Sunday, October 30, 2016

It's Marine Corps Marathon Weekend! (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

So right now I am probably done with my marathon and resting my poor tired feet.  So this will be an abbreviated weekly wrap-up as I don't know what my time or wi-fi status will be this weekend.

This week I only had two training runs and both were only 3 miles.  I haven't run my 3 mile loop in ages and it was nice being done a lot sooner then normal.  That meant I could sleep in a little.  I'm currently on new medication so I didn't know how that would effect my run.  Well it elevated my heart rate a lot and made the run really hard.  I know now to not take it till after I run.  The picture below is of this weird face in a tree.  I keep seeing it on my weekly runs and each time I look for it I miss it and it makes me think it disappeared.  Spooky this time of year.

Wednesday was my last training run before MCM.  It was COLD when I left my house.  Like 39 degrees cold.  It hasn't been that cold yet this fall.  While I wore a light long sleeve shirt and tights, towards the end of the run my ears were getting cold.  Each year I go through this transition I never remember what I did the year before.  And I have running logs that I have, but never seem to get them out. :)

My heart rate monitor died about half way through my run.  I thought it might happen since I couldn't remember the last time I charged it.  I really like this monitor, but it has no indication light to tell me how much battery is left or if it is low.  So I basically have to charge it every other run just in case.

After the monitor died, I switched to 30 second walk/1 minute run.  The run felt really good despite the cold.  I was still as slow as usual, but I pushed the run a little.  I like to play a game when I run the 3 mile loop where I run the first mile at a comfortable pace and then the second has to be faster then the first then the third has to be faster then the second.  I can only play this game when I do 3-4 miles.  But I won on this run.  I think my next goal after Richmond is to get back to running the whole 3 miles.  

For the rest of the week I did a ton of walking, a shakeout run, and a marathon.  More details of each of these happenings to come.

Happy Halloween!!  

Do you ever play games on your runs?  How do you remember what type of layers to wear when the fall brings colder temperatures?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, October 28, 2016

MCM Outfit (Friday Five Edition)

The Marine Corps Marathon is this weekend.  My race day outfit is always a thought process.  A destination race is a little harder to plan.  I've done a lot of Disney races and there dressing up is not only allowed, but encouraged.  But this is the Marines.  Even though the race is the day before Halloween, I really didn't want to dress up, but I wanted a patriotic themed my outfit.  This was my thought process of my outfit.

1. Skirt - I love wearing skirts to races.  I have issues with the skirts that come with built in shorts because the shorts never fit me right and I get chafed everywhere (sounds familiar with my latest bout of finding new shorts).  I have found a company on Amazon called CowCow that has a lot of really cute skater skirts.  They have a lot of great designs and are very comfortable and long enough to cover up my shorts.  The only issue with them is that they are based out of Hong Kong and it takes forever to get your package shipped.  So this is something that has to be planned on at least a month in advance.

2. Shirt - I wanted to get a plain red tech shirt that I could do a design on.  Easy enough to get one local or online.  I never thought it would be easy to make my own shirt.  I was always in awe of those who did because I'm just not a crafty person.  After different discussions with Meranda who has done many super cute shirts herself, I learned it really wasn't that hard.

3. Design - Now to come up with the design.  I scoured the internet for the perfect image or saying that would mean something to the Marines and the marathon.  I found the saying "Charge the District, Beat the Bridge, Take the Iow" on the MCM website and knew that was the saying I wanted to use.  I found some images online to go with the saying.  I used a Photoshop type software to put everything together.

At the last minute I thought I wanted something on the front.  I found the Marine Corps image and added my name and MCM 2016.

4. Transfers - This is were the easy part of creating your own shirt comes from.  I purchased some transfers for light fabric.  I've tried the transfers for dark fabric before and it really didn't turn out well.  I think this is because most of the designs I've done were mostly black outlines and black text.  The trick with using transfers for light fabric is that you have to flip the image horizontally (best to print everything out on paper first so you don't waste the transfer paper).  Once your image is printed out you just iron it onto your shirt.

