Sundays are for … Rambling

In an effort to keep me going with my regular blogging, I do have a few topics I want to talk about. However, I’m just not in that focused mindset tonight. Instead, I choose to ramble on about what I’ve been doing lately.

The majority of my free time has been devoted to running or training my puppy (who’s no longer a puppy) and spending time with my senior puppy. It’s been too hot outside to bring any of the dogs along with me during my runs, but I do let them join me for my post-run cool-down walks. They seem content with that. My mileage is beginning to pick up, with my midweek short runs being anywhere from 3-5 miles. It’s getting tough squeezing them in with my already full weekly schedule. So far I am managing. Something’s going to have to give though IF I DO get in to the Laugavegur Ultramarathon for next year!

Today I enjoyed a little over 6 miles on foot with 3 great people!  Holy cow, was it humid!  It was apparently only about 77 degrees, but the humidity was 88%+ and it didn’t take long for us to get drenched!  My hands actually started to get pruny around mile 3.

The rest of my day has been devoted to getting stuff together for round #2 of the Run for the Toilets.  Our first attempt was very lackluster, but I blame myself.  I didn’t have the time to prepare well, and it was in July.  There is SO MUCH going on in July for everyone.  If you have kids, you’re likely at the peak of your summer vacation.  If you’re a runner (not like me) you likely don’t want to run in 80 degree weather at 8AM with 78% humidity.  I am a rarity.  I love to run when it’s hot and steamy outside!  Granted, I tend to keep my distances short, or I take several breaks.

And this evening I decided to update my blog.

So there you have it.  My day on a web page.

Thanks for following along!

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Marathon Training

I had been planning on attempting my first marathon while I was 40. That didn’t happen due to 2 running injuries. The first was tendinitis in my left lower leg and the second was an ankle sprain in my left ankle. I spent many days, weeks and months cursing my body! But I did get in to see a Physical Therapist to learn what I was doing wrong in my running that was causing my injuries (the sprained ankle not being one in question…I stepped on a pinecone and wrenched my ankle due to my not paying close enough attention to what was in front of me).

My PT examined my gait as well as my hip flexibility. My hips were tight as could be! And my gait was all wrong because my hips didn’t move like they’re supposed to. My upper body would compensate for the balance required to remain in walking or running motion. After working through a few months of PT exercises I was ready to take on long distances again. Long distances for me being anything 5 miles or more. The farthest I’d ever run was a half marathon in April of 2015.

I started to plan my marathon options and training near the end of 2015. I really wanted to run the St. George Marathon, but that is one of those lottery runs so there would be no guarantee that I’d get in for 2016.  So I kept my eyes peeled, seeking out a run that I thought I would enjoy.

In November of 2015 I had met two new running mates, Becky and Sarah, through another runner friend of mine, Lisa.  Sarah was new to running and lived only 15 minutes from me.  I was so excited!  Finally!  A running buddy that lives nearby!  And to make it more fun, Sarah had signed up to run her first marathon, the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach.  Lisa and Becky were signed up for this run as well.  This was awesome because Sarah would need to run a lot for training which meant that it was that much more likely that we’d be able to run together frequently.  Additionally, I could get some marathon training tips by helping Sarah, and maybe get a better idea about when I want to give that milestone a shot.

After a couple of runs with all of these gals, they suggested that I sign up for the marathon as well.  We could ALL run it together!  I said, “no thanks.”  I thought that there was no possible way that I could be ready, mentally or physically, to run 26.2 miles by the coming spring.  I needed more time to prepare myself for that kind of a commitment.

So I signed up for the run a few days later.  They twisted my arm.  Though it didn’t take much.  I figured, why not?  If I sign up for it I will have to train diligently, and the bonus was that I’ll have a great support group to train with and on race day.

Training has been going quite well.  We were able to coordinate most of our long runs so that we could all train together.  I even met yet another running mate, Jen, who also had her arm twisted like mine and will be running Shamrock with us.  Sarah and I ran several of the shorter long runs together, and we were also able to meet up for a few other small runs here and there as our schedules would allow.  The long runs were definitely much easier and more enjoyable with the company of this crew than if I had to run them alone.  Especially during those times when conditions were much less than ideal.  We ran through rain, snow, wind and cold!

15 Mile Run in the snow and slush

15 Mile Run in the snow and slush

I did end up having to do the 20 mile training run solo.  Everything went okay up until about mile 17.  My hamstrings started cramping up on me and made it really difficult for me to push through those last 3 miles.  I managed to finish all 20, and then started to have thoughts like “how on earth am I going to be able to run 26.2 miles when I could barely finish 20?”  I was starting to worry, until the next day when I was still able to move and was without pain.  I’ll find a way to make it to the finish line, even if it takes me 6 hours!

