Monthly Mileage: Summer Edition

I completely slacked off this summer when it came to running. So, for the sake of public humiliation, here’s my Monthly Mileage breakdown for June, July, and August.

June: 31.1 miles + some sprints (looking back over my training log, I actually did really well in June! I ran 14 days out of 30, and was working on adding sprints into my routine to build my speed)

July: 6.65 miles

August: 9.9 miles

Early July was filled with home-buying drama, then P and I went on our Reunion Roadtrip, and then I returned to Charlottesville and moved into my dad’s basement, thereby losing access to my apartment’s crappy gym. Since I no longer have access to an air-conditioned treadmill, I’ve been doing my best to brave the August heat and humidity and have actually been running outside. Of my 5 completed runs in August, two were trail runs near my dad’s new house. 3 miles out-and-back through the woods–watching carefully for roots and rocks and wildlife–is quite different than the strictly-treadmill-and-pavement running that I’m used to. But I kind of like it.

Since it’s September now (my birth month! the best month!), I’m really trying to rededicate myself to making healthier choices, which in turn leads to being happier all around. I always like being able to post “I just ran 3 miles, and I did it faster than last week’s time!,” so hopefully that’ll be happening.

Fall is really the best of all the seasons. There have been a few mornings lately where I’ve walked outside to go to work, and it’s been chilly and crisp, and I can feel Autumn coming. There’s something about this season that I feel in my bones, and it brings tons of happy memories and a peaceful, all-is-right kind of feeling.

Fall in Charlottesville brings the Parade of Homes, wine tasting, lots of fall races, and a general feeling of content. This year, it brings my 25th (!!!) birthday, my 2-year anniversary with P, the re-start of the Charlottesville Design House planning meetings, and many weekend trips (because it’s also football and rugby season at P’s college!).

There’s so much to look forward to in the next few months that even my burning desire to ditch my 9-to-5 has taken a back burner. I was almost completely mentally checked out of work for the entire summer, but lately I’ve started to check back in a little bit. (Don’t get me wrong: it’s still absolutely not my forever job, but there’s so much else to be happy about that it just doesn’t seem so bad for now. But next comes winter, which is my absolute least-favorite and most depressing season. Sigh.)

So here’s to fall in Charlottesville! May it bring lots of sweaty, solid runs, health, and happiness.

High Five For Friday!

H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665I’m linking up with Lauren for High Five For Friday for my first time ever, because this has been a pretty fantastic week!

1. P came to visit over the weekend, and on Saturday we visited Wisdom Oak Winery for the first time.

2. On Sunday, we went to the driving range with my dad and my sister, and P taught me how to hit a golf ball. As I progressed, I went from consistently hitting it about 20 yards to consistently hitting it about 60! Augusta, here I come. (Later on Sunday, I ran a sub-9:00 mile!)

3. I’ve been working on putting in an offer on a house all week. I thought I would officially make an offer today, but it’s on hold (just for now). I hope to be able to post in more detail on that soon!

4. I started reading a new book (finally!), and I’m really enjoying it so far. (It’s Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and if I stay on track, you should see a book review here in about, oh, 5 months?)

middlesex

5. My sister is pet-sitting for her BFF’s parents’ dogs, and tonight I got to accomplish a bucket list item: I took their Great Dane for a walk!!!

2013-06-28 19.45.50Is Sadie not the coolest girl ever?

2013-06-28 19.51.44We solidified our relationship with a BFF Selfie.

So that’s my 5 highlights from the past week! And tomorrow, I head to Blacksburg for the wedding of my very first friend in college. We met at freshman orientation, and now she’s getting married. Time flies…

sub-9:00 mile!

I didn’t feel like running today–after going to the driving range with P, my dad, and my sister this afternoon in the heat–and then knowing that it was still about 85 degrees outside at 5:15. But I did.

And I cranked out an 8:59 mile!! That’s the fastest standalone mile I’ve run in forever! I’m so proud (and taking this opportunity to bask in it…sorry bout it!). My speedwork must be paying off.

