Training Log – Week of Nov. 17 (Week 45)

Spoiler alert: This was one of the best weekends ever.

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Friends, family, running … what more could you want? A PR perhaps? Got that too.

General training notes:  Woohoo for “race” week! Even though Philly isn’t a goal race, my workouts did change a bit in preparation—no true speedwork, no normal Thursday long run, and no Friday bike ride—so my legs would feel fresh on Sunday.

Monday – a.m. run

Four-and-a-half unofficial miles with BoMF, plus four miles easy

Tuesday – a.m. run

On the bright side, I got this bad run out of my system. After a 10-minute warm-up, Coach Pat had me log five miles with some pick-ups, but the West Side Highway wind was unrelenting. Everything progressed as planned through mile four, but then the wind chill became too much. Still got in seven miles, but didn’t feel great doing it.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

I loved this class! On the bike, I struggle with maintaining an even power output, which means big wattage swings. Long story short, power spikes are not good, and this workout focused on dialing into specific efforts: slightly over threshold, then slightly under threshold. During this “over/under” session, I focused on making cadence changes (rather than shifting), and my numbers were pretty steady. Progress!

Thursday – a.m. swim

Yes, I’m finally swimming regularly again (and by regularly, once a week), but the last time I went to the pool during the morning? Aug. 25. Wowza. Nothing too exciting: my usual 500 warm-up, 5×100 solid, and 500 cool-down. I’m still about three seconds off my in-season 100 times, but I’ll deal with the damage.

Friday – a.m. run

Easy four miles. The hay is in the barn!

Saturday – off

Sunday – Philadelphia Half-Marathon

Any day you can go out and run 13.1 miles is a good day—and when your family and friends are there too … I’m one lucky girl. Race recap to come later this week, but I executed the pace plan and PR’ed (1:49:26), so mission accomplished. Hope I made you proud, Coach Pat!

So what’s next? A local yokel Thanksgiving Turkey Trot! What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

It’s November?

Whew—marathon madness has finally ended, so I can finally come up for a breath. Throughout October and the first week of November, JackRabbit was firing on all cylinders: various events and group training runs, plus a pre-New York City Marathon party and race-day cheer zone. So many 26.2 activities!

full-throttle-whoa

Full Throttle Endurance says, “WHOA!”

Marathon week—plus Monday actually (because Meb Keflezighi had a book signing at our Upper West Side store)—centered on stress, semi-organized chaos, and tons of excitement. We live for this time of year and all it encompasses; for me, that meant making sure our Saucony pre-party and Brooklyn cheer zone were successful events.

nycm-saucony-pre-party-whoa-face

Behind the scenes–and mission accomplished!

And now, I’m embracing the work “off-season.” Thank GAWD. Here’s what’s going on:

Last week, my fam and I went to Florida to celebrate my dad’s birthday. My grandfather lives there, and my uncle flew in too, and it was great to spend some quality time with everyone. And it wouldn’t be a trip to Sanibel without plenty of beach time (where running, reading, and sunburning occurred).

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This weekend, I have my first “race” since Nationals in August: The Philadelphia Half-Marathon. Some of my teammates and (work) friends will be there, plus a few BoMFers and my family. I’m really excited! Not only is it an escape from the city, but it’s also an opportunity to test my training and gauge my progress. Coach Pat and I have talked race strategy, he things I can string together a solid 13.1 miles, race the thing, and shoot for a big PR. A few months ago, I planned to simply go out and run and see what happened; now, though, I feel confident pushing it. Speedwork is coming along, and my long runs have gone pretty well, and this is hands down the most prepared I’ve felt for a “straight up” road race. Fingers crossed I feel good on race day and can hop aboard the pain train for a while!

And then, it’s Thanksgiving, which means even more family time!

In other training news, I ended my 72-day swimming boycott and went to the pool. Honestly, I planned to wait until December, but several knowledgeable individuals—including but not limited to Coach Pat and my tri coach—said getting back in the water sooner may be a good idea. Specifically, “not swimming is totally going to bite you in the a** come January!” according to my tri coach. The race isn’t won during the swim, but one of my friends/Girls’ Club colleagues questioned: “How fast can you run if you’re last out of the water?”

