*jenny It’s already November?

How is it November? How is that possible? Checks calendar. Yep. It’s still November. Which means I’m approximately 11 maybe 12 weeks out from this marathon that’s supposed to be a big PR for me? Hah. Really though, I’m working my way back onto the bandwagon.

I’m going to do the thing where I use giphys to insert colorful moving pictures of screen caps from one of my favorite shows, Supernatural, to help me write this blog post today. Mostly I just want to look at Jensen Ackles, because it’s all Dean all the time for me.

Training last week:

15.6 miles.

The bad news? 0= the number of those miles that included speed work. 10 of those miles were a long run. The good news is that those 10 miles were originally going to be 8 but I felt strong around mile 6 and decided to extend my route to give myself the option of completing 10 miles.

I’ve been going through some kind of weirdness with running in the past 4 weeks. I don’t want to do it and then I do… I complete my highest mileage week ever and then feel exhausted the next week and don’t want to run at all. I wasn’t as consistent over the summer with MAF as CBK was and it has definitely started to show. I’m just less consistent period. I think my best course of action to ready myself for this marathon is to cut back on speedwork, maybe cut back a little bit of mileage and go from there. Maybe the perfect combination for a crash and burn?

Maybe the perfect combination to get a PR? Mostly it sounds like the perfect recipe to finish the race with my dignity intact which is my ultimate goal. I would like to finish strong, possibly running/jogging the entire thing, and not feel so utterly devastated physically at the end. My biggest complaint with the BG26.2 last year was the hills and the utter physical decimation it left me in. I’m hoping I’m a stronger athlete than that this year. I’m hoping.

Shrug.

 

Anyway. In an effort to keep myself out of the personal black hole of misery that is autumn every year for me I’ve been working on adding some additional cross training and light therapy to my routine. Here’s me with my fancy grow bulb in my fancy desk lamp.

grow bulbs

I also went to a spin class this morning. I spent the majority of the class BEC-ing this lady next to me for hogging one of only two oscillating fans in the entire room for herself… the turd actually put it right in front of her bike and locked it so that it would only blow on her. Then I realized she is a neighbor of mine. So, lucky me. Don’t worry– this gym membership will go the way of the planet fitness membership that I signed up for and so ardently claimed I would use last winter (spoilers: I used it ONE time.)

Things I’m excited about, CBK and I are trying a Barre class on Thursday and I’m pretty pumped. I hope it’s fun. I hope I don’t fall over. I hope I don’t trip one of the other attendees? Let’s just hope for the best possible outcome which will be that I make it through the entire class without making a fool of myself.

We had family pictures taken a couple of weeks ago and of all the pictures we’ve ever taken, including our wedding pictures, this might be my favorite. I’ll do a post of my wedding pictures sometime. They’re pretty funny.

I mean, we’re both smiling. There’s that gravel road behind us. It looks like we’re on a farm (we’re really in a small field beside our church’s parking lot). Tony doesn’t have a hat on and you can actually see his face. What more could I ask for?

SONY DSC

Also– this cheeseball, who is the song in my heart and the smile on my face. Every day all day.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Next time I’ll show off pictures of her halloween costume. It was e.p.i.c.

Well hello there:

Can I save the reasons why I’ve been MIA for the bottom of this post? Okay, good. 🙂

Yesterday, at work, my cubicle neighbor to my back asked if I liked country music. This is always a loaded question for me because I grew up loving country music. I say, yes, I love country music. The guy tells me all about a new song that Dierks Bentley sings on in collaboration with another artist whose name I can’t remember. My cubicle neighbor to my left begins to extol the virtues of a song that he loves, also by Dierks Bentley, called “Drunk on a plane”. I’ve never heard this song but you can probably guess that a song called Drunk. On. A. Plane. Isn’t a riveting and musically challenging concerto. Dear God, Nashville. I’m so ashamed of you? What is this shit? Johnny Cash did not suffer so and write such beautiful songs for you to churn out the likes of Dierks Bentley. Give me a break. Where are the Rebas? The Dollys? Where are the George Jones? You know where I think this bull shit originated? It was Toby Keith. I’m looking at you Toby, and I’m giving you the double birds. You can keep that Luke Bryan dude bro too. Ugh. It sure is a chore to look at them too.

Ahem

Race report time!

My last run, other than today, was a race. I’ll try to remember the details to the best of my knowledge below.

10/17/2015 The Medical Center 10k Classic

The Race: This is Bowling Green’s premier road race event. It’s in it’s 36th running and hosts both a 10k and 5k option. I’m not 100% certain how many finishers they typically have but as I neared the end I heard the emcee saying that they’d see north of 800 runners come across the finish line. For a town the size of Bowling Green it’s a big event. It’s a closed road course that runs through our beautiful downtown square and Western Kentucky University’s campus. This race holds a very special place in my heart. My dad worked for the race’s title sponsor, The Medical Center. He was in the administration for the hospital and if I wasn’t at home playing or at school playing you could typically find me harassing his secretary or running through the hallways terrorizing the other administrators of this hospital. I kid. They all loved me, maybe. ?? I specifically remember seeing lots of the parents of my friends finishing this race and thinking, how cool it must be to be a runner. I wish I could do that. I WILL do that. So in a way, the med center 10k was one of my first running motivators. I ran it for the first time in the fall after I had Lydia and I definitely felt myself get choked up when we ran by the hospital. It’s outdated and it’s ugly but it holds a lot of special memories for me of fun times I had with my dad when he probably should have been working. HAH. If I’m healthy enough, and able I’ll run it every single year going forward. It’s my thing. I also love the 10k distance and there just aren’t a lot of options for it around here. Just long enough to be a challenge but short enough that you can really push it if you want to. I’m sorry, I’m getting wordy. Moving on.

