MarathonMaiden's Blog

December 31, 2009

Let’s Go Out With A Bang

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:09

Alternative title: Hammer that fucking shit home. More on that later.

First: Thanks so much everyone for your kind and encouraging and insightful words.  As I mentioned I’ve been torn between what I think my body is okay with and what other people think my body is okay with.  And your advice was spot on to just keep doing what I’m doing and ignore the haters 🙂

So back to today.  It had been a few days since I last did a lifting session. And I really don’t want to get back in that habit of pushing off lifting because I really do feel that lifting is wicked important. Unfortunately I also wanted to get a tempo run in and wasn’t sure how compatible the two goals were.  I ended up deciding to set an alarm and hit the gym early for (what is becoming) my usual routine with the idea of doing the tempo later on and bagging it if need be to do tomorrow.

I hit the gym early and there was NO ONE there. I was seriously by myself for the first half hour.  I kind of liked it because I didn’t have to wait for weights or worry about people staring (because I hate it when people stare for any reason. IT makes me feel funny).  I was semi-efficient.  I definitely hit it hard but there was a bit of dilly-dallying in there too.  But I did it.  That’s the important thing.

I got back home and ate some breakfast, checked email, blah blah blah.  During this time it had started to snow! And not the light stuff that the weather people predicted. It was quite heavy actually.  But I still was going to forge on because that’s what I do.

As today is December 31st I wanted to send 2009 out on a bang so I was pretty set on this tempo idea and going hard.  Unfortunately the last time I did a tempo outside it was an epic fail. Not only was I nervous about doing a tempo after lifting I had doubts about the tempo itself because I had a not-so-successful one prior.  But yet again, I was going to do this come hell or high water.  I chose to do a longer warm up today because I think that my body just needs a longer warm up, doubly so in the cold.  I usually tend to be chomping at the bit to go and start the “real” workout so today I made sure to focus on properly warming up.

Then I was off.  I had a 5.1 mile route ready for me to go and mile 1 sucked.  It had pretty nasty rolling hills.  I can handle going uphill but I hate going downhill with a passion (oh hello Boston? How are you!) But mile 1 of any tempo sucks so I started chanting — in my head at this point — “Hammer it” I think it sort of helped? By mile 2 or 3 though it became “Hammer it home” because I was ready for it to be over. Heh, not so good when you’re only about half way there.  And although the chant changed the super uncomfy feeling of mile 1 was gone and now it was the usual tempo push.

I have no idea what my paces were during the run itself but my lungs were feeling it and my legs were definitely feeling pushed.  I don’t really know how to put it in words but it felt like I was going at a pace appropriate for a tempo.  I had no idea whether or not it was the pace that I wanted but my body was giving me signs that the pace I was doing was going to do the job. That said I’m pretty sure I did do a fair share of slowing down and speeding up which directly followed how closely I was keeping my focus on the run or not.

At this point then (around mile 3 or 4) the chant became “Hammer this shit home” because it was becoming an effort to keep up the pace I wanted and keep my focus on the task at hand.  I think the weather played a role here because the snow coming down was blowing into my eyes and creating nice icicles on my eyelashes.  My eyelashes are wicked long so this was annoying and they got so heavy that I couldn’t see at points. Heh.

The last half mile or so was when the chant became “Hammer this fucking shit home” and I don’t think this was said in my head only.  Or even under my breath.  It was more of a shout really.  My legs burned but I knew I was almost there.  I let out a cry of relief when the route was over and I came in with a 7:20 pace! Hooooollllllleeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrr.

I am over the moon with this pace and this run.  [And although I’ve been complaining about the effort and whatnot it did feel like a true tempo effort — like I could do another mile but was incredibly thankful I didn’t have to]I’m ecstatic that I was able to keep my pace where it ended up because because it means that I was able to keep focused on what I needed to do. It tasted so sweet to see that time/pace/everything.  The snow, the hills, the everything.  I poured so much into this and it was a very nice redemption from the last outdoor tempo I did.

It’s like I know I can do these runs but they are sooo hard for me.  Which obviously makes it that much better when you hit it out of the park (yes wrong sport I know!).  Total confidence booster today and so I finished off the workout with a semi-long warm down.  Which probably was faster than it should be.  But I’ve found that to be the case with most warm downs because my body is primed to keep going fast. And I was still riding high from the knowledge that I had just laid the tempo out there.

But what a way to end 2009 right? It’s been such a great year for me that this was a wicked stellar way to go out.  I’m in the process of tallying up all my monthly miles to put together a month-by-month summary with a few highlights.  So look for that in the next day or so.  Of course it will also have my yearly total which doesn’t yet have the past few days into it yet but I’m pretty excited about it so far! (Yes I’m such a tease haha)

I’ve really enjoyed reading all of your guys’ 2009 recaps, 2010 goals etc.  It’s really been so inspiring and motivational to see how beastly and bamf you all are.  Have a really fun (and SAFE) New Year’s Eve!

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December 30, 2009

Distance FAIL. But the streak continues

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:31

Wow surprisingly not sore.  Last night when I was lounging around my calves were sooooooo sore from the massage.  Like so sore I didn’t want to move at all.  Even a slight flexing caused my muscle to feel a stretch. My soleus muscle (in both calves) just did not want to relax at all during the massage.  But I knew that going in because that area is always a problem area for me.  I did set up another appt for Friday.  My legs really need it!

And I really think a large part of me not being sore today is that I wore my cheap-ass varicose vein compression socks for a large part of the afternoon / evening yesterday.  I don’t feel a day-to-day difference using them but in moments like this I really do think that I’m doing something right. Because, oh man, it hurt to think about moving last night after the workout and massage.

