My half marathon training is officially underway!
Actually, training has been underway for about two full weeks now. I neglected to blog about it last week, mostly because my life was an insane mess of working, packing, and occasionally sleeping. So let’s catch up, shall we?
I’m more or less following the Shape Magazine half marathon training schedule for regular runners. I liked this plan because it fit with my lifestyle well: I don’t train on Sundays as a matter of principle, and the idea of having Fridays as a rest day sounded simply fabulous to me. Of course, I could have modified other training plans to make this work as well, but sine this was already more or less set, I decided to just go with it.
Originally, I planned to rebuild my base before I began training, but my calf troubles made that impossible. Instead, I cut way back on training for the first couple of weeks, starting at 1.5 miles and adding a half mile every run until I built up to three miles this past Wednesday. I also backed off on the Saturday long run distance by a mile each week to accommodate my return to running. I’ll still get up to the mileage the plan recommends well before the half, so I think I’ll still be well trained.
My return to running last week went well. I didn’t experience much soreness, particularly in my calves, and overall it just felt great to be running again.
This week has been mediocre. I ran on Tuesday and Wednesday, since I missed my Monday run due to my move. Running in Chicago has proven to be a lot different than running in my hometown. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, I started off way too enthusiastic. I ran a 9:29 first mile on Tuesday and a 9:39 first mile on Wednesday. Those are pretty spectacular times for me, and their also not at all sustainable. My Wednesday splits in particular showed that: I slowed down by close to a full minute on both my second and third miles.
Armed with that knowledge, I made a point of starting out slow on my four miler this morning. While my fourth mile was still about a minute slower than my first mile today, my second and third miles were only about thirty seconds slower than my first mile. I ran a lot smarter today, which definitely made the end of the run (slightly) less miserable (only slightly, because it was still 76 degrees with a 67 degree dew point…i.e.: it was pretty uncomfortable out there).
Though my runs have been fine numerically and physically, mentally my runs have been lousy all week. I’ve been questioning my abilities and desire all week long, and it’s really bringing me down. Honestly, I’ve been in a pretty bad mental place in general all week. Again, though my physical adjustment to life in Chicago has gone just fine, my mental adjustment is not going well. I’m lonelier than I’ve been in a long, long time, and loneliness does not do good things to me. If there’s anything I learned in my first two years of college, it’s that I need regular social interaction to stay sane, and right now I’m not getting that at all. I’m hoping that things will get better next week when I start to work and that I’ll finally be something that resembles happy to be here.
But back to running. Obviously Saturday morning long runs call for post-run pancakes, no matter what shade of red my face happens to be. I whipped up a batch of almond pancakes this morning, and they were delicious.
I topped one with peanut butter and the other with this gem that I found at Trader Joe’s yesterday (side note: I’m so thrilled to finally be able to shop at TJ’s again. The closest one to my parent’s house is two and a half hours away, which is a bit far to travel for groceries).
I was contemplating buying it just because I felt that it would be wrong to not buy something called “Cookie Butter,” but when I was reading the ingredient label and saw this:
I was sold. I was raised in a family that’s very connected to its Dutch heritage, so anything from the homeland is a must.
I LOVED IT. This stuff is amazing. My first thought as soon as I tasted it was, “This stuff tastes exactly like windmill cookies!” According to Wikipedia, windmill cookies actually are speculoos, so I guess that makes sense haha. My Dutchness is over the moon about this.
Even though I’m sure it’s different for everyone: if you’ve ever moved to a new city by yourself, how long did it take you to adjust?
Any good grocery store finds? Bonus points if they’re Dutch 😉