 8
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Run 5 Run 4 Run 9
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Run 5 Run 4 Run 9 10k fun run
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Run 6 Run5 Run10
25 26 27 28 29 30
Run 6 Run5 Run10

The first part of September went as scheduled, we ran our 8, 5, 4 and 9 miles here in Washington and they went quite well.

img_2623

The weather was mild and the temperatures were perfect in Seattle.

img_2743

After this 9 mile run we flew to Tucson to start setting up the house and train in the new environment. What a culture shock! 98F, hills, less oxygen at elevation and this:

 

img_2822

Running was hard. We had to start right at sunrise to avoid the high temps, which was gorgeous, and still 70F!

img_2842

img_2943

 

We signed up for a local 10K to get a feel for what it would be like to run a race in Tucson. Bottom line: It was tough! 80F at the 7am start, and 400 feet of elevation gain! I was happy just to survive! Here is my Instagram post that day.

4a790138-168a-446e-819e-3707a579e7a9

 

I ran another 6 and 5 miles and my hubby did what he could, as he was working remotely during the whole trip in Tucson, and then we flew back to Washington for the 10 mile runs on 9/23 and 9/30. This gave me a total of 89.33 miles for the month.

img_3024

 

Now we are heading into the home stretch and our schedule for October.

October 2017

 

Monday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Run 4 Run 5 Run 11
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Run 5 Run 4 Run 12
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Run5 Run4 Run6
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Run 4-5 Run 4-5 Carb load 13.1
30 31

The tricky part here will be running while we are in Kauai from 10/6 to 10/11. We are not sure how many times or how far we will be able to run while away, but we will try to be ready for the half marathon on the 29th. Again, the goal will be to survive! No PR or crazy goals with this one!

SaveSave

Half Marathon Training, August Recap

August 2017 is in the books and it was a crazy time for us to be training as we were traveling a total of 17 or 18 days of the month. I say 17 or 18 because we lost hours going to Europe, then gained hours on the way back, and lost control of all bodily functions to jet lag both directions. Jet lag gets worse the older I get and running with jet lag is not what I recommend to anyone!  Here is a reminder of what we were trying to accomplish this month.

 

August 2017

 

Monday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 2 3 4 5 6
  Run 4   Run 4   Run 6  
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
  Run 5   Run 5   Run 7  
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
  Run 5   Run 5   Run 7  
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
  Run 6   Run 4   Run 8  
28 29 30 31
  Run 6   Run 4      
         
           

The first two weeks went great, right up to the 13th when we left for England. After we got our bearings, and survived driving on the left side of the road, we went out into Southampton for a 5 mile run. We were staying near a harbor and I tried to hug the waterline as best I could.

 

england run

It was a slow run, and this route resembles my lower intestines, but I got it done. My hubby ran 5 miles as well. Here is a better picture of his run!

 

england

We toured the HMS Victory in Portsmouth

The next 5 miles that was scheduled had to be done at sea as we had boarded the Caribbean Princess and set sail for Ireland. Our choices were to run on a treadmill in the fitness center, or around the Promenade deck which was narrow, had two sets of stairs and 2.7 laps=1 mile. I chose the treadmill and my hubby went with the deck.

cruise run

Pretty nice view for my run

 

So far we were doing pretty good with keeping true to the plan. Our first longer run was 7 miles in Dublin. Of course, since this was Ireland, it was raining. Hard rain, pouring rain, but the temp was good (low 60s) and, more importantly there was zero wind.

