MarathonMaiden's Blog

January 31, 2010

O.M.G. Shoes.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:04

So I forgot to mention yesterday to say THANKS for all the nice words about me being stressed on Friday.  It was just silly stress, well I guess the stress wasn’t silly but it didn’t have a focus or purpose.  But I get so much lovin’ from y’all. <3. And thanks for all the suggestions for fueling during the run.  I hadn’t thought of crackers and pretzels just because of the logistics of taking it. Luckily I wear a windbreaker that has a front pocket so carrying the stuff shouldn’t be difficult it’s just those pesky frozen fingers make everything 10000000x more difficult.  Which is why gels and stuff is out.  I need something that I can stow away already opened, like pretzels in a fold top baggie.  I’ll experiment and keep you guys posted on that.  Luckily it shouldn’t be 14* on April 19th.  At least I’m going to pray it isn’t.

It was, however, another cold one here in southern New England.  I purposely chose to push off my run ’til noon so I could take advantage of the 22* (feels like 6*) weather rather than bitterness when I first got up.  The wind wasn’t too bad actually so I, again, overdressed.  In fact I was sweating during this run! Craziness.

After some stalling (because I always stall when I know it’s cold out. I know I can handle it but I’m never like “hell yeah it’s cold out! Rock on!” So I stand at the door to my building for a good 5 minutes just waiting hah) I hit the streets for a recovery run. Despite having run 20.5 miles yesterday my legs didn’t feel bad.  Sure when I first got up they were a little grumbly but they loosened up quite nicely and I was able to hit a nice clip from the get-go.  Not sure what I started out at but my overall pace was 8:56 for a total of 10 miles.

Very fast for a recovery run.  But it didn’t feel that way and in fact I was trying to keep myself from speeding up even more! As for the distance, my rule of thumb is the recovery run can be 50-66% of the long run distance.  In this case ~10.25-13.6.  Even with my self-imposed rule I was at the low end of my run.  I originally set out for 6 miles but was really feeling it.  That said I don’t think I would have wanted to go any further than I did.  My body was definitely happy with stopping at 10 and surprisingly my mind was too.

One highlight of the run was that I “broke in” my asics sneaks that I bought last week when I was home.  It’s weird because in the past I’ve never had more than one pair of running shoes in my possession but at the moment I have FOUR.  They are

  • 2000+ mile New Balance 768
  • 700 mile New Balance 769
  • 10 mile Asics Gel Kanbarra 4
  • 0 mile New Balance 769

I wrote “broke in” with the quotes because I am now a firm believer in the fact that a good pair of shoes should NOT hurt you.  I didn’t always think this and up until a year ago (when I got my first pair of real running shoes — the 768 ones) I wore cheap ass shoes from Walmart.  They weren’t specifically running shoes but rather athletic shoes.  Which was great because I wasn’t running huge miles or intense work so the price was right but they cut up my feet so bad for the first 1-2 weeks I wore them.  In fact I think that the blisters I got from a pair like them was the reason I had to be on IV antibiotics for a resistant strain of staph in my toe last January. NOT GOOD.

Now I love my New Balance.  More expensive yes, but for the way I run totally worth it. Last week I was at Kohl’s and there was a huge sale of many types of running shoes so I looked around and since there weren’t any New Balances that fit me the way I wanted and I ended up finding the Asics.  Which did you know stands for “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” (a sound mind in a sound body)? Well I didn’t until a week ago.

The verdict on these guys? Well they’re a keeper for sure.  My only complaint is that they didn’t have any “wide” versions at the store and I settled for regular width.  But on my test drive today I was wearing double socks (because it’s cold!) and there wasn’t any real discomfort.  Yes they are a little tight in the toe area but nothing major and nothing that dropping that second pair of socks won’t cure. I doubt I’ll wear them for my LR or speed work but they definitely will help me make my NBs last longer as I plan on wearing these guys as my recovery run shoes.

Another highlight of the run was when I was finishing up I ran past a police officer and I said “good morning” to him (which I ALWAYS am nice to the po-pos.  My dad is a cop and I genuinely think that cops are bashed far too often! But that’s a rant for another day) he replied back with “man that is some dedication you have”.  He probably meant me being out in the cold because obviously he had no idea how far I’d run or what my running schedule is like but I was so touched by that. Definitely brightened my day.

Well I’m off to a Sunday meeting.  Ugh I hate Sunday meetings, I know most people are doing work today but I never do work on Sundays: I hate feeling rushed doing stuff last minute. Plus I want to enjoy my Sunday before my week starts.  The calm before the storm anyone?

Hope you had a great weekend and are having a totally relaxing Sunday 🙂

January 30, 2010

Cold Long Run. Finally New England Weather!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:57

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. If I thought yesterday was bad here’s what I was up against this morning:

  • 0800: 7* feels like -7* (when I got up this morning)
  • 1000: 11* feels like -3* (a little before I left for the run)
  • 1400: 21* feels like 21* (about 45 minutes after I finished the run when I got back from the dining hall)

Yes I’m going to say it again: Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Not exactly what I wanted to go out and run in.  Luckily, as you can tell by the numbers, it warmed up slightly and the wind died down over the course of the morning.  Very good because I can totally handle the cold but when that wind blows? Yes it makes me want to curl under my covers and not move.

Despite the cold I was actually a bit on the warm side during my run.  The sun was shining and the wind wasn’t that bad so my 3 layers on top were more than enough to keep me comfy.  I always have the hardest time figuring out how to layer best.  I know that you’re supposed to dress so that you’re comfy a few miles into the run because then your body is warm but try telling that to my brain which doesn’t want to be cold at all. So I tend to overdress a bit.  BUT once the clouds came and hid the sun in the later miles I was pretty glad that I was wearing those layers.  The only thing that got cold were my hands.  Like usual.  I was wearing 2 pairs of those thin gloves then my heavy duty mittens.  Luckily my hands didn’t go numb/white but only hurt/red. So the circulation was still there.  Woot.

