Hanson’s Richmond Marathon Week 6 (26 Miles)

Oof. I am coming off a rough weekend/ week. I’ve caught the cold that will NOT go away – I feel like I’ve been sick for weeks. My cough is nearly gone though, and I think I’m re-gaining my appetite, so hopefully I’m on the up and up! Highlights from the weekend included an early anniversary dinner at Pineapple and Pearls (more on that in another post!) and a trip down to Richmond to see my mom’s new place!

My brother and mom, aren’t they cute?
I brought some cake slices and a cup cake from Breeze Bakery!

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 6
Last week did not go as planned thanks to this darn cold. I did a bunch of treadmill runs but no hard workouts and no long run. I think I did the best I could given my condition, and hopefully this week will go better.plan part 2

Mon: 4 miles on T/M (10:52 pace)

Tue: Rest day, felt awful

Wed:6 miles on the T/M (10:42 pace) – I knew I was too tired to do the prescribed 5 X 1200 workout, so I did a short speedwork session with 1, 2, 3, and 4 mins at 7.3 speed with 2-3 min recovery jog in between each. I finished out the run at an easy pace.

Thurs: 5 miles on the T/M (10:31 pace)

Fri: 5 miles on the T/M (9:58 pace) – I tried to maintain a few tempo miles after the warmup, but felt exhausted after 1 mile at the higher speed, so I backed off and did more easy miles.

Sat: 6 miles outside (11:24 pace) – it was pretty hot outside (mid 80s) by the time I got outside, and I was pretty dehydrated the last half of my run because I finished off my handheld water and the water fountain on my route was not working. But at least I made it outside once this week!

Sun: Rest day (no long run) – I debated running 12 on the treadmill to get in my mileage for the week, but I felt so tired that I decided a rest day would actually be better for me. One skipped long run so early in my training cycle shouldn’t make any difference.

(Weds Aug 17) Richmond Marathon Plan (Part 2)

I’m 5 weeks into my marathon training plan, so it’s time to publish the next segment, which started this past Monday (here’s the first five weeks, if you missed it).  The next 5 weeks include more speedwork, faster paced long runs in the last 3 weeks (they’ll be done at ~ 1 min faster than race pace, versus the easy paced runs I’ve been doing so far), and increases in mileage, mostly coming from the addition of another run on Friday.

Richmond Marathon Training Plan: Weeks 6-10plan part 2

As before, I’ve adapted the plan to fit where I am in my training.  While most of the plan is taken straight from the Hanson’s Marathon Beginner Plan, here are a few ways I’ve customized it:
1. Added in races – It’s been a while since I’ve toed the starting line of a race, and I definitely don’t want Richmond to be the first time I’m racing this year, simply because I’ll be better mentally prepared for racing if I do it a little more.  South Lakes 10K will be my first true race of the year, and a good opportunity to see where I’m at with my speed and endurance.  I’m also running a local half in week 9, but will be using it as a supported long run instead of trying to race.
2. Speedwork from advanced plan – I started speedwork in weeks 1-5, so I’m continuing to do speedwork as prescribed by the Hanson’s advanced plan.
3. Ramp up race pace runs more linearly – The beginner plan jumps from 5 to 8 miles for the race pace (RP) runs, but I’ve chosen to ramp up more linearly by adding a mile or so to my RP run each week.
4. Adjusted mileage to 10% increase or less – The Hanson’s plans are a little aggressive in mileage additions each week, but I know I tend to get injured when my mileage jumps too much.  To keep a 10% increase or less week by week, I made adjustments like adding 2 miles to the 10 miler in week 8 to ensure weekly mileage increase was less than 10% going into the next week.
5. Long runs on Saturday – For the most part, I’ve kept long runs on Saturday to do them with Pacers.

I’m continuing to be pretty flexible about moving days around as necessary week by week – my one principle is to keep at least one easy day or rest day between workouts (speed, race pace, and long runs).  This segment looks pretty doable right now since I’ve already done two 12 milers and they weren’t that bad – although the faster paced long runs are making me nervous.  My general goal is to meet the weekly mileage and do the best I can with pace – my current training paces are aimed at a 4 hr marathon, and I’ll have a better idea of how doable that is by the end of this segment.  Wish me luck!

