2018 belated recap / 2019 Goals

Hello, it’s been a minute since updating the blog but i’ll look to update more often going forward.  Last we left our heroine, she was off to the Marine Corps Marathon last October.  Spoiler alert:  She survived the 10th marathon and 4th MCM overall.  Now that I’ve run 4 MCMs, I feel like i should run a 5th to round out my Marine Corps marathon career.  But not in 2019.    I will post my highlights from the 2018 MCM in a separate blog.  In short, I traveled to DC solo as the family was sick that weekend, but I still had a pretty good race.  I felt really good up through mile 20 but my stats would show i wasn’t going as fast as I felt.  Finished in 4:34 and am pretty happy with that time.  Maybe MCM 2020 will be my 5th and final.

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2018.  Pretty great year for running following a not so good 2017.  I ran 2 marathons last year, MCM and the Austin Marathon.   I loved them both.  MCM is comfortable, my 4th time running it, had my plan and just got it done.  Austin was a great trip back to UT where i got my graduate degree.  Fun going to all the old places and some new ones and the marathon course was pretty good.  Damn hilly but good.

I ran more than 1000 miles in 2018 y’all!  I met my goal to run 1000 miles last year, hitting 1000 just before the MCM at the end of October.  Read more about it here 

I ran some halfs (halves?) but never broke 2 hours.  Almost did at the Maine Half marathon in Portland, ME.  This was a first time race for me and the course was pretty flat to a little rolling.  I ran it with a friend and just couldn’t keep up with her after mile 12 but I’m happy with a 2 hr 1 minute finish.  2019 I’m hoping to break 2 hours.

What’s up for 2019?

2019 is off to a great start. I’m making this all about #9.      Run 9 races, read 9 books (not a big reader and already behind the pace on books, ugh!)  Run a sub-2 (1:59) half marathon.   You get the idea.   I am in for the Chicago Marathon on October 13th so official training starts soon.  This is my first Chicago so it will be exciting.   I am hoping it’s as flat as they say it is, after Austin i’m done with hilly marathons!  I don’t have a time goal but considering going for under 4 1/2 hours so 4:29, you get the idea with 9 is my theme this year!   2019 and also i turn 49. 😐

I’ve already completed a few of my 2019 goals and challenges to-date including running a sub-2 hour half marathon!  I’ve run two so far in sub-2 so i’m pretty excited.  I credit my overall fitness to the Taji 100 Challenge (run 100 miles during February) and also Orange Theory Fitness. I’ve been hitting OTF pretty regularly, at least 3-4 times a week.  It’s the one thing that will get me up and out of bed in the wee hours — the $12 cancellation fee if i no-show for class.   I ran the Shamrock Half in 1:59 and the Portsmouth Half in 1:58:39!   The shamrock half was a fluke, i was running along and half way through i realized i was running at a pretty good pace, from then I started making a dozen mental calculations as to whether i could make a sub-2.   The last mile is mostly downhill to the finish but i stopped to walk for just a bit.  Then ran like hell to the finish because i would have kicked myself if that last walk put me over 2!

I also finished an accidental run streak of 100 days of running on the heals of the Taji100.  I had already run every day in Feb and decided to keep going!   I can get a little OCD /obsessed with things but it was so satisfying to see all my Apple watch fitness circles filled in! Ran everyday from last week of January through May 5th.

Next Up the Wallis Sands Half Marathon this coming weekend.   I am wondering if i can 3-peat my sub-2 performance.  Last 2 outings i ate mac’n’cheese the night before the race.  Perhaps this is my new go-to/ lucky/ pre-race meal that will propel me to the finish! That and coffee.

More to follow as i kick off official Chicago training. See you out there, -Jenn

 

Week 11: Popovers and time off

Following my 20 mile run on 9/16, I took a lot of time off from running last week (9/17-9/23).  It was due to needing some rest but also a lot of family events and commitments on the weekend.  For the gluten free baking challenge for the week, we made popovers and tried a new recipe for chocolate cake.   Total mileage for the week was only 13.1 miles and no long run.    I ran the tempo and track runs and went to Orange Theory twice.   Friday, Saturday and Sunday I took off and I feel more rested this week for sure.  Having hit 20 the week prior, I don’t think this will impact my overall fitness too much.  Trying to get back on track this week after over eating pretty much all weekend.

Planned / Actual miles:   27 / 13.1

Tuesday.
Orange theory workout with my pal John which was actually a pretty hard workout.  I don’t usually get over 400 calories burned but I did today.   We also made popovers with dinner.  The recipe is surprisingly easy; it is essentially eggs, flour and butter poured into a hot pan and baked for about 30 minutes.  Ours did not pop up as much as some that we get at a local bakery–aptly named Popovers–but we figure they must be experts since the place is called Popovers.   Next time i would bake them a little longer, which is becoming a frequent bit of feedback: slightly under baked.  What would Paul Hollywood say on Great British Baking Show?   For one, they call popovers “yorkshire puddings” i believe.  We used the recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring – 2nd edition.