So why am I talking so much about the weather? No I’m not complaining (this is what I would expect for New England at the end of January) but rather that the fact I still got out there and ran my first 20+ miler (actual distance was 20.5) of this cycle made me pretty proud. That and a few other things:

  • I don’t know what it is about long runs but my bladder hates me.  I think I should just start wearing depends or something.  Despite having emptied my bladder literally right before I leave my dorm I was struck with the urge to pee after about mile 5.  Usually I just chalk it up to mental stuff and am able to ignore it but this time? No way.  After about 12 miles I actually started changing my gait every once in a while because I thought I was going to pee myself at random intervals.  I knew that there was a Dunkin Donuts around mile 15 so I thought I could hold it.  Let’s just say that the woods have never looked more inviting.  Luckily I didn’t have to stoop that low as the local country club was just ahead (and quite a nice surprise as I had totally forgotten about it) and they were *really* nice to let me use their restroom.
  • So here’s where I complain about the cold. When I stopped to go my hands were soooo frozen that I couldn’t accurately stop my watch or re-put back on my gloves after using the restroom. So for the post-restroom stop the mitten on my left hand was all crooked and looked like I had a crooked / disjointed hand because the thumb part was about 180* from where it should have been. AND my hands were so cold that I couldn’t re-tuck in my shirt into my shorts so my belly occasionally got a draft of cold air.  Plus having my shirt & sweatshirt bounce around because they weren’t tucked in was really annoying.
  • Another thing that I forgot to think about in terms of hand dexterity was my granola bars.  I haven’t yet taken any fuel in during my training runs so far (and quite honestly haven’t needed it) but I figured I’d be a fool to tempt fate and packed along 2 chewy granola bars.  I probably should have cut open the tops of the packages because I couldn’t access them due to frozen hands! Not that I probably could have eaten them because when I got back to my room and tried they were frozen solid. So I didn’t end up eating anything on the run.  Surprisingly I never felt any ill effects of no during-run fuel at all but when I did stop running and ate an apple before heading to the dining hall I almost vomited because of low blood sugar.  Any suggestions for something that won’t freeze during my long runs? I am in love with my granola bars but it looks like they aren’t the smartest choice for New England winter.

Okay so even with the “complaints”: overall great run! I’m VERY happy with it. After two AMAZING long runs the past two weeks I needed a “back-to-reality” (oops there goes gravity) long run where the pace was relaxed and I just flowed with it. I was actually supposed to push the pace for three middle miles but I figured I pushed the pace enough last week with Lacey so that was totally not necessary today. Given that the middle miles were plagued by bladder issues I’m sure that I would have been able to even if I wanted. 😉

I also thought about adding an extra half mile to make it an even 21 miles buuuuuuuuut I don’t need to right now. It’s only week 12 (or week 5 if you’re counting up) so 21 is in no way necessary.  Neither was 20 technically — my range for the day was 17-20 — but I’ve been chomping at the bit to get a 20 under my belt so I jumped at the chance today.  My plan has lots of places to potentially put in 20 milers (5 weeks have a range that includes 20, including back-to-back weeks 10 & 9 [or weeks 7 & 8 if you count up]!) and I know I’m not going to physically be able to do them all.  So I get to pick and choose which is nice.

The stats for today ended up being 20.5 miles in exactly 3:05:00.  Well maybe not exactly as my bathroom stopover + frozen hands didn’t lend to starting and stopping the watch precisely but I’ll still take it.  This averages out to 9:01 pace which is :01 over my “ideal” standard.  No biggie just an annoyance. I think I’ll live 😉

So wrapping this up because I want to try to get homework d read a good book & eat the last bowl of the box of honeybunches: cinnamon clusters (best bowl of the box is the last one. Hands down) here’s a giveaway from Liz.  Happy Saturday!

January 29, 2010

Freaking Cold & Reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:25

Good afternoon! Not quite sure how many of you read this on Friday afternoons so I’ll make it short(ish).  I myself am just feeling an overwhelming sense of stress.  I totally would tell you the source if I could but I myself have no idea but it’s just one of those days where nothing is really going right.  Just small stuff, like my keys getting stuck in my purse while I’m trying to get into my car and it’s freezing out or being cut off by some jerk and missing my exit on the highway.  So nothing major but a bummer anyway.  Deep breaths and a good book. And tea.

Last night going out was a bust! The local bar was filled to capacity by…TEN-FIFTEEN!! WTF?! So by the time my friends and I got there there was an hour long wait.  And it was friggin cold last night too.  19* with high winds to boot.  I chose to walk back to my warm room and read for a bit while my friends waited.  And they waited for more than an hour too so I’m happy with my decision.

So if it was cold at that time it was even colder when I got up this morning.  I didn’t set an alarm, even though I had a class, and woke up naturally around 0730.  Don’t you just love it when you wake up on your own and feel…not exactly refreshed but you just *know* you got a good night of sleep? I say not refreshed because I need a few more nights of it before I’m 100% caught up but last night was good.

In any case, I didn’t check the weather when I first got up but by 1000 it was only 14* with it being -4* WC. Brrrrrrr.  The high today was only 19* with it feeling like 3*.  I was getting spoiled with the mid-20 mornings.  Guess we’re in a cold spell for the next week or so. Bummer. I wasn’t planning on going for a run but I’ve really been addicted to running the past month or so and I knew I was going to once I got out of bed.

However, and this may deserve a sad face but maybe a happy face too, I broke the streak today.  48 days.  I didn’t plan on breaking it but I was 3 miles out and I just knew I didn’t want to finish the run.  My heart wasn’t in it and it was flippin’ cold.  So I turned around and my total was 6 on the day.