I think part of the reason I’m extra tight lately is the weather.  Can I just say that I’m sick of the switching up of temperatures? I mean, as much as I hate the cold I’d rather have it consistently be frigid rather than the up / down game of late.  Earlier this week it was 50* (!!).  I woke up this morning to -5*.  Brrrrrrrr. My muscles just bunch right up when it’s this cold. But it’s sunny out and sun trumps the cold. It was a balmy 16* when I left my house. Whoop!

I was even sweating at points on my run! Which, by the way, was an epic failure to keep it at a lower mileage.  I set out on an 8 route but just kept going.  I think that part of it is that my body doesn’t feel like it’s got the kinks out until, like, mile 4 or something.  So if I want to keep my miles low I feel like I’m being cheated out of miles because right around the time I’m feeling great it’s about time to stop.  Anyone else feel that way? It’s not a recent thing for me as I’ve “complained” about this since high school when the daily runs were around 4 or 5.  I just never got to feel loose and relaxed ever. But now I can.  Because I’m doing all this high miles.

Which, question, is there a point where I really should say “hey I need to not run so much?” Because

  • A)I’m not injured
  • B) I show no signs of overtraining
  • C) I really am enjoying all these runs and there isn’t a point where I’m dreading lacing up the shoes.

I guess this is something that’s individual in nature but I’m dying to know what you guys think. Particularly those who are logging around the miles I am or have in the past. I know I know: I keep pondering this and maybe I should let it go but people keep telling me that I’m going so hard so I’ve started to believe it and not trust that my body is okay with what I’m doing.

But I’ve been internally debating this, whether or not  / how much to back off, lately and I’ve decided that I probably should, even if the only reason is to make a distinct break before Boston.  But it feels so good. Then again I’m sure a crack addict would say the same thing. Such a fine line between going hard in a smart way and a stupid way!

I took the pace to be conservative because I wasn’t sure how my muscles were going to really feel once they were being used.  And it would have been stupid to push pace after such a challenging workout yesterday. I ended up with a slightly faster-than-target-lr pace but slightly slower than ideal-gold-mental-standard pace.  Right in the middle of the two actually so the best of both worlds. And it felt right where I needed to be.  Despite my semi-disappointment with not sticking to 8 miles I’m happy that I didn’t beat myself up over a “less than ideal pace” and I was able to listen to my body and speed up/slow down when and where I needed to. Sans judgment.

Like I said above the sun was shining and there wasn’t much wind so it made it really easy to feel like I was going easy.  Sometimes the wind can be really demoralizing as well as the cold.  It seems to force me to expend more effort to hit the same pace.  Which is fine but I’m such a numbers chica that I’m always trying to keep paces and don’t really take into account the fact that x pace today means a particular effort and x pace tomorrow might be a much harder effort. I’m so cerebral that I don’t always listen to my body cues.  But that’s old news ha. Anyone else like that? A numbers freak that it’s hard to be true to your body? That’s definitely on my list of things to work on in 2010.

And last call for questions for me?! I’ve still only got 11 which says one of two things: 1) I spill too much of my life out here and you know everything there is to know about me or 2) The stuff I do share is boring and no one wants to know more.  Heh.  But I’m prepared to post with the 11 I have so have no fear, you *will* be learning about me in the near future 😉

Happy running / living / shopping / relaxing — whatever you are doing right now! I’ve got my compression socks back on, feet up and about to jump into yet *another* book.  I’m logging some serious book-age — maybe more than my miles hah.

December 29, 2009

Intervals, Hills and Massages. Oh My!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:12

Yesterday (Monday) was a whirlwind day.  I was on the go from 0800 to 2300! Whew.

I obviously still managed to get a run in though.  I ran first thing because I knew how busy it was going to be plus we were supposed to get (and did get in fact) a rain/snow storm in the late morning/early afternoon.  So timing was perfect.  I set out for 8 miles but for some reason thought that 11 was more appropriate? And I am totally bumming that I didn’t keep track of how far I was going because I did this run on autopilot and I really did want to slowly lower my mileage down.  But it was a good run albeit on the slow side because I wasn’t paying attention to anything.  I really don’t think I could really tell you where I even ran to be honest.

And just a note about the crazy ass New England weather: I was driving on the highway and I started out in rain close to my house, it changed back and forth between rain and snow then I hit whiteout conditions.  On the highway!! Now it wasn’t that scary because I’ve done that before but after about 20 minutes it’s was like I hit a curtain and SUN on the other side.  Freaking crazy how the highway can be such a divisor of weather patterns.

Now onto today.  I was planning on doing intervals (or any type of speedwork really) yesterday but since I was choosing to run in the morning, in prep for a packed day, I didn’t want to feel rushed or anything so I put it off.  I also was feeling a little sore from lifting on Sunday (although not as sore as I thought I would be.  Better shape that I thought? Yes!). So it fell onto today.  Which I’m not too upset about because, although I still have yet to pick out a plan (and 16 weeks was YESTERDAY), both the plans I’m thinking of, Boston Bound and BAA Veteran (any insight would be helpful in my decision making process and my thoughts on the subject are here), have an interval/speed/hill type thing on Tuesdays so I figured why not set a tone now.

Although looking at the workout you’d think that I was in training right now.  Which to anyone wondering (I know AMarathoner asked earlier) I’m not quite sure how I’m reconciling the high miles I’m doing now with what a potential training program will ask.  What I think I’ll do is (hopefully *fingerscrossed*) take the next 4 weeks to back off and then start back up again.  The BAA one has the potential to get high mileage, like roughly where I am now, and the Higdon one looks lower mileage but I think I can add safely to both of those if I feel necessary; I have such a high base already.

So here’s the workout: I channeled Jess because I remember her doing both intervals AND hills in the same workout. And just an interesting note I had this song in my head the whole time heh. That man can do no wrong in my eyes!

