MarathonMaiden's Blog

May 14, 2010


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

Whew. Even though finals week is never really stressful / crazy for me I guess this just isn’t the typical semester. As you guys know (and are probably sick of hearing) I’m taking quantum physics and we got a take home that…well didn’t really kick my butt but was being a time suck.  Couple that with any “free” time being totally taken up with trying to get my shizznit together for finding, you know, a source of income for the next year and well, I’ve been feeling a bit stressed.

But luckily I’m 100% done with undergraduate work so it’s not so bad.  Now I just need to find a job. And I appreciate all the comments telling me to push through and that I can do it, don’t stress and enjoy these last few weeks.  I definitely needed to hear that 🙂

Thanks for the good lucks on my thesis too.  Except for the fact that I”m not doing one haha. Kind of sad, kind of not but thanks for the support anyway 😉  I think that the confusion arose because I’ve been going to a bunch of defenses for my friends but I definitely did not do one.  I was doing enough already that I think a thesis would have put me in the loony bin.

Luckily I had running to get me through the year and because I’ve been really busy lately (sorry to all those blogs that I read but didn’t comment on the past week because I haven’t had time! And doubly sorry to all the emails i have yet to respond too, I promise I’ll play catch up soon!) here’s a quick (well not really quick) little running recap because I do call myself a runner.  Plus I really haven’t been doing anything other than school work and running.  I’d be willing to bet that you’d rather read about my runs than my Quantum physics exam.  Just a hunch though 😉

Tuesday was a run and a full body circuit (which can be found on the tab on the right-hand side of the page).  The run was actually at a nice cruising pace.  I was really surprised when I mapped out the route and found that it was 8.8 miles and that my pace was ~8:59 (gotta LOVE having that one second under 9s hah).  I guess the soreness in my legs from the weekend wore off nicely because my quads and hammys weren’t shouting in protest.  The circuit itself was pretty unremarkable.  I had wanted to hop into the gym but because of finals week the hours are all screwy and I couldn’t go when I needed to.  I figured the circuit was a good “placeholder” strength workout — a workout where it doesn’t really help you add muscle or make gains but it keeps your muscles from forgetting that they need to work.

Wednesday morning I got up early to run before my Spanish exam (gaahhh can’t believe that’s over with! So sad). The weather forecast wasn’t looking too good (rain bleh) but because of the limited fitness center hours I knew that I would have to get out there if I wanted to do a run at all.  After the exam I needed to work a lot more on the quantum exam.  But I’ve been really lucky lately.  Even though the weather has been quite chilly for mid-May (highs only in the upper 50s and lows into the upper 30s) I’ve so far been able to avoid the precipitation.   Give me sub-zero temps any day (well maybe not as I really do hate being cold) just as long and there is no snow or rain.  It misted a bit during the run but I was able to crank out another great feeling run.  I faded a bit at the end but I think that’s just my legs saying “Hey there, you really want to get us back into a regular running routine?!”

Thursday: So my intention was to get up early and run, do some quantum work then lift.  But life happens.  Or rather flu-like illness happens.  Wednesday night was not pretty with chills, body aches, sore throat and fever.  Basically a restless night of sleep.  Although “sleeping” it off (I was in bed for 13 hours but was tossing and turning the majority of the night so I wasn’t asleep) made me feel better I knew that my plan was out the window.  I was really dehydrated from all the sweating overnight and have that hangover headache.

So I decided to do my work in the morning and if I felt better after hydrating and getting some fluid in me that I’d get out for a run.  By mid-afternoon I was sooooo ready for a study break from the quantum exam so I figured a little run and some fresh air would do me good.  I was also feeling *much* better.  I had that sexy voice from being sick but that was it.  And wouldn’t you know it: my run was the fastest I’d done all week and felt AMAZING.  Well it didn’ t feel stellar at the time, it didn’ t feel bad or anything but it felt like a typical easy run.  Not the case and I had to triple check my route because my pace was really good.  It’s funny how I consider the 8:38s I ran this day to be blistering because it was an easy run but I would never accept that as a fast pace for a tempo.  How how everything is relative (and that’s also a total physics joke with the club too)

Friday was trying to get my planned Thursday lift in.  I was feeling 100% illness wise (although with a slight sore throat and that sexy voice still) so I got a quick run in outside in the misty rain.  Nothing too strenuous because I knew I was essentially doing a double workout with the pending lift but the pace was spot on.  Nothing like Thursday but still a respectable 9:05.  It felt pretty good too and if you had asked me mid-run I’d have told you that I was running way slower.  I definitely think not doing the mega-miles now is letting me run faster on a daily basis.  Guess that’s just the trade off between miles and speed.

I then looked over my Quantum exam, handed it in and eventually hit up the gym for some lifting (and did the arms and legs portion in the Lifting tab on the right).  I didn’t do the abs/back at this time because I wasn’t sure if I really would get to the gym and I love doing core / think it’s really important to do regularly, so I did it right after the run in the AM.  As for the weights, last weekend when I reintroduced lifting I went with slightly lower weights but today, after not being incredibly sore after that lift and Tuesday’s circuit, I decided to go back to what I was using pre-Boston.  And man was it tough.  It hurt — but in that oh-so-good way.  I’ll likely be feeling it tomorrow and I welcome it with open arms.

Aside from the soreness I’m not quite sure what the weekend holds for me running wise. I decided not to go home this weekend so I get one more LR on campus and trying to decided when / where to make this final goodbye LR is a really tough decision!

Anyhoo that’s been my running/working out update since Monday when I last updated it.  And I really am starting to think I should have been an English major given how long my posts are 😉

Now I get to relax a bit and bask in the glow that is NO WORK.  I mean, starting tomorrow I have to start drafting more cover letters, but as of right now I really don’t have to do anything.  I’m trying not to think about it too much because it means that graduation is in 8 days so I guess party time? 😀

(And yet again I’m not proof-reading this post before posting.  Sorry for any typos/grammar errors!)