It felt weird to not have my run be wicked long but I think that it was necessary.  Like I complained about earlier this week, my intervals and tempo felt “phoned-in”. That’s not to say they were meaningless or half-assed but I never felt good and pumped about them either.   And that’s not how I want to roll.  So when my heart just didn’t feel it today I knew that the streak had to die.  On the bright side the pace was a bit on the fast side (~9:07 pace) which is funny because it was such a short run and usually I need lots of miles to warm up.  Guess the cold pushed me to move faster?

So much for a short post. And my book is calling my name.  But for those inquiring minds who asked about my reading and other things:

  • I’m currently reading Les Miserables (in English not the original French. Maybe someday though).  It’s a humongo book (my edition is 1200+ pages) but once I was able to get into it I was hooked.
  • My favorite book of all time is Jurassic Park.  I read it for the first time in 4th grade (I’ve always had a reading level 2-3 grades above where I was so I was reading books for adults — almost wrote “adult books” NOT what I would have meant) and I re-read it at least 1-2 times a year. But the science-fiction stuff is great
  • I love HP (=Harry Potter) hence getting copies in other languages.  My fav HP book is #4 (which I bought in French).  The Spanish one I got was #7 (my second favorite and probably the only book that has ever made me cry. For real)
  • I’m a physics major so I have to take quantum physics.  Yes it’s going to be very hard but I think I’ve seen most of the stuff before so it’s just going to be the math that trips me up not the actual physics of it.
  • I do have to take a full year of a language to graduate.  I did that freshman year but I am very interested in learning Spanish and continuing my French for personal reasons.  I like how it challenges me in a different way than my math and science courses.

January 28, 2010

Tempo Thursday. Like Usual.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:20

Yeah, so thanks to those who called me out about me being a drama queen about my schedule yesterday 😉  You guys were a bit too polite to put it like that though haha. I know my schedule is not really bad and this is the best it’s ever been (I’m taking a normal course load rather than an expanded one for once) but change always stresses me out and trying to figure out what my routine is going to be this semester is stressful for me.  So while I had “free time” yesterday I was still on the go the whole time so it didn’t feel that way.  If that makes sense. And at the end of the day, I didn’t feel as frazzled at all like I usually do first day back.  So I think my relaxing semester will, in fact, be one. *knocksonwood*

And I’m slowly making progress on figuring out a plan for my gap year between graduation and medical school. I still have NO idea what I’ll be doing but currently I’m going about things proactively so that I don’t feel so helpless.  Sending lots of emails and trying to network a bit.  Fingers crossed for me.

Another good / not stressful thing is that the dining hall is opened.  Well I mean it *was* open during the break but our meal plan wasn’t in action so I would have had to pay for the iffy food there. I guess I do pay for it in my room/board or tuition or whatever.  And I would try to get off it except that it’s VERY hard to opt out. Plus our school has a “carte blanche” meal plan so I can go in whenever, numerous times a day, eat as much as I want.  Very good for the overall grocery budget as I really only have to get stuff like yogurt and certain cereals which aren’t in the dining halls.  Because I take anything that isn’t nailed down! I came back from dinner last night with 12 pears, 6 apples and 3 bananas.  And two loafs of bread.  Okay so not the most impressive selection but I stock up.  The sad thing is that most of that will be gone by the weekend.  Don’t judge 🙂

Just like I am trying to not judge my tempo run this morning.  I had a mid-morning meeting and I despise doing afternoon workouts so I just got up beforehand.  Nothing extra early or anything but I think recovery early runs are totally different than tempo early runs.  Here are the stats before I go any further in my bitching and moaning:

  • 3.2 mile warm up @ 9:51
  • 6.6 mile tempo @ 7:43
  • 4.4 mile warm down @ 8:33

Total time: 120 minutes even
Total distance: 14.2 miles ( I think that technically it was 14.3 but when I add up my routes I tend to round down. ie) 4.67 becomes 4.6 or 3.53 becomes 3.5 in the log book. So when I add them I get 8.1 but it’s really 8.2. I’m sure that I’m usually understating the distances.)
Average pace: 8:27

So my average pace on the tempo (7:43) was much slower than I wanted.  Granted it was much faster than it felt.  I actually thought that it was going to be a goal marathon pace (GMP) run rather than a tempo going into it.  When I got up I had only gotten 7 or so hours of sleep when I *need* 9 to feel refreshed (damn you book I am reading for keeping me up late!) and my eyes felt bloodshot and I couldn’t really see straight and they felt puffy too.  Not exactly conditions to set myself up for a good hard tempo.

Additionally the early morning runs are sans breakfast.  I’ve probably said it before but I hate eating with food in my stomach.  I have to wait 2-3 hours after a meal before I can run or else I will vomit.  Pleasant I know.  And this usually isn’t a problem with recovery runs because they’re easy and pace doesn’t matter.  Well, pace does matter on a tempo run.

So the combination of exhaustion (because in addition to lack of sleep last night I’ve been plain tired lately) and a 12 hour-ish fast made a blistering pace practically impossible.  I’m sure that if I really put my mind to the task I could have gone faster but eh.  I couldn’t focus at all.  I tried to tell myself that me and Lacey went faster at the end of our great LR this past weekend but to no avail.  My mind would just wander for long stretches which has always been my downfall when it comes to tempo runs. So I ended up with a good pace but wasn’t feeling it.  Kind of felt like it was phoned in as my intervals were this week.  In a way it’s likely good that my body isn’t being constantly pushed to extreme week after week but it’s tough for my ego to handle it.