Hanson’s Richmond Week 5 (36 Miles)

Hi friends! Checking in after a hot, hot weekend in DC. We stayed inside most of the time, but ventured out on Saturday for a 98 Degrees concert at Wolf Trap! We brought a little picnic for the lawn prior to the show, and then moved to the covered seats to better see the stage.0813161800_HDR The throwback to the 90’s concert included Dream, Ryan Cabrera, O-town, and 98 Degrees – so fun to see them all live.  It seemed like the performers really enjoyed getting back on tour after a decade or so off ;)13996108_10100936919208198_6915609208378706242_oRichmond Marathon Training: Week 5
Whew, last week was a tough one thanks to some of the highest heat/humidity conditions this summer. My #1 goal was to get in the mileage wherever possible, and that meant the treadmill for 3 runs.  I had to quit both of my workouts (speedwork and race pace runs) early because I just wasn’t hitting the paces in the heat – but I know (hope?) conditions will improve over the next couple of weeks and I’ll get a better sense of where I am then.
plan part 1
Mon: Rest day – legs were suuper tired. I did some light yoga at home.

Tue: Attempted 5 X 1000 meter workout outside (5.3 miles total) – My legs were still so tired – I got through the warmup and 3 and a half repeats before giving up and jogging home. It was actually the coolest morning in a while, below 70 degrees, but my intervals got slower and slower. I think I need to focus on recovery after workouts – rolling, stretching and all that :)

Wed: 2 miles on treadmill (10:29 pace) and weights – I wasn’t planning to run today, but I ran a little just to get my legs moving and make up for the shortened mileage on Tuesday.

Thurs: 7 easy miles outside (10:12 pace) – this was supposed to be a 6 mile race pace (RP) run, but after my short warmup, I managed about 2 miles around race pace but felt my legs really slow down in the third mile.  Despite multiple breaks, I couldn’t get anywhere near the pace again, so I decided to get in the miles at whatever pace felt doable since I have another opportunity to hit 6 RP miles next week.

Fri: 5 easy miles outside (10:35 pace) – nice, easy run.  Nothing special, but it felt good to hit a steady pace in the heat.

Sat: 5 easy miles on T/M (10:49 pace) – DC was under a heat advisory this weekend, and it was 90 degrees by the time I woke up – treadmill it was! I was hoping to get my long run done outside on Sunday, so I switched the two runs and did the shorter one on Saturday.

Sun: 12 miles on T/M (10:44 pace) – I ended up doing this run on the treadmill too, and it actually wasn’t too bad.  I downloaded a movie and just zoned out, stopping for a min or two every 4 miles or so.  I forgot a gel, so I ate a couple of sour gummy bears that I found in my gym bag every 2-4 miles.

What’s your favorite running fuel? Probably margarita shot bloks!

{Friday Faves} How to clean a hydration pack

It’s Friday!! We’ll be knocking off one of the items on my summer bucket list tomorrow – an outdoor concert at Wolf Trap! I’ve always wanted to go to one of the summer concerts where you can get cheap spots out on the lawn (and bring a picnic). We also love the music of the 90s, so when we saw that 98 Degrees was performing, it was a no brainer. But before I pull up my 90s Boy Bands station on Pandora, it’s time for some Friday Faves:

This tee

Source: Etsy

I can’t read this tee without cracking up- probably because we have a cat named Kitty and I happen to find unintentional grammatical goofs hilarious. Don’t worry Kitty, you’re safe…for now ;)DSC04620
Poshmark – I’m sure most of you are familiar with this second-hand retail website, but I’ve been using eBay for most of my second-handed clothes so I didn’t discover it till recently! I loooove buying second-handed clothes – so much of the clothing is barely worn and goes for so much lower than full price. I recently picked up a J. Crew pencil skirt for $15, J. Crew oversized cozy cardigan for $30, and an Ann Taylor lace top for $10!

Kashi Savory Bars -I’ve been eating a lot of granola/nut bar snacks at work lately, and was intrigued when I found these on sale at Target. I picked up a box of the basil, white bean and olive oil flavor and immediately liked it. It’s a lot like a Triscuit or other savory cracker with more of a crumbly bar texture.

Eddie the Eagle movie– Mike and I rented this movie for a random Friday night and LOVED it. It’s about the 1988 Olympic British ski jumper who inspired the world – such a funny, touching and inspiring story. I highly recommend it and it’s so appropriate now that the Rio Olympics are here!

Source: Beliefnet.com
Source: Beliefnet.com

Speculoos ice cream – If you love Trader Joe’s cult cookie spread, it’ll come as no surprise that this ice cream is straight up addictive. It’s a vanilla base with chunks and swirls of cookie butter mixed in….mmm.  It’s tied with burnt caramel (from Tosci’s in Boston) as my favorite ice cream flavor right now.