Race Swag: A long sleeved, cotton tshirt. It’s had the same design, just in different colors the past 3 years. I do love a good cotton long sleeved tshirt though. They’re hard to come by and I live in them lounging around the house in the winter.

Race morning: I can’t remember what time I set the alarm for for this one but the race started at 8am. I think I got up at 6am. I chugged a cup of coffee and ate a gluten free waffle with some strawberry jelly on it. I left my house about 45 minutes early to meet Courtney at her house. We used the 2 miles between her house and the starting line as our warmup jog. I wore a lululemon long sleeved swiftly, 9″ lululemon what the sport shorts and my brooks pureflow 4s. The weather was chilly to start, low 40’s to high 30’s. Courtney let me borrow a hoodie and at the end of our warmup I was definitely fine. I nailed it with my outfit choice.

The Race: At 7:30am we bid the 5k runners bon voyage, and at 7:55 the wheelchair racers started. Courtney and I used the porta potties and were able to line up towards the middle of the 10k pack with no problems. I love the organization of this race, they do a really good job with start times and keeping things rolling. At 8am the gun went off and we started. This is a chip timed race and I remember it only took me a minute to cross the starting mat. I did what I always do, which is start too fast and bob and weave and waste energy. Will I ever learn? Let’s hope so. I always get a shot of anxiety and adrenaline when a race starts. It takes me a few minutes to settle in and calm myself down. This course is tough, WKU is consistently voted one of America’s most beautiful college campuses. With the beautiful scenery and views come Hills. Lots of hills. Our sports teams are called the Hilltoppers, I’m not even kidding…

the hill

Told you it’s beautiful though (side note, I took exactly none of these pictures):

campus 4

campus 3

campus

 

the first 2 miles went by in a blur of screaming quads and glutes. By miles 3 and 4 I was coughing (I’d been dealing with a nasty upper respiratory infection) and by mile 5 I hit a little wall at the top of another hill climb. I gave myself permission to stop and walk for 1 minute, but 1 minute turned into 5ish and I definitely lost some time. I tried to pick things back up for the downhills going into mile 6 and finish strong. That was my mantra at the end, finish strong finish strong finish strong. It carried me across the finish line to a course PR of 54:30. About a 15 second PR. Which is laughable. But I’ll take it.

The Finish: I really like the finish of this race– you end inside the beautifully remodeled WKU football stadium. They always do a big party and give away a $5,000 prize for a drawing out of finisher names. I lost Courtney to some hip pain around mile 3 so I didn’t stick around for the prize drawing. The only thing they don’t have is beer. Jerks. I jogged back to the starting line where Courtney texted and told me to meet her and we limped home. I drove back to my home with a massive headache and dealt with a little nauseated feeling from swallowing so much snot (pretty, I know) while running.

In conclusion I love the med center 10k– I’d love to actually give it its own training cycle and see what I could do on the course. It’s been a solid race for me the past 3 years and the organization and event planning always impresses me.

Here are the splits from my Garmin. Told you I bit it in the 5th mile.

splits 10kclassic

Here are the official results from the race.

Official race results

While on the course I ate 1 gu roctane gel. I also ate a gel at the start of the race. I’ve been struggling with lightheadedness and headaches and my nutrition just isn’t always on point, hellloooo oreos! So.

Anyway. I’ve been a bad blogger and an even worse runner. I’m currently supposed to be training for the Louisiana marathon that’s taking place in January. I think September kind of dropped a big old turd bomb all over my family and I’ve been feeling the effects of it. Things are starting to look up and work themselves out though. That’s life right? Things just don’t always happen the way you expect them to and God knows I’m not perfect. I’m not even a saint. 😉 Lots of times I’m lazy. I’m just plain lazy. I’ve been filling my nights with lots of this:

wine

But today on my run I saw lots of this:

Trees

 

and felt just a little bit better, #outsideisfree. So here’s to the comeback. 🙂 I feel like I’m always coming back. Oh well.

I’ll leave you with this, I missed Back to the Future day in interwebs land. But rest assured, we celebrated it. 🙂 Also you could lose a few hours of your life just typing one word jokes into this: the IBM Watson Developer Insights Personality Analyzer. It had my number just from the words:  fart tits, poots a lot. It’s as cool as it sounds. Trust me.

lydia hoverboard

 

*courtney – MAF training log week 1

week: 1 of 16 ~ 5/4/15 – 5/10/15

total miles: 27
crosstraining:
bike x 2
strength workouts: 2
focus/thoughts:
while i am running slow i am trying to focus on my form and see how i can be more efficient. while i was half marathon training i was able to train myself to breathe at a 3 to 2 pattern so that i am exhaling on alternating feet. there is some kind of science behind it, and since i am always getting hurt on my right side i figured it couldn’t hurt 🙂 after focusing on that for a few weeks it is now second nature! surely over the next 16 weeks i can devote some time to tweaking other aspects which will help me come fall racing season.

up first are my arms! this week i began focusing on keeping my elbows bent at 90, my hands relaxed, my swing going forward and backward and not across my torso, and driving the movement from my shoulders. more form tips can be found here. i really covet katie edwards’ form in this altra video. i want to be just like her–fast, hard-working, strong and gorgeous. i noticed that when i was tensing up from a hill or my heart rate was on the upper limit my shoulders would start to hunch and i would clench my fists. in turn, by focusing on relaxing more and thinking about better form my heart rate would lower. so crazy how it is all connected!

