Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another green day!

One more green day on the calendar after running 3mi last night, despite having much to do. It makes it that much more satisfying when I make time for it during a busy schedule. I still have to improve my percentage of skips. So far, out of 12 planned workouts, I have skipped 5. I didn't get off to a very good start -- especially last week with Christmas preparations and whatnot. I am half tempted to "make them up" by skipping my rest days, but I know that's not smart.

I ended up doing quasi-speedwork last night after the first 1.5 miles, mostly because I got bored. I counted out lightposts -- walk half the distance to the lightpost, "comfortably hard" (~9:50/mi) for 2 light posts, and "hard" (~80% effort, ~8:15-8:30/mi) for 2.5 light posts. It kept things interesting, at least.

Tonight is rest (yay!) and I think we are going to go out dancing. Double yay!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More green.. not the spendable kind

So, in my color-coded accountability chart, days highlighted in green mean that I have completed the day's planned activity, in full, on the day it was actually scheduled. Well, I have a bit more green on my calendar than I did last time I posted, which makes me happy. The schedule called for bridges on christmas day and a 30-40min bike on Friday.... RIGHT. I did nada on Christmas, and decided I needed to get out and run, so I replaced the bike with just a 3mile run. Best to finish off the week well, right?

I know it's only 2 days into this week, but I've been a good girl so far. 3 mile run on Sunday at something like 10:18/mi pace. Pilates last night (in between fits of laughter while my pooch tried to "help" me with my rollovers. haha). The DVD I followed has a pretty intense leg section, and I was a little bit worried I'd wake up this morning completely unable to walk.. but I feel ok. I can tell I worked them, but I'm not gimpy or overly sore. Which is good, because I have to run 3 miles tonight. Score. Gotta get more green! I'm determined to finish this week up according to my plan!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


So, Devon says I have to update my blog. Actually, she said that over a month ago, but I didn't have it set up to email me when I got a comment, so I had no clue until now. Whups.

Let's see here...
-Ran the Native Sun 10K, which is the race I was training with my coworker to complete without walk breaks. Initially she claimed she'd get me to run it without walk breaks and at a pace of 10min/mile. She had me drinking the koolaid for a little while, but about a month into our training, I had a feeling I had to take it one step at a time and focus solely on getting rid of walk breaks, and let the pace fall wherever it needed to fall. I completed my no-walk-break goal, despite ridiculously heavy rain before the start of the race and for the first mile. It was drenching rain, to the point that my socks and feet were soaked and squishy, AND I left the ipod in the car so I wouldn't risk ruining it. Generally if my ipod runs out of juice on a run, I take it as a sign and go home. So to say conditions were less than ideal would be an understatement. But the show/race must go on. Dave was really great -- he had some friends of ours come out to the race at mile 2, mile 4, and the finish to cheer me on. It was such a great surprise, and it meant even more knowing that they went out and stood there in the rain. Florida may not be the place I want to spend the rest of my life, but I have met some really great and caring people here. I don't remember what my pace was.. I'm going to bet it was somewhere around 10:50 to 11 mins per mile. I clearly would've liked faster, but speed wasn't the goal.. So I was pretty happy.

After the 10K race, I will admit without reservation that I slacked in a big way. I took 2, maybe even 3 weeks with no running whatsoever. Bad, bad BAD Jen. I should add that I haven't yet really worked crosstraining into my routine, so when I say I didn't run, that means I did NOTHING.

I was trying to decide what my next goal would be. Did I want to focus on getting faster, and just train for speed for a few months, maybe pick a 5K in Feb or March and shoot for a 9:30/mi pace? Or did I want to train for the Gate. The problem is this -- at my current pace, I do not enjoy running long distances (I stop having fun around 2 miles, I'm ready to stop at 3 miles, and by 5 or 6 miles I'm hoping for a drive-by shooting). So part of me didn't really want to train for a 15K, knowing I wouldn't really ENJOY it. Completing it wouldn't really be a worthwhile goal, because I've done it before. I had almost talked myself out of it, but here's the thing.... I really LIKE the river run. It's the biggest event of the year for the J-ville running community. And since I've gotten involved with Team in Training, it's been fun to go to this event and catch up with people who I might not have seen in a while, and meet the new folks. Granted, I could always just GO and not actually RUN... but somehow that feels like cheating.

