Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Twinge

Today, I had my 14-mile progression run. I was worried, because yesterday's sucked so much. However, I was flying. I had to hold back in order to keep race pace for the first lap. The 7:45 pace was really nice. I had to push myself just enough, and I got to let go. I was feeling like I got my groove back until I started my way from the Lincoln memorial and my stomach lurched. I walked/ran for the next half mile or so, feeling like I just needed to burp a few times.

I started feeling better, and picked up my pace in order to keep this mile at 7:45. This part of the mall is gravel, and I was just thinking on lap one how it probably helps keep my ankles strong. That's when the back of my ankle gave a painful twinge.  I slowed down to a jog and within five seconds I realized my lower ankle and shin were starting to numb.

Damn it.

I stopped and started rubbing it, and felt a sharpness when I pinched that ankle. Damn damn damn.... I stretched my calf a little and started walking. It felt fine. I tried jogging. It did not feel fine. I looked longingly at the runners passing me. Why did they get to run?

I tried running once more, and had no luck. I really wanted to do that 7:30 pace lap and instead walked home. I knew that it was better, if I was feeling a sharp pain, to get home and ice it. This makes me feel worse about giving up yesterday. I'm gonna try an easy run after work tomorrow, and just let my ankle rest. I won't start freaking out... yet.

Anyway, this is pretty commonplace for MCM training. Behold, I have a wonderful story from Fall 2007. I was passing the Kennedy Center when my ankle rolled in. This had happened many times, but never quite that bad. It was a sharp pain through my ankle and my foot and I couldn't put any weight on it. As this happened, two couples in their late 70's get out of a car, nicely dressed to go to a show. I hop over to the nearby tree, grasping at my ankle, horrified.

The couples looked on awkwardly and one man asks if I'm alright. I nod. "Are you sure?" I answer yes, and my voice cracks. Its painful, and at the time I'm pretty sure that I'm seriously injured. I can't put any weight at all on it, touching it to the ground hurts. The man comes over and insists that I go to the hospital. The whole group approaches me and here is a great image for you: the two, little, old ladies are at my side, taking my weight and leading me to the car. I'm barely even able to limp. They are shorter than my 5'2", dressed up and white haired. My dorm is about 2 blocks away from the hospital, so I tell them just to drop me off so I can get my insurance info and my friends can take me and they can go to their show.

They were the epitome of adorable elderly people. They park the car, and the old men insist on helping me into the sorority house. I walk in with a group of old men and women who walk me all the way to the couch.

My sisters took care of me, got me ice, one called her doctor of a father and soon the pain faded and I was running fine in a few days. Its always great to know what kind of good people are out there.

Song of the Week: The War

I've always had this song play at Mile 20 of the marathon, and as far as training goes, that's sort of where I am. First, as I tend to feel at mile 20, I'm wondering what the hell I'm doing this for.  The song's ever-repeating line:
Believe you want this

 helps you remember what the goal is.

Then there is the line that really makes it the Mile 20 song:  

Why won't you tell me that its almost over?

Plus it has a great beat, its a good song, and by a fantastic band. Today I bought the book Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall for my taper motivational read. Its the book that started the barefoot running trend. I hear its a great read, but until the taper I'll be immersed in The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Steig Larsson. Yes, it was a Barnes and Nobles day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Listening to my (hot) body

Today, I did the unthinkable.

I quit in the middle of a workout.

It was supposed to be an 8-mile run with six mile-repeats. I started my first mile repeat and halfway through, I just stopped. I had zero energy to keep up a quick pace. I wanted to go back to bed. I was tired. I was hungry. It was chilly and I was still sore. My body finally got its way. I started to turn around to head back to my nice warm bed where I could rest my legs and sleep more, but I had some willpower left to do at least 7 easy miles.

As I was running, I realized maybe these easy miles are more then junk miles. I won't be able to run race pace after this week, which I was using for motivation to run faster. But they will help me sleep at night and feel better about my weekly mileage. I decided to do just 3 main workouts this week, and rest with easy 6-7 mile runs and some strength training (easy...right...)
  1. A 14-mile progression run of 3 laps around the national mall, one at 8:30 pace, the next at 8:00 pace, and the third at 7:30 pace. Plus a warm up mile and a cool down mile. 
  2. A 12-mile tempo run of the 8:00/7:30 miles. But 10-miles of the switching, not just 8. 
  3. A 22-mile run. First half at 8:20 and last half at race pace. 
Then, I'm done! Sort of... but the results of all this hard work is wonderful. I feel so confident about the race, and I think I will definitely get my BQ. My easy jog used to be my race pace, I had no idea I could be this fast. The best, is what this has done to my body. I didn't realize it until lately, since it was changing so slowly, but its definitely changing. Yesterday I put on my old "fat" jeans, because I need jeans that looked good with sneakers. They were huge! I was swimming in them. 

I used to have a little back fat on my sides--love handles (loathe the term)--and even though they weren't huge I still noticed them. I complained about it the other day, reaching down to pinch them and found that they're gone! woo hoo!

And then!--yes, there's more!--I was jumping in the shower after yesterday's easy 6-mile run and light core workout, and I caught myself in my bathroom mirror. I have the line starting down my stomach. I was in awe. My arms are definitely more toned as well. All this and other people have noticed too. I got a few "you look really great--I mean you always looked great but you look really athletic."

I finally go over the fact that I'm not skinny, but athletic. Which is better, right? I had to hold back tears when I was told a couple months ago, "You're not skinny--you're fit". I wanted to shout that you never, ever let the words "you're not skinny" be spoken to a young woman. We like to freak out and not think logically about what the guy is actually saying. But he explained, and now--I get it, and I'm ok about not being a stick.

Now, I should be losing a little bit of weight, but I must keep that in check. For the last month or so, I keep forgetting to eat carbs. This is very unlike me, and I really need to remember to include some in all my meals. Lately, I'm just hungry all the time. I'm a bottomless pit. When I was in High School, I tried the Adkins diet, and it lasted one meal. Really, I love carbs and so I haven't been focused on getting them, since I'm used to eating plenty all the time. I've been focusing on protein, legumes, vegetables and fruit, and have forgotten a runner's most important food group!

The other morning, I read Runner's World article on recovery foods and once I looked at my food journal, I see that I do get a decent amount of the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients in a day from my usual, favorite foods.

For example, I am obsessed with raisins. When I lived with Leah, we would take turns buying bags of them from Trader Joe's and I would eat a handful a day. At work, I keep a bag here to snack on. Raisins have carbs, although they aren't grainy carbs, and they are full of antioxidants and vitamins. They are high in calories and fiber, but fat and cholesterol free. They are just such a wonderful snack to have, although I limit myself to one or two handfuls.

I've been good now that I've been thinking about it, especially since its squash season now. And, I'm actually running out of pasta, so apparently I've been doing well. Tonight, I'm craving couscous with fish and veggies. Yumm... I spend all day just looking forward to dinner. Its pretty sad.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Harder Better Faster Stronger

A quick recap: Thursday I did a quick 3-mile run while my squash was in the oven. It was an unexpected speedworkout, I really felt like sprinting the straights at Lincoln Park, and then doing some tempo work.

Friday, I overslept (again, once I get off my sleep schedule I'm a mess) and so did the 10-miles after work. I planned on warming up and cooling down for a mile each at 9 min/mi pace, especially since its hard to focus on pace when I need to slow down every block to look for cars. Then, I planned on again doing eight miles of rotating 8:00 min/mi and 7:30 min/mi pace.