The tough part about this run was that we had to start from the port where the ship was docked which meant navigating a busy, industrial area to make our way toward some sort of city. Once again the traffic was predominantly coming from the left and there were overpasses and onramps to cross. We had a basic plan, which my husband stuck to, but I decided to remain closer to the waterline to (hopefully) avoid getting lost. My strategy barely worked. I ended up running around a water sewage treatment plant which stunk, really really badly! Probably because of the backed up drains due to the heavy rain we were experiencing. And the hope that I would not get lost? Ya, I took two wrong turns and my 7 mile run was really 7.65. Oh well, we got back to the ship, showered and went back into town for lunch at a great pub and enjoyed a hot lamb stew!

dublin

We pulled away from the dock in Ireland and made our way to Greenock, in Scotland. Once again we had to figure out a path from the port and run 6 miles into town. This was much easier and far more straightforward this time. We exited the ship and turned right, ran 3 miles then came back. Of course, I still managed to take a wrong turn somewhere and went 6.60. How is it my mistakes always cost me a half mile more?!

greenock

Now, if you are keeping track, which I doubt you are or want to, we should have a 4 mile run to report next. We looked at the itinerary for our next stop and saw that Invergordon, Scotland was the next port of call. Much like Greenock, this was a spot where we could run right from the dock into town and felt it would be best to go for the 8 mile run and just skip the 4. It was a little tougher to fit in 8, more so than I originally thought it would be, due to the small size of the town.

 

invergordon

No, I didn’t run on the water! There was a massive pier that went straight out toward some sort of rigs that dotted the waterway. The guard on duty was kind enough to let me go out and back, which ate up a good 1 1/2 miles from my route. It was a really pretty run out there. My husband wasn’t feeling it that run and decided to cut it to 5 for his day.

Aside from a couple shorter jogs on the ship this was our last real mileage of note for the trip. The picture below sums up our training for this month. I was really happy with my total mileage for August, especially when you account for all the travel time.

scotland run

All totaled, we were pretty happy with our ability to keep training while getting in some sightseeing as well. The pictures from our travels are being (slowly) posted on the travel portion of my blog here and here.

As for running in September, here is the plan

September 2017

 

Monday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 2 3
          Run 8  
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  Run 5   Run 4   Run 9  
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
  Run 5   Run 4   Run 9 10k fun run
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
  Run 6   Run5   Run10  
25 26 27 28 29 30
  Run 6   Run5   Run10

So far so good, we are on track as of 9/4 but we are traveling again from 9/9 to 9/23. I will have to update next month with our training efforts in Tucson as we are visiting our new home and trying to get it set up. We also have added a 10K in Tucson for the 17th and will have to rearrange some training runs around that event.

I am grateful for so many wonderful things in my life right now. Running, traveling and our second home. Life is good! Hope all is well with you too 🙂

 

Where Will We Run Next?

run

Now that we have decided to buy a second home in Tucson, we can turn our attention to the next running challenge. I spent some time scouring the half marathon websites and it seems only fitting that we run in the “A Mountain half marathon”.

If you are not familiar with the University of Arizona, which is located in Tucson, then you might not know about “A” mountain.

A-Mountain-Tucson

The large letter at the top stands for the University of Arizona and to get up there we will have to run a little over 700 feet from miles 5 to 7 1/2 during the 13.1 mile half marathon. Oh ya, did I mention that Tucson is 2,000 feet above sea level before the climb?

map

This will be a tough run for us as the other half marathons have all been at sea level (Seattle and Vancouver BC) and in pretty much the same climate. This time we have to figure out how to run in warmer weather and at altitude. This will not be a PR for us, more of a “just survive it” mentality. I had to put together a training program that would get us ready for the end of October, so we started yesterday. Here is the plan:

August 2017

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 2 3 4 5 6
Run 4 Run 4 Run 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Run 5 Run 5 Run 7
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Run 5 Run 5 Run 7
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Run 6 Run 4 Run 8
28 29 30 31
Run 6 Run 4

I will not be doing weekly updates this time since we are traveling a lot and have followed a similar plan before, but I plan to have monthly posts about the progress we (hopefully) will be making on this schedule.

Wish me luck!

desert running

And the Winner is…..

Tucson, Arizona!

night view

This is the view from our new backyard!