2013-06-23 17.51.53Or maybe it was my sweet new orange tank top paired with my rarely-worn pink shorts. Perhaps something about looking like sherbert made me extra fast?

Really, it’s probably because it was 85 degrees and I just wanted to be done. But it still could be that I’ve been running consistently for weeks now. Maybe it’s that simple, yet effective thing I wrote about before. I felt strong the whole time (minus a little pain in my left foot when I first started out), and was breathing hard-but-not-too-hard throughout. And each lap was faster than the one before. It felt just like it’s supposed to: no pain, just relaxed pushing. It feels good to feel like I’m in shape again.

And to celebrate, I stopped after that 1 mile and came home for a shower. Yuck. I’m already looking forward to fall!

Speaking of fall: I’m sort-of-but-not-really thinking about the High Bridge Half Marathon in Farmville the first weekend of September (I realize that it will still be stiflingly hot then, and I’m trying not to focus on that). I haven’t felt at all like running another half since immediately after crossing the finish line of my first one, but I’m sort of considering it. If I want to do it, though, last week should have been my first week of training. Since the plan I follow calls for a 4mi LR in that first week, I knocked that out last Tuesday with no problem. That left me feeling pretty confident, but the thought of 5mi next week, followed by increasing mileage every week after makes me hesitate. So for the next few weeks I plan to sort of follow my training plan without letting my body know it, and see how it goes. Another half marathon wasn’t in my plans for the future, but maybe now it will be.

simple, yet effective

They always say that if you want to be able to run faster, all you have to do is… run faster.

Duh!

my 'uh, duh!' face

my ‘uh, duh!’ face

After the public shaming that was my May monthly mileage post, I’ve decided to kick it back into high gear with the running! I followed Saturday’s 1.6 miles in the grueling heat with 2.5 easy miles on a treadmill last night, and decided tonight to head back out again! I did a 2 mile tempo* run at my high school’s track, finishing 2 miles in 19:36!

the numbers don't lie

the numbers don’t lie

*to clarify, I subscribe to the notion that a tempo run consists of alternating between comfortably hard and easy paces, over prescribed distances. (in this case, it was fast on the straightaways and slow through the curves of the track.)

This is convincing when contrasted to the fact that my last two timed 2-mile runs were 21:28 and 21:37! And all I had to do was run a little faster!

I read about Devon’s training every day, and the fact that she’s shooting for an 8:58 marathon pace just makes me embarrassed. I prefer the slow and steady approach. (My comfortable pace is about a 10:30 mile). When you run slowly, it doesn’t hurt! But maybe there’s nothing wrong with pushing a little harder and feeling a little pain. That’s how I’m feeling today, at least.

I also got some exciting news today! I’m not quite ready to share, but soon…

summer runnin’, had me a blast

WHEW!!!! It’s officially June 1st, and it’s officially HOT. The heat and humidity have been on full-blast this week here in central Virginia, and I fully remember how much I hate it. (I know, I’ve previously complained that it was too cold. I’m a little picky.)

I went out for a 2-mile run about an hour ago (~9:30am), when my phone said it was 71 degrees. Let me tell you: it was NOT 71 degrees. It was miserable, and I stopped at 1.6 miles (completed in 17:12), because it was just too hot. I got home and checked the weather, which then said 81 degrees and 67% humidity. I don’t believe that that’s right.

Anyway: it’s time for my monthly mileage!

The month of May contained a measly 19.2 miles, 6.2 of which were during the Heart of Virginia 10k. I followed that awesome race with a not-so-awesome week off, and then resumed running with 2 miles two times a week. Not so good, Katie. Not so good.

Since it’s now hot as crap and it’s only going to get hotter, I’m really thinking about some options for exercising this summer. A gym membership? Running at 6am every day instead of in the evening? Quitting? (Not a serious contender.)

How do you keep motivated when the weather heats up?

8 days off

Taking 8 days off running is a bad idea. I just did 2 miles in 21:28, and it wasn’t fun. The last time I had run before today was during the Heart of Virginia 10k, which feels like it was ages ago.