Last time I tried this, I didn't do very well at all. Of course, it was my first time using auto lap on my watch and I was totally thrown off. It was also 5a.m. and I hadn't slept well. I'm noticing that my evening workouts are a lot better than my morning workouts and I'm glad I decided to switch to them after MCM. Friday night, my mile splits were:

1- 8:58
2- 7:29
3- 7:56
4- 7:30
5- 7:57
6- 7:28
7- 7:57
8- 7:29
9- 7:58
10- 8:55

A+ for me! And honestly, I wasn't even that worn out! Since I had 16 miles planned for the morning, recovery was super important. I drank Powerade before and after, and had sports beans during the run. When I got home I started dinner right away and drank a lot of water. I'm so glad I live alone and no one watched me shovel the ridiculous amount of food down my throat. I ate two entire cups of brown sticky rice and a whole chicken breast (with TJ's delish sweet chili sauce) in about 3 minutes. Topped it off with an entire bowl of corn and 4 giant pieces of broccoli. I could just feel my muscles absorbing all the carbs and nutrients. Aahhh...

Today's long run was tough. I wanted to do it at race pace and keep myself accountable for every mile. I did my usual warm-up and started my timer at Stanton square. I knew the Nat'l book festival was today on the Mall, but there was no way around it. The whole run, I really needed to push myself. I could tell I was still worn out from the last night's workout. Even at mile 8 I was feeling it.

It was a cool, breezy morning, but a little too breezy. The only mile I didn't make was the one heading across the bridge on the way back. The wind was really strong and I was running against it for a half mile (I always forget how long those bridges are!). I just couldn't gather the energy to get it under 8:05--which was my rule.

Because of this, I still get punished. No burger today, just fish, lentils and vegetables. Sigh.

Still, it was a great run and I showed myself I can run 26.6 miles in 3:30, but I doubt I'm allowed to stop at mile 10, eat a meal and sleep for 8 hours. My song for this run was Harder Better Faster Stronger by Daft Punk. Its easy to remember to keep your pace up when you have this blasting in your ears:

Work It
Make It
Do It
Makes Us
More Than
Work is

Work It Harder Make It Better
Do It Faster, Makes Us stronger
More Than Ever Hour After
Our Work Is Never Over

Great song! Even when walking to it I start to speed up.

I've had to adjust my orthotics in my shoes a number of times, but that usually happens at first. Now, they are feeling really great. Love them! As for my other purchases. I tried the vanilla bean GU gel, and it was so delicious and I loved it. I had sports beans yesterday during my run and those sat well too. So, totally worth it!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is twenty percent skill--eighty percent gear

...to steal a line from the song of the week

I'm taking today off. I'm exhausted. My body hurts, I haven't been getting enough sleep, and my energy level is at a minimum. Yesterday, I made the most careless mistakes at work, I was so tired. I'm stressed out. I've lost my phone. I'm not eating well enough, or enough at all.

Hello, good to meet you, I'm whiny Brittany.

Well--actually, I'm going to see how I'm feeling after work. I might do the 7-mile run I planned for this morning. Now that I slept in until 7:30, ate a good breakfast, and took a morning off, I'm feeling much, much better. If I don't run tonight, I'm going to just shift everything over a day--that's easy enough! I have nothing but next week's birthday celebration planned, so I don't need to stress out about it. I want to go running tonight because I have new shoes!!

Yesterday, I went to Georgetown Running Co. and tried on a number of running shoes. I had a really helpful guy who is also running MCM and has been running forever.

Instead of the neutral shoe I was wearing, I chose the Asics GEL-Kayano, a light stability shoe. The only downside is its pink and really girly. I asked, but they didn't have it in any other color. Still, Asics have always done really well for me and the shoe felt great. My orthotics fit well in them.

I also got an anti-chafing bar and a whole bunch of sports gels, beans, and bars to try out. This is what they provide at races, so I wanted to see what I liked and start testing them on my long runs to see how my body reacts. 

All this came to an outrageous amount that could have bought me some new, beautiful pumps. A pair of patent leather, low-heeled black, pointy-toed shoes were stuck in the back of my head as I paid for my purchases.  My first two marathons I had no water belt, no special watch, no gels, bars, sports beans, special clothes, or training log... I just went out and ran with my iPod in old workout clothes and held a bottle of water. Now, I've actually gotten much better this time around, but I still wonder if I need all of it.

My Sauconys aren't completely shot, just a bit, and so I think I'm going to take these home so I have them there for when I'm visiting. I was staring at them last night and how worn in they are compared to my new, stiff Asics and I can't believe I've put about 500 miles on them. 500!! All in preparation for just 26.2. I mean, when you think about it, all this training is sort of silly. I've always taken motivation at the race from the idea that the starting line was back in May, this is only the last 26.2 miles. Its really all about the training.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Planning for the taper

With one week left to go in training I realized something this morning. My shoes have over 500 miles on them, meaning its time for a new pair. This week, I have two 7 and 3-mile runs tomorrow, a easy 3 on Friday, and a 16-mile run on Saturday. Its the perfect way to work in some new shoes, I don't want the first long run to be 22 miles in new shoes, that would suck with a blister. However, I was planning on dropping some decent money on a pair of new heels, which will now have to wait for my November paycheck, since October's is going toward my registration for Boston :)

This revelation also led to me deciding to plan out my taper. Knowing there is rest ahead will make the next week and a half easier.

The first week, I'm running 43 miles, with a 13 mile long run. They consist of my usual weekly miles, but I will run them slower and I shaved a few miles off my weekday mid-length run.

My second week consists of 26.2 miles (hehe), three 4-mile runs, one of which will include 2 at race pace, a 6-mile run, and an 8.2-mile long run. When you split it up like that it doesn't seem as bad.

The third week is only 13 miles, one 4-mile run, one will have 2 miles at race pace again, a few 3-mile runs, and a 2-mile jog the night before.

I don't feel as good as I expected I would. I was cringing as I made it up based on an article's guidelines. First off, I'm sure I'll have trouble sleeping. Then, I'll really, really have to watch what I eat. I just know I'll be in a bad mood. However, I'll be able to sleep in for a change. I still need to eat a decent amount of fuel for my recovery, so I can justify a burger or two. Still, scheduling so many 4-mile run was one of the strangest things.

So, point of information, if I do this--run a 3:30 marathon--I'll have cut an entire hour off my marathon time. An hour! That's more than 2 minutes off my pace. I never, ever thought I could do a sub-four hour marathon, and now my ultimate goal is to get sub-3 (hey, I need something to aspire to after Boston)! I already hope to run the 50k in Canada next summer. That way, I can be one of those people who run a marathon and say its just a training run for an ultra--yeah, one of those people.

The hills are alive... with mythical creatures and rapists?!

Its funny how perfectly I can hear my mother's voice in my head whenever I'm doing something dangerous/stupid. It reminds me of Bella in New Moon, and since she's a little crazy at that point I tend to question my sanity. I planned on staying at a friend's house last night, which would give me access to wonderful hills. Last time I ran this course, I had over 3000 feet of elevation in just 8.5 miles, today I was planning on 12. When I remembered it would be dark at 5 a.m. in September, I was more worried about running on the dark, winding roads with no sidewalk. I got a flashing red light to attach onto my clothing, and felt confident of my safety as I started off on my morning run.

