MarathonMaiden's Blog

April 20, 2010

Boston Marathon 2010: Race Report

Filed under: Race Report — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 09:00

Warning: Very long. Like beyond normal long.  Haha.  But I’m trying to type a lot of this up Monday night.  My eyes are bleary (so sorry for any typing / grammatical stuff — although correct it as it’s going as a race report link!), 24 is almost on but I want to get lots of this out while it’s still fresh.  And clearly I have a lot to say. Like always 🙂

BUT thanks for all your support.  I really feel like you guys have my back, have felt my pain and felt my good times too. Y’all are awesome! It was so amazing reading your comments here, FB messages, RWOL comments and emails.  Granted I read all of them post race but I felt so loved and cared for!

So many emotions going through me right now.

And somewhat surprisingly disappointment isn’t the first.

Sheer happiness and exuberance is. I don’t think I’ve smiled or had as much fun as I did today. Seriously.  I was smiling the whole damn 26.2 miles. No joke.

But let me back up and make you read my report before you see how I did.  Although I know many of you from other networking sites so you likely already know. Especially since there were many who decided to let it out how I did before me. Jerks.  Can’t be too mad though because it just means everyone was excited 😉

And sorry for the lack of pictures.  I think I set the bar too high after my expo post.

Last night was pure hell.  Mentally I was playing games with myself.  Not that I didn’t train hard enough (obviously that wasn’t the case given my monster monthS) but that I trained too hard.  My doctor and I have concluded that I am WAY overtrained and that along with the culmination of my shin splints (an obvious overuse thing given how late they cropped up) made me worry.  And I’m not going to lie, as I was packing my stuff and laying out my race outfit I was thinking that I really shouldn’t even run. For real.  Those thoughts crossed my mind.

But they were just fears and there was no way I was NOT going to run. So I set my alarm for 0514, ate some saltines, hopped into a hot shower to shave then hopped into bed at 2200.  Later than I would have liked (I wanted time off my feet), but even then I had to read for 45 minutes or so before I was anywhere near ready to nod off.

The 6 or so hours that I was asleep passed uneventfully.  A good thing unlike a week ago when I had a dream that the ax was coming down from my doctor and I had to pull out.

I pretty much jumped out of bed and set about getting stuff 100% ready to leave. And I also committed a racing sin: I tried something new on race day.  Actually a few things food-wise but this was number one: I ate a *slightly* different breakfast.  I wasn’t worried though because, although my stomach is finicky, it’s mostly annoyed with timing rather than the type of food.  So as long as I finished eating ~2 hours before the start I knew I was good.  Plus my bowels have been wicked regular lately thanks to a hefty dose of antibiotics.  Oops if TMI there.

Unlike many runners I was lucky to get mi madre to drive me to Hopkington. I live ~40 minutes away from it so it made more sense than traveling into the city only to travel out of it. We needed to leave by 0615 in order to make sure she got out of the town before the roads got shut down.

Oh and I made a pre-Boston mix.  I made it a bit on the long side but these are the songs that I listened to on the drive:

  • Walk This Way. Aerosmith
  • I Got A Feeling. Black Eyed Peas
  • Mr. Policeman. Brad Paisely
  • Crazy Bitch. Buckeye Cherry
  • Crazy Dreams. Carrie Underwood
  • Rocky Road to Dublin. Dropkick Murphys
  • Crazy Town. Jason Aldean
  • Tik Tok. Ke$ha
  • Bad Romance. Lady Gaga
  • Electric Feel. MGMT

And as I left the comfort of my mom’s car I was signing that last one.  Which I am obsessed with at the moment so it was a good thing.