Wednesday.
Track workout on the treadmill.

Thursday.
Double fun.   Orange Theory in the morning with Kellie before work and then I went to the Team RWB meet up at our local running store in Manchester, NH.   I did a 5 mile run with the group which counted as my tempo run for the week.    The run was fun but it was in the downtown area with a LOT of busy streets to cross for the first 2 miles.  This week I am going to meet up closer to home in Portsmouth for the Thursday night run.   I work in Manchester, so evening runs there are an option.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Nothing but cake.
No workouts on the extended weekend and I ate too much cake.   We made a new gf chocolate cake for my husband’s birthday and it was delicious.  We have a chocolate and zucchini cake recipe that we like but we had no zucchini this time.   This recipe will be our new go-to chocolate cake recipe.  Our backup  / runner up is gf chocolate cake mix from King Arthur Flour Company which you can buy locally or via mail order.   We also made homemade buttercream frosting.  Here’s a pic!

Hope to get more mileage and workouts this week! See you out there.

-Jenn

Week 9: A rest day or 3 and apple cake

Last week was an off week and maybe I needed a break from working out all 7 days last week. I took off Monday, Thursday and Friday. And Saturday I slept in but then decided last minute to hit the gym for the 10:30am class. It was a good workout and I felt a lot better afterwards. I really pushed up the calorie burn, maybe because I was off days before but I hit over 400 calories which doesn’t happen all the time.

This week’s baking challenge – Apple cake.  It wasn’t so much of a challenge as we have made this recipe before.  We had a bunch of other first-time recipes to try and we also tried English muffins- gluten free of course.   The muffins taste exactly like Thomas’s English muffins that i remember, but they did not rise enough so were more dense and didn’t look great.  We will retry that recipe later on (not pictured here).   For the apple recipe, it’s adapted from one that I used to make years ago.  Apple picking is already in full swing and there were tons on the trees.

 

Planned  miles = 27 | Actual miles = 23.9

Monday.  Nothing to report.

Tuesday.  Orange theory in the morning and then track workout on the treadmill.  Still super hot outside so sought refuge in the basement.   2 x 1600 and 2 x 800

Wednesday. OTF.  Arrived about 5 mins late but still got it done.

Thursday.   zero activity

Friday.  zero activity.

Saturday.   Slept in and decided at 10am to hit the 1030 OTF class.  All this rest must have gave me the energy to really push my limits.   Over 400 calories burned (per their tracking system)!

Sunday.  I was toying with the idea of doing at least 18 miles or even up to 20 but in the end I ran 13.  I was feeling really stiff from overdoing it at OTF on Saturday.  The Camelbak continues to work well, though there was some sloshing.  I failed to get all the air out to start and the water tasted a little soapy.  I cleaned it last week but needs more rinsing.  Lessons learned!  the weather was great and really cooled down from the heatwave of the past few weeks.

Share a Coke with Jennifer, well of course i had to partake.

Next week’s goals:  Take more photos while out running.  Stretch goal:  Take a jumping picture.  Any running blogger wannabe should be able to pull that off right?   Jump up to 20 miles for the long run?

find me on Strava,

-Jenn

Week 8: 16 miles and Battenburg cake

Nailed it last, last week!  (Coincidentally if you have not seen Nailed it on Netflix, please stop reading this and go immediately to Netflix. It a cooking show, sort of, where hapless bakers try and recreate fancy cakes).   I decided to go for a ‘perfect week’ according to the Apple watch, which entails hitting my 3 goals for movement (calories burned), exercise (30 mins- yeah kinda low but not really for cross training days) and stand hours (you need to have been standing/walking for 12 hours out of your day and not sitting at the desk for 2-3 hrs straight).     I’ve hit a perfect week a few times in the spring, but unless i work out everyday to some degree, I won’t make it.  Like my 1000 miles challenge this year, having a goal keeps me motivated to workout.  If i miss my morning workout, then i make time to fit in a quick run during the day or after work to meet the goal.  I’d call it a healthy obsession.  Check out the rings, 100% perfect week!

This week’s baking challenge was Battenburg cake. We made our own marzipan which was actually pretty easy. It turned out great and we received rave reviews from the family. It’s a cake we discovered in London and they made it once on Great British baking show.  The key is to have a checkerboard of traditionally yellow and pink with apricot jam in between the squares.  We used raspberry which was a nice tart flavor.

Planned / Actual Miles: 27 / 36

I should probably up my weekly goal as I enter into the longer runs of my marathon training plan.  I just have 27 miles as default on Strava which is a good average goal for fall back weeks where my long run is only 10-13.