My iPod was dead, and my watch has having difficulties picking up the satellite. I had a minor panic attack about all this, until I realized how silly I was. Just because I didn't have motivational music filling my eardrums and a watch picking up satellite to tell me my pace, distance and time, didn't mean I couldn't run until I figured it was at least 7:00 (funny how the Garmin watches are ridiculously high-tech and expensive and yet don't tell you the actual time, I had to base that on the sunrise). I had forgotten my water bottle, but it was over 90% humidity, so all I really needed to do was breathe.

I started down Davenport, which leads into Rock Creek Park, and then realized how very dark and empty the streets were. I chickened out, and ran for about 15 minutes down and then up Connecticut Ave, a respectable hill. I've heard reports of runners encountering rapists in Rock Creek Park, and even though it was 5 a.m. darkness and not midnight darkness, it was still dangerous. My mother thanked me, in my head, for my smart decision. Once the adrenaline started, I was able to head into them and my watch was working. My mother didn't agree with this one. While running sans iPod was probably wise given the circumstances, I could hear everything and I was way too aware of my surroundings. The voice in my head didn't help.

I was also running aimlessly, not thinking about pace and getting distracted by the smallest things. It got less residential, and more woodsy and then I started freaking out at every little sound. There were hardly any cars, it was dark, and every noise in the woods got my heart rate faster. Grant Rd, with the amazing big hill, didn't even had streetlights and so I figured out a detour.

When I made one turn I saw something creeping just outside a streetlight's perimeter. Last time this happened, I was in Treasure lake (a woodsy golf resort in DuBois, PA), and once the creature stepped into the light and ended up being a bear. Now, I'm not completely irrational--I know we don't have a bear problem in Northwest DC, however I figured it could be a man-eating monster, a werewolf, or some other mythical creature that will surely attack me. Then, the creature was followed by another--a pretty little doe. It wasn't even rabid and foaming at the mouth. In fact, as I ran by them, they didn't even run from me, just looked hesitantly my way as I passed them--as if they were asking me What the hell are you doing up before the sunrise? Still, the woods were loud and it was great motivation for keeping up my pace--the faster I ran, the sooner I'd be on Military Rd.

As the sun rose, I was able to run up Grant, and remembered why I wanted to do this course so badly again. This hill is absolute torture--I love it. It's long, steep, and doesn't let up until the very end. I wanted to do it, it sucked while I did, and then I wanted to do it again when it was over. I did one more lap, and by now the sun was pretty bright and the wooded streets were beautiful.

I did my 12 miles and while the pace wasn't great because of the never-ending hills, it was a great workout. I focused on my form on the hill, and did them at a 9:20 pace. Its funny how with speedworkouts, my recovery pace is always too high, but after the hills I can just barely move, I'm so exhausted. On the way back to the apartment, I stopped at Marvelous Market again for a ham and cheese croissant--clearly the best recovery meal ever. Carbs, protein and lots of yumminess.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Q and A with Brittany

I'm currently training for my first half marathon.... I've just hit a wall in that my body basically gives up at mile 7. I eat well, sleep lots, strength train... but around mile 6 I start to self destruct and am walking by mile 7. I have another 7 weeks until the half so I have some time but am worried about my training completely stalling out. If you have any helpful resources or things to check out, I'd really appreciate it. :)

- Julia
I love, love, love runnersworld.com. They have forums, and "The Loop" to connect with runners and basically an article on everything. From what I know and have read, I would suggest two workouts:

First, shoot for an 8-9 mile run for your long run this weekend, but plan in the walking. You need to get your body used to moving and being on your feet for that long. So run for two miles, and then walk for half a mile, and take the recovery time seriously. I know when I recover from tempos I set my recovery pace still too high and I get burned out really quickly. Try to get the last 3 miles in without walking.

Gradually decrease walking time and build up miles. Week after shoot for 10 miles with 0.3 mile walking, for example.

Second, mile repeats. Try for 5-6 miles mid-week at goal race(or even a little quicker), and give yourself a good minute or two to walk and recover. This will build your VO-max.

Make sure when you are running, you aren't just out logging miles. I did that the first marathon I trained for. Have a point to each workout. Tempo runs will help build on your lactate threshold (when your body stops can't provide the energy anymore and uses lactate acid--which is what causes muscle burn). Speed workouts, such as mile repeats, help build speed. Try to find some nearby hills to run up and down. Working on all these aspects during the week will strengthen your long run.

Some important points: Make sure you do an easy day beforehand, or take a day off to let your body fully recover for the long run. If its hot out, drink a sports drink if you are out for more than an hour. Make sure you eat a small meal before hand. This will keep your energy up.

Song of the week: Remember the Name

The hill ending my long run. The first 7:30 mile of my 10.5 mile run yesterday. The soundtrack to my mile repeats:

This is ten percent luck
twenty percent skill
five percent concentrated power of will
five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain
and one hundred percent reason to remember the name

How could this song not channel energy?

Somehow, somewhere, at some point in my training, 8:20min/mi pace has become my comfortable pace. I must have done something right because I will be doing what feels like a slow jog, and look down to see 8:10min/mi on my Garmin. This is especially true after speed workouts. So, I'm feeling comfortable shooting for a 3:30 marathon.

My mile repeats this morning went well. Its a very fun workout. My stomach was bothering me, so I didn't do as well as I had hoped for my I definitely got my heart-rate up. It was so hard to get out of bed this morning. The Sabres won last night and the game was great, but I didn't get home until 10:30 p.m. and my alarm went off at 5 a.m. Tonight, I'm staying over at a friend's place and using the hills in Rock Creek park for a hilly 12 mile run tomorrow morning. My mantra will be that its the last one! Better make it good!

Monday, September 21, 2009

If I listened to my body...

Its the last two weeks of training before the taper starts (the first week will still be about 40 miles but it'll at least start to descend), and so I'm focused on becoming by best until then. I've scheduled 65 miles this week, with a shorter, 16 mile long run before my last 22-miler on October 3rd.

If I listened to my body, I would lower it to 50 miles max. Its exhausted. The worst thing about morning runs, is there is no rest and recovery, I don't get to sit and eat and relax after my workout. This morning I didnt even have time for a proper breakfast, just my post-run shake (I had oatmeal before the run). I got ready quickly and then had to quickly walk to the metro, about a mile away before I finally got to sit. When trying to take the stairs up the metro my body was finally put up with my torture and was begging me to stop, so I moved over to the right and took the elevator to my floor.

Of course, if I listened to my body, I wouldn't have made it past my first 10-mile run. I am training, not just "working out" and so I'm ready to push myself. I've adjusted my race goal, and now I'm looking at a 3:30 marathon. I know that is a bit ridiculous, but I feel extremely comfortable racing at a 8 min/mi pace. My last long run consisted of 10 miles at 8:20 pace and 10 at 8:00 pace, and I decided to run the 2 miles to Capitol Hill, I did one mile relaxed, and then the last mile or so I ran as fast as I could until I reached the top of the hill. I felt so great afterward. I did a slow jog to my apartment (another mile) and ended up doing the 22 miles in just a minute just over 3 hours.

