Ironman 70.3 Training Week 4 – Your “Reason Why”

Miscellaneous

This week’s training was pretty awesome! I felt strong, motivated and happy.

I also felt like I had a great swim this week. I swam a full mile, stopping for about two minutes every 5 laps (33 laps in total). I was tired, but I felt good. I feel like my stroke is pretty decent and I’m moving efficiently in the water. (Let’s hope that sticks around for another 20 weeks – ah ha ha!!)

Week 4 Training Overview:

Total Time: 7 hours, 31 minutes
Total Mileage: 46 miles

week4I find myself getting pretty bored on the bike lately. I keep going to the gym to get in miles on the bike because I can watch TV there and that sometimes helps with the boredom. I have a bike at home, but I’d have to look out the window, stare at my phone or just listen to music if I rode there. (Since I don’t feel like rearranging my entire apartment to move the spin bike to the living room LOL.)

I figured another month or so of the spin bike in April and by May I’ll be outside and riding to work a few days a month. Just gotta hang in there!

This is during the peak of my riding boredom when I start sending my husband random pictures.

This is during the peak of my riding boredom when I start sending my husband random pictures. If you’ve never done this before than you aren’t a true endurance athlete haha! 🙂

This past week I did a circuit training class with a few of coworkers. When I say class I mean I “taught” the “class”. It was actually really fun and a great way to get in my one day of cross/strength training. It mixed it up and I had fun hanging out with people while training, which I normally do alone. This week were are doing a bootcamp workout that I am going to lead.  Stay tuned for how that works out!

On Saturday I did my “long” run of 8.5 miles. At mile 6 I was really cold and growing pretty fatigued. I passed a church that had an electronic sign out near the road. I read it as I passed and it flashed the words “Praise in the midst of struggle”…and I thought “WOW – if that isn’t a sign from God for this very moment then I don’t know what is.” I thought it was a nice little sign from God and I welcomed it as a distraction. As I ran I thought about how lucky I was to be out there. I thought about all the people who would give anything to suit up and run out there in the cold, but they can’t for some physical reason. How lucky am I? I got ready for my run that morning, dreading it as I put on my layers. For some people they want nothing more than to get out there and run so freely and here I was dreading it and wanting it to be over. I spent the last two miles trying to be thankful for the gift of being able to train and trying to “Praise in the midst of struggle”. It motivated me to keep a positive attitude and a remembrance that not everyone can do what I get to do and for that I am thankful for my chance.

Have a good week everyone and remember your “Reason Why”.

because-i-can

Stay Warm CLE

Miscellaneous

I’m getting cabin fever. Or maybe I actually have it already. Either way, I might lose it if I have to stand in the cold and shovel snow off my car (yes shovel is the correct term) one more time.

AND it’s only the last week of February so chances are good that I will continue shoveling snow off my car for at least another month or so. At least daylight savings is coming up. Hopefully it will all be downhill with this Cleveland winter stuff after that.

Image from Second Sole Rocky River Instagram*

Image from Second Sole Rocky River Instagram*

Last weekend I did 10 miles on the treadmill in a little less than two hours. It was awful, but it was also freezing and blizzarding out. I actually would have taken the treadmill over running in that crap any day. I hate running in the cold – and the rain for that matter, but what is the saying? “If you wait for perfect conditions you’ll never get anything done.” Woof.

Image from Second Sole Rocky River Instagram*

Image from Second Sole Rocky River Instagram*

This weekend I have a 12 miler scheduled. I really don’t want to run on the treadmill again, but I also don’t want to run outside either. It’s supposed to be 37 and snowy on Sunday and that’ll actually be one of the warmer days that we’ve had around here. Maybe I’ll try to brave the run that day. My other thought is to break up the run on the treadmill between two, five milers and then do two final miles. One other annoying thing about the treadmills at the gyms I go to – the longest duration you can set on the treadmill is 55 minutes. So annoying.

For a few weeks I was running 6, 7 and 8 miles on Friday mornings. It was so nice to get my weekly “long” run over with so I didn’t have to try to squeeze it in over the weekend. Now as training hits double digits it’s going to be harder to do that since I have to be at work at 9AM.

I’ve also been going to an awesome boot camp class religiously every Saturday for the past two months, but when I’m training I find it easiest to do my long runs first thing on Saturday mornings. I hate to give up the class, but not sure how I can time manage my training either.

Here’s to making it through until daylight savings – and hopefully spring and/or March!

Maybe a sign that spring is coming? Sunlight & stretching after my 5 miler yesterday morning.

Maybe a sign that spring is coming? Sunlight & stretching after my 5 miler yesterday morning.