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May 12, 2010

Training For Boston 2010: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 09:00

A bunch of you have asked for my thoughts on how my training cycle went, what I learned etc.  And I figured that it would be a good thing for me to do. Even if no one else cares anymore or finds this post really boring   😉

It’s been XX days (and since I’m writing this over several days I don’t really know how many days it will have been when you read this but y’all are smart and can figure it out ha) post-Boston so the emotional high and euphoria has waned and I can be more analytical than if you asked me on the 20th of April what my thoughts were.

And be warned, I wasn’t quite sure how to organize my thoughts when I originally sat down to write this so they might jump around a bit. And because most of the questions I got were: what did you learn / what would you do differently there might be a slight emphasis on the negative/bad stuff.  Rest assured that I do consider this training cycle to be a success and I’m way happy with it.  Also, in true MM form it’s long.

The Good: I PR’d and re-BQ’d. Pain free too.  If that’s not good then I don’t know what is 😛

The Bad: Absolutely terrible shin splints that threatened to derail me. And there was a lot of doubt that creeped in on top of the physical woes.

The Ugly:aka what I would change. In general, though, everything that went “bad” I wouldn’t change.  I’m a very inexperienced marathoner / racer in general so no matter what the mistake I made was I needed it.  Cliche to say that but whatever, it’s how life is.  Of course I would have loved everything to fall under the good category but that would be anti-climatic, no?

But here’s a more detailed breakdown…

The training plan:

  • The good: Very aggressive and that was good for me.  After training for my first marathon in early 2009 I felt like I hadn’t reached my full potential.  It was pretty conservative and I wanted something that would really challenge me.  Lots of speedwork was the perfect solution for that. I absolutely loved how much speedwork there was in the plan I picked.  It made me feel…well to state the obvious, fast.
  • The bad: Well I guess the bad thing is that I didn’t follow it.  As in I added lots more miles.  Like way more.  I think the peak my plan had was 75 miles and I definitely hit 112 at one point during Monster Month.  There also weren’t any places to insert hills or lifting so I had to try and figure out where to place that which likely led to more intense sessions than necessary.
  • The ugly: Nothing inherently ugly about the plan except that I was overzealous about getting in the miles — and then some.  This lead to a much more extended taper (remember the sports med doc who said I should start the taper 5 weeks out to counter the damage?) and I’m still feeling the effects of being over-trained.  I probably could have added some XT in there because I trained (pretty much) exclusively with running

Specifics with the training plan:

1. Pacing:

  • The good: In general, pacing was good.  I was slightly faster than McMillian paces for all workouts but I was able to listen to my body for recovery runs which was good and an improvement.  My interval paces were always faster than called for on the plan (oops to following that sucker) but I was able to nail those workouts.  My LR pace was slightly all over the place but it was always within :45 – :75 of GMP (which at the time, and still is, 8:00) and thus was ~60-90 seconds slower than my actual race pace at Boston. Which, according to numerous sources and articles, is where it should have been.
  • The bad: I still cannot for the life of me hit tempos.  It’s so hard and maybe it was a cause of all the mental stuff going on that I get into later but nailing a tempo still eludes me.  Curses.  Another bad thing was how all over the place my paces were for the LR.  Some weeks it was sub-9, some weeks it was 9:30.  And I never felt as though my LRs were improving.  By the end of the cycle I definitely didn’t have my usual kick to the finish.

2. Lifting:

  • The good: I lifted 3x a week for the first 13 weeks of the plan.  Exactly what I wanted to do. For Providence (in May 2009) I lifted 2x a week and cut it out way early.
  • The bad: I did the same routine each session.  So by the end of the cycle I probably wasn’t deriving as much benefit as I could have been.

3. Hills:

  • The good: I was able to incorporate hills into my routine and even got to run the Comm Ave hill once during training.  This allowed me to BEAST Newton.  I never noticed the first of the hills (only after a guy running next to me said 1 down 3 to go) and the rest of them really weren’t bad.  Negative splits anyone? And I ran them at the end of my speedwork sessions semi-mimicking the fact that the hills come so late in the race.
  • The bad: With the exception of going on Comm Ave once (and back in January too) all my hills were on the TM and I couldn’t prep myself for the downhills; let’s be honest here: everyone talks about the Newton Hills but the race is net downhill.  And while I still ran a strong race, with negative splits indicating the Newton Hills didn’t break me, my quads did take a beating.  Unfortunately as much as I would like to go back and change this, in reality I wouldn’t be able to if I could because my area is pancake flat and travel was not an option.

Other stuff…

1. Nutrition

  • The good: Well I ate really healthy and made sure that I was getting a wide variety of nutrients by eating variety in each individual meal as well as meal -to- meal.  I even upped my salt intake so that I could retain more water to push through those tough workouts as well as the antibiotics I was on over the Easter break.
  • The bad: I ended up losing a bit of weight which tells me that I wasn’t eating enough overall.  I’m a pretty small person girth wise so I think that if I had been able to keep on that weight then maybe I would have been able to run faster / harder. (Note: This is why I haven’t yet — and likely won’t ever– do another fueling post, I’m trying to figure things out for myself and see what works.  Again: inexperience here!) Another thing that was BAD was my lack of water intake.  Sure, overall I drink a lot of fluids but the daily breakdown looks like this: ~32oz milk, ~20 oz diet coke, ~16 oz ice tea, ~20 oz water.  So out of 88oz liquids consumed only 22% is water. Obviously an area where I can improve drastically.
  • The ugly: Save for one long run I didn’t take in fuel during the long runs.  And I never took in any water or fluid (that goes for marathon day too although I did eat two mini-luna bars).  I don’t really know why this happened as during the my first marathon cycle in 2009 I readily ate during runs (never drinking things though).  This, in conjunction with overtraining, probably led to some of those lethargic runs toward the end of the cycle.  Hard to tell which was the larger source but they both played a role I’m sure.