If I listened to my body, at mile 8 I would have turned around. I wasn't up for a long run Saturday morning, and it ended up being really quite pleasant. I just love going out for 3 hour runs, its not just a workout, its a little journey. I decided to follow the Mt. Vernon trail and turn around halfway through, and go back until the Memorial Bridge; and seeing as it was a new path, it felt like I was on vacation. At one point, I was sure I I had just accidentally relocated to Cape Cod. The path was along the river and the water was lapping under the dock. There were sailboats and I passed two marinas. The sun was shining, but not too hot and there was a slight breeze. The neighborhoods I passed through were lovely, and it was quiet out on the pathway, which sometimes turned into a wooden boardwalk. When I headed back toward the city it was a really nice view with a miniature looking Capitol building. Its nice to have such a great view and know your body had taken you that far.

This morning, the sunrise was absolutely stunning. The sky was orange and the clouds were purple (no lie) and the clouds' shadow on the river made it look purple as well. I really need to start bringing my camera running. This morning, I was freezing when I walked outside, but once I warmed up it was perfect. I was still sweating as I always have, but I didn't need water at all, and I just felt like the air itself was refreshing.

Tomorrow, I am warming up with a jog down to the National Mall, where I'm planning on 4 mile repeats. The perfect stretch is 0.8 mile, but I'm going to have to extend it and run around the Washington Monument. On top of that, I'll jog home, meaning I still need to be up by 5 a.m. I'm shooting for 7-min miles, but I want to get in a few sub-7 min.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The best thing about running...

I know that while running and training you are supposed to keep a strict-ish diet and be sure to get proper nutrition and energy from carbs, protein, fruits, and vegetables. But anything that allows me to eat lots of great food somewhat guiltless-ly is #1 in my book.

For example, I accidentally ate a pint of ben & jerry's last night. Obviously it was an accident, I filled up a bowl, ate it, wanted more, went back to the pint and found that within minutes it was empty. I have no idea how this happened.

But, I ran 10 miles yesterday morning, and instead of taking a day off, I ran an easy 3-miler this morning. It was nice to just run, and not have to worry about pace or distance. At the same time, it was a little more boring. Back to topic, I don't feel too guilty about the 800+ calories my girlytimes-induced cravings led me to consume. Especially since last night's dinner consisted of vegetables and chicken sausage. I meant to eat a sweet potato, but I had always made them in the microwave, and didn't realize it would take an entire hour or so too bake it in the oven. Since I had already finished the pint before it was done, I put it in my refrigerator for this weekend.

I was going to reschedule my long run for mid-week (Ha! 20-miles before work. I would be a very irritable zombie all day), but I really, really, really, was looking forward to Nando's Peri-peri chicken after work today, so I kept the long run scheduled so I could eat to my heart's desire. Yes, you read that right.

When you run 50 miles a week, you are allowed to eat what you want, given you get enough nutrients and its all well-balanced. My diet doesn't change all that much, since I would like to trim a few pounds from my body, but it helps to have guiltless exceptions. I realized I haven't blogged much about my running this week, and its because Garmin Connect was having issues with its website and I can't upload activities. Here is a round-up, I'll post links later:
  • Monday: Day off. I got home from work planning to run 6-miles and my body was a little sore and exhausted.
  • Tuesday: 7.5 miles and a stair-workout. I did a tempo run, which was a lot of fun. And ran up and down the stairs by the memorial bridge for two songs. Then I did push-ups up the stairs, three at a time which is painful and exhausting. The way back after the stair-workout is always very difficult. I try to keep a good pace because my body should be trained to run when its tired.
  • Wednesday: 4-mile morning speedworkout, first two-a-day with a 4 mile hill workout in the evening. The morning speedworkout was... average. Not that great, but acceptable. The evening's run was really great. I was going to do a stairworkout on the Capitol buildings' stairs (which I always thought would be inappropriate until someone asked my why I didn't), and then I found that they are roped off half-way and men with big guns are standing at the top. So instead, I ran up and down the hill. I wasn't too tired and I decided I really liked two-a-days...
  • Until I went running Thursday morning. I had 9.5 miles and a stair-workout with pushups planned and it was a quasi-tempo run. I was dying. I was exhausted. It turned out to be a decent run in terms of me feeling very worked over by the end, but my average pace was worse than my long run. But, pace didn't mean as much since there was a lot of recover time involved. I did two quick miles, a quick .5 miles, and about 2 miles of tempo running.
  • Today, I had a very easy 3-mile jog just to loosen up my legs. I also discovered that my weird sleeping habit of waking up 5 times in the middle of the night happens on my rest days, so I hope this will help me sleep well tonight.
  • Tomorrow, a 20-mile run.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My sappy story

In hindsight, it started after the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon. I mildly hurt my ankle not a week or two after, and went three weeks without running because my coursework got so heavy. It took a long time for me to recognize that I was depressed. After all, there was nothing for me to be depressed about. I have an amazing family, amazing friends, I was doing well in school, I was heading to Paris and really, life was exactly as I had always wanted it to be. Not two months before I would actually have moments where I took a deep breath and thought: My life is perfect.

I started out just being anti-social. I didn't feel like going out or doing much of anything. Then I started sleeping more and just stopped caring about nearly everything: what I ate, what I did with my time, keeping in touch with friends and family, my grades, my goals. I read a lot. I just figured I was burnt out from the tough semester.

Going abroad was the worst thing at the moment. I figured I would be happy once I got to Paris, started traveling, and had fun, European adventures. Instead these expectations made it worse and I ran away from all my friends and family. On one hand, I loved the time I spent there. A lot of it was really wonderful. I made good friends, did awesome things, and had some really great highs.

The lows were devastating. Once, I didn't leave my bed for an entire week. I didn't want to get up, I didn't want to think, I didn't want to do anything. Sometimes I would just walk around the city mindlessly for hours. It was beautiful and wonderful, but I was sad and couldn't figure out why. I couldn't admit it to myself that I could be depressed and so I ignored it.

I didn't take up running again after the marathon. I did it sparingly. My diet in Paris was the best and the worst at the same time. In one aspect, I finally felt free from all the body image issues I've had in the past, since--as I noted--I was apathetic about everything. My motto was that if I didn't gain five pounds when living in Paris, I clearly did something wrong. The food was delicious. However, I did gain about five pounds, I had dessert everyday. I ate more pastries and croissants than I can imagine. I discovered my love for red meat, went back to all white-flour based carbs, ate vegetables sparingly and drank a lot.

When I realized something was wrong with me and it was clearly not any outside force, I looked at these habits. Before going on any medication, I wanted to fix it myself by taking care of my body again. If it was chemical, I knew all about the miracle of endorphins. That summer, I would do spinning class Monday through Thursday with a friend. We kept each other accountable because we drove into work together. I started running and eating healthy again. The pounds slowly crept off through the summer, but I still didn't feel like myself. I had my energy back, but I hated my job and I was in Buffalo, away from all my closest friends.

People told me to go see a therapist and get on the miracle meds they were on. But honestly, I'm about the most open person on the planet. I have no secrets or filter to my mouth. If a stranger on the street asked for my life story, I would tell it all in detail. There was nothing wrong in my life to discuss. I was bent on the idea that it was chemical and I could fix it on my own.

When I finally started talking to my friends about it, almost all of them admitted to realizing something was wrong that last semester at GW. My senior year was filled with up and downs. I don't think I had a straight month of feeling well. My "ups" were usually prompted by new shoes. I added some new things to my life. I tried to go out, but I was still so tired and completely unmotivated. Its hard to get into a running routine again when you're apathetic about everything in life. Slowly, the good stretches got longer.

