MarathonMaiden's Blog

July 29, 2010

Three Things Thursday: Stress Edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:34

Ummmm pretty basically my life is one big ball of overwhelming stress.

  • MCAT.  2 weeks.  In two weeks from now I will hopefully be drinking on the pond feeling good about my test.  Until then, of course, it’s a little bit unnerving to feel like the entire future I want could hinge on this test.  There have been some high points: I feel better about certain topics that have traditionally given me trouble (thank you library! But no thank you old creepy men who stare at me!) but that by no means makes me feel like I’m totally prepared.  I just want the stupid thing done and over with.
  • Moving.  2 weeks plus one day.  Yes that’s right: I am moving the day after I take my test.  Ugh.  Poor planning on my part maybe.  I had originally hoped to move some of my stuff down this week or early next week but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen due to MCAT prep and other life stuff.  Since I’m just moving out of my mom’s house it’s not the end of the world to live bare-bones for a bit but still.  Not exactly ideal.
  • Medical School Application.  Because I still haven’t submitted it yet.  I need to re-work my essay which I haven’t had time for yet.   Nor have I really figured out how I’m going to pay for it, which adds stress of itself.
  • Not enough hours in the day.  I mean, I’ve been using the hours productively (which isn’t technically stressful) but I’d love it if I could have 2 (or 10) more.  Yeah so maybe a lame bullet point but I cannot just leave three things there.  Lucky number 4 and all 🙂

Had enough complaining yet?  Me too.  I really really try to not complain (and hopefully that does come across in my posts) but sometimes it feels good to just vent.  Also: I hate how the saying “when it rain it pours” is true. Also true? deep breathing = cure to being upset.  I’m don’t easily get upset so when I do I never know how to calm down.  But DEEP BREATHING.  Seriously.  It works.That said, here are three things that have been making me happy lately and, while they might be in vain, have attempted to lower my stress level.

  • Running.  Duh.  I feel like I haven’t been talking about my running lately because stress is so large that it’s taking over my mind and all my runs have been similar. But my runs have been feeling really good lately.  Sure, today I kind of slogged through 8 miles but can it really be called slogging when the average pace is 8:25?  I’m loving it.  Yesterday was a good 8 miles at 8:30 pace so I’ve been really pumped about it.  Thanks for all your comments about racing.  I still know I’m not going to commit to anything now but it’s nice to know that you guys think I could rock a race 🙂 AND I love the suggestions of loosely following a plan so I can get rid of that monotony feeling I have currently.
  • Reading for FUN.  Slash making sure the hour or so before my head hits the pillow is enjoyable. I’ve been making a commitment to reading chapters from a good book before I go to bed every night.  Sure it’s only 20 or 30 minutes or so, cutting into my sleeping time, but I love to read.   So it’s nice to be able to get lost in a story line.
  • Boston Medical. Which is on tonight 🙂 I’ve been absolutely fascinated with the show!  And no, I don’t think it’s because I want to be a doctor although I’m sure that’s part of it.  One of my friends, who is studying interior design, loves it too.  Always a plus to have some chica time. Anyhoo, hopefully my  *last* MCAT class tonight doesn’t run late so I can get home in time to watch the whole thing.  I’ve had to miss the beginnings sometimes and I hate missing the beginnings of shows.
  • And I know this is supposed to be THREE things but I need to put in a 4th (again):

And it’s not just this song but I’ve been really letting music lift my mood lately.  Lacey made me a mix CD that I’ve been listening too on repeat and other people have been “making” me listen to music I otherwise wouldn’t have.  But it works: I put on a good song and for 4ish minutes my thoughts are NOT on stress.

And my friend, who I stayed with in Philly, put up her pics on FB so I have more to share.  Sooooo here’s another.  And I’m going to dole them out slowly because I want to keep you guys coming back for more.  Unless you’re my FB friend.  Then you’ve likely stalked my pictures already and are bored with them haha.

Longwood Gardens. Check out the sock tan line. I am soooo attractive haha

P.S. If you’re not on my blogroll but want to be: let me know! I’m terrible at updating it when I find a new blog I love reading!

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July 27, 2010

Woooot!?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 17:54

Well another practice test done (#4 for those of you counting) and well maybe not woot.  I seem to have hit a glass ceiling so to speak.  My scores aren’t drastically improving the way I had hoped.  Part of it is me: I am notorious for under-performing on standardized tests and maybe I’m not studying as efficiently as I could be.  Part of it might be the tests themselves: I’ve heard that the Kaplan tests tend to run harder than what I’ll likely see on test day.

But not matter what it’s pretty damn frustrating.  I feel like I’m putting in the work and effort and not being rewarded for it.  Sure I have seen improvement but not enough to feel really good. I do have a new plan/strategy in place and hopefully I can make some progress in the next few days before I take another test.

I know some of you have commented on how frequently I’ve been taking the tests but, according to my syllabus, it’s not bad.  Take a test, write down the topics that were troublesome, study those, repeat.  In fact, it’s recommended at this stage in the course to take a test every other or every 2 days.  I hoping to get another 2, or even 3, before I leave for vacation in a little over a week (because god knows no studying will get done on vacay) then come back with 2ish days before my test where I can review the worst topics and maybe take another full length.  Good plan? We’ll see.  I think I’ll be okay as, to follow up on my marathon training = studying analogy, I’m in monster month now then I need a taper.

Oh well. Enough study talk.  Can you tell what my life has become lately?

