The power of a break

Hmm where do I start? It’s been such a full summer!

At the beginning of the summer I had every intention to continue blogging as usual. However, as my disappearance belies, things got very busy, and I didn’t have the time or energy to write.

As I mentioned before, my sister moved in with us and is living in our guest room until her graduate program starts. It’s been great having her around. She is working with several different research labs to gain experience and learn more about varying aspects of health promotion.

Running-wise, I took 8 weeks off and didn’t get back to it until last week. The extended break wasn’t planned, but was much-needed. After the New Jersey marathon in May, I took a short break and then ramped back up to running as usual. I started feeling signs of burnout in July. I was not excited about running, and even dreaded it. My workouts weren’t great, and even easy runs felt hard. I took more rest days than usual in hopes that the lackluster weirdness would pass. I wasn’t injured, but despite my attempts, I could not get motivated to run. I also felt guilty for dreading running.

By August I was decidedly burned out. I had zero desire to get out of bed to run, and the thought of training for a half or full marathon was not interesting at all. My body was fine, but I knew that my mind needed a break.

So I decided to take a hiatus. Just a couple days… maybe a week or two. That felt great. The pressure to not miss a workout melted away. That turned into a month of no running, and I didn’t miss it. Not at all. I felt zero desire to get back to it.

Strangely, this didn’t bother me.

A month became 6 weeks, and I STILL didn’t miss running. I started wondering if I was ever going to miss it.

6 weeks turned into 7.

Then, at the 8 week mark, I felt the desire to run. I can’t describe to you how much I realized I MISSED running. And it was a relief to feel the “want”. It was a couple days before I actually had the chance to run, because I had early morning meetings and long work days.

But when I finally laced up and got out the door for my first run, it felt AWESOME. 5 miles of awesome. I mean, it wasn’t the most comfortable run, and I was huffing and puffing harder than normal, but it felt good to be “back.” It felt sweet to be back. I’ve lost a lot of fitness, and will need to put in some work to get back to where I was, but I am ok with that.

I am so very glad I took a long break from running. It was exactly what my mind and heart needed. Giving myself the opportunity to MISS running and remember how much I love it is pretty priceless.

I’ve since run a handful of times, and am still working on re-building a base. I’m not putting any pressure on myself, and it’s fantastic. I love the crisp New England fall mornings –> perfect running conditions.

I’ll never doubt the power of a break from running to reignite love for the sport!!

Run any big races this summer/fall? Anyone else loving the the cooler temps? Tell me what you’re up to this week/weekend!

More Olympics please!

What did you do this week? Any fast running? Any long runs? I did none of the above. Just a few easy miles at the beginning of the week.

I have been wiped out all week, with no energy. Granted I ran 7 miles on Monday, but I couldn’t seem to break easy pace and had to fight through every single mile. I hoped for a better workout on Tuesday but only made it 2 miles before throwing in the towel. I had no fight in me to go another step. I scrapped my workouts the rest of the week in favor of extra sleep and rest.

It’s been quite rainy and humid this week, which has made for a few sticky days. The temperatures have picked up too, which doesn’t bode well for any weekend long runs or races. I’m hoping the heat wave will break by next week, and we’ll get a few cool mornings.

Do you ever get obsessed with a snack or a food, and stick with it for weeks on end? I am this way with Honey Nut Cheerios and plain Greek yoghurt at the moment. So delicious together. I have had it every day this week, and cannot get enough. It’s a good thing it’s relatively healthy!

I have been watching the Olympics like crazy. I love seeing Team USA do well, especially Simon Biles – she’s amazing! and Katy Ledecky – also amazing! I’m extremely excited for the start of all things running as of today. I can never stay up late enough to catch everything, so I have made good use of the DVR. I don’t mind watching stuff the next day, even though sometimes I’ll hear spoilers from others or see things on social media before I get around to it.