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Talk about tough love—and a serious wake-up call.

So two weeks ago—about 12 hours after my endorphin-inducing 11 miler—I walked to the pool after work. On the way over, I visualized myself swimming, flip turning, and doing all the little things right, but I couldn’t shake the insecurity: what if I don’t remember anything? What do my arms do again? How does one execute a flip-turn?

As it turns out, swimming is a lot like riding a bike; you never forget how to do it. When my feet touched the water, I went on autopilot: adjusted my cap, put on my goggles, and just went. Sure, I felt semi-winded 200 yards in, but those 1,500 yards felt OK. And they felt slightly better—and faster—a week later.

To be honest, I’m not sure what will happen after Philly—in terms of training and life. It feels like I’m on the brink, like a breakthrough is right around the corner, but I don’t know what is it or what it will entail. But I just hope I’m ready.

Training Log – Week of Nov. 10 (Week 44)

“We can always be chasing the sun! So fill up your lungs and just run.

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“But always be chasing the sun!”

General training notes: A solid week of training, plus a short getaway to Sanibel, FL? Done and done! This was my final week to complete tough workouts before the Philadelphia Half-Marathon this Sunday (eeeek!), so Coach Pat and I rearranged my schedule a bit; as you’ll see below, my speedwork and long run occurred before flying South on Wednesday. Now, the hay is in the barn, and I’ll be doing my best to take it easy this week so my legs feel fresh.

Monday – a.m. run

Whew, Mondays are rough anyway, so why not add some speedwork? Coach Pat had me do 500s, a new-to-me interval. They felt a lot like 400s, but longer (obviously), and it took long for the “my butt’s going to fall off” feeling to kick in. As I plugged away, it occurred to me the paces I was hitting was essentially how fast three-time Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae ran her record-breaking marathon in Kona this year. So painful, so humbling.

Tuesday – a.m. run

All right. I take full responsibility for this OK 11 miler; after last week’s long run, I anticipated another confidence-boosting outing, but that was not the case. Isn’t it funny how staying out late, not getting enough sleep, and not wearing the proper layers can affect a run? Granted, my average pace was still where it should’ve been, but it just didn’t feel good.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Abbreviated sufferfest at Tailwind because I had a flight to catch.

Thursday – a.m. run

Four easy miles on the beach

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Doesn’t count unless there’s a selfie, right?

Friday – a.m. run

Another four easy miles on the beach

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. run

Last 45-minute steady run before Philly—and I nailed it!

And with that, it’s taper time!

Training Log – Week of Nov. 3 (Week 43)

Woah, it’s really November.

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Hello, Empire State Building!

Sure, last weekend’s marathon mayhem marked the start of the month, but still … it’s actually November. Which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And the holidays too. There was Christmas music playing in Papyrus today. Wayyy too soon.

General training notes: Good, but tough training week. Coach Pat’s speed workouts continue to kick my butt. (Well, technically, they make my butt feel like it’s going to fall off.) But—ha, ha!—they are working. I’m feeling better and going a bit faster during my long runs, and the distance I cover during steady runs has slowly increased.  AND, I SWAM this week.

Monday – a.m. run and strength train

Four easy miles, plus upper-body strength training and corework

Tuesday – a.m. run

#FireOnTheTrack? More like death on the track. Coach Pat prescribed 8x800s: The first three were on pace, but I slowed down big time on numbers four and five. I was able to get back on track for six and seven, and my legs were totally dunzo by the eighth.

Wednesday – a.m. indoor bike trainer and strength training

Tailwind Endurance hosted a swim camp in St. Croix this past week (yes, seriously), so I didn’t hit the CompuTrainer. Instead, I watched 2012 Kona coverage, hammered away on my indoor trainer for an hour, and then did some push-ups and corework.

Thursday – a.m. run and p.m. swim

Hands down, this was the biggest endorphin high I’ve experienced in a while. Even in the rain, my 11 miler went really well, and … guess who returned to the pool for the first time in months? This girl! I can still breathe, swim, and flip turn, but not very fast—or for very long (just did an easy 1,500 yards). Totally my own fault, and I accept full responsibly for the 5-6 seconds I’ve lost per 100 yards. Back to #wannabeswimmer status.

