I just returned from a short trip to Florida, where my husband and I spent some down time with family. We enjoyed a spring training game, a couple of meals out, swimming for me, golfing for my husband and a movie - all within two days - plus I ran 26+ miles in that time. Not sure that qualifies as down time, but it felt like vacation and I came to realize just how much I needed it.

I've been a runner for many years. However, I hadn't attempted to run 40-50 miles per week until this winter. Now I think of a 30 mile week as light - a week when I failed to meet my minimum mileage for one reason or another.

And there are lots of reasons.

Working, of course, 9-10+ hours each day.
Keeping up with my friends and their new babies!
Recently helping my family overcome some challenging times.
Keeping the house clean.
Getting groceries and making dinners.
Doing the laundry (a never ending task for any active person).
Going to the usual doctor appointments.
Mixing in things like writing blogs and raising money for Home Base Program.

Not much on that list is unique to me, but it makes me a particularly tired girl when you add in the fact that I'm a newlywed who wants more *awake* time with my husband and I'm running 40-50 miles/week, most of which I have to fit in on the weekends or before work on the weekdays.

I'll be the first to tell you that I'm happy and lucky to have such a full life. When one of my goals, however, is to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I wonder if I'm  focused enough on my running to do it. This weekend helped me realize that I may just be ready after all.

I went into the short vacation disappointed in my training because I either cut out or cut short a few runs. I was tying up loose ends around the house rather than out on the pavement. The break it turns out did a body good.

On Saturday I ran 9 miles at 7:39 pace. That's just slightly lower than my 10K pace and I felt like I could have kept it up for miles more. It felt effortless.

On Sunday I ran 17 miles at 8:21 pace. That's faster than my goal marathon pace and it actually felt easy! I intentionally kept the pace in the 8:30s to start, expecting to be laboring by the end, but I sped up instead. I finished it feeling tired, but completely confident in my running abilities.

These runs could not have come at a better time. Not only am I just 40 days away from my marathon, at a point in time when I need all the confidence I can get to achieve a Boston qualifying time, but they proved to me that all my hard work this winter has paid off. Even though I missed a few miles of running last week, my body knew what it needed to do, and it even surprised me.

I know I have done what I need to do to achieve Boston qualifying time on May 2. I'm thankful that this weekend's mini break from the usual routine helped me realize that. My training is by no means finished, but I'm ready and so excited! Now to start a new week of work tomorrow... right after I wake up bright and early to hit the pavement.
 
 
Today's Run: Relaxed 9.6 miles at ~ 9:00 pace. One of my longest runs ever on a work day! Hard to get up out of the nice, cozy bed on a cold, dark winter morning.

Is it too early to start planing my summer vacation?

We are! And we're heading west. Look out Griswolds, the Lewises are hitting the road. Well, not entirely. We're flying part of the way and driving the rest, but it's the closest thing to a cross country adventure we've taken.

This July we'll be off on a western adventure through Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon. Yellowstone National Park, Stanley white water and Rockies baseball are all on the agenda! I'm already getting excited and it's still six months off.

My husband and I have been very lucky to travel quite a bit. We've seen Vienna, Paris, Munich, Florence, Siena, Rome, Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Lhasa, Shanghai and many other cities - just counting the trips we've taken together. This year we're staying closer to home to explore some of our own country for a change.

I'm also not-so-secretly hoping to get in a rave run or two along some mountain range or around one of the parks. Running Big Sur last year left me wanting more. If you've ever spent any time running out west, your suggestions are greatly appreciated.