Saturday, April 12, 2014

Predicting my finish for the 2014 Hershey 10k

Another race, another series of unexpected challenges...

Tomorrow I run the Hershey 10k for the second time.  This was one of my favorite races to date when I participated in April 2013, and this year, I'm pretty pumped for the course again.
What does not have me excited is the weather forecast (reaching 80 degrees with sun and humidity), and some serious soreness in my back, shoulder and legs.

I do okay with running in the heat, but only AFTER I have been running in the heat for a few weeks.  To go from a race when it was in the 20s to a race where it was in the 40s and raining to a race where it is HOT (all in a span of just under 1.5 months) is an adjustment, to say the least.  Add to that my right shoulder, neck and back are feeling cruddy, and my legs are a lot stiffer than normal.  BUT I'm still excited for my run... just a little wary.

Given these obstacles, my time goal is up in the air.  I absolutely want to beat last year's time of 1:00:37.  I would love to come in under 55:00 (8:52 min/mi pace), which seems mostly realistic given my 44:29 finish at the Back on My Feet 5 Miler two weeks ago (if a little lofty when compared to the 56:00 time predicted on the Runner's World calculator).

And if I'm being really ambitious, a time of 54:20 (8:46 min/mi) puts me on track to finish sub-1:30:00 at Broad Street next month (a definite goal), while 52:10 (8:25 min/mi) is in line with a sub-4:00:00 marathon run (hahahahahahaha).

All that said, I am most concerned with finishing strong and healthy so that I can take on Broad Street next month.  But a time of 54:17 (would really make me happy...

~Tomato Face

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Week in Review: March 31-April 6, 2014

This week was so-so in terms of training.  On the days that I did work out, I made a good effort, but I also took several rest days, just because I felt like it.

I won’t be able to be so carefree once I’m in marathon training mode.

You read that right.  MARATHON.

Yep, I signed up for the 2014 Philadelphia Marathon.  It’s happening.  November 23.  Aggggggghhhhhhhh!

I’m not going to think about that right now….

So instead, let’s recap last week:

Monday: Butt Bible, Level 1 lower body—20 minutes

Tuesday: Running, easy/no stopping, 5.37 miles @ 9:55 average pace—53 minutes

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Running, tempo, 5.02 miles @ 8:50 average pace—44 minutes

Ack, this run was faster than my race two Saturdays ago!  Why couldn’t I have set this PR on a timed course???

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: Running, long with hills, 8.04 miles @ 10:17 average pace—1 hour 22 minutes

+ Hiking, 5 miles—2 hours

+Yoga for Runners—36 minutes

Sunday: Rest day

And the way I kicked off this week:

Oh yeah, I was the first person in line for Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day at my local scoop shop.  I tried the Hazed and Confused flavor, and it was fab.  If only my motivation for healthy living could be as strong as my craving for ice cream…

~Tomato Face

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Spring Hike and One Windy Run

I had one very active Saturday (which is a good thing, because I took a rest from regularly scheduled exercise on both Friday and Sunday).

In the morning, I went for an 8 mile run on the Schuylkill River Trail.  It was unpleasantly windy out there, so I took full advantage of frequent walk breaks.  With a few hills thrown in, this was one challenging run.  I somehow managed to pull off a 10:13 pace, but I was definitely sweating and gasping all the way.

Normally I take a nap after a long run (hey, a girl needs her sleep!), but my friends and I had made plans to hike the Wissahickon, so after a quick shower and a Dunkin’ Donuts stop, we were headed out of Center City.  

You may remember that the last time I went hiking, I was scared out of my mind.  This time around… well, it was much of the same.  This time, however, the girls and I hiked to the peak of the mountain (yeah, yeah, so I guess technically it was a hill) and covered about 5 miles of trails, many of them technical.

We had to ford the creek at one point, and I totally dunked my whole left foot in the water.  Klutz for life.

Top of the mountain to ya!

Lauren was here, I swear!  Photographic proof!

We started out easy enough on a flat and wide horse trail, but while paths in the Wissahickon are well marked at their bases, they quickly become confusingly intertwined, and within seconds, you can be tripping over roots and rock faces and skimming ledges positioned high above the creek (true story).

