And Now We Breathe…

Any of you that have been reading this for more than about a day know that this has been an incredibly trying, emotional, stressful, worrisome year for me and D.  Yeah, I’ve mentioned it a lot, but I’ve explained very little.

Everything was just hunky-dory until April.  When we left for our cruise, we were both happy and gainfully employed at full-time jobs that we loved.  Okay loved is a stretch.  We were both content and getting paid.

And then we came home from vacation to a whole new world.

We both got up and went to work on Monday morning, but only one of us came home still gainfully employed.  D was laid off.  At that point, I honestly wasn’t that concerned.  Y’all don’t know D.  This man can do ANYTHING.  He is the smartest, most multi-talented person I know.  He knows how to do everything.  Construction, cars, computers… and does it all like a pro.  So I knew he would find something.  Even if it took him a little while, I still wasn’t worried because I knew we could make it on my salary.  Sure we would have to cut back here and there, but we could make it.

That was Monday.  Tuesday, I received a letter in the mail from Human Resources.  I’ll spare you the whole thing, but here are a few loosely quoted excerpts.

“In accordance with the strategy recently announced, adjustments to your hours to match customer needs will be made.  Your office will become a 6-hour per day office.”

“The decrease in the operating hours of your office will be effective 9/30/2014.  However, you will remain in your current position title, occupation code, and grade with your current salary and office operating hours until that time, unless you pursue another career choice prior to 9/30/2014”

“Many employees will be affected, and we recognize that this can be stressful.  This notice is a part of our efforts to keep you informed and to assist you in making the best decision for you and your family.”

Now that doesn’t seem so bad on the surface.  But when you find out what’s involved…whoa.  Rather than just adjusting my salary from 8 to 6 hours, basically cutting my pay by 25%, they were going to reclassify my job, give it a new title, do away with the salary, and put me on an hourly wage making approximately $1.50 more an hour than I did on my very first day on the job as a lowly night-shift peon.

“…we recognize that this can be stressful…”  Well, THERE’S the understatement of 2012!

So D’s laid off, and I’m looking at a maximum of two years of guaranteed full-time employment.  Fan.  Fucking.  Tastic.

Luckily, D’s layoff lasted only two weeks, so that was definitely a good thing, but still there was the cloud hanging over our heads regarding my job.  We can handle D being unemployed for a little while, but it’s MY job that we depend on for the salary and insurance and such.  After being in my office for four years and making it my “home,” I had to start scrambling.  The thing is, the vast majority of the offices around here  got the very same letter I did, so I knew my opportunities were going to be few.  There were going to be a few positions opening up over the next few months, but there were a lot of people just like me (approximately 13,000 nationwide) that were going to be fighting for the few full-time positions that were left.

On August 25th, they posted the first round of vacancies.  As I suspected, there was one local to me, and two just inside a one-hour commute range.  The rest, as I have mentioned before, would have required a relocation.  But I simply couldn’t NOT apply for them.  I couldn’t allow myself to only put in for the three jobs around here.  Sure I was just as qualified for them as anyone else, but there were a lot of “anyone elses” competing with me, so nothing was guaranteed.  If I hadn’t gotten one of them and all of these other vacancies were filled and I didn’t at least apply for them, I’d have never forgiven myself.  So I applied for 17 of them.  My cutoff for this round was a 200-mile range.  I figured that was close enough that I could rent through the week and drive home on Friday after work and stay until Monday morning.  I still had until 9/30/14, so if I didn’t get one, I still had two years to broaden my search to places farther away, but I wouldn’t do that until I was desperate.

Last Thursday I found out that out of the 17 offices I applied for, I made it through the review committee to move on to the interview round for 10 of them.  The local-to-me office was one of them, along with one of the one-hour commute ones, and eight that were a good ways off.

The interviews were Monday and Tuesday.  Preparing for one interview is hard enough, but TEN???  That’s just downright overwhelming.  And the way they were doing it… all of those 10 offices fell under three managers, so when you interviewed with a manager, you were interviewing for all of the offices under him.  Luckily they were all done over the phone so I could have notes about all the offices spread out all over the desk in front of me.