I didn’t bring my camera with me (too paranoid about me losing it) so I don’t have any pictures of the Athlete’s village.  Nor did I think to bring any magazines seeing as how I got there so early.  But it was okay.  Time actually passed pretty quickly.  Surprising given how cold I was.  I was very happy I layered up! Note on the weather: ~42* at the start.  ~58* at the finish. Slight tail-wind.  Partly cloudy.  Couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Around 0930 Alison and Donna, whom I know from RW, showed up and we hung out (mostly in the bathroom lines ha!) until race time.  It was awesome to meet them after so much chatting on RW!

Around 1015 we headed to the start (I was in wave 2 with the 1030 start).  I decided to jump back a corral to hang with Alison.  It’s chip timing so I wasn’t worried about my time and both of us were nursing injuries and planned to start out conservatively. And I remember joking around how the elite women were likely halfway by then HA.

The first mile was 8:45 which is faster than I went out last year in Providence.  But no pain from the shins and I was feeling good.  Mile 2 was about 8:10 which felt good but I knew that it was downhill.  At this point Alison and I parted ways and I tried to soak up the experience. I still wasn’t sure what I could expect from myself but I knew that I needed to actually race like I wrote yesterday.

Miles 1-10 were about the same.  Just trying to lock in a solid pace that would put me in a good position to stay strong throughout.  There were the typical early mile doubts of whether I could do it.  Nothing to make me seriously consider pulling out or anything.  But knowing you have so much left isn’t comforting.  At all. I don’t have the splits but I did check my watch after every mile which isn’t something I normally do.  I know I passed mile 10 in 1:23.xx.  Right on tap to BQ again. Which was a pleasant thought.

Around the halfway point I passed through Wellesley.  And man, everything they say about those girls is right.  It was AWESOME to have them SCREAMING at you.  And to read some of their signs was hilarious.  All variations on the same theme “Kiss Me I’m…” My favorite? “Kiss me I’m not going to tell your wife”

So they gave me a boost.  And knowing you’re halfway there is a boost in and of itself.  My split at the half? Roughly 1:48.  Slightly under BQ pace.  Excellent.

Post-Wellesley I don’t remember much until Newton. Until mile 17. And the only reason that sticks out is because Powerbar was giving out gels. I don’t do gels but it was a reminder to take a small Larabar for fuel.  I wasn’t sure if I needed it but it was late in the game and figured an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  The flavor I had was Lemon Zest.  And it tasted pretty good.

And yes, this was food mistake two.  I trained pretty improperly but never taking in fuel or water during any of my training runs.  But granola-like substances have always been good to my stomach so when I packed them I wasn’t worried.

Then came Newton.  Apparently there are 4 of them that start at mile 18 and culminate with Heartbreak at mile 21.  I honestly didn’t notice the first one until the guy next to me said “One down 3 to go”.  The next one wasn’t really a hill in my eyes, at least the uphill.  The downhill was rough.  I blame it on the lack of hills in my area and relying on the TM for ’em.  No downhills on that sucker.  The third was a bit tougher but it was the Comm Ave hill that I ran with Lacey back in January. Which was cool that I’d already done it.  Even Heartbreak wasn’t that bad.  There was a guy with a mike up at the top celebrating all of us for getting to the top which was cool.  (And Lacey: bummer you missed me! And that I missed you! I was so looking forward from miles 15-20 to seeing you and having you help pace me.)

And he telling us that the rest (~5.2) was all downhill from there.  Lies.  Because any slight incline was agony to me.  Not any type of sharp pain but the aches that come with running 21 miles and running them hard.  I don’t have mile splits for these guys but glancing at the mile clocks was telling me that I was around 8:00-8:30 pace.   And I know that at mile 20 my time was 2:45.xx.  Which made me happy.  Sure I pretty much knew that my “A” goal was unattainable but I was fairly confident that if I could hold pace or slightly increase then a PR was possible.

But those last 5.2 miles were agony.  I took a Peanut Butter Cookie LaraBar around mile 23 and just gutted it out.  I have no idea if I slowed down / by how much but the effort to keep going was so great.  My hips were starting to get really sore and it became a mental game of “just get to the next mile” and “only X left. You’ve done this before and it was only a fraction of a typical run”.