2. Sleep

  • The good: Ummmmm…I did make it a point to sleep A LOT the week before race day but it probably was just a drop in the bucket at that point because…
  • The bad: Well I’m a college student.  Suffice it to say that I probably sleep a lot more than the average college student and I only got about 6 hours a night.  Not nearly enough when logging mega miles.  Part of it was work: those assignments certainly aren’t asexual! Part of it was social: It’s senior year and I want to see my friends. Part of it was likely overtraining.  But I wouldn’t change anything here even though sleep deprivation sucks hardcore.

3. GI Issues

  • The good: I didn’t have to stop to go the bathroom during the race!
  • The bad: It was awful to have bladder issues during my LRs.  Absolutely awful. Not really quite sure how to fix it though.  I tried a number of things and nothing worked.  Maybe it was mostly mental.  Wicked frustrating as I *never* had this problem training for Providence 2009.

4. Psychological / Mental stuff

  • The good: I was mentally prepped to go into this race because I was expecting it to be a disaster with everything bad that happened.  Aka: I was expecting to just enjoy the race so it took the pressure off. I think what helped me the most gut out the hard miles at the end of the race was that I was doing so much at the time.
  • The bad:I was mentally very tired by the end of the training cycle: finishing up Senior year, training while juggling all my classes, doing job searches, setting up things so I can apply to med schools, being social.  And then on top of that training a billion miles a week.  That’s just the “regular stuff”.  Throw in the toe issue that happened on Easter as well as the shin splints which really put a lot of doubt into my mind and it’s a wonder I made it to the starting line not in a straight jacket. There really isn’t, however, a way to reduce all that mental stress.  It’s just my life.

Well there you have it.  Again, everything went as well as it could.  Yes I could have done lots of stuff differently to produce a “better” race but it went down how it went down. I’m sure I could write more on the topic buttttt this sucker is long enough as it is.

P.S. The Boston Jacket is *still* being rocked 😀

May 10, 2010

Not As Bad As I Thought

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 10:00

[ETA: Oops to forgetting to post this up Sunday when I finished writing it! I swear it was ready to go that afternoon! That’s what I (and you) get when all you want to do is take advantage of free time before the craziness of finals week starts hahah.  I tried to go back and edit so it sounds like I wrote it today but I really wrote it Sunday.]

Definitely not as sore as I thought I’d be after my lifting session Saturday[ETA: Well Sunday morning when I got up this was the case.  As time has gone on the soreness factor has increased a bit but I’m not sure how much is lifting and how much is the LR that I did].  And I’m glad that I chose to hit up the gym, because the weather was soooo spazzy: one minute nothing then the next downpouring to clear again.  That’s not even mentioning the random thunder and lightning that cropped up.  I can handle the rain / heavy rain but I’m terrified on thunderstorms so that would not have been good.  Plus I don’ t think it’s all that smart to be running in that kind of storm 😉

But the gym was good.  I did my “typical” lifting routine (found here) sandwiched between some elliptical and some treadmill action as warming up and down.  I kept the weights on the light side because, like I mentioned yesterday, it has been a good 4-5 weeks since I last hit the weights.  I think I used the correct weights for my legs (oh hey there hamstrings!) but I probably under did it with the arms as I’m really not feeling any effects of the session.

My process of choosing the weights was take the weights I was using during training and go down one.  I don’t think I lost as much fitness as I think I did because my body isn’t omg-I-can’t-move sore.  More of an okay-hello-muscles sore.  I’m debating whether to increase my weights next time or keep it at the lower ones for another couple of sessions.

In a way it’s good that I’m not as sore as I was anticipating because my long run was pushed off to Sunday. It felt really weird to not do a Saturday long run because that’s what I’ve been doing, not just during Boston training, but since my last training cycle save a few actually no, the summer was Friday lrs but I haven’t done Sundays since…(checks log book) February 8th 2009.  Wowza.

But since classes are over there is no reason to keep Sunday really free and clear.  I even pushed off the run to mid-morning to allow some food to get into my system and pray for a bit that the wind would die down a bit.  Obviously the running gods did not want to listen to me because it was still very windy when I hit the road.  Oh well.  It was certainly better than trying to run in the tstorms of yesterday.

And to be honest (and I’m going to just state that I really hate that phrase…and the phrase “not going to lie”…so I don’t know why I want to use it here hah) the wind wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Sure it gusted a bit but it kept me from overheating and I’ve turned into a pansy as of late with my running.  I only want to run in perfect conditions.  I’ve been spoiled because of all the XT I’ve been forced to do and avoid the elements.

So I put on a slightly heavier long-sleeve (and by slightly heavier I mean heavier than a tech shirt but not a thermal shirt) to keep the wind at bay and took off.

Like really took off.  Since you all know by now that I don’t have a garmin (I think I write that so much ha! Guess as much as I say I’m happy without one, having one would be nice.  Too bad they’re so expensive!) I don’t know what my pace was for the first few miles (or any individual mile really) but suffice it to say that I felt like I was cruising.  And who knows, maybe I was.  I do know that my pace decreased in the mid-miles and then re-increased during the last 5k or so and I ended right around 8:00 pace (which was my GMP for Boston).

But overall I’m really happy with how the run went and I’m really glad that I went for it.  I was debating pushing it off some more but figured “why the hell not do it today?”.  I think I also got a fire lit under me because this is the last weekend I’ll be on campus (next weekend I have to go home for a dentist appt and the following Saturday is graduation) so this was the last weekend to get a long run in and I wanted to do a good-old standby route.  Because I’m not likely to ever do another long run again in this area. Tear.

Like I just mentioned I likely went out too fast in the beginning.  I could feel the slight soreness in my legs from yesterday’s lifting but it didn’t affect me and my stride.  In fact the slower I went the more I noticed it!  The mid-miles, though, were a bit tough.  Not necessarily from a physical standpoint but from a mental one and I’m pretty sure I slowed down a bit during miles 6-10 or so.  I remember thinking at some point in there: how in God’s name did I do this as a recovery run route before? But once I hit that 10 mark I was able to get a second wind and really feel good in the homestretch.  I’m also pretty sure that I had a nice tailwind over the last few miles and that certainly didn’t hurt either!