The running part of my life has been a bit more encouraging. I have seen an improvement in my running which is nice.  It’s kind of funny though because each run feels good but slightly monotonous.  I suppose that’s why I like having a training plan: it forces me to change up my daily runs.  Nowadays I just go.  Which is fun in and of itself but not completely satisfying.

Case in point: Yesterday (Monday) I went for a 7 mile run.  And I ran it in 58.18 minutes.  Aka an 8:20 pace.  And it felt so effortless.  Great I suppose.  I love it when I surprise myself and actually can think for a minute that I’m good at running.  But because it was a really easy effort I felt a bit blase about it because it was just a run.  Not that I’m belittling the run itself.  But there’s no excitement at the moment.  No “OMG I’m making progress” because I’m not really. At least not toward any goal.

Because there has been progress of sorts. As I wrote last time I had suspected that my weekly average pace was going to be faster than I’ve seen in recent weeks and I was right.  Yes, I’ve seen faster paces on individual runs in the past but to have a week where the average is that? Quite honestly: it stuns me.  I guess my legs bounced back faster than I thought they would.  I’m going to wager that this upcoming week will be just as fast.  In comparison:

  • Pre-Philly week: 111.1 miles with an average pace of 8:43
  • This past week was 56.4 miles with an average pace of 8:30.

Which puts me in a conundrum: racing.  Clearly my body is primed for it.  My life, however, is not.  The next 3 weeks are going to be stressful, to say the least, and then I launch straight into my job.  I know that hitting up a race is possible but the idea of finding one and, this is the most important part, placing something else into my calendar is a bit stressful.  And more stress is not what I need.

But enough about me complaining.  I do want to race a half marathon with Lacey in September as well as a 10k with her in October and likely will as I am wicked excited for it.  But I just feel like I could smash a record now.  Unfortunate timing.  Story of my life.

Also unfortunate timing? My run today.  Since the test takes 5ish hours clearly no morning run would happen. Meaning that I’m running now at the hottest part of the day.  Bleh. At least it’s not the most humid part.  Choices.

BUT that said I rocked it.  But in the manner described above for yesterday’s run.  I went for 8.5 miles at, get this, 8:15 pace! That is rocking fast but it didn’t feel like it.  It could have been any number of factors, running at 1600 rather than earlier and thus having more food in my muscles, having 24+ hours between workouts or the fact that my mileage is decreasing.  But I’m stoked about it.  Not enough to be elated but enough to feel confident in my capabilities.

Which makes me think about racing more.  Hahaha.

And to make up for my scatterbrained post (I’m blaming the test from this morning) check out this giveaway from ShutUpandRun. And from Heather.  And from Healthy Stride

AND here’s another picture from Philly. What am I going to do when I run out of these?!

July 25, 2010

There’s a Light in the Darkness?

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

I may or may not have had this in the background while I was trying to study last night

Although this song may or may not be my favorite

Mmmmmmmmm yeah.  I guess I’ve been sucking at updating lately.  But, in my defense, I’m still in MCAT bootcamp.  At least for a few more days.  I took Full Length #3 this morning (and yay for slight improvement.  Keeps the hope alive you know?) after 4 straight days of classes and 2 of solid studying.  I need to get through Full Length #4 on Tuesday and then I’m semi-home free.

Not in terms of volume of workload (because, let’s be honest here: will it ever end?) but the pace slows down a bit in terms of requirements being due and I can focus on areas where I KNOW I’m weak.  Makes me feel better than having to read stuff for class and already know the stuff.  Not that I don’t like being good at stuff but I’d rather focus my efforts on other things.  Because knowing my luck AC/DC circuits will be 100% of the material I’m tested on.

But running.  It’s been happening.  Core and lifting? Not so much.  I’m thinking that this week I’ll reintroduce it but between my trip to Philly and all my MCAT work it just didn’t seem important.  Neither did running a kajillion miles as both of those weeks I’ve been around 50.  Yes a great deal of miles for sure but compare that to June and the 100+ miles.

I’d go into more detail about the specifics of the runs but they all are the same: 6 or 7 miles at 8:20-8:40 pace.  Seriously.  Except for the “long run” I did on Saturday which was 9.  But the pace was the same.

The funny thing is that this pace is the exact same (roughly speaking) now as it was pre-Philly.  Annoying because I want my legs to be like “less miles? Let’s GO” and it hasn’t been happening yet.  Maybe I pushed my legs too far and they’ll need time to trust that I’m not going to go all crazy on them again. I will say that I’ve been having less of those shake out runs, so while my pace hasn’t dropped yet to really fast I suspect that when I calculate the average pace for the week it’ll be slightly faster than it has been.

As for now, I’m comfortable with my easy runs and the lower mileage.  It’s so funny how that trip just broke up the mental cycle of more more more.  But funny in a good way.

I’ve also noticed a HUGE spike in my appetite since lowering the miles.  I think it’s pretty common though, as running (and in the summer too) decreases my appetite in general and running multiple times a day just let that depression continue all day.  I’m not really complaining though.  My wallet might be.  But the wicked annoying thing is that I’m hungry but I’m not craving anything in particular.  So I just stand in front of the fridge/pantry/cabinet and look.  Sure I’ll eat something but it’s never really what I want.

I do know that what I really want is to relaaaaaaaaaax.  But I’m incapable of this (big huge news flash there right?).  So I’ll likely head out for a standard run then do some analysis on my test.  Oh! Actually wait! I have been able to semi-relax at night: Yes I’ve been studying wayyyy late but I have been able to read a bit before actually closing my eyes.  Of course this keeps me up later than normal but it’s so nice to have something else on my brain when I drift off rather than study materials.