Hello 2015 [& training season]

Miscellaneous

Well the holidays came and went. December was filled with bridal events for my best friend’s wedding, endless Christmas parties and an awesome New Year’s Eve Celebration to top off the year.

The fiancé got me a Garmin Forerunner 15 for Christmas and I was thrilled! I’ve used it a couple of times and let me tell you how much I love it! It is SO much easier to just glance down at your wrist to check your distance rather than fumble around with an app on your phone (and your armband).

forerunner

The end of one year and the start of another always means looking back at the year you’ve had and what you hope to accomplish in the next.

I did 16 races in 2014, adding up to 142.8 miles. I know those numbers don’t mean much to non-runners, but to those who understand what it’s like to look back and remember every mile, every early morning, every sore aching body part – you know the feeling of accomplishment and also the feeling of wanting to crush that number in the next year ahead of you.

Races-2014Looking back on 2014 my favorite race is a tie between the Akron Marathon (if you know anything about me you know I LOVE this race) and my first triathlon at West Branch State Park. The triathlon stands out to me because it was a goal of mine and I was petrified beyond belief to do the swim. I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I still know very little about triathlons in general, but that’s what made the race so special to me. I went after something that scared the living daylights out of me and came out afterwards with a smile on my face. That’s living.

This past weekend was the Lifetime Indoor Tri. This was my second time doing the race so I kind of knew what to expect. I did so much better than I did last year, which makes me hopeful for the race season. I was not in very good shape either considering I haven’t swam since September.

Indoor-TriThis week marked the first week back to training since the holidays. I’ve got a big race schedule coming up and my training decreased in December (like it always does) with the holidays, parties and the wedding. It’s time to stay focused and become dedicated again, which makes me excited because half the fun of racing is training.

Here’s an overview of my 2015 races:

Jan-March – Training and finding another indoor tri to compete in
April 12 – 20 Mile Drop
May 3 – Fly Pig Half Marathon
May 31 – Twinsburg Duathlon
June 7 – West Branch Triathlon (sprint)
June 10 (tentative date) – Mentor Flag Day 5K
July 12 – Johnny Cake Jog (5 miler)
July 19 – Fairport Harbor Triathlon (sprint)
July 26 – Cleveland Triathlon (aiming for the Olympic distance)
August 23 (tentative date) – Shaker Heights Biathlon
September – Akron Marathon
Oct/Nov – I’d like to find a fall half marathon that isn’t too cold!

The weather in Cleveland has been cold and miserable, so unfortunately a lot of my training will have to be done indoors. Luckily I got a spin bike on Black Friday which is super handy on cold, winter mornings in Northeast Ohio, plus in training for the Olympic distance in July.

bikeI’ve also held myself to two of my resolutions for 2015 so far – join Northeast Running Club and The Cleveland Triathlon Club. Done and done. I’m looking forward to group training sessions come spring!

For now I need to focus on hitting all my training goals and working on my diet. Because eating cookies and drinking wine every day is only acceptable behavior in December 😉

I’m looking forward to 2015, especially because I get to marry my favorite person in the entire world in August!

Happy New Year!

NYE-Kiss

Autumn Leaves 5 Miler With a Side of Cough

Miscellaneous

Life has happened.

Work is a mad house. We moved into our new apartment. My parents moved to Cincinnati. I’m planning one of my best friend’s bridal showers and helping with the wedding in December. I’ve been incredibly sick and coughing for over three weeks… I’m not even going to pretend that I haven’t fallen way behind on training and running. In the past three weeks I’ve had two workouts: 1.) I jumped on a trampoline for about 6 minutes before I coughed up both lungs 2.) I ran a five mile race, which was hell.

After last year’s post marathon 4-month hiatus, I was determined not to let it happen again this year. Sure I didn’t need to be running 20 miles every weekend, but a 10-12 miler here and there and hitting the gym a few days a week wouldn’t hurt. I know it has only been three weeks, but I can already feel my decreased fitness level, not to mention my diet has been awful, which in turn makes me feel awful.

I finished up some antibiotics a few days ago and I am slowly starting to feel better. I still have an obnoxious cough though and I’m nervous to run or do any vigorous, long-term activity.