Highlights this week include hitting all 3 of my quality runs; tempo, track and long run plus running 16 miles for my long run.  And I took the new Camelbak out for 16 miles and it worked great!

Monday.  OTF 0530 class

Tuesday.  Tempo run on the treadmill.  Was a 3 mile tempo + warm up and cool down for 4.3 miles total.

Weds. OTF 0645 class.  This was a really good workout and I broke 400 calories which doesn’t always happen in every class!  I find that I do get a better workout when the class is 2 groups or 24 people rather than 3 groups/36 max number of people.  With 2 you get about 25 minutes on the treadmill side, with 3 you only get 14-15 minutes which makes it harder for me to get my heart rate up.

Thursday.   Interval workout on the treadmill.   2 x (6 x 400).  So 12 0.25 mile sprints.  It was actually not as hard as I thought it would be.

Friday.  OTF #3

Saturday.  16 mile long run! And cake!

Sunday.  Finishing out the perfect week  with a 3.1 mile run on the treadmill.

More in week 9 update!

See you out there,

-Jenn

Week 7: Yellow Layer Cake/ 800 miles

I’ve decided to blog about our latest gluten free baking adventures in parallel to my running.  They go hand in hand on the weekends, I run then I eat the sweets.  This week we planned to make lemon meringue pie but we did not have time for it so opted for a basic yellow cake.  The search continues for a nice gluten free yellow cake recipe that will be our standby family recipe.  This one may be it (see below) but the chocolate frosting did not work out.    We are working through our newest cookbook Gluten Free Wish List, by Jeanne Sauvage.  Last week was cream puffs, highest rating from the crew.  We’ve also made the matcha chocoloate cake.  Cake, 5 stars, matcha frosting– I don’t care for it.  We’ve been watching Great British Baking Show this week as well, a lot of baking AND miles this week.   I’ve hit 800 miles year to date!

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Planned 27 miles / Actual 30.9 miles.

Monday – OTF to kick off Monday morning.  Plus 4 easy miles after work.

Tuesday.  Off.  Had thoughts of going for a ‘perfect week’ on Apple watch but it didn’t happen.  No excuse really as i worked from home but it didn’t happen

Wednesday – Orange Theory matched up perfectly with my planned track run.  I was to run 6 x 800 and today’s OTF workout was 1/2 mile sprints on the treadmill.   I ran 3 half miles at OTF and then jumped on my treadmill at home for the other 3.   Workout jackpot for 4 miles total.

Thursday.  6 mile tempo run (5 mile tempo + 1 warm up) plus tried out my new Camelbak hydration thingy.    Apart from choking myself trying to drink and run at mile no. 1, the pack works pretty well.  I think it needs to be tighter though.  Note that my basement treadmill area looks like an episode of Dexter.

Friday – OTF for 2.9 miles.

Saturday – Off.

Sunday.  13 mile long run with Camelbak.  Plus bonus $30 parking ticket!  So I parked where I always park down by the beach which is a strip of road about 50 yards long that connects the main beach road to another back road.   The road is split between two towns and i parked too far on the wrong side of town.   Grrrr….  I guess i should have noticed i was the only car on that portion of the road, but in the morning there were few cars on the road any way. I just assumed i was early for the beach parking rush.

Camelbak.  It worked pretty well for 13 miles.  I did get a bit of chafing on my arm but that could be related to my outfit.   More test runs are required.  I am trying camelbak because I would like to carry one pack/belt/hydration system that will fit all my stuff including my iPhone plus–which doesn’t fit into any belt that i own already.   I have run with my water belt and an arm band for the phone (too much chafing) and then with my water belt AND my spibelt for the phone (2 belts seems too dorky).  Enter the camelbak for long runs.

What about the cake?  Here’s a picture of the yellow cake.  We had family over who helped eat it but the frosting was too runny and oozed out when the cake was cut.   I think with a different frosting this will be a winner!

Next week, I’m striving for a perfect week on Apple watch.  What’s a perfect week? Hitting my goals for exercise (30 mins); “moving” (650 cal) and standing (once every hour for 12 hours during the day).      I’ve hit a perfect week a few times in the Spring, going for it this week!

see you out there,
– Jenn

Week 6: marathon is like grave digging

I started a new audio book this week and in the opening scene the main character is digging a grave and compares it to running a marathon. It takes longer than you think (yup), it’s takes all the strength you have and you have to finish it (yup n yup). I’ve never dug a grave, but this sounds right. From Something in the water, by Catherine Steadman.

Yep. That hole is getting dug. There’s a point in every marathon that I’ve run where you are over the whole thing but you’ve just got to get it done. Usually it’s mile 20 for me, but sometimes it’s mile 14 and you just have to “suck it up” as a friend of mine would say.  And btw this is a really good book so far, i’m really into it!