I don’t really know what mile you see the Citgo sign but anyone who tells you that it’s a sign from God is lying.  Maybe it’s because I’m not familiar with the Boston course but it was like it was taunting me. But the crowd support in Boston rocks (for the entire course too) and that was a boost.  I definitely received a bunch of high-5s.  And I could tell that the party had definitely been going on for awhile with some of those college students ha!

Eventually there was a marker that said one mile left and I tried to turn up the heat.  Although I didn’t increase my speed much (if at all) I definitely didn’t lose any.  I just went for it.  At this point a PR was a legit possibility even though 3:29.59 was out of the question.

As I turned onto Boylston Street (and could actually see the finish at this point!!)  my dad (whom I hadn’t seen) starts BELLOWING my name.  LOVE IT.  Although I didn’t love the fact I almost took a spill trying to turn my head and wave.  But it was awesome to see him and have that lift to gut out the last few hundred meters.

Because my friends (the 3 out of a billion who said they were going to show up) and my mom and sibs missed me.  They were all standing on Boylston near the end and MISSED me.  Haha.  My mom was really worried that my shins were acting up and when I called them after getting my bag my sister was like “uhhhhh you’re done?” hahaha.

But the finish!  I pushed so. freaking. hard.  I didn’t look at my watch.  Just focused on the crossing that line and throwing my hands up for the camera.  Hopefully a good ass picture comes out of it because my mom sure as heck didn’t get one 😉

I knew based on the clock time that I BQ’d again.  And according to my watch I PR’d.  But I didn’t know by how much until I got home.  And the result is


Holler atcha girl 🙂

And from the website here are the 5k splits if you’re into that

  • 5k        26.17
  • 10k     52.21
  • 15k    1:17.53
  • 20k   1:43.40
  • Half   1:49.11
  • 25k    2:08.45
  • 30k    2:34.20
  • 35k    2:59.52
  • 40k    3:24.48
  • DONE 3:35.53

Pace: 8:14

Overall place: 8512 (no idea out of how many)
Gender: 1957
AG:  1459

I haven’t run the 5k splits all the way but it looks like negative splits.  My MO.  And I like it 🙂

Post race my legs were shaky.  I found the medic tent and got both shins wrapped in ice.  Down a full water bottle (food/fuel mistake 3: no water all 26.2 miles.  Going to have a WICKED dehydration hangover tomorrow!).  Got wrapped in a mylar blanket.  Grabbed my post-race goodies.  And headed to the buses to get my checked back.

I so needed to keep moving.  Standing still was not an option as much as it sounded to attractive.  Unfortunately I had to stand still in the bus line.  And I started to get woozy.  Luckily I was able to avoid hitting the pavement but I was seeing starts for a minute.  Totally rectified after I got some carbs into me.

I found my mom and sibs and chowed down a bit.  We needed to catch a train back home so we couldn’t stay long and I almost missed seeing some of my friends who were looking for me.  They were troopers and walked us to the T so we could chat and they made me a wicked cool picture:

We made it back to the house really easily although I did NOT want to sit down on the train.  But the conductor made me.  Blah.  Once we got home my mom made my favorite meal and then we all went out for ice cream.  When I walked into the house though I saw this:

Plus I decided to skip my 0830 class tomorrow so I could sleep in Tuesday / not have to drive back to school Monday night.  I emailed both the TA (who teaches Tuesdays) and she was cool with it as long as I checked with my professor who was also cool with it saying it was a “special exception”.  So yay 🙂

AND I’m getting a short blurb in my local newspaper 🙂

So a pretty freaking awesome day.  And as I type this it’s late Monday night and I have yet to take off my medal OR the jacket.