My last interview was Tuesday at 11:00.  It was odd how much better I felt after that.  I was so relieved just to be done with the interviews.  I felt like they had gone pretty well, and yeah I was still worried about the outcome, but at that point I knew that I had done everything in my power, and had done it to the best of my ability.  If I didn’t get one of these positions, it wasn’t because I didn’t give it my all.  I was told during the interviews that the managers had to have their decisions made and submitted to the District office by close-of-business Friday and that I would hear something back no later than the following Tuesday.

Fastforward to Thursday.  I wasn’t expecting to hear anything yet.  I figured I would have to wait and wonder all weekend, so I was really trying not to think about it.  So there I was at work, doing my normal thing, when the phone rings.  It was one of the managers I interviewed with.  The conversation went a little something like this:

Manager:  Hey, Pam, how ya doing today?
Me:  Well, that depends largely on why you’re calling me.
Manager:  Oh, I just wanted to ask you a quick question.
Me:  Oh, okay.  What’s up?
Manager:  How would you like to work for me at _________ office?

It was the office I wanted.  The one 12 miles from my house.  The one that meant I would remain at home with my husband and my cat and my dogs where I belong.

Now I fully grasp what the phrase “weak in the knees” means.  In a split second, my legs almost went out from under me as I leaned my back against the wall and felt tears of relief sting my eyes.  It was over.  The worrying, the waiting, the limbo.  OVER.

He told me to try to contain myself the rest of that day while he notified the other applicants that didn’t get the job.  And I did.  Unless you count telling my husband, parents, sister, best friend, a couple of other friends, and a couple of close co-workers.

I feel like I’m back.  I haven’t been fully present for a long time now.  After holding my breath for five months, I’m finally able to breathe again, and do it with a smile.

CSA Update: You Win Some, You Lose Some

After a four (or five?) week layoff, our CSA pickups resumed a couple of weeks ago!  The fall crops have come in fabulously, and we’re back to the overflowing baskets like we had in the spring before our puny summer ones.

Week 15
In weeks 14 and 15 we’ve had three different squashes, chard, bok choy, cucumbers, apples, potatoes, eggplant, peppers galore (sweet and hot), arugula, and shitake mushrooms.  I fucking love arugula.  They could have given me a big bag of just that shit and I’d have been happy.  Spiciest arugula ever.

I used most of it making more of the same, but there were a few interesting things happening in the kitchen.  Week 15 had a few small red apples, but in week 14 we got several green ones.  Yuck.  I just don’t care for green apples at all, but I knew I had read that they were the best in apple pie, so on a whim that Saturday I decided I would try to make an apple pie.

At least my intentions were good.
Add caption
I used this recipe, and it was a complete and total flop.  The crust was a major fail, but that was no surprise.  I’ve never made a crust that looked pretty.  But the filling was just… DRY.  I thought that when I was mixing it, but hell, what do I know, I’ve never made an apple pie before.  I thought maybe the apples release their juices as they cook or something.  As it turns out, they do not.  It tasted okay, but it was just a little tough to choke down.  I bought some vanilla Rice Dream to go with it, and that made it edible, but I tossed out over half of it.  The best thing I can say about this pie is it made the house smell good.

And speaking of making the house smell good… CHILI!

I used Morgan’s awesome recipe as a starting point.  I’ve made that several times but changed a few things to use what I had.  I used the patty pan squash instead of zucchini, added jalapenos and a purple sweet pepper, even threw in some of the shitake mushrooms, but omitted the avocado and fake meat.  WIN!  Lip-scorching, asshole-burning hot (I may have gotten a little carried away with the hot peppers), but still a win!

And I made this with the rest of the shitakes!  Dude.  It was AWESOME.

Oh, and FYI, that “cheese” sauce is awesome on a baked potato too.

Tell me about your last kitchen fail!

Three Things Thursday

  1. I bought a pair of black CEP socks as the final piece of my Rock n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon outfit.  Yes, it’s still a month away, but it’s never too early to plan the outfit.  I wore the tech tee I bought for it on a run a few nights ago.  No issues there.  I’m set!  I’m still not sure how I want to approach this half.  I can’t decide if I want to race it or run it for fun and wait until the spring to go for a PR.
  2. I’ve gotten two estimates for having our tree that was struck by lightning cut down.  I’m in the wrong business!  The first guy told me $500 without grinding the stump, and I thought, “HA!  I’m getting another estimate…”  The second guy told me $850 to cut it down and grind the stump.  I wish the storm had just uprooted the damn thing.
  3. Seriously????  TWO PEOPLE have entered my Lavoro Designs Runner’s Necklace giveaway.  Go.  Now.  Enter.  Yes you.