5. Headband - I currently don't have a patriotic headband for running.  Not sure why as I can use it around Memorial Day and 4th of July.  But since it is Halloween weekend, I thought I would break the patriotic theme and wear one of my Halloween headbands.  I don't know which one yet, and probably will decide race morning.

So here is the first sneak peak of my outfit.

So remember to follow me on Twitter - @heatherlas and Instagram - @heathersspin as I will be posting throughout the weekend.  And maybe even during the race.

Have you ever designed and made your own shirt?  Do you like to dress up for races?  What's the most extravagant outfit that you have worn for a race?   

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Where's Heather? (Throwback Thursday Edition)

Keeping with the Marine Corps Marathon theme (sort of), I wanted to share a memory from my Grandfather.  He was my dad on my mom's side and he was in the Marines.  Since he died when I was 6 or 7, I only have a couple memories of him (and a few stories from my Mom and Grandma).  With the MCM I have been thinking of him a lot lately. 

When I was 2 my parents bought their first house.  They used a loan through the Marines because it gave them a lower interest rate.  To be able to do that, my Grandparents had to move in for a couple years.  That couple of years turned into the rest of their lives.  I will always cherish having them in the same house while we were growing up.

My parents standing and my Grandma holding me and Grandpa behind her (yes it was the 70's)

Out of the few things I remember, I do remember his tattoo on his arm.  I don't know what it was, but I know it was from his time in the Marines.  And I remember his lay-z-boy chair in the living room.  There were many days when I would bring all my toys out and play behind his chair.  I don't know why, but that was my spot.

I remember once (and this probably happened many times) my mom would drop me off after preschool and go somewhere else (work or errands, I really don't recall).  She came back and I hid behind his chair.  My mom would go "Where's Heather?" and my Grandpa would reply that he didn't know.  He would  wonder if I had been picked up at all.  The whole time I was giggling behind his chair. 

I do wish I had more memories of him, cause what I remember he was pretty cool.  I do have tons of my Grandma that I'll be sharing through out the weeks.  She was the most amazing lady.

Do you have a lot of memories of your Grandparents? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

MCM Goals (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

So here we are Tuesday morning.  Five more days till MCM.  So here are my plans and goals for the race.

Everyone says to have three goals for a race.  I guess that makes sense.  I have actually never done this, but I have also have yet to run a race during my short time of blogging.

A. To come in under 6:30.  This would be a huge stretch goal for me.
B. To PR - To come in under 6:58:16 - I think this is doable, especially after my 23 mile run.
C. To finish officially by beating both the Gantlet and Bridge

So this is my strategy for the race.  With the elevation being fairly flat, except for the first few miles, this is the plan.
 1. Get over the start line by 8:15.  The start line will be open from 7:55 - 8:55 and there are no assigned corrals.  I don't want to be in the first few corrals as I don't want to be a complete douche, but I want to get through the start line ASAP.  With our transportation to the start line with the VIP package, we don't have to worry about the Metro.  This should be doable.

2. Run the first 5ish minutes to let the crowd thin out some.  I hate walking when everyone around me is running.  Cause I'm sort of being a douche by starting sooner then I should, I don't want to clog up too much.

3. Once things thin out I'll so a 30 second run/1 minute walk through the first 2 miles.  Since the first 2 miles look to be like strait up hill I wanted to try and conserve my energy.

4. Once the huge hill is done, we start going strait back down hill.  I'll switch to 1 minute run/30 second walk.  On the steeper down hills I tend to like to run down, even on my walk breaks.  So that might make up for some of the time in the first 2 miles where I'll be walking a lot more.

5.  I'll keep an eye on my HR.  On my 23 mile run, it averaged 152 which is a little high, but still in a good range.  Once I get past the Gauntlet and Bridge cut offs, I may try and pay attention to my HR a little more.  But my HR tends to get higher on the second half of my runs.  So I will be playing that by ear.