  • Warm up
  • 2 X [ 4 X 800] @ 10k pace with 90 sec recovery between 800s and 5 minutes recovery between sets
  • 4 X 800 m hills with 90 seconds between hills (and 5 minutes between last 800 set and first hill)
  • Warm down

I did do this on a treadmill because it was wicked windy out AND in the teens, soooo not conducive to fast running, but whatever.  I still feel like a bamf!  I ended up running the 800s a little faster than 10k pace — more like what I want my 10k pace to be (703 min/mi vs 715 min/mi).  And both the distances for the 800s and recovery were loose.  Since I was on a tm sometimes I wanted to start or end the recovery on an even number or whatever so I took the liberty to do that.  Same with the hills. I don’t know if I can call these Yassos or not.  For one thing there was that 5 minute recovery between repeat 4 and 5.  I think that’s a no-no in Mr. Yassos book but whatever.  I felt that it was still a good solid workout. I’m happy with the pacing too because, although the first one felt like death, the rest felt good and I had to resist the urge to go faster.  As I had 8 total I didn’t want to burn myself out and not be able to finish.

As for the hills.  They were tough.  Yes they were done after the 800s but I think they would have been tough on their own.  I designed this workout myself and I wrote down 400m hills but after the 800 repeats I think that’s just what my brain was used to, so I got about a mile more in that originally planned.  Which I could not for the life of me figure out why my mileage ticker on the tm was more than I thought it should be. And yes I consider math a strength of mine haha. (Interestingly enough I think I ended up doing a 5th 800 on the last set because I can’t count!) I did the hills at 4% incline (is is an appropriate hill setting? Gosh I feel like such a noob!) and the first one was tough! They got easier after that but man that first one almost killed me I think.  But then again the first anything is really tough IMO.

When I was done my face was beet red! But like I mentioned, I felt so bad-ass! There were also a bunch of people staring both during the workout and after.  I guess not many people can fathom running on the treadmill for as long as I did / actually do a real hard workout on the darn thing (or anywhere really).  But I take pride in that.  I wanted to shout to everyone: “I’M RUNNING THE BOSTON MARATHON!!” but I figured that would make me seem like a braggart (does anyone even use that word or am I the only one?) so I didn’t.  I just smiled back at them and hit the next interval or hill hard.

One of the other reasons I did this workout today was because I’m actually getting a massage soon! Even though I’m not a fan of the post-massage soreness the next day I love the feeling of a massage.  It’s definitely not relaxing for me but I love when my friend works on my legs and I can feel tension and “gunk” (lactic acid etc.) being released and my muscles loosening up. So I wanted to hit my body hard and then get it worked on 🙂

Which I probably should leave for like NOW! Enjoy your Tuesday’s everyone.  Stay warm in you’re in the NorthEast (or anywhere else that’s cold too!) and stay cool if you’re somewhere warm.  Although don’t tell me that because I may have to hunt you down haha!

December 28, 2009

Monthly Recap: December 2009

Filed under: Weekly Recap — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:30

So I haven’t gotten around to posting weekly recaps all month.  Oops. So here’s the weekly recaps that make up December (and yes I know that December isn’t over.  Oh well December decided not to be nice and end on a Sunday for me):

Week of 30 November – 6 December

  • 71 miles
  • 10 hours 45 minutes 10 seconds
  • Core 5x but no rest & no XT

Great week. Didn’t mean to run so much but it felt so good.  This week also remarked the return of speedwork which I think helped my overall running mood be lifted. I also made a conscious decision to keep up a streak this week (start date was Nov 14th) so we’ll see how far that lasts 🙂

Week of 7 December – 13 December

  • 74.3 miles
  • 11 hours 9 minutes 35 seconds
  • Core 5x but no rest & no XT

Another high mileage week which impresses me because it was the last week of classes and thus the final push of the semester.  Lots of double digit runs and an interval one.  But my body still is recovering well between runs and I ended the week feeling like I still had gas in the tank.

Week of 14 December – 20 December

  • 80.6 miles
  • 12 hours 17 minutes 23 seconds
  • Core 5x but no rest or xt

Mileage PR! And clearly a time spent running PR too.  Wow, 12+ hours that’s a lot.  Definitely the week of the long runs to say the least as well because every run was 10+.  But I think this week awoke the inner mileage junkie in me.  And despite my bitching about feeling slow the overall pace was right around normal, a bit on the slow side but definitely not by much.  Reassuring that my body was capable of handling so many miles.

Week of 21 December – 27 December

  • 84.6 miles
  • 12 hours 53 minutes 31 seconds
  • Core 3x, Fully Body Lifting (Legs, Arms, Core) 2x, No rest

Another weekly mileage pr! I think once I broke the 80 mile barrier last week it was really easy to do it again.  I think sometimes there are goals that really are psychological in nature, because I smashed last weeks mileage, rather than physical because I’m quite happy with my pace.  With lots of long runs I’m still going faster than long run pace.  I’m also really happy that I was able to get in two strength sessions in plus an additional 3 core sessions.  I think that going into the New Year I want to have established that lifting will be a consistent part of my routine.

December 27, 2009

Weekend?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:45

Hope you guys enjoyed reading my goals for 2010.  If not check them out and let me know what you think. I know I like seeing what everyone else is gearing up to do! It really pumps me up and after writing mine I kind of want my races NOW.  But like I said yesterday I’m going to start with the whole progress toward the goals NOW.  I’m chomping at the bit here!

