Mileage Recap ~ 4 – 10 June…Steady As She Goes

Happy Sunday Everyone!!

It’s been fairly uneventful this past week.  Always a bit of a drag coming off a holiday and a four-day work week to a full work week!  Not complaining too much – lol, but you get my drift.  It’s been so rainy here in the DC area.  It seems every time I want to get out it’s raining or the threat of raining.  It’s been slowing my outdoor game just a bit.  This week was good for miles.  I’ve been hitting the indoor bike on the rainy days and got in a small run.  I’m up to 11.5 miles on the indoor bike on the longer ride days.  I’ve been trying to do a little something every day in the mileage category.  On strength training days I try to get at least two miles in on the bike.  I can really see a difference and uptick in my running and cycling performance.  In the past I didn’t pay a lot of attention to strength training, just didn’t make the time.  I’m definitely making time for strength training now, even if it means fewer miles for the week.  The outcome is better.

This weeks miles came to 29.70.  I am 190 miles away from the halfway mark, with 5848 miles gratefully remaining.  How do you think I should celebrate my halfway mark?  I hope this finds you enjoying your June Sunday, rain or shine…steady as she goes!  Happy Miles to You!!

I googled steady as she goes…and this one came up!  It’s kind of catchy….

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 7 – 13 May… Mother’s Day 2018

Happy Mother’s Day!

Even though I feel the greeting card companies have created this day to sell stuff, and it worked, I still like to reflect on this day.  If you read the blog regularly, 11315 miles was created and dedicated for the purpose of honoring my mother Karen Ellen Dennis Mastromonico by celebrating one mile for every year of life.  I have been walking, hiking, running and cycling for a while now in honor of her memory.  It has been an adventure participating in different events, celebrating the joy of life in the memory of someone who died so young.

Like most women (moms) I decided to treat myself to a little Barnes and Noble from time to time.  I surely don’t need Mother’s Day to buy books and it only becomes better when I have my monthly free café drink.  There I was walking the tables stacked high with books, with many of the tables touting various slogans ~ Mom will love this for Mother’s Day, Books only a Mom could love, or Books of Inspiration.  I rounded this one table and there were all sorts of girl power books.  For some reason I was feeling the girl power and came across books with quotes from famous women and then there in the middle of the table was the book, Mother Teresa, Her Essential Wisdom.  I am fascinated by nuns and who better to read about than Mother Teresa.  I was particularly interested because I had read a story a while back that for the last 50 years of Mother Teresa’s life, she struggled with a dark presence in her faith.  It really is an amazing story.  She mentioned that she had a calling within a calling, to serve the poor and the unloved.  It is hard to imagine that she dealt with a dark side of faith with such a strong calling to serve the poor.  I find it fascinating that some women have this calling and give up so much to serve others.

Mother Teresa was the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity.  She was born in what is known as modern day Macedonia but spent most of her life as Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  A funny story about the Missionaries of Charity.  While Pope Saint John Paul II was alive I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the Pope’s Easter mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.  Pope John Paul II was in failing health and was relegated to a wheelchair.  When we showed our tickets to the usher, who looked like CIA, we were led down the main aisle towards our seats.  I was a little embarrassed as we kept moving forward.  I thought surely at any moment we would tuck into a pew.  Nope, kept going forward passing people who were now staring.  The closer we got to the altar I was really embarrassed.  Why are we so close?  The next thing I know the nice gentleman sat us down in the seats that surrounded the altar.  In other words it was like stage seating at a concert.  I couldn’t believe it.  Finally, the church began to fill and there were priests and nuns all around us.  The priests looked the same but the nuns all had on different garments of their order.  Well lo and behold a group of nuns sat behind us that were talking and laughing like teen-aged girls.  I turned around and it looked like there were 12 Mother Teresa’s behind me.  It was quite a sight.  They were pumped and when they wheeled Pope in, the house came down.  It was their rock concert.

The mass began and if you ever have been to a Catholic Mass you know we get our exercise.  Up, down and kneel.  We weren’t in a pew but folding chairs and I was constantly getting bumped or pushed by the people behind me.  It was starting to get a little annoying until I realized that one of the nuns behind me was so short she couldn’t see.  She was jumping and tucking her head in between to see past me.  She couldn’t have been more than 4 feet and some change.  When I turned to look at who was making all that commotion she just gave me this electric smile filled with so much joy and a mouth full of some other language of which some words that spilled out in broken English ~ I’m sorry.  I realized that this was her event.  I spoke and gestured to her and her friend “let’s change seats” and I thought they were going to explode as they muscled me and my daughter out of the way.  They wasted no time switching and there I was in the middle of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity.  It was quite the experience.  Women are tough…even if they’re small.

