Sunday, February 28, 2010

The perfect long run

I had the perfect long run.  Really, it was just perfect and wonderful. I think the 20 mile bike ride yesterday did great things for loosening up my legs. I had a bowl of Quinoa this morning, read some of my book, got ready and headed out by 10:30.

I started off running to Hains Point and getting a lap in, and was up 7 miles. The miles today just piled up without my realizing it.  I had to stop and use the bathroom, which never happens, but I just felt so good and light on my feet. Nothing hurt at all. Halfway in, I was worried because my energy was so high and I thought I'd get burned out. I ran, ran, and all of a sudden looked down and I was close to 12 miles in, and about 7-8 miles away from home. I just couldn't believe I felt so strong. I turned around and ate the rest of my cliff shot bar. These breaks took a little longer since they were the consistency of a soft rock in the cold.  While getting a bottle of water down to chase the shot (haha), a guy ran by me with a giant maple leaf on his jacket and the offensive word "Canada" underneath.

I threw my bottle into its back pocket, which I'm admittedly bad at doing without getting myself wet, and chased him down, passing him easy and maintaining my lead for the rest of the trail (take that, Canada).

This taking a step back and enjoying myself is really going well. I've been really easy on my legs still, and not running very fast. The thing that's frustrating is I'll feel like a 7:30 pace, when I'm at like 8:45. I just can't run very hard anymore. I'm baby-ing my ITB and quads too much. Back to my perfect run, there were no tourists out, I only had one red light, there were only a few cyclists trying to run me down, and a ton of runners out. Mount Vernon trail was finally completely clear, and I naturally got faster, and faster as the run went on. It was a natural progression run!

1- 9:22
2- 9:06
3- 9:07
4- 8:53
5- 8:56
6- 9:08
7- 9:21
8- 9:20
9- 8:47
10- 9:19
11- 9:09
12- 8:48
13- 8:57
14- 8:29
15- 8:52
16- 8:44
17- 8:25
18- 8:55

Yeah, since I didn't feel like stopping I just did 18 miles instead of 16 :) Runner's high lasted for about 8 miles: it was so wonderful.

 I've fallen in love with Garmin Connect's goal system:

Mostly, because you can watch the % completed throughout the week, or month. And it really helps that I want to complete every goal so I try my hardest through the week to get there.

After today, I'm feeling much better about Boston, and it will really be hard to not run the whole National Marathon in a few weekends. We'll see!

The hockey game is back on now... go Team USA!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Training update!

My training has been going really well. I'm focusing on just getting the miles in, enjoying myself, staying injury free, and cross training. I ran 26.82 miles last week, and did just one gym day with a spinning class and a core workout. I really think I needed that week to just step back and take a deep breath.

My 16-mile long run was really good. I felt great and it was beautiful weather. I was able to run on the Mt. Vernon trail a little (although I had to climb over a tree to get onto the bridge) and I was so excited about this that I actually screamed with joy when I saw the large portions of cleared trail. Then, I was able to run around Haines Point, which was very pleasant!

On Monday I spent a whole hour in the pool and I focused on using my arms and core more and just letting my sore legs recover. It felt great and I got home, stretched, and had fun with my foam roller. Yesterday I did a 10 mile bike ride during lunch, stretched, and felt great all day. I topped off the day with an accidental 9.5 mile run instead of 8.

This week I'm running 29 miles. I'm planning on the gym today, running to work tomorrow, a yoga class tomorrow, a quick spin on Saturday and a long run on Sunday. I feel like I'm still working hard, and by mixing up the activities, I'm not overusing any part of my body. My IT-band feels good too!

I've basically planned out the rest of my year using goals on Garmin Connect. And, I've updated my tentative race schedule. I'm going to be taking things slow to avoid any more injuries.

My sugar-fast is going really well! I really don't even crave it anymore! Tomorrow, the office is getting doughnuts, but I am determined to resist them!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Boston fun run!

All that said, and it looks like I'm running it. Maybe I'll survive, maybe not. I most likely will not PR. I'm not tapering. But, I'll do my best to prepare while still taking it slow!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Boston 2011

Wow. I can't believe I'm writing this post. When I first said it, I burst into tears on the bus and felt more pathetic since it was Valentine's Day, and to the outsider it probably looked like I was crying over an ex. Talk about heartbreak hill...

Really though, my morning was disastrous. I was looking forward to a real long run V-day morning that would leave me happy and full of endorphins and self-love. The snow has just killed the joy of running, since it made every fun running trail inaccessible. I could only do laps around the National Mall, and even then I could only lap the Washington Monument on the one-way streets because the walkways were either icy or full of tourists. I accidentally punched a little girl in the face (oops?) and after slowing down behind a large family after yelling "excuse me" five times I whipped around and (in a very rude, biting tone) said "you really should take up the entire damn sidewalk."