This weekend was interesting and fun.  But tiring too. Here’s what went down (and the title of this post come from the fact that it didn’t feel like the weekend.  At all.  But I think that’s because I’m on break so my days are all jumbled):

Friday:

As I kind of wrote a bit about already, Christmas night was great for me.  After I got back from my run that afternoon the family has already left for Christmas dinner so I was free to do what I pleased.  Which meant that I took a long  hot shower, poured myself a glass of wine and read a book.  I had plans to go see Holmes which was awesome.  It was such a good movie and balanced action/explosiony stuff with wit and humor.  And Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law aren’t too bad on the eyes.  The way it ended leaves a sequel option which I am totally cool with.  Afterward me and my friend hit up a Chinese restaurant with some other friends and there was lots of laughter and joking.  Not so much reminiscing about high school / the past which was nice because I really don’t want these friendships to turn into “Remember back in the day…” stuff. Stayed out wayyy too late though but I lost all track of time! Craziness as that never happens.

Saturday:

After a night of fitful sleep (thank you too many mai-tais and beef on a stick!) I ran 12.2 miles in what turned out to be drizzle rather than just cloudiness. Ew.  But it was semi-warm at 35* and there was no wind.  Thank god for small favors I guess.  The overall pace was a true long run pace which, needless to say for my type-A self, was slow.  It was appropriate and I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea of really going slow and easy. Sometimes I just feel like long run pace is too slow for my liking: if I had my way it would be MP + 30 seconds.  Because that’s what I like to see my pace work out too.  So it was good that I hit MP + 60 seconds today.

And I did not have an “accident” like yesterday heh.  After talking to some people I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s tired / fatigued pelvic floor muscles.  Interesting because I associate it with women who have had children.  But I figure that all this mileage is fatiguing ALL my muscles rather than just the “running” ones.

Saturday night was a night to celebrate with friends from high school. I went into the evening exhausted and I was a major league grump getting ready but I’m glad I went.  Even though I really don’t have much in common anymore with my high school friends (I have this theory that high school friends / childhood friends are really only there because you live in the same town whereas college friendships are actually based on common interests) but they’re still cool people. And fun to drink with.  I didn’t spend the night and left on the “early side” but still a good night. Lots of Lady GaGa.  You’d be proud Sarah haha.

Sunday:

I really wanted to get a gym session in yesterday but by the time I dragged my sorry butt off the couch it was an awkward time to go so I stuck with the run.  So that meant it got transferred to today.  I did the same workout that I did on Tuesday (found here under the Strength page). Since the gym I worked at was closed all weekend (it’s really small and doesn’t have a huge staff) I went to an affiliated gym today which didn’t have “in-between” weights: 17.5, 22.5 etc so I bumped UP the weights today.  Let’s just say I’m going to be sore tomorrow. But it was a great workout. I was in awe the whole time though because the gym was pretty packed with middle age and old people. I felt like the youngest by far but it was totally motivating because I want to be like that when I’m older.

Running wise (yes I did that too) I had calculated last night that I only needed 8.4 miles to hit a new weekly PR.  Then I did some more math and calculated that I only needed 11.7 miles to hit 84 which would be an average of 12 miles a day.  I ❤ me some round numbers and ended up doing 12.3 miles because I felt so damn good.  Well kind of good.  There is some soreness from lifting (and likely all those miles) but I never felt like I was doing the miles just to do them.  I still felt like I wasn’t going to die even though my legs definitely lost their “freshness”.

But the run was great.  A little slow to start but when are my runs fast out of the gate? And it was drizzling the whole time.  Well that’s a lie, maybe the first half.  So the 50* (!!) weather felt a lot cooler because of it and there was a really cool fog.  I loved running in and out of it at various points during the run.  And interestingly enough, despite the soreness in my quads, the HUGE monster week I just put in and the lifting I did this morning my pace was right on target.  Well MP + 50 seconds which I’m happy with. Not only that but the last 3 miles were quick.  Like really quick (MP which is PDQ after running so much heh). It didn’t feel that way during the run but numbers don’t lie.  So I’m pretty happy with myself although now all I want to do is lay down on the couch and not move. Haha.

And I think today is going to be the end of the double digit streak.  It was fun while it lasted (16 days!) but I think that I need to refocus on other things.  Plus I don’t want to get to the point where I’ve gone so far on the streak that I end up ignoring a nagging hurt (which there is no sign of yet — knock on wood) and end up sidelined.  Boston is just around the corner and it’s wicked important.  Granted I say that now and who knows what tomorrow will bring (especially since I might want to kick of the New Year — which starts this week!! — in style) but that is my musing of the day 🙂

Hope everyone is relaxing on this Sunday.  Hopefully the holiday weekend doesn’t end for you today! As I’ve been a student, oh my whole life, I’ve always had the week after Christmas off so I’m not sure if any of you have to work tomorrow or not.  I know that even though I’m still on break I have lots of errands to run so I’m sure as heck relaxing right now haha!

December 26, 2009

2010: Running

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:25

Hey all.  Happy day after Christmas 🙂 Hope it was everything you wanted it to be.  Like I said yesterday my day was really low key which was perfect.  I went on a date with one of my best friends from high school and Mr. Robert Downey Jr (btw the movie was GREAT!) and then hit up a restaurant for some drinks and Chinese food with other friends who joined us. Yummy-ness and hilarity ensued!

But since everyone else is doing it (and I am a lemming) I put together some thoughts on what I want to do in the upcoming year. Be warned it’s long but oddly enough it’s all running.

