Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Last week was kind of a bust as far as training goes. I had planned to cut back a little, but ended up doing far less than I wanted to. Was trying my best to fight off a cold that finally took me down. Icy road conditions also made it tough to get out there. I know...excuses, excuses.

Over the weekend we had a big thaw and I thought I was feeling ok enough to run. I wasn't going to pass up 60+ degree weather. My husband and I had plans to do a longish run and it looked so promising. Unfortunately, things weren't quite as thawed out as they seemed. The trail would be clear for a minute and then you'd suddenly be running through snow the consistency of an Icee. Soaked our feet within minutes. Fun fact - my first job was at an amusement park and I worked at a kiosk that sold Icees. Free Icees all day long! 

We should have know that trail wasn't great when NO bikes were out. Passed a guy pushing a stroller and saw him turn around pretty quickly. His kid probably thought it was awesome! 

We made it 4 miles and decided to head home. 

 A tenth of a mile down and it was all slush. 

On Sunday, I stupidly decided to do another 4 around my neighborhood. It was tough the whole time. When I got home I just felt so wiped. The next day I got up and felt awful. I went to work for about half the day and then came home, laid in bed and started Parenthood. did I wait so long to start this show??? Ugh....I'm in trouble. Totally addicted. Should have know, I heart all things Lauren Graham.

In general, when I get sick, I do the neck test. Do I feel it below my neck (in my chest)? If not, and I feel ok, I run. BUT, I try not to push it. If you don't feel well enough to run. Just don't. Not worth it. There are other days. The sickness will catch up with you.

So no running until today. Feeling more myself and decided to get a run the pouring rain. Oh Ohio.....seriously what's with the manic weather!? (and yes I am aware that running in the rain is probably a little stupid after being sick but it was NOT raining when I started. Basically down poured for a mile and a half).

Put on the jacket I got from the Buckeye Half marathon. Life saver. Totally waterproof. A little big, but eh. Also, the hat. For some reason I HAD to have that hat back in the late 90s. It's an Oscar the Grouch hat that's supposed to be a spoof on the Calvin Klein Logo. I was in college and saw it at the mall and it was one of those items that you regret not getting. Went back and got it. I think I had a thing about sesame street stuff. I carried a cookie monster in my shirt pocket in high school. I was weird....scratch that...AM weird. cool. 

Puddles puddles everywhere.

Note: I wear one earbud in, especially when I run around my neighborhood. Helps me hear traffic and dogs. We have a lot of dogs around our neighborhood and some not so conscientious dog owners.

Playlist today: A lot of Dave Matthews and David Bowie. Random. The chorus on Pretty Things is great while running. And great in general.

So last week's workouts:

Sunday: home at 2 not feeling it
Monday: Yoga
Tuesday: Elliptical and snow shoveling :p
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: off
Saturday: 4 slushy miles

So...7 miles. Hoping for 18 this week.

Any other Bowie fans out there?
Any Parenthood fans? Other good shows I should see?
What do you do if you have a cold? Run or no run?


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"Ah sugar....ah honey honey"

So, it's February now and some of the weight I inevitably gained from the holidays is still sticking around. I indulged quite a bit this year, not really worrying about the outcome. So, it makes sense that those few pounds gained would be hard to take off. And I guess it's time to face the facts, I'm 38 going on 39, not 16 going on 17, so why eat like a teenager.

I've been trying to cut back on sugar and really just watch my snacking. I work until 8 most work days and when I come home I am pretty ravenous. After dinner I end up snacking and then going to bed. Kind of a recipe for disaster.

Not that I'm that bad. I generally eat pretty healthy. I was a vegetarian for 10 years and still don't eat red meat. I also am fully aware that I am at a healthy weight. I have struggled with image issues for years. Nowadays I know where I feel comfortable (about 5lbs less than I am now) and I know that any less would be hard to maintain and wouldn't necessarily mean I was any healthier.

So I eat oatmeal in the mornings, sweetened with raisins and cinnamon and topped with almonds for some healthy fat. That keeps me going and I usually eat some cottage cheese and fruit some time before lunch. I eat lunch late too...around 2 or 3. My schedule is just weird.

I haven't jumped on the scale yet. Trying to avoid that and just go off of how I feel, how my clothes fit etc. There was a time that I would jump on the scale several times a day. And I just don't want to go down that road again.

