Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Road to Steamtown: Week 7

We're halfway there having just finished week 12 of 24 official weeks of training.

4 runs for 29.6 miles
1 mile swim
Running miles logged so far: 282.5
STLY: 243.6
Training highlights:
  • Feeling more and more like a real swimmer these days (as opposed to a amateur flailer). I've been feeling very comfortable with my pattern of alternating 200 yards of free style with 200 yards of breast stroke and decided that it was time to up the ante on the free style. So, this week I swam repeats of 300 yards of free and 100 yards of breast stroke. And guess what? Though it was a bit harder, it still felt good. Additionally, one of the "master swimmers" invited me to join their group, which does work outs on M/W/F mornings. I said I was extremely flattered because I am anything but a "master" swimmer, but I'd think about it - only if she would teach me how to do the elusive flip turn.
  • A fantastic runner I would consider a Sister from Another Mother joined us for our Wednesday run and I know I've found another great running buddy and kindred spirit.
  • Despite mounting concerns that my foot was going to break in half during Saturday's long run, it went rather well. The 14 whizzed by in no time at all and my cardio is presumably so in shape right now that I never breathed hard. Not once. Waking up at 4:30 am to get there in time to add 6 to the team's scheduled 8 at 7 am was not fun, but we survived. And I took a very long nap when I got home.
  • On Sunday, I led the Summer Donut Dash: Dixie Donuts edition. We had nice, overcast weather and a fun group. The 5k wound through Byrd Park, where lots of tidbits of Richmond history were shared. I had been concerned that Byrd Park wouldn't be the most interesting area to run in (historically speaking) but thankfully, it turns out I was wrong. I found a plethora of fun facts that even lifelong Richmonders in the group didn't know. Guess we are doing something right!

Training lowlights:
  • Like I said, this was a tough week. Our test run of the Dixie Course on Monday felt like death, even at a 9:00/mile pace. Thank you, 100% humidity.
  • Swelling and continued discomfort in my foot really had me freaked out to the point that I ditched speed work on Monday, opted for an easy pace for Wednesday's 7 miler in lieu of tempo, and considered not doing the Saturday long run at all. When I arrived on Saturday morning, I was in pretty low spirits and confessed to T that I was convinced that it was going to break during the run. It bothered me on and off throughout the 14, but being the stubborn runner that I am, I just kept going. My theory is that if it is going to break, I'd rather it just do it full on rather than mess around with a maybe-stress-fracture.
Given all of the drama and anxiety surround my stubborn appendage, I have made the decision to take off from running this week. When I announced this to Husband on Saturday evening, he looked at me like I had lost my mind. He keeps asking me every night, "So... are you running tomorrow?" because he expects me to change my mind.

So far, I've held true to my word. More on that in a later entry.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Road to Steamtown: Week 6

3 runs for 21.5 miles
2 swim sessions; 1 mile each

Running miles logged so far: 252.9
STLY: 219.5

Training highlights:
  • ... Ummmm ...
  • I managed to finally get two session of cross training in.
  • Post long run Sugar Shack trip with some fellow Team Midnight-ers (?). The best part was the donut, but almost as awesome was when we all stood up from our spots on the sidewalk and saw this:
Team Midnight was here

We all found it quite hilarious. (You know you're a runner when you think a butt sweat print is funny and not totally disgusting.) It was a great bonding moment with some Team Midnight newbies and as I drove home, I thought to myself how grateful I am for the experience of MTT and our every growing running family.

Training lowlights:
  • Thanks to continued irritability on the part of my foot (will it ever end??), I opted to not do tempo work on Wednesday and did "easy" trails instead. On that run, T tripped on a railroad track and busted her knee wide open (but thankfully not her face or head). She wound up with three stitches and a tetanus shot; I wound up with a serious case of guilt since I had picked the route. In true T fashion, after the fall we dusted her off, slapped on a band aid (my car was conveniently parked nearby for a planned on SAG), and she ran 5 more miles.
  • Thanks to continued irritability on the part of my foot (yep, I just said that again) and a sudden case of light-headedness, I did not add any mileage to the team long run on Saturday. Steamtown Contingent was supposed to do 13 and as you can see I did just 11. I'm glad that I didn't because this was the extremely challenging and always-dreaded Riverside Drive route. It was so miserably hot and humid that pretty much of the ladies in the Edge of Midnight pace group ended up going #fullonBarch
I don't look quite as pale in black and white, right?