And I’ll leave you with the one picture that my mom did take post race

March 20, 2010

Long Run Before Breakfast

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:30

What a beautiful way to welcome spring in New England. Sunny, slight breeze, 78* (according to my car).  Well maybe 78* is more like summer but considering that this time last weekend there were gale force winds, rain and overall yuck I’m not complaining. It was so nice to take a blanket and book and read outside in the campus dimple.  Makes me want summer 🙂

In fact, when I got done with my run at 1100 it was already 68* out.  What?! Crazy! I’m glad I went out first thing, my body is definitely not ready yet for that kind of weather.  It needs time to acclimate and figure out this thing called sweating and regulating body temperature efficiently ha!  Too bad Mother Nature wants to play games with my heart, tomorrow is suppose to be a high of 54*. It’s going to feel freezing as temperature is all relative.

Like I mentioned I was up and at ’em this morning with the running.  Partly because I couldn’t sleep.  I was having unsettling dreams and nosebleeds all night so after awhile it just feels pointless to just lay there.  I had to sleep with TWO pillows under my head and line the pillows so blood didn’t get everywhere soooo it felt extra pointless to stay in bed.  So I got up and knowing that it was going to be a warm one decided to just go for the LR immediately and try to beat the heat (oh how I hate that phrase! haha).

I wasn’t sure if that was going to be a smart move or not.  See, and I think I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but my stomach is really finicky with what I can and can’t eat within a couple hours of a run.  Namely nothing 2-3 hours before, so I knew that eating breakfast was out of the question. My rumbling stomach, however, had a different idea and I settled on a tiny apple — the kind that they give out to kindergartners at lunchtime hah. It was a good compromise: it quieted my stomach but didn’t make me want to puke during the run.

The run itself was a bit unremarkable.  The pace was 9:22 on average.  Slower than I aim for (9:00).  But it was about 60 seconds off my current MP and 82 seconds off my GMP.  So not that bad per se. But the “upsetting” thing was that I was way off my game: my MO is to start slow and finish strong.  Week after week you’ve heard me “complain” of that: my first loops is turtle speed and then I pick it up.  Not today I could actually feel the last few miles slowing down.

I think it was party due to not having breakfast before going.  This is the first LR EVER (!) that I haven’t eaten beforehand.  Sure I’ve done runs up to 13.5 or so without fuel but I think that’s my limit for a comfortable run. I did have a hearty bowl of oatmeal with some canned fruit last night before going to bed but after tossing and turning all night I suspect my body burnt through it.

Another component? The weather.  Last week the pace of my LR was bad because of horrid winds and driving rain.  This week my body wasn’t ready for the 70* temps. As Sarah mentioned earlier today temperature plays a huge role in pace and that the increase in temp would likely slow it down.  I’m really glad I read that when I was done with my run today because I was getting pretty angry with myself for a perceived failure as to where I like to keep my pace. Thanks girl!

As for my shin/ankle, I think that PT didn’t really make it better haha.  After being touched so much yesterday it was a little more tender today than usual.  Nothing major or anything but I could tell going to bed last night that the area was “exhausted”.  Again, no pain but I had been avoiding doing anything to it (like working through ROM stuff) and I think that it was tuckered out last night.  Even though that might sound discouraging I’m actually excited about it because it means that the ultimate goal of PT for me (to increase ROM and reduce inflammation) is going to work.  Clearly the area has issues and after day 1 I can already feel it changing stuff.  Not instant gratification but encouraging to me.