I take walks during my lunch break. Helps clear my mind a bit. Pretty out there lately :)

In other news, kicked up the running last week. I really am sticking to that 10% increase in miles. Did an extra yoga session (even got the hubby to do it this week).

On Saturday night, my husband's band Spaceface played a show. If you like punky sci-fi rock about robots, check them out. I am friends with the bass guitar player and drummer's wives. Only one was able to come out that night, but it's always a good time hanging out and supporting our husbands.

That's about all. This week I'm cutting back a bit. Good timing too because winter finally decided to show up and it's a bit icy out there.

This week's workouts:

Sunday: 4 miles with my husband
Monday: Yoga
Tuesday: 2 miles with my husband
Wednesday: 6.5 miles
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: Off....too cold!!
Total mileage :16.5....little by little. I miss higher mileage.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weird Marathon Dreams and The Importance of Taking a Break

Last night I had a dream that I was running a marathon through a mall. But I got off course and when I didn’t see anyone else running I stopped and couldn’t figure out if the marathon was still going on. My watch read random miles, jumping forwards and backwards. Usually, I have these dreams closer to race day but with nothing on the docket right now, I’m wondering why I had this dream. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to get my miles back up. At any rate, very random! I’ve had running dreams where I forget my bib, where I run through houses as part of the course, etc. My brain is weird.

I’m trying to add miles slowly. I’ve dropped my mileage considerably since November. I still ran 3 or 4 days a week but the miles were low. Partly because I wasn’t training for anything and partly because my body was showing serious signs of needing a break.

I had it in my head that I would run a half marathon every month last year. Some of those would be “official” halfs but most of them would just be logging that distance every month. It didn’t go so well. Last Feb it was impossible to log a half due to frigid cold and ice. I doubled up in April. Skipped June, doubled up later. I figured because I wasn’t doing a full marathon that I could handle it. I was wrong.

Not giving my body a true off season took its toll. After the Buckeye Half Marathon, which I did at the end of October with a head cold (not so smart), my body got mad. Some nagging neck and upper back problems flared up again. Additionally, what I thought was an ear infection after the head cold turned out to be TMJ. It may not have been all because of running, but my body definitely needed a rest from long runs.

This is when I started to practice Yoga and I noticed changes almost immediately. I have been doing it 2x a week for the last 11 weeks and I can’t believe I waited so long to start. As I stated previously, I stumbled upon Yoga with Adriene and it’s been a game changer.

LOVING this mild weather though. This time last year, I looked like this most of the time!

On Wednesday's 50+ degree run I looked like this :)

My former life as an opera singer. From Die Zauberflote.
In other news, since this blog is called Run MEZZO Run I should probably share what has been happening on the music front. I am a classically trained singer with a Master’s in Music. I’ve sang a lot of opera in my day.  But, nowadays I prefer to sing folk, rock, etc. I haven’t performed much lately but I’m trying to get back into it. My husband and I started working on some songs over the summer and we are starting to record (at home) some of those songs. Just some fun, surfy, pop kind of songs.  Maybe I’ll post some when they are ready.

Week in workouts:
Sunday: 4 miles with my hubby
Monday: Yoga
Tuesday: 2 miles
Wednesday: 6 Miles
Thursday: Yoga
 Friday: 2 miles
Saturday: 2.5 miles

16.5 total miles. Trying to get back to 20 per week. Increasing 10% per week.

Anyone else have crazy running dreams?

Any singers out there who also love to run?


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Being Grateful and What's Next

I can be a pretty pessimistic person. I have been for most of my life. My husband says I’m just a melancholy girl and keeps threatening to write a song about it. Running and exercise has changed that a good bit, but I still have many moments of melancholy in any given week. Perhaps it’s an artistic temperament; perhaps it’s the history of depression and anxiety in my family. At any rate, it gets old fast.

Oddly enough, I can be quite the positive person for others. I am a constant cheerleader for my students. I’ve been teaching private voice lessons for 10 years now. I encourage them to charge forward, to take risks, to be bold. I’m starting to heed my own advice, but I’ve a long way to go.

Lately though I’ve been trying even harder to keep those dark thoughts at bay. Family and friend health issues have sort of shaken me a bit.
Life is truly too short and often terribly unfair. So, instead of
dwelling on the stupid, petty crap that infiltrates our daily lives, I’m working on gratitude. I’m here; I’m healthy (knock on wood). When I’m bothered by something or I have a hard workout ahead I just try to remember I GET to be here, I GET to run. So many aren’t so lucky.