That said I should be happy with this run and deep down, under the disappointment, I am.  My pace was within the McMillian range (7:34-7:54 based on my previous marathon time) and even within my accepted range (7:15-7:45).  Given my *excuses* above (and man do I hate excuses) I have to say that today’s tempo was a success.  McMillian talks about how the slower end of the range really does do the same work as the faster end of the range.  Wait, what? He goes on to say that day-to-day fluctuations in life impact our running lives.  So what a tempo pace might be on a really well rested, stars-are-aligned day would obviously be faster than an exhausted morning tempo pace.  But anything within the range is training “optimally”. With that in mind I am refraining from judging. Or trying too.  It’s so hard.

And I know I keep harping on the “don’t judge” mantra but the surest way to change a mentality default setting is through repetition, no? So bare with me while I adjust 🙂

I also got in a quick ellipit arc trainer (what’s the difference between the two??) – slash- abs session after my meeting with a friend to play some catch-up. While I hate XT-ing it up it’s so nice to be able to do this kind of catch-up rather than a meal because exercise is a great bonding thing, at least in my experience.  Plus I was able to get the blood moving and keep my muscles from tightening up even more than they are and those nagging aches are starting to crop up again (because I still haven’t stretched yet! Must. Do. Today.)

And since this post is already essay length I’m going to go pick up my packages from the post office.  I know one of them is my Quantum Physics book and I think the other is my Harry Potter 4 en francais and HP7 en espanol.  I’m a dork I know.  And then (dun-dun-dun) first Thursday of the semester! Hollllleeeeerrrrrr 🙂

January 27, 2010

Wild Wednesday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 17:01

Wow today has been CRAZY!! Looks like my Wednesday’s are just going to be busy.  I feel like my Monday / Wednesday schedule is always crazier than my Tuesday / Thursday schedule.  At least the past couple years. Hope no one minds if I share what today looked like:

  • 0715-0900: Wake up and run a “recovery” 11.2 miles
  • 0900-1030:Breakfast and blog read (you guys are so busy overnight!)
  • 1030-1120: Spanish class
  • 1130-1230: Lifting session (#2 of the week!)
  • 1245-1345: Lunch & Shower
  • 1400-1500: Doctor appt
  • 1530-1650: Quantum Physics
  • 1730-1830: Catchup dinner with friends

Man oh man, on paper it looks busier than it really was.  Meal times are actually going to be sit-down meals this semester, even if lunch ends up being brief because I have to dash off. But I thrive on having to bounce from place to place.  And my Thursday doesn’t have any classes just a couple of meetings.  Looks like it’s either feast or famine this semester on a daily basis. Which, like I said, is fine.

And I think I’m really going to like my classes this semester.  Spanish is awesome again.  I love my professor and was able to switch into the section I wanted.  Quantum…well it’s going to be hard.  But my professor is amazing (also my advisor) so it’s going to be a blast regardless of how over my head the material may or may not be.  And those two classes, my friends, are the only two classroom classes I have.  I’m also taking Experimental Physics, which is going to be doing independent experiments so I just have to find time during the week, and I’m continuing my independent research from last semester, which will be on my own time as well.  Hollleeeerrrrr.  So I’ll be very busy even though when I write out everywhere I have to be it looks a bit underwhelming.  Maybe I should schedule in those other two “classes” right in permanent slots now so I have a plan, will be productive and won’t just waste my days.

As far as running goes: I guess my intervals yesterday really weren’t that hard because my recovery run really was a “recovery” run.  I’m still going to give it that title but it might be more appropriate to call it an easy day.  In case you’ve forgotten my recovery pace in the past has been 9:30-9:45 and my legs have really felt the need to go slow.  Today? Well I rocked out a 9:05 average pace.  WTF?! My body didn’t feel like it was pushing, in fact my HR stayed pretty low the entire time (I don’t have a HRM but I do take my HR the old fashioned way at the end of my run and then two minutes after that — Gosh I am an old fogie!)

But it felt great to have that pace be where my body wanted to be.  But I have the sneaking suspicion that my interval & hill session yesterday just wasn’t as hard as it could have been / they have been in the past.  What I’m trying to convince myself is that my body is just getting better at recovery in between runs.  Either way I’m not going to knock a good effortless run (even though I kind of did haha 🙂 )

And I think I’m going to like having a ~0700 running time rather than an 0600 wakeup.  There’s just something about that extra hour that makes getting up more bearable plus it seems like there are less cars on the road.  And I hate traffic regardless of whether I’m driving or running or walking somewhere. Plus the sun is up and shining.

As a short lifting note: I LOVE it when the gym is practically empty.  Not the case the past 3 weeks (when there were limited hours).  I felt productive and that I could concentrate better on what I needed to do.  And, like I’ve said the past few lifting related posts: I definitely am feeling stronger when I lift. Time to up the weights? Or add more reps? Oh decisions!

Giveaways! Zoe and Tricia

January 26, 2010

Last Day of Freedom!

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

I absolutely LOVED reading your thoughts on high mileage running and running in general.  You people are so smart and awesome.  I think the most important take-away message I got was that high mileage is all relative so don’t get trapped by a label or put in a box. Soooo true!

The problems I was experiencing yesterday commenting on some of your BlogSpot blogs has been fixed. Yay. It was frustrating being able to read and then not tell you how great/awesome you are or your food looked or whatnot. Which might be the case in the next few days.  Why? No I’m not expecting any computer problems (knock on wood!) but classes start tomorrow and while my schedule looks tame compared to semesters of the past, I have the feeling it’s deceptive (hence the title of the post).  But we’ll see.  Blogging and reading blogs has become such a part of my life and where I draw motivation from that I’m sure I’ll find time for it but the next week might be rough while I test out a new schedule and fall into a routine.

Running is obviously going to be a constant in my life this semester and while today is the last I-can-run-whenever-I-truly-want, the truth is that most days will still be pretty open to run whenever.  In a way it’s better than the past 3 weeks have been on campus because I won’t have to schedule my lifts, XT, or even TM sessions around when the gym is open because regular hours start tomorrow too.

