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So I’m Running a Marathon this Weekend, huh?

(This blog post is coming to you from the JW Marriott in Houston where I’m definitely on my second glass of wine. Enjoy).

So! Let’s catch up! After Sydney I ran all sorts of miles on a treadmill, had a crazy couple of work weeks (like 80 hours) and randomly got sent to Houston for training the week of the marathon (aka right now). If that isn’t good luck, I don’t know what is. I had to cancel all my personally-booked travel to the US (and ate it in some fees) but ultimately it was a win–I got to fly in business class (company provided–I don’t pay for that–it’s obscene) and actually get some sleep on the plane, which means the jet lag was much easier to deal with.
This week I’ve run outside, enjoyed the gloroiusness that is the United States (seriously I freaking love this country) and braced for the BFF reunion that happens TOMORROW with these two lovelies.

On training: no freaking idea what’s going to happen Sunday. I played this marathon SkinnyRunner style and didn’t have a plan–I just sort of ran. I peaked at 51 miles with a long run of 22.5, did some hills, some mile repeats, some 800s…but they were all on a treadmill…so who knows if they were worth anything. Frankly, getting to spend 26.2 miles with my best friends is so head-and-shoulders more important to me than a PR right now that I’m just not concerned with time–living on the other side of the world has definitely changed my perspective. (That being said, I think we’ll put up something respectable this weekend…but we’re doing it together. And I’m SO excited about that).

Ummm, here’s some photos that were already on my computer because I’m afraid to sync my iPhone (aka the glorified iPod these days) or any of my other devices because I sort of accidentally deleted my iTunes library in trying to back it up. (I’m not the brightest when it comes to electronics). Luckily, Mr. Engineer has a backup of my library laying around back in PNG. This? Is why you shack up with an electrical engineer. They just think of this stuff.

So anyways, photos!

On top of Sydney!

super cool view from a lounge in Sydney, Blu.

night at the symphony bathroom self portrait! heh.

on the way to the bridge climb. to say I was scared out of my gd mind is an understatement.

I was getting my hair done and he showed up back at the hotel with these. love him.

vacation treat : )

harbour cruise! with wind!

some fountain. and a hat because I really dig not washing my hair. (it's trendy, so it's ok).

Well there’s some random for you. I wrapped up my work in our Houston office today and fly to Philly at noon tomorrow where the most amazing weekend ever will ensue.

Catch ya on Eastern Standard Time!

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Acrophobia

noun \ˌa-krə-ˈfō-bē-ə\
: abnormal dread of being in a high place : fear of heights
For 3 hours and 15 minutes last night, I breathed through one of my greatest fears (wobbly legs and all!) and did this. More later, but, wow was this amazing.

On Holiday

So you know how I ran 30 miles by Thursday last week? Well that’s where the ‘ol mileage count stayed.

After purposefully taking Friday off and traveling all day Saturday, I woke up at about 5 a.m. on Sunday with a fever of 102 degrees feeling like absolute hell. I woke Mr. Engineer up to give me a malaria test (it requires a finger poke for the blood that I seriously just CAN’T DO myself…I know I’m a wimp) that I thankfully aced, but still. Felt like crap. A whole lot of medication/time/broken fever later and I could function again, but OMG SICK ON VACATION ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

malaria test: negative!

I will defeat you, sickness! RAWR!

When we got in Saturday night we made it just in time to check in to our hotel, change, and dash off to the Opera House to see this:

Incredible.

Let’s see…I’m getting out of order here…um, so far there’s been lots of exploring, good food, taking medication every 4-6 hours, and finally this (Monday) morning when I felt up to it, a RUN. OUTSIDE.

such a dorky tourist.

and there's another one.

We’ve also been doing our part to make sure all the sea creatures don’t go uneaten.

mussels!

and because we've very fancy, caviar!

(Never mind that we spent a minute or two contemplating just exactly how we were supposed to eat it before we worked up the nerve to try it).

great wine and a lovely view.

I had the oysters (btw, 6 is enough. 12 is too many...my eyes were bigger than my stomach).

some massive bowl of seafood goodness that Mr. Engineer had no problems making disappear.