There were several heart pounding moments on the trail (for me, obviously, not for my adventure-loving pals), but I made it out safely, albeit drenched in stress sweat (you’re welcome for that visual).
It was lovely to be out in nature, but I’ve had my fair share of precipices for 2014.

Next time I'm staying at sea level with this dude.

Today, I had half of my hair chopped off (boo) for Locks of Love (yay), and to ease the pain, I feasted on banana and chocolate chip pancakes (another yay).

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, so it’s back to the grind and city life tomorrow.  Guess who’s gonna be dreaming of woods and carbs all week long?

~Tomato Face

Saturday, April 5, 2014

On the Shelf: March 2014 Reading Roundup

I am steadily cruising toward my goal of reading at least 50 books this year.  So far we’re only a quarter of the way through 2014, and I’ve already made it through 18 titles.  Score!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I’ve never been a big fan of YA fiction, but the Hunger Games series really had me hooked.  By the time I had finished the first two volumes, I was desperate to know how it all ended for Katniss and company (spoiler alert: one of my favorite characters died.  As did several others.).  Mockingjay was certainly different from 1&2, and I’ll be very curious to see how Hollywood converts this into a two-part movie.  Just like the titular games of the series, Mockingjay’s war/revolution setting is brutal, shocking and disturbingly realistic.

Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul by Deepak Chopra

I became intrigued by Ayurveda after being forced (yes, forced) to watch the “Yogi Cameron” program on the Veria Living Channel.  I rolled my eyes at first, but the principles of Ayurveda, a traditional form of Indian medicine, make total sense.  Ayurveda holds that external and internal factors contribute to imbalances within the body (and imbalances= disease), but a combination of diet, exercise, meditation, strong digestion and regular sleep can soothe common woes like psoriasis, anxiety and IBS.  Chopra’s book is principally concerned with the wellbeing of the mind, and he espouses meditation and positive thinking.  While this book was a little too flowery for me (so much “love yourself” talk), I’m sure I’ll appreciate it more on a second go-around.

Anticancer, D. Servan-Schreiber

Let’s just call March the month of health-concerned reading.  Piggybacking off of my interest in Ayurveda, Anticancer promotes some of that practice’s traditional remedies (turmeric, green tea, meditation, yoga) as scientifically proven disease-fighting weapons.  Salt, sugar and fat (see more below), are, obviously, dangers to the body, as are stress, inconsistent sleep and environmental toxins (you hear that, Philly smokers???).  Rather than scaring me (again, see below), Anticancer made me feel powerful, like I might have a say in how my body ages and fights disease.  I will probably read this again soon, just to make sure I fully absorb all of the concepts.

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

This definitely qualifies as light reading, but after studying so many texts about life/death/illness, I needed an entertaining piece of fiction.  If you’re a fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series or ofhumorous crime fiction, you should like this.  Although more of the same, number 20 is one of the more enjoyable editions: bounty hunter Stephanie shares close quarters with Ranger (not gonna lie, I’m team Ranger, not team Morelli) while chasing a mysterious giraffe (!) and a beloved but shady Mafioso around Trenton, New Jersey.  

Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

Moss’s exposé on the American processed foods industry is utterly terrifying.  Of course, we all know on some level that Cheez Its, frozen pizza and Lunchables are unhealthy, but this book proves just how dangerous and evil our everyday meals are.  Turns out that the natural human tolerance for salt, sugar and fat is sky high, and our lovely food manufacturers have manipulated those hungers into deadly yet oh-so-craveable snacks, beverages and entrees.  Scary, scary stuff.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

After seeing this novel on so many “best of” lists, I decided to give it a try (I’m also a sucker for a pretty cover, and this book’s got it).  Interweaving the stories of three connected women, The Husband’s Secret plays like a classier version of my current television obsession, Pretty Little Liars.  It’s smart and engaging and a surprisingly quick read.  

Thanks to the wonders of library digital book downloads, I’ve had access to dozens of bestsellers.  Unfortunately, my digital downloads disappear into nothingness after a 14 day borrowing period, and so I’ve been left, stranded, in the middle of multiple books over the past month.  I’m hoping in April that I get to finish Five Days at Memorial and The Global Achievement Gap, and that I am able to start/finish titles like Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Empty Mansions, and Bachelor Girl.

What are you reading?

~Tomato Face