Plans tend to never go perfectly.  I'll go with the swing of things and hope for the best.

So remember to follow me on Twitter - @heatherlas and Instagram - @heathersspin as I will be posting throughout the weekend.  And maybe even during the race.

Do you normally make goals for your races?  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Last Week of Taper Before MCM (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

So we are now a week away from MCM.  Seven more days, three more training runs, four more days of work, and one more billion checks of till the big day.  So far tapering has been fine.  I've never had a hard time with it, but do start getting nervous as the race gets closer.  But the more detailed planning I do, the better I feel.  The weather got a lot warmer this week and most days were highs in the mid 80s.  For mid-October it's a lot hotter then normal.

Monday's run was good.  I tried the walk/run of 30sec/1min again.  I still think HR running is better for me even though the time seems to be about the same.  The run felt a little hard, but with the weather getting warmer, it was a lot more humid that morning.

Wednesday I went back to my HR running.  It was still humid, but a good run.  I ran into Agnes who I see a lot out walking.  We always seem to be going the opposite ways, but this morning we walked about half a mile together.  It was fun getting to know her a little more. 

Friday was my last mid-week run of 5 miles.  All next week I'll be dropping down to 3 mile runs.  I did see another shooting star.  That's two in two weeks.  I did take a few moments to think about a wish unlike I did last week.  Whether I get my wishes or not, it's really cool to see a shooting star.

Saturday the MTT team is doing another 20 mile run.  Since I'm in my last taper long run, I only wanted to do 6 miles.  The half marathon team was doing 8 so I decided to do a run with them (but cut 2 miles off).  It was a good run.

I saw some odd things while on this run.  Including this weird huge bird nest.

And Alan. I've seen him before, he is not just a Halloween decoration, but this was the first time I stopped to get a picture.

And this kitty.  She (or he) walked right up to me and let me pet her (or him).  While I tend to say hi to all the dogs on a walk, never a cat before.  She must live around there somewhere and have a home to be so trusting.

And then I got to go out to brunch with my running friends.  I haven't been able to join them in ages cause we have been running different distances as they are training for the half.  It was so great to catch up with everyone.  And to show how small a town Richmond is, the lady that has been helping me at the Alzheimer's Association had been running with my running friends all summer long.

So remember to follow me on Twitter - @heatherlas and Instagram - @heathersspin as I will be posting throughout the weekend.  And maybe even during the race.

Have you ever seen a shooting star?  Have you seen anything interesting out on a run lately that wasn't just a Halloween decoration?  Has a cat ever come up to you to say hi?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, October 21, 2016

MCM Funness (Friday Five Edition)

I've been so out of the loop it looks like I missed the last Friday Five with Courtney, Mar & Cynthia.  I didn't even realize it was the last one till a couple of days ago.  While I haven't been blogging long, I have tried to theme my posts with linkups as that's the best way to find other bloggers.  So it's sad that they have ended it.  But it looks like someone will be picking it up, at least for the mean time.  I defiantly want to be part of this new era.  

With the MCM next weekend, I think most of my posts will revolve around that for the next few weeks in one way or the other.  With all the other stuff happening in my life I'm glad I have that to focus on right now.  So I have been doing all the minor detail planning this last week and am really getting excited for the weekend.  The race on the other hand...... :)

1. The White House.  While I live close to DC, the White House has been something I have never done before.  I made reservations through my congressman and we will be there bright and early on Friday morning.  I'm hoping we will spend a little bit of time at the Mall afterwards as it's such a fun place.

2. Gaylord Hotel - We signed up for the VIP package and that included our stay at the Gaylord Hotel.  From everything I have read, it is a beautiful place and has a lot of fun stuff near by at the National Harbor.  It is also conveniently part of the Convention Center where the Expo is.  So no running around town to get to the Expo.

