Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Aftermath + 15 miler

Since I was delinquent in posting about Irene damages yesterday, I will be posting about BOTH hurricane aftermath and my super awesome long run, in that order and without a creative title.  Consider yourself warned so if you are interested in only one portion of that you can skip to the appropriate section.

Irene has come and gone and we really lucked out!  Saturday afternoon the rain started up and by Saturday evening, the rain started coming down much harder and with high winds.  Being only a couple houses from a fire station we heard sirens all night.

We watched Mad Men on Netflix and I kept my laptop and phone plugged so they would be fully charged, expecting the power to go out.  I stalked a local news website looking for updates on what was going on outside.

Surprisingly our power flashed only once around 11:30 but came back on soon after.

At 3am, we got an automated phone call from hubs' grad school alerting us to another Tornado Warning...and after brief confusion we both fell back asleep seconds later.  We learned Sunday morning that when there's a tornado warning you're supposed to take cover and get away from windows...

It rained until maybe noon then the sun started to come out.

There was all kinds of flooding and downed trees around us (right down the street).

Route 1 was even closed!

Understandably so.

Here's my beloved canal towpath, post-hurricane:
 [credit for next 3 pictures]

I usually run under that bridge.

Here's what the above picture should look like on a good day (taken from the other direction):

This site has some crazy pictures from the damage over the weekend.  Including these local ones:

When taking the train up to NYC, you need to go through that tunnel to get to the platform!

 [no source provided except this site. it's #9]
Asbury Park, NJ boardwalk: This is the exact site of my first half marathon finish line.

Overall it wasn't so bad for us.  We survived and so did the 3 dogs we were responsible for, our friends' house had no damage and our cars did not float away.  Our friends were originally supposed to fly back in yesterday, but because of the weather and all the flight delays and cancellations, they can't get back until this Thursday.

We were able to go check on our apartment late Sunday after a couple roads had reopened and found our apartment without power and with about 6" of water in the basement.  The utility company estimated service would be restored by September 4th. 

Late on Monday we stopped back to bring ice over for our fridge and to throw out bad food.  While I was bringing out garbage I noticed the traffic lights outside our apartment came back on!  Early!  There was still water in the basement, but only a couple inches.

Basement flooding is a great example of when I am glad to be a renter and not a home owner:


Luckily we did not have anything of value stored in our building's basement.  I would also hope that when I do become a home owner, I would not store cans of paint, a mattress, a lawnmower, etc. on the floor of my basement when I knew it might flood.  

That oil or paint looks kinda cool in the water though...

Aaaany fart.
My weekend long run was postponed until Monday.  I was supposed to run 15 miles with 5 of them at race pace.  This is an all time longest distance for me!  And I did it alone, without music :)

I slept in until 8 and didn't start my run until 9:45, luckily it was cool out.

I highlighted my pace miles for your convenience and to pat myself on the back.  Mile 11, while a 10:31 pace, does in fact count, because I walked for 1 minute at the beginning of that lap, so my running portion was actually sub-race pace.

Race pace would ideally be around 9:55 for a 2:10 half marathon.  But an average pace of 10:17 would still beat my last half marathon.

I blame my fast start on the cooler weather.  It was only in the mid to upper 60s at the start of my run, and it felt great! In fact, some how for the first 1/3 of a mile my pace was in the upper 8:00s.  Clearly that wasn't going to last for 15 miles so I slowed down.

My pace was not very consistent though as I encountered several obstacles like branches and other debris on the sidewalks and in the roads. 

Small branch on the sidewalk.

While the 10 non-pace miles were faster than my typical easy run, I did not feel like I was working too hard or like I was going to die!  My heart rate stayed around my easy run HR range for a little more than the first half of my run and didn't get higher until somewhere around mile 9, but I think I would actually like to attribute that to the fact that miles 8-10 were a consistent gradual uphill.

I had a gu over the course of mile 6.9-7.1. (1:13-1:15 overall time).

Around mile 11.75 I stopped in a store to buy a 17 oz bottle of water for my handheld bottle.

At 12.68 (I only know that because I hit the lap button), my left quad felt a little tight so I stopped and stretched it quickly and walked a little bit, then took my second gu at mile 12.83. Exactly. I remembered that one (2:14 overall time).  I know you should only have those if you plan to be running for the next half hour, but I told myself it must be because I needed more electrolytes or something.