Last weekend I ran the Northeast Running Club’s Autumn Leaves 5 Miler at Lake Farmpark because A.) I had already signed-up and paid for it B.) I wanted to knock out my November race ASAP since I hate running in cold weather.

al-1
The race was muddy and cold, but it was manageable. I didn’t talk to anyone. I was simply there to run the race, get it over with and go home. I started off SUPER slow because I didn’t want to be coughing the entire race. Anytime I coughed a little bit, I slowed my pace even more. My finishing time was embarrassing compared to the five miler I ran back in April, yet someone I placed second in my age group. (What a joke.)

al-2
I ran straight through the finish line to my car, where I coughed hysterically in semi-private. At one point I looked over and saw a man cleaning off his shoes (because the course was incredibly muddy) and he was eying me cautiously, probably wondering if I was about to die or not. I wanted to shout “WHAT!!? HAVEN’T YOU SEEN SOMEONE COUGH BEFORE? DON’T LOOK AT ME!!” but instead I took off my muddy shoes, got in my car and continued coughing.
al3
Since we moved to a new area we bought new gym memberships. The fiancé has gone a few times this week while I’ve stayed home and gotten the apartment under control (we’ve been there less than a week now). I am planning on going to the gym tomorrow if it rains, but if it doesn’t I’m going to go on a slow, “exploring the city” 5 miler. We’ll see how the weather turns out and how I feel come tomorrow morning. I just hope I can enjoy some sort of activity without coughing like I smoked for 50 years. Tonight we are having the sister-in-law over for drinks and dinner and continuing to unpack and get our lives under control.

Life is happening that’s for sure and I am going to make it a priority this next week to fit in workouts, work on my diet and try to see opportunity in all the new changes and challenges life is throwing at me.

Keep running!

A New Year — Race 1 of 12.

Miscellaneous

Happy New Year! I am super excited for 2014. I’ve got big plans for racing, running and beginning to plan a wedding. I also plan on rocking my career even more and continuing to be an awesome auntie to my four little ones – actually soon to be five come June!

2013 was an amazing year for me. I’m almost even tempted to call it “adult” like, which is funny because I am the farthest thing from being an adult. I mean I still laugh at poop jokes and I’m 24 years old. Anyways, in 2013: I got a new car, landed my first big kid job, ran my first marathon and got engaged. 2014 has BIG shoes to fill, but the possibilities are there and I’m excited for it all.

It’s one of my resolutions to run a race every month of the year in 2014. I’m glad January’s race is already said and done, because I am not a fan of cold weather running. I’m already dreading the February and March races, plus sometimes April is cold around here too. I’m also dreading the race fees, so hopefully that doesn’t stop me either.

So to start off the New Year and to cross 1 of 12 races off my list, I set off to run a 5K on New Years Day. I ran the race with Nicole (one of my best friends, future bridesmaids and marathon running partner). It was the Cleveland Commitment 5K on New Year’s Day in Beachwood. It’s a free race dedicated to starting a national conversation about living a healthy way of life. This race was one of 35 that took place all over the U.S. on January 1st and of course I loved that it was free entry.

Snowy 5K route

Snowy 5K route

Despite having a good amount of champagne the night before and staying up pretty late with friends, Nicole and I braved the cold 17 degree weather to run a quick 3.1 miles on New Years Day. The course was a little boring as we ran through a neighborhood and down snowy sidewalks. I was pretty much miserable the entire run and joked that the 5K was the worse thing to ever happen to me. I was tired, freezing and a tiny bit hung over, PLUS I’ll be honest – I’m a little out of shape considering I haven’t ran in about 3 weeks. I’m too embarrassed to even post my time, but let’s just say I ran a full 10 minutes faster in the 5K I ran in June when I was training. I wasn’t happy with my time nor running the actual race itself, but let me tell you  how happy I am that my January race is over.

I look happy, but I'm not. [Nicole and I post-race]

I look happy, but I’m not. [Nicole and I post-race]

Here’s my list of other 2014 race possibilities:
JanuaryCheck!
FebruaryDirty Run 10K in Willoughby Hills, $30 OR Chili Bowl Classic 5K in Cleveland, $20, plus the fiance would love to be able to taste all the different chili offered post race with the fee.
MarchLifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon in Beachwood, $35. (It would be my DREAM to be able to do this.) OR Strides of March 5K in Kirtland, $18. (It’ll also be important to run lower cost races now since we have a wedding to start planning for!)
April – Chardon hosts a Maple Sap 5K every year in April for an annual festival. It’s two streets over from my house and probably no more than $20, so this will probably be my April run. No information is currently posted about it.
May – My wonderful fiance registered me for the 2014 Cleveland Half Marathon for this month. He’ll run it with me too. (Guys – take note of this gift idea if your woman is a runner. I was seriously SO excited when I opened the envelope!)
JuneMentor Flag Day 5K, $20.  I ran it last year and placed in my age group. Plus there was an awesome post-race picnic after.
July – Painesville Johnny Cake Jog Five Miler, $20/$25. I loved this race when I ran it last year. It’s a fast, flat course and just an all around good event with great food and activities post-race.
August – I’d love to be able to do the Bellefaire JCB Biathlon again. It’s a 5K race followed by a 13.1 bike ride. It was an awesome event and I placed in my age group.
September – Hands down I’m running the 2014 Akron Marathon again.
October – Not sure about this month’s race yet. Not many races for this late in 2014 are posted yet. I know there’s a half and full marathon somewhere up by the lake (maybe in Fairport). I’m also not sure if the Rock and Roll Half Marathon will be back either, but I don’t particularly want to run that again. I’m not even sure if I’d want to run another full or half marathon if I’m running Akron the month before though. Stay tuned.
November – This past Thanksgiving the fiance and I were traveling the day of, so we didn’t put much of an effort in to find a Turkey Trot to run even though we both said we wanted to. 2014 will have to be different or else I’ll need to find another November race.
December – More than likely I’ll run the Legacy Village Jingle Bell 5K again. I’ve run this race the past two years and have enjoyed it. I love the holiday themed races since they are always so fun and festive.