Friday – a.m. indoor bike trainer

Sixty-minute spin-out with some pick-ups

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. run and strength training

Forty-five minutes steady, plus upper-body strength training and corework

Another week, another month—here we go!

Training Log – Week of Oct. 27 (Week 42)

I’ll be honest. I had every intention of publishing this log last night, but after throwing a pre-marathon party at work on Saturday and manning our cheer zone on Sunday, I was spent. Not only did I take an hour-long nap yesterday, but I also slept nine hours last night.

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Marathon-related activities take a lot out of you. And I didn’t even run the thing like 50,000-plus other people.

General training notes: Between marathon madness and general life happenings, this week was both extremely long and emotionally taxing. For whatever reason, when things pick up “in real life,” I find it’s easier to throw myself into training and log some solid workouts. Coach Pat reintroduced speedwork this week, and I had a phenomenal long run, plus two quality bike sessions.

Monday – a.m. run and strength train

One mile at BoMF, plus four miles easy. Closed out the morning with some pushups and corework.

Tuesday – a.m. run and corework

Dun-dun-duuuun! To say I was a little anxious about returning to the track would be an understatement. Up until now, I’ve been building my base and running easy miles, and true speedwork hasn’t happened since July. Basically, I wasn’t sure how it would pan out—but it was surprisingly OK. Coach Pat’s workout called for 800s and 400s, and it was relatively manageable. Sure, my legs were trashed by the third and fourth 400, but that’s how you get faster. And I was also able to hit and hold paces slightly faster than what I could do at the tail-end of the triathlon season, which is promising.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Hands down, this is the best I’ve felt on the bike in a while. And I executed this workout really well. After warm-up and a few build efforts, we faced a two-block ride: five minutes of threshold and sprint efforts, followed by a five-minute threshold block. I felt smooth and strong throughout, and for once, I didn’t have 50-plus wattage swings during efforts.

Thursday – a.m. run

Believe it or not, this run topped last week’s 10 miler. Everything clicked, felt good, and I could not get over how quickly the first five miles went by. Great energy in Central Park too with the upcoming marathon. At mile nine, my legs seemed to unwind on there own, and my stride opened up and my cadence increased—but it felt effortless. My average pace was on the faster ride of the range, and my closing mile was 7:15 (which is fast for me). And I felt like I could and wanted to keep going. Is this another running breakthrough?

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

To get into the marathon spirit, we rode the pre-loaded New York City Marathon course. Nothing too interesting to report: averaged 19 mph and 185 watts during the 26.59 miles. Should’ve been faster and should’ve pushed more watts, but I’ll take it coming off a long run.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. run

Woof. Serious props to the marathoners. The wind blew me around on the West Side Highway, and I lasted 25 minutes outside before I retreated to the treadmill for 20 more.  The fact that 50,000-plus people ran 26.2 miles in those winds is a testament to their toughness. Although I have to say, watching the marathon this year kinda sorta made me want to do it. Not for a long time, of course, but running 26.2 miles doesn’t seem as unfathomable as it did a year ago.

Would you (or have you) run a marathon?

Training Log – Week of Oct. 20 (Week 41)

Woah, long week for anyone else? We’re entering TCS New York City Marathon crunch time (t-minus seven days!), and even with this larger-than-life event, the week still seemed to drag by.

nyc-health-fair-midtown-view

It’s also health fair season. This means I get to go to swanky offices and talk to “real people” about the awesomeness of running and JackRabbit.

But any day you have a view this breathtaking is a good day.

General training notes: Coming off a lackluster few days of training, I hoped to turn things around this week. And for the most part, I succeeded. Each run felt great, and Coach Pat even had me do some pickups this week, which was my first time doing (something resembling) speedwork since … July. Wowza.

