MarathonMaiden's Blog

June 24, 2010

As Many Things As I Want Thursday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:15

Soooooooo I’m kind of liking the Three Four As Many Things As I Want Thursday.  I don’t think I did it last week but whatever. I’m feeling a bit lazy today.  Or just too busy to really think of anything creative. Or maybe I just like the bullet style 🙂

But first (and I’m not counting this as one of my Four Billion Things) I’m really glad that you guys agree with the whole “Tell Yourself You’re Awesome” deal-io.  I know it’s kind of a “heavy” topic or at least a more personal one for a blog, and I debated a bit before hitting publish, but worth it to get it out there that dealing with insecurities with running is NORMAL. It happens to everyone and, to beat a dead horse, I think there was an article awhile ago about Kara Goucher having lots of self-doubts.  So we’re in good company 🙂

I also think that on some level, that having small insecurities is a good thing because it shows that there is passion and a sense of *caring* involved.  If you’re so confident that you’re going to do well or awesome or amazing then, at some level, what’s the point of even trying?  Sometimes the fact that I don’t know if I can complete a run is just fuel to go out there and do it.

Okay so now my Four Things.  It did start out with four but then I decided to add more.  Because it’s been a way to procrastinate on my studying.  Oops.

  • Last night I decided to call it an early night of studying and went to a BBQ.  I think technically it was a housewarming party for my friend? Buttttt it wasn’t at her new place.  So I was a bit confused.  But a night out with the girls is always appreciated.  Drinking + farm stand ice cream (her family runs a state park) + good music = dance party.  Can I get some love for the dance party?
  • My toes still feel weird.  And I’m still not quite sure what it is .  A couple people suggested that my shoes are too tight but I would have thought it would result in blisters if that was the case.  This is more that the tendons and muscles are sore and almost tender-like.  Jess made a really good point that I’ve been trying to run on my toes a bit more (it makes me feel and go a bit faster I think. Maybe it’s all mental.  I will say that it takes so much effort to do so though despite the more powerful feeling)
  • Plus these shoes I’ve been wearing for….well I think the term “awhile” is an understatement 😛  But maybe rather than being too small they’re just worn out. LeSigh. I have given consideration to the fact that I’ve been running A LOT lately.  Like practically marathon training weeks.  It’s almost embarrassing how much I’m running lately. Therefore…
  • I need to plan some races.  Yes I love running but lately I’ve just been running for the sake of running.  Which was fine post-Boston but Boston was kind of a long time ago.  I need to regain some speed.  It’s not like I’m not thinking about it.  Pretty much on every run I go on I’m like “Damn.  I should do something fast today.  But then I get settled into a pace.  And no fastness occurs.  I’m pretty sure having a race on the docket would change that but hey, I’m too lazy to do some actual searching.  I should hire a personal assistant or something.
  • I also need a vacation.  Seriously.  I have job training in Philly during July and probably will stay with a friend for a couple extra days after but I want a tropical island vacation.  Or actually anything that isn’t where I am now.  Sadly my schedule is so tight this summer that it’s going to be hard to do.  But not impossible.  Kind of as a tangent to racing, I’ve been toying with the idea of a destination race.  Likely a marathon because it just doesn’t seem right to travel and do anything less.  I’m totally open to suggestions and, while I am starting a year of poverty service in August I’m not going to be really picky about cost.  Wow. Those are words I never thought I’d say.  Thoughts?
  • I actually am wearing sunscreen right now.  Well maybe not as I think I sweated it all off on my run just a few moments ago.  But I’ve been waking up recently and the first thing I see are two scars on my chest from getting two *atypical* moles removed recently and I realized I needed to just suck it up and wear the stupid sunscreen.  Skin cancer is probably one of the, if not THE, most preventable cancer due to sun exposure which is in our control.  I need to smarten up and make sunscreen the first thing I put on everyday.
  • My second run went well yesterday and was incredibly faster than the first 7 miler.  I ran the same route as the morning run just to see what kind of difference I could produce.  It was about a 5 minute difference.  Hollllleeeerrrrrr.  And my run this afternoon was a lovely 8 miler that was, oh I don’t know, 8:22 pace.  Where is this coming from? I still think I’m dehydrated, sleep deprived and stressed out though.  Maybe that should be my new math equation to good running 😉
  • I’m stealing this one from Ada because I really liked it: What are the 10 countries in the world that only have 4 letters in them? I got 5 of ’em before I had to resort to google.  And she posted the answers in a recent post so you can cheat that way if you want 😉