And because I’m being lame with my postings I owe you guys another picture from my Philly trip

Grrrr I am strong!

Check out the giveaway from ErikaH

July 22, 2010

In West Philadelphia

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 10:35

Except we didn’t go there 🙂

So I’ve been lazy with blogging.  Lazy being a relative terms as I’m currently running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Who knew that taking a week off of class would stress me out so much?!

That said, I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things.  At least in terms of my work.  My last content class is tonight *GASP* and I’m excited and yet scared.  Definitely means that I should be ready to rock my next practice exam over the weekend.  Talk about pressure (and oh wait I have my respiratory system chapter out and am reading about negative pressure breathing.  Oh I am a nerd)

But rather than bore you with my woe-is-me and studying tales I think that a Philly recap is in order? So here are some highlights — some running related, others not so much:

And yes I know this is long.  But I don’t know when the next time I’ll have to sit down and blog is and I don’t want to keep you hanging.  But there are pictures.  That counts for something 🙂

First the overall non-running stuff: I had a blast.  Sure I was there for job training (which is always boring) but I met some awesome people who are going to be serving in the same city as I am.  This will be AWESOME when I actually move there and need to have friends.  Specifically friends who understand that VISTA-ing means poverty.  I also met some amazing people that aren’t serving near me but we went out for happy hour every night.  Seriously.  One of the girls I met and I really became close (she even came out to bar-hop with me and my high school friends that weekend!) and I can definitely see us traveling to hang out in the future.  Provided, of course, that we have money to do so haha.

Now the running.  Because I do call myself a runner.  Although before I get into the specifics I do want to mention that this trip chilled me out with regards to running.  Obviously I couldn’t run as much as I did pre-trip because I was so busy and happy hour > running extra.  This has carried over into the past few days back, partly because I need to play catchup with work and partly because I broke that chain of needing to do more to feel good.  So post-trip I’ve just been doing nice easy runs that are less than an hour.  Crazy right?

Tuesday July 13th: Train ride.  UGH to a 6 hour trip.  I did get some studying done, however, but man 6 hours sitting down is rough.  And because of when my train left and arrived and when orientation actually started I didn’t get to run.  Sad face.  But since I really can’t remember my last rest day (because such a thing really does exist) it was probably a good thing.

Wednesday July 14th: Run on hotel TM.  I tried to get my roommate for the trip to join me because she was a runner too but I was up at 0530 for it.  Not exactly what a 20-something wants to be doing.  I wasn’t 100% comfortable running through the city on my own and, since every night happy hour happened every day including the first one, I figured a run where I didn’t have to think was appropriate.

Thursday July 15th: RUN WITH FLO.  Okay so she beat me to the punch and mentioned me on her blog here and I’m lame and just mentioning it now but still. We ran along some river that I cannot and will never be able to pronounce for a couple miles.  It was great to actually meet her in person and she is hilarious.  I wish I lived closer to Philly so I could run with her more.  We ran together for maybe 5 miles and then I had my trip to/from the hotel plus a bit more to make it 9 or so.

Friday July 16th: I ended up running along the river again.  This time sans Flo.  I did, however, run past her which put some pep in my step because it’s always nice to see a familiar face when running.  I think I essentially ran the exact same route as the day before, but extended it a bit to make it 10 miles because I wasn’t sleeping well and was up early (and speaking of sleep I slept poorly the entire time I was at the hotel! Annoying!).  The scenery on the river was absolutely beautiful and reminded me a little bit of running along the Charles back “home” in Boston.  I didn’t take any pictures during the run (although I wish I had!) but here’s one I pulled off of google

Friday was my last day of training which was bittersweet.  On one hand I was soooo happy to be done with the actual orientation as there’s so much of it I can take at one time.  I was also happy because that means I can start my job next month and I’m really excited to be carrying out the VISTA mission at the clinic.  But I was sad because, like I mentioned, I made some really awesome friends and it sucks to know that I won’t be seeing some of them again.  But luckily, thanks to texting and facebook, I’ll be able to keep in touch.

After I was sworn in as a VISTA my friends from high school swung by my hotel and we went sightseeing.  I’d never been to Philly before so I wanted to do all the classic touristy stuff.  I’m also a huge nerd and wanted to see all the historic things.  Granted I live in a very colonial era so nothing was new to me but it was cool to see the same timeline but just in a different city.

I know that there’s so much writing here! But here are some pictures of the highlights. With minimal commentary (you know that I’ll never give up total commentary 🙂 )

City of Brotherly Love

Monopoly!

Massachusetts represent! Side note: I don't think I was actually suppose to touch the flag. Oops.

Paddy's Pub @ 1630. We went to see Benji Franklin's grave after this and I was slightly tipsy. Oops.

After the sightseeing we went out to dinner and bar-hopping.  I don’t have any pictures of that but it was fun.  Lots of drinking and dancing.  One of the places we went to played old school BSB, *NSync, Britney and some Miley.  Ummm I was in heaven haha.

We stumbled home around 0300.  Not a bad thing but I wake up at 0800 no matter what time my head hits the pillow.  Which was the case here.  Since my friends are not as blessed as I am I took the opportunity to get a run in.  You know, work out all the alcohol that was likely sitting in my system.  It was really hot and humid at this time (definitely moreso than the 0530 runs I had been doing during training) and since I don’t live there I have no idea how far I ran.  I did run for 81 minutes which if I go wicked conservative on the pace is 9 miles.  So that’s what it’s written down as.  Hahah.