It felt better within 5ish minutes.  Was it the stretching? the gu? the walking? placebo effect?  Should I have had the 2nd gu sooner?  Should I have eaten salt? Was it all in my head??

I feel really good having run 15 miles at a 10:32 pace!  Strangely I was not tired yet at midnight yesterday despite the distance and my legs were not sore when I woke up this morning. Weird, brief quad tightness and all, it was a confidence booster.  Let's bring on this next half marathon!

Weirdest thing seen on my run?

This little guy was about 4" long and on a sidewalk next to a college, hundreds of feet from a nearby drainage pond that may or may not connect to a creek.

If you made it this far...Questions for YOU:

How are things around you if you were hit by Irene?
For me? See above blog post.

If you run longer distances + eat something on your runs: at what times/distances do you take something?
I know it varies by individual, but I'm having issues with getting this right.

Tell me something weird you've seen on a walk/run/bike ride.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

House-Sitting...and a Hurricane

Long, long ago we agreed to dog-sit and house-sit for friends for a week.  So Monday evening we packed up ourselves and Molly Waffles and headed over to our friends' house (only a couple miles from our place).

Molly got to spend some quality time with her greyhound friends, Carl and Maggie.

 L: Molly, R: Maggie

 Molly enjoying more grass time

L: Carl, R: Molly

The dogs also played musical beds:

Hanging with 3 big dogs for a week plus?  
I know Alyssa would be super jealous.  Dogs are her favorite.

We had fun using their fire pit and making s'mores!

We also got to use their CSA pass this week for lots of fresh produce!

3lbs of tomatoes, 3lbs of heirloom tomatoes, 1 seedless watermelon, 1/2 lb Swiss chard, some okra, 1 bulb of garlic, 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, 2 eggplants, 2 hot peppers, 3 green peppers.

I got to use their treadmill with:
1. a sweet speaker set up so I could plug in my laptop and listen to Bossypants audio book and 
2. remote control air conditioning that I lowered into the 60s 
so I could enjoy my 7 mile hill workout yesterday.
(No picture for this... I was a hot sweaty mess despite the a/c)

Fun Fact: Friday was my first run on a treadmill since April.

Now we will sit and wait for the hurricane!

 The swirly to the right of the * is where they expect Irene to be at 8am Sunday morning.

Luckily Dan was able to craft us a hurricane survival kit, so I think we'll be ok!

Hope everyone on the East Coast is staying dry...
and if you're not on the East Coast, enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Recap: HM5, Week 9 Training

Week 10 is almost over, so I better post about Week 9.

Plan Shplan:

13 mi 

5mi PRO 

10 mi 


What I did:

Monday 8/15 - Failed Long Run Postponed from Previous Weekend. 6.81 Easy Miles.

Tuesday 8/16 - Successful Long Run Postponed from Previous Weekend.  In the Rain. 13.07 miles, with 4 miles at HM pace. Average Pace of 10:38.  It's CRAZY that what was a PR for me in April is now just a training run!

Wednesday 8/17 - 6.93 mile Bike Ride

Thursday 8/18 - Fartlek: 1 Easy mile, 3 mi incl: [1 min Fast, 1 min Recovery], 1 Easy mile

 While only for a minute at a time, I'm proud of those 7's!

Friday 8/19 - 7.69 mile Bike Ride
2x each of the following. With 5lb weights where applicable (i.e. not pushups):
  • 5 "real" pushups on toes
  • 12 deadlift --> upright row
  • 12 lateral raise
  • 12 tricep kickbacks
  • 12 bicep curl --> shoulder press
+ 15 pushups on knees.

Saturday 8/20 - rest
Sunday 8/21 - rest

Total Miles Run: 24.95
Total Miles Biked: 14.62

I did another arms day earlier in the week but misplaced my little sticky note.  Luckily I think I'm the only one who cares about how many reps of each arm exercise I do.  Also, since the Fit Abs Challenge ended, I'm not doing stuff for my core daily, but maybe a couple times a week.

In case you missed previous half marathon training posts:
Week 8 Recap
Week 7 Recap
Week 6 Recap
Week 5 Recap
Week 4 Recap
Week 3 Recap 

Week 2 Recap
The Plan

Since I'm totally behind on my training schedule by about a week, I'm revamping my schedule for the last month three weeks so I don't feel like I'm always playing catch up.  I'm just working on making it look pretty in Excel.

