MarathonMaiden's Blog

August 15, 2010

Home Sweet Home

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

(This was written on Saturday late afternoon/early evening.  And I chose to schedule it to post on Sunday so if there are any time/day discrepancies…oops haha!)

As I sit here on my new porch (with a glass of wine in hand!) I can’t help but laugh at how crazy stressed I’ve been and how good it is to have some milestones behind me:

  • MCAT = OVER.  Book burning party? I have absolutely NO idea how I did.  We’ll find out in 4 or so weeks.  Surprisingly I went into the test pretty calm.  I’m not going to lie that I’ve been in stress-overload mode this past week post-vacay but I was able to take Wednesday and “chill the eff out” and do things for me.  And then I watched this the night before (aka best movie EVER):
  • Moving.  Check.  Well sort of.  The beauty of moving from my mom’s house to my own place is that I was able to only bring the essentials and the beauty of my mom’s place being 90 minutes from me is that I can go home next weekend and get the rest.  And let me say my apartment is SICK.  In the best way possible of course.  I’m the first one to move in so there are no decorations or anything like that yet so I’m not going to post pictures but both my mom and I walked in and said, “This is amazing for any apartment, never mind for the first!”
  • Unpacking. Check.  Well, again, sort of.  I need to wait on my roommates to get here on Monday to be fully unpacked and figure out where we want stuff.  But I’m done with all my personal belongings.  And man, it feels good.  Especially since 12 hours before I was suppose to leave I had 0% done.  For real.  Whirlwind!
  • Figuring out where I’m going to run. Check.  One thing both my mom and I were worried about was where I was going to be running.  I live in a city (and had never seen the apartment until today.  Luckily I have an awesome roomie who I totally trust with that stuff) and even as we were driving here we passed through some seedy areas.  BUT I live in a university area so the neighborhood I live in in really nice and there’s an AWESOME running path a few blocks over.  I know that I won’t be getting the variety of routes that I can back in the ‘burbs (nor for the first few runs will I know exact distances like I do at home) but I’m excited and plan on checking it out on Sunday (which is today for those of you reading because I’m not putting this up until then)

Now onto my running over the past few days.  It’s been decent.  I think I last posted on Wednesday?  Since then I’ve gotten some good runs in.  Wicked unstructured just because when I got back from Texas I went into major freak-out mode over life (which I’m not going to say here now due to personal reasons but positive thoughts are appreciated!) but basically I’m questioning a lot of how to achieve my “life plan” and trying to make the best decision.  Suffice it to say it’s about $$

Yup I still love this song. I know I’ve played it before for y’all but seriously.  Tell me you don’t want to just be all gangster after listening to this. Especially the line

“Cause b!tch I’m the bomb. Like tick tick”.

Like how can you not feel thug after saying that?! Fun fact: in college my nickname was gangster.  I honestly have no idea how it got started but within the first week of freshman year I was branded.  Hahaha.

But after I posted on Wednesday I went for a pretty decent 9.3 mile run.  I was going to stop at 9 but there’s something alluring of the even 15k.  I don’t really remember specific feelings but towards it but it was good. Not stellar (only an 8:3x pace) but it never felt like a struggle.  I like that.

Thursday was D-Day.  Or rather MCAT day.  I finished my 5.5 hour test and headed home to eat and unwind.  After decompressing my brain, I needed to decompress my body.  And man I must have been really tense or something.  Go figure.  Because I was *flying*.  Seriously.  An 8:11 pace.  Ummmm really? I had to check the math twice.  I think it helped that I didn’t leave until about 1600 and when I run later in the day my body feels more at ease going fast.  But…yeah.  That made me happy!

Friday was definitely not as fast but it’s because I had to run at 0900 in the morning.  Not a helluva lot of turnaround from the day before.  But it wasn’t too bad.  An 8:3x again but it just felt dragging.  I think that, not only was I running with not a lot of recovery but I’ve been fighting some sleep deprivation lately.

Not that I didn’t sleep/rest a fair amount on vacay last weekend buttttt it wasn’t the kind of rest that a regular bedtime/wake up brings.  And then the rest of this week hasn’t been stellar either with an early morning doctor appt or the early wake up for the MCAT. And my body isn’t used to going to bed early! So the combo of everything just kind of caught up to me.