The rest of the afternoon was spent at Longwood Gardens which is a HUGE garden.  It was absolutely beautiful and stunning and amazing.  And I got to have an authentic Philly pretzel.  Yum.

Later that night we went to a more “college” bar scene which was fun.  While waiting in line for the restroom, my friend and I were told that we were “too beautiful for your own good”.  Ummmm yeah.  Awkward. Hahah.  Sadly I don’t have any pictures of that night either.  I do know that my friend has a really cute one but I’m going to have to wait and steal it when she puts it up on FB.  I’ll update either this post or a future one with it because I remember liking it. The night ended with us at a diner at 0200.  Good times 🙂

Yet again, after another late night I got up early.  I hit the streets but only for 36 minutes (~4 miles?).  All the drinking and dancing and not greatest eating definitely was taking it’s toll on me so I cut the run shorter than typical. But it was still good.  Hot but good.

My friends and I then went to a local creamery and got amazing ice cream and saw lots of farm animals.  Then before I knew it the time had come to board the train back to Boston.  Very sad moment.  Especially since the train was delayed two hours and I got back home at midnight.  Ugh.  But again, lots of studying so the trip wasn’t too bad.

Ummmm there you have it? I apologize again for the length of it (and spelling/grammar mistakes!) but I didn’t want to keep you guys hanging by breaking it up.  Life is very crazy at the moment and I should get back to studying.  MCAT boot camp week is almost over (class every night = no bueno) and I just have to push through the full length this weekend and I’ll get some breathing room to focus on the stuff I’m shaky on rather than keep reading new stuff.  Or maybe not as I have to pack and move, finalize my medical school application, and take another vacation.  All before starting my job on the 16th of August.

Did I mention that I love being busy? Because it would sure suck to be me if I didn’t 🙂

Hope everyone has a great Thursday and a wonderful weekend! I’m still in the process of catching up on your blogs so don’t think I’m ignoring you!

July 19, 2010

Baaaack

Filed under: Uncategorized — marathonmaiden @ 09:17

I’m back from Philly! It was such a fun trip and amazing. Job orientation was cool (I got to meet some amazing people who are hilariously funny and fun to hang out with), I got to go sightseeing and bar-hopping. Great trip.

I’d love to do a recap post right now and share pictures and everything but I’m in MCAT boot camp right now because I missed classes last week, I need to rework my med school application essay AND I need to pack because I’m moving soon.  Gaaaaaaah.

Stress much?!

BUT once I get back into my routine (and I don’t think it’ll take that long to do so) I’m going to try and put together a post because I did run on vacation and in a pretty cool area too.  Hopefully I can find some free time in the next day or two.

Hope everyone had a great week while I was gone! I’m also going to try and play catchup with your blogs butttt I may or may not have an overflowing google reader.  And it’s overwhelming haha.

Have some great Mondays 🙂

July 11, 2010

Another MCAT Down

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:00

First: Thanks for all the “you look awesome in glasses” comments.  They made me smile and laugh and feel better about wearing them when I have to.  I think they make me look like even more of a physics nerd.  But that’s okay.  Apparently physics nerds look awesome 🙂

And thanks for all the “wow you are organized” comments too.  I take a certain amount of pride in my organizational skills 🙂  And yes, I realize I carry around too much stuff.  Sometimes, if I’m just running to the corner store or something I just grab my keys and go buttttt I guess I just like to prepare for all the “What Ifs” haha

And yes, I took another full length MCAT this weekend.  Ugh.  I didn’t necessarily do worse than last time but I didn’t make any real strides either.  Maybe 1 a week is too much? I heavily focused on the Physical Sciences this week and it showed.  Both in my grade on that section as well as the others.  Oh well.  I have more data to reformulate a plan.  But, not going to lie, it’s a little disheartening to not see an improvement from last week.

And I had to take the silly (well it’s not silly really.  Rather annoying though)test  in Starbucks because…dun dun dun…the library was closed and let me down.  Which is does All. The. Time.  I mean, I understood last weekend when I had to take the test that the holiday weekend would shut things down.  But July 10th? WTF?!

Starbucks wasn’t so bad.  I’m of the age where the employees were all clearly younger than me but not by soooo much  that I  think they wouldn’t feel comfortable telling me to leave.  It was a bit distracting have all people wandering about maybe that contributed to the mental fatigue and antsy-ness I felt by the end of the test. But, again, it wasn’t so bad. And I LOVE the smell of coffee.  I can’t drink the stuff but the smell is amazing.

Good old New England FINALLY got some rain over the weekend as well. Didn’t really cut any humidity out but for the duration of the storm the temp dropped a little and it felt a bit cooler.  Sure the storm passed through in about an hour but that hour was glorious.  Especially since I was determined to do some more work and try to pinpoint the exact ways I can improve my study habits and refocus/regroup.

I did get a good muggy run in before taking the exam though. It wasn’t my fastest run ever (I’m blaming the fact that I haven’t had a 0545 wake up in a very long time) but it felt good and luckily it didn’t rain on me.  Granted that meant that all the moisture was in the air and I felt like I was breathing water buttttt I like sunshine.

I have a love / hate relationship with running in the mornings.  On one hand I love it.  I love waking up with a run and shaking out the morning cobwebs.  The temperature is a bit cooler and that feels nice too.