looking back at the data i am definitely not straddling the line of 147 bpm, and i think it is because of a couple of reasons. the first being i run so damn early my body is not fully awake enough to even work that hard! the second reason being because i absolutely hate hearing my garmin scream at me when i go outside of the 137-147 range. i am afraid of authority in all aspects of life–even when it comes from a gadget on my wrist 🙂

monday
planned workout: bike
actual workout:
rest day! too busy at work to even take a lunch. it happens!

tuesday
planned workout: 4 miles and strength
actual workout: 0 miles and the core strength workout with 5# weights. 4am wakeup calls never get easier. i totally skipped out on the run 🙁

wednesday
planned workout: 4 miles and 30 minutes on the bike
actual workout: 6 miles and 30 minutes on the bike
course: hilly, paved, some sidewalk
weather: 61*/humid/dark
gear: brooks purecadence 4
how did it go? i tried a new route because i wanted to get in some extra miles since i skipped the run on tuesday. i didn’t realize how hilly it would be, but i will keep it up since it was well-lit and empty.

day1

thursday
planned workout: 4 miles and strength
actual workout: 6 miles and strength circuit
course: flat, paved, mostly sidewalk
weather: 63*/humid/dark
gear: brooks pureflow 3

day3

friday
planned workout: rest
actual workout: 30 minutes on the bike

saturday
planned workout: 10 miles
actual workout: 10 miles
course: sunny south carolina! hilly (450+ feet of elevation gain!) and paved
weather: 70*/windy/sunny
gear: brooks pureflow 3
nutrition: some clif shot bloks and s!caps along the run; no tummy issues
how did it go? such a beautiful running trail, but holy crap is it hilly! remind me never to run a race in greenville, south carolina unless it am doing it just for fun.

day4
IMG_3053IMG_3056IMG_3057

sunday
planned workout: 5 miles
actual workout: 5 miles
course: paved and flat
weather: 70*/windy/sunny
gear: brooks pureflow 3
how did it go? another awesome paved biking/running/walking trail! why doesn’t bowling green have these? this was in north carolina and i ran along side the pisgah forrest. this was my 3rd state to run in this week 🙂 over the past year i have run in 2 countries and 5 states, which isn’t a lot to some people, but makes me feel good about semi sticking to a training plan while out of town! i did have some tummy issues on this run–i will blame the chinese food from the night before!

day5
IMG_3059IMG_3060

 

*jenny weekly training journal 5.4-5.10.15

 

Monday 5.4.15:

Planned Run: 4 miles at MAF of 147
Weather including humidity: 75* with 63% humidity
Food: I ate half a bagel with cocoa barney almond butter and a oikos triple zero strawberry yogurt cup.
Shoes: blue brooks pureflow 3s. These still have a little life in them.
Entertainment: Old Easy playlist. Spent 5 solid minutes rocking out to Dragonforce’s through the fire and flames. Good times.
Actual Run:

Miles
How did it feel: Slow and hot. I took at least 10 walk breaks. Garmin connect says my elevation change for the entire run was 13 meters. Every single little incline I had to stop and walk. I think it has a lot to do with heat and humidity. It’s already getting hot in Kentucky and sometimes I have to do a lot on my lunch breaks. I’m going to try to do a morning run this week and I’m interested in seeing what a cooler temp will yield. Also– that cardiac drift. It’s a bitch!
Are you bored yet: I am not bored and I’m actually loving it and I’m only 3 runs in but… I’m really enjoying just enjoying myself!

Tuesday 5/5/15

*First off, big shout out here to T– this was our anniversary! 8 years in. God knows we’ve seen some crazy changes in just the last 2! I feel confident that we will make it through the next 8 and beyond just fine. 🙂 Sure we want to kill each other some days. Don’t all couples? 🙂 For my anniversary I got an AWESOME set of jaybird bluetooth earbuds. I’ve been hem hawing around about buying them forever and the husband treated me. They are freaking incredible. So worth it. Thanks honey! Love you! 🙂

Planned Run: 5 miles at MAF
Weather including humidity: 11 am *82 with 38% humidity
Food: Oikos triple zero strawberry and a bagel thin with cocoa almond butter
Shoes: blue pureflows
Entertainment: The Another Mother Runner podcast, the episode with special guest Summer Sanders. Summer, you are my new spirit animal. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and may actually listen to it again. I liked it that much.
Actual Run:  So in true Jenny fashion, once again, I messed up. I created a workout on garminconnect and uploaded it to my watch… except I only created 1 big 5 mile interval. So I have no idea what my heart rates or average paces per mile were. I know they were slow. I had to take at least 6 walk breaks throughout this one. I think I’ve finally got the garmin thing figured out now though… fingers crossed. On a less important note… shorts tan 2015 is coming along nicely. Along with shoe and sock tan lines on my feet.
How did it feel: HOT. HAWT.
Are you bored yet: Nope. Not at all.