3. The bRUNch Shakeout Run - One of the things included with the VIP package is a 5k run and brunch on Saturday morning.  We are supposed to meet at the Awakening Statue - one which I have always wanted to see - and take a run along the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Trail.  Then brunch somewhere at the Gaylord Conventional Center.  Again so very convenient.  

4.  Spending the weekend with my friend Candace - We met 2 1/2 years ago at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.  It's a funny story.  I was eating dinner at a restaurant next to the hotel and was finishing up with Candace and her mom came in.  Her mom insisted I come sit with them because I was alone.  So I finally gave in and sat with them while they ate dinner.  The funny part is that their hotel room was right next to mine, so we saw each other all weekend long.  I'm looking forward to a fun weekend with her with no thoughts of live in the real world.

5. The Marines - I have heard how wonderful the Marines are throughout the whole weekend.  I will be going from one sexy Marine to the next to get me over the finish line.  And there I so cannot wait to have one of them present me with my medal.  It's such an honor to be around all of these people that are serving our country.  And to all of them, thank you for your service!!

So remember to follow me on Twitter - @heatherlas and Instagram - @heathersspin as I will be posting throughout the weekend.  And maybe even during the race.

What are you looking forward to?  Have you been to the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0


Thursday, October 20, 2016

My First Tattoo (Throwback Thursday Edition)

So I decided to do another edition of Thowback Thursday.  I'd like to tell you the story of my first tattoo and how my mom found out about it.

So I have three tattoos and this is the story of my first one.  I was 20 and had been wanting a tattoo for awhile.  This was 20 years ago before tattoos became as popular as they are today.  I knew what I wanted to get, a shamrock on my ankle.  In fact what I wanted was a 3-leaf clover, not a 4-leaf one.  Many people ask me why not a 4-leaf for luck and my answer is always, I don't need the luck.  But truthfully it was something that I drew while listening to lectures in high school and college when I was bored.  So I drew it a lot.

My best friend and I went to a parlor downtown.   I drew what I wanted and in 20 minutes I had my tattoo.

Man my hair is super long there, makes me want to grow it out again.

I didn't get it right on the ankle, but a little behind it.  I don't know why and it's probably a good thing.  Everyone asked it it hurt.  Yes it did.  But not as much as it would have been right on the ankle.  The closer to bone, the more it hurts.

I really didn't tell anyone that I was getting this tattoo, except for my friend that came with me.  That night I showed it to my then boyfriend and he was all upset.  He didn't like tattoos.  I told him that I didn't get it for him.  He eventually came around to not caring.

Now my mom was interesting.  I wasn't hiding it from her, but I wasn't going to go out of my way to show her.  At that time I was living at home while I was in college.  My mom's room was at the end of the hall and when I was going from the shower to my room she noticed it.  She asked "what's that?"  And I was like all "what's what?"  I wasn't being sarcastic, but I had the tattoo for maybe a couple months by then.  She was like, "is that what I think it is?" and pointed to my feet.  I realized that she was talking about my tattoo then.  I said yes, would you like a closer look?  She said no and went on with what she was doing.

My mom had always said that out of all the things my brother and I have done in my life that she wished she could have done, tattoos were not one of them.  I have never regretted any of mine, but sometimes wonder what I was thinking.  They are all in spots easy to cover with clothing and they represent who I was at one point in my life.  Sometimes I think about getting another one, but that "it" feeling has not come back to me.  That feeling of knowing exactly what you want and where you want to get it.  I sort of think I want something of my running accomplishments, but nothing has come to me that I want on my body permanently.

Do you have any tattoos?  Did you have to hide them from anyone?  If you got (or have) a running one, what is it?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Remaining Goals for 2016 (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

So as we are less then two weeks to what I consider the kick off of the holiday season - Halloween.  Less then three months of the year left.  What are my goals to get me through the holidays?

With running while I'm signed up for at least three more races, my one and only goal is to finish the Marine Corps Marathon (without being picked up).  We are less then two weeks from race and that is the only thing that I'm focused on right now.  But there is life after MCM.