So much for Three Things ahahah.  Maybe I should have majored in English or Writing rather than Physics. Hope everyone enjoy their Thursdays 🙂 And here are two pictures of me and Jess when she was here in Boston over the weekend.

We look incredibly put together for having run 9 miles!

And again. We look really put together. And awesome 🙂

June 23, 2010

Because Clearly I Am Awesome

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:31

This is a bit random and there really isn’t any context for me wanting to bring it up. I don’t think it’s any secret that I struggle a bit with confidence issues.  This week has been pretty tough in that department and I feel a little beaten up.  MCAT studying and running had been kind of hit or miss lately. So imagine my surprise when I found this quote in my inbox:

Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things.
Joe Paterno, Head football coach of Penn State University

And it gave me chills.  Because it was just what my friends have been telling me lately and exactly what I needed to see. After my MCAT class Tuesday night I headed over to my friends house to chill and she gave me a pep talk that bears repeating (and it really stuck with me so I’m 99.99% sure this is verbatim): “Listen I know that you don’t believe that you’re hot, smart, funny, fast or awesome.  And I know that you pull away from anything or anyone that tells you this.  But I’m going to be the doctor now and write you a prescription.  Every hour on the hour I need to you say OUT LOUD that “I am freaking awesome”.  It’s like Nazi propaganda: if you say something enough times you’ll believe it to be true

No joke about that last part.  It’s true.  Saying something enough times will eventually turn it into a truth.  Maybe not the best analogy because Nazi propaganda was based in lies and I’m pretty sure she was trying to tell me that my “lies” are actually truth.  But I think she’d been drinking and I’ll forgive her for that one.  She’s also making me a copy of her “pump up” mix, which is something she listens too before big events like presentations and whatnot. I’m actually pretty excited for that one.

So I guess my prescription is an apt one.  It’s not like I’m wallowing in self-pity or anything.  Totally not the case but every once in awhile life gets extra tough and tries to knock you down.  It can lead into a snowball effect and it’s good to get a verbal reminder from inside that you’re awesome.  So I challenge YOU to tell yourself that you’re amazing and awesome and the world’s best person 🙂

Something not so awesome though? My toes.

And I just re-read that transition and my first thought was: “Oh snap another toe infection?” hahah NO.

For some reason the spot where my toes connect to my actual feet is feeling achy.  I discovered it Saturday night because I have this awkward/nervous habit of rising up on my toes, the way a dancer would, when I feel awkward (and trust me this happens a lot.  MM is a very awkward chick) which then stretches that spot.  And I really felt like tendons/muscles were being pulled and stretched.  Very weird and I’m not quite sure what to chalk it up to.  I was thinking too many miles on my shoes but the pair I’m in now has *only* 1021 miles and I’m not feeling the usual shin splits pain of worn out shoes so I’m my wallet is hoping to still get more.