On the other hand, the humidity is the worst in the morning.  And, one of the reasons I have morning cobwebs is because I’m staying up so late to study.  Wah wah wah.  I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this 🙂

But the biggest reason running in the morning has a hate component? Deer flies

Basically the bane of my existence in the summer

I think it’s just me.  Okay so maybe not as I see lots of people swatting at them as well.  But on every single run I’m attacked by them.  And it’s not just one fly, it’s a swarm.  I guess I just smell nice?

And the only way to kill them is to let them land on you and, before they can bite because they hurt like whoa, squish them like the little bugs that they are.   For real.  My running buddy thinks I’m really weird for literally pinching them between my fingers but I’ve found that if you hit them and even give them a good smack they will come back.  I’ve seen deer flies that I’ve smacked on my arm and thought were dead come back to life.

Annoying right? And it’s the absolute WORST in the mornings.

The weird thing is that it’s only about a mile radius from my house that they’re the worst.  I think it’s because I live on the water and water tends to be bug breeding grounds.  So while I get to swim and frolic in the water (ahaha who am I kidding I don’t have free time for frolicking!) the trade off is the bugs.  Ick.

Oh well. That’s my rant for the weekend.

I was also given a blog award from Jaime for having a blog of substance.  Very nice to hear because sometimes I think I just ramble and ramble and ramble. Thanks girl 🙂

The Rules:
•Thank the blogger who awarded it to you.
•Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five (5) words.
•Pass it on to 5 other blogs which you feel have real substance.

New Friends Who Love Running

Basically, the long and short of why I started blogging is because NONE of my close friends do.  So it was kind of lonely to not be able to talk to others about running or bounce ideas off of and whatnot. Luckily now I have TONS of new friends who love running as much as I do.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet some of you and run with you. 🙂

And I’m going to be lame and not tag anyone.  Because I want everyone who reads this to do it.  Seriously.  I love reading this kind of stuff!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! The agenda for today (Sunday) is to look over what I got wrong on the exam I took yesterday and then attack those sections with a vengeance. I tried to do some of it last night but there’s so. much. material.

I also hope that everyone has a good week this week. I’m off to Philly this week for job training so I’m probably not going to be posting until mid-next week.  I’ll have my phone with me so theoretically I can but doing anything on my phone, save calling and texting, can be a pain sometimes.  It’ll be weird to not post whenever I want but hopefully I’ll have LOTS of fun pictures to share when I get back 🙂

July 9, 2010

What’s In Your Bag?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 17:56

But first:

I’d like to think that I’m a decently smart person.  Yes, of course I’m no Einstein but I’m definitely not dumb.  Based on my running decisions today, however, you totally wouldn’t think it.

I’m going to shove blame on the fact that it is drastically cooler here than it was earlier in the week.  I think it was Tuesday where we hit 101* with a feels like of 104*? I remember the mornings in the beginning of this week being in the 80s as well.  So the fact that today’s high is in the low 90s feels like…well I’m not going to say cold.  But I got up yesterday morning to run and the 76* weather did feel cool.

I kind of liked it.

And it deluded me into thinking that starting a run at 1300 was a smart idea.  And that tackling the hilliest route I know in my area was a good idea.  Not to mention that said route had no shade.  At. All.

Well I survived.  That’s a good thing right?  And I managed to run an 8:30 pace.  Almost exact too but I was 1 measly second to slow to have it be perfectly exact.  Annoying. Stupid one second.

I suppose, though, that it wasn’t all that bad.  Definitely could have been worse.  I didn’t feel so bad during the actual run itself but once I stopped running BUCKETS of sweat were pouring off of me.  Attractive no?

I also got some corework in after, which, lately I’ve been slacking on majorly.  I definitely felt the burn!

Anyway.  I’ve been studying like crazy and trying to stay focused.  I have another practice full length test this weekend (ahhhhhh) which I’m sort of nervous for.  Studying has been going eh for me lately.  Like, I know the stuff but when it comes time to test myself, I freeze up.  Gotta get more comfortable with the actual testing situation I guess.

And with that stress/anxiety comes writer’s block.  I don’t have much in terms of creativity to say and with my running just being there (neither amazing nor sucky, both of which make good posts to write) I haven’t been posting regularly.

BUT lucky me! Sarah (the SHU box) had a post the other day on what is in her bag.  I thought it was cool and a unique way to get to know her better (because she’s pretty awesome!) and I felt like being a lemming.  So I copied her 🙂

And I thank her profusely because there was so much stuff that I needed to throw out! So I got to do a little cleaning.  Hence why there isn’t a lot of true junk in here 🙂

I have two bags.  One is my “purse” which I bring with me on errands and whatnot.  The other is my “study” bag.  I used this one when I was still in school (it still feels weird to say that I’m no longer a student!) to bring my books and stuff to class and now it’s been designated “Official MCAT bag”.  And I also included a picture of my desk area.  Where I spend all my time haha

Everyday bag

I asked for this bag for Christmas a few years ago and I’ve been in love with it ever since.  It’s LLBean so hopefully it’ll last forever too

Flashcards.

Obviously not something that’s *always* in my bag.  But they will be until I take this silly test.  And look how thick some of the stacks are! Plus I’ve made some of my own for the trickier concepts(click to enlarge and see my stellar handwriting haha)

Scarf & glittens & other various clothing

Mmmmhhmmmm I know it's summer. But I'm lazy and just never removed them once the weather turned nice. And come on now: this is New England. What the saying? If you don't like the weather wait 5 minutes? And that's definitely the shirt I got at the race last weekend. Guess I'm pretty lazy if it's still in there haha.