There really isn't much else on my running docket.  I have the Richmond Marathon (or half) and then the Surf-n-Santa 5 miler that I'm signed up for.  There also is a Tacky Light "run" that we do every year that is a lot of fun.  It's a 4 mile course through a neighborhood that has the most lights up for Christmas.  We never run this (though some people do) as it's dark and we like to take our time and look at the lights.

I'll also be doing the Star Wars half in Disneyland in January.  I'll have to make sure I keep my training up for that through the holidays.

There are a few goals that I have for my personal life.  One is to get a job.  I am with my company till the end of the year and then have 6 months severance.  I need to make as many contacts in the next few weeks as I can cause when Thanksgiving hits, no one will be focused on hiring.  I'd like to get something that would start early February if I can.

I also need to start looking at retirement homes for my dad.  We need something lined up just in case something happens to my mom.  She will also be having a knee replacement in the next 6-9 months and we need something lined up so that they can take care of my dad while my mom is in the hospital.

Hopefully I won't let my personal goals interfere with my running.  With a half marathon in January, that will at least keep me focused on getting in some miles. 

What goals do you have set for the rest of the year?  How do you not let the holidays interfere with your running?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Trying Walk/Run Again (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

First week of taper is complete.  Two more weeks till MCM.  This has been another hard week for me.  Not for running, but everything else.  The help we had for my dad didn't work out, so there was time spent with him and stress about what we are going to do weighted on me.  I went to another job fair.  I like to see so many employers at once, but it is really exhausting.  But running seems to be going better.  And I'm focusing on detail planning for MCM.  That seems to be calming me some.  Planning just does that to me.

I didn't run on Monday as I was still exhausted Sunday night and decided not to get up early and take an extra rest day.  I'm on my taper so I'm not worried about missing a day.  Wednesday was a good run.  Even though I was in a bad mood the whole run.  I was hoping that the run would help my mood, but it didn't.  Just too much going on and too much stress.  But with cooler temps, my pace is coming down slowly.  Though on my run I did see an accident.  I'm not sure how it happened, but it looked like the car crossed the median and hit a brick wall.  I hope that everyone was OK.

Friday my mood was better.  With things with the job, I have been working from home more often and that means that I can wait till the sun rises to run.  But not Friday.  I had a job fair that morning and I had to make sure I had plenty of time to get ready.  This run was good even though it was in the dark.  I did see a shooting star.  I made a wish quickly and then thought maybe I should wish on something more important and changed my mind.  Can I do that?  Will I get the first or second wish?  Or will I get one at all? :)

Saturday was a much cooler day.  I really wasn't sure what to wear as told me something completely different then the local news channel.  So I went with a light long sleeve shirt and tights.  While I could have gotten away with a short sleeve shirt and shorts I wasn't really hot at all.

I decided to try and do a walk/run again.  I wanted to see if I could do that for the race and if it made any difference.  I went with a 30 second walk/1 minute run.  We ran down to the bottom (downtown).  There are a couple reasons I hate running those types of loops - 1) you run down but you have to run up all these hills for the second half and 2) the streets and sidewalks are mostly made of cobblestone and brick.  Makes you have to watch your step so you don't trip.

We did run past where the Over the Edge fundraiser was happening.  It's for the Special Olympics where people raise money and rappel over the edge of a building.  No one was coming down when we ran by, but it would have been fun to watch someone.  I always sort of wanted to do it, but I'm terrified of heights.  I want to do it though as I can't let my fear to stop me from doing fun things.  But it looks so scary.   My dilemma.

We did cross the canal.  It has some paths to run on, but it's not very long.

And we crossed the river twice.  I love crossing the river as it is so beautiful.

So, over all, it looks like my pace and heart rate were about the same.  I did feel more tired at the end of the run.  I'm still trying to decide what I will do for the race.  I'm running with a friend and want an even walk/run and not random when my HR goes up.  For now I'll do a couple more walk/run runs just to see if Saturday was a hard run or if I should stick to HR.