I was able to get in a sampler of miles this week.  I ran, cycled and walked.  The weather was rainy and cycling had to be indoors.  On Saturday I went for a nice hike on the Mt. Vernon trial.  It was hot an muggy but all the trees are flowering and the wild flowers are gorgeous.  I finished 29.08 for the week leaving me with 5,952.18 gratefully remaining.   If you are celebrating Mother’s Day and your mother is living, never miss a moment to let her know how much you love her.  Even if it is just a simple text.  Life has a way of changing quickly.  I leave you with this:

The woman is the heart of the home.  Let us pray that we women realize the reason of our existence:  to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world.

~ Saint Teresa of Calcutta

 

Happy Miles to You!!  This song seemed appropriate for those who have lost their Moms, written by John Lennon, Julia, who passed away in 1958..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 16 – 22 April…Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day everyone!  I didn’t even know it was earth day until I saw it on Google.  They have a great video on Dr. Jane Goodall.  I can’t think of a better representative for Earth Day then Jane Goodall.  I love all the work she’s done with primates and her overall sentiment that the earth is something to love, cherish and pass on to our youth.  If you would like to know more about Jane go to this link: http://www.janegoodall.org/

There are a lot of “days” out there to be celebrated and I imagine for most people some of this stuff is just a waste of time and money.  Maybe so in some cases, but I think earth day is a great day to reflect on how we live in our environment now and what can we do to improve and consume less.  At least I do. This weekend’s weather was true spring weather in Alexandria.  Blue skies, a little nip in the morning with it heating up later.

As I ran my longer run this weekend I took in the beauty of the trees, river, blue bonnets, and even the dandelions. Birds are singing and squirrels are running about the woods.  People moving freely and enjoying the warmer weather, just being. I know what you’re thinking…oh brother, so it was a nice day, so what?  Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been in places, countries if you will where it wasn’t such a nice day.  Actually, it was quite the opposite.  Despair, anger, death and hopelessness.  I think often about my time in Somalia and it’s sad to know that there are places and people in this world who can’t go out and let the beauty of the world wash over them, even if it’s just for an hour.  These are the things I sometimes think about trying to log these miles. Thoughts that I will always carry with me until the end I guess.   If I were Queen for a day I would change these things if I could.   So, out of all the days Earth Day is a bit of an enigma.   It’s fun to talk about, but harder to walk the walk.  As I age I always think, hmmm, do I really need that or turn off the lights, recycle, conserve water.  I ask myself how much is enough.  It’s hard because no one wants to be uncomfortable, including me.  I do try though in mind, spirit and action.

This week I picked up more mileage than the prior week.  The plan was to cycle today but “bad kitty” (aka my bike) wasn’t having any part.  Cleaned her off and started to air up the tires only to find a valve issue…again.  I guess the trek across country was a little more damaging than I previously thought.  This weeks business will be to find a cycle shop and take her in for some my need professional maintenance.  I ran instead.  Started the week off with a longer run, indoor cycling on Thursday and a longer run today of 3.5 miles.  Slowly bringing the distance back up.  I felt good today ~ pain is low and I ended up running 10:39.  Not too shabby but the annoyance level was a little high because of the bike.

Total mileage came out to 17.63 this week.  I’ve already passed March numbers and I’m not even in the hotter weather and have a week to go!  I have 6030.71 miles graciously awaiting me.  I hope this post finds you well enough to go outside, close your eyes and let the beauty of this earth wash over you.  Happy Earth Day.  Happy Miles to You!!

If I could change the world…I surly would.

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ Apr 9 – 15…Spring Fever

It’s hard to believe I’ve only been in D.C. a little over a month.  It seems a lot longer and when I look back at all the progress I’ve made from moving into a new place, starting a new job and just getting back into the swing of things it’s a little surreal.

I’m ready for Spring!  How about you?  There is a lot of push and pull in the weather.  This past week has shown some nice temps with Saturday reaching 87 degrees according to my thermometer and now it’s in the 50s and raining!

This week was an improvement in miles ~ and that’s what it is all about!  I was able to take a few walks at lunch time when the weather is good. Sometimes it’s hard for me to pull away from what I’m doing and leave during lunch.  I’m sure a lot of you do the same thing.  But it’s important to get away from that computer and if nothing else take that walk to clear the mind and stretch the legs.  Now if I can just eat my lunch away from my desk I’ll be doing well!