If you have been following me from the beginning, then you know that I have been searching for the answer to the question “what’s next?” The reason I began this blog was to work through this extremely tough question of transition, as we move from full time parenting into our empty nest phase.  This has been a tumultuous year, to say the least. We have been roaming around, renting houses in a variety of states and environments looking for what feels right. We have spent time in Idaho, Eastern Washington, Oregon, Kansas, Nevada and Arizona. In each place we checked out the running paths, yoga studios, golf courses and climbing gyms. We wanted a place that was not too far from our extended family, all of which are in the Seattle area, and provided the activities that we have been enjoying the past few years. There was one more big requirement: SUN!

We love Seattle, especially in the late spring, summer and early fall when the weather is fabulous and the running and climbing are to be enjoyed outside.

But then, somewhere around mid October, it gets dark and the clouds open up and begin to pour and it does not stop until May! No, I am not exaggerating!

In late February we went to Scottsdale to explore the area. Now, we have been to Sedona and Phoenix before, but this time was different. I wrote a post about some of our time there, a few others as well. But when it came time to leave, it hit me. I knew, somehow, that I could be happy in Arizona. I told my husband and we talked about nothing else the entire drive back to Seattle. By the time we got home, we were making plans to look, really look, at the potential of buying  a second home in AZ.

tucson

We got pre approved, found a realtor and went to Tucson for the first time ever. We liked the views, the mountains, and the potential for all our outdoor activities that we have become  accustomed. We arrived in June, when it was 115°F, not exactly the best time for driving around and house hunting! Our first stop was the local indoor climbing gym. Rocks and Ropes which turned out to be perfect for us. The routes are tougher and longer than our home gym, which will keep us challenged while we are in Tucson.

tucson climb

We also made our way up Mt. Lemmon, which is great for hiking, climbing and has a ski resort in the winter.

AZ_MtLemmon04

climbing

Can’t wait to be these guys!

Near the end of our trip we managed to get in a short run (it was 80°F at 8am) at a bike/run path that runs the entirety of the downtown area.

tucson run

This path runs along a dry river bed which is full during the monsoon season

We fell in love with the place. Did I mention the views?

tucson mountains

This is one of the five mountain ranges around us

stars from lemmon

Tucson is one of the premier star gazing areas in the country. There are city ordinances governing the lighting in downtown to preserve the star quality. This is another view from Mt. Lemmon

Our home was the third property we viewed on the first day of house hunting. We both knew, as soon as we set foot inside the door, that this was the place for us. It will take several months or so to know for sure if this snowbird lifestyle is right for us. In the meantime I am excited about moving in (we close in August) setting up the house and making it a home! I waited to post about the new place to make sure it would go through (you know, inspections and paperwork). I am sure there will be more posts and pictures to come once we take possession of the house.

Since today is our 27th Wedding Anniversary I decided that this would be the perfect time to talk about our new phase and life direction. Thank you for reading this far and sharing this special moment with me!

 

Half Marathon Training Wrap Up!

 

push it

Spoiler Alert: We survived!

This last week of training was fairly straight forward. We had two runs scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday with the option of either 4 or 5 miles each of those days.  I decided to make them both 5 milers, while my hubby went with 5 on Tuesday and 4 on Thursday. My average pace Tuesday was 9:51 and Thursday was 9:41. I don’t know why one was a little faster than the other, it was the same course and same time of day. The only difference was that it was raining pretty hard on Tuesday with a decent wind to contend with, so perhaps that affected me more than I realized.

 

 

 

I have been so nervous about my back injury and this half marathon, that I have been really scaling back other activities. I did go climbing a couple times this week, but didn’t try anything too hard. When Saturday rolled around we made our way into Seattle to pick up our race packets at the runners expo.

run pick up

It was really starting to sink in that this was going to happen! We decided to sign up for the morning VIP package. This is a pre-race option that would allow us to park at the finish line, take a shuttle to the start and a continental breakfast would be available to us. We also would benefit from a private gear check and, most importantly, flush toilets just for the the VIP group. We have done this at other races and have never regretted spending the money for this perk. However, the start time for this year was 6:30am which meant that we had to catch the shuttle at 4:30am! Factoring the drive to the parking garage and getting ready for the run meant getting up at 3:30am! We were not sure that this was a brilliant idea this time.