Here are a few pictures from our New Year’s Eve festivities. Since I worked basically the entire holiday and the fiance (still weird to say since our engagement is so new) has been off work for the past two weeks, he did the NYE planning coordination. He arranged dinner with 20 friends and family at a local winery a few streets over from the house. The place is called Your Vine or Mine in Painesville and it was fantastic. I’d recommend it to anyone local and looking to support a family owned business. We had awesome wine and a light dinner, then everyone came back to the house to drink, be merry and watch the ball drop. The fiance’s sister did an awesome job with decorations and food. We all had a great time and still avoided the overly-crowded-too-loud-no seats-available-can’t-get-a-drink bar scene. I was a happy girl.

Our large group of 20

Our large group of 20

The fiance and I being overly festive and cute for NYE.

The fiance and I being overly festive and cute for NYE

New Year’s Day we followed our normal tradition of getting sushi and then seeing a movie. We saw American Hustle, which kept my attention, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “good” by any means.

Delicious way to start the new year

A delicious way to start the new year

What are you looking forward to in 2014? I’m excited for the possibilities of the New Year ahead and I hope you all are too.

I’m ready to work hard, run hard and play even harder.

Happy New Year!  

If you’re not scared, if you’re not worried — you’re not taking a chance.

Miscellaneous

I’m feeling very sad today. Not depressed sad, but more nostalgic thinking about this past summer and all the awesome races I got to run. I trained so hard and spent so much time out on the trails early in the summer mornings watching the sun come up. It was so rewarding and fulfilling because it was all so much bigger than I was. I think that’s what draws me to races. There’s something magical about putting on the bib and planning out GU times, pace times and start times. You’re part of this huge, giant race – you’re a piece of the bigger picture. Racing and actually competing is one of the most exciting parts about being a runner. On the other hand, I also like the nice relaxed runs. The runs where you enjoy every moment and you’re reminded why you love this sport. Being a runner is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done in my life. And now, as November rolls around in Northeast Ohio, I am filled with dread as all of these rewards and feelings will now be confined to a small, crowded gym for the next six months.

runnin-quoteIt’s enough to make me cry really. What I wouldn’t give to wake up early on a warm summer morning and hit the trails early before work. Now it’s cold and dark outside as I’m dragging myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to get to the gym. Worse – sometimes I have to go to the gym after work when it’s filled with high school meat heads who take up the entire weight area and high school girls who are just there to socialize with one another.

I’m missing my long weekend runs too. Some weeks I dreaded them, while other times I looked forward to them, but I always felt amazing afterwards. I knew I could officially enjoy the weekend after a long early Saturday run. Now I’m stuck running five miles on a treadmill in a stuffy gym with people running directly next to me, stomping away on their own squeaky treadmills. Even worse, sometimes you get kicked off after an hour. I’m sorry, but how am I supposed to get in 13 miles if I have to get off the treadmill every hour and wait for another one to open up? It’s awful and I’m critically depressed and it’s only the beginning of November. not-scared

How does anyone do it?! How do runners stay motivated and on their A game during the long, cold winter months? How do you train hard all winter? I am tossing around the idea of running the full Cleveland Marathon near the end of May, but giant red flags are waving in my head. I HATE INDOOR RUNNING. Why would I put myself through that awful training during the coldest part of the year? Why Cassandra why?! …..…and then right as I am about to make up my mind that I won’t do it, I hear that I quietly answer myself…because I am missing marathon training more then I ever could imagine. Because I know that if I sign up for that race I will feel like I did this past summer. I will have that feeling that I am a part of something bigger than myself and all these past’s winters I didn’t know what that was like, and now I do…