On the plus side I’ve been able to allow myself to “sleep in” and not set an alarm post-vacay.  I’m very happy about that and the fact that I’ve been able to relax and “lounge” more.  It feels good to chill a bit and not be wound so tight!  I apologize for the randomness of the comment 😉

Saturday (which is today for me although I know that you guys are reading this on Sunday) was a KILLER 11 mile run.  Since the test I’ve basically been really stressed out and emotional so I told my mom that I NEEDED my long run before we moved me in.  And I went for 11 miles in 91.56. That’s an 8:21 pace. For 11 miles.  Guess me being all wound tight has been good for my running? Interestingly I didn’t feel stellar during the run and thought about cutting it short at 8.  I’m really glad I didn’t though.  I want to start getting into a better running routine (aka LR = Saturday, Speed sometime during the week etc.) as my life gets more scheduled with work and stuff.  And there might be a race or two this fall that I want to just dominate 😉

So I think that catches us up in my running life.  Whew! Hopefully, if you’re reading this Sunday morning, I’m out for my first exploratory run in the new ‘hood.  I’m really looking forward to it!

And, since I start my job on Monday (good lucks are appreciated here too 😉 ), I’m really hoping that I can start posting more regularly (as well as commenting regularly too! I always feel so bad when I can’t comment as much as I’d like! But don’t worry if I fall off the Earth again: I’ll be back.) It kills me to do these catch-up posts.  Granted my life is STRESS right now (life plan questions + starting new job = not a clear head!) so maybe it’s good that I’m not posting everyday.  Then I think you guys would worry about my sanity haha.

But alas it is time for me to go out.  Yes I moved to a new city but I have FRIENDS. Remember when I went to Philly? Well they broke us up by region so I know a bunch of people here (who are all VISTAS. Aka they know understand the VISTA budget) and I called one of the girls up as soon as my mom left and told her that once I finished unpacking we were going out.  Luckily a bunch of peeps were going out too so YAY.

First night in the new place and first night going out as a “real adult”….whatever that means. Awesomeness.  And since you’re reading this post-going out Saturday night I’ll just go out on a limb and say that I had a wicked great time. Because I’m sure I will 😀

Hope you guys had a great Saturday night and enjoy a lazy Sunday!

Check out this giveaway from Jess.

August 11, 2010

Up For A Breath Of Air

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

Hello Again! Did you miss me?

I got back from vacay Monday afternoon and have been on the go essentially ever since.  I had sooooooo much fun on vacation and totally got the R&R that I needed. Definitely good times.

It just sucks that now it’s time to snap back to reality.  But hopefully while I was gone you enjoyed the guest posts from my friends!

Like I said, life got kind of crazy coming back from vacation.  Lots to do but I’m trying to keep a level head.  Everything will get done!

Of course running is happening.  Duh.  So here’s a brief (?) recap of my running since I last left you.

Thursday (the day I left) I started my day with a LR.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to run a lot on vacation so I wanted to get something lengthy in.  It went really well.  Nice and fast especially considering that I was running first thing so I could catch my flight.  Which almost didn’t happen because of a t-storm that hit Boston with perfect timing that made getting my flight out of Boston next to impossible (my flight was postponed indefinitely).  Luckily I ended up catching a flight.  And after 11 hours of travel/being in airports I was out of Boston.  Not at my final destination though as my connecting flight was canceled.

There was a silver lining though: since I was in Texas (en route to Dallas), my connecting flight was in Houston and I got to run with Jess Friday! I have awesome friends and the friend I was staying with (who is friends with Jess) drove down from Dallas and we crashed at another friend’s house.  Which was actually MSB’s place (seriously: the people  in Texas are SO NICE)

Yes I know that I've shown this picture before (it's from when Jess was in Boston) butttt I didn't take any pictures when in Houston


Jess was doing her long run and swung by MSB’s place to let me tag along for 8.3 miles.  Not the fastest run ever but we averaged around 8:26 pace (at least during the miles I was with her).  We went out for these HUGE pancakes afterward which were soooo yummy and delicious.  Also delicious are the cookies that she made and sent to my friend, which I had eaten as my dinner the night before 🙂

After eating with Jess, my friend and I drove up to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and went out two-stepping that night (at the largest honky-tonk in the world!) which was FABULOUS.  I had an unbelievable amount of fun.  I really wish that there were places like that up here in New England.  I was surprised that I was also able to stay awake as long as I did because of my long travel day before and the run that morning but I’m glad I could because of all the fun I had.

On Saturday I was able to get out for a 4 mile sunset run with my friend.  We averaged ~8:27 pace.  Apparently Texas is in the middle of a heat wave right now but I was actually not that phased by it.  At least in terms of running.  My run with Jess was at 0700 and this run was as the sun was going down.  Shade makes such a huge difference! I did feel the heat a bit more during the day when we were out and about (highs of 105*?! What?!) but during my runs I was okay.  Definitely not as bad as I feared.

Sunday was a rest day.  I was actually pretty wiped out from not sleeping much the days before: flight getting in at midnight with a 0630 run, two-stepping, karaoke on Saturday night.  All about the R&R here.  Good thing too because I went to a house party BBQ that was sooooooooooo much fun too.

Just a quick note about the food: it was really really good.  Maybe it’s because I’m from New England and just don’t have a good comparison buttttt I had such good Mexican food while in Fort Worth and great BBQ on Sunday.  Seriously: nothing like that in New England.