I had to wait until noon to get into the gym to do my interval session today.  Annoying because with an influx of people on campus moving in the past few days, it means that more people would be hitting up the gym during the 12-2 and 4-6 times it’s open today.  And as many of you guys are aware: I’m going to be running a whole lot longer than the courtesy 30 minutes.  Oops.  Luckily it’s never been a problem and no one has been waiting for a tm, more a factor of how little other people stay on the machine.

Anyway, enough blabber.  Here’s what my plan called for today:

  • 3 X 2000m @ 10k pace with 3 minute recovery

Here’s the actual workout I did

  • 2 mile warmup
  • 4 X 1.25 miles @ 713 pace with .35mi recovery
  • 1.6 mile “warmdown”
  • 5 minutes re-warmup
  • 6 X [90 seconds hills] ladder style: 6-7-8-8-7-6% with 60 sec recovery (.5%)
  • 21 minute warm down

Total time: 120 minutes
Total distance: 14.75 miles

There was a 5 minute bathroom/water break like last week between the intervals and the hills.  An opportunity where someone could have taken my TM but since no one did I considered it to be my right to continue on with the workout 🙂

Since I was on the TM I changed meters into miles and the rough conversion was 2000m = 1.23 mi which made 1.25 mi easier to keep track of.  For me 3 minutes recovery is .36 miles so I cut it to .35 so that 1 complete interval was 1.6 miles and life was easy.  Easy being the operative word.  While last week I felt really tired at the end of the interval session the opposite was true for this session which was at the same pace but just a longer distance.  Weird indeed so I tacked on an extra interval to see if I could handle it and I could.  Just more evidence that I am able to handle longer distances and I settle into a routine and plug away as opposed to shorter distances where I keep changing the pace frequently.  My body just must not be able to find it’s rhythm with short intervals.  Good news as last I heard a marathon was a pretty long distance 😉

The hills also went MUCH better than expected.  The 6 and 7% hills really didn’t feel that bad.  Yippee!! The 8%? Yeah let’s just say that I’m going to NOT hit 9% any time soon because the 8% is still pretty darn hard and I’m gasping for breathe.  Hehe. I think the “easiness” of it is a factor of this being the 5th week of incorporating hills after my interval sessions.  Plus I had those hills on that killer 17 miler with Lacey over the weekend.  I think I may have broken through the mental barrier of hills after today.  No way of really knowing until next week’s session comes around but today was a lot easier to handle mentally AND physically.  Always a good thing.

Strangely I don’t feel as hyped up as I normally do after an interval session of this magnitude.  It almost feels like I phoned in the workout.  Maybe since it’s “Week 12” (or week 5 depending on if you’re counting down/up) I need to reevaluate things like pace and % grade. I could genuwinly be making gains (well I’d hope so over 4 weeks of training haha!) Or maybe this week’s intervals were designed to not be as intense as last week’s were.  I mean there are going to be workouts that are easier than others and it’s silly to think that every week has to have more miles / more speed / more hills than the last.

Or maybe it was because I got to watch a History Channel special on the the Dead Sea Scroll and the prophecies it…prophesies.  And then I switched to MTV and watched the Jersey Shore reunion special.  Clearly I am a chica with a variety of tastes, although I’ve never seen the Jersey Shore before but based on this special it looks like a train wreck: you hate that you’re staring but can’t pull yourself away.

And I did realize today that I am “that girl” at the gym.  Yes sure ” that girl” can imply the crazy-bad-ass chick but I’m using it to refer to the fact that I sweat like no other.  Seriously.  I think I lost 10 pounds in water weight today.  I went through TWO towels and my white shirt proudly was see-though at the end (although I did wear a bright green sports bra because I knew this would happen HA) .  So I’m not quite sure if people were staring at me because I was working so hard (running fast and forever on the tm) or if they thought I was going to pass out because of fluid loss and my tomato red face.

I was debating heading back to the gym to do an elliptical session and then a looooooooong stretch (confession: I  haven’t stretched since FRIDAY!!) buuuuuuuuut no.  I would say that I’ve got things to do but I really don’t.  I just want to lay in my comfy chair and read.  So that’s what I’m going to do.  Although now that I’ve started typing I realize how much I want to say!! It’s funny how many topics I want to discuss pop into my head.  But that’s for another day I suppose (I actually have a list about 10 items long called “future posts I want to write” haha).  I think I’m going to go enjoy my last day of break.

Happy Wednes ummmmmmm Tuesday? Gosh I 100% have been thinking it’s Wednesday — to the point of waking up this morning and thinking I was late for class! Well have a great day regardless of what it’s called 🙂

January 25, 2010

What makes a high mileage runner?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 11:16

I’m still dealing with computer issues UGH.  These rounds are 100% not related to last week’s though and I’m hoping that it will get solved soon.  The computer people seem to think it’ll be okay soon so fingers crossed!

Since I last posted I’ve been feeling pretty good .  After Saturday’s beastly 17 I wasn’t sore at all.  Very surprising because when I got to my mom’s house I had all intentions of stretching and icing butttt that never happened.  Oops.  Instead I just bummed around.  And later I went out shopping and bought another pair of shoes.  Kohl’s was having a sale of running shoes and I found a pair I liked.  Not my usual shoes (I like New Balance 769 and these are Asics Kanbarra(?) ) and they aren’t a “W” (wide) but they will work.  I won’t race in them but they’ll be good for training. I also scored tons of free food.  I should go home more often to help with my grocery budget heh.

My runs since Saturday have been okay.  I think the killer paces that me and Lacey hit at the end took a lot out of my legs.  At least that’s how it felt because both runs were at 9:20 which is much faster than past recovery/easy runs have been. Guess fast running begets fast running. And as a final note the temps were a complete 180* from each other: Sunday morning I had 10* and this morning was 55*.  Seriously New England: I want consistency!