This weeks mileage was a good combination of treadmill, walking and running.  The nicer weather had me out after work with a few runs in my local area.  I have been slowly pushing the length of each run trying to get to a nice solid running mileage during the week and then pushing for the longer runs on Saturday.  I started with 2.5 and then a 2.75 during the week and ended with a 3 mile run on Saturday.  For the most part feeling pretty good.

I was so pleased with Saturday’s run.  First time in a while I took the water bottle and gels with me.  The best part about the run, well the two best things, the trees and the weather.  It was so wonderful to hear the leaves rustling the wind, the birds singing and the sun shining on the water.  It put me in a great mood.  Even better my pace for this run was 10:04.  Haven’t seen that for a long time!  Overall felt good and a positive end to the week.  Something to smile about!

You can see the trail and winds 8 miles both ways.  I can’t believe I got a shot and no one was in it.  There are a lot of people on the trail.  Looking to practice on this running and cycling.  I completed 12.53 for the week, up four.  I am very close to breaking 6K!  It’s going to happen people.  I have 6048.34 miles gratefully waiting.  I hope this post finds you “spring” ready!  Happy Miles to You!!

Spring always gives me Fever…..

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ Winter Trail Frosty (WTF) Half Marathon

The first word is always the hardest to write.  Hmmm, ok let’s go for the utterly mundane and say I have completed my third half marathon.  I would have tried to bang this post out yesterday, but I was tired and hungry.  Oh so very hungry.  Where to begin…”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”  Oh very sorry, wrong story.

On Sunday I completed the Winter Trail Frosty Trail Half Marathon that took place in Papago Park in Tempe, Arizona.  I get a lot of junk email for different types of races. I searched for races that take place in January in Arizona and the WTF came up.  I thought it would be cool to do one closer to home.  This race is hosted by 131 Event Productions, who sponsor similar races across the country.  I guess it would be safe to say they are a franchise.  I signed up originally because I wanted to do another trail race.  I have done a few trails before with the last one, the Grand Canyon Half, in 2016.  So, I was ready to try another trail run.

About a couple of weeks before the race an update was sent out that mentioned something about insurance and injury and that the run wouldn’t  take place through the park but around the lake area closer to the city.  I was surprised and a little put out but it was a chance to get some miles in and to focus on PRing my fastest half time.

I had been good with hydrating and eating the whole week.  Focusing on good energy foods.  The morning of I did have this:

No, it’s not just ordinary toast…it’s cinnamon sugar toast.  I had it growing up as a kid and had been craving it so I made it for part of my breakfast.  The other part was a Kashi cereal that tastes like Captain Crunch™.  Don’t judge.  Packed about two gels for every two miles and headed out the door around 7:15.

Arrive at the venue and begin to drive to the parking lot only to see cars driving back.  A sure sign that there are no more parking spaces.  I was beginning to realize that  maybe I should have left a little earlier.  I found myself parking in a park down the road with others about a mile from the start.  Park the car and realize that I need to step up my game.  In other words, girlfren you need to start wogging to the start line.  I needed to get there because I wanted to get one last bathroom break in before the race starts.  Get to the start line and look for portos.  What!!??!!  Looking….looking…oh there…they…are….  WTFrack!  There were only six portos and the line was out the…well you know.  I mean come on!!!  Six?  Heck, women alone need six!  Now we have to share them?  So, there I stood and I’ll tell you I wasn’t happy.  If I someone shooting the shyster I know my ice eyes were beaming through the back of their heads.  STOP TALKING….”five minutes till race start” the announcer bellows.  No way was I going to get this done.  I made the call to get out of the line and go back to the start.  Once the race began I ran to the porto and waited for six minutes, then I started my race.  Yeah.  Awesome.

The race

The race was a combination of a quarter and half marathon.  The half marathoners (me) got to do the course…you guessed it, twice.  As my readers well know, there is nothing I hate more than a lapped run.  It’s boring.  Did I say it’s boring?  But sometimes you just have to deal.  I start running down a small path and the next thing I know it’s starts to go through the park!  A real trail run.  Uh, hmmm what about the insurance blah, blah, death, blah blah…???  Yes, ladies and gentleman, we have ourselves a real trail run. I was happy, but a bit shocked.  I sure as heck wouldn’t have worn my Hokas ya’ll!  But there I was hopping over rock and sand.  The majority of the trail was single person wide with a few concrete cross overs and some flat areas.  You know what that means right?  Here’s a hint:

Can you guess?  It was a caterpillar run.  Meaning, you’re only going as fast as the person in front of you.  A lot of stop and starting.  Awesome!  One thing I will say, the difficulty was higher than the Grand Canyon Half.  You had to be careful where you stepped and it was constantly up and down.  I was very careful on descending because I didn’t want to hurt my knee again.  That’s what got me in trouble last time.  It was a tough course.

