Friday, August 31, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #98, #99

Had a close call tonight with our cat. We came home after a long day at work, and were lazing about watching TV, reading books, and playing with the kids. At some point either the toddler or myself accidentally let the cat out of the house, and we didn't notice until sometime later. He's my wife's cat, originally, as we had gotten him for her after we'd been living together for a few months. He is a good cat, and I have him pretty well trained to respond to treats. The dog freaked out while I was getting the toddler to bed, and my wife said there were two cats fighting in the street.

That's when I noticed the cat wasn't anywhere in the house. I know all of his hiding spots, so I checked thoroughly. I walked a lap of our neighborhood, and threw down some of his favorite treats on our stoop. Sure enough after a couple of hours he came back, chirping at me and purring. I brought him in and gave him some flea goop, but we'll keep him separated from everyone until I can give him a proper flea bath in the morning. He doesn't have any marks or anything, so I'm not concerned about his health otherwise.

It's tough because when my cat died a couple of months ago, we had a real dilemma around whether or not to tell our toddler. Her memory is still very much in development, so we're pretty sure she doesn't remember the cat at all, and thinks we've always had only one cat. I'm happy to not have to tell her our cat ran away, and that he probably wouldn't come back. But we will have to talk about being vigilant when he's around the door.

Serious speed workout yesterday and an easy four miles today. I actually ended up doing a ten mile run yesterday with about six of those miles being decent 2000m intervals. Felt tired at the end but happy to have done the work, and the work during the exercise was not too bad, either. Today's four miler had me really burned out, but I think I'm also feeling the effects of exhaustion. I haven't been getting enough hours of sleep at night. Maybe I can catch a few more over the weekend.

First real long run for this plan is on Sunday (well, what I'd consider long.) The plan calls for three hours, which I imagine to be in the neighborhood of 18-20 miles. I'm planning a route that's about 20 miles. I feel really strong though, so I'm not worried about the distance. I'm a bit worried about the time frame as the  weather in New England is going to turn unpleasant again any day now, and I also have a job mid morning on Sunday. It would be tough to go to work so run down from a long training run.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Days #96 and #97

We're in the middle of a vicious heat wave in New England. True to my luck, it's right as we go back to work and have to be in buildings with no air conditioning. It's just as well I guess that it forces me out of the house earlier, so I'm having an easier time talking myself into getting up at 4am to go out for my training.

Yesterday covered 7.6 miles. The plan had it as an optional fartlek workout, but it was humid and I wasn't completely in the zone for a workout mentally. I did put in a decent effort, and I tried to add some small surges. With being back to work I did end up covering about 18k steps (12 miles or so) so I don't feel too bad about it. I need to pace myself when I hit this point in the year, so I adjust to the dramatic uptick in activity.

My wife and I canceled our personal training session for last night, too, which was just as well. We hadn't slept well the night before, and that set the whole family up for an early bedtime just after 8:00. It was nice to get almost seven hours of sleep. Hopefully I can make that a pattern. The toddler has been so worn out from being back to the daycare full time that she's ready to have dinner, read books, and go to sleep earlier than usual. All in all it isn't a bad way to unwind after the work day, and I have been enjoying not having to go running after bedtime.

Tomorrow I have a speed work out on the training plan, and it is the last day of the heat wave. More than likely I'll end up running through the last hours of the heat wave.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #95

One mile in the early hours of this morning.

We're due for another heat wave, so even at 5 am it is wicked humid, and about 70 degrees. Not my favorite conditions for running. I need to get my workouts in early this week because we're back to work, and the kids are back to daycare. Getting up early means everyone is asleep when I go out, but in theory it means more family time when we're home in the evening. I've gone so far as to map out meals so I'll know how long they take to prepare, and mapping out my outfits for the week so I can change as quickly as possible. It is often said that the hardest time period in building a new habit is the first thirty days, and that is certainly my previous experience.

So, I'm taking the month of September seriously in that regard. There's only a couple of nights I can't go to bed early, and I will really have to tough out those challenge spots.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #94 (Long Run Sunday)

Up for my first morning long run in awhile. Usually these are easier to fit in later in the day, but as we're back to work this week I need to get in the habit of training in the morning. I actually set my alarm for 4am, but the toddler was half awake so I was worried getting up would just rouse her further, and  I didn't want to head out on a long run leaving my wife with two awake kiddos.

Of course that didn't matter much because she never did go back to sleep.