The overall stats:

  • 13.2 miles
  • 117- mins
  • 8:51 pace

I was thrilled with this run immediate when I got back and am doubly thrilled when looking at this data! I definitely cannot remember the last time I ran a LR sub-9 without checking my training log and the amazing feeling of running at a pushed pace, but with ease, has eluded me for quite awhile, save the past week.

Not bad at all 🙂

Although bladder issues did crop up.  Thank god during Boston I was able to run the whole thing without stopping.  Now that I’m back to just running, however, I guess my bladder wants to misbehave.  I did make it the whole way without stopping but it was a full out sprint to the bathroom when I got back. *LeSigh* haha

But remember how I said the lifting soreness wasn’t as bad as I thought? Well it wasn’t until after I showered then I got the lifting+hard run sore feeling.  Not painful bad at all but totally a “daaaaaaaaaayum girl you’ve been working hard” soreness.  Which I like. So I’m going to reward myself by sitting in my comfy chair by the window and opening the good book I’m into (apparently I was wrong when I thought I had read every John Grisham novel out there, as I found a copy of one that I must have missed somehow.  AMAZING!).  It’s too windy and not quite warm enough (barely cracking the 50s!) to sit outside and read but being by the window is a very close second.  And let’s be real here people: once I get into a novel I am oblivious to the world so does it *really* matter when I am? haha.

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Again, the above was written yesterday (Sunday).  And I’m too lazy to do a real overhaul.  So I’m leaving as is for now.  I did end up reading a lot which was really nice and a great way to recharge before finals week starts…today.  Finals week is never too stressful for me.  This semester I only have a Quantum take home and a Spanish pre-scheduled, so two finals? Not so bad.

Nothing today except to pick up the take home but I’m going to my friend’s thesis defense so I got up early to hit the streets. I probably could have waited until after the defense but I like to get up at get going.  Something that doesn’t feel the same way as me? The temperature.  We had a frost advisory last night! The sun was shining though so it didn’t feel as bad as it could have been.  There wasn’t any wind either which made it pleasant out.

And my legs? Wowza soreness! I can feel the knots in every muscle in my legs.  I was thinking of trying out the foam roller but I’m too afraid of how much pain I’ll be in! Maybe I’ll brave it after the defense.  I was also thinking of hitting up the weights again today but I’m not in a hurry to really make a set schedule for strength stuff just yet.

Therefore after my ~7 mile recovery run (and trust me it was recovery after such a great LR yesterday) I just did some core and my PT hip exercises.  The exercises are getting wayyy easy so I’m happy because it means that my hips are getting stronger.

Aaaaaaaaand I’m going to wrap this up here because between two days worth of running recaps I’m about to write a thesis myself.  Gotta dash off! Send good vibes her way if you can 🙂

May 8, 2010

Thunder, Please Don’t Ruin My LR Plans

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 09:53

Hola! I can’t believe that yesterday I had my last class of my undergraduate career. Craziness I tell you! As I expected it doesn’t really feel any different than the end of any other semester, I’m sure it’ll hit me after finals week when it’s “Senior Week” and pretty much only the seniors are on campus but right now it just feels like business like usual.

Or not.  Normally on the weekends I have So. Much. To. Do.  But because there are no classes I don’t have anything.  My Quantum professor hadn’t yet written our exam so we’re getting that on Monday and my Spanish final is something I’ll study for the night before…leaving this weekend free to lounge around and read *for fun* GASP!  The weather was really nice for this on Friday but today it’s suppose to T-storm.  Clearly not a read outside day but a curl-up-in-my-comfy-chair and read day.  Not too shabby in my book either.

Unfortunately the storms meant that I had to push my highly anticipated double digit run off.  I was hoping that the storms would miss us, or blow over earlier as I woke up in the middle of the night to a big storm, but sadly I still am hearing the thunder.  Who knows though: as I type this it’s still pretty early on Saturday morning (although I make no promises as to when I actually hit post hah) and I might be able to get out there.  Doubtful though.

So while I wait to make a decision of what to do today I’ll briefly recap Disorientation.  I do not have pictures because, despite bringing my camera, I just don’t ever play photographer.  I leave that up to my friends and no one has posted their pictures on facebook yet for me to steal 😛

But the gist of Disorientation, like I mentioned in my last post, is that the whole senior class is shipped off to a mystery location to have fun…and drink.  This year we went to a bowling alley.  And I know what you’re thinking: bowling? But it was cosmic bowling and there was a bar there along with an arcade and laser tag.  And it was surprisingly fun although there’s only so much bowling one can do.  So the night ended in dance party fashion with my class turning the back area of the bar area into a dance floor.  I had a blast.

Sadly, though, I couldn’t drink because of the antibiotics BUT that night I took my last dose of antibiotics Yippee 🙂 Sure they’ll stay in my system for a bit longer but I don’t have to take any more pills.  I was taking so many each day that I had to set alarms haha.  Luckily that is over with. And that’s an excellent thing.

Not so excellent that it’s over? Jazz class from last semester.  If you guys remember / have been reading for awhile you’ll recall that I took a dance class in the fall which I had a BLAST doing.  And remember how I vowed to stay flexible/limber? Yeah well that hasn’t happened but I went to the Dance Co. show last night (because my really really good friend is an awesome dancer and captain of the company) and I really want to dance.  Mhhmmm I have no coordination whatsoever but the dancers made it look so easy and fun.  And it made me miss Jazz. Like a lot.  Because dancing at dance parties is fun but totally not the same haha 🙂

So kind of a hodgepodge post here.  The thunder is getting LOUDER so I think I’m going to have to nix a run today. At least one outside.  I guess I’ll head to the gym soon, once it opens, and do a bit of elliptical, a bit of running and a bit a LOT of lifting.  Not too much of either cardio because I really need to get back into lifting.  I haven’t lifted since the second week of April! I meant to do lifting last week but with the toespolosion (thanks Sarah for that word!) it clearly got nixed.