Neither is my running suffering as a result.  Since my last post I got in

  • 8.3 miles on Monday.  Okay so maybe not the greatest example of good running.  I think the dehydration I was talking about occurring Saturday and Sunday was still in effect as I had the worst stomach/intestinal pain ever.  It felt as though daggers were stabbing me in the gut. Granted the pain subsided after 2 or so miles but  I really have no idea how I got through them.  I’m stubborn I guess.  Or a masochist.  Either way I did the miles @ 8:55 pace which felt miraculous given how I felt at the beginning.
  • Lifting and 10 Tuesday.  I’ve fallen out of love with lifting lately.  When my alarm went off that morning I wanted to throw it against the wall.  But once I’m up there’s no falling back asleep blahh. So I drug my butt to the gym.  I’m actually pretty happy that I did because I was offered to work a couple shifts coming up.  Makes me feel a little better about using the gym for free and not even having a small regular shift like summers past.  The 10 miles I did before my class were pretty great.  I only had planned on going 6 or 7 but I just felt on. It was very humid out and VERY hard to breathe at first but I just got into a groove.
  • 2 X 7 miles Wednesday.  Well that’s the plan at least.  I was woken up by my 14 year old brother at 0755 saying that I needed to drive him to work at 0800.  So much for sleeping in.  Once I got back to the house I figured that I’d skip my mid-day run and just get something in before settling down to run.  Surprisingly this run was really good.  Maybe the whole waking up mid-sleep cycle thing? Aside from the first 5 minutes or so the rest of the run felt effortless and gliding.  And summer truly must be here because it was sports bra and shorts only weather at 0800.  I know that many of you have worse weather but I’m not ready for 80* with ~75% humidity that early.

I”m actually getting ready to head out for the second 7 miler soon.  Just need to finish up a section on solution equilibria. Yes my life is the most exciting thing ever.  Hopefully the run will feel just as great as my morning run did.  Or better. That would be pretty awesome.  Fitting for an awesome person 😛

April 13, 2010

Cleared To Go

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:30

Yes you read that right.  And some of you may be scratching your heads. At least when it comes to the real reason behind the title of this post.

I had a doctor’s appointment today to make sure it was 100% okay for me to be running 26.2 miles on Monday.  With all the stress going on in my life, physical and emotional, I honestly wasn’t sure if I was ready to run.  I know that part of that is the taper talking: who hasn’t had doubts with 6 days to go?

But because I’m a paranoid freak I made a doctor’s appointment to check out:

  • Shins duh they’ve been bugging me on and off for awhile.  Pain free now with one PT session to go before the race and I’ve got one scheduled for post-race in case anything major happens
  • Toe Because the infection was so serious.  Good news though: the infection is 100% gone and now all that’s left is ugly damaged tissue. It looks hideous and scary but there’s nothing wrong with it.
  • Electrolytes and other lab work I’m on some serious antibiotics right now that are really dehydrating.  I’m obviously upping my water intake but I was worried that things would be out of whack.  Not the case though

I was having serious anxiety over all these things.  I probably didn’t *need* to go but my brain wouldn’t rest until I had the proof (I am a scientist after all) and hard data to tell me that it’s okay. I still haven’t even ordered the jacket yet or made plans for the weekend because I didn’t want to jinx myself. But guess what I’m doing tonight?! Haha (By the way I still have no idea on sizing and fit.  Or whether I should get a man or woman one. Help?)

And just to fend off some worries you might have: this appointment was 100% voluntary and to silence my own doubts. There wasn’t any event that caused me to rush into the office.  Just my own brain and confidence (or lack thereof). I even had a dream that I had to pull out of the race on Sunday night.  That was how high my anxiety level was.  I started to cry because I was wound so tight when I got the go ahead.

But enough about that.  My mind can now rest (somewhat) easy the next few days that I can handle the 26.2 miles.  Or at least when I have doubts I can battle them with concrete facts.

Like on my run today which was on the slow side.  It wasn’t very long (just a few miles to blow off some steam) but my legs weren’t feeling very springy.  I highly suspect that my 100% voluntary rest day (as opposed to rest days that I’ve taken off for injury or my toe which are really the only rest days I take) is to blame.  I firmly believe in Newton’s First Law: A body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest.  Okay, I may take things to the extreme with all running all the time but I’m a huge proponent in moving EVERY DAY.  So to do nothing yesterday (while I’m sure my legs overall are happy and are storing those carbs) really made today really hard.  Even getting out of bed to go to class.  But, like I said, my legs need to soak up energy and training to race is different than moving to live day-to-day.  So I’m not too upset about the lack of  pep in my step today. When I think back to my last taper I don’t remember my legs feeling very springy either and that’s comforting.