But first running reflections on 2009:

2009 was a great year for me. I ran my first marathon, first 5k and pr’d in the half.  Plus that marathon? Oh yeah, a BQ. I am very happy that I raced as much as I did this year too, with most of it happening in the fall.  I tend to try and save money (like most people) so I’m really hesitant to sign up for races unless they are meaningful.  But racing = fun so I gained experience (and shelled out cash) which was great. I also ran the most miles in a month as well as a week.  And those two accomplishments came NOT during marathon training.  Overall I’m happy with this year. I feel like  I became a *real* runner rather than a chick who likes to run. Maybe a self-righteous feeling but hey that’s me 🙂

Goals for 2010:

  • PR (duh who doesn’t?).  I don’t know how obvious it is or how clearly it comes across in my blogging but I race to race.  I don’t sign up to “have fun”.  I sign up so I can run hard enough to want to puke my guts out when I cross the finish line. I think that by incorporating new strength moves and speed workouts will help that.  Mixing things up and see what happens.  Specifically (and yes they are lofty but I think that with some real focus I can come real close to most if  not all of ’em):
  1. sub 20:00 5k — considering my only 5k time is 21:32 and I didn’t train for it I think this is lofty but do-able if I train for a 5k.  Who knows if that will happen though as I ❤ the long stuff
  2. sub 43:00 10k — ideally I just want 43:23 because that works out to 7 pace even but being the overachiever I am I want to break a round number.
  3. sub 1:40:00 half — every time I run a half I smash my previous pr.  I’m currently at 1:41:56 which was a 2 or 3 minute improvement from the previous pr.  Definitely going to be hard but I think it’s do-able
  4. 3:35:00 marathon — I was going to write sub 3:30 but that’s an 8 minute pr and I’m not sure how realistic that would be.  Actually to hell with it: the goal is sub 3:30.  I left the last marathon feeling like I had plenty of gas in the tank so we’ll see if I can capitalize on that in 2010.
  • Do an ultra.  I do have a potential one in mind too about 5 wks after Boston.  I think that the end of this year has made me really think that reeeeeeeeeeeally long distances is cool and that my body is totally capable of doing it.
  • Dare I say it? Requalify for Boston.  I’m scared of the course (I’ve heard really dramatic stuff!) so I don’t know if I’ll do it there or not.  And since I’m not sure what my post grad plans are so I don’t know if I’ll have another shot at it this year.  I guess in the same vein I don’t know if I’d even be able to use a BQ before it “expired”. Still it’d be cool to requalify (and I guess this goal falls under PR as well because I didn’t exactly smash the BQ time last time)
  • Not sure how realistic this one is as I have no idea where I’ll be in the fall but I want to run MCM.  I have this huge patriotic side to me that I rarely (living in New England — sorry HUGE stereotype) get to express.  I’d really love to be a part of that military experience because I actually get verbally attacked when I express that stuff around here
  • And super long term I want to run the Big 5: New York, Boston, Berlin, London, Chicago.  Maybe I could get lucky and find myself in Europe this fall / next year. I can dream right? 🙂
  • Have fun.  I really want to relax that must-pr-or-die mentality.  Not sure how I’ll do this.  Since I am a poor college student I tend to pick my races carefully and thus don’t want to “waste” money by not attempting to pr. I think doing an ultra might fall under this category because from what I’ve heard they are a totally different beast than what I’ve been doing. Also maybe leaving the watch at home? I don’t ever look at my watch during a run but to actually not be timing might be a good way to chill out.

I think that’s a healthy list of running goals.  And I think I’ve brainstormed ways to get them.  Overall I think that this year has the potential to be a good year for me.  At least the first 6 months.  Life after graduation is still up in the air as I don’t know if I’ll still be in New England or what I’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis and how feasible training will be.

But here are some other things that I think will help me become an even better runner in 2010 and achieve the goals listen above:

  • Drink more water.  Yes I will admit that most days I do not drink enough (water that is).  I feel the best when I’m hydrated and I preform the best when properly hydrated.  And I’m also including tea and other semi-clear liquids.  Alcohol and coke? Nope, they’ll count towards my fluid count but not the hydration count if that makes sense
  • Get faster.  I want to become more comfortable with speed.  In my 5k this past fall (first and only) I was cruising at a great fast pace until the last mile or so.  So I want to be able to push how far I can run at a “sprint” speed.  I guess I can work on that by racing more? Although that does get expensive so I want to commit to keeping speedwork (tempo, mile repeats etc.) in my routine in a more consistent basis when I’m not training for a longer race.  When I’m not following a half or full marathon program I tend to slack in that department.
  • Get stronger. AKA strength train more.  Like I’ve said in posts of the past I feel so much stronger and fitter and faster when I keep lifting in my routine.  I don’t think this will be that hard to keep going once I commit to doing it.  Which I’ve already started.  But I need to make sure I don’t go on any 10 week hiatuses again!
  • XT more in general too.  Potentially do a tri although that’s not really a huge goal of mine at all (hate biking) but having a goal like that could be an impetus to XT it out more.  Which will help my running.  A win-win.  Except for my butt which will never be friends with the bike.
  • Stretch more. Now that Jazz is over (so sad!) I need to make an effort to keep stretching even if it’s just 2 or 3 times a week like the class met.  In the two-plus weeks since that class ended I have not stretched once! And I definitely notice my muscles being more reluctant to do what I want.  I know that I’ve told my friend to drag me to yoga twice a week if that’s what needs to be done (and you know how I feel about yoga haha)
  • Respect the rest day.  I’ll admit that I hate taking rest days.  I am a mileage junkie after all. But rest is what repairs the muscles and is actually what makes you stronger.  And while I do take ’em (and easy days too I swear! I’ve just been on a kick lately!)
  • Listen to my body.  Falls under respect the rest too I suppose but there have been times in the past where I push through a hard tempo when my body wants an extra easy day. Shocker I know.
  • Wear sunscreen.  I’ll consider my life improved if I wear it once a month this year.  Because that would be about 12 times more than I did in 2009.  Yes I know I’ll have skin cancer, like, tomorrow (trust me I have enough pre-cancerous moles to say this) and even if I dodge that bullet I don’t want to be all leather-faced in 10 years.  I guess this isn’t technically running related but, especially this summer, the only times I was out in the sun (especially the bright sunlight) was when I was running.