Wednesday 5/6/15:

Planned Run: 4 miles at MAF
Weather including humidity: 11 am *80 sunny and 37% humidity
Food: Oikos strawberry triple zero and a nature’s own bagel thin with barney cocoa almond butter
Shoes: Blue pureflow 3s. I wish I’d kept an accurate count on the mileage on these shoes. I know they’re still good but it would be nice to know how long for. LOL 🙂
Entertainment: Trail runner nation podcast– this one was a first for me. I need to get into it a little and figure out who these guys are.
Actual Run:

miles 2
How did it feel: I feel like this is the most accurate portrayal of cardiac drift I’ve gotten so far. I’ve been counting my walk breaks up small inclines (how embarrassing) and on this day I only took 2. Which is awesome considering it was hotter than it has been. But it was also less humid. I also think these paces are the most accurate I’ve gotten so far.
Are you bored yet: I am not bored at all. It’s only week 1 but I am loving this. I’m listening to old playlists and new podcasts. it’s not a chore to go out and do my run because I know it’s going to be at a super easy pace. Talk to me again after MAF test #2 I guess. 🙂

Thursday: Iron Strength workout from Runner’s World. Info can be found here.

Friday:

Planned Run: 4 MAF
Weather including humidity: *83/ 38% humidity
Food: Bagel thin with cocoa coconut almond butter and oikos triple zero berry yogurt
Shoes: blue pureflow 3s
Entertainment: TFC playlist
Actual Run:

miles3
How did it feel: Hot and slow. 🙂
Are you bored yet: Still loving it. 🙂

Saturday:

Planned Run: 10 MAF
Weather including humidity: *66/ 82% humidity
Food: I did some quick googling while I was drinking my cup of coffee to try to decide if I should eat or not? This is all a learning experience for me. The paces I’m running at feel fine and the entire point of MAF is to try to teach your body to burn fat and not sugar… so I took 3 gus with me, just in case, and skipped breakfast. Though I DID have a big dinner at Gondolier (italian) the night before. 🙂
Shoes: blue pureflows. Just about dead.
Entertainment: Another Mother Runner podcast, the no limits challenge recap episode. I really enjoyed this one.
Actual Run:

miles4
How did it feel: This felt fabulous. OH the difference a 20 degree temperature change can make. The last 2 miles of this my HRM died a good death and I didn’t get any accurate HR data. I just tried to keep my pace consistent with what it had been during the previous miles. I like that the data BEFORE the HRM went dead is nice and consistent in the 11’s. It just goes to show what temperature does to our bodies.
Are you bored yet: STILL not bored. 🙂

Total weekly miles: 27

In non running news my boogie bear is sick once again. A nasty viral infection that we will have to retest for in a month. 🙁 Spare a good thought, prayer or some positive vibes? Here’s a picture from Mother’s Day (which deserves it’s very own post this week :).

Fabulous

 

Also my most favorite coffee mug ever…

Mug

mug2

mug3

*courtney – total fitness connection run for children minimarathon race recap

finish time: 1:56:04 (a 10 minute and 44 second PR!!!)
race: total fitness connection run for children minimarathon
location: bowling green, kentucky
swag: cotton t-shirt, goodie bag and medal
weather: 35*/windy/overcast
gear: adidas adios boost, injinji socks, lululemon pace pusher crops, lululemon swiftly racerback, lululemon swiftly short sleeve tee, arm warmers, adidas visor, lululemon run with me fleece gloves, c9 ear warmer, jaybird bluebuds, nathan quickshot
nutrition: cut out fiber gradually the week of the race and added in coconut water on thursday and friday. olive garden spaghetti with meat sauce and breadsticks for dinner. 2 imodium 2.5 hours before the start, a bagel thin with peanut butter and coffee 1.5 hours before the start, and another imodium with some gulps of water with caffeinated nuun 30 minutes prior to start. Had a salted caramel gu and s!cap at mile 4, 8 and 10 and drank water in my handheld and from the water stops.
recap: what a race! although it was windy and had some rolling hills, I honestly couldn’t ask for a better experience! I am sure that is the PR speaking, but truly it was a great race, and I hope to complete it over and over again 🙂

the plan was to average an 8:55 pace, and i programmed my watch to start at a 9:10 pace and drop 3-5 seconds every mile to end up with the last 1.1 miles ~8:30 pace.

miles 1-3 (9:09, 9:07, 9:00)
the field was very small for the half marathon, so we found ourselves near the front of pack. it was great because we didn’t have to expend a bunch of energy bobbing and weaving, we were pretty much instantly in a good position to cruise. i looked down and we were running at a 7:30 pace! it is amazing what adrenaline will do for you. we reigned it in and evened out quickly. i had on a jacket at the start since it was pretty chilly, but we saw kristen around the 1st mile marker and i threw it over to her. miles 1 and 2 flew by, and as we headed in to the 3rd mile we turned and ticked off that mile right one pace.

miles 4-6 (9:01, 8:58, 8:52)
i took my first gu in mile 4 along with an s!cap. mile 5 included a little bit of elevation, and we made our next turn on to the road that would lead us to the turnaround point. seeing all of super-fast runners on their way back was a big boost—but i tried not to use too much of my energy cheering, because i have paid for that in past races! we hit the turnaround at 6.6 and were immediately facing the wind.

miles 7-10 (8:46, 8:52, 8:48, 8:57)
not sure where the speedy mile 7 came from—maybe we were just super excited to be on the way back to the finish line! the wind was getting pretty abusive, and i think as i took my second gu in mile 8 i asked jenny if we were going to be in to the wind the entire way back, which she confirmed would be the case. i started focusing on targets that we could pass. by mile 10 my attitude really started to suck. we had been on the long stretch of road since mile 8 and didn’t have another turn until mile 11. i was getting tired, my music was skipping, and i almost quit pushing myself.