It was the beginning of June, a month into MCM training, when I was on a morning run, and started thinking about what I want to be doing with my life, when my ambitions were career-wise, traveling again, and getting involved in DC. Then, it hit me. I was ambitious again. This was the last aspect to the depression I had yet to overcome. Then it really hit me, I couldn't remember my last low. Mid-run, I stopped and started crying because I could just feel that it was finally over.

Its September now. I live alone, and still meet friends whenever I can, because I want to. I've started taking on a whole bunch of new activities. I feel like myself again for the first time since November 2007, which feels better than you can even imagine. I didn't cave and start taking medication, I just started taking care of myself. Running does more for me than I probably even realize. I'm apparently addicted to the endorphins from running, and that's ok with me. Now that I know what running does for me, I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. And when the next low comes, I know how to take care of it.

That's my sappy story, and one lesson fully learned.

Now, I need to get over being such a shopaholic. The only way running helps is that it takes up time I could be spending shopping.

Food journal

Big pat on the back to me. Its not perfect, but I've been successful in keeping a food journal for September. I don't go crazy with counting calories or anything, its just to keep myself accountable to what I'm putting in my body and helps me look at my carbs/protein/fat ratio. I haven't been able to go grocery shopping in two weeks due to my horrible habit of overspending, so I got to get creative with clearing out my pantry and freezer.

I looked it over today, and I've done absolutely fantastic with snacking. I basically don't, except for maybe a handful of a nut mix I keep at the office, or a handful of raisins. This, of course, leaves out the pre and post run snacks, which I eat as part of my breakfast anyway. I've also had dessert maybe three times this month, which is surprising (of course, once it was an entire pint of ice cream). I also have resisted the free juice and soda at the firm, and have switched over to black coffee or espresso, therefore reducing my liquid calories to zero, other than the couple times I've drank alcohol this month. I haven't even had Diet Coke!

I think its been easy to keep up since I saved it as a google doc and can access it anywhere. This allows me to update it at work or at home. At first, I was going to leave out the weekends, but as you can see I started doing it again.

So, what are my eating habits and what do I aim for? I'm trying to get in 100 grams of protein a day. I try really hard to keep a balanced diet of lean meats and fish, red meat, legumes, veggies, fruit, and whole wheat carbohydrates to fuel my training. Diet is key to energy, recovery... and really I'm putting my body through a lot so I need to treat it well. I do my best to cook everything from scratch so I know whats going into my food. I make enough for 2 or 3 at dinnertime, and then put away leftovers to microwave at work later in the week. I aim for more than two colors of vegetables a day, and add a frozen mix of yellow, red and green peppers to nearly everything. I have Eastern Market close by to get fresh fruit and vegetables, but I get broccoli, green beans, and peppers frozen since they are cheaper and just as wonderful. I try to go minimal on sodium and added sugar.

What do I dish out money for organic? Anything with dairy. Skim milk, yogurt (whole foods has Stonyfarm plain yogurt really cheap! Buy the big one for less that $4 and make your own parfaits and shakes), and my whey protein. Whole foods and Yes Organic Market have good bulk sections, so I tend to get bulk organic as well. I get my hummus, turkey bacon, and chicken sausage at Whole Foods because I like the brands. My vegetables come from the farmers market, and I always try to buy cage-free/free range meat and eggs.

Ok, I guess that's just about anything. I rarely go out to eat, so I let myself dish out money for good food. I've gotten to the point where I like my food better than any restaurant's or friend's food anyway. Start looking at food labels, and you might join us crazy people who cook everything themselves.

At work, I used to be good at (and will be better at once I get to the grocery store tonight) bringing in a bag of sliced carrots, celery, and maybe cucumbers to snack on throughout the week. I also keep mixed nuts and dried fruit at my desk. My favorite sweet snack is frozen fruit. I go through bags of frozen fruit a month between shakes, snacking, and my berry-crumble dessert.

I've been eating a lot of pasta lately because its cheap and I ran out of rice and quinoa (sad face). I usually always stay stocked on lentils, rice, quinoa, and oats. I'm lately obsessed with chickpeas, beans, and curries. Making your own curry is so easy and healthy, and legumes are a great source of protein! Now that fall is on its way, my diet will likely revolve around squash, apples and pumpkin. Yum!

Of course, I drink about 10 glasses of water a day.

A link to my food journal is (gulp) now under the "My Links" section on the sidebar.

Now, the whole world can see what I eat... that should be good motivation!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Song(s) of the week: Lady Gaga's Fame

So, I cross-post this on Runner's World, and actually get lots of fun comments. In a comment about my Weird Running Dream post, Flying Welshman said that it "shows you have this race so well planned/trained out that the only thing that could stop you is an unprecedented event like a backlog at the finish line." I like this point a lot.

My mom also calls me and talks to me about what I wrote. For example, last night she said she remembers when I was signed up for tee-ball as a little girl, and my legs were so tiny that it would take forever for me to run from base-to-base. Apparently the words "that girl will never be a runner" came out of her mouth. Funny! We then found out that she actually has the week of the Boston Marathon off from work, so her and my dad are going to come watch me race if, God willing, I qualify. I'm very happy about this.

As for my music recommendation for the week: The whole Lady Gaga Fame album. Just buy it and disperse the songs throughout your running/workout playlist and thank me later. I already had/loved Just Dance, LoveGame, and Poker Face, but this week I was introduced to the rest of her album and I can't stop listening to it.

True Blood finale was ok last night, not enough Alexander Scarsgard for me. I didn't get to bed until 11:30 and still got 8 hours of sleep, so I'm doing my easy 6-miler tonight.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I didn't know how to title this post. I was in between:
  1. 20 down, 6.2 to go: My first 20-Mile Run
  2. Two States and the District
  3. ...and then I punched myself in the face
  4. Sorry if the smell bothers you, and
  5. See You in Boston
You're excited now, aren't you?

I got 10.5 hours of sleep last night and then laid in bed for an extra 30 minutes. It was amazing! Then I realized while eating my cinnamon toast and drinking my morning coffee that the Nation's Triathlon was today. I groaned as I looked at the course on my computer. There was no way I would be able to get into Virginia without crossing the course at one point. Then, I was inspired. I have always wanted to do a 20-Mile run that covers both Virginia and Maryland. That way, I could say my morning run consisted of Two States and the District of Columbia. By this time, I was starting my run so late that I wouldn't have run into the triathlon anyway. It was also late enough that I would be running into 80 degree weather. Awesome.

My run started off poorly. My legs were heavy and it took effort to get my pace up, despite the warm-up walk/jog. Then my pace felt pretty solid as I passed over the Potomac into Virginia. One state down, one more to go. I went back into DC and started on the Capital Crescent Trail. I've always feared this trail because its a big biking trail, and I once had a sorority sister get run over by two bikes, leading to a broken nose, a fat lip, and injured ribs and an ankle.

So you know when you are driving at high speeds and obviously, you hit bugs and they show up on your window-shield? Well, the human body doesn't include a window-shield. When running, you just deal with running into them. I ran into a bee at chest length, and had a minor freakout. I HATE bugs and I'm so petrified of bees that even at 21, I've never been stung (I always run when I see one). I started thinking about this. If I got stung or bit, I know how to take care of it, but would I really be bad ass enough to finish the run? Not two minutes later, I'm running along enjoying my pace when BAM! something BIG is in my EYE.