I cannot wait for the mens and womens Olympic marathon. Desi and Meb are my favorites and I will be cheering both of them on from my couch. During weeks like this when I’m feeling super low-energy, I cannot believe I ran 2 marathons.

That’s all from me for today! Enjoy the weekend and watch lots of Olympics!

What’s your fave Olympic event? Anyone racing this weekend? How do you deal with exhaustion?

Catching up

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it. I’ve gotten swept up in the “busy-ness” of life, work, and all the in-betweens. I should say that although I am not following a formal training plan at the moment, I still stick to the general structure of one. That is, my hard workouts (tempos, intervals, hills, etc) are on Mondays and Wednesdays, long runs on Saturdays (if at all), and easy runs on every other day. I haven’t been able to do any ‘real’ long runs because of we’ve been traveling almost every weekend this summer. But I am well aware that the New Haven half marathon is coming up soon (Sept 5th) and I know I need to get more time on my feet.

Running has felt pretty good despite the absence of traditional long runs. My sister has been my running buddy and that has been a refreshing change. It’s nice to have someone to keep you accountable and sweat through the miles with. She is athletic and ha always participated in sports, but had never run more than 5 miles before we started running together.

I check the Running Warehouse site daily to try and stay on top of any deals that may pop up for my trusty Saucony Guides. I’ve been able to score a couple pairs for only $36 apiece, which is pretty fantastic considering they retail at $120.

Lately I’ve been struggling to get enough sleep each night. I always have good intentions to be in bed by 9pm but that hasn’t happened much recently. As a result, I don’t feel particularly rested when my alarm clock buzzes at 4:15am. Today I was sitting in a seminar and nearly nodded right off. I’ve got to get back to my regular routine of sleeping 7-8 hrs per night… any less and I am fighting sleep by 2pm.

This next question is for people who wear high heels. How do you get the shoe to stay on your foot? I think I have normal feet (as in, not wide or narrow) but I’m having trouble walking in heels, especially pumps. They seem to fit perfectly in terms of size, but when I take a step, the heel part of my foot slides right out of the back of the shoe. My sister suggested sticking fabric pads to the back of the shoe, and that has helped a little bit, although it makes the shoe feel tighter. Are the heels of my feet just oddly shaped? Should I switch to wearing Mary-Janes or something else with straps to keep the shoe on my foot? I prefer the look of pumps, especially at work, but if I can’t walk in them I should probably not wear them. So if you have any tips on getting pumps to stay on your feet, let me know!

Do you ever shop at RunningWarehouse.com? How many hours of sleep per night do you get? Any tips for high heels? 

More summer runs

Life is busy and crazy, but so very good. Running is still happening, and I’m logging between 6-8 miles monday through saturday. The difference is that I’m not following a structured training plan at the moment. I had planned to be training for my half marathon coming up (the New Haven Half Marathon) but things have been ridiculously busy at work and I haven’t had time to really sit down and think through a training plan. I’m loosely doing a “hard, easy” approach, where I’ll do a speed workout on Mondays and Wednesdays, and run easy on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Saturdays have been a bit of a free-for-all, with all of our traveling and busy schedules. Usually on Saturdays I go for a 8-ish mile run and I haven’t really been doing long runs. I need to get my head back in the long run game, but I’m not feeling any urgency as of yet. I’m excited about how the summer is going so far and am not missing the long runs just yet.

This weekend we are out of town yet again for my brother’s birthday celebration as well as going to visit some of my hub’s side of the family. Should be fun.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summers!

Anyone taking a break from long runs? Got any races on your schedule?

Summer running

There have been a lot of changes this summer. Among other things, I moved into a new office at work – a lovely space with a big window and lots of natural light. It’s amazing what a difference a nice space makes. I feel more productive now that I’m in a bigger space, and I also feel like I can get into the ‘zone’ to get things done.

Having my sister around has been great too. She is easy company and very considerate. She comes to the gym with me and works out for however long I want (usually 90 min in the morning), and on Tuesdays she also goes to the gym in the evening to participate in one of the classes. It’s fun to have a workout buddy, which keeps me accountable to wake up at 4am when my alarm goes off.