Lavoro Designs Runner’s Necklace Giveaway!

Y’all have heard me mention my friend Shelly a few times.  Specifically her blog and her jewelry, Lavoro Designs.  Well, she is very generously offering to give one of my readers a custom-made runner’s necklace!

You get to choose the disk and bead color!  I speak from experience when I say she has just about any color of bead you could possibly want, and these are your disk choices.

If you want more than the one disk and one bead that your necklace will have on it, you can purchase additional disks here and additional beads here.  That’s what I did, and this is what I ended up with.  Awesome, right?

That’s my crappy photo.  Not Shelly’s.  Don’t judge her by my camera skills.

But remember!  The giveaway is for the chain, one disk from the selection pictured above, and one bead only.  Anything more than that is up to you and completely optional and at your cost.

You’ve got a few ways to enter the giveaway and will gain one entry for each one of these that you do.

  • Comment below and tell me what your custom necklace would look like.
  • Like Lavoro Designs on Facebook and leave a comment to let me know you did.
  • Spread the word on Facebook.  Be sure to mention @Lavoro Designs in your post so she can see it on her page for entry verification.
  • Spread the word here on Blogger.  Post about it or include the giveaway on your sidebar.  Leave a comment including a link to your post.

Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm on Monday, October 1st.  A winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, October 2nd.  The winner will have three days to respond or a new winner will be selected.  If you don’t have a blog that I can contact you through, please be sure to include your email address in your comment!  If I can’t contact you, I’ll select a new winner immediately.

Sorry, but Shelly only ships to domestic addresses, so no international entries, please.

And while you’re at it, poke around her shop–she’s got tons of awesome stuff!  Use code RUN10 at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase.  Specifically, be sure to check out her other runner-specific necklace!  (Yes, I have one of these, too.  I may have a problem.)

Two Down!

Did you see my 33 Before 33 post?  If not (and if you’re too lazy to click the link that I so conveniently just supplied for you) it was a list of 33 fun things I want to do before I turn 33 in January.  This weekend I crossed two things off that list!

#18  Go to a canvas painting class at the new place downtown.

Saturday was the first day of fall, and the canvas cafe appropriately hosted a class painting whimsical pumpkins.  It was so much fun!  There was one painting already done hanging up as an example, and the instructor painted another one in front of the class as she instructed us on what to do.

Who doesn’t have a mini self  photo shoot in their truck when they get somewhere early? It’s normal. Trust me. Hell, I was just excited to be going somewhere not in work or running clothes, with my hair looking decent and makeup on all at the same time.  It doesn’t happen often.
The arteests
While we were letting our pumpkins dry.

My friend Becky was in the class too with a girl she works with! A fun coincidence. She took this picture of me taking a picture of my canvas.

Getting started

At this point I joked that it looked like we were painting a picture of the red monster from Bugs Bunny.  Becky had no idea what I was talking about.  I was so disappointed in her.  I even googled it and showed her a picture on my phone and she still didn’t recognize it.  Please tell me you remember this character.

My finished product

Class photo.  Me standing on the far left, Becky standing on the far right, her other friend kneeling below her.

We had an absolute ball.  For 30 bucks, you just can’t beat it.  They even allow you to bring in your own wine!  Becky and her friend brought a couple of bottles and offered to share, but I knew I had a long run coming up the next morning, so I wisely passed.  I’ll definitely be doing this again though (maybe marking #17 off my list when they start doing the Christmas classes!), and there will be wine.  Oh, yes. There WILL be wine.

#5    Run from my house to another city.  It’s almost exactly 14 miles from my driveway to the Walmart one city over.  All of my runs start and end in the same spot, but I think it would just be awesome to tell people I ran from Town A to Town B.  I can totally do that during this marathon training cycle.

I knocked this one off on a 15-mile long run starting at my driveway and ending on the same highway 15 miles from where I started.  It was a fantastic run with some beautiful sights.  I’ve driven that stretch of highway hundreds of times and never noticed now pretty it is.  I had my phone in my SPIbelt and thought a couple of times about taking it out and snapping some pictures to share, but I just didn’t want to stop running long enough.  I was in my zone and loving it, and when that happens you don’t interrupt it.  On my final fuel break at mile 12 I took it out long enough to tell Siri to text D to pick me up in 30 minutes.  The only picture I took was of the city limits sign so I could post this to Facebook:

Hey, what’s the point of doing it if you can’t publicly brag about it on Facebook?