See how there’s already food eaten in most of these photos…I’d never make it as a food blogger.

the people doing all the eating.

bathroom self portrait. natch.

walking around the harbor. the weather is amazing.

Well that’s enough photo onslaught for now. I’ve gotta go get my workout in and then do some shopping…and then tonight at sunset, we’re doing this. (I’m incredibly afraid of heights). (Eeeeek!)

Happy running!

My Week in Photos

20 miles on a treadmill? Check. 3:12:15.

Skank nasty ponytail frizz? Aaaaand check.

gym mirror photo? CHECK.

Compression socks and TOMS on a (very) casual Saturday at the office? Done.

pink, obviously.

Getting me through this week? Knowing that vacation is oh-so-close…

Sydney is just ONE DAY away...and my planner is so much more full of crap than when I took this picture on Monday and then forgot to blog.

Solid hill repeats on Wednesday followed by NO soreness Thursday? Check! Complete with awkward crotch sweat. (Does this happen to anyone else??)

I swear this is not a bladder issue...

Sufficient desk inspiration to drag myself to the gym and knock out 13 over lunch today? Yup!

A little corner of my world..for about 60 hours a week.

And for your enjoyment…a Storm Trooper in a parade we happened upon in New Zealand. Completely randomly. (I’ll totally post photos of New Zealand and all its spectacular awesomeness sometime…but with this internet connection one photo is a 5-6 minute ordeal and OMG THE IMPATIENCE!)

What the what?!

So in just over a day I’m off to Sydney where I’ll RUN OUTSIDE OMG! And it’s only Thursday and I’m at 30 miles for the week…color me smiling.

Happy running.

Trifecta

So I asked the fabulous Jeri to come to Philly too, and I’ll be damned if she didn’t do the same thing Megan did.

She’s running it too.

This just might be the most amazing weekend ever.

It'll be just like this. Only with more sweat.

The Long(est) Run (in six months!)

So Saturday I actually freakin’ did it! I survived 2 hours, 52 minutes and 43 seconds on a treadmill. (17.5 miles, 9:48 pace I think?)

It wasn’t fast, but my heart rate stayed low, and I ran a massive negative split (and felt good!) so I call it a success.

Nutrition-wise, I made it through with one Gatorade (regular strength…G2 doesn’t exist here) and one Roctane gel (that I took at mile 7) as well as water. I’m trying to ration the two gels I have left until we go to Sydney (vacation!) in a couple weeks, and I think this combo worked well.

my home for a few hours

I even ran for so long I got that nasty ponytail frizz thing that always makes me think of Jeri because hers is just more fierce than anyone’s I’ve ever seen : )

awkward iPad gym mirror photo. extra frizz.

Today we headed off to buy groceries and I’m giving PNG bananas a shot since they looked the healthiest I’d ever seen them.

bananas here are teeny

And after many weeks of finding things here and there (you just never know what the grocery stores will have in stock), I finally had all the ingredients to make chili! I don’t care that October means it’s getting hotter here. There will be chili, dammit!

chili! (in summer, but whatever).

And in other exciting news, there was high-quality fresh broccoli at the store this week! Sadly that’s not a given here…obviously I bought a ton of it, dumped a bunch of random stuff in a bowl after I roasted it, and ate it while I caught up on the latest season of the Big Bang Theory (that Megan sent us!)

it's almost like home : )

And then after shopping I realized I kind of wanted to run (no soreness from the long run! score!)…so I jumped on the treadmill for what I figured could be a nice 3-4 sloowww recovery miles. And then I ran 6.

I KNOW! I need to not be a moron about overtraining…but my HR stayed between 140-145 the whole time! (I ran just over 10 minute pace). I have no idea how this happened (ordinarily this would push me close to 160)…my only guess is that over the past months I’ve been so lazy about getting the miles in I just ran as slow as I wanted to and somehow it’s been a benefit? I haven’t been paying attention to my HR much prior to this week, so maybe I accidentally ran so slow lately I improved my aerobic fitness? Who knows. Either way, it felt effortless, and I finished the week with 46.2 miles.