It feels weird to write a post pre-workout like I’m doing now so I’ll mention yesterday’s run.  I knew that my legs weren’t going to be the happiest because of all the dancing the night before but I was pleasantly surprised.  Yes the pace wasn’t as great as my runs in the earlier week but I felt strong the whole way through.  Always a good thing! Nothing too special about it.  It was “chilly” at 45* but still felt good and a t-shirt/shorts were comfy.  And I took a risk and went sans gloves.  My hands did go a bit numb but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The reason I went without ’em was because I got to the ground floor, realized I forgot them and didn’t want to trek back up to my room haha!

Okey-dokey time to get my butt to the gym (and I’m hitting post without proofreading! If you notice any grammar /spelling errors let me know!).  Again, a hodgepodge post but the feedback I was getting suggested that hodgepodge can be good? Let me know if you hated this and reading it was like pulling teeth.  Hopefully the weather won’t be so lightning and thunder-y tomorrow (doesn’t look like it will be at the moment. Windy, yes but storms? No) so I’ll be able to get in my double digits on my favorite route.  Speaking of favorite routes though I am really sad that I’m going to be doing *real* goodbye runs this spring because I won’t be coming back in the fall! Tear for sure!

Also I’m finishing up a “My thoughts on my Boston training” post but I’m not going to post it until the week because I’ve discovered that not many people check blogs over the weekend.  So look out for that early next week.

And giveaways! From ErikaH and Sarah and Tricia and Courtney and The FitBride

May 6, 2010

Racing Toward The Finish

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:26


Now that I finished that second presentation Wednesday night I am *almost* home free.  Just have to hand in 2 Spanish papers, take Spanish exam #5, Spanish final and a Quantum take-home.  Okay so I guess it looks like more written out but having those 2 presentations done and over with makes me feel SO. GOOD.  So it’s like nothing can even touch how stressed I was over them.  Luckily last night’s went extremely well.  I think I was able to really articulate my ideas and break a complex topic down to a level that other people can understand.  My project was about a 50/50 mix of physics and bio so the bio stuff people had lots of questions on.  But I was able to clearly respond and not stutter and get wicked awkward.  Yay.

But enough tooting my own horn.

I don’t think I mentioned how much your guys’ comments about me getting back into running and being okay with keeping it light, easy and fun.  So many of you told me that I need to enjoy being “a kid” and enjoy life because before I know it I’ll be grown up.  Granted I’m trying to do everything in my power to not grow up buttttt I love the support of embracing a different attitude with my running and not worrying about anything.

Which I obviously am loving the whole “run free” thing.  I spent 16+ weeks following intense running and rigorous running.  I do have a post in the works about my Boston training from an analytical standpoint.  I started it, oh a week ago, and still am drafting so don’t expect it tomorrow or anything.  But suffice it to say that I thought not following a plan, not really being able to run these past few weeks…well I thought it would be a let down and I’m glad that I can be happy with it.

Another plus of my “new mindset” (and I do want to state that my go-get-’em intense mindset isn’t gone but it just needs to recovery just as my body did from Boston) is that I’m comfortable taking XT days in stride.

Like today.  As I mentioned yesterday after 4 days of running my legs are feeling tight.  I knew that I *could* get a run in today.  And I even knew that if I were to run a short run that I would still be on the speedier side.  I really don’t think that my run would have been bad today but tight muscles aren’t fun and considering I keep saying I’m going to stretch/foam roll….clearly I never do.  And another day of running without stretching probably wouldn’ t have been good.  I’m such a firm believer that tight muscles are a cause of injury soooooo

I took an XT day this morning.  It helped a bit that there was a chance of t-storms and, unlike Monday, it actually *felt* like it was going to storm.  Of course it never did (not even one drop of rain).  But  I’m sure my legs are liking me after my workout on the elliptical.  In my past few runs, even though I’ve felt spot on and amazing there has been that tightness lingering.  Not enough to cause pain or hinder my runs but enough that I’m like “Oh yeah. Hey there”.  But the elliptical didn’t trigger that awareness.  So I’m hoping that I can find some time to stretch today.  Unlikely but I think that if I keep saying it enough it will eventually happen. No?

I also wanted to take an XT day because this weekend I want to hit my first double digit run post-Boston this weekend.  And, while my tight muscles haven’t been any type of issue ( and I want to make that perfectly clear to stave off the “if your legs are hurting then rest! injury” kind of comments that crop up every time I mention a small nag) I recognize that if I want to do my favorite 11.5 mile route then it’s best to “save” those miles rather than tempt fate.

Obviously this is a type of revelation for me given the training cycle I’m coming off of and I know that some of you have been beating me over the head with it. But whatever. Better late than never.  And, like I said earlier, I’m feeling happy and confident with myself right now.  So it’s the perfect time to push my comfort zone.

Re-reading what I have written and I feel like this post didn’ t really have a point per se.  Oops.  I guess that being so sure of my “training”, I guess “working out” might be the better phrase, and I haven’t felt that way in awhile.  And by awhile I mean the past 4-5 months.  While I’m itching to put the pressure on myself for training and racing, c’mon now do you really think a tiger can change its stripes? haha, I think the lack of pressure is helping me become refreshed and refocused for whatever is next.

And with that I’m going to try and take some of this content-ness and ease and go tackle those assignments I mentioned earlier. [ETA: So I started this post in the AM so update: Almost done with the Spanish papers. Progress!] Only one more day of classes for me! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! Sure most of my peers don’t have Friday classes and are done today but whatever.  It’s still almost done for me! (I’m taking Spanish, totally by choice so I can’t complain too much, so I did, in fact, have Friday classes this semester and thus one class tomorrow.  It’s an exam too.  Talk about a way to wrap up my undergrad career!)