I headed home early Monday morning.  Thank goodness my flight home was not as eventful as my flight to Texas! I was also really sad to leave! The weekend was just absolutely amazing and, to be 100% honest, Texas just felt comfortable.  It’s a totally different world there and one that I really found myself loving (I had never been before this weekend)

Yay Texas. Billy Bob's is also the honky-tonk we went to on Friday

Once I got home I was a bit overwhelmed with being home and back in my “real life” so after doing all the chores my family (who are on a vacay of their own) left for me to do, I headed out for a run to stretch the legs.  I ended up with 8.5 in about 8:14 pace.  It felt really good.  Like amazingly good. And I think I brought the Texan heat back with me as it was ~95*.  Okay so not 105* but still.  The week before I left the temps were in the 80s.

Yesterday (Tuesday) I got another 8 miler in.  Not quite as fast as Monday but it felt good and fluid.  The rest of my Tuesday was busy and nothing else to really say about it. Trying to catch up with lots of things that I missed while away.  And of course every time I tried to focus I kept getting distracted by thinking about the stellar weekend I had just had.  It was very memorable and, you’re probably tired of this word but, FUN.

Unfortunately, despite bringing my camera, I didn’t take a single picture.  I’m going to take that as a sign that I was having so much fun because I never once remembered I had my camera.  It was in my purse the whole time! Oops.  But it was definitely a fabulous weekend. I wish that could happen every weekend.

I apologize in advance in I fall off the face of the Earth in the next few days.  I’m moving to my new place this weekend (gahhhh need to pack!) and starting the new job on Monday.

I guess August is still going to be crazy.  Lots of changes but lots of excitement too 😀

Hope everyone has had a great past week (I swear I’m playing the catch up game!) and that y’all (and note: I said y’all BEFORE I went to Texas but had to squelch the urge to say it because, well, New England represent!  haha) have a great Wednesday too.

August 9, 2010

Guest Post: Caroline (Boston Runner)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:00

Today I’m quite sadly heading back to Boston.  Of course (like I said in other posts while I’ve been away) I’m writing this in advance so I can’t quite absolutely know this but: I had a blast and am sad to being heading back home and back into some stress.

But no stress & worries now! It’s Caroline’s turn to guest post (aka click that link and check her out!). While I haven’t actually met her yet (which is too bad as she’s in Boston and I’m right freaking there) I hope too later this fall at the Tufts 10k (hint hint girl 😉 )  She’s yet another awesome person, runner and blogger.  AND she wakeboards.  Yeah, you should be jealous because I sure am!

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Hi Marathon Maiden readers! It’s Caroline from BostonRunner!

It’s hard to think of Karyn’s blog and not immediately think of running long distances. So when she asked me to do a guest post while she was on vacation, I immediately knew it had to be about the first time I went on (what I considered to be at the time) a long run.

Running and I haven’t always gotten along. Growing up as a competitive athlete, I was trained to think of running as punishment. It something you had to do as a result of losing a game, not paying attention to the coach, or just the inevitable of try-outs. Running after a ball or to home plate wasn’t really running. It was just a means to an end – the way to beat the opponent to the ball or score the winning run. But running just to run? That was absurd. Or at least that’s what I thought, until sophomore year of high school when everything started to change.

For me, sophomore year was a real turning point in my life. I was not longer a kid anymore without a care in the world. Suddenly, I was faced with honors classes, overly competitive sports, heartbreak, looming college applications and SAT exams, and fights with friends. At times, it all seemed like too much to take.

It was mid-March of my sophomore year when I discovered running. Hockey season had just ended, which had been my outlet and when it ended I didn’t know what to do. Then, one afternoon after school I decided to go for a run. I had never just “gone for a run” before and I don’t know where I had gotten the strange idea. But I took to the pavement and ended up running 4 miles, the longest I had ever run before.

I remember loving every minute of it. It felt like I was running away my problems. After spending mile one with my head racing, I found that mile two, three and four where spent in complete bliss. For the first time in what seemed like forever I wasn’t thinking, I was just doing. I pushed harder and harder with each step, and each step I let go of one more thing that was stressing me out. I ran until I couldn’t run anymore, and upon returning to my house for a shower, I had my first real runner’s high.

While I didn’t jump right into running every day after that (softball season started up), I didn’t forget that feeling of running a long distance and the freedom it brought me. So two years later, when I faced another major life milestone (moving away to college) and no longer had sports to distract me, I turned to running. Since then, it’s been a bumpy road (filled with injury and frustration) but my experiences have only made me appreciate running and my body more. After overcoming injury, I found the blog world and was finally able to really embrace running. In September, I ran my first 5k and in May I was able to run my first half marathon.  “Long distance”, for me, may not be 4 miles anymore, but the feeling of running far and pushing my body to the limit is the same as that very first time.

