Tag Archives: great allegheny passage

Wordless Wednesday

25 Jun

GAP-Trail-Ride-Waterfront-To-McKeesport

Rankin-Bridge-Great-Allegheny-Passage-GAP-Trail

Tunnel-Great-Allegheny-Passage-Duquesne-GAP-Trail

Great-Allegheny-Passage-McKeesport-Bridge-Monongahela

Great-Allegheny-Passage-GAP-Trail-Old-Bridge

Great-Allegheny-Passage-McKeesport-Monongahela

Great-Allegheny-Passage-Twilight-Sunset-Duquesne-GAP-Trail

Training Overview Week 3 #sftsRUNS

23 Jun

Welcome to the 3rd installment of my 10K Training Overview!  This is a weekly series in which I will document my weekly running progress, nutrition, photos, and mileage as I train for Pittsburgh’s 2014 Great Race on September 28th.  If you are on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook – you can also follow along using the hashtag #sftsRUNS.   These overviews are intended not only for me as a way to document my fitness journey, but also as a means to inspire other newbie runners who are ready to move beyond the 5K distance.

Training-Overview-SFTSRuns

Weekly Overview:

  • Liberty has been accompanying me on more and more – I can tell she really loves it.  I really miss my old running buddy, Hallie the poodle, but Liberty is becoming an old pro.  Except for when she gets distracted by her reflection, or stops to take a shit in the middle of a cross walk of a busy intersection (who does that?!)…or all the times she seems to forget what we are doing, so she basically stops right in front of me.  We’ll get there, Liberty.  I’m also slowly working on training a new little running buddy – Bea Arthur.
  • Bea-Arthur-Walking
  • The humidity last week absolutely sucked the life out of me.  The air has been so saturated it feels like there’s no oxygen.  Bumping my runs up to the wee hours of the morning has definitely helped this, along with taking way more walking breaks than usual.  The last thing I need is to pass out on the side of the road with Liberty attached to my arm.  I visualize her dragging me onto the train tracks while she chases bunnies into the brush.  That was disturbing.  Moving on…listening to my body seems to be working.
  • As of Friday we are 2 weeks out from the 4th of July!  I am registered for the Brentwood Firecracker 5K – will you be running with me?!

Training Plan:

Planned Mileage:  10

Actual Mileage: 10.45 <— BOOOOOOM!!!!!

Longest Distance:  3.09

Training Miles to Date:  24.28

Weight Change:

Last week I weighed in at 190.9 and this morning I weighed in at 189.2.  That’s a -1.7 lb. loss for the week!!!!!!  If you can read that and say “What’s the big deal, it’s not even 2 lbs.” then obviously you’ve never been fat.  I am ecstatic!!  I haven’t been able to break through 190 all year and I finally did!!!  HUGE HUGE HUGE motivator for me this week.  I want more more more less less less <– however you look at it!

Physical Condition:

No cramping, aching, stiffness, or other physical symptoms.  I felt extremely tired, but I think it’s just the weather.  Despite the fatigue, I stuck to my training mileage and I felt like I gave 100% all week.  I hope I’m being smart.  It’s never easy for me to discern smartness from my own laziness when it comes to running.  I’m terrified of getting injured and I’m basically flying blind with this whole running/training/fitness thing.  I think I’ve found a balance between being cautious and simply not having motivation to push myself harder.  Oh, to have insurance and not be consumed with these things.  That’s a lie, it would still consume me.  Anyway, my only complaint is bike seat butt pain from a long ride on Sunday.

Mental Condition:

Mentally, I’m in a much better place than I was the last 2 weeks.  Things are still complicated and stressful, but I’m not investing too much energy into stressing myself out.  Who knew it was that easy?  We are down to 1 vehicle while the other is in the shop, so I’ve kind of been forced to run some of my old routes around the Homestead/West Homestead/Waterfront area.  Don’t get me wrong, there are endless places to run with no shortage of things to look at.  It’s freaking awesome, BUT…after running the same routes over and over started to make me dread running.  Now that I’m a regular back at my old stomping grounds, it’s cool to see how much I’ve improved since last year and also how much I’m improving day by day.  I’m finding fun ways to challenge myself on my old routes by playing little games with myself and just generally trying to make it more mentally engaging.