So, I'm training for the river run. To make it more of a challenge, and to keep me focused, I actually printed out the little 12-week training plan. The last 2 times I did it, it was 2 months after a half or a full marathon, so I didn't really need to train UP to the distance. But now I do, and I think the training plan will be a good little motivator. I modified it a little bit -- switched up the days of the week to fit my schedule, upped the mileage a bit to include an 8mi run -- and printed up a few copies. Then I devised this whole color-coding scheme of accountability.. Workouts I complete as scheduled get highlighted in green. Workouts I reschedule are highlighted in blue. Workouts I fail miserably at and just plain skip get highlighted in purple. I will admit that there is as much purple as there is green so far. I got into a habit of running 2x per week and doing no crosstraining, so it will take a decent time commitment to stick to this schedule. And maybe that's what I need. Even with the running I've done, I still have about 20-25lb that I would like to lose. I want to go to the doc to get my thyroid/hormone levels checked, because it seems to me like I should be losing at least a LITTLE weight by now.

Anyway, that's where running stands at the moment. My goal is to complete this whole training schedule, and the run, without walk breaks. We'll see if that's realistic once I hit the longer miles.... and the Green Monster... :)

There has been a decent amount of activity in this part of my life, and I am pretty excited about it. After doing Devon's engagement pictures in November (my first real solo shoot not revolving around my canine child), I had several people contact me to express interest in having me shoot them -- 2 "trash the dress" shoots, and one family session with a coworker who just had the sweetest baby boy. So far one of the TTD sessions has been scheduled, and we're waiting until after the holiday madness to schedule the other one. Whether the family session will happen any time in the near future, I guess only time will tell. I'm still not really charging at this point, since I'm doing a wide variety of things, so most everything I do will be for the first time. I don't feel comfortable charging someone when I can't give them even the slightest idea of what the final product will look like. I wouldn't fork over cash for "what's behind door #2," so I certainly wouldn't ask someone else to. I also am not ready to do weddings yet. I still have more to learn, both camera technique and just the "making it work" logistics of the day. I think that will come as I assist with more of them. I've been really blessed to bump into a wedding photographer on The Internets who has been ridiculously helpful and has let me tag along to shoots and weddings while I do my best to soak everything up like a sponge and not screw anything up too terribly!

I took some pictures of Clancy by the christmas tree, and there were a few that turned out really well. I showed them to a few people at work, and I got an email back from someone saying "That picture is breath-taking. You're in the wrong line of work, Jen!" That pretty much gave me the warm n fuzzies. I think it's still a long way off to make that leap (I sometimes wish Dave were independently wealthy so I could just make the leap and force myself to sink or swim), since I am an extremely practical girl by nature.... but I actually see it as a possibility now. Not a definite, but not a far-flung fantasy either.

One step at a time..

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Catch a Little Raindrop

Oh, and for those wondering about the name of this blog, it's in honor of my grandfather who passed away almost a year ago. It's the first line of a song that he wrote, that my dad used to sing to my brother and me when we were little. I thought it was fitting since I did all of my marathon training in his honor last year.

My blog has arrived!

Soooo I decided to make a blog! I've done them on and off for about 7 or 8 years, but I never really keep up with them. I have a couple of things worth keeping track of lately, namely running and possibly the progress toward becoming a full-time pro photographer. .. Though I'll probably end up making a separate blog for photo stuff once I get to the point that it would be something clients wanted to look at, as opposed to just something for friends and me to keep track of things. The only photo news I have for now is that I'm about to be BUSY, and I can't even tell you how much I love that! I have 2 weddings in the next three weeks with the fabulous Kylene. While I've been helping with lighting and whatever other odds-n-ends on a couple of shoots, this will be the first time that I'm actually shooting for a full day o' fun, and I am PSYCHED. I also have an engagement pictures shoot on the 9th with a knottie, and I am super SUPER excited about that also. The only other "news" is that I've been thinking about names for the business. I guess it's time I get official-like. I think it would be hilarious to call it "Oh Snap Photography," but I might limit my clientelle to people with really bizarre senses of humor. I don't know that that's the worst thing in the world, but definitely not the smartest idea. haha. Awww poop, someone already called their photo business that. lol.