The plan for today was a one hour and thirty minute progression run. I don't usually do workouts like this and I'm used to using plans where I just build or rest, so it's weird to have a dial-back week where I'm working harder. It was a really fun workout either way, and I've started taking my fueling a bit more seriously too -- starting with an energy shake about a half hour before running, and then using some gels at prescribed times. I also throw in an energy shot towards the end of my long runs. And sipping on water every mile and a half to two miles. All in all that seems to keep me pretty happy.

Of course one of the biggest challenges to working in the running before work is that I cover a lot of miles in a week. Where I need to do nine or ten miles in an easy run, that means I'll have to get up really early. Which means needing to go to bed REALLY early. And sometimes that's at the mercy of a toddler. Either way I have the prior experience of knowing that banging out some mileage is really empowering during a workday, and I get to ride an endorphin high all day at work, too. We'll see what happens.

Off to find breakfast!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #92, #93

An hour ten minute "easy" run yesterday, that meant covering about 7.6 miles. Felt tired, and I'm still feeling pretty tired today. I took it easy today running just one mile this morning. I'm going to need to start running in the morning again, so covering the miles this morning isn't too bad an idea anyway. Need to take it easy today as I have a ten or eleven miler tomorrow (this week's long run, which is less miles but ending faster.) I should end up with forty-two or forty-three miles for the week, so not too bad, even on a "dial-back" week.

Now for a long day chasing around the toddler. But first, coffee.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Summer (Run Streak Days #87-91)

Streak has been going well, although I've fallen off the daily blog. I would like to start that up again, but we'll see. Any day now I'll be going into fall mode and back into a regular posting habit of just occasional stories.

Got out for a five mile hike today, which was not too bad. I've been in love with Rhode Island's North-South Trail for a couple of years now, and had planned to hike the Northwest Corner section this morning with a friend. Unfortunately, we navigated to the wrong trail head and didn't have time to redirect. Ended up hiking the Run With the Beavers course route, which is still a great hike and one of my favorite parts of the NST. We're talking about planning hikes for each section next year -- one a month. Each section is about 20 miles, so it would be a full day of hiking for us, but could be a really good step to my goal of thru-hiking the whole trail. Hell, I'd like to run the trail. One of these days.

My wife and I did a subscription box thing to get some new running gear. I don't advertise stuff on here as it isn't that kind of blog, but I wanted to make a couple of notes about it. One: was this ever helpful in learning some new brands of gear. Two: I really need to buy more gear more often. I tend to run shorts and singlets into the ground -- until they're literally falling apart on my body. No reason for that. I spend an average of seven hours on the road a week, I should be doing it in more comfortable gear. Three: I really should be more confident. They sent me a pair of 2" shorts, which normally I would never think to even try on. No harm, no foul, with a box like this because you can send stuff back. But I put them on and I'm absolutely in love with them, so I'm planning to keep them. Should be really nice on some of the shorter runs, but we'll see. I really never though I'd love a pair of shorts this short.

Toddler is easing back into daycare. Hit the 'terrible twos' really, really hard a couple of days ago. Refusing to listen to directions, whining, to top it off she shoved another kid. We had a big talk with her about all of it, and set out some more consistent expectations. The next day was a lot better, but I'm not foolish -- I know there will be good days and bad. That's part of learning, and part of parenting is rolling with that and supporting them. She's a great kid, and her communication skills are very advanced -- probably why it took her six months to hit this phase. We'll get through it.

Kiddo will also be running her first race (a kids race) held for fun before a local 5k. She's excited, and I'm excited to ring the cowbell for her the way she does for me at my races. Great kid. She says she wants to go running with me when she's bigger, too, so I love that. I didn't anticipate how difficult it would be to get a workout in with a toddler who asks me not to leave, but I also know that it's an important thing for her to have a dad who is in shape, and dedicated to living as long as possible. I mean also with a sense of adventure.

Marathon training is going well -- long runs have been feeling good, and I've been experimenting (with positive results) with my nutrition strategy. I've also been doing a lot more core and strength work (twice a week, one of those times with a trainer.) My weight hasn't changed too much, but I'm more focused on feeling the strength while I'm moving. So that's good. Unfortunately, breaking in my new shoes has been rough so my feet are all chewed up.

I'm planning an interval workout for tonight, too. Which I'm like half dreading and half excited for. It is tough to push super hard, especially after a couple of build weeks that had some tough runs in them.  I just need to be careful to not cut my feet up anymore so they heal up in time for my next long run.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #84, #85, #86

Day #84 was a tough one. Very hot, nasty humidity. Ended up doing about 10k from an originally planned seven miles of speedwork, and I did throw some intervals in that were a bit hard but I wasn't really happy calling it a workout. The conditions were just not there.