Lots of pens and permenant markers. And drugs.

Because I'm a nerd. And I hate being without a writing utensil and something to write on. Seriously. It practically gives me heart palpitations. And okay not that kind of drug. Despite never taking asprin or ibuprofen or anything like that I have an arsenal of them. So if you have aches and pains I'm your girl. And yes, those are all in bags so that my big bag can stay organized. You don't have to say anything. I know I'm wicked cool.

ID badge from last summer, Keys, 2 (?!) wallets and phone

The basics. I don't really know why I have two wallets. One of them is 100% empty. ID badge not pictured but I mostly keep this around because I'm a pretentious person who likes to say "See? Look where I worked last summer: Children's Hospital!" haha

MCAT bag

A cheap knock-off LLBean bag. Still good and I like the red color. And yes, that is a binder clip attached to it. I am a major nerd

Lesson book and agenda.

Ughhhh to the lesson book. Look how thick it is and know that it's only about half of the material. My life = the agenda book.

Pens, pencils, big eraser, various earbuds in varying states of decay

Essentials.  Duh. I think you know what they look like so I didn’t take a picture 😉

Glasses

So I try to avoid wearing mes lunettes so I didn't have any already on my computer and had to take a self-portrait haha. Technically I don't think I really need glasses. So I don't wear them except for when I get really tired and my eyes start hating on me. I think I look very...studious? And does anyone else feel awkward taking self-portraits? Maybe it's just me...

And excuse the Desk Space

And my desk space. Cramped and small but I guess it's getting the job done

So there you have it.  Hopefully some of you liked seeing my bags.  I thought about doing my gym bag too but I’m pretty sure that the only workout related thing is my log book and the rest is all junk papers of sorts.  And I’m so not ready to clean that out yet ha!

On a running related note: I still have not called crazy lady back. It’s been almost two weeks since she called me.  I am a terrible terrible person.

Oh and I promise that I’m trying to play catch up on everyone’s blogs.  My google reader is overflowing right now! But check out these giveaways from Matt, Kim, Tricia and ErikaH

July 7, 2010

Lame and Out of Focus

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 11:00

I so desperately need a vacation.

Unfortunately it’ll be another 3 weeks before my class is over.  And then another 2 until I take my test.  And then I start my job.  Ugh. So much for an actual summer. But I am looking forward to having those two weeks of no classes.  Like a lot.  Yes I have full length tests to take during that time buttttt.  It just feels different.

It’s almost like I’m waiting and waiting for those two weeks to get here.  And then I know they’ll fly right by.  Funny because I don’t have plans for them, and in all likelihood I won’t ha!, but I’m still wanted them to get here. Right. Now.

Must. Re. Focus. 🙂

Despite having a really great race over the holiday weekend, (you guys are way too kind with your comments! But thanks anyway 🙂 )and remembering that racing is very fun, nothing has really transpired in terms of actually planning to do more racing.  Partly sheer laziness: I don’t want to actually look up races.  Partly I’ll plead the poverty line: I am working for AmeriCorps for the next 12 months.  And partly I’ll blame the weather: Tuesday was over 100* ambient temp and felt like 104*.  Then again, maybe I shouldn’t blame the weather because a lot of you routinely hit that 😉

I have been running a little bit though.  I mean, I think you’d have to commit me if I didn’t.  In terms of running lots and lots I’ve stayed fairly committed to running less than I have been.  I think I mentioned it at the beginning of the month (which, by the way, was a week ago?! Time goes by wayyyy too fast) that I took some days off, then raced, and since then I’ve been doing some light stuff.  I’ve been going crazy, however, without that physical release and I think that’s contributing to my lack of focus, or rather my easy distractability, lately.

In terms of my body: my legs were kind of sore in the days post-race.  Nothing “OW” inducing but I was definitely working muscles that had not been worked before.  Funny how running fast is so not the same as running easy.  Go figure. I actually stretched. *GASP*.  Crazy, right?

I did also lift on Monday and it was HARD. I’m very sore right now. Well I was on Tuesday when I started drafting this post, today (Wednesday) is better but my chest is still a bit sore.  Weird how only one area is bugging me. Further actually making me want to stretch!  And, trying to see a silver lining in the “heat wave” hitting the good old NorthEast, the idea of stretching is more appealing because I don’t want to curl up into a ball and warm up post-run.

Despite that soreness of race + lift, the runs have still been on the quick side.  I think I’ve mentioned it before but following a hard effort it seems to not require too much additional effort to keep that speed in the days post-race, tempo, interval.  Inertia if you will.  My body is primed for it now. Doubly so since my running wasn’t too shabby before the 4th.

And, like I feel like I’ve said a lot lately, the whole lack of sleep thing must place a role on some level.  I just seem to run better sleep deprived.  Not too sure the source of my insomnia either: all the thoughts that run through my head (I cannot for the life of me turn my brain off! WTF?!) or the weather (I like to snuggle under the covers.  Hard to do when the temps don’t get below 75* overnight).  I’m sure there’s a breaking point but for now I guess I’ll just revel in the moment of quasi-fastness.

But nothing worth shouting from rooftops for.

I am, however, looking forward to my upcoming trip to Philly.  Sure the first part of the trip is work: job training.  But the second part I’ll be visiting one of my really good friends from high school who I never see because she’s in Philly and I’m, well, not.