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Running 23 Miles with Matthew (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

So on Saturday, I ran 23 miles with Hurricane Matthew.  While we didn't get a direct hit, we got a lot of rain and some wind.  Not bad enough to cancel the run, but enough for it to be a very wet run.

Monday I didn't go out for a run as I didn't have time.  Plus I kinda counted the hiking we did on Sunday as a run.  Wednesday I got out there and had a great run.  I worked from home so I ended up being able to run after the sun came up.  I really felt like I was finally getting back to where I was before I hurt my back.  There was a guy that was out there with his dog.  He said he has seen me running a lot and to keep it up.  Makes up for the stupid guy last week. :)

Friday while it was still a good run, I felt slower.  I realized it was a lot more humid on Friday then it was on Wednesday.  I had to go into the office, so I had to run before the sun came up.  This is the time of the year where the acorns are falling from the trees.  They kept hitting different surfaces and freaked me out a bit.  That and the acorns were all over the road and I had to watch myself at some places.

Saturday the long arms of Hurricane Matthew hit us.  The weather was in the upper 60's but there was a lot of rain.  I started off before the MTT group as they only had 20 miles on the docket and I wanted to get in 23.  I ran up and back for an extra 3 miles and then off on the route given to us.  I only had 4 miles that I ran over a 16 minute mile.  I was so impressed with my consistency through the run.  I didn't feel like I ran out of steam at the end like I usually do.

I felt like Matthew was keeping me company on my run.  Most of the time it was a light rain, but every so often it would down pour.  And there would be wind gusts every so often.  Every time the rain or wind picked up, I felt like he was encouraging me to keep going.  I just had to embrace the rain and enjoy what was given to me.

The route that they had for us went through a lot of nice neighborhoods.  It was still a little dark out, but there was a lot of street lights still on.  I ran by this church that had signs of all the terrorist attacks that have happened and at the end is a sign that says "Love One Another".  I was very touched by this.

I also ran by a few houses that had Halloween decorations up.  This was my favorite one.

This same house had a big metal rooster and it really reminded me of The Bloggess.

But most of the run this was my view.  A lot of rain.

And a lot of puddles to watch out for.

I used this run to see what time I would make it for mile 15.5 and mile 18 for MCM.  So that I can beat The Gauntlet, I would have to be there no later then 12:38 PM.  Which means if I cross the start line right at 7:55 AM then I have 4:43 to get there.  If I cross the start line at 8:55 AM then I have 3:43.  I got to 15.5 on my training run in 4:03, which means I have to cross the start line by 8:35 AM or earlier to feel comfortable.

To beat the bridge at mile 18 by 1:15 PM.  That would mean I would need to get there between 4:20 - 5:20.  I got there in 4:40.  Plenty of time after getting past The Gauntlet.  So my main concern will be getting to The Gauntlet on time.

I was still one of the last people that got back to the parking lot.  I just hate that feeling that I know I did great for me, but still one of the last people to finish.  I told one of the coaches that I did an extra 3 miles and he scoffed at me.  The MTT thought of training is that you only need to do 20.  One would think that they would encourage you if you felt better doing something different from that.  There is not one way to train, and I'm doing what is best for me feeling like I can get to the finish line.

When I got home I saw how badly I chaffed.  I used so much Glide on myself because I knew it was going to rain the whole time and it didn't help.  I'm chaffed between my thighs, on my waist, and all around my bra line.  I also wish I had shorts and a sports bra that would treat my body better.  But thank goodness for Aquafur!

So now I have two weeks of tapering and then it's race time, though it really hasn't hit me, yet.  Some people have a hard time with taper time, but I really try to embrace it.  I feel really good about MCM after this run but I know I will be very nervous about beating those times.

Do you ever feel encouraged by the weather, even bad weather?  Do you look forward to taper time or dread it?  

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.