... and then I punched myself in the face.

I've had little bugs in my eye before, but this one was buzzing in the corner of my face and not coming out. In 2 seconds, my mind goes a million places. What will it feel like to get stung in my eyeball? What if I lose my sight? I imagine this insect latching onto me with its teeth. Throughout this, I'm clawing the side of my face and bringing my thumb and side of my hand into my nose repeatedly. Finally, its out. I feel like my nose is starting to swell. I can feel the soreness as I start running and my feet is pounding on the pavement. I figure it bit me, or I got stung but... it doesn't sting. I started touching the area lightly and realize that is very sore. Sore as in I just got punched in the nose. Right, that's exactly what happened.

Honestly, it really hurt. And when something hurts at Mile 5/20, you're screwed. I rinse my eye out with the sort-of-kinda-still-cold water and keep running. I passed into Maryland at Mile 9 and was so excited about finally doing that. Don't worry, I didn't go all Walk to Remember and put one leg on each side of the border so I could say I was in two places at once (I did think about it). After about a 1/2 mile I turned around.

I did the first 13.1 in about 1:50, perfect for a 3:40 marathon. I should have scolded myself then and there for running at race-pace and not the 40 seconds over race-pace that I ought to be doing during training. But at this point, I have about 7 miles to go, Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer was blasting and I felt awesome, so I kept it up. Jump 7 miles later, and I finished, feeling great despite the small amount of liquids I was drinking and the 80+ degree heat. I also had a 2 mile walk home, which I decide is a good thing since I need to be used to being on my feet longer than the 2 hours and 47 minutes I ran.

This was a great call because I found a breakfast place on the way with bagels. Bagels and peanut butter! I grabbed a protein-full odwalla shake on the way in and got in line. There was a lady and her son at the counter and within 2 minutes I was giving her the look of death. She changed her order a bazillion times before I could order my bagel. I took to chugging my odwalla to keep me from punching her in the face. When she was putting away her change, I jumped up next to her and placed my order. She then decided she also wanted a diet coke. I glared at her and she looked at me, clearly annoyed by my presence. Then I realized I was really sweaty and didn't shower this morning. She decided not to get the diet coke after all and left before I could say: Sorry if the smell bothers you. I just ran 20 miles and I. Want. My. Bagel.

Despite being decked out in running gear and stinky, I grabbed a table at the cafe and inhaled my bagel and shake. Now that I had food in me, I was able to do math. Its then when I realized that 2 hours and 47 minutes would give me 53 minutes to run 6.2 miles. I just did 20-miles at race pace, in 80 degree heat, with all the complications of people in my way and streets to stop at. I started thinking that maybe I should aim for a 3:30 MCM. I need to share my new-found excitement so as I turn off my watch, I say: See you in Boston!

See, I have a minor freakout everyday. I sit at work and look at other people's training blogs and I read articles how to train and do better and I realize that I didn't run for a whole week in July, I had such a bad slump. I didn't work enough on speedtraining. My tempo runs aren't all that great. I should have done a 20-miler earlier. I'm going to peak too soon... and I freak out a little bit and start looking at hotels in Vegas since Plan B is running the Vegas Marathon in December if I fail to qualify at MCM. But today, as I crossed over to the super market to buy a gigantic bottle of Gaterade, I had a bit of a skip in my step with the confidence I'd been lacking, as I thought:


Garmin details

The hungover 5k

I told my Friday night date that this was us getting a drink. Just one. Then I was going to get home, get dinner, and go to bed early.

Six (or eight) glasses of Sangria later we had a 20 minute wait for the metro (we're on the same line) and it was already 11 p.m. I'm a ridiculous lightweight, so I'm pretty drunk at this point. I mean, it was a really good date--the only reason I stuck around--but this was a pretty bad idea, since I had to get up by 6:30 for a race I paid $30 for, meaning it wasn't just another run.

The morning didn't go well. I felt a bit like death, my stomach was all funny feeling, I missed my bus and we got lost trying to find the race. Jaclyn isn't a runner, so she wasn't even planning on running the whole 5k and was worried about making a fool of herself. I was thinking that I was the runner here, so if I sucked, then I'd really be making a fool of myself. I got to the start line, still a little queasy and irritable, thinking: Its only 3 miles, I can have this done and over with in 20 minutes. I started way too far back, and ended up jumping over the grass to pass people. I was under 7 min/mi pace and actually felt pretty good. I passed one, 6 foot guy and he yelled "CRAP!" loudly as I did. (insert evil laugh here)

So I was just running and trying to keep that pace. It wasn't that painful, until I looked and saw I wasn't even half-way done. I could feel my pace slipping, I ignored the water stop and focused on passing people in front of me. Then a guy told me I was in 8th place. Really?! 8th?! That sounded pretty cool to me. Then I looked and saw the end of the race was approaching. At this point my stomach is groaning in protest. I really wanted to stop. I made it my goal to pass the two guys in front of me, and did on a downhill. Finally I see a guy on a bike, who tells me I'm the first woman and he'll escort me in.

I won!!! I got a prize and everything. I got to run through the ribbon and earned the title "First Woman" for the next hour or so. You just don't win marathons so I hadn't ever had this happen before, or thought it was possible. The best part was the second woman who finished. She was clearly miffed that I beat her. She came up to me and was like "How old are you?" I told her I was 21 and she went off on this rampage about being 37, with 2 kids, this was her first race after a broken foot, and she does triathlons, so she excels in distance. I was totally taken aback as she started spitting all this out at me as an excuse for letting me beat her. I just smiled, told her she did really well. I said this was my first 5k, I usually do marathons, and walked away smirking. Whatever, she got first in her age category for woman, and I did in mine. I also got a 3-month membership at Gold's Gym, perfect for the upcoming cold weather!

Garmin Connect: March of Dimes Bolt for Babies 5k

Friday, September 11, 2009

After work run--a success!

Activity Details for 7.5- Mile better-than-race-pace run (stair workout not included) (shared via AddThis)

I always think I'll hate running after a long day at work, but every time I do it, it ends up being a really solid workout. I have a training rule where if I don't do my morning run, I have to cancel plans and do it in the evening. Unfortunately, yesterday's sleeping in until 8 a.m., evening run, and late night kept be in bed this morning too. I have a date with a tall, dashing Brit this evening though that I refuse to cancel on!

Yesterday, I felt like I was running on air. I did a decent job of keeping the pace under 8 min/mi. Its difficult when you have to stop at streets and such, and then you have to slow down and pick it up again. Last night's motivation was the impending clouds of rain I was racing against. I got home when it was lightly sprinkling, and so didn't get wet. It was a really great workout, but I was fatigued and just wanted to sit around lazily once I got home. I stretched, made dinner, showered and went to bed, only to lay awake until past 11. So frustrating!

It was hard to get out of bed and outside (I did get dressed and everything) when I knew it was cold and rainy and I felt like I just finished my evening run. All I wanted to do was something other than run, and so I caved and made breakfast, coffee and sat reading in bed for a 1/2 hour. It was really nice to not have to rush in the morning. Maybe I'll have only one drink tonight and get 3 miles out this evening.

Tomorrow is the Bolt for Babies 5k in VA. This is my first 5k ever. I just jumped right into marathons. I don't remember the last time I ran only 3 miles, so I don't know how to gauge it, but I'm sure I can run three 7 min miles, with a quick finish. 20 minutes sounds good and level so I'm gonna shoot for that. I'm running it with my friend Jaclyn who is a new runner and just hopes to finish it. I love running with friends so it ought to be a good time.