So I think you guys lucked out on a short post (well short for me ha!). It is Saturday night after all.  I think a couple of my friends who are student teaching (and therefore didn’t get spring break, although don’t feel sorry for them as they got February break and will get April break!) are going to watch a movie.  Who knows what it’ll be but it’ll be a great way to end a day of long running and laying in the sun.  After all that excitement I am beat! 🙂

Oh and I sooooo want to show you guys pictures of my toes and feet.  Actually I want to show everyone I come into contact with.  But I’ll refrain and just say I have:

  • 1 black toe
  • 1 popped blood blister on my big toe
  • 3 regular blisters that are becoming calluses
  • 1 toenail that is so soft and malleable that I’m scared to even poke it for fear of it falling off

Oh such lovely feet I have.  The funny thing is that I’ve heard that it’s possible to train and have none of this happen.  But I wear it with a badge of honor and definitely wouldn’t change anything about it 🙂

March 7, 2010

Addendum & Lazy Sunday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 21:15

Okay so I’ve gotten a couple of comments / emails about this and I just want to clarify because I think it’s getting lost:

I. Am. Not. Injured.

In fact I am not in any pain at all and don’t think it’s a big deal to be running the way I am (well maybe I’m just crazy for putting in the miles in general 😉 ). And I meant what I said in my post about my LR: I wouldn’t have run through pain for 22 miles.  Sure it would have sucked to cut a run short but if it’s what needs to be done I’d have to do it.

The reason I keep posting about it is because it keeps me from ignoring it and letting it blow up in my face down the line.  I recognize that I’m walking (or running) a fine line and by acknowledging the achey-ness I’m making sure that I take care of my body.

Sorry if I’ve been giving the wrong impression! I definitely appreciate the concern but I’m not running through pain or hurt or anything like that.  I guess since I talk so much about it (and because on Friday I think I even said that I moved my run to the TM because of paranoia) a lot of you are getting worried.

So rest assured that I’m okay.  The ice, ibuprofen, wrappings, appointments with people: they’re all preventative. I’m not trying to “manage” anything because there’s nothing to manage.  I’m trying to make sure of that. I’m fully committed to starting Boston at 100% 🙂


Now onto Sunday.  I slept like a rock last night which is really rare for me in general much less on a long run day.  Usually LRs make me so restless and charge up my body.  I mean, I was exhausted but possible over-tired on most LR days.  Not that I’m complaining about it.  I will take the sleep no questions asked!

Although the only bummer was that I, for the first time EVER, woke up in the middle of the night because I was hungry.  I guess it’s really hard to adequately eat enough on a 22 mile day.  At least for me.  My stomach must be on the small size because, although I can put away lots of food over the course of a day, it’s hard for me to really eat tons in one sitting.  Add to that the fact that LRs tend to kill the appetite right after the run and I finished the run pretty late in the day I guess I needed to wake up in the middle of the night to have a granola bar (or two).  It felt weird though because, like I said, that’s never happened to me before.

When I woke up this morning I actually felt the long run though.  Not an “omg my body feels dead” type of deal but “oh hey you just ran 22.2 miles yesterday” kind of feel.  I’m actually pretty happy to feel this way because I think that most of my Sundays have been too easy.  Sure, easy might mean that my body is recovering really nicely from the runs (and I’m sure that’s what it is) but it’s refreshing to have some soreness telling me I worked hard the day before.

I titled this “Lazy Sunday” not because of work-wise or me just sitting on my booty all day.  Mostly because the run felt lazy.  I didn’t intentionally plan this but clearly my body needed to go slow.  And I use the term “lazy” not in the derogatory sense at all, more like a carefree sense.  I was perfectly content to let the sun shine on my face and amble through the run.

It felt great to not have to worry about the rest of my day on a run.  Too often I have meetings or class right after but today I just had my work (and a lab but that was way later).  And I figured I didn’t work this hard all week to not enjoy the run.  It was the perfect way to cap off a week.

Because the weather was amazing! It was in the mid-40s around 0800 when I left, the sun was out and there was a slight breeze.  I chose to run my route backwards and that just enhanced the greatness I was feeling.  It was new and exciting and all that jazz.  As much as I talked about a funk (and I’m still dealing with some life stuff) having such great weather definitely made the burden I feel on my shoulders lighten a bit.  So hoooooollllllllllleeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrr.