From my last full marathon in 2014
In other words, I need to suck it up sometimes. Life is good.

In other news (or related to all of this, I guess) I’m trying to figure out race plans for the year. I usually do 3 big races a year. Last year,
I did 3 half marathons. I skipped the full marathon. Just needed a break. But I think I’m ready to tackle that distance again. I miss
getting those crazy long runs in. I’ll probably do Canton Half in April and definitely Akron in the fall. But, I’m not sure if I’ll do the full or the half. I am leaning towards doing either the Towpath Marathon or the Columbus Marathon.  We shall see.

Part of me wants to try a race in another state, but it’s hard to get the time off work to do that. Any
way, random thoughts on a random day.

I'm not sure who's reading this right now. Haven't been brave enough to share it on social media. Just trying to write more and get some thoughts out. If anyone is out there, hope you are all well. Cheers.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My Year in Review

I started this blog over two years ago fueled by the excitement of a great race in Akron. Since then I haven't written anything. Well, I have...but it never ended up on here. Trying to make a change this year. So, rather than recap everything since then we'll just touch on my race highlights this past year.

April 2014 - Canton Hall of Fame Marathon (Half)

Any ohioan will tell you last winter was a harsh one. Actually, I think most of the country would agree. It made training for a Spring race a bit difficult. But I muddled through. I don't own a treadmill so it can be hard to get long training runs done. In years past I have gone to some gym to make sure that I could keep up with running through the winter. For whatever reason, I didn't do that this past year.

At any rate, the Hall of Fame Marathon was a new race. It was pretty cold for the end of April and I didn't dress as warmly as I should have. Needed some gloves!

It was a sunny day which made the cold a bit more bearable. The course was hillier than I anticipated. The first 7 miles I was flying, excited by so much downhill racing. But...of course...I knew that downhill start means up hill to the finish line. Ugh! But, I ended up with my 2nd best half finish!

2nd Best Half! All smiles despite frozen digits!

September 2014 - Akron  Marathon (Half)


For several months I had dropped not so subtle hints to my friend that she should run a half marathon. I hinted at Canton at first but she seemed uninterested. Earlier in April we ran a 5k together and noticed we ran well together. In May we did a couple longer runs together. Right before I headed down south to see my family for a week, we did a 6 miler. Her very first! Later that evening while I was packing she texted me that she had signed up for the Akron Half! I was super excited!

My best friend also decided to run the race. Her 5th Akron race (I believe) and my 4th! As mentioned in my first post, running a half in the first place was her idea! Not sure I would have started this crazy journey without her!

So, training began. And in September we arrived at the start line.

 Gotta have a shoe pic!

Akron is my favorite race. Granted, I haven't done a lot of different races. However, the energy, the support, the crowd, and usually the weather are fantastic at Akron! This year, the temps started to rise in the morning and we struggled a bit as we crossed the dreaded Y bridge back towards the finish line. But, despite the heat we finished! It was so awesome to cross the finish line with her!

October 2014 - Columbus Marathon (Full)


Early on in my training for Akron I decided I wanted to do a fall Full marathon. It had been over a year since I had done one. I was nervous to undertake this kind of training. This would be my 4th full marathon.

After my last full I had a bit of a health scare. Long story short, I fainted at work...ended up in the ER....then had to go to a cardiologist to investigate something a little quirky on my EKG. After a stress echocardiogram the doc cleared me to keep running. Basically, low blood pressure, bradycardia (resting heart rate lower than 60 bpm...typical for distance runners) and low blood sugar caused me to faint. The quirkiness on the EKG was nothing to be too worried about. Sports drinks are my friends these's orders.

Training went well, though my last long run (23 miles) was NOT awesome. I noticed this has happened during every marathon training cycle. The last long run just plain sucks. I learned a valuable lesson about pacing. I had it in my head that I could get my marathon below 5 hours. Not quite in the cards yet.

Columbus is an amazing race. I did my first full there in 2012. It's a big race. Lots of support, lots of music and a fast and flat course. Each mile is dedicated to a patient at Children's Hospital. Many of the patients are at the mile markers cheering us on. It's a very touching site. Hard not to get choked up!

