In the Double Digits (and Week, Well Two Weeks, in Review)

My big race this fall will be the Philadelphia Marathon in November. The countdown is now in the double digits, 99 days left.  Sounds like a lot but I know how fast November will get here.

Between now and then though, I have 6 other races, 2-5k's, a 3.8 trail run, a 10k and 2 half marathons.   My coach calls them "B" races.  There are two races with specific goals but they are still "B" races.  They aren't my goal race of the season. Philly is the big one for me.

I'm in week 4 of marathon training. I'm tired.  This week I have been sneaking in some extra sleep, here and there, which is helping. The last couple weeks I've been stressed, not eating right and not getting enough sleep. One of the women in my Sub 30 group posted something about overtraining that made me really evaluate the whole picture. This week I decided to not try to do it all. My house is trashed (my Musician is great at helping out a lot of the time), clean laundry is piled up in baskets, my to-do list is longer than I'd like now but I'm working on finding balance so I can fulfill all my responsibilities.  Looking forward to my recovery week!

The last couple weeks have been really different for me.  First, I started working with JJ.  She's great, I feel like she sees my vision and is working with me to accomplish it, yet keep me injury free.  Second, I also have been running from home again.  Since June, I've been consistently driving off our hill to the flat main road for my runs. As I was sucking wind up a hill the other day, I was trying to figure out what the difference was, why I changed where I was running. Then it hit me. My Musician has been really involved in my training.  He gets up, waits at the top of our driveway for me at the end of my run, he's been helping me with my strength training, comes to the track with me before work and he's making sure I'm out of bed, even when I sit on the edge of it, in tears because I'm tired (I hate getting up, a couple sips of coffee and I'm good!). His help has been immensely needed and appreciated.

The other day we ran together for the first time in 5 years.  It was really nice to run with him.  I challenged him to run faster and he helped me to slow down and run my warmup at a steady easier pace.  I really enjoyed running with him. He's got got great speed when he picks it up for very short bursts but I can see with time, if he desires, he'll by-pass my speed.

Here's a bit of a plug for him.  He's started a blog for his music and running. Head over here to check it out!!!

I've not had any record setting training runs but they've been very hilly, humid and foggy.  The temps this year have been chilly. It's typically mid 50's when I run with around 93-96% humidity.

I love coming back down the hill and seeing this. The Susquehanna River runs through this valley. 

My long run last weekend was 14 miles. It was the longest I've run since my marathon in 2010. It felt great to complete that run. It was a gorgeous morning and I was able to run into the near by city and run the 5k course for next weekends race.  That 5k is one of my two big goal races this fall.   

One of the bridges on my long run last weekend.  

This week had a couple challenges for me. The fog was bad a couple days. I almost uncovered the treadmill (did you know they make great winter coat holders??). I run on back roads that don't have too much traffic that early in the morning, so I decided to brave it. Even though I was reflective, I'll be using my headlamp for now on when it's foggy.  Seems you can't be reflective when people can't bother to turn on their headlights!

The thick fog on our hill this week. 

This is what I woke to on Tuesday. 
 Tuesday was a strength training day. I woke to a downpour.  I still got up but decided not to run.  If I was just running then I would gone out, got soaked and dealt with it.  But strength training has a 3 mile warm up, then the workout and a mile cooldown.  I just wasn't up to getting soaked and then trying to workout. By the time my Musician came home, I was miserable grumpy. I was tired and didn't want to workout but that was what I really needed.

This is the night we ran together. It was wonderful and by the time we were done, I was in a great mood.  Still wasn't happy about having to strength train. I hate that part. Always have. I didn't like it when I worked with my personal trainer and I still don't enjoy it but I also know it's a necessary part of my running progress. I was the one that failed gym class in both high school and college because of always skipping it.  There are some exercises I enjoy doing, like squats and some I dread, like planks!

Planks suck. That's all I have to say about them. 
Since I started running consistently again last year, this hill has been my Eleanor (if you're a fan of Gone in 60 Seconds, you'll understand the reference), although after this week, I'd say it's no longer my Eleanor!  I have only once been able to successfully run (I probably could have walked it faster than I actually ran it) this hill and I'm pretty sure I died that day!  This week I ran that stupid hill and I was able to run it strong and at a decent, consistent pace. I was thrilled when I hit the top. It's the one thing I LOVE about hills, looking back and seeing what I just conquered!

Next week, I'll be mentally concentrating more on my 5k than anything else.  I don't have any more local 5k's scheduled. My next one is at Runner's World in October.  I'm still on the fence if I'm running it with my Musician or if I'm running it for a PR.  My heart wants to run it with him but the competitive part of me, the part that wants to see how far I can progress this year, wants to run it for a PR.  My heart is probably going to win, it always does!


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