miles 11-13.1 (8:50, 8:36, 8:20, 7:08-.10)
finally at mile 11 we turned on to the main road and i knew i needed to pick up the pace if i wanted to meet my goal and leave it all on the course. i turned up my music and started pumping my arms. miles 12 and 13 seemed to tick off easily, and although the race is cruel and throws a hill in at the end i had a little bit of the finishing kick and crossed the finish line in 1:56:04! i was so elated!

i learned a lot during this race. i learned to trust my training and that i do well with progression runs and negative splitting. i also finally figured out a fueling strategy that kept me out of the bathrooms and full of energy! i realized that it is possible to come back from a bad mile–i struggled in miles 8-10 mentally, but i sucked it up and moved on to the next mile and finished with my strongest miles at the end. i also learned that i probably should have done a little more hill work. i would really like to get two hill workouts in a month when i train for the next race. i know they help with strength and form without being as stressful on the joints as intervals.

overall it was an awesome hometown race, and i cannot wait to run the tfc run for children next year!

*courtney – my 2 hour half marathon training plan

**disclaimer: i am not a coach, personal trainer, doctor, or super experienced runner! i have zero certifications to be doling out advice. i know when i was looking for a training plan to break 2 hours in the half marathon i searched and searched for something that looked hard enough to get me where i needed to be, but still easy enough on the body so i wouldn’t get injured. that is the purpose of this plan, please use it with caution and always listen to your body :)**

i probably looked at 10 different training plans for a sub-2 half marathon and finally decided to pull all of the things i liked about each of them and combine them in to one plan. there is a little run less/run faster in here, a little hal higdon, some elements of jack daniels, and also some random blogger’s plans sprinkled in.

i started this plan a month or so after recovering from my first full marathon. during marathon training i probably peaked at 35 miles per week and was averaging about 20 miles per week going in to this training cycle. if you’ve got a decent base of ~20 miles per week and a 26-27 minute 5k under your belt, i would say you’re at a good point to start this plan!

i was much better about the cross-training and the strength training the first half of the plan, and then in february when my mom got sick things kind of went downhill with that. i would highly recommend implementing the strength portion at least a couple of times a week along with the myrtl routine after as many runs as possible. i skipped the bike the most, because it bores the shit out of me.

i do believe the most important part of the training were the long progression runs. they taught me to run faster at the end of the workout when i was already tired. i usually started those at about an 11:00 pace and dropped 10-15 seconds every mile to finish us around race pace.

all of the recommended paces felt hard to me. as the plan went on the mile repeats and tempo runs started to get easier, but the intervals ALWAYS felt like i couldn’t do another set if my life depended on it. don’t let that discourage, just do the best that you can do and i promise you’ll start seeing some serious improvements!

if you do decide to give this plan a go, i wish you all the best luck and hope you’ll reach out with any questions or feedback!

grab the printable plan here: 2 Hour Half Marathon Training Plan

2 hour half marathon training plan

 

 

*Jenny On Being a Badass Working Mother Runner…

*Disclaimer. Opinions are like assholes, right? 99.9% of everything that comes out of my mouth is to be taken in a joking, sarcastic manner. The other .01% is facetious and possibly even satirical. If I offend you with one of my opinions I am genuinely sorry. I have a horrible case of foot-in-mouth-itis and lots of strong views and that’s just a recipe for disaster sometimes. I hope you can take the following with the understanding of the place it’s coming from. My own personal opinions and experiences. Again, if I offend or hurt feelings I am sorry and know that that is not my intent*

Before I begin let me define some terms for you.

Mom guilt: A wicked sense that every thing you’ve ever done for your child, nay, every thing you did before even thinking of having children is/was wrong. Also add, feeling as if everything you may do in the future will also be wrong and *not enough*. Led to and collaborated on the creation of such important tools as *Pinterest* and *Gender Reveal Parties*.

Working Mother: Personally, I believe, the hardest job in the world. Add to this a burning desire to torture yourself for hours upon hours of training for endurance events and you have… a badass working mother runner.

Look. I know it can’t always be roses. Let me just leave this right here.

This post solidified itself in my mind while I was doing my very first official MAF summer cycle 4 miler during Friday’s lunch break. I believe it’s been cooking since I listened to a specific episode of the Another Mother Runner podcast during a long run in which Kristin Armstrong was the key guest. I love Kristen Armstrong. She can get a little too spiritualist/hippie dippy for my liking but most of what she writes I can relate to.

A ring finger and a uterus do not a calling make.– Kristin Armstrong. Kristin. My girl. You get it.

But more specifically I’d like to talk about this. I’d like to talk about my story. I would like to talk about how I’m a mom, but that I’m also still a Jenny. I have a unique perspective in that I’ve been a stay at home running mom and now have been a working running mom. I’m also a feminist. Unique perspective right here!

5115

The past week and the 2 weekends before that have been soul crushingly busy. I ran the derby half which required some travel and then immediately had to leave home for a week long work trip in Texas. In the midst of all of that my tiny person turned 2 years old, which we celebrated with a lovely family cookout. I didn’t get the chance to dedicate as much time and effort into L’s second birthday as I would have liked. I try not to let mom-guilt rule me. Sometimes it does manage to creep up behind me and wag it’s finger accusingly in my face. Add to all of this that I got home around 10pm on Thursday night from the aforementioned work trip and at 1:45am L rolled over, (she still sleeps with my husband and I) patted my face and said, “hi mommy”, how could I possibly be mad when she then proceeded to stay awake until 5am. I think she was excited to see me and no matter how tired I was I relished the opportunity to cuddle with her and watch Frozen.