Here is a picture I took on one of the few places that was flatter.  Mind you I was already halfway up the hill.

Support

This is where things get a little iffy and I really want to say something about this because I have noticed this happening in MANY events I’ve taken part over the years.  For the first part there was heavy support.  The trail was marked okay, not great.  They marked it with bright green tape (the route to follow) and orange tape (where not to go).  There were volunteer guides to set you on the right path at some of the more tricky parts.  After the first round, i.e. the quarter marathoners completed their race, the volunteers magically disappeared.  Now you would think, well you ran it once surely you would know where to go.  Not so.  Runners were getting tired and paying attention to foot strike.  I saw a lot of people get turned around at some of the more confusing points, myself included.  Then the ultimate no no, they took away some of the water points.  Look, I didn’t bring my water belt.  I train with one, but I look forward to running a race without one, especially if there is water support.  Right or wrong, we can discuss that in the comments section.  A lot of people had their belts or hydration packs.  Maybe I should have brought mine.  The water points were about every two miles for the first part of the race, but seemed to disappear the second half.  This is what I find at a lot of these events.  You have the fast people who will finish the race in one hour, but then the other 90% don’t.  The other 90% paid for this experience too and therefore, the event managers need to follow through and support until the last man or woman crosses the finish line.  Some of these races are expensive.  This one wasn’t too bad, but still the support needs to be the same for all.  Unless there are some stipulations in the event rules that state support cuts off after a certain time, support the runners.  I was really counting on one of the water points only to find it packed up and gone.  Not cool.  I will be writing 131 productions.

The finish

The finish was great and well supported.  They had lots of food and water to refuel and the bling wasn’t too bad either.  The medal was crazy big and a little heavy!  I wonder sometimes if you can get addicted to the bling.  My body was a little sore, but overall this was a pain free race!

I was pleased with my performance.  I was going to say I didn’t PR but I guess I did because this was my second trail half.  I ran 3 hours and some change for the Grand Canyon and I finished this run at 2:59.  Granted the elevation differences are not the same with two very different environments.  I came in 9th in my age group for this run.  Don’t get excited, there were eleven in my age group.

After the run I was really hungry even after eating cake and a banana at the finish, so I treated myself to Culvers.  I hadn’t been there in a while and needed something good!

And here I thought they did the pickle like that especially for me….no, it’s everyone.

I completed 27.45 miles this week bringing me to 5110.36 miles completed in my journey with 6204.64 gratefully remaining.  I hope this post finds you surrounded by the people you love.  Happy Miles to You!!

Once again I felt like I was on the moon.  I got in the car to go home and this was on the radio….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 8 – 14 Jan WTF Half Marathon Training…Fly Me To The Moon

I had a good training week.  Meaning, I did everything I set out to do.  Whether that means I did it well, you can judge for yourself:-) Definitely more miles this week but I still didn’t get out on the bike.  Definitely, will be changing that next week for sure.

I have added three to four days a week of weight training to my program and happy to say I have stuck to it.  I have always lifted weights in the past, but sometimes when you’re training for a long race it’s easy to put that on the back burner.  Getting in the car, driving to the gym, etc, etc.  So this year, I’m determined stick with it and this week was a banner week.

Started off with two smaller runs of around 3 and 4 miles each.  The weather is still cool here (in the morning) and I was able to keep a good steady pace around 10:37.  I was happy with that pace because it’s usually up around a 11 or 12 minute pace.  One of my running goals is to keep the pace constant around 10:30 this year.  Working hard!

My long run was not so great.  What’s good about writing about all this is, if you’re a runner or cyclist, you can feel good in knowing that some days aren’t the best.  Everybody has those days.  This weeks long run was around 6 miles and I waited a little later in the day to run.  First, I was tired.  Didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before and I’m an early riser.  Around 5 am.  I have four cats, so you get my drift there.  I could really feel the drag after mile two.  Legs were just heavy.  After around mile two it was the run some walk some day.  Second, it was hot.  Oh yes….it’s back.  I started off without any water.  You know it’s funny.  During this time of year when it’s colder in the morning and hot in the afternoon I always play this game with myself.  Hmmm, can I do it?  Can I do it without water?  And always the answer is…….NO!  Every dang time.  But that doesn’t stop me from going and trying.  It’s only six miles.  My mind says ~ “you got this girl” and my dehydrated mouth says “no, no you don’t”.  On one of my routes I make a pass by my house at mile two and I swung in to get my water belt.  It was thrown in the back of the pantry looking at me like…yeah that’s what you get.  So I strapped her on and finished the run.  Good grief.