Nutrition:

eat-breakfast

I hit the grocery store HARD last Sunday and I stockpiled tons of healthy options.  The theme this week was: Eat Breakfast,  Dammit!  I’ve been making it a point to eat breakfast every single day and it truly helps me make better decisions during the day.  Still struggling with chocolate cravings and Lord, do I want BEER.  Nice, cold, refreshing beer on these muggy summer days.

Non-Mileage Training (but still running related):

You can just give me a big “F” in the HIIT column AGAIN this week (- God, what is wrong with me?!)  I did go for an amazing bike ride on Sunday, so I got in my hour of cross-training and then some.  (More on that later in the week!)

via DailyMile.com

via DailyMile.com

Impact On Real Life:

I am truly loving the whole crack of dawn wake up call thing!  By the time I go to work around 10AM, I feel like I’ve all ready accomplished so much during the day.  I have the type of personality that really thrives in a structured environment.  When I start to get into the swing of a training plan, my entire life becomes more productive.  The dogs are getting more attention, I’m cooking more often, doing meal prep more often, my house is cleaner, etc.  I’m sure this may change as I move into higher mileage training, so I will enjoy it while I can!

Action Plan:

Strength train. Strength train. Strength train.  I may be getting away with not doing it now, but I will pay for it later!  My 5K is just around the corner and I couldn’t feel more ready.

Like 1 Sentence Per Picture

11 Jun

On Sunday, I headed over to my friends’ house bright and early to do the T25 abs DVD.  It was…hard.  That’s about all I have to say about that!  Oh, and that yes I know it will get easier if I stick with it.  After we were done, they loaded up their bikes and we all headed downtown.

I don’t currently own a bike that has gears (or hand breaks), so in order to make the experience enjoyable for myself I decided to rent a bike.  Pittsburgh isn’t the most bike friendly city, but we sure are getting there.  Did you know that you can rent bikes downtown, right along the Great Allegheny Passage?

Golden-Triangle-Bike-Rentals-Downtown-Pittsburgh

They have hourly and day rates, which I found very affordable.  The hybrid that I rented was $8/hr or $24/day.  Since I am just an occasional biker, this option seemed reasonable to me.  We followed the GAP Trail all the way to Hot Metal Bridge and into South Side.

Biking

fluorescent cyclist alert!

Hot-Metal-Bridge-South-Side-Pittsburgh

We decided to make a pit stop for lunch and I insisted that we eat at Pita Pit so that I could have their falafel.

Lunch-Break

I am obsessed with the falafel on whole wheat pita.  I load mine up with spinach, onions, green peppers, cucumbers, feta, tzatziki, and hummus.  I saved half of it for dinner!

Falafel-Pita-Pit

Pita-Pit-Nutrition-Information

While we were stopped for lunch, it started to torrentially downpour.  Then, about 5 minutes after we were done eating, it just completely stopped.  We wiped off our bike seats and kept it moving!  We looped back towards downtown on the South Side (side?) of the river through Station Square and headed toward Smithfield Street Bridge.

GAP-South-Side-Station-Square

It was a fantastic little loop of the city and with lunch it only took us 1.5 hours. That meant a $14 bike rental tab for me, which I view as totally worth it.  I would’ve wanted to keep going but my friends had to scoot to a Pirates game at 1:30.

Bike-Ride-Map

Plus I took my first bike selfie!

awko taco

awko taco

That Time I Peed Outside

14 Apr

I almost hate to type these words because I don’t want to jinx anything but…my Sunday long run was awesome!

I don’t know why I get myself all worked up and pscyh myself out, but I was a nervous wreck on Saturday.  I mean, 4.5 miles.  For me, that’s quite big jump from the steady 2-3 milers I’ve been logging lately.  I was nervous about everything – would the weather hold up, what should I wear so I am max comfortable, where should I go, blah blah blah.  When I left the house to open Changin’ Time, I put on my trusty old drawstring running capris that I trained in most of last spring.  By the time I left the laundromat, I was all ready uncomfortable (like I never want to wear them again) so I decided to run home and change into my long running tights.  I wasn’t interested in having any excuses to give up!