One step cleaner for hydration packs – I’ve always washed out my hydration bladder after long runs, but it started to acquire a funny taste (like almond lotion) that I couldn’t get rid of with dish soap and hot water. I was about to buy a box of Camelbak cleaner tablets on Amazon, when I saw reviews recommending the cheaper one step cleaner, which is an oxygen-based powder used to clean home-brew equipment. It’s non-toxic, leaves no taste and doesn’t require rinsing somehow (which I do anyway).0806161124a_HDR (1)

I love how easy and fast it is to use; I just fill the pack with warm water, add about half a tablespoon of the powder, and let it sit for a minute or two. I then detach the tubing from the pack and use a long wire brush to scrub it out a few times before letting everything air dry. The best part: the lotion taste is gone! An 8oz tub cost me about $8 and will last me at least 30 cleanings.

(FYI: I put the backpack itself – minus the bladder – into the washing machine in a delicates bag and hang dry)

Have a great Friday and weekend! I’ll see you back here on Monday with another training update.

Hanson’s Richmond Week 4 (33 miles)

Hey friends, hope you had a great weekend! Mike came down with another cold, and I was feeling a little under the weather, so our weekend was full of soup.  Udon, pho, and ramen from a new restaurant in Virginia – Boru Ramen.  It was a hit! We prefer the tonkatsu style (rich pork broth) like Toki, so when I saw this place specialized in tonkatsu, I had a feeling we would like it :) 0806161732_HDR 0806161742_HDR 0806161749_HDROur big adventure on Sunday was venturing out to get some pho and make a stop at T.J. Maxx for a new gym bag for Mike, and I couldn’t resist getting this happy mug! Should cheer me up in the months to come…because you guys, winter is coming.0807161223a_HDRLet’s talk about training last week.  Mileage is definitely starting to go up!

Richmond Marathon Training: Week 4

I’m nearing the end of my build-up phase, so I’m happy to say this this week went pretty much as planned.  I needed to hit all my runs and make the higher mileage this week since week 3 was a bit of a set-back.  I wasn’t feeling 100% (it looks like Mike brought home another summer cold from the office) but I took boatloads of echinacea every day, made sleep a priority, and pushed myself to run even when I felt pretty tired.  In general, I find that I actually feel better after a run, and that was the case every time I ran this week.
plan part 1
Mon: Attempted speedwork on treadmill (4 miles total) – the plan for today was a 6 X 800 meter workout, and I managed to get through the warmup and about 3 repeats before feeling exhausted. I attempted the fourth repeat, felt lousy about 1 min in, and decided to throw in the towel and try again in a few days. Followed up with some core work at home.

Tue: Rest day – still exhausted

Wed: 6 X 800 meters outside (6.5 total) – I decided to try this workout again outside, and it went much better. The weather has been a bit cooler this week, so despite the usual humidity, I was able to hit the slower end of my goal pace range. The intervals ranged from 4:07 to 4:10, or about 8:12-8:20 pace.

Thurs: Rest day – I did a little core work.

Fri: 5 race pace miles outside (6.5 total) – This was a pretty great run – I never hit my goal pace (9:09) exactly but I felt strong and steady aside from the last mile, where I stopped a lot to catch my breath. Mile paces – 9:19, 9:12, 9:07, 9:14, 9:16 with a 9:14 average pace. I added a half mile warmup and 1.5 mile cooldown for 6.5 miles total.

Sat: 10 miles solo outside (10:41 pace) – I decided to sleep in and run solo, but Lucy had other plans for me ;) Anyone else have cats that get abnormally clingy in the morning? I gave up trying to sleep around 7 and rolled out for my run around 8.  The run went great, despite 89% humidity (!)- I wore my hydration pack full of ice and gatorade/water, listened to podcasts and just trucked along.  Some core work at home afterwards.

Sun: 6 miles on treadmill (10:51 pace) – We slept in again so I ended up pushing my run to the afternoon on the treadmill.  Easy miles while listening to the Serial podcast (still finishing up season 1, lol).  I started tearing up halfway through as I pictured my impassioned defense on the stand if I were Adnan and consequently lost the discussion thread for a good five minutes.  Totally normal, right?

Do you ever imagine weird situations while you run/exercise? Sometimes I daydream that I’m being kidnapped and I single-handedly defeat my attackers with a combination of martial arts and my Bruce-Willis-like shooting technique.