And then I get to go get disoriented tonight.  “Disorientation” is a senior tradition where the class council takes the entire senior class to a secret location to hang out and basically party.  In years past seniors have gone to brewerys, chuck-e-cheese like places for adults, etc.  So I’m pretty excited to cut lose.  Granted I do have that peskey exam tomorrow but it should be a blast anyway 🙂

I also plan to bring my camera but I’m not sure how “blog friendly” they’ll come out 😛

May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayooooooo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 14:00

Happy Cinco de Drinko Mayo all.  Today is actually my friend’s birthday and I haven’t been able to celebrate for the past few years because it’s always been the final push of the semester.  The past two years were finals week and this year I have my Experimental Physics presentation tonight…from 1900-2200.  Fun stuff. I’d much rather be drinking margueritas and taking tequila shots.

Speaking of tequila shots work, thanks for all the good lucks on my Senior Presentation on Monday.  I think it ended up going well although I think I rushed at the end and stumbled a bit on my words.  Oh well.  It’s done and over with. Yay.  Although not really because I actually liked reading about the condition I was presenting on.  I just didn’t like the whole put-together-a-presentation/talk thing haha.

All this school (and financial aid and future job) stress must be working it’s way into my sleep because last night I had a dream about toe getting reinfected.  And the infection being WAY worse than last time (and it was pretty bad).  Plus my friends were sick of being supportive in it.  So it was like a double whammy.  Ick. I woke up actually feeling stressed out! Thankfully my toe is FINE (school, financial aid and job? Not so much but that’s something that hopefully will get ironed out soon).  I’m actually on the last day of one of my antibiotics and second to last day for the other.  Yippee 🙂

Okay enough other things and more running!

Oh but first: LOST?! OMG.  Why is this show soooo amazing?! I won’t get into last night’s episode here (because I hate it when people are major league asses and spoil endings like that) BUT if you want to chat about theories, OMG how-could-they-moments or anything just drop me a line 🙂

So *now* onto the running.

On Tuesday I had the most amazing run I’ve had in forever.  I think I said that in my last post too.  But it keeps on stunning me how well my legs are running.  My pace felt really relaxed and… well I don’t want to say easy because I was breathing a bit heavy but it was effortless.  It was one of those runs where I knew I was going hard but I didn’t feel like I was dying.  That said the pace didn’t end up being blistering (only 8:30) but it was still pretty damn  awesome.

I think it helped that the weather was amazing.  It was on the hot side (~70*) but I was able to keep my room an ice box somehow without air conditioning (cheap ass school — no cable nor AC.  I guess I’m lucky I get heat in the winter) so the warmth felt great.  Like Monday it was a sports bra and shorts day.  Finally I get to show off all my really cute / brightly colored sports bras! 😉 But unlike Monday there was very little humidity so I didn’t feel all gross and sticky running.

Sadly Wednesday morning was not a sports bra morning.  Although it wasn’t cold (still tank-top and shorts weather) the contrast between 70* and 55* is big.  And the humidity was WAY down thanks to some really big and scary T-storms that rolled through Tuesday afternoon.  So I was actually a little chilly at the beginning of the run.  Again, it felt kind of good considering that my body isn’t used to those really hot temps we’ve been having here in the NorthEast.

Yet again, my body surprises me because I ran another sub-9 paced run.  Where were these guys when I needed it during marathon training as confidence boosters? Oh yeah.  No where! The pace felt a bit awkward though.  Not like I was pushing really hard (my runs as of late are taking on the motto: Run the pace you feel comfy with for as long as it feels comfy.  Then adjust) but my legs were feeling the effects of 4 consecutive days of running.  Feels weird to type that out considering the streak I put in over the winter of, not only running days, but of *double digit* running days.  I guess that’s what happens when XT became the focus and I “lost” a bit of running fitness.

But I’m really happy that I’m happy and excited to go out there and run.  It’s so much fun lately and I feel like a kid all free on the playground or something 😀

My only complaint is that my legs did feel a bit tight.  And not just in one particular muscle.  My IT, hammys, quads, calves, pretty much everything was feeling it.  I guess this also happens when you get back into a running routine and run serious distances.  Nothing major, I still haven’t run double digits post-Boston yet (maybe this weekend?), but I totally needed a good stretching session. Or a good foam roller session.  Because, despite buying one 6ish weeks ago, I still have yet to break it out.  Seriously.  Partly because I don’t really know how to use it.  Is it really as basic as hopping on and moving my body over it?

Okay time to wrap this up and go prep that Experimental Physics presentation.  I suppose figuring out what I’m going to say with each slide is pretty important.  But you should check out the giveaway from Erika

May 3, 2010

From Winter to Summer All in One Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 17:02

What a time to make my comeback. And if you haven’t checked it out here’s my April recap.

Okay so maybe comeback is too strong a word.  I never really took a lot of time off.  At least in the sense of having something majorly catastrophic happen to me.  But it’s been a good long while for me since I laced up my running shoes.  And I know that resting obviously not only was good for my infection but good for my post-race recovery but there’s always going to be that nagging voice in the back of my mind as to whether or not my legs will “remember” how to run after even a day off.  Hence the lack of rest day I take.

Now I’m not going to say that I’m wrong.  Nor am I going to say that you guys are wrong.  Because my run yesterday was neither laborious (as I would have thought) nor fresh and springy (as you guys have implied). It just was.

I decided to hit up the streets for an easy run in the early AM Sunday morning. My foot/toe doesn’t have any redness in it anymore, no pain (although I haven’t had pain in quite some time) and the open wound on my big toe — from where the doc debreeded it last Monday (gosh was it really so long ago?!) has formed a new skin.  It hasn’t made it to tough skin yet but there was no “openness” to it anymore.  So I figured that I might as well give it a go.