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 8

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  4                                      Tuesday:  Rest
Wednesday:  7                                 Wednesday:  Rest (notice a pattern?)
Thursday:  4                                     Thursday:  7 @ 10:56
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  4 @ 11:18
Saturday:  15                                    Saturday:  Rest
Sunday:  Cross                                 Sunday: 15 @ 11:07 + core and upper body strength

Total:  30 miles                                 Total:  26 miles

So the week didn’t start off so great.  Had I known on Monday what was going to go down on Tuesday and Wednesday, I wouldn’t have taken the scheduled rest day!  But I didn’t, and as I was so wisely told, 4 miles ain’t gonna make or break me.

I had planned on running 4 miles right after work on Tuesday.  Hell, I even made it as far as getting into my damn running clothes.  But it just never happened.  I had changed clothes at work while waiting for my last driver to return to the office (I can’t leave until I’ve cleared them.) only to get a phone call from her telling me she wasn’t going to get back in time for dispatch.  So instead of running, I got to take her shit to the out-of-town hub.  That made it after 6 when I got home.  Still time to get in a run.  And THEN, just as SOON as I got home and got dinner started, I got a text from my CSA buddy.  (There’s another member here in town, and we rotate pickup duties so we don’t both have to drive out of town to the farm every week.)  I had completely forgotten that she was picking up on Tuesday instead of Thursday this week.  SHIT!  So I turned the stove off and had to drive back to town again to meet her with my basket. That did me in as far as getting in a run on Tuesday.

Wednesday was another late day at work.  We’re in the middle of a big national two-week audit/inspection thingie, and it’s just a pain in the ass.  And I found out Wednesday I have interviews for SEVEN offices next week.  Can we say OVERWHELMED????  I just didn’t have the energy to even think about running.

Thursday was no less stressful, but I was to the point where it was either run or check myself into the loony bin.  So I ran.  Seven solo, slow, nonstop miles.  I had planned on doing four by myself then coming back to pick up the dogs for the last three.  But when I finished four, I just REALLY didn’t feel like turning into my driveway or dealing with any animals.  I was enjoying the quiet alone time, so I just kept going.  You know I’m in bad mental shape when I opt to NOT spend time with an animal.  But it was what I needed that night.  I came home with a clear head and a smile for the first time all week.

I made it up to the dogs on Friday by taking them out for two miles apiece and letting them lead.  We ran when they wanted to, stopped when they wanted to, and even ate a little deer poop.  Well, at least Bella did, until I realized what she was doing.

Saturday I worked all day.  I was only really required to be there about half the day, but I spent the other half in my office asshole deep in reports and figures and manuals trying to look over anything I think they might possibly ask me in these interviews.  The long run was pushed to Sunday, and probably will be for the remainder of this training cycle.  I just like it better that way anyway.

Sunday’s 15 were fucking glorious.  And I’m not even being sarcastic when I say that.  GLORIOUS.  It was 45 degrees when I started, and even though it was a pretty hilly, challenging route (for me), I finished it at a pace I was happy with, felt strong the whole way, and ran fairly even splits (except miles 5, 9, and 13 were a little slower due to walking as I fueled.  Funny how a great run has a way of coming around right when you need it the most…

33 Before 33

It’s no secret that I’ve been feeling pretty down lately.  As hard as I’m trying not to, I find myself focusing on the negative more than is healthy.  Focusing on all the things I can’t control and do due to whatever circumstance… lack of time, lack of funds, etc.  Laura inspired me with this post, a list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30 in October.  Nothing life altering or earth shattering.  Thirty very specific, very doable things that will make her happy.  Since I need something positive to focus on, I’m doing the same thing.  Except I’m already 30, so it’s 33 before 33!