Due to the fact that in a week I’ll be there, I’ve been thinking of how I’ll fit running in.  I don’t yet have the day-to-day schedule but it’ll follow something similar to 9-5.  Obviously running doubles or LR and whatnot won’t happen but I’m hoping to get a unique perspective of the city via running. Even though it’s hard to really believe sometimes due to how much I run but a short run is better than no run. Any tips?

And, of course, I’ll have ample study material with me.  When do I not? I’m actually that kid who brings her flashcards around with her so that I can be as productive and prepared as possible.  Major nerd alert again.

Interestingly I did study teleportation this past spring semester...

So I’m wondering how I’ll reconcile the amount of work I have with the training I’m in the city for.  I’m sure it’ll all work out but I’m type A.  So I worry about these things.

I mean, everything always works out in the end, but I’ve just been feeling out of focus (duh I did title this post that way) and distracted.  Which is why I haven’t posted in a couple days.  Everything I seem to do is covered in lame sauce.  Nothing terrible has happened or anything but I’ve just been feeling a bit stifled where I am.

So…yeah….lame and out of focused.  Kind of like this post. But life can’t all be fireworks and glory.

I’d still appreciate a vacation though 🙂

Now off to study some more.  Or at least try too!

July 4, 2010

Minuteman Classic: 2010 Edition

Filed under: Race Report, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 14:16

You can’t more patriotic than this (even though it’s not really a Happy Birthday America kind of song ahah)

Love my man Toby 🙂

Hmmm taking Saturday off of studying might not have been the best idea.  Now I don’t want to study at all anymore! Oh well.  It was really nice to be able to go out on the water (I live on a pond) and lay on the dock with a good book.  Very relaxing.  I should do it more often 😉

As I didn’t end up going to NH on Saturday (boooo for that test making me miss all the rides up!) I did decide to race the local 5 miler in my hometown on the 4th.  I’ll be honest: I really didn’t want to.  I’m the kind of person that if I don’ t have a shot at being the best (or at least doing really well relative to me) then I kind of don’t want to do whatever it is.

But my alarm went off at 0730 and I was driving my sister to volunteer at the race.  So I figured why the hell not. This would only be my second race of the year (I’m not really counting Eastern as an actual race haha) I’d give it my all and if I fell flat on my face, well I can always tell people that I ran Boston 😛

And, as a tangent, normally when I race I wear whatever.  I try to make it color coordinated and at least look somewhat runner-y.  Today? I chose to wear my booty spandex and my blue sports bra with my red-ish racing sunglasses.  (I wanted to wear a red sports bra but don’t have any? Boo.  Blue isn’t exactly fierce but still patriotic) I felt bamf.  My thinking was that if I looked the part maybe I could run the part.  Never underestimate the power clothing has on attitude.

After coming back from the race. Hot mess.

I have a love/hate relationship with local races.  On one hand, they’re cheap, easy to get to and small (today was *maybe* 200 runners).  On the other hand, they’re small so you see people that, well, you might not want to see.  It’s awkward being at the starting line with people that I went to high school with and being like “well I really didn’t like you back then.  But good luck!” And the race usually ends up being a rematch of old high school teammate rivals.  I did see a girl that I occasionally run with who is really nice and fun which was great to catch up with her because otherwise I’d have been surrounded.

I warmed up (although with the temps being in the 80s already who really needs a warmup) with some laps around the track, which reminded me of why I love/hate the track.  There’s something that pulls me to speed / sprint work and makes me feel bamf.  But sprinter workouts hurt. I may be old and out of high school for awhile but I do remember repeat 100 and 200m hurting like hell.

Anyway: 1 mile easy, followed by 1 mile of ins and outs (where you jog the curve and “sprint” the straight).  Not going to lie though: the easy mile made me question why I was out there.  I mean, I just pulled off a 500.5 mile month of June and now I’m going to try and run 5 miles really fast?  The ins and outs went better and my legs finally gave me some reassurance that, at the very least, this would work out to be a good tempo run. (My initial goal was to beat last years time (35:32) which is average pace of 7:06 or so but wasn’t so sure during the warm up if that was attainable)

But then again, I ‘ve surprised myself before (Hello Boston Marathon) so I didn’t really know what I was capable of.  Sometimes my brain and body say two different things.  Confidence issues I guess.  I’m working on it 🙂

What’s really cool about the race is the start.  I live in a very historical area and part of the race tradition is to fire old colonial muskets to start the race.  So the muskets went off and the runners took off as well. And let me tell you: muskets are no joke.  I think I lost my hearing.

Mile 1: 6:29

Okay.  The race starts downhill so I was expecting the first mile to be fast.  Looking back, this is roughly what I ran the first mile in last year so I guess I’m consistent? The pace didn’t actually feel too bad and I definitely thought that as long as I didn’t slow too much I could PR this thing.  I saw my sister (who was volunteering) directing runners where to go and I gave her a wave as I ran by.

Mile 2:(13:45) 7:16

Hill.  Basically the whole thing was a hill.  Funny because I KNEW the hill was there.  Not only have I run this race before but I’ve run this area before.  Oh well.  Not a bad split but annoying.  It was also during this mile that some man was really struggling.  Not struggling as in I thought he was in trouble but breathing really hard and heavy.  I’m the type of runner that is easily influenced by that stuff so I kicked it up to A) get away from him and B) salvage a little bit of the time I lost on that hill.