It was semi-sunny out and hot as hades already when I left.  I think it was in the mid-60s? I didn’t check before but when I got back around 0900 and turned on my computer it was already into the 70s. For some reason though it didn’t feel that bad? I thought the heat would have impacted me more considering how cold it was mid-week last week.  One morning on a trip to the ER it was under 30* and there was frost on the ground!

I kept the pace relaxed, just putting one foot in front of the other.  There’s something awesome about following a training plan and having a specific run to complete.  But there’s also something really nice about just going.  That’s something I don’t do very often because, I’m quite often in training for something and even the “relaxing runs” serve a purpose.  There really is no sense of get-out-there-and-go.  At least not when I’m in training.

I ended up with 8.1 miles at maybe a 9:10 pace? I was actually pretty surprised by the pace.  In a good way of course. I had expected worse and I think the run ended up being a progression run because my first few miles definitely were not anything more than a “Hey legs let’s wake up” type of deal.

My experience today (Monday) was a little bit different.  I was debating yesterday whether or not to run two days in a row.  There was a chance of scattered T-storms for the early morning until about noon and, the fact that I’m petrified of t-storms notwithstanding, running in a t-storm isn’t exactly a smart idea.  Go figure right?  I figured that if I woke up and it was clear then I’d take it as a sign from a higher being that running was where it would be at.  If it was stormy then I’d XT it up.  In all honestly I would have been okay with either.  After experiencing so many problems lately as much as running would make me really happy, I’d be happy with the XT too.  Not as much but I can deal.

As it turned out it wasn’t storming.  It was overcast and drizzling (I even turned on my computer to check the weather and it didn’t appear that anything major was going to crop up) so I threw on some running gear.  In some ways I wish it had been storming because it was (and still is) HOT and HUMID and HAZY.  Basically the 3 H’s of New England summer.

So my running gear? Shorts and a sports bra.  Yes that’s right.  The first sports bra run on the year.   And it’s only May 3rd.  Fabulous. Bummer that it had to be on an overcast gray and rainy morning.  But I honestly couldn’t even imagine wearing any type of shirt, wicking material or not.

Luckily (?) it was on and off spurts of showers.  Nothing drenching but it felt good to have that cool H2O on my skin.  Sure none of it could evaporate off, including my sweat, but it felt good to have anyway.  Compared to right now as I type this and it’s still humid as hell, hot as hell but sunny.  So it feels even muggier.  UGH.

I finished up with 9 (!) miles at 8:50 pace.  Which is much faster than I A) thought I was going and B) thought I would be able to go.  So it was a nice confidence booster.  I’m a little shocked that I went as far as I did.  I was planning on going for time (which I did) and based my distance estimate on what I was doing pre-marathon. This makes me excited because I feel like I can really do some damage to my shorter distance race PRs(assuming that I get my butt in gear and sign up / start to look for them!) because I won’t be doing nearly the same amount of volume as I did for Boston.

A couple people have asked what’s to come from me in my running / racing life.  And the honest answer is: I don’t know.  It’s scary in terms of not having a plan to run off of.  But I just don’t have the time to really look at a race calendar.  So I’m doing what I’ve been reading that a lot of you are doing: maintenance right now.  On one hand I know that I’m itching to race and train.  On the other hand I’m really busy with trying to put together a “real world” life.  As in I graduate in 19 days and still have neither a job nor plans.

Talk about scary.  Oh yeah, and I have to finish up all my classes and stuff so that I can, in fact, graduate.  And with that I’m off to go do some of that work.  Tonight is also the Senior Physics Majors Presentations where we present our research over the course of the past year.  I’m not too worried about mine (it’s more bio based so I KNOW I’ll be the expert in the room) but I still don’t like standing in front of other people and talking.  So wish me luck 🙂

May 2, 2010

Monthly Recap: April 2010

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

April was…an interesting month to say the least.

The foundation for the  month really started on March 28th when I ran the Eastern States 20 Miler.  If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile then this is review but for any new readers that race was awful for me.  I had been dealing with shin splits and there wasn’t a single pain free step that whole race.  I had to take lots of time off that week because I don’t think I could have run on my shins.  I honestly had thought that I had fractured my shin.

Flashforward to the next weekend and I ended up in the hospital for an infection in my toenail.  I had to have a minor procedure and no running for another few days.  By the time I felt okay to run it was ~10 days pre-Boston.  I still wasn’t doing any speedwork and the actual running I was doing was minimal.

Then Boston happened and I ran the race of my life (well so far. Hopefully I improve as the years go on ha!).  I had no pain and ran a PR with a negative split.  Then came recovery for a few days and I got two decent runs in before I was back in the hospital for the staph infection that I needed an IV for.  Aka no running.

Soooooo April was a HUGE nosedive from previous months with intensity and miles.  Which I’m trying to be okay with.  I have two thoughts on it, one is that this sucks.  Hardcore.  I’m so type A that to be forced to back off is mind blowing and slightly terrifying.  Granted things worked out with the marathon (PR baby) but it’s still hard for me to trust that rest works.  The other thought is that rest works.  My body needed this month to be not intense running wise.  And it was a good mental exercise too.

I keep going back and forth between the mindsets with some days easier than others. But such is life I guess.

With that all said, here’s how the weeks broke down with a sentence or so about them.  I was lazy (or too distracted by NOT running) this month to do them as the weeks passed so my memory is kind of shaky.

Week of March 29 – April 4

  • 54.5 miles
  • 8 hours 46 minutes 8 seconds
  • 9:39 pace
  • 3 x core, 1x lift, LOTS of  XT

Well so much for really cutting back post-Eastern States.  Although I suppose that 54<100. At this point I decided to 100% cut out speedwork for the remainder of the cycle up until Boston (and which is why during the weekly breakdown all the average paces are SO SLOW.  No speedwork to pull those paces down).  I also reduced the lifting this week from 3X –> 1X and then after that first week of the month lifting got cut completely. Partly because of taper, partly out of my shins.