Yeah, I was in a very bad mood. Not to mention the streets were packed, and a guy was swerving around talking on his cell phone. My glare must have looked like I was checking him out (he was fairly attractive in a nice car) because he smiled back at me and gave me the nod, which I responded to the with phone-to-the-ear gesture and yelled "get off the phone" as I passed his window, while trying to bring my glare up a level. Jerk.

My watch said the 14.5 mile run lasted about two hours, when I had been outside for nearly two and a half hours. That's how much time I spent stopped at lights or stopping in between parked cars to let a bus go by without flattening me out. At mile 12, my right IT-band started hurting and my quad was just cramping really bad. I fell apart. I stopped and just wanted to start kicking the piles of snow while screaming to let out my frustration with it all. The next two miles included a lot of thinking.

This wasn't normal. Since when did running become a source of frustration instead of an outlet for it? What happened to running for fun? The last three to four weeks have been so stressful, because I took two full weeks off of running, and then got back into it only to have the storm hit and hurt my running plans more. I should be at 45 miles this week, and instead I'm just over 20. And now, my right quad (just above my knee) just feels twisted and sore today. I decided I could go without tapering, but then I wouldn't really be ready for Boston.

The Boston entry fee is pretty steep, and then there are flights and hotel arrangements (which, by the way, if I can't cancel my hotel room this post is completely void--I just thought I'd answer all the "WHY?!" replies I got via twitter) for the marathon. If I'm not even going to get there and do my best, what's the point?

It's one thing to run 26.2 miles and another to do it well. I realize that I haven't done a legitimate long run in over 4 weeks. I could just finish the 14.5 miles (which was supposed to be 16) and I should be at the 18-20 mile mark by now. Its just not going to work. This feels like the right, smart thing to do. I realized this at mile 14 and finished the run in tears. I can't stand the thought of deferring to 2011. I've worked for this for nearly a year now. This was supposed to be my Victory Lap for every workout since June 2009. It's all been focused on Boston. I got back to my apartment, and felt the opposite of what I was expecting. On Valentine's Day I let myself down, and as a single gal--I'm all I have.

In the next hour, just about Every Little Thing went wrong, and when I ran into neighborhood friends on the bus, I just burst into tears. Luckily, I have really awesome friends that I just love to death. We went to the movies and a great dinner where I had lots of margaritas and a ton of Sangria. My day went from plain awful to a ton of fun. Thanks girls!

For three years, I ran marathons for fun. I didn't know what a split was. I didn't use a special training program, and I never got injured or stressed out about it. I loved it and I was addicted to them. So, I've decided to switch my thinking and focus on the distance again rather than obsessing over every aspect of the course, my pace, and every workout I need to do each week. I'm going to jump back to where I was two years ago. Maybe that drive led me to a 55 minute PR, but I can take this slower. I have years of running ahead of me, and so I want to be smart about it. 

This is why I've decided to defer Boston, jump down to the National Half-marathon in March, and focus on rebuilding my mileage and focusing on distance for that 50k. I'm counting on that new challenge to take me back two years.  I'm going to take it back to my first race where I just focus on preparing for the miles. Yes, its fun to be fast. It feels incredible to pass the finish line 18 minutes faster than your original goal. But, I don't want to get hurt again, burn out, and I can't stand the constant frustration every time I need to build mileage back up. I decided this is all because I broke my toe, and I kind of want to take out my anger by destroying my Vibram Five Fingers. 

So, there it is. Thanks to my friends and family for all the support, and I hope that in 2011 I'm ready to race.

Friday, February 12, 2010


View from my front door Feb. 10th. It was about a foot and a half 
after Round 2. We got about 20-25 inches Round 1.

Since my last post, DC has gotten a ton of snow (in case you don't live here and haven't been watching the national news).  Now, I'm from Buffalo. I've seen storms with over 6 feet, but Buffalo can handle the snow. The airport has at least 20 snow-plows. The District of Columbia has four.

I've been snowed in and off of work since noon on Friday. On Saturday, my workout included shoveling for a half hour. On Sunday, I ran 10 miles. I didn't expect that many cars to be out, but I ran down the streets and it took almost two hours to get those 10 miles in. I was panning on 16, but it wasn't easy, and it started getting dark. I also couldn't feel that my feet were cold anymore, and since I had run through calf-high puddles of cold water and slush--this was a bad sign.

Since I was in the streets, I wore my reflective gear. I decided this would be categorized as a trail run. Instead of streams, I ran through giant slush puddles. Uneven terrain? Check. My "single-track" was running on tire-paths on unplowed streets. Ice? Yeah lots of it. Climbing over mountains? Well, do mountains of snow count? I think I can definitely put this under training for my upcoming 50k trail race in June. Wow, I'm actually going to be an ultramarathoner! Crazy.

Yesterday, I went for a 5(ish) mile run. It was pretty solid and my speed picked up a little. I was going to go to the gym, but the metro was crazy slow and my bus line hadn't started up yet.