August 8, 2010

Guest Post: Lacey!

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

So I’m still on vacay.  Hip hip hooray 🙂

And another amazing and talented runner has written a post for me to share: Lacey from Common Object and Everyday Events.   I’ve actually run races and training runs with her before and she’s kicked my butt a lot. Check her out because she’s awesome 🙂

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HellloooOooOoo!

Guest post coming atcha today from Lacey of Objects and Events. You can check me out at http://objectsevents.wordpress.com.

Today I am talking about the comeback.

Athletes and fitness buffs tend to let injuries get them down. All the can’ts come crashing down.  I can’t play basketball! I can’t run! I can’t… ___(fill in the blank).

We’ve probably all been there at some point. And if you haven’t ever been injured- wow! Bottle up whatever you are drinking and sell it, seriously. Then knock on some wood for good measure.

But what about what we CAN do?! That’s where the comeback comes in.

Already at 26 years old (and I’ll be 27 on August 15th!!) I have had surgery on my left knee twice.

First Surgery, February 2005

I tore my ACL my junior basketball season in college- the first week of January. Interestingly enough, the injury happened when my team was playing at the college both of my sisters attended!!! That college was infamous for its rubber court which makes it more likely to be “sticky.” My ACL tear was non-impact. Translation: All that happened was I planted my left foot, dribbling the ball, changed directions, and BAM. I was yelling in pain before I hit the floor. The rubber court has since been remade with wood.

At the time the lateral meniscus had minor damage, but not enough to warrant repair. I had surgery in February 2005 to reconstruct my ACL using a hamstring from the same leg.

Second Surgery, June 2010

Fast forward, five years later (this past spring), and if you read my blog you know that I tore the lateral meniscus of that same knee. Basketball again! Gah! Another non impact tear. I simply twisted in a way and felt a catch and some buckling and pain.

I had surgery on June 11, 2010 to cut off the offending piece of meniscus that was flapping in and out of the joint.

SO WHAT’S THE POINT?!

The point is not the actual injury. The point is your recovery from it. I like to call it a comeback.

The comeback is an interesting thing for me. My mind completely clears. My priorities crystallize.

I pursue rehab and recovery with a sense of purpose and I am intensely inspired to be my very best and treat myself as well as I can.

[PAUSE for Thought: Shouldn’t we do this all the time?!?! Answer: ABSO-f’ing-LUTELY].

Here are my top tips for Making a Comeback. You don’t even have to be injured to go through the comeback process. It’s a great way to recharge yourself anytime. But you have to be willing to take the time to rest. I know, it sounds risky.

The Comeback

ONE—Make a list of things you CAN do that will make you FEEL GREAT.

Here is what mine looked like immediately after my second surgery-

  • Ice!
  • Drink lots of water
  • Sleep
  • Focus on protein intake
  • Take anti-inflammatory meds
  • “Clean” eating (for me this means nutrient dense and monitoring my caloric intake- never going hungry, but never overeating).

TWO—Embrace the opportunity to take some time to really REST.

I was lucky and spent about a week resting at my parents’ house in NH. No demands, just quiet. I reclined on the couch and iced on and off all day. I slept a lot. I drank water and tea. I read books. I slowly worked my way to walking and by the end of 7 days I was walking around almost normally. I felt fantastic. Relaxed and Recharged. JUST by prioritizing all the things on the above list.

THREE—Build activity… STRATEGICALLY.

As soon as I was able to incorporate some activity into my day, I did. Complete rest will revitalize your interest in working out, I promise. For me, at first my activity was just walking. Then I added core (something I rarely did when I was running all the time- but now I was FOCUSED).

And build away, but be smart about it. I didn’t overextend myself and I saw my surgeon twice to check-in. I also went to physical therapy. If you have the option- take it. For me physical therapy wasn’t ground shaking. But it was a solid hour of time to focus on strengthening. Also you get things like trainer assisted exercises and stretching, stim, and big bags of ice. You also get ideas for things you can do on your own.

Here’s my activity building progression:

  • I was ONLY able to bike for awhile, so I did that most days.
  • I added lifting. I continued doing core.
  • I added the stair climber. I built my time on the stair climber.
  • I added the elliptical. I built time on the elliptical.
  • I added yoga.
  • And finally, I started running again. I thought running would be the ultimate goal, but as it turns out it is just a piece of a bigger puzzle.

You better believe BUILDING is AWESOME. When you start with 10 minutes on the elliptical, eventually achieving an HOUR on it feels magical. And all of this cross-training and lifting will make every single day feel like the possibilities for activity are endless. Do what you want and challenge yourself. Try further, try faster. Try something new.

And then you realize…

…you’ve made your comeback.