Week of April 5 – 11

  • 38.7 miles
  • 6 hours 2 minutes 27 seconds
  • 9:22 pace
  • 5 X core, 0X lift, LOTS of XT

Really ramped up the XT here with the further decrease in miles.  I think I got a little obsessive and worried that my cardio-fitness was going to be lost though because I was constantly thinking that I should go back to the gym to do more!

Week of April 12-19

  • 27.8 miles
  • 4 hours 26 minutes 42 seconds
  • 9:36 pace
  • 3X core, 0X lift, LOTS of XT, One rest day

Took my first 100% rest day in a *very* long time* (like November?)

Week of April 19 – 25

  • 40.7 miles
  • 5 hours 54 minutes 59 seconds
  • 8:43 pace
  • 3X core, 0X lift, LOTS of XT

Week of Boston! Which is why the average pace is WAY lower than the other weeks ha! I got two 7 milers over this weekend and my legs definitely felt recovered (which makes what happened on Sunday — toe infection — so hard to deal with) although by the end my quads were a little fatigued.

Week of April 26 – May 2

  • 8.1 miles
  • 1 hours 15 minutes 5 seconds
  • 9:16 pace
  • 4X core, 0X lift, Minimal XT

Week of severe toe infection.  So lots of rest here.  As you can see I did sneak out for an 8 miler (on Sunday which isn’t getting counted as April because it was May 2nd) because the toe/leg was not red at all and there was no pain. The run itself was really relaxed and easy.


  • 152.4 miles
  • 23 hours 41 minutes 21 seconds
  • 9:20 pace
  • Lots of core, Little lifting, Lots of XT, One rest day

Overall I’m trying to be happy.  The rest was good for pushing me mentally into getting out of the go-go-go-keep-pushing-no-matter-what attitude despite how hard it was.  But I can’t grow if I don’t challenge what’s comfortable right?

And all the non-running days obviously didn’t hurt me because I rocked Boston (if I do say so myself 😉 ) and not only did I run well but the mentality of Boston was so much fun.  I think that I was able to salvage something from my overtrained state.

This month (May)  I”m going to have to up the lifting soon as I lifted…once (?) this whole month! I kept the core going strong though and totally rocked the XT.  I’m going to try to strike a balance between the (hideously horrible) XT and running.  Although overall I don’t hate XT as much as I did before.  I think I’m getting tolerant of it 😉

Happy Sunday all.  Hope your month of May is starting off right 🙂

to a job that send me a secondary application (yay!) and kicking back with lots of ginger ale.

May 1, 2010

Oh What To Do

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 13:11

[At the very end of this post is a picture of the actual IV that was in my arm because more than a few people said that they’d be interested.  I personally don’t think it’s really graphic or anything like that but I’m sure that some people will find is too much so I’m giving you fair warning.  Plus I don’t think the quality of the pictures is all that great either soooo it might no even look like anything.]

And no I’m not talking about maybe going out and running.  For once in my life I’m sticking to my guns. Even though it’s the first day of May (how is it May already?!), National Runners Month.

What I really mean is: What to do when it’s 70+* outside and I want to keep wearing that darn jacket?! Haha.  Luckily (?) I’m still feeling a bit nauseous and chilly from my infection and antibiotics so I think I won’t overheat too much 😉

In fact I was feeling so awful yesterday that I SKIPPED my Spanish class on Friday.  Ummm yeah.  I *never* skip classes.  But my head was pounding and I thought I was going to vomit at any given moment.  Dry heavy? Sexy, no? I was even terrified to eat something for fear of actually throwing up (while I doubt anyone like puking the idea sends chills up my spine.

As the day went on I started to feel slightly better.  I was able to go to my last PT session.  I figure that since I haven’t really run at all lately, and my shins were an overuse thing, that I’m done with PT for now.  My therapist did say that she won’t officially discharge me for a few weeks in case something crops up when I do return to running but, like I said, the shin stuff was due to too much running and I won’t be anywhere near that when I do return. And sadly, because of the infection we didn’t do much soft tissue work because of the risk of circulating the infection. Boo.

The rest of my Friday, the start of Spring Weekend, was rather lame.  I ended up laying out in the beautiful weather with friends, writing a cover letter to a job that send me a secondary application (yay!) and kicking back with lots of ginger ale.  So yes, I am a lame-o.  But on the bright side I got a good night of sleep and I feel like I’m catching up on that sleep deprivation that my go-to-the-hospital-every-8-hours schedule created.  Much better use of my time than staying up late at parties, especially since I can’t drink at the moment.

I also got to start watching the show Miami Medical.  SO. GOOD.  Seriously.  It’s like ER but a little sexier.  I am hooked! I love that I can understand a lot of what’s going on medically plus it makes me want to go work in an ER, like, now 🙂  Again I guess my not feeling so hot is good because I don’t think I would have started watching this if I had been feeling better.  I would have been out partying. Oops hahah.

But now it’s Saturday morning and I think I’m feeling a little better.  Like, not better enough to go run around all crazy on campus, but better enough to emerge from my room and and enjoy today’s festivities. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post it’s a beautiful day so it’ll be fun.  No running, duh, and I hate “wasting” good running weather (especially since it was ideal when I got up) but whatever. Trying to stay positive.

Also, thanks again for all your “Get betters” and other caring words! Especially to TMart who told me to keep blogging even if I wasn’t running. But since this is a running blog I’m…well not at a loss of words seeing how this post is still lengthy but rather at a loss of topics.  Anything that you guys want me to write about? I feel so lost with topics without my running!

I am putting together an April recap to keep some type of running related stuff here 😛  Granted April wasn’t exactly the model month for running. I’ve looked over a rough estimate of my miles and they took a total nosedive because of the combo of my shins being so painful at the beginning of the month, to tapering, to this infection.  Oh well, I’ll try to completely that soon. But right now I need to get back outside in the SUN!

Hope you guys are having a fabulous weekend and check out the giveaways from ErikaH, Kim, Tricia

As promised:

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