It sounds like an extra week off of work is awesome, but I was getting pretty antsy. Other than meeting my friends for lunch (which I ran two miles to), a TWO AND A HALF HOUR trip to the grocery store (god-awful lines), and my running, I've been stuck in my hole in the ground (aka basement apartment). What does one do for 6 days?
  • I rearranged my apartment. It looks cool and extra spacey. I now have a coffee table!
  • Cooked extravagant dinners for myself nearly every night and big brunches every morning (french toast, pancakes, crepes, etc.)
  • Went through almost two cartons of nutella. I discovered the amazing thing that is heated soy milk with nutella whisked in, and have consequently went through over 2 liters of milk.
  •  Cleaned my apartment so thoroughly that you can probably perform open heart surgery on my floor. I cleaned and vacuumed out my closet for goodness sake, tore apart and scrubbed my stove, did about 15 loads of laundry, scrubbed the bathroom down with bleach...
  • Finally hung things on my walls.
  • Read and re-read multiple books.
  • Watched two seasons of HBO's Big Love (my new obsession).
  • Ate cookies.
  • Made and devoured my family's infamous chocolate peanut butter fudge (yeah, that's two cups of sugar and a stick of butter).
  • Reacquainted myself with daytime Food Network.
  • Made meringues for the first time.
  • Had dancercize sessions and made love to my foam roller. 
  • Made up a google profile.
  • Watched Ovechkin dominate the Pens. 
  • Came up with my own blend of Malbec and Corbieres. I didn't like the bottle of Malbec, so I made my own blend of wine.
  • Went for walks in the pretty snow (where I saw a woman XC skiing while talking on her cell phone--wtf?)
  • Talked to my mom on the phone for hours.
  • Went through all of my piles of paperwork. I like to ignore paper bank statements since they make me sad, so I had to do a lot of tearing up since I don't have a shredder.
  • Ate everything in my fridge... including a tub of butter.
Now its Friday and I'm back to work, with birthday plans tonight, so no workout today. I'll be doing a 90-min spinning class tomorrow morning and a long run on Sunday.  Its weird when life revolves around the weather and not your training schedule! (wow, that's kind of sad)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Getting my feet wet... literally

I ran 4.5 miles Sunday and felt pretty good. I took Monday off, had an awesome spin class Tuesday after a core and upper body session, and ran almost 7 miles yesterday! I felt really great. My pace was slow, but I didn't want to push it. My heart rate was probably barely over resting, but my legs felt good. I'm feeling confident I can do a good long run this coming Sunday, despite the Snowpocalypse: The Sequel planned for this Saturday. Hopefully, the roads with be somewhat clear by Sunday afternoon, and I can stick to those as I get in somewhere between 14 and 16 miles.

Yesterday, I needed to go out for a run. The weather was gorgeous. It really warmed up after the snow, which made for huge puddles of slush everywhere. I tried to avoid it, but still arrived home with soaking wet feet.

I'm trying to plan out some very smart training over the next nine weeks to Boston. I'm really going to take it easy to avoid over-doing it, especially since I signed up for a 50k trail race in the beginning of June. I'm going to focus on that, rebuilding those base miles, and working on stamina and speed (Boston), and then focusing on endurance and getting out to the trails in late April and May. 

The National Marathon isn't looking too hott right now. It just doesn't fit in with training anymore. I was thinking of doing a 4-week taper after that run (like I did for MCM), but now I almost just want to take a few weeks off before Boston after this setback, making a 26.5 mile run four weeks out a problem. I've always underestimated myself in the past, but I want to make sure I do everything right.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just because its Feb. doesn't mean its any warmer

As the snowing was falling rather heavily on Saturday, I was actually glad that I didn't have to go running in it! I went to my spin class, did an hour on the elliptical, and then found out at the metro that my pool was closed due to weather. I really wanted to get in a good three hours of work, so that it mimicked a long run. Oh well!

All this cross training and people think I'm training for a triathlon instead of a marathon! 

I ran 100.94 miles in January with an average pace of 6.9 mph. I spent about 5 hours in spinning class and 2 and a half hours in the pool. Now that I like swimming so much, I'm going to try to make my Garmin calendar very colorful in February, with lots of cross training since my running mileage will be so low. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to start--cringe--running in the morning again, and going to the gym at night. Since I'm only doing 2-3 runs M-F, I think its a good idea.

So this week, I am running Tuesday and Thursday morning. Five miles each: one easy, one fartlek run. Monday and Wednesday are pool workout days. Tuesday is spinning and lifting. Friday is a two hour yoga class. Saturday is a 90 min spin class, weight training, and an hour long swim. Sunday I'm doing a 16-mile run. 

And yes, I gave myself Thursday night off for dinner with a friend, I'm going out after my yoga class Friday, and I have multiple parties on Saturday--I can have a life and work my ass off. I'll be exhausted, but I can do it!