  1. Go hiking.  We live about 30 minutes from some hiking trails (hiking trails–not suitable for running according to the park ranger that I asked at the headquarters when I stopped to get a map), and I’ve never been on any of them.  Fix that.  And see if the park ranger really knew what he was talking about.  Scope out possible running trails.
  2. Spend a Saturday afternoon checking out all the independently owned shops on court square downtown.
  3. Make a vegan dessert and sneak it into the family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner so they can eat it and then I can give them hell about it when they like it, completely invalidating their “My God, you must just eat rabbit food all the time,” way of thinking.
  4. Book next year’s vacation to the Dominican Republic with my bestie and her hubby!
  5. Run from my house to another city.  It’s almost exactly 14 miles from my driveway to the Walmart one city over.  All of my runs start and end in the same spot, but I think it would just be awesome to tell people I ran from Town A to Town B.  I can totally do that during this marathon training cycle.
  6. Take a vacation day just for the hell of it and do whatever I want to do that day.  And I’m not allowed to clean or do laundry or take an animal to the vet or get my teeth cleaned or any of that other crap that I always end up doing when I have a day off.
  7. Get a massage.  Most likely in conjunction with #6.
  8. Pick out colors to paint the living room, dining room/kitchen, and hallways.  If we get it DONE, even better, but I’ll be happy just forming a plan.
  9. Run a holiday-themed race.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all fall between now and my birthday, so surely I can find one of those!
  10. Volunteer with an animal rescue.  
  11. Go to a Trader Joe’s.  I’ve never been to one, and I hear people rave about them all the time.  There’s one a couple of hours from here, so maybe I can do this in conjunction with some Christmas shopping.
  12. Do something fun on New Year’s Eve.  We’ve spent the last three at home by ourselves.
  13. Channel my inner child and go play laser tag.  There’s a place here in town that opened a couple of years ago that has indoor go carts, laser tag, and all that other stuff kids (and by “kids” I mean 32-year-old women) like.  I’ve been wanting to go but I’ve been afraid I’d be the only adult there.  Screw it.  Go anyway.
  14. Go to a comedy show.
  15. Unplug.  Go one full day with no phone, no laptop, no Facebook, no texting, no TV, no Netflix.  Music is okay.
  16. Go to a second-hand store.
  17. Do at least one thing this Christmas season to bring joy to myself.  I’ve hated every second of the last few Christmases because of the added job pressures and financial strain.  I’m sure all that stuff won’t just magically disappear this year, but I will do ONE fun Christmasy thing this year.
  18. Go to a canvas painting class at the new place downtown.
  19. Go see This is 40 when it comes out.
  20. Also Breaking Dawn Part 2.
  21. Teach Harley a new command.
  22. Splurge on a pumpkin spice latte this fall at the local coffee shop.
  23. Go somewhere directly after work for happy hour.
  24. See a live band.
  25. Plant some trees in our back yard this fall.
  26. Read a book.  I’m open to suggestions.
  27. Go to a restaurant I’ve never been to.
  28. Have a sisters’ night out.  Or night in.
  29. Attempt to make an Indian dish.
  30. Swing in the park.
  31. Visit a different winery.
  32. Find a sitter for the animals and get out of town with the hubs for a weekend.  We missed out on our late-summer vacation, but surely we can sneak away for a couple of days.
  33. Do something with a friend.  I don’t care what–lunch date, movie, pedicure, whatever–just ONE thing with a friend.  
So there we go.  I’m already excited about making plans to do some of these things!  Ahhhhh, something pleasant to focus on.  Just what the doctor ordered right now…

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 7

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  4                                      Tuesday:  3 @ 9:21, 1 @ 10:44
Wednesday:  7                                 Wednesday:  4 @ 10:49, 3 @ 11:38
Thursday:  4                                     Thursday:  Rest
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  14                                    Saturday:  4 @ 10:44 + 10 min spin
Sunday:  Cross                                 Sunday: 14 @ 11:17 + core and upper body strength

Total:  29 miles                                 Total:  29 miles

I actually feel like I had a pretty solid week of training this week.  I kind of impressed myself on Tuesday.  I decided to run that 4 as a 3-mile tempo with a 1-mile cooldown.  When I first started out I felt kind of stiff.  The first mile was 9:47, but then I loosened up and opened up my stride.  The second mile was 9:14 and the third was 8:59.  That was the fastest 3-mile training run I’ve ever had!  Matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve EVER put up an 8 as the first number of any mile that wasn’t run during a race.