Any way back to the title of the post. This has been a question on my mind lately.  It’s kind of akin to the former fat kid who is now skinny but still feels like a fat kid.  I still feel like a newbie runner.

Maybe a little bit ridiculous as I’ve been running for at least 5 years and even longer if you count sports that include running.  Sure I’ve only been racing for 2.5 years (because I’m not counting high school track which was a joke for me) but even that is kind of a long time.  So why do I not see myself as experienced? Maybe because during those 2.5 years I’ve only done…maybe 8 races? Definitely not double digits yet for sure.

But to look at my training log a different story unfolds.  I’ve put in such hard training and over the past year my mileage has soared (clearly as I hit 3116 miles in 2009).  And I’m not just talking about the recent HUGE weeks.  I remember in the beginning of last year thinking that I would peak for my marathon at ~55 miles.  I peaked at around ~73 (I forget the exact figure but 73 sticks into my mind for some reason). And I loved it and thrived in it.  But still I never really thought of 73 miles as a lot.  Yes it is a lot but it just felt like something needed to be done to get my goal of finishing my marathon (and I’ll admit a debut BQ was a goal too) so I never really thought of it a “high miles”

I also remember when 5 miles felt like the longest run ever.  Now it feels like a warm up.  To stand here at a point where I can bang out 2 weeks of double digit runs everyday and recall this is fascinating to me.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve come so far. I can remember the progression semi-well though.  I remember the first time I ran 75 minutes without stopping and then expanded that each week a little bit.  It’s kind of like the adage of cooking a frog: put him in the pot and then boil the water rather than just throwing  him in with the boiling water.  Of course the adage is more succinct than that I’m sure. Oh the power of paraphrasing.

And yet I don’t think of myself in terms of a high mileage runner.  Even when I write out weekly recaps and total my distances over time.  But, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious, that I really am a high mileage runner.  Looking at this summer when I was running 55-60 mile weeks and not training for anything and still pretty fresh from the marathon.  And this fall when I hit 60 often and then 70 and culminating with my finals week with an 80.6 mile run.  Nothing low mileage about it.

Maybe it’s because I’m not hitting 100 mile weeks, which *really* signals high miles.  Who knows.  It did take me a while to wear the term “runner” with pride and not feel like a fraud.  It was during my senior year when I would go out for runs on top of my bball practices because I just wanted to run.  And then it was reinforced after the season ended and I didn’t have a real reason to run because I didn’t have a sport to stay in shape for but I still ran anyway.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it was a gradual thing rather than BAM I’m a runner. Maybe this will be something similar.  Maybe the shift is already happening and it’ll take awhile for it to click. I have noticed during these first few weeks of Boston training that my body is acting like a high mileage runner and responding as such but my mind isn’t there yet.  Not ready I suppose to “accept” the title even though my body is already there.

This kind of “label” is different from racer which I knew I was when I finished my first race and felt like I had nothing left to give in my body. But I think it’s starting  because I take pride in the fact that I can go out there and put a 13 or so in the books without batting an eye.  And I’d enjoy it too.  I know lots of runners who think a 6 mile run is a long run and that my 13+ is crazy talk.  I have a friend who is 400m runner for her school and is like that.

I guess I don’t have a concrete point here, more just musings because I’m grappling with the whole “high mileage runner” term that I hear thrown around.  So much of it is relative and based on personal history / experience.  Since I clearly have no answers I’m going to throw this question back at you: When did you realize that you were a runner?  What does high mileage mean to you? Do you consider yourself high mileage?

EDIT: Lacey emailed me the pic of my shoes so here it is:

Yes I know that they look terrible and worn and what not but they don’t cut up my heels at all so they still feel fine.  Oh justification hehe

Woot to 2000+ miles

Me and my shoes 🙂

Double Edit: Blogspot isn’t letting me comment on your blogs at the moment! Hopefully that gets fixed soon because I’m not ignoring you 🙂

January 23, 2010

Long Run with Lacey = Success

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:32

Holllleeeeerrrrr.  I just had the most amazing LR. Probably ever.  For real.  It was fast and fluid and damn near perfect.  I don’t want to say perfect though because I don’t want to think that this is it and that it can’t get better.

First I want to say I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates the elliptical.  I think a lot of people (who aren’t runners) think I’m crazy for hating on it.  But these are the people who don’t like to break a sweat.  And that is what I live for.  Everything’s relative I suppose.

But I don’t want to dwell on the negative because today has ROCKED so far.  It got off to a shaky start when my mom called me at 0730 this morning.  Okay so I was awake but I had a good half hour before I had to get out of bed so I was just laying there in pretty much a morning stupor.  I did not appreciate it.  But it got me up.  I threw together a breakfast and packed my bags because I was hitting the roads for my long run.

I met up with Lacey at her house for our long run.  Confession time: this is week 4 of my Boston Training Plan and the LR was a cutback one. The range given was 13-16 so I asked Lacey (being on her turf) to map out a route some distance around that erring on the longer side of the range.  I think the route she sent me was 16.5? And we ended up doing 17!!

The run itself was great.  It went along Comm Ave, around BC basically hitting up Newton and Brighton.  The area was quite scenic in a way that I don’t get to experience because I run in the boonies/suburbs all the time. I was a little nervous about it because this area is really hilly.  And I run in an area with no hills to speak of so I was hoping that my hills workouts at the end of my intervals workouts were going to pull me through. And sure enough they were.

