Training Week 21 Recap — August Has Arrived!!

Miscellaneous

It’s August 1st. Wow!

I’m generally not one of those people who say “I can’t believe it’s already [insert month or holiday here]!” Because I always want to say to those people “Really? You can’t believe it? Where have you been then?” I feel like those types of people have a hard time living in the moment, which is something I feel I do a decent job at doing (most of the time that is).

august1I’m pretty self aware and often will find myself looking around and trying to “take in the moment” whether it’s driving to work and seeing the sunrise or looking around at a best friend’s wedding and really trying to be fully present. With that said I am stoked it’s August!! I’m not “surprised” like it snuck up on me, but generally SO excited that it’s here! August is by far my favorite month of the year. There’s something so bitter sweet about it. It’s an exciting time with summer starting to wrap up, kid’s going back to school and everyone starting a new season in life.

august2Last summer was all about getting married on August 29. This year we are most definitely looking forward to August 29 (again) for our one year anniversary, but also the past six months of my life have been preparing for Ironman 70.3 Ohio on August 21. Not only is that going to be an amazing date in August history — but we leave on August 26 for a 10-day vacation in Italy!! Talk about setting the bar high for future Augusts  🙂

I’m so excited for everything! Soon all my hard work will pay off. I’m feeling cool and confident going into the last 3 weeks of training. I did my longest brick EVER on Saturday (almost 6 hours) spent on a 40-mile bike ride and a 10-mile run. I just barely escaped the thunderstorm and rain! I even ran into my best friend up on the trail! She is training for her first half marathon and seriously kicking butt!

I managed to get in a very decent week mileage wise, totally 91 miles in just under 10 hours.

Week-21I realized a few weeks ago that it’s go-time on Akron Marathon training. I’m in great shape now, so basically all I have to do is throw in a few long runs between now and the end of September. This weekend I have 15 miles on the schedule and am psychotically looking forward to it. I have to keep in mind though that I will lose two training weekends in Italy between now and the race.

This week’s training looks promising, with great weather and lots of sunshine. I’m riding my bike to work tomorrow and it’s supposed to be gorgeous out. Yesterday (Sunday) I was thinking of going for an active recovery 5K, but decided I didn’t really want to pound the pavement. Instead the hubs and I went for a beautiful hike — until we suddenly got poured on about half way through! (This seems to be a common theme in my life!)

hiking-togetherThe only issue I am facing going into week 22 is trying to prepare for the race being wet suit legal vs. illegal. I haven’t not swam in a wet suit in probably two years. It’s comforting to know that I cannot sink while wearing a wet suit, so I’m really debating what to do. I think I will probably be OK without one, but I don’t want to take any chances. I’m sure the majority of people won’t wear one. I’m even debating getting a Zoot swim skin, but I don’t really want to drop the cash on it when I have a perfectly good wet suit. I’m still debating and more to come!

Other than that life is so, so good. I can’t even believe it! I love this time of year, I love training and I love the fact that we’ve been married almost a year and get to celebrate our anniversary in Italy!

Here’s to kicking butt the next three weeks! I do have some BIG news for a later date and time — no we aren’t having a baby  🙂 but I want to focus on one big thing at a time and will save discussing for another post!

Happy week 22! AH!!

AJ-hikinghiking-trailbrave-enough

Training Season

Miscellaneous, Running

I love August.

Honestly it might be one of my favorite months. I don’t know what exactly it is, but I’ve always loved the end of summer. Don’t get me wrong, the start of summer is incredible and filled with anticipation of so many events and activities, but the end of summer has a different vibe. The end of summer usually means being in top physical shape for us runners. After training all summer, the end of August should be your peak performance state. You should also be your tannest and happiest considering you just spent the last three months enjoying flowers and fresh air rather than dragging yourself through snow and slush! There’s just something about knowing you had an amazing summer behind you, but also knowing that there is still some more amazingness to squeeze out before autumn closes in. I always loved feeling the rush of the last few days of summer break before returning to school. Like in college when you spent all summer at home and then suddenly you got to pack up all your stuff and head back to have fun at school. The excitement, the nerves, the newness and the warmth of the summer encompasses everything.

For me now-a-days, the end of summer and watching it fade into fall means that the Akron Marathon is closing in. I’m so excited I get giddy just thinking about it. Last year I ran Akron as my first full marathon. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it changed my life. No other memory can give me goose bumps and chills the way thinking about the Akron Marathon does. I loved every single beautiful, painful second of that experience, and I know only other marathon runners can relate to those feelings.  I’ve been doing my long runs on Saturday mornings and there’s nothing like waking up early, excited to run 15 miles. I guess that’s why they call runners crazy. I know I’m not alone in feeling like this though and I can’t wait to be around thousands of other people who felt the same way all those Saturday mornings during training. Running a marathon is an experience like no other and I absolutely cannot wait to get out there on the blue line again in 56 days.

August also means competing in the Bellefaire JCB Biathlon again. It’s a charity ride featuring a fast, flat 5K and then a 13 mile bike ride. Last year I won my age group and it was my first glimpse into the world of competitive biking. Speaking of bikes, I bought an amazing, fast touring bike from a fellow biker in Chardon about a month ago. I have yet to get clip in shoes yet though, so stay tuned for that. (I have visions of myself toppling over and unable to get my feet off the pedals.) I’ve taken the bike out on quite a few rides and every single time I’ve come back thinking “Wow that was fun!” Best feeling ever.

touring-bike
As if training for a full marathon and biathlon weren’t enough, I also signed up for my second triathlon in September. I’ll be competing in the Portage Lakes Sprint Triathlon in Akron on September 14. Yep – then two weeks later I’ll be back in Akron again, but this time running 26.2 miles. With that being said, other athletes can image and appreciate my intense training schedule. Most weeks I train 6 days a week, forcing myself to take a rest days on Sundays after my weekly long run. Sometimes I’ll cave and do a quick bike ride though. My diet and nutrition have been on point as well. Nothing is worse than eating a ton of pizza for dinner and then waking up early to get in a workout (especially a pool workout) and having that greasy pizza sitting on top of your stomach. It’s bloat city. I used to be naive and think that nutrition had nothing to do with athletic performance. (Yes I’ve now learned that lesson the painful way.) It’s still frustrating to me though when we are out at a bar on Friday night and my friends are drinking beer and eating burgers and I’m sipping on some water. Then someone makes some comment “Are you dieting? Why aren’t you eating!? Are you trying to lose weight?!” And I have to explain that I need to do a brick workout in the morning, AKA bike 10 miles and then run 5 miles and being even slightly dehydrated from drinking or bloated from eating a greasy burger just isn’t going to cut it. I constantly have to remind myself that not everyone understands the journey and that it’s OK because they don’t need to understand it.

So basically I meal prep almost everything I eat during the week. It keeps me on point and never in a position where I have to stop and get fast food. It’s a challenge, but then again this entire journey of training for 535263 events has been a challenge, but one that I wouldn’t give up for anything.

meal-prep-july
I only ran one race in July, which was a quick 5-miler in Painesville called the Johnnycake Jog. It was strange to only run one race last month though  because I ran a ton in June.

johnny-cake-jog-2014
Even though training is at an all time high, we still found time to squeeze in our engagement pictures last week. Here’s a sneak peek.

PS. Just looking at these  I cannot stop smiling – we are so excited for NEXT August. Yes, we are even getting married in my favorite month 🙂

kiss-path-engagement
engagement-picture-jump-flowers
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Keep running!