So forgive me if my heart is a little tender right now.

I took the year immediately following L’s birth off from work. After my 4 months (some big companies get it right and YAY for the state of Tennessee, in which I do not live but work) of maternity leave were up I spent a month tearfully commuting to Nashville in the mornings and then sobbing all of the way back home each evening. My husband and I were in a very nice financial position which enabled me to turn in my 2 weeks notice and dive headfirst into the role of stay at home mom. This was mid-summer 2013. As Summer 2014 was coming to a close I began feeling Itchy with a capital i. After a year my husband and I were both growing weary of watching every penny and I was itchy to have discretionary income again. I was itchy to feel fulfilled in a professional environment. I was itchy to have an entire blissful hour dedicated to just eating lunch. I was itchy to take a poop by myself again. I mean. It’s the small things amiright or amiright?

So anywho. Back to work I went. I knew I made the right decision when I didn’t break down sobbing hysterically on day 1.

Being a working mom brings it’s own inherent challenges. Not just for those of us who dream of someday feeling comfortable calling ourselves athletes (I will never be comfortable calling myself an athlete– as I shove this entire sleeve of chips ahoy down my gullet). Being a working mom is just so hard, man. Just this past week I have continually berated myself for forgetting a charitable donation for a fundraiser L’s school was having. Although to be fair, hey preschool– fundraisers… really? IN PRESCHOOL? I love your passion guys, really I do. But shew, I guess I thought I had a few years until it was time to start selling girl scout cookies. My bad.

You have the guys on the right side of the aisle and people like Fucking Doctor Laura Schlessinger spewing such gems as; “if you let daycare raise your children you should have just had an abortion” and my personal favorite, “any woman who wants to work after having a child should have just been born sterile.” These aren’t direct quotes. But they’re close enough to the vitriol I listened to her drop on her wildly popular Sirius XM show. I find it funny that she directs all of this HATE to the working mothers and NONE of it towards the working fathers, but I digress and this is already getting LENGTHY.

You also have the people who will look at you and say, “Oh, I could never be a stay at home mom, you just couldn’t handle it, huh?” No. I could handle it. In fact I handled it all over town and back again for an entire year you jerk. I was THE best stay at home mom. But, and I’ll pull this back to running in a second folks because I do remember who my target audience is, it all comes back to Kristin Armstrong’s quote above. I want to teach L about identity so I make sure to have one outside of her. I’m not saying that a stay at home mom can’t have an identity aside from her children, I am saying that I failed miserably at it.

During my golden year of not being in the workforce I looked at running as my job. I am a middle of the pack runner. I make the F, and let’s be honest, G level sub elites look so much better. Who would you have to beat if my Reese’s fueled rear end wasn’t out there hoofing it along behind you? Nobody. Then you’d be me! Scary thought, huh? I did multiple speedwork sessions per week. I ran long. I got fast-for-me-fast. I ran every single one of my PRs only falling from such glorious heights when I ran myself into an alleged femoral neck stress reaction. I was poised to run well under 2 hours at the 2014 Derby half marathon and because of that injury couldn’t. The point of all of this is that for all of the hours we dedicate to running those hours still fall significantly short of the amount of hours we would put in at an 8-5 job.

Now I work and I’m still doing all of the things I did as a stay at home mom. Plus a 9 hour work day. On Thursday night Lydia slept for 3 hours. On Friday I needed to run. I couldn’t sleep in. I managed to run 4 miles when I really wanted to do 5 or 6. I originally thought this post was going to be tips and tricks to get your run in at any given second. But I can’t write that post because I haven’t figured that out yet. You give me a training plan and one thing is certain, I will probably execute that training plan to about 65% accuracy right now. That’s what this post is about. The fact that 65%, hell, even 40% execution– when you’re a mom and a working mom, is OKAY. It’s a victory.

Because so many running mother bloggers I read are so wonderful and so on point but lots of them are stay at home moms. Lots of them don’t have the unique perspective some of us have. I want to read more stories about successful female athletic goal setters who have children AND day jobs. I need to hear from someone who looks like me.

Let me bring you back to the present day. I bombed all over the 2015 Kentucky derby half. I bombed all over that course and I have lived to tell the tale. I admit that I beat myself up over it. Just a few weekends before I hit a PR in the half on a much hillier, windier (GAWD THE WIND) course. Yes my allergies were acting up and the weather was rough but that didn’t stop me from wanting to self immolate at the finish line. They aren’t all PRs and in this season of my life I can count on just one thing. Perfectly inconsistent inconsistency.

So to that I say, go easy there. Protect that tender heart. Don’t let the negative thoughts creep in. Don’t berate yourself for being perfectly inconsistent during a training cycle. Don’t berate yourself for eating that extra cookie. Don’t let mom guilt sneak up behind you and then wave it’s ugly, hateful thoughts in your face. Give mom guilt the fucking middle finger and move the fuck on. Every time you train. Every time you walk out the door and fight the good fight in corporate America as a working mom. Every time your daughter sees you finish a race. You are winning. You are winning at this working mom athletic mom thing. You are slaying the dragons and taking names.

