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Staying Tough, Mentally

It’s almost August – I really don’t know where July went. I suppose I spent it logging miles, nursing my little hound, and teleworking a lot.

As of August 4, I have exactly a month until my Half! I’m excited and looking forward to the challenge. The miles we’ve been logging (seven last weekend, six the weekend before, and five the weekend before that) have bolstered my confidence. Yet, I’m also scared out of my mind. 13.1 miles is a long way. I felt so accomplished last Saturday when we finished our seven mile run. As I cooled off and walked home with Hubs, both sipping our iced coffees, I realized that we will be running 6.1 MORE miles on the day of the race. Right now, that feels inconceivable.

I know I’ve come a long way during training. Where I am now, two miles, three miles, even four miles don’t seem like long runs anymore. These are no longer “stretch” workouts for me — instead they’re my evening runs. It’s what I do when I get home from work. I love that feeling and it’s so nice to see what my body can do. Around Memorial Day, I was worried about finishing a 5k. A month before that, I could have maybe run one mile (if chased). I really love the level of fitness I’m working toward. I love that I’m healthy enough to get out and sweat after a long day at work. It’s nice to know I’m pushing myself again.

I’m trying hard to stay positive and motivated. I try not to think about the mileage increases each Saturday. I just think about the next mile. However, I do catch myself sometimes thinking about Saturday’s long run in “how in the world am I gonna do that?!?!” terms. But, I get out and I do it. Having Hubs with me is super helpful and really spurs me on to keep running. I really enjoy the time we get to spend together on our runs. Even when we devolve into grunts and panted questions about which direction we’re going next, seeing him running beside me motivates me to keep going.

Have you trained for a distance race? How do you stay mentally tough during training? On race day? I’ll take all the advice I can get!!

Also, y’all, I am suffering from the worst planning mistake ever! My passionate love of college football (especially my alma mater, the University of Georgia) has collided with this race I’ve been planning for the past seven months. I failed to look at a football schedule. 😦 Georgia’s season opener, at the Georgia Dome, Saturday night prime time, on ESPN, is the night before my half. *Insert huge sigh here* I anticipate struggles sleeping anyway, so maybe it will be nice to have the tv on in the background as I try to fall asleep? Or, there’s always the chance I get sucked in, get worked up, and get little to no sleep the night before I run 13.1 miles. If that happens (and if we lose) I will be VERY, VERY cranky. All right, I’m done being melodramatic. It’s one football game, but I’m committed y’all!

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A week in numbers

0 – the number of staples in/on Buddy (yesss, staple free!)
1 – night spent on amazon.com “trading in” our old textbooks for amazon credit. (this is awesome, you should do it. ask me if you have questions!)
2 – cups of coffee consumed this morning (also see: number of pills Buddy is down to each day)
3 – runs so far this week
4 – miles run yesterday without stopping
5 – bags of dog treats for our spoiled dog (all different too, spoiled!)
6 – food trucks I anticipate eating at/sampling from this evening at TRUCKEROO!

It has been a pretty good week! Buddy “looks awesome” according to the vet and has almost completed three weeks of crate rest. He’s such a patient little dog.

I had a few good runs (including a four miler yesterday where I never once wanted to quit), enjoyed book club (book review coming soon), my old boss’ wife had  their baby on 7-11, and we got a package in the mail from my parents for Buddy (spoiled)! Tonight is Truckeroo and tomorrow is Dan and Kelly’s annual luau. So excited. Hubs and I are also aiming for a 5.5-6 mile long run tomorrow morning. Hopefully it goes as well as yesterday’s four miler!

On the not so good side, I apparently spent a lot of this week eating poorly and fooling myself into thinking I was eating well. Whoops! This morning, the scale was up and I definitely had a moment of WTF?! I mean, I’m working out more than I have in a long time. Scale, why do you betray me?! Then, I started thinking about what I had to eat this week: BGR for lunch Monday, a 7-11 day slurpee, chinese food, beer, wine, ice cream, pizza and more wine at book club, etc. Oh, my bad, those aren’t health foods?!


(Source.)