After the race, I was planning to take Sunday off and then resume running last Monday. But then it rained all day Monday through Wednesday of last week, and I developed a pretty bad cold that started as a sore throat on Monday night, which still hasn’t gone away. For anyone who’s following along, yes, that’s 4 colds since the start of 2013. That’s very unusual for me. I actually felt so crappy on Thursday and Friday that I worked from home both days.

So after 8 days off and 6 days of sickness, I decided that today I should probably get back down to it. I ran 2 very, very slow miles on the gravel track behind the middle school that’s behind my high school. But now I’m back in it, and I feel better. They say it takes three weeks to form a habit. Maybe I’ve finally started to form a new running habit, because I was feeling pretty bad without it last week. That’s a good thing.

Tomorrow night, a coworker invited me to a BodyPump class at her gym. I’ve always wanted to try BodyPump, but have been too intimidated to walk in on my own! So I’m excited about that.

Hopefully I’ll get a few more runs in this week, and I’ll settle on a new training schedule and a few races for the summer months. I want to have a goal in mind. I like to be working toward something.

2013 Heart of Virginia 10k: Recap

On Saturday morning, I ran the 2013 Heart of Virginia 10k. The short version: it was awesome.

The long version…

I got to P’s house in Farmville around 9pm on Friday night, and he had picked up my packet for me. I wasn’t expecting much more than my number and (maybe) a t-shirt, as the race didn’t seem to be organized in any sort of sophisticated manner, and the online registration indicated that only the first 150 registrants would get t-shirts. But I was tickled to add this beaut to my collection:

I run this town. Fo' reals, yo.

I run this town. Fo’ realz, yo.

My packet also consisted of a bag that contained several flyers for other races and events in Farmville throughout the year, a plastic water bottle-bag thing, and a tube of sunscreen! Pretty decent. I love free race stuff. I was surprised to learn that I was number 10, as I didn’t register all that early, and because I assumed it was a high-demand race (due to the aforementioned cut-off of 150 t-shirts).

I had checked the weather for the race several times during the week, and it was supposed to be in the low 60’s with a 20% chance of rain between 8 and 11am. On Saturday morning, I woke up to temperatures in the 40’s, with some seriously cold breezes blowing. I dragged P out of bed, and we made it to Hampden-Sydney’s campus and the start line by 8:15. This is where I started to realize that the race was actually quite small, and perhaps not so well organized.

At the start line, I nervously sized up the other runners, and determined that I’d probably come in last. (I ended upcoming in 58th out of 72 runners.) There weren’t many of us, and the ones who were there looked pretty legit. One guy was jokingly asked “so, what time are you shooting for today?” to which he replied “probably around 34 minutes.” He ended up finishing in 32:53. Jerk!!

People were milling around, and a few of the race organizers informed us that we’d be starting in a few minutes, and that a fence post on the side of the road marked the start line. (See what I meant about disorganized?) P supported me by assuring me that I wouldn’t come in dead last (which was my very legitimate fear in a crowd that small), holding my water bottle, and generally listening to my nervous chatter. I really enjoyed having him there, hours before his normal Saturday morning waking hours!

Finally, around 8:35am, we were instructed to line up behind the start line. I fell into place somewhere near the back of the crowd. The announcer said “Runners, take your mark…GO!” And we were off. Here’s where I’ll mention that my iPod–which I had carefully loaded with music and fully charged the night before–died on me while I was lining up at the start. I’m actually glad that it happened, because this run was probably the most peaceful I’ve ever been on. (I also haven’t relied on music at all during this running cycle, which has been a strange change, as all during 2011, I depended on it to get through even the shortest runs.)

It became apparent within minutes of starting how runners would fall into place. I wound up right behind a group of 3: two men around my dad’s age, and a girl about my age. Their pace felt about right, and I ended up sticking with them for the entirety of the race, falling anywhere from 5 to 200 feet behind them.

The first half-mile of the course took us around the perimeter of Hampden-Sydney’s campus, and then we turned onto a back country road for the majority of the distance. The course was point-to-point, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before. (It ended in downtown Farmville, where the Heart of Virginia Festival was happening all day on Saturday.) The road wasn’t closed to traffic, so we had townspeople as well as police cars driving on the road with us for the entirety of the race. One thing I really enjoyed was that P drove into town and circled back, so he ended up passing me right around the halfway point. When he drove by going the opposite direction, I remember grinning and waving like crazy!

