What a whirlwind these last few weeks have been. I have been trying to squeeze in every last bit of summer that I can before fall is “officially” here, although it seems as though fall has already made its way to Bend given the brisk mornings and multicolored leaves sprinkled among the trees. I’m okay with this, I guess. My favorite fall month is October, so my excitement has yet to peak.
Now that I have finished teaching the summer term and have a few weeks before fall term begins as Oregon State, I was able to get away for a girls weekend and visit one of my best friends in Southern Oregon. Jessica and her husband moved there from Bend a few years ago and now have a beautiful daughter, who I was excited to see and spend time with.
In true girl’s weekend fashion, we filled our days with pool time, happy hours, movies and Dateline, going on walks, catching up on life, and wine + music at one of the local wineries with a group of her girlfriends. It was so fun to get away and spend some time with her!
Running and Training:
I have been building my mileage in the last few weeks and have now started to taper for the Portland Marathon, which is less than three weeks away! Running has honestly never felt so good. I don’t know what it is, but I have never felt better while out on the roads and trails. Last week I did my longest run of the year – 21.3 miles – and completed it with no complaints. My wonderful husband rode his mountain bike next to me and carried all my nutrition and water, also keeping me company. Although I’m sure it is boring for him, it helps me tremendously.
I also had a pretty epic track workout last week with my coach and a few of his clients. Track workouts are my absolute favorite when done with a group. I feel like running with others teaches me new things and encourages me to put forth a stronger effort.
We did the Yasso 800s test, which is supposed to semi-predict the time in which I should be able to finish the marathon. We ran 10 X 800m laps with recovery pace in between. During the first six laps I averaged a 3:23/800m pace, and then finished the last four laps averaging a 3:15/800m pace. Supposedly this test predicts that I could run a 3:20-3:25 marathon (with a 5 minute cushion). We’ll see. I am hoping that the second number is a 2. 🙂
On Sunday I did a 17-mile progression run, my first ever by the way, and felt resilient and in control the entire time. I started with a 2 mile warm up and then began running at an 8:10 pace, increasing my speed with each mile. The last three miles (14, 15, and 16) were done at a 7:30-7:40 pace, followed by a mile cool down. Before I started I was a bit concerned about going faster with each mile, but with a little focus and control I was able to pull it off. Justin mountain biked alongside me for this run as well, carrying my essentials and water, and snapping a few photos.
A few things that have been circling my mind during this training cycle:
1) I’ve never felt so in control while running. This is the first year I have actually integrated any kind of speed work, tempo, hill repeats, or progression into my marathon training schedule. In the past I would just go out and run at whatever pace felt good. Now that I have changed the way I train, and am challenging myself in different ways, I know my body well enough to “feel” the difference between a 7:00, 7:30, 8:00 min/mile pace. I am also able to control that pace.
2) Focusing on marathon training reminds me of why running will always be my first love. When triathlon came into my life (in true romance novel fashion), my time spent running had to be split and shared with biking and swimming. Running was my strongest sport, therefore the area that needed the least of my attention. My long runs were 10-14 miles, which for me isn’t long. Now that the focus is primarily on this marathon, running has made its way back into my life. *Cue Song* → “reunited and it feels so GOOD!” I missed the excitement and challenge that I felt each week having a long run on my schedule, and feel so grateful, refreshed, and alive when I complete them each week.
3) I don’t want to jinx anything, but I am feeling determined and more ready than ever to tackle this marathon. In the past I have always thought of a marathon as a grueling task that I just had to endure/survive, which it is, but my attitude going into Portland is much calmer and more confident. I can’t think of a better way to end my season than to finish with a display of mental toughness and all of my hard work coming to fruition.
Because Justin will be having surgery later today to repair a torn tendon and a few ligaments in his left ankle, he will not be able to train with me or accompany me to the Portland Marathon. Thank goodness for tracking as I will imagine him being there and cheering me on in spirit. I’m pretty much dedicating this race to him and all the support he has given to me this entire season and beyond.
Speaking of the hubby’s surgery…
Justin and I are preparing for some major changes around the house and our lifestyle once he has his surgery. Basically, for the first week or so Justin will be couch-bound and will not be able to do much of anything. Once his boot is off and cast is on, he will be on crutches and will not be able to bear weight until November. I will likely be chauffeuring him around, running all the errands, and doing most of the cooking… COOKING!!! HELP!!!
For those of you who don’t know, I am not a cook. Justin cooks 99% of our meals. This means that I am going to have to take over the role of “chef” in our household for the next several weeks. *gulp* I get anxiety just thinking about cooking and do not have a lot of patience for making the 5-star meals that are prepared by my husband each night. I am excited to take on a new challenge and help out my husband by cooking for him, for a change, but am still worried about chopping off a finger or starting a fire. Both of which I have done before.
If any of you have any healthy recipes or recommendations for a newbie in the kitchen – please help! Cookbooks, recipes, blogs, personal chefs – I need all the help I can get.
We woke up to rain this morning, which is a nice change from the usual blue skies and sunshine. Makes for a good day to get some work done and clean up around the house before we go in for Justin’s surgery at 1pm. The next few days will be filled with a lot of football, movies and Netflix – which I am actually excited for. Speaking of which, we are looking for a new TV series to get into. We’ve finished Breaking Bad, OITNB, House of Cards, Games of Thrones, Walking Dead, etc. and now are looking for another
time sucker addictive show.