Regarding evening running, I hate getting up to a cold morning, and so I'm thinking this winter I'll start running after work, and then I can shower and get to bed at 11:30/midnight or so, like a normal person, and then I can sleep in until 7:45ish if I dry my hair before bed. This article helped convince me. That way, its not such torture to run and its a little warmer outside. I never thought I would miss the hot, humid DC summer, but I'm already complaining about the cold!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The First Mile

Does anyone else remember the first time they ran a mile?

I do. I was in 5th grade, and it was for the Presidential Fitness test. I was a gymnast at the time, and I wanted to actually run the mile instead of just jog/walk it with the other girls in the class so we wouldn't mess up our hair (I was one of those girls).

I remember a lot about that day, actually. I was in Mr. Wasner's class and I remember it was the day Jason Smith started going out with my best friend Katie Ficker. I remember chatting with her on the way to the track about her possibly kissing him (they broke up the next day). I remember I had a crush on Marc Stencel and I was happy that maybe I would have my first boyfriend soon (we used to write them notes on pink paper and spray it with our mom's perfume).

I ran it in 8:52 and I remember being really excited about it. I was aiming for under 9 minutes. To me, that was fast. I was this little, probably sub-5 foot girl and I tried really hard to get the 4 laps over with. I remember bragging about it when I got home and when I went to gymnastics later. It wasn't all that impressive. I had been going to gymnasic lessons for well over a year for 9 hours a week of heavy workouts. I was in good shape for a 5th grader.

Still, it was hard. Every year I hated running that mile, and I never liked running at all. I would astound my 11 year old self with the idea that I would ever be able to run over 20 miles, faster than that. Still today, I hate the first mile of a run. Or even, the first three. Once I hit that 2-3 mile mark, thats when I really start to feel like I'm moving.

Today, I slept in until 8am, and the only running I did was the mile to the metro in order to make it to work on time. Instead of a double today, I'm planning it for Friday instead of the day off. Apparently once a week is all you need. I'm going to do a 7.5 run at race pace tonight, complete with a stair workout and strength training since I'll have the extra time. It was funny, I woke up at 4 am, wide awake and almost stayed up to go run at 5am, but decided to do that laying down and drifted off to sleep. I'm curious now about REM cycles (I was so exhausted trying to get out of bed, even at 8 this morning), maybe I should start scheduling 9 hours of sleep at night now that I have over 50 miles planned for next week? Maybe I need to sleep in sets of three hours, since I was clearly up and alert after 6 hours. Something to ponder....

I'll blame it on the humidity

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you need to run, either from something or to somewhere important, and you just can't move fast enough? Where it feels like you're running through water and as hard as you try, you cannot get your legs to move very fast?

During this morning's speedworkout, I actually pinched myself. I thought, I must be dreaming. I could barely move. As I tried to get around, lap after lap, along the dirt path of Lincoln Park, I couldn't push myself. I couldn't get my heart rate up, my speed was lagging, and I was so close to giving up after about 4 laps, that I started walking home.

I stopped myself.

I wouldn't be able to make up these miles tonight and I had just taken a day off. I needed to push through this. At one point, my ankle rolled in and I had to walk back to my starting point. My hamstring is still tinging from my hilly run, which scares me. It was slightly raining. It was over 80% humidity--which probably led to the feeling of me running through water. I felt heavy, and full, and I was exhausted. I had woken up multiple times throughout the night. I cut calories yesterday, which may have added to my energy drop.

Usually, I would run the .45 mile lap in 3 minutes, today, I was averaging 3:20/30. When I stopped to rest, I was so tired I could barely walk. But, I did it. I did my 4 miles worth. Granted, when I got home I didn't have time for a core workout, but I'm happy I pushed through it, no matter how miserable it was. I have all day to rest and recover for a double run tomorrow. I'm doing a 7-mile tempo workout in the morning, with 3 miles of 7 min pace to get ready for my Saturday 5k. And then I'm going to run another 3 miles that evening at 7 min miles to make up for my awful "speedworkout" this morning.

I've re-read this hours later, and after reading an article on active.com: Make the most out of a bad run. I think my problem is my diet yesterday (and the day before). I've decided I eat too large of portions, and tried cutting them pretty harshly. I was hungry all day yesterday, and still an hour after dinner, but I didn't allow myself anything of real substance (frozen mango and tea don't count). When recovering from 11 miles of a really hilly course, this was a bad call. No wonder I had no energy this morning. I've attempted to cut calories and train before, and it was a massive failure that time around too. So, I'm back to normal today. I have a salad for lunch, but I'm having pasta and chicken sausage for dinner tonight to fuel up for a 10-mile day tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dealing with a day off

In the last three days, I've run 35.5 miles, and so today I decided to take off. My alarm went off at 6am anyway, since I want to stay on my sleeping schedule, and I was dying to get outside. I figured I could practice a quick 5k for my race this weekend, but I kept myself in bed nursing coffee instead.

Last week, I took a day off and felt much like I do today. I'm agitated, restless, and irritable, despite walking to the metro. I'm thinking I have a serious addiction to endorphins. I'm also starving, since I'm trying to cut my portions, especially on days off. I know that recovery is important, especially since my hamstring is bothering me from yesterday's hilly run, but I'm a little worried about tapering three weeks before the race. I think I might go crazy.

Sunday, I did a 6-mile tempo run, where my watch was turned off for the first half. It was supposed to be an easy run, so I tried to do the speedwork well and took a really easy recovery. The second half was recorded on my watch: Garmin Connect - Activity Details for 6-Mile Easy Tempo (Shared via AddThis).

Yesterday, I stayed over at a friend's place the night before specifically to use the hills nearby. I love a good hill workout, and I love running in parks, so this run was so much fun. I hate hills when I'm actually running up them, but then I feel so great after, that I forget about how tough it is. I was shooting for a 6-7 mile run, and never wanted to stop. On top of that, I turned my watch off to stretch my possible-strained/pulled hamstring, and forgot to turn it back on until I did another loop. I guess its a good thing that I'm not too distracted by the watch. My pace wasn't fantastic, but these were pretty rough hills so I took my recovery seriously. In the 8.5 miles that were recorded, I had an elevation gain of almost 3,000 feet. Whew!

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Hill Workout: 11.5 Miles (Shared via AddThis)

The rest of the week focuses on speedwork in preparation for my first 5k ever on Saturday (March of Dimes 5k). Honestly, I've never tried to just run a quick 3 miles, so I'm testing that on Thursday, followed by 4 miles of speedwork, and then I'm doing speedwork tomorrow. I'm in between doing speedwork, or just a really strong tempo run. I need the miles, so I'm thinking of tempo, I'll see what I'm up for in the morning! I'm taking off Friday, have the 5k Saturday, and then my first of four 20-milers Sunday morning. Just think, less than two months away from having a life again!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Long Run: 18 miles

I woke up with a stomach ache yesterday, and so skipped a planned speedwork session for sleeping in on Wednesday. I hydrated yesterday. I stayed in. I made pasta and meatballs. I was in bed by 9:30. I was up before six and ready to go running. I checked weather.com and it said I have until 1 p.m., when it will get over 80 degrees. I eat a great pre-run meal, and my stomach lurches.