Day #85 I headed out for about eight and a half miles, and I had intended them to be easier but actually ended up pushing pretty hard. Probably a symptom of not having done that second speed workout, I had some stuff in the tank to spare. The conditions were better, so I actually enjoyed the running more, but I lost the bandage on my right nipple, and the shirt I had just sand papered away at me until I was bloody. My wife ordered me some new runner specific nipple gear. I can't wait for that, the humidity in New England makes it so tough to keep the clear spots on.

Tonight (day #86) I went out for an easy barefoot mile. I'm hoping to put in a good long run tomorrow, so no need to stress it. Overall I'm feeling pretty good, and I've got some good hydration planned out for the run tomorrow. I also ordered some energy gels, so as the runs get closer to and over twenty miles I'll be in shape to keep myself fueled.

Had a battle with the toddler today over nap time. She just refused to go to sleep. I mean, it took about two hours which is a much longer time than usual. It was one of the rare days, though, where we all got to take a nap. So I'm running OK in terms of sleep but definitely nowhere close to my ideal. Soon enough we'll be back to the early morning, early bedtime routine, and as much as I hate to see the end of summer I expect we'll all be better rested from the regulation of our circadian rhythms.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Summer Run Streak, #81, #82, #83

An eventful few days in my running.

Monday was an easy mile, just trying to get back on my legs after the long run. Felt OK if a bit sluggish. The weather is really tough here, lately. The pain in the lower part of my core seems to have resolved. Unfortunately, my wife is suffering a bout of postpartum carpal tunnel (I didn't know that was a thing.) So we've had to put our training sessions on hold. I did some core work and a weight session, I'll probably add a second one on Friday as well.

I'm following a plan that has an optional second speed workout in the week. I decided rather than just the hour long easy run I could do, I'd give the hour long tempo workout a try. Reviewed material on tempo running here from Runner's World.

I ended up logging three really solid miles at a tempo pace after a two mile warm up, and then gave myself a two mile cool down. I was very proud of the workout, it's been awhile since I've shown that kind of speed in a training session.

Tonight I went out for my easy run, just about 50 minutes (I covered about six miles.) But feeling pretty tired. Tomorrow is meant to be a fartlek day so I'm hoping to be better rested for that. It will cover about seven miles again, so this week will end up being another build week. I like that, though. It makes me feel as though I'm actually doing something.

I've registered for the Cape Cod Marathon on October 28th, so this is the race I'm training for. I'm not sure what my goal will be at this exact time, but for sure I'm more enthusiastic about this training cycle than I've been in a long time. This will be the 7th marathon I've run.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #79, #80

An interesting couple of days. I've been starting in at a training plan (although I'm hesitant to name the event yet.) and I was lacking in confidence about being able to cover the mileage in this first week. This week ended up totaling about 41 miles -- way more than I've covered in awhile.

Saturday I covered a barefoot mile, and took it easy, too. I don't really take rest days while streaking, but this was a day that I was doing my best to recover to be ready for the long run. The plan for Sunday was to cover 14-18 miles, and I ended up covering 15.5! I felt strong, too. I could have run another ten miles or so, with little effort. My mental game was pretty strong and I was really enjoying it. So overall, a pretty happy week, running wise.

This week will be another higher mileage week, with two speed workouts planned. I have a tempo run and a fartlek run planned, along with the easier miles. So we will see how that goes with the weather.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #78

Went back to the zoo today to take the kiddos on one of the mini train ride things. The line had been crazy long at member night, and for $3/ticket we were content to come back. We also got some frozen lemonade, which was helpful because of how hot it was. Can't win. In New England we get sick of the winter by the end of January, and then we're also over Summer by July.

I hate running in both sets of conditions, but I certainly learn a lot from both. I've had some really good runs this week, even if the workouts have been made harder for the heat. Assuming I'm able to get my long run where I want it on Sunday, this will be one of my best weeks of running since my earlier marathon training cycle back in March.

Seven and half miles tonight! Felt pretty good, all in all. The paces on these easy runs have been harder than I need them to be, but the benefit being that it's getting me out of the heat and humidity sooner. As we get into August and the miles build up I may end up slowing those easier runs down so I have more in the tank for my workouts. Fun stuff.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #77

Six and a half miles tonight after bedtime. Sore spot in my lower abdomen. Think I pulled something during strength training this week, so we'll see what happens with that as time goes on.