Wednesday called for 7 miles.  Those runs are crazy hard to me, y’all.  I’ve always been on my feet a lot in my job, but at the office I’m in now, on them all damn day.  I went out for four solo miles at an easy pace, then came home and got Bella for 1.5 then switched out for Harley for the last 1.5.  The farmers have been cutting corn in the fields by the road behind my house that I take them on, and all the spilled corn on and alongside the roadway has apparently been drawing lots of wildlife because both dogs were nose to the ground in full-on hound dog mode.  I let them lollygag, so the last three of that seven were pretty damn slow, but I was too tired to care.  I almost rather welcomed it.

Thursday I did a route inspection at work and spend the majority of the day cramped up in the back of a delivery vehicle.  I was beyond stiff by the end of the day.  No way was I running anywhere Thursday night.  Not that I would have had time anyway.  I had to go to KY to pick up my CSA basket now that they’ve resumed pickups for the fall crops.  It was 7:30 when I got home, and I was stiff, tired, and starving.  Rest day!

Saturday morning I made up Thursday’s missed four miles, keeping it slow and easy because I knew I had 14 coming up the next day.  Uneventful run.  However, I came home and hopped on the spin bike for what was supposed to be a 30-minute cross session, but remember that knee pain I mentioned a few weeks ago?  I could feel that pain every time I pushed the pedal downward with my right leg.  (I’m sure there’s a technical term for that motion, but I’m no cyclist, so I don’t know what it is!)  So rather than risk anything, I got off the bike at 10 minutes.  I still felt it a little bit throughout the day, so I iced it off and on and took one Aleve.  D saw me put the ice pack on it Saturday night and, knowing how much grief that knee gave me two years ago during marathon training, he pensively asked, “What the hell is that for?”  I told him it was just a little sore and kind of waved it off.  He went on to say, “If your knee does that shit again this year, you aren’t running any more marathons after this one.”  Psht.  I did him one better and said, “If my knee starts that shit again this year, I won’t be running THIS marathon.”  I will NOT go through that again.   But by the time I got up Sunday morning, it was good as new, so I went ahead with my planned 14.

I had planned to be out the door at 6:30.  But as we all know, planning and doing are two COMPLETELY different things.  In reality, I slept until 7:30 and dicked around the house until 9:00.  Lucky for me, it was overcast, and the temperature only went up from 68 when I started to 70 when I finshed 2 hours and 38 minutes later.  Still warm for me, but it could have been a lot worse.  Aside from that, it was actually a pretty damn solid run.  I filled my Fuel Belt with Nuun and brought along two gels, and that worked just perfectly.  I walked 0.1-mile at every mile and had a Vega Sport gel (review coming soon!) at mile 5 and a Gu at mile 10.  I finished tired and dripping wet, but smiling with gas still in the tank  and happy with the pace for the effort.

All told, it was an encouraging week.  And the cool part that  just realized?  This week I ran 29 miles.  My longest training week last time was 31 miles.  I’m almost as trained as I was last time and I’ve still got 11 weeks to go!  I know that doesn’t guarantee I’ll hit my 5-hour goal, but I’d say something would have to go drastically wrong for me to not at least get a PR out of it.

God, I hope I didn’t just jinx myself…

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 6

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  2-mile walk with D and the dogs
Tuesday:  3                                      Tuesday:  Rest
Wednesday:  6                                 Wednesday:  3 @ 10:12
Thursday:  3                                     Thursday:  Rest
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  9                                      Saturday:  6 @ 10:58 + a lot of walking
Sunday:  Cross                                 Sunday: 9 @ 10:36

Total:  21 miles                                 Total:  18 miles

Once again, I butchered the hell out of this week’s plan.  That’s just what happens when work gets crazy, which it is, and which it will be for at least the next month.  At the end of that month, it will either be better or much, much worse, but that’s a different post for a different day.  Right now we’re talking about this week’s running.

Monday was a rest day, but it was also Labor Day, so that meant D was home.  I sweet-talked him into going for a walk with me and the dogs.

Tuesday I didn’t get to run.  Let me rephrase that.  I didn’t WANT to run.  When you work where I work, the day after a holiday is always a bitch.  I worked late and came home mentally and physically drained and did not make running a priority.

Wednesday I had planned to do 6, but by the time I got ready to start the clouds were already rolling in.  I decided I’d take the dogs out and then finish out the miles by myself.  Bella and I did 1.5, and Harley and I just BARELY finished 1.5 before the storm was on top of us.  We were watching the streak lightning get closer and closer the whole time we ran,  It was moving a lot faster than I thought when we first headed out!