I had prepared perfectly, but when my stomach gets upset, as it does randomly, its sensitive for up to a week. I moan and remember that yesterday, my stomach was fine in a few hours. So, I did the dishes, I took a shower, and I got everything ready to go. My stomach was still off. Then I got dressed and found with horror I was out of socks. Needless to say, I got out around 10am. I walked out and found it very pleasant... until I walked into the sun. It was not pleasant. I know my stomach was still iffy, it was hot, humid, and I was already a little hungry. But, I had something that I don't usually find until race day: adrenaline.

I was restless, I was pumped for a long run, and I wanted to run. So, I did. I decided I'd been running in the hot humidity all summer and I would be just fine.

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Long Run: 18 miles

2 Miles: I feel AWESOME! and I'm running way too fast and must slow down (I want to do 8:30-9 minute miles)

4.3 Miles: You Make Me Want to Shout starts on my playlist. I think of weddings. I wish I was with a pack of runners and we could all yell out "hey-ey-ey-ey" together, in a pack. We would clearly be the coolest people ever. My pace jumps.

5.8 Miles: I've now counted 5 male, shirtless runners with amazing abs. I thank them silently for making my run much more pleasant.

6.1 Miles: I reach the bridge where I'm supposed to turn around.

6.3 Miles: An overweight, hairy male without a shirt on a bike. I silently tell him to put one on.

7 Miles: I'm hungry. Starving. I take a break and take out a granola bar and wash it down with a bottle of gatorade in 4.5 seconds.

7.2 Miles: Its very difficult to get my pace up again. And then, the perfect song comes onto my iPod. I Get Knocked Down, by Chumbawamba. I change the lyrics in my head to:

I slow down, I pick it up again, you're never gonna keep me down.

I slow down, I pick it up again, you're never gonna keep me down.

She gets some water drink.

She gets some energy drink.

She goes to the fountain, to get another drink.

She listens to songs that remind her of the good times,

She listens to songs that remind her of the best times....
It works like a charm. No more accelerating, I'm back on pace.

9 Miles: HALF-WAY DONE!! I start thinking, I feel good durner-ner-ner-ner-ner and I knew that I would now... and then I realize I'm actually singing it to myself. There is no one around. I keep singing.

9.2 Miles: I'm running too fast. Perfect song for that starts playing: Stop, by the Spice Girls. So perfect that I actually start laughing.

10 Miles: WATER BREAK!! I guzzle down more gatorade.

10.3 Miles: I missed my bridge. Fuck.

11.6 Miles: I am looking forward to the water fountain. I decide it will be right at 13.1 miles, and then I will run at race-pace after, from 8-8.20 minutes/mile pace.

12.2 Miles: I just threw up a little in my mouth. Maybe I won't.

13.1 Miles: WHY ISN'T BON JOVI'S LIVING ON A PRAYER IN MY RUNNING PLAYLIST!!!!!!! I cross over the bridge I missed to make up for the distance. I reach 13.1 in 1:50, which is good for training.

15 Miles: 3 miles to go, 3 miles to go, 3 miles to go... crap its hot out.

16.2 Miles: Go to cross the street after the Tidal Basin but there is a car coming. Its moving at .2 miles per hour to look at the pretty monument. If I dash out, it might be when he decides to speed up, so I glare and think, FUCKING DRIVE!

I don't think it. I realize this when the 8 year old next to me looks up and his mother positively glares at me. I don't apologize. Its been 16 miles.

16.7 Miles: I realize that I'm not even close to home. I decide if I run the last mile as hard as I can, I can walk home.

17 Miles: I put on the song Shine, and pick it up to a 6 minute mile pace.

17.2 Miles: Seriously?! Only .2 down?! I almost run over 2 kids.

17. 4 Miles: Just hit the sun. Its hot. Its really hot out.

17.45 Miles: Yes a traffic break... but there are no cars. Dammit.

17.5 Miles: I realize the last .2 miles will be uphill. How fucking fitting.

17.6 Miles: I decide I am very likely to throw up at the top of the hill, I slow down.

17.8 Miles: Getting up Capitol Hill. I can't breathe. Some Taylor Swift song starts playing and I yank my earphones off.

17.99 Miles: Not at the top yet.

18.1 Miles: I'm done, I'm wheezing, tourist are staring at me. I realize I have over a mile walk home. Fuck. I made it in 2:39:14.

I took my shirt off, I guzzled down water. I reallllyyyy had to pee and almost started jogging home. But I didn't. I also almost offer sexual favors to the man in the convertible if he drives me home, but I'm decided I wasn't really that desperate.

Garmin link shared via AddThis

I'm aware I have a dirty mouth/thoughts while exhausted. Deal with it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Forerunner 305

This morning, I got to use my Garmin Forerunner 305. Its amazing. I can't believe I've been running for years not knowing my pace, or my exact distance.

Garmin Connect - Morning Run

Shared via AddThis

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vitamin "I"

The New York Time's health blog's latest post found that runners who had ibuprofen before/during a run or race,
displayed significantly more inflammation and other markers of high immune system response afterward than the runners who hadn’t taken anti-inflammatories. The ibuprofen users also showed signs of mild kidney impairment and, both before and after the race, of low-level endotoxemia, a condition in which bacteria leak from the colon into the bloodstream.
Now, I almost never take pain-killers (I don't even have any in my apartment except for those left over from a prescription), but during races where they have people with trays of Tylenol and water I always took one since I figured it could help block potential pain from running and therefore keep me going. The study cited in the article found that the ibuprofen poppers didn't have any less pain or soreness during and after the race. Also, NSAIDs (also containing ibuprofen) "blunt the body’s response to exercise at a deeper level" and slowed muscle healing.

So, ha! My resolve to avoid necessary medication now has some support. The article ended saying that the use of painkillers for acute pain is effective, but to take them “before every workout or match is a mistake.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Song of the week: Amour du Sol

My first running song of the week got me through the last of my quick mile during my 6-mile tempo run this morning. Its Yelle's Amour du Sol--translated to Love of Sweat (get it now?). Really fantastic song with a consistently good beat that keeps your pace up.

However, it was no a sweaty morning. Hello September! It would have been nice to get a few moderate mornings in before it was all of a sudden in the 50s! I ran outside this morning and promptly ran right back in and put on a long sleeve shirt. I extended my warm up pace for a couple extra blocks to make up for the goosebumps on my legs. I had serious, serious urges to run right back inside and curl up on my bed with blankets, but I pulled through and stayed out. The sun didn't rise until I was already half-way finished with my run. I tried to stay really focused and it paid off. I had a great run, and then a great core workout when I got back to my apartment.

This is a rant that has nothing to do with running: Two weeks ago, my September was empty, and I was happy for a quiet month to have actual free time and train. All of a sudden, I opened up my calendar and its all purple and people are trying to make more plans with me. What happened?! Especially this coming weekend, which was empty after a trip was canceled and now completely full. I need to go out Saturday now, so I'm running that morning and sleeping Friday night. That way, I also get to plan a run Sunday and Monday without having to worry about getting to work on time. Trรจs excited.

Anyway, I won't complain because its almost Fall and I love, love, love Fall. The weather will get nicer, the trees will start turning colors, I can cook apples and squash with everything and bring out things like boots, coats, scarves, hats and wear black stockings nearly every day, then hockey starts up, I get to spend money and blame Christmas, and I will start going back to starbucks for pumpkin lattes everyday. Best run-on sentence ever.