Oh, yeah, I guess not. That probably explains my situation this morning. So, I’ve scaled back my grand ambitions (mac and cheese, grilled cheese, poutine, empanadas, tacos, cupcakes) for the food trucks tonight and have tried to make more logical decisions. Hubs has generously offered to split poutine with me so I can still have it – I married him for reasons like this! I’m still looking forward to trying some new trucks and it’s not like I’ll never have another chance to try the grilled cheese truck or the mac and cheese truck. Delayed gratification, right?

Coming next week: more cooking, a book review, and hopefully a report of a successful long run!

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Stress (Less)?

Here’s a little Anna factoid for you: I am prone to anxiety. Fortunately my anxiety is not debilitating and panic attacks are rare things for me. But, I do seem to love a good worry. I really envy people who are able to look at a situation, consider the facts, and move forward. Also, the people who don’t “what if” a situation to death. However, along with many wonderful traits, my family also carries a predisposition to anxiety and mild depression. Yum.

My current worry? We took Buddy for his first follow up appointment this afternoon. Buddy is looking great – aside from his wound on his tummy. I’ll skip all the nasty details. Basically, the vet wants us to hold a warm compress to his wound for five minutes or so 3-4 times a day. This seems to feel good as Buddy settles down as soon as the warm compress hits his skin. Poor little guy. We have another follow up appointment on Thursday. From that point the vet will decide if he needs to have his wound cleaned and closed with staples or stitches. This is where I start to worry things around in my mind.

Worries: I don’t want him to get an infection. I don’t want him to be in pain. If he has to have the wound closed by the vets, what is that going to cost? If they use staples, how long do those have to stay in? Right now, Hubs and I have enough telework approval to stay home with him until the first set of staples (from all his cuts) come out. But, if he has to get another set of staples, I don’t know if one of us can stay home with him. He should be fine in his crate — but I worry he’ll get his e-collar hung up on something or find a way to lick/nibble at his wound and staples.

End crazy. Okay, so I need to leave this alone. I don’t know if he’s even going to need staples. We could wake up in the morning (after three hot compresses and another good night’s sleep) and his skin could look healthy and pink. It could look even better Thursday morning. And, if that’s the case then I’ve wound myself up for no good reason.

I think I’m a little tense tonight because Hubs is going into work for the rest of the week and I’ll be home alone with the little guy. I’m so fearful of hurting him somehow or exacerbating his injuries. I know he’s a tough little guy and I’ve handled things with Hubs around often enough to know what I’m doing with Buddy-care. But it’s still nerve wracking.

Blah, okay, fretting over with. Thanks for joining me on my crazy train this evening. In other, actual blog related, news — my house arrest with the hound is paying off in some ways! I’ve cooked — Banana bread and two new recipes (Mama Pea’s Mmmm sauce and a Creamy Taco Mac that Brie shared), worked out (a run, a strength training session, and a hill incline session), and devoured my book club book. (Too bad Buddy’s Thursday follow up appointment falls during book club. Oh well. Hound first, wine second.)

Hubs just leaned over and asked if I was “blogging about my feelings.” 🙂 He can always tell when I’m worrying something around in my mind. Time for me to put this worry aside, get my little dog to eat dinner, and read some more in my lovely book club book. (Review coming shortly!)

 

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Onto the next one

Better late than never! It’s time to welcome July with a quick look back at June.

1. Get my mileage up! (2/4) I did pretty well with this for most of the month. Even though my mileage wasn’t as high as it needed to be, I was pushing for long runs and running more often. The last week in June definitely suffered after Buddy’s accident. I’m looking forward to really kicking up a notch in July.
2. Weight train (at least once a week). (4/4) They may have not happened once a week as planned, but I did get (at least) four strength training sessions in. Sometimes it was just arms, sometimes it was the P90x “Ab Ripper X” dvd, sometimes it was both. I can’t wait to continue this and see my running and fitness continue to improve. 
3. Read three books that are non-fiction or classics. (4/3) I crushed this pretty much. Books: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball, The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
4. Get Laptop fixed. Seriously, Anna. I did get an external hard drive for our fading desktop computer and I got a wireless USB thinking that might fix our laptop connectivity problems. But, unfortunuately, it still doesn’t recognize our home wireless even though all our other electronics do. 
5. Make a savings plan for summer fun trips. Hubs and I knocked this out pretty quickly. We’ve been following it successfully as well. 
6. Make four new recipes. (3/4) Again, I think I could have nailed this if we hadn’t spent the past week in a daze/frenzy after Buddy’s run in with a car. Still, three new recipes isn’t shabby! Quinoa salad for lunches, pound cake, and Thai Chicken Soup — I would make all of these again!