The first hill we hit was STEEP.  I felt it 100% (especially in my hips and deep in my glutes) and couldn’t look up to the top because, to be honest, I couldn’t see the top. I’d guess that it was about 8%, maybe even higher but that could just be my mind making it more of a monster than it is.  The next two hills weren’t as bad as that first one but they were still decent.  I’d estimate the Comm Ave hill was about a half mile (?) and a 5% (?) grade.  We powered through it though like the champs we are.  Talking the whole way up.  The last hill (BC) Lacey was getting me all worried about but it wasn’t that bad at all! Maybe I had an unrealistic expectation of the difficulty of it but it was about 6-7% grade and maybe a quarter mile in length.  The funny thing is that at the end of this last one I had to ask her if that was hill #3 and she was like “Ummm I think so?”

But now that I’ve actually seen some real hills and done the downhill portion I’m much more confident that I’m in decent hill shape. No reason to slack off on the hill workouts but definitely a self-esteem booster.  It was also nice to have downhills incorporated in the run too because the TM I’ve been doing hills on can’t go negative inclines.

We started out at a pretty relaxed pace.  Ok so it felt relaxed but I know that the first 11-12 miles were averaging 8:45.  Ummmm what what? My typical LR pace is 9:00:  And that’s the average so it’s including the really good stuff at the end when I pick up the pace.  So to start off like that AND have it feel relaxed was great. Lacey and I were both able to talk the whole time.  It’s interesting how much easier a pace can feel when you have company.  Sure I’m probably capable of hitting sub-9s on a LR but if I had done the same run on my own, would I have? Probably not.

The last 4 or 5 miles were interesting.  Now remember that this LR was a less intense LR.  According to my plan I was to do 13-16 at an even relaxed pace.  Lacey had asked if we could finish really strong, like the way my last few LRs have been.  Of course this appealed to me.  So we tried from miles 12-16 to hit my goal MP (8:00).  I don’t think we ever did but that’s because they were all SUB-8.  And mile 15-16 was 7:37 or something crazy like that.  Just to state the obvious: that’s tempo pace.  At the end of long run. Again, I think having Lacey there enabled me to do this and our overall average pace ended up being 8:28 or so.

The very last mile we took as a cool down mile.  Nice and slow.  My legs at that point were tired.  With good reason too: this was a damn fast run.  I’m sure my hips will be sore later as they were really feeling the hills.  But I’m on cloud-freaking-nine.  It’s awesome and I highly recommend it.

I left Lacey’s house to head home and she gave me 2 Cliff Bars.  Clearly the effort of a 17 miler with blistering splits at the end made me hungry because I ate them both (DELICIOUS.  Thanks Lace I’m glad I took both 😉 ) and I stopped at Wendy’s to get a vanilla frosty.  Totally hit the spot.  Even on a cold day (which since the sun was out I felt fine in shorts.  Love this weather lately).  Also: before I left Lacey took a picture of my 2000+ shoes.  So I’ll post those in the future when I get a copy of them.

So now I’m in my hometown, sitting on my couch after having showered *without* shower shoes.  I’ll get a home-cooked meal tonight plus maybe a shopping trip? Life is good indeed.

Oh man and check out this sweet giveaway from JewliaGoulia

January 22, 2010

Usual Friday Routine. But Better.

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

For those of you who asked: I absolutely do hate the elliptical. And I pretty much always have so I always know what I’m getting into when I go to the gym for that purpose. I actually found out last night that the machine I was on is an arc trainer.  Not quite sure what the difference is buttttt whatever.  I still hate it. Now I know that last night the point of my session wasn’t to get my heart pumping hard but that’s my chief complaint.  Even when I’m doing intervals and *trying* to get the good ole HR up I can’t.  I sweat a lot, yes, but that’s more of a result of how hot the gym is rather than how hard I’m working.   That said, however, I totally think the elliptical is wayyy harder than the tm because it’s YOU that’s controlling the number of strides you take rather than plugging in a speed to run at. But oh well.  I don’t think I’ll ever like it.

Ok so end the rant now before it takes over the post. Heh.

I don’t really have a lot to say about my workouts today.  I went for a recovery run this morning.  It was so tough getting out of bed.  I was so comfy and yet still exhausted.  I blame that on having 3 separate vivid dreams last night.  Totally interrupts my sleep in such a negative (although when is interrupted sleep a positive thing?).  I did drag myself out of bed and put on the running shoes.  I knew it was going to be chilly out but man after running in 45ish* weather yesterday the 20* temp I was met with felt like the tundra! I almost changed out of my shorts but reminded myself that I should be used to it.

While the rest of my recovery runs this week have been wayyy slow (and I’ve been practicing being non-judgmental about that) this morning’s one was at a nice brisk pace.  Sure it wasn’t Kenyan speed or anything like that but it was a good 30 seconds per mile faster than my other recovery runs.  I knew I was going on the fast side too but I didn’t really care.  Partly my lips were numb (so numb that it felt like I had Angelina-esque lips!) but mostly because it felt natural. I did try to slow it down but that just felt awkward and felt like it was more work than the faster pace.  Isn’t it a weird phenomena that running slowly feels harder than running faster sometimes? Regardless I was definitely still within the “recovery run range” that I aim for.  Just on the faster end. Very nice for a Friday morning run after having two speed workouts under my belt.

I followed it up with a 20 minute stretching session.  I’m really getting into this whole stretching thing.  Maybe it’s because my muscles are tight and being worked really hard with my running but stretching feels soooo good.  I guess I’m a convert now?

I also got in my THIRD (!!) lifting session in of the week.  I’m also loving the whole make-lifting-happen-regularly thing.  I was able to UP (!!) the weights I use for my leg exercises.  I never do this because I think that running works my legs out very well thank-you-very-much, particularly hill repeats. But the weights I normally use felt way too light on Wednesday so I decided to go up.  Yes it was hard but not overwhelming and I never felt like “OMG my legs are going to DIE”.  Hopefully my legs don’t die between now and my LR tomorrow with Lacey.  Because that wouldn’t be cool.  Not at all.

