School finally starts tomorrow - a week late. We're definitely all ready now!
Supplies are packed in backpacks, lunches are in the fridge, and two little boys are up in their beds, not even close to being asleep.
I've read so many things that advise you to start getting ready for back to school at least a week ahead of time, by moving up bedtime and getting the kids back on a schedule.
And I know it makes good sense, but it also sounds like a real drag. So instead, we packed as much as we possibly could into these last few days of summer - which, for our family, means beach time, more beach time, and then even more beach time!
Friday was just me and the boys in Narragansett, and we had an awesome time, aside from Gabe getting attacked by a seagull (no joke - a seagull flew down and grabbed his sandwich right out of his hand, and cut his finger in the process!).
Saturday we all went down to Roger Wheeler, and although it was a ltitle cool and very, very windy, we had such a great day.
I decided a few days ago that I would dump all their Happy Meal toys were going to become beach toys, figuring that a few of them would likely be 'accidentally' lost or forgotten in the sand. And I was right. We're already down at least 5 toys - and the boys hardly even noticed.
They did mention something about one of their Batman toys that went missing, and I told them that yes, it probably got buried in the sand, but that some day some other child would discover it on the beach and would be all excited that they found a hidden treasure, and they could bring it home and play with it, and they liked that idea. So, it's all good.
Anyway, the big bag 'o crappy toys (as I call it) proved to be a huge hit! They built fortresses, and bridges, and caves, and tunnels, and their superheroes and smurfs and Sponge Bobs and dinosaurs had countless adventures as the tide rose and receded. It was fabulous to see them playing so nicely, and so intently.
The storm had also washed up lots of driftwood, which added a whole new element to their sand sculptures.
Saturday night we went to a friends' house for a back-to-school party - an annual tradition, and one we didn't want to miss, even though the boys had already had a very late night at Kids Night Out at the Y the night before.
And after two late nights and two full beach days, we packed up again Sunday morning for one final excursion. We met up with some friends at Narragansett, and soaked up every last bit of sun and sand that we could, and it was glorious. A great way to close out a wonderful beach season : )
I'm sad to see the summer end, but looking forward to getting everyone back on a schedule and back into a regular routine.
I'm also looking forward to wrapping up the final 6 weeks of training, and heading to Hartford to run this marathon!
The training is still taking a lot out of me, but I feel like I've turned a corner mentally. I definitely feel like the end is in sight, and that's made me be able to feel much more excited, and much less fed up with all the training.
I actually felt so positive, and so optimistic about last weekend's 20-miler, but then when I started running, it was just all wrong. I was so tired, and felt so slow, and my hip flexor was not feeling good at all, and it was the first time I ever seriously considered cutting short my long run. I was feeling that bad.
But I stopped for a bathroom break and had a gel at mile 5, and after I got going again, things improved dramatically. By the halfway point, I was feeling downright wonderful!
I was careful to not go too fast during the middle miles of the run - something I've been doing during my last few 20-milers - and maintained a much more consistent pace, and it paid off. I still felt a bit of a slump at the 15-mile mark, but it was nowhere near as bad as it has been.
And my goal for the 20 miles was an 8:53 pace, and I ran 8:52. Doesn't get much better than that!
Last Tuesday's track workout was daunting - even more so than some of the other insane track workouts I've already completed. 3 x (2 x 1200 @ 5:10). And with the insanity of last week's three-day-long power outage, I was feeling completely unmotivated and negative, and absolutely dreading the workout. And I also couldn't run on my regular track, so I was feeling very out of sorts the second I started warming up.
The first two sets of 1200 were awful. I was struggling, and wanting to quit so bad, and ended up a good 8 - 10 seconds over my planned pace. Instead of jogging for my recovery on the next two sets, I walked, and it seemed to help.
I also focused on running a more consistent pace, and that helped a ton. I STILL struggle with going out too fast - in races, in track workouts, and sometimes on long runs, too. Maybe someday I'll learn to get that under control.
The more consistent pacing did the trick, though. And once I got through the second two sets, I knew there were only two left, and I knew I could get them done.
And as it turns out, those were the two best sets of the entire workout. I ran the final 1200 in 4:59!!!!! My jaw dropped when I saw those numbers on my Garmin. And surprisingly, that final 1200 felt better than any of the other ones I had run.
So, once again, a slow start, but a strong finish. That's definitely the way to do it - much, much better than the other way around!
Thursday's tempo went well, as my tempo runs always do. They're as close as this plan comes to an 'easy run,' so I really enjoy them.
And this past weekend I 'only' had to run 15 miles, which felt blissfully easy after having already run three 20-milers.
The pace was relatively quick - 8:37 (goal was 8:43) - but I felt great the whole time. Some fatigue on the hills, but nothing that slowed me down significantly, and I finished up the run feeling so strong, and so ready for this race.
I know there's still 6 more weeks to go, but it's feeling so much more real now that it's getting closer and closer.
And every week that goes by, I become more and more confident in this training plan. I feel like it's working exactly the way it should, and that all of my responses - physically and emotionally - have been right on target. My pace for the long runs and the track workouts seems perfect - not easy, but still within reach.
And just when I was feeling like I couldn't take any more, and wondering how on earth I'd ever keep up with this level of training for another 6 weeks, I'm suddenly feeling like it's almost over, and I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by.
That confidence can be fleeting, and I have already begun having pre-race jitters, and I cannot even imagine what a wreck I'm going to be when taper rolls around.
But I am very certain that I chose the correct plan, and that I'm following it the way I should, and if everything falls into place the way it should, I will be able to pull this off.