Yikes. That’s a lot to digest I guess.  Thanks for sticking with it if you’ve made it this far. I actually started this post over a week ago and kept refining it / adding to it.  But I think that’s a good start.  Nice small simple changes.  Some of them will be easier than others.  But change is change and I’m resistant to it.

With respect to “resolutions” well I hate the term resolution and, come to think of it, the fact that I’m starting these things on January 1st.  I think that those labels put a pedestal up which sets a lot of people up for failure.  Like starting something on a Monday, it puts real significance on that (too bad January 1 doesn’t start on a Monday heh).  Which may or may not be a good thing for some people.  To me these changes are designed to improve my running not just in this upcoming year but FOREVER.

So upon writing this post and thinking about it I am starting these things right NOW. Today.  Going to go grab a glass of water and drink it while stretching. And maybe hit up the gym for a strength session.

December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 14:58

Hope everyone is celebrating Christmas in the way that they want 🙂

Luckily my siblings didn’t get up with the sun like they’ve done in every other year I’ve been alive.  They waited until 0800 this morning which is when I was waking up anyway.

Anyway for me Christmas is camping out in my room until the family leaves for my Uncle’s house (which is where they are now) then vegging out (reading most likely)  until tonight when I get to see Holmes with one of my close high school friends.  I ❤ Robert Downey Jr. so I’m wicked excited.

Of course running happened too and, like the past couple of Christmases, I wore my Santa hat.  Just so that people can’t say I’m a complete Scrooge heh. I also wore a red long sleeve with a green short sleeve over it.  Yes I have Christmas spirit.  And the weather, while definitely not Christmas weather, is so nice out.  Nice bright and sunny so it feels even warmer than the 36* it actually is.  Feels like 50* or so honestly and according to the weather reports it’s suppose to be that warm tomorrow.  Crazy.

I saw a lot of runners out today.  Not really surprising since lots of people make sure to get that workout in before feasting heh.  None of them as decked out as me though. I got a great 12.6 mile run in at a good clip.  It felt slow at times and really fast at times but overall it averaged out.  There was one hill that almost made me walk.  Almost though.

And I have a funny (well to me.  I guess I’m too dumb to be embarrassed by this) story related to the question I posted yesterday about my bladder (and I still want an answer too. Preferably a medical one my doctor friends? You know who you are 😉  Or at least someone to tell me my suspicion is correct and my bladder is just unhappy with the jostling running does to the lower torso organs).  Which I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this already. And I apologize if anyone finds this unfunny or gross or immature or whatever.  I actually do find it funny. Maybe not the final outcome but certainly the whole situation. And I do recognize that this might lower my BAMF status.

By the time I had finished my run the family had already left for Christmas dinner so the house was locked up.  Which is fine in theory.  Tell that to my bladder though because I’ve known since mile 5 that when I stop running, be it at mile 5, 10 or 12.6, I’ll need a bathroom.  If you recall I said yesterday that my routine lately has been to sprint into the house and into the bathroom stopping, oh ummm, never? So this whole, get my hidden key, unlock the door THEN try to get to the bathroom thing? Yeah not so great.  But my bladder held miraculously. Seriously a Christmas miracle.

So at this point I’m feeling good about myself even though I don’t shut the door behind me nor do I remove my shoes, sunglasses etc.  Because let’s face it I still need to go.  I make it to the bathroom and go to pull down my shorts and my shirt is tucked into my shorts and my fingers don’t have full circulation and therefore don’t have full manipulation capabilities.  Problem? Yes.

And I’m not saying I full on wet my pants.  Because I didn’t.  But I did a little bit; kind of like if you laugh really really hard. Yes I think I am trying to justify this haha. I am 23 years old but do not have the bladder of one. At least after a long run because I do have a bladder of steel any other time during the day.  Even while drinking.

So I hope you enjoyed my story on this lovely Christmas day.  I’m still not sure if I should be embarrassed and sharing this but since almost everyone who reads this is a runner I’m hoping that you understand.  I mean if Uta Pippig can poop her pants during the Boston Marathon (and win) then I think a little bladder weakness on my part shouldn’t be too big a deal.

And I hope this hasn’t detracted from your Christmas spirit in any way 😛

Now it’s kicking back with a glass of wine (yes it’s only 1500) a good book, music (NOT of the Christmas kind) until my date with Sherlock Holmes.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS ALL!!

December 24, 2009

Oh Hello There

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:17

my fairweather friends.  I mean I know that today is Christmas Eve Day so lots of people have it off.  But it’s a bit too coincidental that today is the first nice weather day temp wise and I see tons of people out running.  It was quite balmy at 34*.  Where were you guys when it was 22* yesterday or the day before? Hmmmmm?

Oh well.  That probably made me sound really elitist and snobby.  Oops!

So like I mentioned it was pretty nice out today.  Overcast yes, but there wasn’t any wind and the temps were like 10* warmer than yesterday.  Which made it feel like summer or something! Unfortunately the burner in our house went out last night so there was no heat until about 1300 today.  Really weird when it feels as though the outside is warmer than inside during the last week of December!  But never fear the oil man came and supposedly fixed it although I am still in sweats with a blanket wrapped around me with a space heater at my feet.

But I digress.  Yesterday’s run had left me PUMPED.  And Tuesday’s lifting session still has me sore.  Like I was sitting around this morning catching up on things, went to get up and uuuuugh.  I am a creaky old woman.  But with the spirit of someone my age.  Mind over matter my friends because I put on my shoes and hit the streets.