Here's where I check off the Target Runs that I have completed... Not too bad! What's most important, I think, is that I have been hitting the target paces for these runs.

Who has a race coming up?
For me: Only 24 days til the Philly RnR half!

How's your training going?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: FuelBelt Sprint 10 oz Handheld Bottle

Earlier this summer I wanted something smaller than my 20 oz handheld Camelbak to take with me on shorter runs in the heat of summer (For example, a 5 or 6 mile tempo run or speed work).  So I purchased the 10 oz "Sprint" handheld bottle by FuelBelt online.  You can find it for about $8-10.

The bulge is due to a gu in the pocket already.  (It didn't come that way).

I liked that this came in a ridiculous amount of colors (maybe 6 or 7 to chose from?) and this happened to match a recent tank top purchase.  Clearly coordinating tanks and water bottles are a must.

The zip pocket was nice, and big enough to fit a gu packet.

On the other side, there's a small velcro pocket big enough to fit a house key.

Unfortunately, the opening of this bottle was not quite large enough to fit an ice cube.

Unfortunately, the strap was just too big for my dwarf hands, and it was unable to be tightened any more.  I prefer a snugger fit around my hand.  Otherwise, I might as well just wrap my hand around the bottle.

That's as tight as it goes.
For reference, my hand measures 3" across at the knuckles (not including thumb)

Just an observation: No strap across the bottom of the bottle.  Only the two straps that go around the bottle at the top and bottom of the pouch. So there's nothing to stop the straps from slipping off the bottle.

The mouthpiece for the bottle is just a basic pull open/push to close - with your hand or maybe your teeth, and squeeze the water bottle to get water with any pressure. (I've become so used to my bite valve mouthpieces)

The bottle does feature numbers along the side so you know how full it is (in ounces).

  • Smaller than the bigger 20 oz bottles that can be cumbersome to carry
  • Comes in lots of fun colors!
  • Easily holds house key and a gu
  • BPA-Free bottle
  • Not too expensive
  • Comfortable hand strap, but...

  • ...Strap not adjustable enough for smaller hands
  • Bottle is not insulated so your hand will get wet from condensation in hot weather
  • Zip pocket is not big enough for ID/card unless you want to really test the limits of the fabric/zipper
  • Bottle opening not big enough for ice cubes

In the end I did return this bottle primarily based on the hand strap being too loose.  I decided to suck it up and bring my bigger bottle on shorter runs if I had to on some of those hotter summer days.  My bigger bottle is insulated and cinches tightly on my hand.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Weekend Highlights

Friday night we drove up to NY to see my parents this weekend.

 Enjoying some fresh air in the rain while stopped in traffic.

Saturday morning we went to the city's Public Market, and ran into 3 people we went to school with!  Had coffee, ate an empanada.

Looked at produce:

Went to a yarn store and touched lots of yarn.  I want to pick up knitting again, but need to find the right project.

Molly ran around, chased some tennis balls, then enjoyed some lawn-time in my parents' backyard.

After dinner, we went and got some frozen custard.  Mmmm, vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. (Amazed I couldn't find a picture online of vanilla with rainbow sprinkles in a dish).

Then played Euchre.  I have not met anyone in NJ who knows how to play euchre!

 Bonus points if you can tell me what's weird about this picture.

Sunday we went out for breakfast at a favorite place where I had eggs benedict with tomato and avocado.  Of course it was awesome since it had avocado.

Then I sampled tons of olive oil and vinegar.

 (Picture from a store email)

After trying so many interesting kinds of balsamic vinegar (coconut, dark chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, honeyed ginger) and oils (squash seed oil, basil, lime, herbes de Provence, Tuscan garden).

I bought a bottle of the Tuscan Garden which is made with oregano, rosemary, sage, and garlic.  While there were so many crazy kinds, this seemed like a more versatile ones to have at home.  The chocolate was pretty good but I don't know how often I'd use it and it only came in big bottles.

Molly checked the forecast to see if the rain would let up for us to pack up the car:

 No signs of letting up.  

So we drove 6.5 hours home in the rain.  But not before swinging through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru. 

 Molly requested a kibble latte, but they were all out.

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