Monday – a.m. run

You know those days when you wake up and immediately want to go back to bed? This was one of those days—and everyone seemed to agree. I ran one mile to BoMF, walked two (long story), and then ran four easy on my own. Once I got going, it was fine, but it was a struggle.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Between mid-run pickups and post-run strides, it’s safe to say Coach Pat is trying to make me faster. He may kill me in the process, though! Just kidding, Pat! Thankfully, I was able to hit and hold the pickup efforts pretty well—aside from the final two when my legs said, “nope, we’re done!” After the six miles, I did some corework and upper-body strength training.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This power hour Tailwind class centered on maintaining an even power output—which did not go well. We did a ton of sprints into threshold efforts, and I struggled to dial into an acceptable range; ideally, we were supposed to stay within 10-20 watts, but I had 50-watt swings. Sigh. It comes down to experience and practice, and I keep reminding myself to be patience and keep working hard.

Thursday – a.m. run

You know those runs where everything clicks? You feel invincible and enter a space where absolutely nothing can stop you. That’s what happened during these rainy 10 miles. And it was awesome.

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and strength training

Oh, erg mode. You get me every time. In erg mode, the CompuTrainer holds the specified wattage, and it’s your job to match the cadence and move the pedals. I’d argue this is harder than a “normal” workout where it’s the rider’s responsibility to hit and hold the desired number. Anyway, we did short, one-minute VO2 max efforts, plus four, five-minute blocks at threshold. More corework and upper-body strength training after.

Saturday – a.m. run

This 45-min. steady run was the toughest and worst one of the week (I didn’t sleep well the night before), but I still felt OK and dialed into the specified pace range.

Sunday – off

And now for a few shameless JackRabbit marathon plugs for the NYC folks.

We’re hosting a pre-marathon party with Saucony, KT Tape, and Zico on Saturday, Nov. 1 at USQ from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

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Live DJ, graffiti artist, giveaways—so much marathon excitement! And you don’t have to be running the marathon to come! (Case in point: I will be there all day.)

And the JackRabbit cheer zone will be at Mullane’s Bar and Grill in Brooklyn, which is situated at mile 8.5. Come be loud with us!

Training Log – Week of Oct. 13 (Week 40)

When it doubt, quote Parks and Recreation.

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So spot-on, Andy Dwyer. Nailed it!

General training notes: Sigh, it was only a matter of time before I experienced a tougher training week. I’m guessing my body finally felt the effects of running all the miles, and I was noticeably “off” from last weekend’s Steamtown adventures. As the week progressed, I bounced back, though, and logged some quality workouts Friday and Saturday.

Monday – a.m. run

My friends and I traveled from Scranton back to the city that morning, so my four miler didn’t happen until after work. Even though the run itself wasn’t great—being tired from the weekend, feeling each and every potato chip I ate, etc.—I did enjoy shaking off the day. I can totally see why people exercise after work.

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

This run wasn’t that great either. I’m guessing I was probably still tired, and I also didn’t have as much recovery time between these outings. Still got those seven miles done, though, and did some core- and upper-body work.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

For whatever reason, I was convinced a power test would happen. But it didn’t. I still got in a butt-kicking ride: two different seven-minute blocks with various lengths of tempo, threshold, and VO2 max intervals, and we did each block twice.

Thursday – a.m. run

Ugh, another not-so-great run. Granted, it was humid, and everything felt so heavy. I’m still not totally sure how those 10.5 miles got done, but they did. That afternoon, I went to Isang for a sports massage (NYC people, go see her!), which definitely helped me recover not only from the morning run, but also the past two months of training. I felt like a new person when I left!

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

After a long run and sports massage, I didn’t know how my body would respond to another hilly CompuTrainer ride—but I rocked this ride. It was a tougher course than last Friday’s workout, and my numbers were better too. Take recovery seriously, kids!

Saturday – a.m. run

Steady 45 minutes? Crushed it. Bring on the speedwork, Coach Pat! #fireonthetrack

Sunday – off

Unless you count a Hudson Valley nature walk/hike as cross training.

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I escaped the city for a day and spent some quality time with one of my sisters. Apple picking and apple cider drinking for the win!

How do you bounce back from a series of not-so-great workouts?