Okay so maybe I did have a lot to say about my workouts today.  Sheesh.  I kind of feel like my M-W-F routine gets kind of boring to read about: recovery run, stretch, lifting, stretch again.  I mean today I was a bit faster and stronger than previous days but hopefully that’s to be expected as I move forward in training. So like the title of my post say: usual Friday but just a bit better.

Hopefully you still find them interesting? If not let me know and I’d love to talk more about my ideas on certain things or answer any questions you may have about my training, diet, life etc. And if I don’t know the answer then the school nerd in me would love to look up info for you.  I’ve been kicking around some ideas for interesting post topics but have been procrastinating hardcore on them.  I think that if a topic idea came from you I wouldn’t put it off.  After all you guys are really the reason I blog 🙂

[Edit: I am working (and am about 50% done) with the Gym Crazies post. Every time I write though I get bitter and riled up and then can’t write.  Oops. Ha!]

Okay enough sappiness and/or boringness.  Got to catch up on CSI.  I chose to watch The Office over it and I think that was a mistake as The Office was basically a clip show last night.  Funny but I wouldn’t have gone so far as to call it a *new* episode like NBC did.  The last minute (with the music video) was freaking hilarious though. Scranton. WHAT?! Electric City.

And a giveaway! From ErikaH this time.

January 21, 2010

Yay Tempo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 14:57

I really think that my body is starting to like tempo runs.  My mind? Well not so much.  Ever since moving the tempo from the TM to the streets my mentality has been that I can’t do it.  Of course that fuels me to prove that I can but I get wayyyy nervous in the moments leading up to them.

I woke up this morning to absolutely no foot pain (another reason I don’t think it’s PF) and I think I can credit that to my insane stretching I did yesterday: 3 X 20 minutes (one after my run, one after my lift, one before bed).  It makes me wonder why I was so lazy to include stretching before in my routine but then again I’m not in the grind of the semester yet so it’ll be interesting to see if I keep it up then.  And thanks for all the advice/concern about it: while these aches might seem new to you they’re really not.  I’m just more comfortable saying it “aloud” and more intent on being aware of my body: Boston is HUGE to me and I want to do well so I’m focused on “buying into” stuff than I have been in the past. So previous aches and pains mean much more to me now than in any other training cycle.

So back to today.  According to my plan I actually didn’t have a tempo on tap, it was a middle long run (MLR) and this weeks tempo is on Saturday.  Now I’ve changed the plan to be LR Saturdays but haven’t bumped the rest of the days back so I had some decisions to make.  Plus this weekend I’m running my LR with Lacey on Sat (and have made other weekend plans) so switching things around, while I’m sure she’d understand, it would just make things stressful.  Because change of any kind stresses me out. The conclusion I came to was this:

  • Monday = Easy + Lift
  • Tuesday = Interval
  • Wednesday = Recovery + Lift
  • Thursday = Tempo
  • Friday = Recovery + Lift
  • Saturday = LR
  • Sunday = Recovery

Now there isn’t that much change from the actual plan but I like having certain workouts be on certain days. I figure that I’m doing so many MLR already that I don’t need a specific way to incorporate it. There really isn’t any explanation as to why the tempo switches some weeks to the day before the LR and if anyone has some great insight as to why I *shouldn’t* do it my way please let me know! I definitely value all of your opinions.

Ok so before I get side-tracked again (because I planned to put my stats first thing in this post) here they are:

  • 3.5 mile warm up @ 9:28 pace
  • 6.5 mile tempo @ 7:19
  • 3.5 mile warm down @ 8:46

A most excellent tempo.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to start or finish this workout.  Like I mentioned earlier in the post (as well as for every freaking tempo post) so much of it is mental and I tend to psych myself out quite a bit.  I know that a missed tempo pace run isn’t the end of the world (and part of me welcomes it as a learning experience even though it would suck hardcore). The other part of it is tight muscles.  Yes I’ve been stretching a lot but my legs and arms still have a little bit of tightness that makes a hard effort, well, hard.

I even told myself that I’d be happy with a goal marathon pace (GMP) run rather than a tempo.  I’m not sure if that helped me carry a blistering pace (ok so the pace wasn’t *that* fast but I like the word blistering haha).  In fact not only had I been willing to be okay with a slower pace but I was willing to shorten the tempo portion if need be.  Obviously that didn’t happen and I ended up tacking on an extra mile (which was at 6:54 pace!! Ummmmm that’s my 5k pace. What?!) Maybe allowing myself those thoughts made it easier to go above and beyond and attack the run with gusto?

The thing that gets me the most happy about the run is that my body just did it.  Like I opened the post with: I think my body is finally getting the hang of doing tempo runs on its own which is AWESOME.  The funny thing is that I didn’t feel like I was going as fast as I was.  Clearly my body knew what to do and was used to it and was able to take over.  My mind did keep wandering, thinking of everything and yet nothing at the same time.  Which is another reason why the fast pace was surprising because usually little mental focus = slooow.  That’s not to say that I was in la-la land for the whole time but I wasn’t as diligent at pulling my thoughts back to my body and the run today.

I will say that I watched this week’s episode of The Biggest Loser before heading out and man that show never ceases to inspire me.  Sure some contestants are there to play the game and some just bother the hell out of me BUT there are so many inspiring people that make me want to just be my best.  I definitely had the show’s theme song stuck in my head.  For those of you unfamiliar some of the lyrics are “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”.  Motivation for sure!

I’m heading over to the gym when it reopens at 1600 (stupid January hours for less than a week though) to do some catch up with a friend like we did last Thursday.  I foresee some elliptical to get some blood moving and to get the legs in motion and then another loooooooooong stretch.  Because I’m going to wrap this up so I can get a good stretch in before going.

Happy Thursday y’all 🙂

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