a day in the orchard

I’m officially two weeks out from the Marine Corps Marathon!! Last week’s 21-miler did NOT go well at all…a late start and an unseasonably HIGH temperature did not offer up ideal running conditions, but today’s 12 mile run more than made up for it!! Next weekend only eight miles and then I’m finally in the home-stretch.

After this morning’s run, I rushed home, took a quick shower and then was off with the family for some apple picking. Again, a little on the warm-side for this time of year, but there was no denying that we had a gorgeous day for a stroll through the orchard.

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Time to do some baking!!!

signs of fall

I know it must be October because the leaves are changing…

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These damn things have been in the house for less than 24 hours and already my teeth hurt

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The Marine Corps Marathon sent me an eCard yesterday…along with my bib number.

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Oh. My. Already?????!!

Hot Chocolate Training Run

Yesterday the New Jersey Marathon hosted a Hot Chocolate Training Run in Long Branch. They mapped out routes for a 10k, 15k or 15 mile run. I decided to make the trip down…regardless of the fact that it meant I needed to be up by 4AM (or 3 depending on how you look at it #daylightsavings). There were a few reasons I opted to go: 1) the route would be a 15 mile preview of the marathon course 2) I’m DONE with running the same tired roads all the time, a change of scenery sounded perfect to me 3) it’s always nice to have other runners along for company, even if they are total strangers and 4) i’d be running alongside the ocean, which alone made the drive worth it!!

I made a pretty big jump in mileage for this one. Last weekend I did 11 wonderfully comfortable and relaxing miles, but 15 yesterday?! That’s a big jump, more than I really wanted to make. My plan was to start out with the group and run no less than 13 miles. IF by the end I felt like I was pushing too hard, I would cut it short.

As it turned out, it was a good run and a great experience. I’m very happy that I went. The race directors did a great job with the route signs and the (help yourself) water/gatorade stations. It felt fantastic to have that oceanview during a good portion of the run and just the opportunity to mix things up from my typical routine was extremely nice.

I completed all 15 miles and made it unscathed!

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Those last three miles were definitely tough…I ended up taking four short walk breaks during that time. I’m not a big fan of walk breaks, but considering where I was just a month ago I certainly will not be complaining about it!!!

With this 15-miler under my belt I’m now caught up with the weekly long run mileage on my training plan…which means I no longer need to make any ridiculously big mileage jumps AND I’ll be able to fit a 20-miler in before I begin to taper. All very good news.

So, I came home. Showered. Put on my compression socks (which I am now completely in love with and a total supporter of!) and tried to remain as sedentary as possible for about three solid hours.

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My husband must have anticipated my refueling needs because while I was gone he baked a double-batch of gluten-free cornbread. I ate half the loaf already. No way will this thing last to see tomorrow!

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new jersey and new york

Shortly after Hurricane Sandy arrived, we lost power. It was out for almost an entire week. We managed just fine and consider ourselves extremely lucky. By Wednesday night, my husband was able to find us a small generator. It was able to power the fridge, so we could keep the baby’s bottles cold and we also had use of a tv and a light in our living room. Power was finally restored early on Sunday morning. After getting the house back in order, I went for my first run of the week. It was five cold, wet, glorious miles!!

While I was offline, I headed out on a quick-as-can-be trip down to DC for the MCM10k and then frantically rushed home so that I could stay ahead of the storm!! Halloween was canceled in our town, but then a trunk-or-treat was coordinated. My daughter was so excited and ended up having a fantastic time. I found myself disgusted by the insistence of some that the NYC Marathon (I refuse to link them, even now) would go on as planned and then relieved when it was canceled and all of the resources, port-a-johns, food, Gatorade, etc. was sent to Sandy victims instead. Now we have a Nor’easter on the way, which will toss high wind gusts and heavy wet snow our way. Super.

So, there’s been plenty to blog about, but honestly I haven’t felt the desire to do so.  I’ll get back into it eventually, but in the meantime…my love of coastal New Jersey and New York in pictures…

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Sweet Shop on the boardwalk in Pt. Pleasant, New Jersey

A Jellyfish at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, which is now closed ‘indefinitely’.

My daughter enjoying Lido Beach…just down the street from Long Beach in Long Island, New York.