On to the update. Planned 27 miles / actual 33.5.

Monday: Orange Theory fitness at 0530. Gotta do it as painful as it is on Monday morning.

Tuesday. Track workout on my treadmill. 2 x 1200 and 4 x 800. I’ve gotten into running intervals on my treadmill especially with the hot weather and it’s one more hurdle to go to the local high school track. And most often the track is crowded with high school sports or other folks. Treadmill takes out the guesswork- 0.5 miles in 4 mins. I can do that or fly off the treadmill trying.

Wednesday– OTF

Thursday. Saunders 10K. Start time 6pm. I think I’m done with evening races in summer. I kept under 9 min miles (barely) but was way off from hitting a PR. My PR is 53:15 and I ran a 53:37 in June. This race was 55:37, plus 2 mins from June but June was a regular 9am start and heat wasn’t an issue. I actually didn’t take any pics at this race but I won a T-shirt – they only give to the first 30% of finishers (I think). I also made it to May favorite burger joint before they closed at 8pm. Here’s a pic of the burger which was delicious as always.

Friday.  Whoa-TF.  Made it back from work to hit the 5:30pm Orangetheory class with Coach Nate. Working out indoors in the evening I can do. It was my beast calorie burn for the week

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Saturday Rest day and we made gluten free cream puffs which a) turned out great for a first time making them and b) were delicious!

Sunday: long run 13 miles

Felt pretty good on the long run.  I need to figure out a new hydration strategy for long runs.  My current belt is an Amphipod with the larger bottle, maybe 0.4 liter?  Stretchy belt, single bottle and a small pocket that does not fit my iPhone plus.   I ran this run with the water belt AND my Spi-belt with just the phone in the spibelt.  So if you see a dork running around with multiple belts for my stuff, that’s me.  I think i am going to try a Camelbak.   I also have a Nathan armband phone holder, but that chafes my arm on long runs. (whomp whomp).   The struggle is real!  equipment update next week!

Ready for another week! See you out there

– Jenn

Week 5 – More Orange, Less Running

I feel last week was a successful week despite again only managing 2 of my 3 training runs–but i did get my long run and tempo runs in, which were the most important.   i went to Orange Theory 4 days this week so that was probably plenty of treadmill sprints and probably also overdoing it on the cross-training.

Planned/ Actual:  27 / 26 miles

Monday.  OTF with coach Nate.  Good kickoff to the week.  Surprisingly the class was not full and only a “2 group” (24 or less people) rather than 3 group (25-36 people).

Tuesday. OTF.

Wednesday. Nothing / rest

Thursday.  Orange Theory Tornado Thursday!  This was a tough workout.  The ‘template’ for the class changes everyday but this one was a real sweat fest.   It’s hard for me to go over 400 calories in the 55 minute class but today I really pushed it to 450 calories and 10 ‘splat’ points (minutes in the orange zone = 84% max heart rate).

 

AND then I ran the Cigna corporate 5K in downtown Manchester, NH.  The race kicks off at 6:20pm which is better than 5pm but still hot and humid as hell.   The course is actually 3 miles of down hill (literally) and then 0.1 of directly uphill to the finish line.  I wish i was joking.  I had hoped to finish under 27 minutes but really felt the heat after mile 2.   My official time was 27:36.   I also probably didn’t need to work out at OTF in the morning and do a 1 mile warm up.  They opened up the fire hydrant at the finish line and that was refreshing! Happy that  I averaged just under 9 minute miles.

Aspirational goal:  I’d love to get a race photo where my feet are not BOTH touching the ground—where i actually look like i’m running.   This one was the best one and my fire hydrant selfie.

cigna5K-2018

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Friday.  OTF session #4 this week.   Had a chance to do the 8am class with my workout buddy John.  We don’t get to work out as much anymore since i am always in the 0530 class and John does not do 0530.

Saturday.   Several things tried to derail my long run.  Rain, overall feeling of malaise, I overslept and my iPad was not working (I was going to run on the treadmill to get over the rain problem). I borrowed my husband’s iPad and ran 13 miles. I started a new series, Sharp Objects on HBO. I’ve read the book, but I’m finding the series incredibly slow. Perhaps because I know the story.  Funny story, my iPad was not working at all, would not connect to the internet to stream anything, get email, check the weather, nothing.  I was super annoyed.  Fast forward to Tuesday and I was looking at my xFi app (xfinity wifi app) and saw that i had ‘paused’ my iPad to test out the feature.  Pausing any device blocks it from using the web.  So yeah, I blocked my iPad, forgot about it, then got completely annoyed the thing wasn’t working.  classic.

Sunday. Rest. And we made and ate a peach cafloutis! It’s a thing and pretty delicious! See you out there, – Jenn