Thanks for reading!!!!

August 6, 2010

Guest Post: Mary and Christina’s Pizza

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:00

(First check out the giveaways from Shelby and Marcia)

Hello again from afar! As I’m writing this before I go I can’t really say 100% that I’m having fun but I’m going to anyway because I know I will be:  I’M HAVING SO MUCH FUN. Vacation is something I need to do more often. Yay

Anyway I have another guest post for you.  From the lovely ladies at Sisters Running the Kitchen: Mary and Christina.  They’re such awesome cooks, chefs, runners, bloggers and just good people 🙂 So check them out.  And I’m so glad they agreed to do a post for me because, as the title of their blog suggests, they do a lot of cooking.  I keep saying I’m going to but I never do.  It’s very exciting that I get to feature them!

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Pizza night at our house is always a big hit. Instead of ordering pizza, our family likes to make our own. Ever since we can remember our parents have always enjoyed making pizza at home. More recently, we have made a few changes to the way we prepare our pizza and we are coming very close to perfecting it. When we make it at home, we make a variety of kinds to satisfy everyones taste buds. They typically include Plain, Veggie (Broccoli, Spinach, Mushrooms), Sausage, and Pepperoni. Our most recent experimentation included something a bit different this time. We created a pizza with Fig, Caramelized Onion, Ricotta and Gorgonzola with a Balsamic Reduction. This combination turned out so delicious. We found that the various layers of flavors complemented each other very well. This recipe will definitely be in the rotation for our next pizza night.

Ingredients

  • Red Onion, caramelized
  • Dried or Fresh Figs, sliced
  • Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Balsamic Reduction (directions below)
  • Pizza Dough

Directions

  • Prepare the pizza dough and shape and roll out to desired thickness.
  • Spread the Ricotta Cheese on the top of the dough.
  • Add the sliced Figs and Caramelized Onions. Click here for directions on how to caramelize onions.
  • Add a hefty drizzle of the Balsamic Reduction on top of the pizza.
  • Place pizza on preheated pizza stone on the highest temperature possible on grill or in oven.
  • About half way to three quarters of the way through cooking, add the crumbled gorgonzola cheese to top of pizza.
  • Cook until crust is browned on top and bottom of pizza.

**To make Balsamic Reduction, simply place about a 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a pot. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer on medium heat until liquid is significantly reduced and becoming thicker. Add a pinch of brown sugar. Liquid will thicken up after taken off heat and allowed to cool.

Prior to going on grill.

Do you make any unique pizza combinations or do you have any good ideas for pizza toppings?

August 5, 2010

Guest Post: Amy (second city randomness)

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

Hey guys! Hope that you’re doing well and that your Thursdays are going great.  I’m actually, well I was going to say on a plane to my vacation, but I’m really likely just sitting in the airport right now *waiting* to get on my plane.  Or maybe still driving there (I haven’t decided when I want to schedule this post).  Hopefully I’m on my way and not still packing or anything aha. But I’m officially on vacation so it’s all good 🙂

Because I’m away I know that blogging myself (and sadly keeping wicked close tabs on you guys) isn’t likely.  I’ll be having too much fun. So I’ve asked Amy (second city randomness) to do a guest post on her half-marathon experience (and throughout this weekend and next week I’m going to have friends fill in for me).  She’s actually on vacay now too which makes her even MORE awesome for writing this for me.  So stop by her blog too because she’s just that awesome.

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My First Half Experience

I’ve always been somewhat of a runner.  And have enjoyed it since high school when I risked my life by running on the side of some crazy curvy roads past my house (praying I wouldn’t get hit by the idiot out-of-towners whipping around the corner to get to the camp site past my house). Even in college my running would just consist of a couple miles here and there during my workout when I would wander aimlessly around the rec center trying to figure out what a good “workout” would consist of.  Running didn’t become the main focus until 2009 when my cousin and I decided to go all-out with a 5k in April for our new years resolution.  Only 29 1/2 minutes later and I was hooked.  I wanted to do another one.  Immediately.  I’ve done 6 since last April and improved my time by over 5 1/2 minutes!  (one of my prouder accomplishments)

I also dealt with my fair share of leg issues.  Including a little stint on crutches I’m still not too happy about, undiagnosed leg pain before the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle, and some pains that I suspected would turn into shin splints if I wasn’t careful.  Clearly, runners are all crazy. Yeah, I said it.

Either way, I persisted and started half marathon training in May.  Last year this time, if you asked if I’d consider a half marathon, I would have laughed.  And said, “well maybe I’ll do a 10k or something next year.”  I did two 10k’s in July.  Seems to be that I underestimated myself.