I need someone to hold me accountable to all of this. To beat the shit out of the devil who sits on my shoulder. Because God help me I am signing up for marathon number 2 and this time I have a goal. I have a very secret goal which I will whisper in your ear if you come closely… I want to be fit enough to run a 4 hour marathon. Then I want to run a 3:35 or maybe a 3:40 marathon. Because I want to qualify for Boston. It may take me longer than some, and it will probably take me longer than Courtney. If it does, Court, you better believe I’ll be driving from point to point from Hopkinton to Boston screaming lewd things and harassing you with a whoopie cushion! I want to be the best working-running-boston-qualifying mom in the entire world, and I ALWAYS hit my goals. It may take years but me and L and the guy in the hat and my best friend and all of the wonderful people that I work with will do this shit together.

It takes a village. I have the hardest job in the entire world, but it is also the BEST job.

*jenny May the 4th be with you.

Yep. I’m a nerd. I’ll geek out all over the place with you. 🙂 The guy in the hat will tell anyone who will listen that I’m a nerd who doesn’t love Star Wars. I like Star Wars. I’ll watch it. I’m SUPER DUPER pumped for the new movie coming at Christmas, but it’s just not my favorite. However. I will never fail to let a 5/4 go by without wishing my fellow nerds and geeks a Happy Star Wars day. May the odds be ever in your… whoops, may the fourth be with you. 🙂

A little Catholic humor… OH how I crack myself up.

catholic

 

Doctor Who is really more my speed. 🙂

doctorwho

 

I mean really though!!!

revengeofthe

 

Even I’m kind of sick of the GOT meme…

winteriscoming

 

My absolute favorite. They’re EWEs. GET IT? GET it????!!!!! Hahahahahahaha. So cute.

 

maythe4bewithewe

 

How long do you think the artist formerly known as Carrie Fisher’s cameo will be in the new movie? How long will they be able to keep her attached to this planet?

Then there’s these guys.

Finally…

May4th

*Jenny Maf test 1 and weekly training log 4/27-5/3/15

This will be a short update because I took it easy this week. I did complete my first MAF test, and in true Jenny style completely messed it up! HAH. Story of my life.

You’re going to see a lot about MAF training in the coming months. Courtney already explained in a previous post but to summarize, it’s a training methodology that requires you to run at a certain heart rate for 16 weeks to build a solid aerobic base for continued training. Phil Maffetone created this method during years of research and testing in exercise science and kinesiology. I just spent 4 months training myself to enhance my Vo2 max and blowing my half goal out of the water, but now I’m going to take it back to basics because I have a very big goal forming in my mind to work towards over the next few months. More on that in a later post. Maffetone asserts that by training at or below a certain low heart rate (your age minus 180; my MAF heart rate for example is 147) you can vastly improve your aerobic base and see major speed gains after the 16 week period. His method is supposed to teach your body to burn fat for fuel instead of glycogen. I really hope I burn some fat. I’m a completely average built lady, but I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds! 🙂 I officially kicked off my MAF training on Sunday with my very first test which I’ll detail below.

Tuesday morning:

3 miles easy on the treadmill. I was a little bit jetlagged from flying (this was a business travel week for me so it also made tons of sense to take it easy) and this was just a shakeout run from the Derby half. Lots of little niggling aches and pains. I didn’t pay attention to my heart rate or my pace. I know it was slow and steady. I did this run on an empty stomach with no coffee but drank water to thirst. Treadmills are so awesome like that. Your water is just right there along with your iphone and a tv… it’s a damn shame that they cause me so much grief if I do too many miles on them.

Friday afternoon:

I feel like I can get back on format with this one. 🙂

Planned Run: 4 miles at MAF
Weather: Sunny and warm. I’m not sure on the exact temp. I definitely wore shorts and a tech tee.
Food: A bagel and nutella
Shoes: Brooks pureflow 4’s. I need to do a review of these shoes.
Entertainment: The Another Mother Runner podcast, the get ready for marathon training episode.
Actual Run: 4.29 miles/ 11:24 average pace and average HR of 141 bpm.
How did it feel: This felt wonderful. All of my niggling pains from Tuesday were gone. My hamstrings are back in good shape and my butt finally felt fine. I hesitate to say I have piriformis syndrome because I’ve never been to the doctor for it (down with copays!) but I’m pretty sure I have piriformis syndrome. I hate sitting for long periods of time because it causes major pain and the last pains to go away after a hard race are the ones in mah butt.

Sunday Afternoon *MAF test #1:

I decided to do my very first MAF test on a nicely flat 1 mile loop in my neighborhood. There’s one tiny hill but on garmin connect there’s virtually no elevation change. I decided to reverse my direction for my last 2 miles of the test and took a wrong turn resulting in a wonky course. I also accidentally breathed on the lap button *sarcasm* and had a hiccup there. Next time I’ll create a MAF test workout in my garmin and go by that. Live and learn. I live my life notoriously unprepared.

Final note, I made my MAF test a total of 5 miles.

Mile 1: 1 mile warmup below MAF. Pace: 12:00/ Average Heart rate: 140

Mile 2: *This is where I hit the lap button accidentally* .77 miles. Pace: 12:57/ Average Heart Rate: 144

Mile 3: 1 mile. Pace 12:56/ Average Heart Rate: 144

Mile 4: 1 mile. Pace 13:13 (you can really see the cardiac drift taking place)/ Average Heart Rate: 144

Mile 5: 1 mile. Pace: 13:02/ Average Heart Rate: 143

Lap 6: .23 miles. Pace: 11:37 (downhill)/ Average Heart Rate: 145

Weather: *72 and sunny with 47% humidity
Food:
A sea salt and caramel Kind bar 2 and a half hours previous to the run.
Shoes:
Blue Brooks Pureflow 3
Entertainment:
TFC playlist
Actual Run:
5 miles at 143 average heart rate.
How did it feel:
SLOW and HOT.