Summer Book Roundup #2

I have been on a reading tear this summer – this is my second book roundup in as many months (first one here) and I think I’ll have another one out in a few weeks. This selection features a bunch of gory mysteries and suspenseful novels, among others. If you’re looking for your next read to while away the weekend at the beach or wherever you might be, take a look below!
book collage 2

The Girl in the Ice by Robert BryndzaWhen a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation. The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London (From Goodreads).  My thoughts: This was a pretty good suspenseful mystery, and I liked Erika’s obsessive, standoff-ish nature (I imagine her to look a lot like Detective Linden in Netflix’s The Killing)

Abducted (book 1 of the Lizzy Gardner series) by T.R. RaganElizabeth Gardner (Lizzy) is seventeen-years old when she tells her parents she’s going out with her girlfriends. Instead, she meets up with her boyfriend, Jared Shayne. As she walks home beneath an inky black sky, her perfect night becomes her worst nightmare. Fourteen years later, Lizzy is a licensed PI known as the ‘one who got away’. When she’s not searching for runaway teenagers, working on insurance scams, or talking to her therapist, she’s at the local high school teaching young girls to defend themselves. But her world is turned upside down for the second time after she receives a call from Jared Shayne. He’s an FBI special agent now and he needs her help. Lizzy has no plans to get involved. Not until Jared tells her the kidnapper left her a personalized note (From Goodreads). My thoughts: I must have really been on a suspenseful murder mystery kick! I liked this book – very creepy serial killer, bold heroine, good sidekicks – fit the bill.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot HutchisonIn this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens. When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself. (From Goodreads) My thoughts: Oh my goodness, this book was the creepiest of the three. The world the Gardener builds is beautiful, engrossing, and terrifying. This must have fulfilled my thirst for thriller/murders, because I didn’t read any more for a while ;)

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa ScottolineDr. Eric Parrish is the Chief of the Psychiatric Unit at Havemeyer General Hospital outside of Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife, Caitlin, he is doing his best as a single dad to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah. His work seems to be going better than his home life, however. His unit at the hospital has just been named number two in the country and Eric has a devoted staff of doctors and nurses who are as caring as Eric is. But when he takes on a new patient, Eric’s entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother and is having trouble handling it. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes Max a high risk patient. Max can’t turn off the rituals he needs to perform every fifteen minutes that keep him calm. With the pressure mounting, Max just might reach the breaking point. When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be found. Worried about Max, Eric goes looking for him and puts himself in danger of being seen as a “person of interest”. Next, one of his own staff turns on him in a trumped up charge of sexual harassment. Is this chaos all random? Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric’s life? (From Goodreads) My thoughts: I liked this book a lot – there were some unexpected twists at the end and I found Max to be a pretty interesting character. Very fast read.

Inspector Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell – I’ve read the first 4-5 books of this Swedish detective series, and enjoyed getting to know the seasoned Kurt Wallander.  The mysteries themselves are not always that exciting (you often know way ahead of time who committed the crime), but it’s fun to watch his mind work and put together the pieces.  The tone of the books can be depressing (is it just me, or are many Swedish mysteries this way?), but I love the atmosphere that Henning generates in his books.

Finding Audrey by Sophie KinsellaAn anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family (From Goodreads). My thoughts: I liked this book a lot – the characters are quirky, sweet and vulnerable, and the story is light-hearted and funny despite the seriousness of Audrey’s disorder.  It’s everything I wanted The Fault in Our Stars to be (and wasn’t, at least for me).

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara KingsolverThe Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa (From Goodreads). My thoughts: After all the light reading I’d done, I’ll confess that this book took me longer to get into – each chapter is written from a different character’s perspective, so it took me some time to learn their voices.  But in the end, I loved this book – the characters are really compelling, and the Congo is a character all on its own – lush and wild, harsh and unforgiving.  It really made me think about the reality of missions overseas, where the cultural divide can be very stark.

The Good Neighbor by A. J. BannerShadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness. Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love? (From Goodreads) My thoughts: Eh, didn’t find the characters or storyline very interesting.  All of Sarah’s thought are paranoid and one-dimensional.  Another Gone Girl wanna-be (don’t get me wrong, I loved Gone Girl but this book didn’t measure up).

Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay AndrewsGrace Stanton’s life as a rising media star and beloved lifestyle blogger takes a surprising turn when she catches her husband cheating and torpedoes his pricey sports car straight into the family swimming pool. Grace suddenly finds herself locked out of her palatial home, checking account, and even the blog she has worked so hard to develop in her signature style. Moving in with her widowed mother, who owns and lives above a rundown beach bar called The Sandbox, is less than ideal. So is attending court-mandated weekly “divorce recovery” therapy sessions with three other women and one man for whom betrayal seems to be the only commonality. When their “divorce coach” starts to act suspiciously, they decide to start having their own Wednesday “Ladies’ Night” sessions at The Sandbox, and the unanticipated bonds that develop lead the members of the group to try and find closure in ways they never imagined. Can Grace figure out a new way home and discover how strong she needs to be to get there? (From Goodreads) My thoughts: This was quintessential chick lit, and I really enjoyed it.  Grace has some dimension to her character and it’s fun to read about her D-I-Y projects.  There’s nothing very surprising about the characters or plot, but it’s a fun, light read.