Another way to cap off a week? Calculating that I ran 101.2 miles this week.  And calculating that my average pace was 8:53.  I’m all smiles right now.  I’m feeling good and the numbers are a pretty good reflection of that!

And wow. I started this post around lunchtime and it’s already 2100!! During that time I guess I got really sidetracked doing lots of work, so hopefully I can continue being productive for a few more hours.  I just finished up tutoring and, while I LOVE explaining this stuff to students, sometimes  I want the hours to do my own work and sadly that didn’t happen. Gotta buckle down now I suppose. I suppose as well that it really wasn’t too lazy of a Sunday hah!

Hope everyone has had a great Sunday so far and is ready to tackle the week.  For me I just need to push through a few more days before SPRING BREAK! No big plans for me but I’m ready for a week of no work and no worries.  I think I’ve got a massage scheduled so that’s not too shabby either 🙂 It’s funny because in high school I’d watch MTV’s spring break and want to do that but in my 4 years of undergrad I’ve never even entertained the notion of going to Cancun or someplace exotic to go all wild haha! Sleep seems to trump that every single time.

January 31, 2010

O.M.G. Shoes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 30, 2010

Cold Long Run. Finally New England Weather!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 16, 2010

Woot To The Long Run

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:36

Oh man. It’s been feeling like one crazy day but I haven’t *really* done a lot.  I guess that’s what happens on long run days.  Not only are you running for lots of minutes but it makes time seem so relative and before you know it the day is over!

I’ve been having some computer problems lately and finally got them squared away today.  So I started off my day by visiting the Geek Squad and dropping off my computer before heading off on my long run.  After the run (which I will get to because I ❤ the long run and love to talk about it heh) I went back and picked up my computer.  The guy that helped me was sooooo nice because there really wasn’t anything wrong with my machine.  But he stayed with me for an hour and a half (!) and “fixed” it.  Then didn’t charge me.  I actually walked away with tears in my eyes because I was (and still am) so grateful.

So now that my computer is back I can tell you all about my long run (and I need to catch up on google reader. Man you guys were busy for the 8 hours I didn’t have access to the internet!).  The schedule said 17-19 miles for today.  Which first off is ridiculous.  But in a total loving good way.  It’s only week 3 of my plan which is why it’s crazy that I mapped out a 18.2 mile route.  To put it in perspective: last training cycle I didn’t do my first 18 run until week 6!!

I was a little amped up over the computer situation so I think I went out a little fast on the first portion of my run.  I had a 14.4 mile loop and then was going to follow it with a 3.8 loop.  Nothing too exciting about the first loop.  I mean I did a lot of thinking but mainly I knew that the 14.4 route was just a warm up to the last bit.  Not to belittle that first part but pushing through the last part of any run is where I anticipate a little more effort needed.  I mean they don’t say the marathon is a 20 mile warm up for a 10k race for nothing.

I will say that miles 11 to 14 ended up being the rough ones.  I was going to try to hit goal marathon pace (GMP) during these miles but I just didn’t have the drive to.  Which is okay because I don’t have to hit GMP during a long run for another couple of weeks or so.  I think I didn’t want to because at that point I’d already gone a considerable distance but there was still so much more to go to hit the 18.2 that I wanted.  Despite this I was actually thinking of ditching my 3.8 route in favor of a 4.6 route that would give me 19 even miles.  But I didn’t because my previous distance PR post-marathon was the 16.2 I did last week.  And I thought that almost 3 miles more would be quite a leap.

And I kind of regret it.  Almost.

See as much as I really get pumped off of speed stuff I really live for the long run.  It just comes very naturally to me (part of why I think an ultra is in my future). I take a really long time apparently to find my groove.  Like 14 miles maybe? Because once I hit that second loop I was off to the races I guess.  Which is funny because with most people I’d attribute it to taking a gel or granola bar (as I usually do).  But for whatever reason today I decided to go with nothing.  Yes the entire long run was done on my breakfast.