Then, I drove over to South Side to run on the riverfront trail.  I don’t usually run this trail, but it’s mostly flat and heavily populated on weekends so I thought it would be ideal. (Heavily populated is ideal because I’m less likely to take walking breaks if people can see me <- I’m pathetic.)  I was absolutely nauseous the whole way to the parking lot because I wanted so badly to have a good run and to actually prove to myself that I could do it.

You have to love South Side on Sunday mornings…

I censored her lady parts...you're welcome.

I censored her lady parts…you’re welcome.

For the first mile, I was feeling a bit deflated, too!  Sometimes it’s a struggle to get my body to move in sync right away, but I thought back to a convo I had with my future mother-in-law last spring when she was training for the Pittsburgh half.  She said something like, “I need the first few miles of my long run to warm up.  I always feel like I’m a mess for the first mile.”  At the time I remember thinking to myself:  Um…I basically only run a few miles at a time!  My entire run is her warm up!  I suck!   I’m so nice to myself, aren’t I?  I’m glad I remember that conversation, though, because it reminded me that it’s okay to struggle.  Just because the first mile or so isn’t working out, that doesn’t mean the whole run will.

I happened to be almost to the 10th Street Bridge when the skies just opened up and it started to POUR.  I mean really pour…

April-Showers-Running-1

I huddled under the bridge for less than 5 minutes and just as quickly as it started, the rain just completely stopped.  Conveniently, the top half of me was soaked just enough to cool me down but not make me uncomfortable.  I don’t know if my iPhone and Garmin would’ve survived if it wasn’t for that bridge!  I took the brief break to stretch out a bit and thank the lucky stars that I wasn’t feeling like this disturbingly amusing graffiti nearby:

Graffiti-SouthSide-Pittsburgh

A few miles down the trail, I knew I could absolutely not go another step if I didn’t take a bathroom break but….there was no civilized toilet in sight.  So, I finally made the runner’s right of passage and squatted in a bush.  You’ll be happy to know that I fought the urge to document the moment via Instagram.  It was my first time peeing in a bush on South Side sober.  Writing this down makes me realize the run was more successful than I initially realized!  It’s the little things…blow up dolls and urination benchmarks.

Anyway, I was really proud of how few walking breaks I needed and how consistent my pace was.  The rain did leave a humidity in the air and I was overheating BADLY on the way back – clearly the decision to wear long running tights backfired.  I need to invest in some warm weather running bottoms this week.  You know, after it’s done snowing on Wednesday.  I’m getting so excited for marathon weekend!  I’ve been logging more consistent miles, I’m feeling great, and I peed outside!  Woop Woop!  Happy Monday!

Sum Up Sun…err…Monday

22 Jul

Sometimes I make things up, maybe just to amuse myself.  Like that time I said I would be “pre-training for my upcoming 10K while on vacation.”  Riiiiiight.  Sure you will, Michelle.

neneEyeRoll

What I did do was drink a lot of beer and think about what was going to happen when I got home.  Turns out, what happened when I got home was:  Lord Baby Jesus tested me.  He said “Bet you wish you got a few miles under your belt in not-so-humid NY state, dummy!”  And then He pointed a chubby little finger at Pittsburgh and there was ’round-the-cloth 100% humidity and 90 degree temps.  Sorry guys, I take full responsibility.

babyjesus

This week I ran.  I got up at 6:00-6:30 AM (AM means morning, remember!?) and I ran.  And even at 6:30 AM there was so much moisture in the air that I honestly felt it bearing down on me.  And I ran anyway.  I ran slooooooooow.  Slower than when I started running the first time.  And I walked.  I walked so much you’d think I was coming off an injury.  But, dammit, I pushed through and I ran because I knew the humidity had to break.  And when it did, running would seem easier.  And then, the humidity broke.  And running seemed easier.