Training Log – Week of Oct. 6 (Week 39)

So sorry, so late. So busy spending the weekend cheering on friends who ran the Steamtown Marathon.

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So much love for Girls’ Club. Thanks for the photo, Ali!

General training notes: This week’s training was a mixed bag—two good runs, one OK run, and one not-so-great run, plus two killer CompuTrainer classes. And Coach Pat says speedwork is coming soon too! #fireonthetrack

Monday – a.m. run

Easy four miles (plus 5.5 non-training ones with Back on My Feet) and corework

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy seven miles, plus upper-body strength training and corework

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Lots of pain during this power hour class. But lots of threshold and VO2 max efforts and lots of watts, so no complaints.

Thursday – a.m. run

My long run of 10 miles (hey, it’s all relative) started out great: I didn’t go out too fast, paced myself, and felt good. Until I hit the wall at mile 9.5. My energy levels tanked, and even though my legs felt fine, I struggled to turn them over. If I had to run longer, then I would’ve slammed a gel, so I just slugged through the last half mile. On the bright side, I learned mile 9-9.5 is when I need to take nutrition.

Friday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

In hindsight, a hilly CompuTrainer workout probably wasn’t the best idea after a long run. My legs felt trashed for the first 45 minutes, but I was able to hold a low-threshold wattage for the 90-minute class. It didn’t feel great, but threshold isn’t supposed to be easy.

Saturday – a.m. run

Bad run. Just bad. Two friends and I ran in hilly Pennsylvania, and between the terrain and cold weather (and not wearing enough layers), I felt awful. Running steady wasn’t going to happen (sorry, Coach Pat), but I did what I could: five easy miles is better than zero miles.

Sunday – off

Spent the morning spectating Steamtown—and the afternoon relaxing!

What did you do this weekend?

Training Log – Week of Sept. 29 (Week 38)

So on the non-running/training front, this proved to be a bizarre week. Thankfully, I got an adequate dose of people time on Friday and Saturday—and despite rain, our Four Jacks Run was a success!

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That morning, I ran in the rain for forty minutes. I can’t imagine (a) running 20 miles and (b) running 20 miles in the rain. These folks are rockstars! (One of four pace groups I should add; we had so many rockstar runners!)

Even though I had a productive week working from home, I’ve decided to camp out at coffee shops (or diners?) this week. I underestimated how much I enjoy being around people, and I really can’t go too long without talking to someone. It’s important to make this arrangement work too because it sounds like I’ll be working remotely for the next week at least.

General training notes: Overall, nothing too groundbreaking to report. I felt good during my runs and strong during my rides. I’ve also stepped up my corework routine, and I’m really trying to make strength training happen consistently. On an interesting note, I’ve definitely been sleepier this week. (Case in point: daily post-lunch powernaps.) Runners, is this normal when you increase mileage?

Monday – a.m. run

Early and easy five miles with Back on My Feet, plus four on my own after and corework. (BoMF miles will not be counted toward my overall weekly mileage because these runs are extremely easy. To account for this extra time on my feet, however, Coach Pat makes my workout after the shortest of the week.)

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength train

Six easy with strides, plus upper-body strength training and corework

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

The line of this power hour was “Carrie’s over there pushing 4,000 watts.” My numbers were through the roof, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around why. Even the coach asked what I’ve been doing. It’s not like I’ve been biking more—just running all the miles. As per usual, we did lots of threshold and VO2 max intervals, and I was able to hit and hold 300-plus watts for the VO2 sets (#letstalkwatts). Until I do another power test, the plan is to go by effort.

Thursday – a.m. run

Blahhh, messed up this long run big time. I ran my usual route to Central Park and hit the Reservoir, but my Garmin died at 5.65 miles. I totally froze, panicked, and stopped running. In hindsight, I should’ve kept going or even turned around and retraced my steps home so I’d have a ballpark mileage. But a device has never died during a true, structured training run, and I didn’t know what to do. After consulting with Coach Pat, I finished the second half that afternoon for a total of 10 miles. GAWD, I’m such a rookie sometimes.