Next on my bookshelf/Kindle: Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and The Lake House by Kate Morton.

What have you read lately?

Hyperthyroidism Update

I haven’t talked a lot about my hyperthyroidism and insomnia on the blog since I received my diagnosis in May, mostly because I was waiting to see how my body responded as my medication level stabilized. I’ve been taking my meds daily for the past 3 months now, and I think it’s safe to say that I’m finally stable and life is good! I thought I’d provide a more in-depth update here in case those going through a similar situation stumble across this blog post.


My doc decided to go the anti-thyroid medication route, since the alternatives (radioactive iodine or thyroid removal) are much more permanent and likely to swing the body too much the other way to hypothyroidism. In May, I started taking 5 mg methimazole, which works by inhibiting a key enzyme in thyroid hormone production. Everything felt great for a few weeks, then my insomnia returned so my doc increased my dosage to 10 mg in early June. As of early July, my test results looked MUCH improved, either normal or nearly normal (except for thyroid stimulating hormone – TSH):
T3: 309 in May down to 186 in July (normal levels between 60-181 ng/dl)
T4: 2.54 in May down to 1.44 in July (normal levels between 0.6-1.7 ng/ml)
TSH still way too low – almost immeasurable
I’ll get tested again later this month and hopefully my T3 and T4 levels will be normal and stable (I’m not too worried about the TSH, since it should slowly increase when the T3/T4 levels go down).

Changes in Symptoms

1. Sleep improvement – This was the biggest deal for me – I had severe insomnia before I was diagnosed (slept about 10 hours total every 3-4 day cycle), and now I’m sleeping 7-8 hours a night like clockwork.

Before: A pretty typical period in February, except there are too many spikes and they should be closer to 8-9 hours (I rarely slept more than 9 in a night).  I found my Garmin recorded any time lying in bed with minimal movement as sleeping, and I got tired of fixing its estimates downwards.
old sleep

After: This is a really accurate period after medication – I’m sleeping 7-8 hours every night and often a little more.  The two days that fell below that were when I was on work travel and there were mosquitoes in my room =\
new sleep
I’ve NEVER slept this consistently and well; I’ve had some degree of insomnia my whole life, and now I fall asleep within 10-15 minutes of getting into bed! I didn’t realize how much anxiety bedtime caused me before because I was never sure if it would take me 30 minutes or 3 hours to fall asleep.
2. Appetite – The constant hunger from earlier this year has definitely gone away; I actually feel full after meals and stay full for at least two hours.
3. Weight – I was worried that I would gain a lot of weight after starting medication, but the only weight gain I’ve experienced has actually been from my untreated hyperthyroidism period, where I ate probably 3000+ calories a day. I’m working on losing that weight now (~10 lbs) and haven’t gained any additional weight.
4. Mood – I definitely feel calmer and less jittery than I did before – again, I don’t think I realized just how much low-level anxiety I felt all the time. I’m also probably happier since I’m sleeping so much better, lol
5. Heart rate – This was an interesting one – I knew that my heart rate seemed a little high at the doc’s office, given the fact I’m in good shape, but I didn’t realize just how much my condition affected it. My resting heart rate has definitely dropped over the last couple of months (down from 78 to about 58) and my heart rate while exercising, while still high, doesn’t go over 200 anymore.
heart rate

Overall, I have so much more “normal” energy (vs jittery energy) and less anxiety. I get pretty tired at the end of every day, but that’s probably normal since I wake up at 5 or 5:30 to go run ;) I’m so thankful that I was diagnosed so quickly, my doc found my ideal medication level so easily and that I haven’t experienced any extreme fatigue or weight gain so far (which can occur when the initial medication levels are too high).

I guess the lesson I want to pass on here is that if your body suddenly seems out of whack or something feels wrong, please go to the doctor – it took me several months to go and I still wouldn’t have gone unless Mike pushed me because I was so sure it was just anxiety preventing me from sleeping. I think sometimes we get used to symptoms and decide that’s normal or just how the way our body works, when in fact there is something we can do about it. Don’t be that guy that refuses to go to the doctor out of sheer stubbornness ;)