Admittedly, I was freaked out about this race. My stomach was a mess the morning of! I was not running this race with anyone but I met some fantastic people at the start though. I always calm down once I get there and get my spot in the corral. I met a 74 woman walking the half with her son and I met a 60 year old man who had battled cancer this past year and was running a full for the first time since the 80s!

I paced myself well for this race. Remembering how my last training run went, I kept holding myself back. I told myself once I got to 20, I could pick it up if I felt like it. My husband and his sister were waiting for me at the Stadium (around mile 16 or 17). Another great part of this race is that you get to run into Buckeye Stadium (aka The Shoe). I got a little teary as I approached. I come from a big Buckeye family. They play marching band music as you approach the stadium. It always makes me think of my Dad when I'm there. He played in the Marching Band (TBDBITL)!

Miles 20 through 26 were a suckfest. But they always are. Your muscles really start to betray you. Your mental state starts to decline. It's a struggle for any marathoner. But, you just have to trust the training, trust yourself, trust your resolve. You CAN do it. Visualize the finish. Visualize the Medal. Run, Walk, or Crawl. You'll get there!

And I did...and had a PR for the day!!!! LOVE these medals! Sparkly :)

So, this year. Hmmm, I have a hard time with resolutions. I just want to keep it up. Keep running, keep racing. I have some goal times in mind. But mostly, I just want to get stronger and get healthier (holy holiday food batman!). That's about it! Until next time!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Just do your best"

This is my first blog post. I've been thinking of starting a blog for some time. Most that will read this, already know me.  Those that don't will hopefully get to know me along the way.  I can be a bit long winded, so hang on while I figure all this out. The blog name. I'm a singer, a trained Mezzo, and I am a runner. Two passions. One name. That's it.

I run. In case most of you hadn't guessed by the multitude of Facebook updates about running I have posted in the last two years. These, I am sure, may have people rolling their eyes or skimming and skipping to see if someone wrote something more important. But, what is Facebook for if not shameful self promotion?

Recently (today in fact), I ran my 4th half marathon. Coming off this particular half marathon I had a lot of thoughts. I got a little emotional crossing the finish, realizing I had set another goal and achieved it.

I was never one to exercise. I could not run a mile straight through in high school. I hated gym class (more on that later....maybe). In my early adulthood, I dabbled. I ran in the summers, building myself up to 3 miles and then taking the winter months off. I'd put on an extra layer of warmth (body fat) and then feel bad and try it all again.

In February of 2010, I bought an elliptical and started to exercise regularly. Then I started to add running into the mix again. In September of 2010, my best friend came back from having participated in the Relay of the Akron Marathon. me...had ran some in college (maybe more that just "some").  She was ecstatic from the energy of the whole race "scene" and she asked if I wanted to train for the half marathon in Akron the following year.

That's when my life changed. That moment. I have her to thank (or yell at).

So the training began. I completed 4 miles, 5, 6, etc. Each time baffled and amazed that I could keep adding miles and that I actually enjoyed it.

My best friend and her sister-in-law, decided that maybe we could all be ready to run the Cleveland Half in May (4 months ahead of schedule). I was skeptical. But kept it up. Sure enough, I did the training and I was able to complete it.

I did the Akron Half in 2011, had a better finish than Cleveland. I did Cleveland 2012, had a better finish than Akron 2011. And now another PR from Akron Half 2012. Back in June, I started training for a full marathon (which is in Columbus next month).

It's hard to really put into words what running means to me. Yes, the physical exercise and cardiovascular benefits are a plus. But, really it's about so much more.

You learn how to set goals, how to complete them. How to forgive a bad run and praise a good run. You learn your limits and when to push past them. You learn to accept that some days are just better than others. Push here, pull back there, surge forward. Listen to your body,  listen to your heart. Important life lessons.
So, I try to incorporate this in my everyday life. I am not always successful but I am learning to forgive myself when I am not.

I never thought I would be passionate about exercise (see above). I never even thought it would be something I would enjoy.  I have things I enjoy: music, movies, true blood (No spoilers! I don't have cable!), cake (lots of cake), The Avett Brothers, any movie involving Ryan Gosling or Adrien Brody. Then I have things I am passionate about: singing, my friends and family, my husband, running, and The Avett Brothers (just kidding....but seriously).

Until another day...thanks for reading.