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
us-looking-bench
Keep running!

The Perfect Summer Bucket List

Miscellaneous

Seventeen.

Seventeen glorious, perfect summer weekends between Memorial Day and the first day of fall.

Summer is by far my favorite time of year for many reasons. For starters: I love hot weather, I love the beach and I love race/running season. After Northeast Ohio’s dreadful, polar vortex filled winter; I am already in full summer mode and it’s still technically spring.

Being my normal neurotically organized and planner obsessed kinda gal, I came up with a 2014 summer bucket list.

Here’s what I got so far:

  •  Go to Put-N-Bay for Christmas in July weekend (July 25, 26, 27)
  •  Go to Cedar Point (In progress – planned for June 13)
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go for a long hike and pack a lunch to eat on the trail
  • Go on a 50+ mile bike ride (I’m thinking I may want to attempt a 100-mile ride, but we’ll see)
  • Go kayaking or canoeing (or both)
  • Go camping in Madison, Ohio (I found a cute, really decently priced cabin online)
  • Go fishing
  • Play volleyball on the beach (We play in a Friday night bar league, but that doesn’t count)
  • Workout at the beach/run on the beach as the sun rises (This weekend the fiancé and I ran at the beach, but the sun was already up so this one gets a half tally for just the workout)
  • Go on a boat or jet ski
  • Attend/have as many bonfires as possible and drink adult beverages around said bonfire (tally = 1)
  • Sky dive (Special on Groupon/Living Social – stay tuned on this one. It’s still pricey, but I think it’ll be worth it. Just gotta convince the fiancé first)
  • Go to a drive-in movie
  • Try golfing (NOT mini golf)
  • Have a luau party (Don’t judge me – I love a good luau)
  • Go to an Indians game and sit outside on a patio at a bar before (or just do this and watch the game. Possibly attend a game with fireworks afterwards)
  • Visit a lighthouse (This one gets a half tally since this weekend we did hike right up to an old lighthouse, but it was boarded up so we obviously couldn’t go inside)
  • Make a long weekend trip to St. Louis (One of the fiancé’s best friends lives there)
  • Stay a night at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake and go to as many wineries as possible (This one may be tricky, as it is full most of the summer + pretty expensive)
  • Go to the beach as much as possible (tally = 1)
  • Make homemade pizza on the grill or bonfire
  • See Tim McGraw in concert (I’ve seen him every summer since 2008 – AND we are going June 8. Woooo)
  • Grill out at the beach/eat dinner at the beach as the sun sets
  • Make breakfast outside over a fire or the grill (Think eggs, sausage, pancakes even)
  • Run as many races as possible (In progress, of course)

I’m sure we will add to the list too. We’ve got paddle boarding, my first triathlon, throwing a wine tasting party, wine tasting events, party in the park, family reunions and a whole bunch of other great stuff already lined up and planned. It’ll basically be us trying to fill in activities on the list between everything else. I absolutely LOVE this time of year and I couldn’t be more excited!

PLUS: My nephew was born this past weekend! Meet Alexander:

alexander-and-me

Double PLUS: We booked a date and venue for our wedding! BUT we are kind of keeping it a secret until our wine tasting party/engagement party at the end of June. (HINT: It’s pretty far off on the calendar, which is what we wanted.)

Triple PLUS: One of my brothers is interested in starting to run with me! We’ve already talked about possibly running some longer races together, which makes me very happy and excited!

Only one more week until my first triathlon! I’m still scared to death over the swim portion, but I keep telling myself the hardest and scariest part will be starting and getting into the water. Once that is over it’ll be all down hill from there.

“If your dreams don’t scare you – they aren’t big enough.”

I’ll leave you with a picture of the future hubbs and I hanging out at the beach Sunday morning. We did a two mile run with varied HIIT on the bike path and then explored the coast after with a beach hike.

sunday-morning-beachToday’s workout: 11.5 mile bike, 1.5 mile run, ¼ mile swim.

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Train all winter, race all summer.

Miscellaneous

I think this might be the summer of races, and I’m not mad about it either.

I’ve ran a couple races the past three weeks and have so many more marked down on my calendar over the next couple months. The boyfriend and I seem to be in an official racing kind of lingo lately. There’s just something so exciting about running a race. The registering, the bib number, lining up, the mile markers, the crowds, the excitement. I love hearing pace times being yelled out, running along side complete strangers and the cheers as you sprint the last few feet into the finish line. Anyone who trains all winter on a treadmill is really missing out if they don’t run any of the races offered in the summer around Northeast Ohio. I mean we only get four nice months of weather anyways, so as a runner you better take advantage of it!

I ran a 10K in Northfield two weeks ago. You could run either a 5K or a 10K. All proceeds from the race went to stop human trafficking and it was put on by a local church. The race size was relatively small, but the route included mostly bike trail running and a few good hills. My mom walked the 5K and set a new PR for herself! I finished the 10K in just under an hour, which I was happy about. More info on the race can be found here.

Mom and I after the race.

Mom and I after the race.

Yesterday night the boyfriend and I got a group of friends together to run the Mentor Flag Day 5K. It was supposed to storm, but it actually only ended up sprinkling as everyone started to cross the finish line. The event included post race food, which was awesome. I set a new PR for my 5K time (26:45), which isn’t amazing, but the last 5K I didnt was in December and my time was 34 something, so I’ll take it. The race was on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., which I actually really liked after a long work day. This is a great family event too. More information on the race can be found here.   

America!

America!

I really wanted to run The Lake Health Half Marathon this Sunday, but the race is sold out. Why they stop accepting entries? I’m not sure, but I’m pretty bummed. Plus the race was only a cool $50 compared to other halfs AND only 15 mintues from my house, but oh well.

This week marks 16 weeks out from the Akron Marathon. I’ve tossed around the idea of trying to run the full, but it’s not set in stone yet. I’m following a bare minimum training schedule for a full, but who knows if I’ll just stick with the half instead. The mileage is way down to only 18 miles a week right now, so it’s currently no big deal. We’ll see what happens I guess!

I hope everyone is taking advantage of summer and running a few races!

Keeping Running!