It was cool and breezy and overcast the entire time I was running, and I never had any major cramps or pains or discomfort. (Except that I had to pee the whole time…Probably because I tried to squash my nerves at the beginning by compulsively sipping water.) I ran past two horse fields, the first of which held two nervously curious horses who were eyeing a man with a weed-whacker nearby. The second set of horses were a gorgeous chestnut pair, who were giddily chasing each other across their field at a gallop. It was probably the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen while running a race. Aside from that, the back road we were on alternated between open fields and tree-covered portions, so there was all kinds of pretty springtime scenery to look at.

Now back to my physical race. I already mentioned the threesome that I tagged along with. I think I’ve blogged in the past about how the majority of my training runs happen on an old and crappy treadmill in my apartment complex’s gym. The treadmill’s speed and distance calculations are completely unreliable, and I complete all of my runs slowly. I’m talking seriously slow: I run at a 4.5-to-5.4 mph pace for nearly every run, which translates into approximately 13 minutes/mile. While my dad and I were training for the Ukrops 10k, we ran on the track at my high school, where it became clear that my real comfortable pace was closer to 10:30/mile than 13/mile. On Saturday, I hit the first mile marker at 9:39!!! I was elated (but worried), and surprised when I realized that it was actually a comfortable pace.

I spent the 6.2 miles chanting my mile splits in my head, taking in the scenery, and enjoying myself. These were my splits (and I’m so, so proud!):

Mile 1: 9:39 (9:39)

Mile 2: 19:41 (10:02)

Mile 3: 29:27 (9:46)

Mile 4: 39:09 (9:42)

Mile 5: 48:10 (8:59!!!)

Mile 6: 59:00 (10:50)

Finish: 1:01:01 (2:01)

Mile 6, as I posted on Friday, contained a MASSIVE (like, at least a quarter-mile long) hill. It could have been seriously defeating, but I knew it was there the whole time, and I prepared for it. I used some of the downhill portions to gain some time back (especially in mile 4!) and to relax, and I think it paid off.

This was a great race. It felt great to realize that I’m actually in better shape than I was a few weeks ago. It felt great to be relaxed and strong the whole time. It felt great just to feel great and enjoy it!

I crossed the finish line in 1:01:01 according to my watch (1:01:02 was my official time). Since I started a few seconds after the faster folks, I’m going with my own time on this one. I started my watch when I passed the fence-post-start-line, anyway.

After I finished, P and I headed to Main Street Farmville to check out the Heart of Virginia Festival. We peeked at the various craft and food vendors, and I bought some homemade jams to take to my grandma’s house for Mother’s Day next Sunday.

Heart of Virginia Festival

Heart of Virginia Festival

But somehow, from 10am on, it was even colder and more windy than it had been while I was running! So we didn’t stay for too long. However, earlier in the week, P promised me that after I finished my race, we’d find a funnel cake. And that we did!

DE-FREAKING-LICIOUS!

DE-FREAKING-LICIOUS!

I scoped out all the food stands to be sure we found the biggest one there. For $5, it was well worth it.

After we’d had our fill of funnel cake, street vendors, and being out in the cold, we headed back to P’s house to shower and get cleaned up, as we had a wedding reception to bartend!

Yep, that’s right: we were asked about a month ago if we’d be willing to help out at P’s friend’s sister’s wedding. We were more than willing. Any chance to try something new together! I was in charge of beer, and P handled wine pouring. By the end of the evening, I had popped so many tabs on so many beers that my finger actually started to bleed, but it was worth it for the experience. It was something that was really cool to get to do to help out on the couple’s big day.

And now, nearly 1,500 words later, I’m still blabbering on! All in all, it was a GREAT weekend. I enjoyed every minute of my time with P, and was on such a high from all the fun that it even carried me all the way through the day today–when it was dreary and rainy all day here in Charlottesville!

I hope you all had wonderful weekends, too!