I’ve backed off the intensity in running this week. A while back I tweaked a muscle in my lower back and although it doesn’t bother my day-to-day life and I can still run, it still feels tight to hyperextend my back. I went in for a deep tissue massage to my lower back earlier in the week to attempt to address the issue. The massage felt great – my first time getting my back done instead of just legs. The massage therapist also did a lot of assisted stretching to increase range of motion. The next day my back felt a little ginger – that’s the best description I can come up with – so I decided this would be an easy running week for me.

Did I tell you that Sister and I went to the outlets over July 4 weekend to purchase some clothes for work? I’ve been thinking that I really need to start dressing more professionally and get out of this “grad student” mindset that I’ve been stuck in. Once I got past the sticker shock of buying clothes at nicer stores, it was actually a lot of fun. I also got a couple pairs of nude and black heels to go with my new attire. It’s hard not to feel legit when I dress like I own the place. 🙂

Aaaand here is a photo of a string quartet I saw a couple weeks ago. Just to show off my town and how much I love it:

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Anyone deal with a back spasm in your lower back? How did you deal with it? You enjoying these summer temps? Got a long run or race coming up? 

Some 800’s, and sister is here!

Well well well. Can you believe we’re in July? I love all things summer, so I’m enjoying everything about the weather, even running in it!

This morning I ran 7×800 (7 miles total with warmup & cooldown). It was hard but good. I love those workouts where you are dying in a good way <– runners are weird. I knew it would be a good workout when I was warming up. It was like my legs were ready to GET IT DONE.

This week, my sister officially moved into our guest room. It’s great having her around. She will be staying with us in the next few months before going off to grad school. I’m glad I’ll get a little more time with my little sis before she goes overseas.

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Sister and I had our first New Haven lunch together at the food carts. Yummy food and a perfect day!

I plan to take the next 2 days off running as my brother will be visiting for part of the holiday weekend. We haven’t decided what we’ll do yet but we’re thinking about grilling burgers in the park.

I will resume half marathon training on Monday – I’ll be celebrating July 4th with an independence run!

Happy 4th of July weekend, everyone!

Anyone do a speed workout today? What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

Mark Wood RSA 5K Recap

I’ve been in New Orleans for a conference for the past several days, and while I was there, I ran the Mark Wood RSA 5K race. It was hot (82 degrees) and very humid, even at 6:30am.

The race took place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and the course went around the Superdome, and through several parking lots. Not the most scenic of routes, but still a fun time and good experience overall.

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Start/finish line

I turned my watch on as we started, but it kept showing paces that I knew were totally off (way too fast or slow) so I ignored it for the most part. The only semblance of mile markers was the fact that the course included 3 loops, but my Garmin was all over the place. It was tough to gauge exactly where I was in terms of distance or pace. When I looked at the data after the race, I noticed that the Garmin showed me having run directly through the Superdome, which I definitely did not do.

I forgot to turn off the Garmin when I crossed the finish, so I’m not exactly sure of my time, but it is approx 27:30 (8:51 pace). My watch said I’d run 3.38 miles. Not sure if I was that bad at tangents, or if the course was long.

I would have liked to PR, but the heat and humidity made even an 8:51 pace feel like a sprint.

It was a small-ish race, with only about 200 runners total. I signed up the morning of the race with no issues. There was one water stop near the start/finish, which we passed 3 times. I didn’t grab water or Gatorade until after the race.

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Women’s and Men’s 1st Place Winners

I can’t say I felt good running – I didn’t have a chance to warm up, and by the time my muscles realized what was happening, the race was over. It was hard maintaining the pace, and I should have started out more conservatively so that I’d have a decent finishing kick. No matter, I’m happy with my time, and I enjoyed participating in an event for a good cause. I would definitely do it again next year.

Anyone race last weekend? Did you do a long run? Who’s training for a race?