Funtown Pier in Seaside, New Jersey.

continual training loop

The treadmill is without a doubt my least favorite place to run, but…I really do love the fact that I have one. I’m thankful for it every time I manage to squeeze a few speedy miles in during my daughter’s morning nap. I put it to good use on Wednesday, then Thursday night I headed out with a group member for a 4 mile run. I’ll be out again tomorrow for 8 miles, but I think for today I may just do a quick 3 or 4 on the treadmill again.

On a completely random note, Wednesday night’s run officially bumped me up to the 600 mile mark. 600 miles since March?!

After the baby arrived and I decided to start running again, I had no real goals. I just wanted to run. I never thought for a second that less than a year later I’d have this many miles accumulated.  The downside? I’ve probably got about another 50 or so miles before I need to replaces my shoes…again.

At this point, I’m almost exactly a week out from my half-marathon and I guess I haven’t really thought much about my goal for it. On my last two 13.1 runs I came in at around 2:14, so anywhere around there would make me happy. 2:10 would be…”WHOA”! But I’m surprisingly not stressed about my finish time. Especially considering what a mental-case I was about my pace leading up to the relay back in August!!

I feel as though I’ve been running a little slower lately…and I’m enjoying it. The only time I push my pace is when I’m on the treadmill, but any time I run outside I’m either doing hill repeats or I’m running with another group member. So, instead of pushing to the max like I used to I’m enjoying the company, good conversation and scenery instead.

I’ve pretty much been maintaining half-marathon status since July. I’ve been on what feels like a continual training loop and I know that once I finish this half my final ‘big’ race will be done. I have a few smaller ones over the course of the next month, but it’s almost as though I feel like things are coming to an end and I’m letting up on the gas…a little too early in my opinion!!!

in conclusion

I think it’s time for a little follow-up bloggin’…

First up: you sure it’s not the shoes?

Well, here I am…more than a month later. Wearing larger shoes. And guess what? It was not, in fact, the shoes. It was…The Socks.  Typically, I like snug socks. There’s nothing more uncomfortable to me than loose socks. They get all bunchy and I feel like they slide around too much. The socks I originally had were Brooks running socks (not quite the ones I had, but close) with the undertoe seam. I thought they fit perfectly, but when the larger shoe size didn’t really help I decided to go with a different pair of socks. I opted for Adidas. I’ve been wearing them for about three weeks and the improvement is significant. Unfortunately, for my poor toe I think it’s too little too late.

Next up: run to the hills

Earlier this month I started doing hill repeats for the first time. A love-hate relationship quickly ensued. Once a week I warm-up with about a 1.5-2 mile run, then I head over to The Hill. Each week I’ve added an additional repeat. This week I squeaked out a sixth one…

I have to say, I love looking at this chart. That shaded green area right there…that final push straight up. It’s the only time when I run that my lungs burn, my legs scream and my heart feels like it’s going to pound right the frig’ out of my chest!! It’s awesomely horrible!! I have a bigger hill already picked out for next month!

Moving on: to marathon or not

I’ve made very little progress on this one, but I guess that’s to be expected since it’s a huge decision and it’s only been less than two weeks of serious consideration. I came very close to deciding on a 50k. Now I’m not so sure. We very recently (like, today) discovered that we may have some major changes that might happen right in around the time I would be in the thick of training. I don’t really want to deal with it all at once. The race I had my eye on is scheduled for March, but there’s another in October ’13 that might be the better one to shoot for. So, it looks like I’m off the hook for a while.

Let’s not forget: noises your shoulder shouldn’t make

I’m very happy to say that my arm still seems to be attached and my shoulder appears to be functioning properly! Since last week went so well I gave P90X2’s upper body workout another try yesterday. I completed all three rounds without any problems. It didn’t do it during the workout, but randomly throughout the day my shoulder will make interesting (but not painful) clicking noises. Not entirely sure what the deal is with that, but if it’s the only lasting issue that I end up with…well, I can get used to a clickity-shoulder.

Lastly: apple picking

This one isn’t really a follow-up, it’s more of a continuation…apple picking last weekend was definitely a good way to get a head start on the fall season. Since then we’ve had some chilly temps, on Wednesday night by the time I got home from running my arms were freeeeeezing. The leaves are starting to change color and the acorns have been slamming the heck out of our roof and satellite dish. Yup, fall has arrived!!