A lot of my friends also don’t get the “sport” of running.  Or how I enjoy it.  I could try to argue it’s all about conditioning and there is actually strategy involved, but there’s no point.  Probably why I enjoy talking about it on here with you fine folks so much…  And so what if they don’t understand?  I finally found something I like to do that is mine and mine alone.  My biggest competitor in running is myself.  And I like the challenge. Because the me from four or five years ago (or even one year ago) didn’t think it was possible.  The me from four or five years ago would have woken up at 6:30 in the morning and said “I’ve only been asleep for three hours?  Damn… I need to get up and take some advil.  I am going to be soooo worthless today.  The boyfriend better take me to a drive thru.”

Who knew all I needed was a little kick in the butt?

“People can’t understand why a man runs. They don’t see any sport in it. Argue it lacks the sight and thrill of body contact. Yet, the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any man versus man competition. For in running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability, with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions.” – Glenn Cunningham

So let’s talk about race day for the Rock n’ Roll Chicago Half…  I was a little late getting into my corral, but I made it in time for the start (whew!).

With over 18,000 people running it, the start was crowded and bit hectic.  Although it thinned out quickly and by mile 2 or 3, I was in my “happy pace”- somewhere around 8:40 and 8:45.

I honestly can’t tell you too much specifically about what was going through my head during the race.  I got to a certain point where I completely zoned out.  I didn’t even see my friends at Mile 6 until they were practically right in front of my face.  But I looked up and there they were- so I shouted a happy shout of some decibel and it made me smile for a bit. :)

Here are a few things I do remember:

– People start to smell bad at around four or five miles.  This really bugged me.  Then I realized I probably smell just as bad.  So I was ok with it.  Because I’m no hypocrite.

– Watch where you run while going past water stops.  Most people were really considerate about throwing cups to the side.  But when you’re on the side, those cups are coming straight at you.

– I wonder where Guiliana Rancic is right now?  I saw her earlier at the start… when does she actually run?  What if she passes me?  Would it be weird to try and strike up a conversation?  Maybe they’re taping it and I could be on E!.

– I studied quite a few tattoos on the backs/arms of people I was behind.  And wondered the story behind them.

– Ahhhh… once we were on the lakefront, the breeze was seriously CLUTCH.

– Ahhhh Gu.  I hope they have Vanilla.  I can’t do the fruity stuff… I can see myself hurling right then and there.  Oh good- they have vanilla.

– My friends… where are my friends? I know they’re gonna be here around Mile 12… oh!  There they are!  (Seriously, at Mile 12 I was starting to drag, so seeing them jumping up and down and screaming got me to pick it up a lot for the last mile.  For this I thank them!)

– My favorite sign along the race sidelines ended with “that’s what she said”.  Yessssss.

– I have never been so excited to see a finish line in all my life (or the year and a half I’ve been doing official races- same thing).

I was smiling when I crossed the finish line.  Because I wanted this SO BAD. I proved to myself that I’m a runner.  And that I can do anything I set my mind to (Isn’t that the corniest thing ever?  But so true!).

Running for me is a break from my day.  It’s time that is mine and only mine.  It’s something I do to make myself healthier and stronger as an independent woman taking care of herself.  It’s something I’m good at and am constantly working at to improve.  Running keeps me healthy both physically and mentally. I could not be happier that I found it.  And can continue to enjoy it.

For all of you who run, why do you do it?  And for those of you who want to start- just get out there and go!  All it takes is a few small steps and a little will.  It will take you a long way.  Maybe even 13.1 miles if you feel like it.  🙂

August 3, 2010

Still Fast

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:00

Whoa there: 2 posts on 2 consecutive days?! Craziness. And a relatively short post (at least going by word count)? Double craziness.

But first: the song that’s stuck in my head today? And the song that I pray is on the radio every time I turn it on? Don’t judge.

Oh Enrique ❤

Thanks for all your kind words about my stress and everything.  It means a lot to keep hearing you guys say you have faith in my abilities to take this test.  I definitely need all the confidence boosting I can get. So keep bringing it 🙂

Anyway I took what might be my last full length test this morning.  UGH.  It went okay but still: this whole summer I really haven’t seen much improvement.  Which, not going to lie, is discouraging.  But I think I need to relax, get some sleep and trust that I can do it.  Very hard to do when I have so much riding on this.

But enough about that (and yay I only devoted a few sentences to it haha)

I think I mentioned yesterday or in some previous post that New England has been having a wicked awesome cool front rolling through and that the highs haven’t been so high and the lows have been pretty low.  Which has been great for my running.  After running through some really hot and humid days in July the drop in temperature has been great.  Of course I realize that some of you might now hate me for saying that but whatever.  I’m in New England.  The weather is likely to change within the next 5 minutes.

But the point of me bragging on the weather is that yesterday I had the fastest run in forever (that wasn’t a race or speed session) and I’m pretty sure the weather influenced that.  I did 7 miles in 55:55 minutes (and as a numbers person I love all the 5s).  56 minutes would have been 8 pace even and 55:53 would have been 7:59 pace even so I’m annoyed that I wasn’t 2 seconds faster to get that “even second”.  But still.  I’m pumped.