Normally Sunday is my rest day, but I wanted to keep going.  One thing I do like hiking.  I went out to one of our trails today and decided to do the mountain rim and one of the trails to the base of another mountain.

Mountain ridge.

I started off by climbing a couple of the mountain ridge lines.  I know this picture doesn’t really look high but I was pretty high up!  It’s nice to be out there because even though there are plenty of people hiking, cycling and running you still have plenty of path to yourself.  Plenty of time to think and just be.  I originally thought to bring music but decided against it.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes to disconnect is the best option.  I like hearing all the sounds, especially any animals that might want to sneak up behind me!  For the most part the path is good footing.  When you are climbing and descending it can be a bit daring!

 

 

 

Even when a cactus is dying it is pretty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat down to do some journal writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And my favorites…

It’s like I’m on the moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hiked a total of 4.63 miles this time around.  I logged a total of 19.22 miles this week with 6253.12 gratefully waiting and 3111.53 for the year.  (I hear you laughing….don’t count me out).

I do find some beauty in the desert.  Sometimes when I’m walking or running it’s invigorating other times when I look out its easy for a wave of sadness to rush over me.  I sometimes see just rock, but I know there is beauty in all things, sometimes you just need to look a little harder to find it.  When I got back in the car to go home this song was playing.  I laughed because I thought it was appropriate.  Happy Miles to You!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mileage Recap ~ 25 – 30 Sept…”Your Feet Will Take You Where Your Heart Is” – Irish Proverb

Week 12 Dublin Marathon training is complete.

It’s hard to believe that October is here and my race is in less than a month.  I can remember just thinking about it as something that I wanted to just do, now it’s coming to pass.  I’m looking forward to it, but I don’t think I’ve reached the point of excitement just quite yet.  I’m excited ~ but not crazy excited.

One of the neat things about running this race is I am “meeting” different runners through Instagram who are running the same race.  I get to see their progress and the different types of training they’re doing to get ready.  Even funnier there is this one gal I follow and she is from Dublin and she will be traveling to run the NYC marathon on November 5th.  I’m going to Ireland and she is coming to NYC.  She is doing really well with her training and looks fabulous. It’s fun, almost like an electronic pen pal.  If you want to follow me on Instagram, it’s #11315miles.

It’s also been fun watching my running friends complete their marathons.  I love the bib tracking.  It’s almost like being there watching the race.  You can get notifications sent to your phone so even if you can’t “be” there physically, you can spiritually!  Lots of fun and I would suggest doing it to show your runner support.

This weeks training was fairly decent.  I’m on schedule and I can really feel myself getting stronger as a runner.  In other words the training is paying off.  I feel I could be a little bit stronger.  The training this time around has proven to be a little more difficult than in the past.  As I typed that sentence I was like…uh what?  Yeah, sometimes you don’t see the results you hoped.  Or maybe it’s the dreaded “A” word.  Never!  I refuse to say it’s age!  One thing for certain is it was just harder this time around.

The shorter runs were really good this week.  I had a steady pace around 11:21 and my breathing felt strong with no stopping.  This week’s long run called for 18 miles.  The first half of the run was really, really good.  I didn’t stop for a break and ran straight through for 12 before I started slowing down.  It’s funny to see the metrics on my Garmin because it shows where it went to crap.  What did me in was the foot pain. This time both feet.  Foot pain led to sporadic breathing that led to some upper back pain.   I would have to double over a bit every now and then just to stretch the back out.  I bet some people driving thought I was nuts.  It’s the damn shoes,so I bought new ones today.  Definitely its own blog post.  My arches were hurting so bad that I just couldn’t wait to sit down and rub them and get some relief.  I wasn’t going to be denied any miles so I kept on going.  I completed 18 miles with an average pace of 13:26.  Not sexy, but I did finish and that means more than my pace…at the moment.  One more long run then the taper begins!  Which means no more really long runs until the actual marathon.  I feel I need to have a taper party!!  I finished 32.66 for the week bringing the monthly total to 132.72 miles.  I have 6445.39 miles left on my mileage journey and I’m “feelin good”.  Happy Miles to You!!