Running in the dark/Encounters with Wildlife

It’s 5:30am.

It’s dark.

I fervently wish for extended sleep.

But, I need to run, so I dutifully start running up the hill toward intervals and certain pain.

And almost have a heart attack.

About 50 meters up the hill there is a pine tree.  There are always pine cones on the ground, so I am sure to have my headlamp pointed at the ground during this stretch.  I wouldn’t want to roll an ankle after all.  My eyes pick out a particularly large pine cone and I step carefully to avoid this hazard – and it JUMPS!  Apparently it was a frog (or toad, whatever).  I did a little jig that strongly resembled Shaun T’s “Heisman” move in Insanity.  Fortunately for my sleeping neighbors, I avoided the girly scream that almost came out.  After my heart rate when back to normal, I laughed the rest of the way up the hill.

My intervals went well (10 minute warmup, 4 x 8 minutes with 2 minutes rest). 5.99 miles total / 50 minutes.

And I’m glad I didn’t squish the frog.  He can live to scare another runner who isn’t expecting movement near their feet in on a pre-dawn run.

My current tally of wildlife seen on runs (in my neighborhood):

  • Deer (frequent)
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Skunk (once was enough)
  • Jed the Black Snake
  • Copperhead Snake (again, once was enough)
  • Frogs
  • Squirrels (watch out for these guys – have you seen this?)

Have you had any exciting wildlife encounters?


18 miles & a quesadilla

Don’t do 135 pushups directly after eating a quesadilla.  Trust me on this.

To those with iron stomachs:  We salute you.

My strength training has been sorely lacking.  I have to pick it back up now or I will be paying dearly later.

BUT… two important things happened this weekend.

  1. I fought my vacuum cleaner and won (this is likely important to me only, but my husband would be proud)
  2. I ran my first 18 miler.  It felt like both less and more that the prescribed distance, but it was pretty great.

18 miler

I got up at my normal long run time of 0445 and checked the temperature: 85 degrees!  Excuse me, but it is 4:45 AM.  How is it 85 already/still?  I was sure at that point that the run would not be a good one, but I knew it might be warm.  I had already planned to run a portion on my treadmill if necessary.  I was thinking an hour tops outside, then in to the comfort of my air conditioning, 3 fans and Thor: The Dark World.

Anyway, I filled my trustee running vest and prepped some water for the treadmill.  I headed out and began sweating copiously within just a few minutes.  The first 4 miles were fairly miserable, but I took it a mile or two at a time and ended up with decent cloud cover and a good breeze.  I was able to stay outside for 13.31 miles then transitioned fairly easily to the treadmill when the sun came out and did its best to cook me.  My pace was similar to my run last week which was great since it was a distance increase of just over 1 1/2 miles.

Long Run - 18 miler

I spent all 13.31 miles running in my hilly neighborhood, and can happily say that all my hill work is paying off.  I know the hill at the end of the AFC half is still going to be a beast, but at least I will be prepared!

I am thrilled with the current Friday night overnight forecast: 66 degrees!

Getting my groove back

Today’s run felt great!  I was fortunate to have a good friend running with me for the first 6 miles.  It was great to have her for that time.  She’s a great running partner, and lately I’ve been enjoying social runs.  We kept the pace easy knowing that I would have at least 10 miles left to run when she headed home.  The pace and weather were perfect today.  It was nearly 20 degrees cooler this morning than it was last Saturday.  I felt strong and comfortable for the entire run.  Runs like this one are the reason I keep coming back for more.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 6.32.55 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 6.33.14 PM

I’m 99% sure this was a mileage PR for me.  That’s cool.  My average pace wasn’t blazing, but I ran negative at the end easily and was able to tackle a big hill in the second half of the run with no issues.  I’m calling it a win!  See my happy “I just finished a great run” face?

Long Run 19-July-2014 copy

Also, the trail was apparently very dusty today.  Gross.

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Hope everyone else enjoyed running today as much as I did!


Week 7: Pre-Long Run Recap

I have had some great runs this week, not necessarily the fastest, but they felt good.  I feel strong.  I spent more time this week doing hill work than I have recently.  My half in San Diego (in 4 weeks) has a massive hill at the end – I need to be prepared.  I’m not particularly aiming for a PR at that race.  I’m just going to run and have a good time with one of my very best friends.

Anyway,  the recap…

Sunday – Recovery day:  100 pushups (I’m still working on the plan.  It has been very effective for me.  I hate pushups but I am gaining ground quickly); yoga; hamstring flexibility

Monday – 30 minute recovery run done on the treadmill to keep my pace in check (3.19 mi/9:23 pace); 3 rounds of 4 way plank; hamstring flexibility

Tuesday – Hills: 2 big ones ~ 1/2 mile each @ ~8:30/40 pace, a variety of small ones, total elevation gain 393 ft.,  4.0 mile, 34:37, 8:39 ave pace; 110 pushups; hamstring flexibility

Wednesday – Easy Run 5.30 mi., 45:00, 8:27 ave pace, 344 elevation gain; Strength training: box jumps, step ups, squats, hamstring curls, 4 way plank (3 rounds)

Thursday – Intervals 4.87 mi, 40:05, 8:14 ave pace, 310 elevation gain;  I tried to find some hills for these intervals but wasn’t looking to run up the huge hill over and over again, so I did the best I could otherwise; 121 pushups

Week 7 Recap

I am definitely ready to tackle my long run this weekend.  We have had cooler weather here, so Saturday should be a great morning for a run!

the worst long run



So this was supposed to be 16 miles.

I’m assuming the two pictures will provide a sufficient explanation.

7/12 Run Stats



Makes a girl nervous for her next long run…and for the record, I do not in any way believe that it was only 75 degrees.  The thermometer in my car said 78 when I got to the trail, factor in humidity, and I figure we were somewhere around a 125 degrees (that is, of course, an estimate).

Zero fun was had during that run.

Week 5 recap & some new tunes

Week 5 was fairly uneventful. It felt like a recovery week – only 4 prescribed running days and much lower mileage. This next week may be tough. The long run this coming Saturday will be an hour longer than the run I did two days ago.  I was overall quite pleased with my pace during my long run.   I had a friend running with me for the first 5 miles which made it infinitely more enjoyable!

Week 5

I got myself some new music as motivation for tomorrow’s long intervals (10 minutes each – yuck!). Hope it does the trick!

New Playlist