Friday – a.m. bike

Easy, 50-minute recovery spin on the indoor trainer

Saturday – a.m. run

Finally nailed it! Because of our Four Jacks Run, I woke up early to get after it before heading to the store. And thanks to the wind and rain, I had the entire West Side Highway to myself. Things simply clicked; muscle memory kicked in, my legs turned over, and my brain stayed “off.” I ran a little faster than I should have, but I honestly expected to slow down eventually—but I didn’t. Dare I say progress?

Sunday – a.m. Bike MS NYC

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Great cause, great company, great post-ride food. My friends/coworkers and I did the 30-mile route, which circles Manhattan. We thought about doing the 55-mile ride, but that course essentially follows our normal ride over the bridge—and plus, two of them did 70.3 Princeton last week. So we hung out, spun out, and had a leisurely ride.

How did your workouts go this week?

Out of Whack

Helloooo, Friday!

mean-girls-october-3Had to do it #sorryimnotsorry

Even though I’m inclined to say “it’s been one of those weeks,” it really hasn’t. But it kinda has. Let me explain.

Earlier this week, we undertook a renovation project of sorts at work. This meant about 2,000 pairs of running sneakers had to be moved from the shoe room on the ground floor to the basement downstairs. And this relocation displaced our buyers, marketing folks, editorial gurus, etc. Somehow, my workspace became the new garbage location (I don’t ask questions), so I’ve been working remotely.

It’s been a productive, but surreal week. Nearly all of our “downstairs” people have been working from home, so when I stopped in Wednesday afternoon to take care of a few things, it felt like summer camp—a.k.a. hanging out with your friends without adults. (This doesn’t mean people are not responsible adults; the atmosphere was just different because our corporate contingent wasn’t there.)

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Action shot from our Marathon FAQ Panel.  See the sneakers on the left?  Direct result of the renovation project.

Working from home has its positives and negatives: Woohoo for wearing glasses, camping out on the couch, and blasting Maroon 5 all day (and OneRepublic and Sara Bareilles too.) Boo for going stir crazy, experiencing Girls’ Club withdrawal, and having no one to talk to. Gotta take the good with the bad, right?

On a related note, I’ve felt totally out of whack this week.

My routine changed because working remotely means I can start doing my thing earlier. This week has actually reminded me of Honors Week during my senior year of college. Basically, students undertaking Honors projects had five days to write at least 50 pages of a dissertation of sorts; and since I’m a morning person, I’d wake up early, crank out words for five hours, and then take a break. There’s no drafting and revising now, but there have been similarities like days blurring together and taking 30-minute power naps.

nailed-it

Also, thank GAWD season six of Parks and Rec is on Netflix Instant

During Honors Week, I shut myself off from everyone, put my blinders on, and basically only did one of three things: wrote, ate, or slept. Thankfully, I lived with my BFF who was also doing Honors, so we felt some solidarity in our zombie statuses: ‘Are you alive? What page are you on? Nice, ready, break!’

That rigid intensity hasn’t been replicated this week, but that sense of distance feels familiar. Since I spent my Honors Week waking hours dialed in, there was virtually no socializing. Granted, it was only five days, but still. Not ideal. This week has felt like that too: It’s tough when you know exactly what’s going on in someone’s life—including the nitty gritty stuff—and then you don’t see or really talk to them for a week. Again, not ideal, but normally, this wouldn’t be an issue; as a type-A person, I’d cling to and find comfort in my routine, but since my day-to-day has changed too, well, it’s been a long week.

2014-zelda-boat

Miss you, Zelda!

There’s no concrete end date in sight—just the vague, “sometime next week”—and since we’re in full-fledged marathon season, we can’t let up either. It’s the most wonderful (and crazy and stressful) time of the year!

Speaking of, two quick PSAs: First, for you NYC folks, JackRabbit is holding our Four Jacks Run tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. If you need one last long run (20 miles) before the marathon, then this is perfect!  Second, I’m doing Bike MS Sunday with some coworkers. This has become a personal cause—you may remember I did MuckFest Boston last year with my aunt—and every donation helps.

All right. It’s back to Sara B. until further notice.

What are you up to this weekend?