If you celebrated Thanksgiving, I (belatedly) hope you had a good holiday! My busy factor at work went through the roof before the holiday and is still going strong, so I’m just now getting to reflect on these last two weeks.
It’s been an awesome few weeks, perfectly balanced between workouts and life. In both of these last two weeks, I ran four times and did three strength training sessions. Running four days a week still seems like too little. I guess it’s just from the habit of regularly running more days, but on the days I didn’t run I definitely missed it. The upside is that I’ve had more time to fit in strength training, which is my focus this winter. I’m hoping that in time I can make strength a habit just like running and run a bit more without letting strength fall to side.
The other perk of running less is that my house is constantly neat and tidy. While my house is too big to have it immaculate all the time (with the time I’m willing to devote to cleaning, that is), I like to have it in good enough shape so that if someone visits unexpectedly, I wouldn’t be embarrassed. It’s finally there, and I love the feeling of a tidy house. Plus, we were the first ones to put up Christmas decorations on our street this year; we’re usually the last!
Also, I’ve been able to relax and read more, fit in more walks with Dave and Django, and do more social things. I’m loving this balance.
My other area of focus for this winter was to get back to eating well and lose the weight I gained during marathon training. That’s also been going great. I’m back on Weight Watchers. Their new Freestyle program is rolling out this week. I was able to preview it, which motivated me to get back into it. I’ll do a separate post about it, but in a nutshell, Freestyle makes more high-protein foods zero points in an effort to have people eat more filling foods. Now, tofu, beans, and lentils are all zero points! I’ve been cooking more and trying new recipes, too.
As for running, I’ve been adjusting more to the cold. We’ve actually had great weather here the past few weeks with most days in the 50s, but in the early mornings when I run it’s still mostly hovering near the freezing point. I broke out my cold weather socks and thermal running tights, and that’s definitely helped. I still continue to be the most bundled up runner of others I see, but I’m comfortable and that’s all I care about.
Also, I’ve been walking every day to work, which adds 3.1 miles (roundtrip) to my days. I don’t count steps or walking miles, but between my walk commute and walking more in evenings and on weekends, walking has helped fill the gap of less running miles.
Here’s the lowdown on these past two weeks.
Week of November 20
- Total miles: 17
- Strength training: 65 minutes
Strength training: 17 minutes
Easy run: 3 miles
Easy run: 4 miles
My five-day break from work started Wednesday evening with a Spare the Turkeys event at the new Threadbare Cider House in my neighborhood. Jamie joined Dave and me for vegetarian and vegan pizzas to benefit the Humane Society.
Moderate run: 4 miles
Jamie and I ran our own Turkey Trot. Jamie’s a lot faster than I am, so her easy pace is my moderate pace.
Dave and I spent the day at my mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner. The highlight of dinner was the homemade veggie stuffing my aunt makes me, which I look forward to all year. I made Trader Joe’s Turkeyless Roast for my main dish. It tasted delicious, but unfortunately my stomach was not used to eating a lot of fake meat like that, so I got a little sick from it and threw the rest away. Next year I’ll make my own veggie roast from scratch.
Strength training: 22 minutes
Dave’s birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. I told him we could do whatever he wanted on Friday, and he chose to visit abandoned places and depressed towns in Ohio. 🙂 His hobby is photography (he’s even had gallery shows and had his photos featured in local ads, books, and websites), and his specialty is abandoned scenes. When we were getting ready to go and Django started getting excited, I told Django, “Don’t get too excited. We’re not going anywhere fun!” But Django actually loves exploring, and it was fun to get out on a nice day.
That night we went out for dinner at the new Bier’s Pub in Allegheny West, a Northside neighborhood close to us. War Streets Brewery owners opened it, and it features their beer as well as others from local craft breweries. They had a number of vegetarian and vegan things on the menu. I got the homemade veggie burger, and it was awesome. We’ll definitely be visiting this place a lot.
Reunion run: 6 miles
Anna and her husband from DC were in town for the weekend. Jamie and I ran to her hotel Downtown, then we ran together for a bit before Jamie and I headed back. The last time the three of us were together was for the Cherry Blossom run in DC, so it was awesome to run together again. That afternoon, we supported small businesses for Small Business Saturday by touring some craft breweries in Lawrenceville. We went to Roundabout, Hop Farm, and Eleventh Hour, which just opened. All were packed! At the Eleventh Hour, Dave tried their jalapeno beer, described as their most polarizing selection. I had one sip and about died–it tastes like liquid jalapenos!
Strength training: 26 minutes
After cleaning the house and putting up decorations, Dave and I took Django on a really long walk. Even though it was colder than the 60s temps we’d had the day before, we wanted to take full advantage of decent weather before winter sets in!
Week of November 27
- Total miles: 16
- Strength training: 77 minutes
Easy run: 5 miles
I had the day off work so went to North Park to run. I nearly had the park to myself. The last two runs were at a more moderate pace because I’d run with Jamie, so on this run I relaxed into my easy pace and enjoyed myself.
It was warmer, and we took Django on another long walk in the afternoon. In the evening, Dave and I walked to Downtown for dinner at Condado Tacos and then walked around to see the holiday displays. My favorite thing that I look forward to every year is the gingerbread house display in PPG, where there are hundreds of gingerbread houses that schools, groups, and just ordinary people make.
I ended the day with around 10 miles on my legs between the run and all the walking and was pretty tired!
Strength training: 15 minutes
I felt so well rested after the long weekend, but it was back to all-guns-blazing, no-time-to-breathe mode at work. I was recently given an issue to fix–and fix quickly–on top of all my other work, so I’m busier than ever. On Thanksgiving I was thinking that the one thing I’m most grateful for this year is my job. I really, really love it. And it’s awesome that I’ve built a really good reputation so that senior management gives me a problem to resolve because they trust me to get it done. But boy, I really don’t come up for air from when I step into the office until I leave for the day. So on my first day back from the break, all I wanted to do was crash when I got home. But I made myself do a short strength routine. Something’s better than nothing!
Easy run: 4 miles
Easy run: 3 miles
Strength training: 24 minutes
Strength training/cardio: 20 minutes
I’d actually planned to run, but it was so cold in the morning and I just didn’t feel like it. Instead, I did a short but intense strength-building cardio session of plyometrics–jump squats, jumping jacks, and jumping moves on the Bosu ball. I was drenched in sweat when I was done!
It was another relatively warm day in the 50s, and I took Django on another long walk.
Fast finish run: 4 miles + strength training: 18 minutes
With two days off running, I was ready to run again. It was very cold and foggy early on, giving way to warmer temps as the sun came out. I picked a great time to run, when it wasn’t that cold but the sun wasn’t out in full force to make me sweat a bunch. All my runs during the week were at an easy pace, so I decided to run a progression run with the first 2 miles easy and the last 2 miles at a moderate pace, with the final mile the fastest. It felt great to add a little speed.
After running I did some arms and core strength training.
This afternoon we took Django to Riverview Park to take advantage of another sunny day in the 50s. I’m grateful for this weather!
For the month of November, I ran just over 70 miles. I just looked up my yearly mileage, and I’m at 1,034. I didn’t have a yearly mileage goal but am happy to have reached the 1,000 mark.
Geez, this ended up being super long. I need to post more often so I don’t make these so long. Have a great week!