Mile 3:(20:45) 7:00

Better.  I started picking some people off who were slowing down which boosted my confidence.  I knew it was way early to be thinking about a kick but I knew there weren’t that many females ahead of me.  I wasn’t keeping track or anything but I had the feeling that I was up there.  Again, small race so it’s not like there were that many people in general.  But I saw the girls XC coach (who always wanted me to do XC in high school and tried to recruit me every year haha) and he shouted out that I was looking awesome and to keep it up.  A check mark in the pro column for small local races 🙂

Mile 4:(27:42) 6:57

Jeez is it over yet? Over the course of this mile I played a terrible game with myself: I slowed down then corrected myself and speed back up.  Not intentionally of course but it’s late in the game.  My legs are tired: from the race itself and not training at all (running or resting wise).  But as soon as the guy with the watch said “1 mile to go” I was like “CHRISTMAS MORNING” and I kicked it up.

Mile 5: (34:15) 6:33

I passed So.Many.People. It was awesome and just fueled me to keep picking it up.  I don’t really remember much about this mile just because I think the only thing I was thinking was “keep going.  Almost there.  Pass that ^#$%#$” I finished strong and didn’t feel myself slowing down.  Always a good thing.

I left after doing a 2 mile warm down so I didn’t get to see the winners and prizes being handed out.  As I crossed the finish line I saw the high school track coach (whom I had sought advice for Boston in the spring) and said “That was hard” to which he replied “Well it’s a bit too hot for this tomfoolery. But great job.”  It was about 90* by the finish.

Since it’s a local race, no chip time and I think that’s what the clock said (34:15) and it’s what my watch says too.  Results haven’t been posted and Just checked ’em and official time is 34:14.  2nd in AG (out of 13), 4th female (out of who knows) and 36th overall (out of 222).  The winner of the entire race ran a 26:22 (!) and the first female (and winner of my AG) ran a 30:30.  Maybe not the fastest race out there but surely fun.  Faster than me anyway.

Anyway I know this is getting long (when are my posts not?!) but overall I’m really happy with how I did.  Like always, I think I could have gone faster but the average pace breaks down to 6:51.  Faster than my one (and only) 5k race.  I’ve gotten that racing bug again though because I had a blast.  Sure the actual running kind of sucked.  But running really hard and really fast is always going to suck.  It’s the afterglow that I live for.  The pride in knowing that I want to vomit but I’m not going to (partly ego there but partly because I can’t run with food haha).  That I left it all out there.

Pretty basically a lot of fun.  God I need to race more!

Hmmmm. I thought I took more pictures.  Oops. It’s the least I can do for subjecting you through reading this — and putting up with my shameless self-promoting past RR links 🙂  So I’m going to utilize google some more 😛

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY (and stay safe 8) )

July 3, 2010

I Just Took The MCAT

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:36

Well not the *real* one but rather Full Length Test Numero Uno.  For my course we have to take 5 full lengths before our actual test and the first was today.  On the holiday weekend.  Fun, right? MmmmmHmmmm that’s what I thought.

Even funner? The fact that when I was driving to my friend’s house (where I was taking the test because my house is NOT conductive to quiet and focused-ness and all the libraries, testing centers etc are closed for the holiday weekend) a deer came bounding out into the road.  Damn near hit me.  Luckily I have cat like reflexes.  Too bad that those reflexes caused me to jump the curb and blow my front tire.

Oh well.  As my friend put it when I finally got to her house “better the tire than the damage that deer would have done to your car”.  Amen. But obviously NOT the way I wanted to spend my precious moments trying to calm my test taking anxiety.  Especially since I had been out late the night before picking a friend up at the train station and then grabbing some food to play catch up.  *LeSigh*. Luckily I had a spare and everything turned out okay. My nerves were frayed but okay.

Including the test.  I didn’t do as well as I want to for, say, the real thing but overall I was really happy with my performance.  While taking the test sucked hardcore it was good to get some real feedback to confirm my strengths and weaknesses and where to go from there.

But after taking a 5.5 hour test (and yes I did take the entire time) I’m giving myself the rest of the day off.  Hopefully I can relax a bit and catch up on some summer FUN reading.

Now onto running.

Or lack thereof.

You see, as astonished with how much I ran in June (and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get any satisfaction from it) it was way scary to see the numbers.  So after tallying the numbers on Wednesday night I decided to take some time off of running.

And by “time off” I mean 2 days because I’ll likely jump into a run pretty soon today because I’m so tense from the test, as well as tense from not having my release the past 2 days.

But, while I guess this is a chance for me to recoup, I feel really agitated.  I suppose this is like a withdrawal period? Who knows.  I do know that it’s not as though I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs.  There is studying to be done. I don’t really think I’m getting more done as I’m distracted so everything is taking way longer.

I’m also thinking of doing a race tomorrow for the 4th. It’s a 5 miler so it’ll be interesting to see if my legs have those fast-twitch capabilities anymore.  Last year I did this same race without any speed training post-marathon so anything can happen I guess.

I haven’t committed yet because there’s a chance I might being going up to my friend’s lake house for the night (and coming back Sunday night for a Monday morning appt.) but I still haven’t nailed out the details.  So if I do go I obviously wouldn’t be able to do the race.  Since I currently do not have a way to get there it’s looking like the race will happen and I’ll just go to cookouts and then into Boston for fireworks with some friends.

Soooooooooo that’s all I got.  My brain is FRIED so apologies on a scatterbrained post. Happy 4th of July weekend all 😀

Giveaway from ErikaH

And I’ll leave you with the song that was in my head for the entire 5.5 hours of my MCAT practice test.

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