Slow moving at times but I think that was because I chose the hilliest route EVER to do.  I didn’t really even think about it until I got to ’em.  And then all I wanted to do was turn around.  But what kind of bamf would I be if I rolled over and quit at the sight of hills (nevermind the fact that I rarely get to see hills ever in my neck of the woods!).  So I forged on.

Forging for 12.1 miles.  It was a run where I didn’t really feel bad but never felt like I was a superstar.  Kind of run of the mill but hey it’s another 12 in the books. Which is pushing me to the front of the POTM (Pile on the Miles) Challenge Holiday Edition.  Woot! And my drive to keep up this double digit streak.  Going strong!

The last 2 miles were quite fast and I definitely fatigued my legs by the end of it.  I don’t think I could have eeked out another mile.  Good thing because of my ankle.  Guess it wasn’t solely the shoes I was wearing when I last complained of ankle pain because around mile 11 a felt a slight ache (not really a pain) in the same spot.  So I’m icing now (GASP I’m actually doing something medically sound? Heh). And yes Jess I am really surprised too that I don’t have more nagging pains although since it’s now in my head the hypochondriac in me will find something wrong heh.

And since I’m in a disjointed mood (and half my brain is in the novel I started last night babysitting) I’m going to not really switch gears but ask you a question (or two)

1. Well I’m going to preface this question with a story. And sorry if it’s TMI.  Remember that I do want to be a doctor so sometimes questions that are borderline inappropriate / gross don’t phase me.  But over the past two weeks (coincidentally around the same time my miles bumped up big time) my bladder has grown so weak.  I’m not talking about when I’m just bumming around.  But after my long runs I can’t stop running until I’ve reached the bathroom.  No joke.  Yesterday and today especially I couldn’t even stop in my driveway and walk up to the house.  I had to run into the house.  Thank god it was unlocked and I didn’t have to fumble with a key.  So here’s the question: Normal? Is my bladder just getting annoyed at being jostled for 10-12 miles? Because I have a bladder of steel when it comes to any other time during the day.

2. Totally not running related but: when I reply to your comments in the comments section are you getting email notifications? I think that’s what I have it set to but I’m not sure and I don’t want you guys to think that I’m ignoring you!

And finally before I dive back into my book (Which is But I Trusted You. I ❤ Ann Rule) I need more questions from you! I have 11 so far and I’m fully prepared to make it a game of 11 questions but I’d really like 20. Pretty please? 🙂

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE!! Hope everyone is celebrating in the manner that pleases them 🙂

[Edit to add: Wow I just re-read this and my brain is all over the place. I blame the holidays and the “runners brain” effect of my run haha]

December 23, 2009

ColdColdCold

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 17:06

Hello hello! Thanks for all the support re: my ankle yesterday.  I stupidly was wearing my old shoes.  Didn’t even realize it until today when I went to go put shoes on to run some errands.  Definitely thought that I had taken the new(er) ones out.  Guess not and I think it was because I was at the gym and randomly chose to run there after so I ran in what I was wearing.  I still am not ready to part 100% with the old shoes but I am willing to regulate it to the lifting only category.

I ended up not icing at all yesterday because, like I said, my family is the most inconsiderate family in the world and doesn’t refill the trays after using them.  I did keep it elevated though (and yes I know that I, the future doctor, am a terrible patient haha). Pain free now so I think it was a product of the shoes rather than the mileage I’ve been doing as I wore the new(er) ones today. Which is a relief because I want to keep up the big miles.

Even in this weather.  When I first got up this morning it was 8* real temp.  So I decided that today would be a good day to wait until noon or so to head out.  Who knows whether or not that was the right choice as it was 8* windchill temp when I ended up heading out.  But that’s neither here nor there — neither is the fact that the heat is broken in my room and I slept in 50* brrrrrrr. Needless to say today’s run was cold and windy but such is my life lately.

Not that it has ever stopped me before.  And boy did I need my run today.  Every year I have to fight with the financial aid office at my school but it’s usually in the summer when they hand out my aid packages.  This morning was that morning for the Spring ’10 semester. Needless to say there were tears.  I’m 99.99% sure that it will work out in the end (it usually does) but stressful.  Especially added to the stress of graduating and having to pay back loans (because kiddos I’m 100% financially on my own here) and you have a panic attack ready to happen.

And yet running so wonderously fends that off. But first let me say that I’m not as sore after yesterday as I thought I would be.  My chest and a bit of my shoulders are but I’m A) in better shape than I thought to stave off a 10 week hiatus of running or B) I didn’t push myself hard enough.  I like to think it’s A but for my legs and abs B probably played a role too.  It’s just a pleasant soreness too.  I kind of wanted I-don’t-want-to-move-or-laugh-because-of-soreness.  Alas that wasn’t meant to be.

So running was of course a viable option and much necessary after my blood pressure shot up 50 pts from wrangling with the money people at my school. And I wasn’t going to delude myself into thinking that I was going to not go for a double digit run.  Lately with so much anxiety about post-grad stuff going on in my head (I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so worried) the glorious minutes that I’ve been spending running has been a way to shut out the worries.  That and reading.

(And let’s just say that I’m already almost done with the stack of books I’ve got on my bedside table. Which I finished U is for Undertow and for those fans of the Alphabet series out there (and I’m so happy that some of you guys are!!) it was a good read.  There were some plot holes but I’m definitely going to overlook them because I love the character of Kinsey and just adore getting sucked into that world. Whoo, tangent!)

Since I don’t really have that many long runs mapped out at my house I settled for combining a 3.5 and 8 for a total of 11.5 miles.  And it felt great.  I was able to get rid of the angst that I was feeling after my convo with financial aid.  I felt powerful and strong.   I looked at my watch at the 10 mile mark and I was about 3 minutes faster than I thought it was going to be.  I was stoked! I decided to tack on a half mile loop because I was running so well (gotta capitalize on this stuff) and the aforementioned wind at very end tested my resolve.