Also comforting is that recognizing that my lack of nerves or excitement over the race is normal for me too.  I honestly do not have those butterflies that others get in the days before a race.  One of my good friends reminded my the other day that this is how I was during the days leading up to my debut marathon last spring.  But once I got to the race and could feed off the crowd things changed.  So I’m anticipating more of the same.  Especially since I’m not going to be on my own this year.

Yes so many people are running Boston that I’m sure I’ll be even more amped that usual on race day.  Lots of people from the marathon daily forum at RWOL as well as a bunch of bloggers.  Plus a bunch of my friends are skipping their morning classes to come see me. One of them even downloaded the spectator’s guide for the marathon to set herself up in prime seeing spots.  And my PT place is having a banner at Heartbreak Hill AND my doc (the one I saw today) will be there as well (on her own not with the office or anything).  I also think some of my family is coming, my sister is even skipping an exam!

And I know that I’ll have you guys rooting for me (or at least I hope so haha).  Gosh I’m getting all sentimental here 😉

Okay I know this is getting lengthy — per usual BUT I was tagged from MarathonMummy with

So the point is to say 7 things about yourself and then tag a bunch of people. But I’ve done these posts so much in the past that I think I’m running out of new things to say to you! So here are the links to things similar to this that I’ve done in the past and I tag anyone who wants to do this because over the course of these things I’ve likely tagged all y’all

Kreativ Blogger Award from 3-October 2009

Beautiful Blogger Award from 13 – January 2010

Gorgeous Blogger Award AND Creative Writer Award from 28-February2010

Oh and before I forget: thanks for the suggestions re: Open Office. I did download when I got my computer back per suggestion of the Geek Squad but I HATE the way it looks and feels. Maybe I’m just not used to it yet? I have the feeling that I’m going to end up spending the $$ to get Office.  Because I’m a name-brand brat like that 😛

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Tuesday.  It’s LOST tonight.  And it’s starring Hurley.  I’ve been so impressed with the past 4 weeks of episodes that I really didn’ t have any doubts that tonight would be a good one but it’s also Hurley.  So I’m anticipating fantastico stuff! 🙂

February 27, 2010

Slow and Fast: Let’s Light a Fire

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:45

Mmmmmmmmm. I’m sipping a “rich milk chocolate” carnation instant breakfast and it is soooo tasty.  I’m not the biggest chocolate fan but there’s something about long run days that make these shakes sooooo yummy!

Hahaha guess that was a random way to start my post but leads to the perfect segue into my long run today (because those guys taste sooo good for some reason on a long run day).  To be 100% honest I wasn’t sure if I was up to it this morning.  The lack of sleeping really has started to build up and despite getting 8 hours last night I was still very groggy! As I was getting caught up in 24 and Psych I could feel my eyes being really heavy.

I did some stretching to loosen up my calves and hamstrings while I watched because they, yet again, were WICKED tight when I got up. I think it was a result of having very intense speed workout sessions this week (plus dealing with the shin thing) It felt good though and before I knew it the time had come for me to set out on the long run.

And LONG was right. Kind of the trend for the day seeing that it’s already so late and I’m looking at a long night. Where does the time go?

But back to the run.  I was slightly less worried about bathroom issues this week because, even though I knew they would happen, last week was amazing in going 20 miles without having to stop.  So I knew that come race day I’d likely be good too which takes the pressure and worry off. And sure enough my bladder was full quickly into the run. How quickly? About a half mile.  For real.  Gahhh.  But I told myself that it was mental at that point and plowed on.

Well it wasn’t because the feeling stayed for the first 11 or so miles until I came to a DD.  The funny/interesting thing is that I tried to distract myself from my bladder but all I could think about was drinking water, the rain that we were supposed to get (and obviously didn’t.  NONE.  Not that I’m really complaining here but c-mon weatherpeople!), milk in cereal, the soda that I was going to enjoy post-run.  Anything liquid and it was on my mind.  Obviously didn’t help the cause.