On the shorter run days when my schedule wouldn’t cooperate with Sarah’s, I relied on CJ to keep me company.  He’s been quite the entertaining running partner!  I’d try to keep up with him on my speed training days.  On longer run days he’d wander off ahead and find surprises for me.

"Look what I brought for you!"

“Look what I brought for you!”

It’s hard to believe that this time next week I’ll be able to call myself (hopefully) a marathoner!  Whether or not I ever do another will be decided after I finish this one.  Stay tuned…

An Eastern Shore of VA Summer Sunday

This morning, CJ and I picked up our friends Melvin and Audrey for a trek “down the road” to Cape Charles. There was an event being held there this weekend, Friday – Sunday, called Bark in the Park at Bay Creek. Audrey and I are both dog people and both CJ and Melvin seem to enjoy the company of each other on little road trips.  It seemed like something fun to do.

When we got to the event site, we had a little giggle driving to the actual location.  It was located in a Golf Club community, and at first I didn’t realize it.  But by the second Speed Limit sign, I did realize that was what it read:

I can't drive 25!

I can’t drive 25!

24.  Not 25.  24.  And in the lower speed zones (sorry I didn’t get a pic) it was 18.  I had a chuckle and had to take a picture.  It’s not something you see every day!  Maybe it’s a typical speed limit for golf carts.  I don’t know.  No matter, it’s funny.  I’m easily entertained!

So the event itself was kind of neat, yes, but dull for us.  Maybe they had more going on Friday and Saturday, but today’s was highly uninteractive for poor CJ and Melvin.  We got to see some dock diving dogs do their thing and that was definitely awesome!  But I guess we were just hoping that it was going to be more your-average-dog-owner-and-dog-friendly than it was.  There weren’t any pet supply vendors nor any “things to do” for those of us that showed up with our dogs for fun.  Thankfully they were selling Brown Dog Ice Cream to benefit our local Eastern Shore SPCA.  Audrey and I had ice cream for breakfast, yes.  And it was mighty tasty.  The dogs even got to enjoy some peanut butter banana ice cream that they thought was delectable!  So the hour drive was still worth it!  Because we also spent a little time enjoying other areas of Northampton County.

One of the downsides to living on the Eastern Shore of VA (and any rural area) is that most businesses are not open late or on Sunday.  Unfortunately this was the only day during this event that either myself or Audrey was available to attend.  So we were hoping it would be more fun than it was to make up for not being able to visit some of our favorite places in Cape Charles.

After watching some of the dogs do their dock diving, we drove down to the beach.  The beach wasn’t dog friendly, but we wandered down the sidewalk checking out what we could for a short bit.  We found a shaded gazebo to cool down for a few minutes and took a photo op:

Photo op in Cape Charles, VA

Photo op in Cape Charles, VA

It was pretty toasty today, so we didn’t spend too much time wandering about as we didn’t want to have a couple of overheated dogs.  Or dogs with heat sores on their paw pads!  So we left, and headed back up the road.

On our way from Cape Charles to Accomack County we have to pass by Machipongo Trading Company!  A little gem of the Eastern Shore!  It was perfectly timed for lunch.  So we stopped and grabbed a couple of wrap sandwiches, a sweet potato biscuit for me, Audrey and I each picked out a mixed 6-pack of craft brews to bring home, and Audrey even picked up a cute dog toy for Melvin.  While we were there we ran into BethAnn of Eastern Shore Dog!  She is the one that got me and CJ hooked on K9 Nosework!  She is our Certified NoseWork Instructor, and a pretty great dog trainer in general.  We love her!

We grabbed our sandwiches to go and headed to Willis Wharf.  A quiet little area near the water where we ate our lunch picnic-style.  The dogs were able to hang out outside of the vehicle with us and enjoy new smells and surroundings.

After lunch we headed home.  CJ and I hung out at Audrey’s place long enough for she and I to enjoy a beer and chat.  Then CJ and I headed home and here we are.  It’s early afternoon and there are a ton of things I need to get done around the house.  I just wanted to sit down for a spell first and share today’s experience.

At the beginning of this post it kind of sounds like today was disappointing.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.  You see, that’s what I LOVE about the Eastern Shore of VA!  Even though our day didn’t go as we had hoped or planned, we found fun stuff to do and enjoyed a small part of what the shore has to offer!  It really is a pretty amazing place and I’m grateful to be a part of it.

~AnimalWhiz