Saturday evening, we decided to take a Yin Yoga and Gong Bath class. If you are not familiar, Yin yoga focuses on holding static poses for longer periods of time to allow for greater stretching of the muscles. A Gong Bath is effectively meditation with background music played on a variety of gongs and chimes. Our thought was that this would give our muscles a good stretch, before we made them work really hard the next day, and help relax us and wind down before the race on Sunday. Did it work? I think so. My back was less tight and we were happy to have the diversion from thinking about running 13 miles the next morning!

The big day finally came on Sunday. We got up at 3:30am (ugh) and made our way to the start at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington. We immediately saw the wisdom of the VIP package as the line for the honey buckets was the worst I have ever seen at any race in which we have participated. 20,000 people registered for the Seattle Rock n’ Roll and about 250 were in the VIP area. We had coffee (several cups), bagels and yogurt parfaits. Not to mention space heaters! Both my hubby and I made several trips to the bathrooms and the runners outside were lucky to get one. Yes, I will be sticking with the VIP option for future races!

The course this year was a little easier than last year, which I appreciated! My husband was in the fast wave and I started about 30 minutes later. I was nervous about my curtailed training the last few weeks, but it went just fine. Actually better than fine!

nike run map

I managed an average pace of 10:15 and had my fastest half marathon to date! This was my third half and the fastest as I finished in 2:16.  I was shocked as my only goal was to keep running the entire route and be able to walk, with my back intact, the next day.  I did a lot better than that-so grateful my body held together.

My husband absolutely crushed this course finishing in 1:38! That’s a 7:20ish pace and a PR for him! Not too shabby for only his second half marathon. Unfortunately, he really pushed it and was hobbling around for the rest of Father’s Day! He laid on the couch and watched the US Open and rehabilitated.

We are both happy and grateful to be healthy and active at this point in our lives. We are planning another half in the fall, but have a lot more to do before that! I want to really hit the climbing routes now that I don’t have to hold back anymore. I also want to start up golf lessons again, provided I keep healing!

Thanks to all of you who were supportive and for your words of encouragement, both on the blog and Instagram, I really appreciate your positivity!

half medals

SaveSave

Half Marathon Training, Week 15 Update!

This is it! My last update before we run the Seattle Rock n’ Roll half marathon on June 18th, Father’s Day. It is hard to believe that we are only a week away from the day. It seemed so far away when we began training 16 weeks ago.

This last week was really tough for me. My back is slowly, so slowly getting better, and I have been stressing over it. We got back from our Vegas trip on Monday and had a 12 mile run scheduled for Tuesday. It did not go well!

 

map of 10 mile run

I really struggled to get this 10 miles done and had hit the wall and could not go 2 more without possibly doing more damage to my back. At this point I was beginning to question if the half was a good idea. Sure, I could walk the rest but what is the point of that! Even with the struggle my time was not that hideous at 10:38 average pace. But I was in pain and dejected!

When Thursday rolled around, I hit my usual trail for the 4 mile assignment. Even though my pace was faster I still felt exhausted and it seemed like this was such a hard 4 miles-How was I going to do 13!

 

thursdays run

I was dreading the 6 mile run today. I have been so down and stressed about my injury and my pace. And then I decided to change my narrative. Today is a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. The type of day we all dream about here when it is dark and raining for 3 months straight. I took a look around and saw the kayakers gliding down the slough, the bikers dusting off their cycles and all the families out enjoying the sunshine. I decided I was going to relax and just run. The pace and mileage would take care of itself! I did not push myself or set a specific goal, just ran because I love to.  It turned out to be the break my mind and body needed. I had the most enjoyable run of the last two weeks since I hurt my back!

run today

My pace was 10:04/mile and that is not bad for me! We are heading into the taper week and have 4-5 mile runs on both Tuesday and Thursday and then the half on Sunday! We will be carb loading both Friday and Saturday night, and have booked a Gong yoga class Saturday night to relax and stretch our mind and body.