Time to look at July!
1. Try out four new recipes. I already have at least one in mind for next week! If we’re staying in with the hound for “house arrest” we might as well eat some good things!
2. Run 45 miles in July. After my Saturday run, I “only” need 42.5 more miles!
3. Read six books, three non-fiction or classic. The Kindle has been spurring on my reading. And with “hound house arrest” I should be able to read even more.
4. Share at least two book reviews. I’ll aim for our current book club pick and something perhaps a little fluffier.
5. Complete six strength training sessions for the month. I like seeing my body get stronger and my running get better.
6. Post at least 10 times this month.

What are you up to this month? Any suggestions for books to read or recipes to try? I’m all ears!

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Mid Year Resolution Gut Check

I’m a little astounded that we’re halfway through the year already. It feels like Christmas was a few weeks ago — how has the summer gotten here so fast?

I figured it was about time to give myself a little look in the mirror and see how I’m doing with my resolutions.

1) Re-introduce weights.
I could be doing so much better with this. I love lifting. I just need to remind myself of that. This month, I’m re-introducing it in manageable, baby bite sized chunks. Then, next month I’ll add a little more. I want to be toned and feel great come September for the half (more on that in a minute) and our beach trip.

2) Run a half marathon. 
I signed up for this race! Yes, I actually did it! And, to boot, I got my husband and two good friends on board as well. I’m registered, we have a hotel room, I’ve got a training plan, and dammit I am going to do this!

3) Vary my reading.
I’ve been doing pretty good with this little goal. I’m realizing that I’m definitely better at knocking out non-fiction as opposed to classics. That’s a pity because there are so many classics I want to read. I’m hoping that having a Kindle (and free access to a lot of these books) will improve my classics record.  Don’t forget to add me as a friend on Goodreads! I love stealing book ideas from people. 🙂

4) Write letters.
I did pretty well with this for the first few months. Then, I got a few letters back and saved them with the intention of responding. They are still sitting in my cubby of the living room table. Whoops! I’ll work on sending some post cards from my trips this summer!

5) Get student loans under $X.
This is going very well. We are chugging away. I did some calculations yesterday about how much we’ve paid off in the (just under) two years we’ve been paying on the loans. I am astounded by how well we’ve done. Definitely on track here to meet my goal and pay off the loans before this time next year!

6) Cook!
Doing very well here too! Hubs and I have definitely been entertaining a lot. I’ve been picking a lot of our recipes for our meals and am generally starting to feel very at home in the kitchen!

7) Stop wasting time.
I gave up Facebook for Lent and that helped with this for a while. Lately, I’ve found myself killing time again lately. Refreshing facebook, twitter, and news sites. Re-checking blogs that I just looked at. Mindlessly watching TV that Hubs has on. I’m trying to avoid these time sucks but by the time I realize what I’m doing sometimes, I’ve wasted half an hour! Must stop wasting time! 

I’m satisfied with that. Looks like 3 goals could use some improvements and 4 are coming along swimmingly! Thankfully no huge failures on the horizon here! How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions?

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I Love June

Why is that? Because June brings my Birthday! It’s today, in fact! 🙂 I love birthdays and 26 is not disappointing!