So let's talk about running!! My running season typically starts about this time each year, with the months from March-October being reserved solely for indoor activities. This year, however, I actually began running in mid-August, mostly just to torture myself. :) I've been an "endurance athlete" for the past 2 years using the "Gallowalk" method of run/walk intervals. On my birthday in January of 2007 I ran the Disney Half Marathon, and then in January of this year I ran the Disney FULL Marathon. At which point I decided I wasn't running another full marathon until I could shave at least an hour off of my time. 6 hours is just too long to do any one thing aside from sleep. And the only way to shave that kind of time is to quit the walk breaks. Some people can still go pretty quickly with the interval walk breaks, but for me, I knew it was time to thank Mr. Galloway's program for its help and move on.

And so for the last few months I have been moving on! It's bizarre and funny and frustrating for me to struggle to run 4 or 5 miles after completing a marathon less than a year ago, but this is truly like starting from scratch. When you don't have that security blanket of a walk break every 6 minutes, you have to completely re-learn your body, how to pace yourself appropriately, how much you can push without getting hurt. I wish I could ay it was a really quick process and it was all going swimmingly, but it's not! I'm definitley improving, and I'm proud of myself for sticking with it (I won't lie; I'm pretty much a quitter. If it doesn't feel good and I'm not good at it, I typically find something else to do.). I still have a long way to go, but I'll get there. My hope is that it will finally cool off and that I'll be able to run a bit better as the humidity tapers off a bit. My challenge has always been breathing. My greek thunder thighs will carry me along fairly steadily as long as I can keep them oxygenated. It's my lungs that cry and gasp and go home. But that's getting a bit better too.

Today was my first race of the season, the Race for the Cure 5K (3.1 miles) in honor of breast cancer awareness month. I made the mistake of looking back at my time from the same race in 2006, when I first started training for the half marathon, and I completed it in 33 minutes even. So that became my first goal: beat that time! I knew I would be disappointed if I didn't, just because I know I didn't do much training before that run. I'm pretty sure it was already cooler out by this time that year, but there's nothing I could do to change that, and I didn't want to cut myself any slack. The 2nd goal was to come in under 31 minutes, a 10 minute mile. This would be a stretch for me, since I know I can run 2 miles at a 10 minute pace, but I always have to cut back after the 2nd mile if I want to go more than another block without kicking the bucket. So it was a long shot, but I just tossed it out there as a brass ring.

We (my coworker/training buddy) kind of crippled ourselves at the start of the race by starting too far back. Seasoned racers know that the slower you are, the further back in the starting chute you should start. These were clearly not seasoned runners. And that's awesome, obviously I'm not a running snob and I think everyone should come out and do a run. But I do wish that the organizers would have told walkers that they should start at the back.... they didn't. As I got to the start line, I was in front of someone wearing jeans, and I wanted to hurt somebody. My biggest struggle, as I mentioned, is my lungs. And when I first started training a few months ago, I always got sort of anxious when I started to run, which doesn't help the breathing so much. I've worked really hard at controlling my breathing, especially at the start of a run so that I can settle into a nice even pattern for as long as possible. Well, seeing as I actually had a goal in mind, and seeing this giant hairball clog of walkers in front of me, I totally panicked. I spent the first several minutes weaving through people, and I was so far from relaxed it's not even funny. It didn't take long to pass the majority of the walkers to the point that the group thinned out, but I was already doomed. I tried to calm my breathing at that point, but it was a battle the whole way. By 1.6 or 1.7 when there was a water station, my mouth was actually painfully dry. I stopped briefly to get some water and dump some on my back/neck, but I was pretty sure it wasn't long enough to put me too far off of a 10 minute pace. Sure enough, we hit mile 2 at about 20:40. I can kick it up pretty seriously (to about a 5:50 pace) for the home strech, so I thought I could make up that time as long as I could stick at a 10 minute pace or a little faster for that last mile. And then I just bit the dust. I don't know if I walked too long with the water or what, but my legs just couldn't find their rhythm and my breathing was off.. I ended up stopping again to try to calm down for a second and start over... I went about .7 miles at that point and I could actually SEE the finish line and I had to walk again. That one really killed me, because I couldn't tell you why I walked or what was wrong, I was just running out of steam... But then I somehow kicked it up at the end and came in at 32:11, which is about a 10:21/mi pace. So, long story short, I got a PR! That's pretty awesome. I'm trying not to be too bummed about not making it in under 10min, especially since it's still a PR, but it's frustrating. I've run 3 and 4 and 5 mile courses twice a week for the last 3 months, and for all but a few of them I haven't been taking ANY walk breaks. But I can't beat myself up. I always tell my husband not to look for things to be upset about on his runs, so I should take my own advice!