Thursday was another long shit-tastic day at work, and Friday it was hot and I just couldn’t get motivated to run when I knew it was going to be 20+ degrees cooler the next day.

So Saturday morning I ran an easy 6 to make that one up and then spent the rest of the day walking around at the lake and doing some shopping with my mom.

It was especially pretty at the lake Saturday.

I was actually looking forward to Sunday’s 9 since it was going to be in the 50s when I started running, but it didn’t really turn out as spectacular as I’d hoped.  But I had just run 6 the day before and then spent the rest of the day on me feet, too, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that my legs were a little tired.  And I still got hot toward the end.  No, 66 isn’t hot, but we’re already determined I’m a cold-weather girl.  Even so, this 9 was 30 secs/mile faster than last month’s 9 at approximately the same exertion level, so at least that’s progress.

Next week everything goes up.  My 3-6-3 mid-week runs become 4-7-4 with a 14-mile long run.  We’re getting into the meat of things now!!!

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 5

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  3 @ 10:35
Tuesday:  3                                      Tuesday:  Rest
Wednesday:  6                                 Wednesday:  6 @ 11:06
Thursday:  3                                     Thursday:  3 @ 10:35
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  12                                    Saturday:  Rest
Sunday:  Cross                                 Sunday: 12 @ 11:18

Total:  24 miles                                Total:  24 miles

I still didn’t do everything on the right days, but at least I did everything in the correct order this week!  That’s a first!

We’ll call Monday a fartlek.  That’s my new code word for “ran with my dogs,” who spend as much time sniffing, peeing, and pooping as they do actually running.  They’re too much for me to handle taking them both out at the same time, so I ran each of them 1.5 miles.  Since it takes each of them a mile or so to get in a groove we didn’t get much quality run time in.  My goal this fall is to build up their stamina so they can come on some of my longer runs with me, too.

Wednesday’s 6 felt HARD, y’all.  Like REALLY hard.  Then at about mile 5 of the 6 miles it hit me that I had burned almost as many calories as I had eaten all day in that run alone.  This was at 7:00 and I hadn’t had anything since a banana and a small pack of peanuts 8 hours earlier.  No wonder.  Plus I lost 3 pounds of sweat.  Literally.  I weighed before and after.  Ridiculously sweaty.

Thursday I was supposed to meet up with speedy run buddy, but she had to cancel on me this week.  And I was secretly kind of happy.  It was hot and humid as shit, and running at her EASY pace likely would have killed me.  The 10:35 I ran felt hard enough.  And my iPod was dead when I tried to turn it on.  UGH.  I seriously contemplated bagging the run at that point, but I didn’t.  I had to listen to myself breathe for 3 miles.  That drives me NUTS!  I don’t know how some of you people run with no music.  The repetitive sound of breathing and foot strike bugs the living piss out of me.

I planned to get my 12 in on Saturday morning, but I changed my plans when I found myself still awake at 2:00 am.  Rather than going to bed early Friday night, D and I stayed up late and spent a little much-needed QT together.  Definitely worth it.  🙂  So Saturday night I set my alarm for 5:15 with plans to be out the door by 6.  Well, my furry alarm (aka “cat”) went off (aka “demanded breakfast”) a few minutes before 5, so I went ahead and cut my alarm clock off and got up, only to find it pouring down rain.  When it was still raining hard at 6, I went back to bed for a couple more hours.  I’m all for running in the rain, but not HARD rain for 12 freaking miles.  Don’t you just HATE IT when you get a couple of hours of unexpected extra sleep???  Yeah, me too…

When I finally did get up about 8:30, it was only drizzling so I headed out.  Dear sweet Lord, it was steamy.  But at least the sun wasn’t out, so it was surviveable.  I didn’t start taking walk breaks until the halfway point, at which time I stopped in the park long enough to slurp down a Gu and drink some water.  I took my first walk break then at then at every mile till the end, ending up with an 11:!8 average pace, right where I want it to be, so I was happy.  Except for the underarm chaffing.  If you heard an unidentifiable noise around noon central today, that was me screaming in the shower.

Why doesn’t it ever look as painful as it feels?

So, y’all, I have a question.  I’ve been drinking Nuun and Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator after a sweaty workout, but I have still been craving salt like a MOTHER this week.  Do you ever have that issue during an extra especially sweaty few days of training?  I had to force myself not to stop and steal my neighbor’s horses’ salt lick today.