Have another hour long easy run planned for tomorrow. I'm very excited for the time on the road. Once I'm out, I'm really loving moving. Dragging myself out on the other hand... gets harder as it gets later. I may go back to two-a-days just to try and get myself some more time running in the early morning, although I'm not certain that time frame will work for me super well once we're back to work.

Had a pretty busy day today, actually. Went and visited with some family, the toddler got to run around. Wore herself out, took a nap. Went out this evening for dinner and then to the zoo's Member night. Member night is basically a nice way of saying "large concentration of children missing bedtime and throwing fits." but whatever. She had fun. Fought sleep like a demon straight out of hell.

Witching hour (for the baby) was easier tonight, though. I'm sure that will change as I can remember it sort of ebbing and flowing when our oldest was this little.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #76

Have been following a training plan on Strava, and got in my head that today was a speed workout. Didn't think about the fact that the current day's email is actually the workout for the following day. Stupid.

So I did 7 miles of speedwork tonight. Hey, that's a thing. It was super humid. Very bad.

Daughter #2 has begun having a witching hour. Basically 45 minutes to 1 hour of inconsolable screaming before bed. Awesome. Going to need whiskey (for me, not her.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #75

Just one mile tonight. We're in the midst of a heatwave, so I'm running late even though it means fairly oppressive humidity. Opted to go barefoot, so I was pretty happy during the run. I tend to obsess about time less when I'm barefoot, too much feedback to focus on.

Today was a tough day, otherwise. We were up early to go to the gym, and work on some strength. Toddler had an accident while in the kids room, so I had to go and change her. She wasn't too distressed by the whole thing, but I wasn't thrilled about the state of the changing facility. Talked to the management about it.

Anyway, the strength session was tough. My core is fairly chewed up. I have a plan that I'm following, although I'm reluctant to say I'm training for a specific event yet until details are ironed out. It's meant switching my rest day (easy day, during the streak) with a build day, so I can be OK with only having covered one mile today. I'll need to get some miles in tomorrow, but hey, I could stand to see the return of midweek miles.

Everyone actually managed a nap today, too. So that was good. We've been running on about five hours of sleep a night, which is starting to take it's toll. Hopefully today is a sign that we can at least start to get some of that sleep back during the afternoon.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Day #74

Up decently early this morning. My wife actually gave me an extra hour in bed because I had gone to sleep so late. She's a good egg, that one.

Went to breakfast, and received truly abysmal service. Then off to a store to replace the toddler's shirt that she destroyed at breakfast, and then the Children's museum. Afterward we went to a local cafe to try and offset the lack of sleep.

Toddler refused to potty anywhere. Maybe she didn't have to, but either way we had no accidents. We got home and she promptly fell asleep, but only slept for an hour or so. I slept for maybe twenty minutes. The short nap was enough that I could actually cry. My wife and I have been averaging about five hours of sleep for the last couple of days, and it's very demanding. It's like the entire thing has reset to when we first brought her home.

Hopefully that'll work itself out and we will get back into a decent rhythm soon.

Went out today for a planned six miles. The heat index was 101. Decided to call it after mile 2. Maybe I'll get the other miles later when it cools down a bit. We're at the gym tomorrow, so I may just also take the time and get some sleep (or as much as current circumstance allows.)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer Run Streak, Days #69-#73

Once again I've fallen behind but I'm still going strong.

30 miles this week, starting off with a couple of strong 10k runs and then ending the week with a good 10 mile long run. The pace on the long run was faster than I'd like for a long run pace, but I was comfortable with the level of discomfort. I enjoyed it.

We've been working on potty training with the toddler. It has been going well. I'm still a bit nervous about it, but she's a confident kid and she can handle a lot of it herself. Many fewer accidents on day #2, and we're going to try a small outing tomorrow. Getting to a place where we won't be totally housebound will be nice.

It's a weird blindspot of this whole thing. When we talked about becoming parents I think I considered the baby phase, and also the little kid phase, but overlooked what a process something like potty training is. Being consistent, and also staying patient is trying but also rewarding. My wife and I actually put so much of that energy towards the little one that we were getting frustrated with each other. But a bit of a reset on the clock today and we're doing much better.

It's not so much a new normal as an ever evolving normal, I guess.

Got out for a 5 and three quarters mile hike this morning! It was fun to get moving in the woods again. It was really the first hike this year, where last year I was out at least once a week. Lately I'm clamoring for more trail running, so I'm hopeful that next year I'll be able the prioritize that a little bit, at least. All of that stuff is tough while the kids are little, but I want them to see a really active dad. An involved dad, too, so it takes some balance.