Like seriously? Hello wind, I knew you were there but you waited until the home stretch to unleash your wrath? Not cool.  And with the temperature already so cold the wind dropped it even more.  I was bundled up okay except apparently for my forehead because the wind honed in on that area of me.  The cold was so bitter I wanted to vomit.  Seriously. That’s how cold it was.

But I will not be beaten down I say! I finished the 12 miles in 1:47:00 exactly.  An 8:55 pace which was comfortably under my easy pace.  I’m not going to say that I beasted that shit but I finished the run feeling very pleased with myself. Unfortunately I forgot that I had a doctor’s appt today and finished running about 20 minutes before I had to leave.  So I couldn’t really bask in the glow because I was in a rush to not be late. Bummer.  But that doesn’t take away any from the run 🙂

Jeez and I guess being late is the game of the day because I’m about to be late for a babysitting gig! Have a great Wednesday (Christmas Eve Day Eve — think about it) everyone!

December 22, 2009

Hitting the Gym

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:53

Yes I finally did it. Worked my way back into the gym for some lifting (and of course some borrowing on fitness mags — don’t judge I always return them when I’m done haha).  When we last left our good friends the weights I was on the verge on my running explosion and wanted to use the hour or so I spent lifting hammering out miles.  I also think that part of it was feeling to much like a have-to.  I’ve always been the type of person/runner who made sure that I hit the weights 2-3x a week for a full body session.  I just couldn’t imagine why someone wouldn’t lift. But with my focus shifting towards being a mileage junkie those sessions just felt burdensome.

So I stopped.  Wayyy back in October, about 10 weeks I think.  And obviously my running did explode and climb higher and higher.  Which is fine and exciting and something I’m happy / proud of.  But I don’t want to be that runner who shuns the gym.  I really do think that lifting / strengthening should be a part of every runner’s repertoire.  I won’t go into the benefits here of lifting (I definitely am not an expert) but anecdotally in the past I have always felt really good and strong and powerful when I’ve incorporated lifting on a regular basis.

Part of it is obviously physiological: make the muscles stronger and DUH you shall feel stronger.  Part of it is also psychological for me too: I grew up with a father who actually powerlifted.  Like in meets and stuff.  Seriously.  We even traveled for it too; my childhood trips to Disney coincided with huge meets.  From an early age I was shown that lifting was something to do.  Granted I often ignored the advice spewed by the parentals, but still, regardless of whether or not you want to listen, it sticks.

In any case I was “forced” to lift once I hit my teen years and although I HATED it I did enjoy the fact that there were high school boys there too to train under my dad.  I eventually abandoned actual lifting when I hit high school and did more calisthenic stuff with the volleyball, basketball and track teams.  I’d later incorporate this stuff post-high school much more readily into my routines as you don’t really need anything to do them.

So I’m not sure where all that reminiscing came from.  I guess to show you that I really do believe that everyone should take strength seriously.  And that lifting has always been a part of my lifestyle in some capacity which is why I take it seriously. And that I’m owning up to shunning that advice myself heh. And that I kind of guilted myself into driving to the gym today to get in some strengthening.

I did the Lifting workout here (it’s on the tab on the right for future reference).  And boy do I think I’m going to be sore tomorrow! My abs probably not as I’ve been consistently doing abs throughout the fall.  And maybe not so much my legs as I’m sure all that running has staved off toooo much strength loss.  But my arms felt like jello after the first set. Can’t wait to see what they’re like in the morning.  Oh well I can’t really complain because I really deep down love that feeling.

It felt really good to be back in the gym.  The actual physical gym as well as the workout itself.  It’s a totally different atmosphere in the weights section compared to the cardio, even in my gym where it’s basically one big room with weights in one corner and cardio equipment in another.  It could also be my gym, lots of working class people just doing their thing.  No hoity-toity people, no annoying a-hole college athletes etc.  I love it.

And because I am me I went running afterward.  I even mapped out a run in the town that my gym is in.  Naturally there are no streets signs, or at least signs for the streets I wanted so I ended up running around a little aimlessly.  I mapped it out just now and *drumrollplease* 11.4 miles.  Yeah.  Much more than I thought it was. Or rather much more than I wanted.  Although when all is said and done I’m proud of it.  Full body lifting and double digit run? Bamf.

But I wish that someone would tell my ankle that.  I think all my hubris about 2000+ miles on my shoes caught up to me BOOM in one fell swoop.  On my left ankle, at the base of my shin really, I am having a bit of pain/soreness/twingeing that feels a bit like tendinitis.  I have no idea if it can come on so quickly but that’s the closest thing that I can compare it too.  Maybe shin splints but it’s a bit lower than when I usually feel the onset of that pain. And maybe I’ve just been successfully ignoring the pain as it was building.  But now it’s a bit inflammed and the longer I sit here on the couch all immobile the more it hurts to move it. (And I kind of think I’m dramatizing this.  I’m sure that it’s nothing life or death here, just a bit of the good ole aches and pains)

And the real kicker? Absolutely no ice in the house.  No one refilled the ice cube trays.  And there’s no frozen veggies or anything like that in the freezer to make a makeshift one.  My only option is likely to go out in the snow.  But that requires me to move.  And go out in the cold.  Not going to happen. Boo I hate living with people who don’t think outside of themselves.

Enough writing more reading! I started U is for Undertow last night and got sucked in (like I should have known I would) and stayed up wayyy too late and actually fell asleep with it open.  I’m craving so badly to get back to it so get back to it I shall. 🙂

P.S. Like always keep the questions coming! I totally appreciate all the questions that have already come in but I need more 🙂

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