46.2 miles! That’s a lot of treadmill miles.

All the best to all of you getting ready to crush the Twin Cities Marathon in a few hours. Can’t wait to stalk you online!

Happy running.

I did something crazy…

So back in 2009, I ran the Philadelphia Marathon. It was my first ever, and it didn’t go anything like I planned. In the two years since then, I like to occasionally go to their website, ponder registering, and then not do it. (Last year I had just run Chicago…this year I live in a remote third-world country.)

What I think of living here. Major B-face. (Photo taken in our wonderful Houston apartment. The digs here? Less nice.)

Still, my habit of going to their site every now and again and thinking longingly about making that final stretch to the art museum strong, puke-free and smiling has stuck with me. Last Friday I decided to navigate over, fully expecting to see SOLD OUT sprawled across the homepage (it sold out in August the year I did it).

Hey look! It's me and tinyjenna in Philly!

See! I was there!

Only those words weren’t anywhere to be found. Hmmmm.

More clicking confirmed there were indeed spots left.

A look at the calendar told me that race day was 8 weeks away. I’ve been maintaining 25-30 miles per week…it’s not much, but it’s enough base to tackle a modest marathon plan, I thought.

A quick search told me I could fly there and back for a very reasonable price, which, if you have to ocean-hop to get where you’re going, is totally unexpected.

A quick call to talk through the logistics with Mr. Engineer and confirm the money for this was in the budget, and my mind was made up. I registered, booked three separate flights (Port Moresby –> Brisbane, Brisbane –>LA, LA–>Philadelphia) reserved a hotel, and pulled up a calendar.

And made the first training plan I’ve needed in six months. (I’ve been gone SIX. MONTHS.)

And then I emailed Megan and asked her to come to Philly and pick me up off the pavement afterwards. And you know what she said?

That she’d run it with me.

(I have the very best friends a girl could ask for.)

Get ready for an onslaught of photos like this.

And this.

And THIS! (Post-race Mexican food OMG!)

So I know it’s nuts, and I’m going to have to do some serious strange-sleeping the week ahead of the race to get myself pre-adjusted to the 16 hour time difference. But I have a plan (and I travel a lot these days…i.e. am accustomed to the suck that is being stuck in a plane foreverrrr) so I feel like it’s a manageable risk.

On the running front, like I said, I feel my base is enough…just enough. I can tackle a modest plan that will get me across the finish line uninjured, I think. My only real time goal at this point is to do better than I did the last time I was there. And I think that’s realistic.

But you guys, I’m training for a MARATHON again! I have something to train for! A reason to get on the damn treadmill and run! And run farther and faster than I would otherwise! That’s something I’ve found that in the short week since I made this crazy decision was really lacking for me. It’s hard to love being a runner when being outside is INCREDIBLY restricted (and frankly, unsafe.) Now, daydreaming about finishing number four is my constant companion when I’m staring at a wall putting in the miles. And you know what? That makes it a whole lot better.

So on to the numbers! I’m totally lost on how to train at this juncture, and I’m CERTAIN I have no speed in my legs (on account of the total lack of speedwork of late) so I’m making it up as I go. I laid out approximate mileage targets for the weeks to come, and about how long I though long runs should be, but that’s it. Here’s where I sit after (most of!) week one:

Monday: 15 minutes elliptical + 40 minutes weights

Tuesday: Step-up tempo run based on heart rate zones (that probably need to be reassessed but whatever). 9.5 miles.

Wednesday: Slooooow 7 miles. Recovery for this slow girl, yo.

Thursday: 4 x 7 minute intervals. I managed to eek out just better than 8-minute pace for the intervals (told you I’m slow right now…) 6.4 miles.

Friday I’ll rest, and either Saturday or Sunday I’ll do 17 (I did 14 for my LR last week with no soreness, pain or discomfort, so I think 17 is doable.)

So there you go. This might be (slightly) nuts. But I’m rocking a runner’s high right now and it’s been a hot minute since I’ve had one of those…so humor me, ok?

Happy running.


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