And  it slowed me down HARDCORE.  This was the same loop that I had run two weeks ago (and had to stop at the same DD) and I was about 6 minutes slower than the previous time.  But I knew that the slowness was related to bladder, tight muscles, lack of sleep, amazing intervals AND tempo etc. so while I’m loathe to make excuses (and I don’t see myself listing that stuff as such) I wasn’t really all that upset over the slowness.  Because I knew what to expect there and I definitely wasn’t feeling fast. Doesn’t mean I liked it but I understood.

After the bathroom break the pace picked up too. Maybe relief from my bladder, maybe a subconscious effort to salvage the pace.  Because, while I try to practice the whole don’t-judge-my-pace thing, I suck at being non-judgmental of myself.

So when I finished the first loop and saw how slow I was, I was really disgusted with myself. Terrible, right? I realize now how silly it was to feel that way but I want this blog to be honest and that’s honestly how I felt.  Even after saying I understood why I was slow it still stung a bit.

For the second loop I knew I wanted to push the pace for real.  My plan had actually called for a race this weekend so I figured that if my legs could give a race effort for the last 6-7 miles then I should try and do that.

And it worked. Kind of.  I’m not quite sure what kind of race pace I was suppose to give (still don’t in fact haha) but it ended up being GMP.  So I’m quite pleased that I was able to end on a strong and happy note. My legs ached in that amazing way: the you-gave-it-all-you-had. So I think that the pace ended up being appropriate for the length I was doing.

Here are the stats to let the numbers speak for themselves:

  • Loop 1: 12.7 miles. 121.58 minutes. 9:36 pace
  • Loop 2:   6.6 miles. 53.07 minutes. 8:00 pace (YAY! GMP!)
  • Total distance: 19.3 miles
  • Total time: 175:05 minutes
  • Average pace: 9:04

So clearly I was able to salvage the overall pace.  And as a numbers person that will likely always be very important to me.  Making it a bit displeasing that the first loop was really slow for me.  That’s recovery range not LR. But overall I was able to make this workout a workout.  I was able to pick it up and finish strong.  And that’s important to me.  I didn’t just accept that I was running slow and resign myself to it.  I lit a fire under my ass and charged.

And I know that the factors I listed above (tight muscles, lack of sleep, bladder, 2 amazing quality workouts already this week) surely played a role but I have to ponder my motivation for the long run.  It used to be my favorite run of the week.  A chance where I could see how far I could run.  I would get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it.  No more though.

I think as a result of me running so many miles I’ve become jaded with the long run.  I know that I could bang out a 15 mile run tomorrow no problem.  I wouldn’t even have to think about it.  So no butterflies because I know I’m capable and I trust that I can because I’ve been doing it for so long. It’s not hard or a challenge anymore. I don’t even have to bat an eye. (And please don’t eye roll and think What a tough problem to have haha 😛 )

Totally different from my interval and tempo sessions.  I get VERY nervous for those suckers.  I have less of a trust that my body can be pushed faster and faster.  So the butterflies are there.  And we’re talking some big ass suckers. But I think that it’s part of the reason I’m starting to like my speed work more than the LR.  Because I “dread” it more. Hahaha

Yeah so I don’t really know where I’m going with that train of thought. It’s obviously not very well flushed out but it was something I was thinking about.  I don’t really know if there’s a solution per se or, for that matter, if it’s really a problem.  I don’t hate the LR by any means.  And after having such a great one for the past two weeks, and even ending today the way I did, clearly I get pumped up by it.  But only after the fact.  I guess I’m just getting jaded.  Any tips or games I can play with my LR to make them go back to the way they were?

Wow. Kind of a deep topic for a Saturday night. And a long post too (I always say to myself that I’m not going to write a novel but then I go ahead and do.  Oops!).  Guess that’s what happens when I need a break for a physics lab. I don’t even know if people read my blog over the weekend! (And I can see the stats and the readership does drop off from Friday to Sunday haha).  But I’ll just throw it out there, think about it more and come back later I suppose 🙂

On a lighter note: check out the giveaway from Tricia. Great stuff.

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