It was definitely a “stars are aligned” type of run. The weather, my mood, my legs.  Everything just seemed to be in sync and I was gliding (I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot lately?).  I had spent around 4 or 5 hours that morning in the library and when I got home I just felt like I needed to *run*.  So run I did.

It was also a run where I was sleep deprived which likely contributed to the fastness because of my illogical logic on that topic.

I actually did something I *never* do during a run: checked my watch during it.  And I saw that I was running fast.  Thus making me happy and thus probably making me run faster.  Not fast enough for those pesky two seconds but whatever.

And, since that practice test took all morning, I haven’t run yet today.  I’m hoping for the same effect as I need to get some work done and be productive today too.  And I probably should head out soon and try to dodge potential thunderstorms.  I hate having to wait until the afternoon to run in the summer just because the chance of storms increases so much.

On the bright side: if I get struck by lightning I won’t have to take my test 😛

And on another running note: I may have a marathon to do this fall?  I got an email from the Amica Marathon peeps (Newport RI) about something random but it kind of put the idea in my head that an October marathon (the 16th) could work.  The timing is awkward though.  Despite knowing I have the base to do it, having only 2.5 months to really train wouldn’t be that bad, but I still want a winter marathon.

Unfortunately I’m in New England.  That’s not going to happen.   There is a marathon on the Cape in February but since I pretty much know that I’m going to do Boston in the spring that doesn’t seem advisable.  I did want to run Disney but financially that’s just not going to happen (HELLO VISTA POVERTY) and I don’t really know if I can handle the cost of both Boston and any other marathon.  It’s already going to be tough to do the half and 10k I want.

Hmmmm decisions decisions.   Hope you guys have a great rest of your week.  I’m actually leaving for vacation on Thursday and probably won’t be able to post until next week as the next couple of days before leaving are going to be a big studyfest (although by the scattered brain nature of this post and how my day is already going, I think my brain already is on vacay).  And when I get back I might not be able to post due to MCAT freak out mode. But rest assured that I’m still alive and I’ll have some surprises for you when I’m gone 😉

And Jess is having a giveaway so check it out.

August 2, 2010

Monthly Recap: July 2010

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

Wait, really? August already?! I honestly feel like I was just typing out June’s monthly recap.  I wish months like February would go this fast and it has less days to boot! Guess the nice weather makes time just flyyyyy.  It’s like that Einstein quote

Put your hand on a hot burner for a minute and it feels like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it feels like a minute

Anyway.

Before I get into my recap I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who commented on my stressed out post.  It was just one of those days where everything seemed to come crashing down.  I really hate how all or nothing things can be sometimes.  But I’m on the upswing and, while still very stressed out, there are some really amazing people in my real life ( as well as you guys in my blog life!) who really stepped up and took care of me when I needed it. 🙂

Since then I’ve taken *another* full length practice test.  I actually took it on Saturday and it officially marks the end of everything I have to do with my course.  Yippee.  Now that in no way means that I’m done.  I’m taking another practice test on Tuesday and still studying my butt off, but knowing that all the “have to”s are done is nice.  The results of this past test were…interesting.  Science scores are easy to keep boosting so I keep making great progress there but my Verbal score is pretty stagnant.

Not a bad thing per se (because I’m okay with the actual score if that’s what I get on test day) but it’s discouraging to not see tangible improvement.  That said, I do have new study tactics that, while they haven’t been around long enough to pay dividends yet, I’m already feeling good about.  After taking 5 practices I’m comfortable with the length of time it takes (aka I sit on my butt for 5.5 hours!) and the format (and hopefully the material too haha) but I need to work on my pacing in certain areas.  Wow another parallel with my running! I think I can make anything related to my running haha (Again, sorry to dedicate so much space to the MCAT but it’s the most pressing thing on my mind right now.)

And the literal physical running has been going GREAT.  Seriously seriously great.  My average daily run paces continue to get fast while maintaining the easy effort that I’ve always been putting in.  Some great stuff here.  Part of it might be the *amazing* weather here in New England (would you hate me if I said the highs the past few days have only been in the upper 70s? It felt cold! And the lows have been in the upper40s.  Ummmm I slept with a comforter to keep me warm) but I also know that the reduced mileage is a very large part of running fast and effortlessly too.

Speaking of….here is the month of July in review:

Week of June 28 –  July 4

  • 130.8 Miles
  • 18 Hours 43 Minutes 36 Seconds
  • 8:36 Pace
  • 4X Core, 1X Lifting, 0 XT

Soooo about that whole cutting back? In fairness I didn’t realize that cutting back needed to happen until the very end of June so this week is inflated by that.  This was also the week that I dominated that 5M.  Woot.  Way happy about that despite the mileage being so high. AKA the most miles I’ve run in a single week. Ever. Did I mention I’m not training for anything?