This foot thing... yeah. I don't even know. I talked to a teammate who own a local running store about it on Saturday during the run. I asked if maybe it was a shoe problem and he said that often when people have pain on the outside and top of the foot, it is because of tension in the calf. He advised me to use a stick on my left calf, looking for a lump or knot in the outside of muscle. Sure enough, I found the lump and rolled the heck out of it, only to be rewarded with a super sore calf and foot the next morning.

So good news is that I think it is all stemming from my left side being just stupid and tight (piriformis hurts too lately - surprise surprise). Bad news is... everyone on my left side hurts. I'm strongly considering headed back to Dr. Cutter so that I can get back to Steve and get my SI checked out, but things are just so crazy right now for me that I don't have the time to deal with it. I guess I should, before I have no choice.

Ah, the boneheaded runner.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Donut Dash: Dixie Donuts Edition

Next up in the Summer Donut Dash Series is the fabulous Dixie Donuts!

All photos from Dixie Donuts' Facebook page

While Sugar Shack's signature style is the yeast donut, Dixie Donuts has cornered the market on cake donuts. Since Dixie opened in 2012, I can't even count the number of times I have stopped in for one (or a dozen) donuts, my favorite of which is the Dulce de Leche - dubbed salted caramel by me. I can safely say I've eaten 50 or more of them.

Other tantalizing flavors include (but definitely aren't limited to!) the Aztec, the Oreo, Key Lime, Dixie Sugar Spice, German Chocolate, Samoa, French Toast, Maple Bacon, and the O.M.G:

O.M.G. is really the only name that could be appropriate for these beauties!

There is hot debate about donut types - most people fall into one camp or the other. As for me, both yeast and cake donuts have their merits. I adore Sugar Shack, but Dixie is equally wonderful. In my humble opinion, the Dixie donut is perfectly sized for flavor testing. I always get my standard flavor, accompanied by a new taste sensation. They aren't so big that eating two makes you feel guilty; instead, two Dixie Donuts (in the immortal words of Goldilocks) are juuuuuuust right.

The other thing that I love about Dixie Donuts is Donut Artist, Carol Brown.

I don't know what is about Carol, but when I see her in her trademark bandana behind the counter, it always makes me smile. Not to mention, girl has talent. Not only do Dixie's donuts taste amazing, but they are also fun little works of donut art! She and her team really go above and beyond.

So now that I've made you extremely hungry for a donut, here is the info about the Summer Donut Dash Series: Dixie Donuts Edition!

When: Sunday, July 20, 2014. Group departs promptly at 8 am.

Where: Dixie Donuts at 2901 W. Cary Street, Richmond, VA. Plentiful free street parking; please do not use Dixie Donuts' small surface lot.

Course: After covering the historic Fan district and Monument Avenue last time, we are going to go check out Byrd Park. Tour sights will include Carillon, Dogwood Dell, Vita Course, the Lakes, and Maymont.

How: Register online here. Pre-registration and completed waiver required; payment in cash or credit can be accepted on site. Please arrive early if paying on site. PLEASE NOTE that if you don't get a confirmation email, you aren't registered - make sure you follow through to the last step to ensure proper registration.

Full information about the series can be found on the Running Food Tours! Tab.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Road to Steamtown - Week 5

... otherwise known as the week of novel experiences.