It’s also a new month (and the halfway mark on the year). So, let’s see how I did in May…
1. Create half marathon training plan.
Check! I’ve been just about on pace with my long runs, but my overall weekly distance is NOT where it should be.
2. Complete six strength training work outs (2/6)
Obviously I, once again, slacked off here. I’m finding it very hard to make time in my workout schedule of runs to strength train, but I know it’s key to a successful race and fitness program. Sigh.
3. Read six books (6/6) 
Check! I’m reading about five simultaneously right now…
4. Of those six, read two classics (1/2) [Mansfield Park] and one non-fiction (2/1) [Bossy Pants, The House on First Street] 
Okay, so I didn’t read two classics and one non-fiction. Instead I read one classic and two non-fictions. I think that counts!
5. Beat my previous 5k time during this month’s 5k.
Going into this race, I was worried about finishing. But, I actually PR’ed! My new 5k best is 34:39. Onward and upward!
6. Eat at 3 new restaurants (3/3) [Lincoln – DC, Captain Billy’s Crab House – Southern MD, Eventide – Arlington]
While I visited three new places, I only had a drink at Eventide. I’m still gonna count it though!
7. Be more consistent with blogging! Post at least 16 times this month. (4/16) 
Toot toot! Here comes the fail boat… I suck at blogging lately. I think this is because my laptop doesn’t recognize the wireless in our apt anymore. I have live writer on that computer too. Our desktop is slowly dying and takes FOREVER to load pages. The combo = very little blogging motivation.

On Deck for June:
1. Get my mileage up! (0/4)
Right now, my training plan has me running 15 miles a week in addition to my long run. I’m definitely not there and I need to work on it! I will be aiming to run 10-15 miles each week.
2. Weight train (at least once a week). (0/4)
This is totally doable. If I don’t want to weight train and run on the same day, all I have to do is get myself into the gym or in front of the TV with my kettle bell ONE TIME a week. Do it, Anna. You will thank yourself.
3. Read three books that are non-fiction or classics. (0/3)
Again, trying to keep my reading varied. Hubs got me a Kindle for my birthday and I’ve downloaded some of the free classics. Hopefully that will help!
4. Get Laptop fixed. Seriously, Anna. 
I just need to take that sucker to best buy or something and get someone to tell me why the computer knows the wireless is there but refuses to connect to the internet.
(While I’m there, I should probably buy an external hard drive to back up our failing desktop…)
5. Make a savings plan for summer fun trips.
Hubs and I are fortunate to be going away for at least a weekend in July, August, and September. Super stoked for that, but since money doesn’t grow on trees we need to figure out how we’re going to pay for all this.
6. Make four new recipes. (0/4)
I cooked up a storm last month and want to keep that going! Being in the kitchen is becoming more and more relaxing for me.

Well, that should keep me busy for a month… especially considering everything else that’s going on!
– My 26th Birthday!!!
– Awesome friends (Dan and Kelly) move into our building
– Crawfish Boil with the Louisiana State Society
– Husband in Boston for a week
– Hosting book club ladies
– 4 Mile Twilight Race (my first four miler ever!)
– Finishing one project at work and simultaneously starting another

Hold on y’all! I have a feeling it’s gonna be a good month!

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Intimidated

Hi friends,

Let’s have a truthful moment, shall we? I am scared out of my mind about this half marathon in September. I mean, I am excited, but I feel woefully unprepared.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not good at not being good at something. Got that? I struggle with running, or really getting back into running, because building up to three miles is hard. I huff, I puff, I turn red, I get tired, I sweat prolifically. And, a lot of times I just quit. This is not a good way to train for a half marathon.

Husband and I met up with our racing buddies: Thea (who has run countless full and half marathons) and Nick (one of our groomsmen who has agreed to take on this challenge as well). Over a nice brunch, Thea mapped out (via crayons on a paper table “cloth”) a training plan for us newbies. It’s very gradual and builds a great base. Each month we increase our weekly mileage and we have a long run of 12 miles three weeks prior to the race. It is a wonderful training plan and I am excited to complete it.

Starting on the other hand, that scares the bejesus out of me. After hurting my back (and re-hurting it on Friday) and not running for two weeks, I am petrified. I am going to suck. I need to accept that. It’s gonna be hard. But, I need to get myself into a good head space. I need to harness some positive thinking and bolster myself up to keep pushing when it’s hard and not just stop to walk. Training isn’t supposed to be easy so I need to accept that challenge. I don’t want to keep coming back here week after week and blogging about how I’m going to start training next week, the week after, on Saturday, next Sunday, whatever. The race is less than four months away. I could probably run a mile straight right now. Maybe a mile and a half if I were chased.

Training starts now – no matter how hard it is!

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