Week of July 5 – July 11

  • 111.1 Miles
  • 16 Hours 7 Minutes 25 Seconds
  • 8:43 Pace
  • 3X Core, 2X Lifting, 0 XT

Mmmmmhhhhmmmmm.  So clearly I was lying to myself when I said July was going to start with a cut back! In fairness I did cut back the first 2 days of the month.  Apparently, though, I picked right back up where I left off! While it was 20 miles less than the week before I don’t think it was nearly enough to really be considered cutting back.  I do like how I managed to get to the gym to lift twice though.

Week of July 12 – July 18

  • 59.6 Miles
  • 8 Hours 48 Minutes 20 Seconds
  • 8:52 Pace
  • 1 Core, 0 Lifting, 0 XT

Hello Philly! As expected my mileage took a hit.  Not that I’m complaining really: something needed to force me to stop running so darn much.  I got to run with Flo which was a highlight of the trip and do some Philly exploring in the early hours of the morning.  My pace was a bit slower than previous weeks but I’m okay with that because I was on vacay.  I also dropped doing core work and have yet to start up again.  Oops.

Week of July 19 – July 25

  • 56.4 Miles
  • 7 Hours 58 Minutes 59 Seconds
  • 8:30 Pace
  • 0 Core, 0 Lifting, 0 XT

Wowza to that pace.  Another week of treating my legs better and the runs became even more fluid and fast.  Unfortunately because all the runs looked the same (just easy going mid-distance stuff) I actually stopped writing down comments in my log book! So all I have is the raw numbers hahah.  But suffice it to say I was probably pretty stoked to have that pace and I do remember looking at my watch after several runs and shaking my head in awe.

Week of July 26-August 1

  • 60.0 Miles
  • 8 Hours 23 Minutes 7 Seconds
  • 8:23 Pace
  • 0 Core, 0 Lifting, 0 XT

So my average pace keeps dropping? Pretty effing sweet. Since this week was pretty crazy in terms of studying (this was the week that I was just flooded with every little thing that could go wrong doing so) I don’t really have much to say about the runs themselves.  Also goes back to what I’ve been saying all this week about my runs just being boring overall.  Exciting stuff to look at in terms of trends, just not very fascinating day to day.

Month of July

  • 354.5 Miles
  • 50 Hours 54 Minutes 49 Seconds
  • 8:37 Pace

Obviously not June.  But that’s okay.  In fact I’m a little shocked that my miles are as high as they are given how “low” the past 3 weeks have been.  Guess everything is just relative.  I’m also shocked (and SO PUMPED) at that monthly average pace.  8:37?! That’s a solid 7.0 on a TM. Hollllllllerrrrrrrrr.

I’m also happy that I was able to break the cycle of doing more-more-more.  While I don’t think it was really hurting me, in hindsight I can definitely say that it wasn’t for the best.  Maybe if I was training for a big huge long event.  But I wasn’t.  I’m still in search of a marathon for the late fall/winter so it’s very good that I’m backing off now if I end up ramping it up in the future.

So what’s next?

I know lots of you set goals at the beginnings of the month and whatnot.  I’ve thought about that.   And while I don’t have any concrete goals that I’m going to make sure I hit ( at least for running.  Hello MCAT? Hello moving?)  I do want to try and make speed work happen this month.  I’ve lamented over and over how I’m not racing BUT there’s a race in NH (the half that I want to do with Lacey ) and then a 5k in Providence that I might want to do; I’ve been getting their emails since I ran it last year but haven’t seriously considered it yet ($$ being the issue).  Not to mention the Tufts 10k in October.  I want to smash some records this fall and planting the speed work rewards into my muscles now will likely pay off big.

Oh yeah.  And some core + lifting might be a good thing too.  Maybe today?

And I guess I do have a “wishy-washy” goal for this month too (aka a goal that’s not really concrete or tangible): chill the eff out.  I’ve been so stressed that it’s been way hard for me to find time for myself.  I’ve gotten better at it lately (reading, seeing friends) buttttt it’s something I’ll likely need to work on for the rest of my life.  This month I am taking a vacay…well I was going to say next week but I leave on Thursday. So I’m leaving soon.  That’ll be fun.  And once my test is over and I’m moved my life might be introduced to this concept called fun again. It’ll be a good thing to be at a job and not have to be “on” 24/7 like I was at school.  I’m definitely looking forward to that  🙂

Well this is getting long and I need to hit the books some more.  But in terms of what I mean by “chill the eff out” here’s my new most favoritest picture that was taken on the Philly trip with the girls 🙂

Drunk. Happy. Hott. ❤

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