3 runs for 21.8 miles
Spin class, guesstimating 15 miles

Running miles logged so far: 231.4
STLY: 192

Training highlights:
  • Miserably humid run on Wednesday led to my first ever #fullonBarch run. Let me explain: running buddy GB is one to take off his shirt when it gets too hot and sweaty, a practice that our group/team has taken to calling the "Full On Barch" which basically just means running without your shirt. I have never been brave enough to do so, mainly out of concern that my neon pale skin tone will blind other runners, causing a safety hazard. For whatever reason, I got over it this week. I'm also happy to report that it didn't cause any accidents.
  • Participated in my first ever Spin class with Katie on Thursday night. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about spin (the dark room, excessively loud music, and sweaty people remind me of some kind of underground club or cult a la the beginning of The Matrix), but it was definitely a work out.
  • MTT polled the Saturday runners and ended up moving the long run to Friday this week because of the holiday - which was awesome for me because it meant I could run with the team instead of doing 10 solo up in Hagerstown.
Training lowlights:
  • Mysterious random foot pain continues to plague me. It is very similar to what I experienced in the week leading up to the Raleigh Marathon, so I am not panicking about it... yet.
  • I once again failed to incorporate two days of cardio cross training. I don't understand why it has been so hard for me to get my groove on when it comes to this.

I was hoping that two days off from running over the weekend, along with ice and flat shoes in lieu of heels would help my foot feel better but alas, it's still bothering me today. Against my better judgment, I went out and did my scheduled Monday speed work this morning. I wouldn't say it made my foot feel worse but I would say that it was incredibly difficult - probably thanks to a food hangover from the weekend festivities. Needless to say, there was not any kind of proper "fueling" going on July 4, 5, or 6. At any rate, I'm going to forgo Wednesday's tempo for an easy 7 miler and cross my fingers that things feel better in time for Saturday.

I'll close with a few pictures from the Salute to Independence at Antietam Battlefield - which is my most favorite way to spend the 4th of July. We have gone in thunderstorms, in 100+ degree heat waves, and on just plain old hot, sticky days. But this year, the weather was absolutely picture perfect, making for a transcendental experience. The orchestra sounded beautiful, the big guns were back to lend their booms to the 1812 Overture after an absence last year thanks to the stupid sequester, and the mountains were appropriately purple as the sun set.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Road to Steamtown - Week 4

I'm late. Things have been just a little bit crazy lately.

4 runs for 27.95 miles (seriously... .95???)
1 mile swim

Running miles logged so far: 209.6
Same time last year: 170

Training highlights:
  • First ever REP RVA Running Food Tours Donut Dash on Sunday was a hit! And so much fun! Really looking forward to the Dixie Donuts edition on July 20th.
Photo credit: Random lady in the Sugar Shack parking lot!

  • Speed work on Monday went rather swimmingly.
  • A huge group showed up for a very very sweaty Wednesday mid-week run. Afterwards we took a smiling group picture and then I suggested that we all express how we REALLY felt about running 7 miles in 95% humidity.
Photo credit to GB

  • Team Midnight post-run mimosas and brunch social on Saturday was an awesome time. The amount of food that showed up was quite shocking. Also shocking was the fact that a post-run mimosa is in fact pretty refreshing and not sickening.
  • On Sunday the Steamtown Contingent (+ Husband) celebrated our teammate Lauren, who made it through hell month and survived taking her boards. The fact that she juggles med school alongside being a fantastic marathon runner is awe inspiring. We all headed out to the Swift Creek Reservoir on Coach Shawn's boat where we spent the afternoon eating, swimming, and just relaxing. It was the perfect way to spend a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon.

Training lowlights:
  • Can't think of any, other than that my foot is acting up ever so slightly. This is interesting given that apparently this very same week last year was when my foot flared up big time and I had a complete nervous breakdown and took a week off of training. Last year it was related to that glass in my foot; this year I think I just wore high heels for one too many days in a row last week.
I have SO MUCH to write about - especially the Donut Dash! - but things have just been insane lately (oh hey that's the THIRD TIME I've said that this post) and I'm trying to keep swimming for now. Maybe I'll find time this weekend.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great 4th of July. Personally, it's my favorite holiday so I'm super excited.