So there are the numbers in their ugly glory. I have a lot of work to do and I’m excited to do it! 🙂

In non running news we saw Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend. It was exactly what I wanted in a summer blockbuster. Joss Whedon never disappoints. I love explosions.


I also really really really really kind of like Thor.

Like I mentioned earlier. Somebody turned 2. Elmo 2. 🙂

Elmo 2

One of her birthday presents was a classic plastic turtle sandbox. She loves it. She had an Elmo birthday cake and hasn’t stopped talking about baking another elmo birthday cake (with sand) since. 🙂

Elmo cake

During mass today the only thing that kept her happy was putting stickers all over me. I didn’t realize I was still wearing them until we got home from church, I did my MAF test and came back in the house and looked down… #momlifefoevah

MAF stickers

We got some good pantsless kite flying in last weekend. There’s no party like a pantsless party because pantsless parties don’t stop. Yep.

 

naked kite

The first time I came to Keriakis park and wasn’t running the trail? Also. Sidenote, but for BG residents. Keriakis play park is the bomb. It’s shaded and not as crowded as 3 springs. Winning.

rub my tummy

 

 

 

 

*courtney – MAF test # 1

so, today was my first official MAF test! in case you missed it, i have decided to dedicate this summer to the maffetone method to build a killer base and hopefully nail a huge PR in january at the louisiana marathon.

i first heard about MAF training from miss zippy and sf road warrior and figured if these super fast ladies could slow down to get more efficient and stay injury free, then why can’t i? i am not fast to begin with, so i really don’t have anything to lose speed-wise. i am also injury prone, but i want to ramp my mileage to ~40mpw for marathon training in the fall. the big half marathon goal is in the bag, so this seems like a great time to slow down and see what progress i can make!

so, what if MAF training? it is essentially low heart rate training. the theory is that training at a lower heart rate will condition you to run more efficiently and get fitter and faster at a low heart rate, and in turn you will be able to run faster at higher heart rates as well. make sense? yeah, i didn’t think so. trust the science, people. the first step in this journey is to find your MAF training heart rate with the formula of 180 – your age, and that is the heart rate you should train at or below for ~16 weeks or until you no longer see improvements during your MAF tests. you can find more info along with guidelines to getting your MAF heart rate here.

a typical cycle lasts 4 months or until you stop seeing improvements running at your MAF heart rate. every month you are supposed to perform a MAF test to gauge said improvements. today was my baseline test, and it was pretty much spot on with where i thought it would be. you can view race performance estimates based on MAF test results here, and mine matches up perfectly with my recent half marathon result.

it is important to track temperature and humidity along with your results and to try and perform the test in similar conditions on the same course every month. i chose the local high school track since it is the only flat area near me that is free of traffic.

oval
the dreaded oval

the track is about a mile from my house, so i used that mile and one lap around as a warmup to get to the target of 147bpm before beginning the test. you should also warm up until you reach your target heart rate, or your results will be pretty skewed by that first mile.

quick sidenote… i am 100% a hobby jogger. i run because it makes me feel really good and it is a way to steal time with my best friend. i did not run track or cross country in high school, i am not athletic, hell i don’t even watch sports! so, when i showed up at the track this morning i picked a middle lane and started going at it. i was using the manual lap function on my watch in case it didn’t pick up the track correctly, so once i made it around 4 times i hit the lap button. of course, i didn’t even think that the middle lane would be more than a quarter mile point to point. it was about the middle of the 3rd mile that it occurred to me that i was running about a tenth of a mile too long on each test “mile”. i blame my flaxen skull for that one. for the last mile i moved to the inner lane, since i still couldn’t figure out what all the lines and arrows meant on the track and how to run just a quarter mile in lane 5. i am just so glad i was all alone and no one could witness my stupidity! it didn’t seem to have much of an effect, so i am keeping these test results and will know better next time (hopefully).

test #1 results
date: may 2nd, 2015
weather: 58*/sunny
location: track
gear: altra the one2 shoes, injinji socks, lululemon dart and dash shorts, moving comfort maia bra, lululemon run swiftly racerback tank, garmin 620, nathan quickshot
weight: 162.1 lbs
warmup: 1.39 miles @ 141 average heart rate
cooldown: 1.32 miles @ 146 average heart rate and 6 x 20s striders
results:
maf test 1the cardiac drift is about what i thought it would be, and these “miles” were actually 1.11 @ 146bpm, 1.11 @ 146bpm, 1.08 @147bpm and 1.01 @ 147bpm. glad i caught my error by the last one 😉

originally i had wanted to get up even earlier to take the test while it was still in the 40s outside, but i am glad that i waited as the june, july and august weather is not likely to be any cooler than 60*. a girl can hope, though!

i am really not sure what progress i hope to see in a month. maybe 10 seconds per mile drop? less would be ok too. i do hope to see my weight drop. i am about 30 lbs heavier than i would like to be going in to the marathon in january. i am hoping to lose most of that by the mid-september training start. they say that every pound is 2 seconds off your pace. if that is true i could possibly be a minute per mile faster by the time i am at goal weight–that would be worth giving up the mexican food for a while 🙂

has anyone else done MAF training before? any tips you can share would be much appreciated!

next time i post i am going to share my sub-2 hour half marathon training plan!