Monday: Woke up at 6:27 am only because my phone started ringing.  Christina, who may or may not have still been asleep said something to the effect of: “Don’t all ready quit, babe.”  I lay there a few more minutes and then begrudgingly rolled my lazy self out of bed and put on my running clothes.  She’s usually right.  Afterwards, my core was sore like I had spent the morning at the batting cages.  And oh boy, did my quads ache.

Tuesday: I took Tuesday as my rest day (I had originally scheduled Tuesdays as rest days because I had to be at work bright and early, but that doesn’t apply anymore).  My muscles were still so sore.  When this happens, you can randomly find me in stretching positions throughout the day.  If my life was a reality show, this is where I would insert a montage of me in random positions in random places.  But, I don’t have cameras following me all day so just imagine me using the world as my barre.

Wednesday: Wednesday was a shorter run than I had wanted to complete, but I chose to listen to my body: the humidity and the aching muscles were telling me to take it easy.  Not being an overly dramatic fat girl here, cooling centers were packed all over the city and there has been a heat advisory all week long.  Knowing that I was going to have to pull a long day in the sweltering hot facility, I made the decision that was best for me.

Thursday: Thursday I had 30 minute cross training on the books, so I did what any chubby girl would do in 100% humidity: walked.  I actually walked for 43 minutes, clocking 2.38 miles.

Friday:  On Friday morning, the humidity unforgivingly down to 65% and I knew I had to try and push myself.  In an attempt to not be thwarted, I decided to switch up my route and drove down to the new portion of the Great Allegheny Passage at the Waterfront.  Best decision I’ve made all week.

GAPTrail.2

The trail is new so it’s in great shape and newly paved.  Best two things:  its much flatter than the uneven city sidewalks I’ve been frequenting AND a tall fence on the one side offered shade the entire way.  Loved it.  I stuck with my training plan and did a solid 2 miles, at my fastest pace of the week.

GAPTrail.1

In this direction, I could run the entire way to The Point, in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh.  If I turned around and ran the other way I could Forrest Gump it all the way to Washington D.C.  You can read more about the Great Allegheny Passage here.

Saturday: Saturday was supposed to be a cross-training day, but after one very very very long day at Changin’ Time I opted to relax.  Don’t want to burn out!  I also didn’t want to give myself any reason to punk out on my long run scheduled for Sunday.

Sunday:  I had built myself up for Sunday, the anxiety was building for days.  Why am I always a nervous wreck?  No clue.  I wasn’t sure the weather would cooperate, I wasn’t sure my body would cooperate, I wasn’t sure of anything.  It’s not like I’m able to roll of bed, put my shoes on and head out the door either.  I have to get up, let the dogs out, let the dogs back in, give the little one food and water, open Changin’ Time by 8:00 a.m. and by that time I’m just all flustered.  In fact, I forgot to go to the bathroom on Sunday morning, so for the first half of my run I was thinking about how awesome it would be to come across a bathroom.  Or how horrible it would be to poop my pants.  Anyway, I parked down at the Waterfront near Lowe’s theater and picked up the GAP trail behind Mitchell’s Fish Market.  I ran all the way to the Carrie Furnaces, where I knew there would be a bathroom to use, and then turned around and ran back.  I paused my workout and instead of hitting “resume,” I hit “save.”  I was completely irritated at myself.  I like things to be orderly, dammit.  Needless to say, I was not mentally in a good place on Sunday.  I was bored with the trail, which seemed to drag on in a straight line with nothing fun to look at.  I felt like I was walking a lot more than I should’ve been because of the humidity and being a fat mess.  But honestly, when I combined the two legs of my run into one, the numbers were nothing to be ashamed of: 2.71 miles (I had 2.5 on the books) at 13:23 pace with a negative split! I’ve got to learn to not be so hard on myself.  And go to the bathroom before I leave the house.

I like keeping track of my improvement each week.  Seeing these numbers get better is hugely motivating for me, like carrots on a stick.  Except I’m not a donkey.  Although donkeys most definitely run faster than me.

This week’s stats are next week’s carrots:

This week I clocked 8.21 miles.

My fastest pace was 13:20.

My furthest distance was 2.71 miles.

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