I am hoping to have a recap of the event to post as the wrap up to this project next week.

Wish us luck!

 

 

May 2017 June     2017 July 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 week 14

 

 

May 30

5 miles

1

4miles

2

 

3

Some run

4 miles

4

week 15

5

 

6

12miles

7

 

8

4miles

9

 

10

6miles

11

week of the race

12

 

13

4-5 miles

14

 

15

4-5 miles

16

carb load

17

carb load

18

13.1 miles!

19

 

20

 

21

 

22

 

23

 

24

 

25

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

29

 

30

Half Marathon Training, Week 14 Update!

This training week has been all about fitting in run time with a bad back and a mini vacation. In my last update I declared that I was not going to let me back stop me from running 5 miles on Tuesday, May 30th. That was true and I did run that day, however I went 6.27 miles, a little further than I was targeting originally. What happened? Well, when I started running that morning EVERYTHING hurt for the first 3 miles, then the numbness set in and I was feeling better, so I wanted to enjoy the run while I had the benefit of endorphins to dull my senses. I was pretty sure that when I stopped my back would be feeling it! And, it did! I did go slower, the run was at a 10:18 pace, but it felt great to exercise! I get so cranky when I am unable to hit the pavement.

Thursday morning we had the flight to Las Vegas and needed to leave for the airport by 9:30am so I was on the path by 6:00. Both my husband and I wanted to get these 4 miles in because we would be stuck in airports for awhile had no idea if we would be able to run in the hot desert! I was motivated to get this done quickly so I could shower, change and finish packing and ran at a slightly faster pace of 9:53/mile. And that is when it really hit me that my back is not 100% yet. Due to the running, and the sitting on the plane for a couple hours, it really was sore and was quite uncomfortable.

My husband plays in the WSOP poker events held in Vegas every June and I knew he would be at the Rio for most of Friday so I took that opportunity to have a message at the spa in the Aria Resort and Casino where we stayed. I am so glad I did this! The masseuse was able to loosen up the muscles and get me walking much more smoothly! I also used the jets in the hot tubs on the property to work on my back and that helped too!

Saturday was relax and recover time for my injury (also spent time at the pool, and then dinner and a show). By the time I went to bed Saturday night I was itching for some activity. I decided I would get up early to beat the heat and get some sort of run accomplished before spending the day at the pool again. My husband refused to run as he was on vacation, so I was on my own. I hit the strip a bit after 6am and it was already 81 degrees! At 6am!! If you have ever been to the strip then you know that often crossing the street means using pedestrian overpasses, so I had to run stairs (see the left bump in the picture below). That might look like a little flight of stairs, but it it not! I had not mentally accounted for that when I set off from the Aria!

 

dessert

You can see how my pace suffered from overpasses, waiting to cross the street at the crosswalks, and the heat!

 

desert running

 

I had wanted to run 5 or 6 miles, but felt like Clarke Grisswold toward the end of the first two miles, so I turned around and settled for 4 miles total.

 

 

My back is still sore but slowly improving. At home I can apply ice and heat regularly and am using Aleve, and Ibuprofen. The Seattle Rock and Roll half is only 12 days away! We have 22 miles for week 15 planned, I will have to see how it goes!

 

May 2017 June     2017 July 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 week 14

 

 

May 30

5 miles

1

4miles

2

 

3

Some run

4 miles

4

week 15

5

 

6

12miles

7

 

8

4miles

9

 

10

6miles

11

week of the race

12

 

13

4-5 miles

14

 

15

4-5 miles

16

carb load

17

 

18

13.1 miles!

19

 

20

 

21

 

22

 

23

 

24

 

25

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

29

 

30