I have no real explanation for why the first 14 miles were right on par with what I shoot for on a long run (9:00 pace) but the last 3.8 were at 8:25?! WTF?! I thought that these 3.8 were going to be the bane of my existence: my bladder was full, I was worried about my computer, I didn’t have any food on me.  But I felt so damn good that I tacked on an additional half mile for a grand total of 18.7 miles.

I wish I had the foresight to know how good I was going to feel so I could have hit the upper range of 19 in my plan.  But 18.7 is just as good which is why I don’t regret not doing 19. I even thought about eeking out another 1.3 to make it 20 (because I ended the run on such a high and my legs felt ready to GO) but didn’t only because I don’t need to.  I’m trying this thing called “Trust The Plan” 🙂

I’m sure the lifting played a part in why I felt so good.  That and the hills I’ve been doing.  And the slow as hell recovery runs. Sure it’s been torture but like I said yesterday, it surely is a prescription for greatness. So thanks to everyone whole told me that yesterday.  It means a lot and helps me stick to “Trusting the Plan”.   Rebecca also mentioned this when she said “I’ve found that the slower I do my recovery runs, the more I can put towards tempo/LT workouts.” I definitely feel the same way and think that it also holds true to these long runs. Plus I felt like I could charge up the hills on my route (there aren’t many and I guess technically they’re more like inclines in the road haha) without altering my pace.  If I keep getting this kind of feedback from my body I think I’ll be okay come April.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect either: 45* and partly cloudy.  I got to wear shorts and a tee-shirt! And of course my gloves, but they weren’t the “lobster mittens” (as I so lovingly refer to them as) but just the regular old gloves.  Perfect conditions for a damn near perfect run.

I could go on and on about how awesome this run felt.  But I won’t because I don’t want to beat a dead horse. Plus 18.7 miles makes a girl very hungry.  Must. Go. Find. Food!

P.S.  I won Nikki’s LED hat giveaway! Thanks girl! I can’t wait to try it out and report back 🙂

January 11, 2010

Fueling Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — marathonmaiden @ 15:53

Yeah, so it’s definitely been beyond over five months since I put together my last post in the series.  You can catch Part 1 and Part 2 if you want. And just a disclaimer: I am not a doctor (yet) nor a nutritionist nor anyone with credentials.  So take my words however you will but know that I am by no means an expert.

So in part 3 I wanted to discuss a bit about post-run fueling. I think it’s very important to try and eat within 30 minutes of finishing the workout being done; apparently studies have shown that’s when you’re muscles are more receptive to repairing and receiving nutrients etc.  I really do try to stick with this 30 minutes and, in all honesty, I try to have something made within 15 so that I’m actually in the process of eating once the 30 minutes rolls by. I truly believe that how you run tomorrow depends on how you fuel after today so I make it a point to have *something* after a run.

Another principle I try to live by is incorporating all three “macro-nutrients” (is that even the word I want to use??) into my post-run food.  I think I’ve read somewhere that the “ideal” thing to eat is 4 parts carb to 1 part protein.  I guess that’s similar to what I do too but I definitely do not obsess over it nor do I try to calculate it.  And I include fats in there as well.

And thirdly: drinking water post-run is important but I have no brilliant guidelines to give you because I’ve been trying to think of how to describe how I drink water and, truth be told, I am a terrible hydrate-er.  I do try to have about half a water bottle (what’s that ~8 oz?) immediately after a hard session where  I’ve been sweating a lot. I guess a good rule of thumb is to drink when you’re thirsty. Maybe I’ll come up with a part 4 and deal with hydration (hopefully it’s not another huge delay though ha)

Generally speaking I try and time my runs so that they coincide with a meal or a snack, ie) 0600 runs are right before breakfast, noon runs are before lunch and on the rare occasion I do a pm run my 1500 snack is usually right after.  Granted sometimes life does get in the way (and I’ll discuss what I do then in a bit) but that’s what I strive for.

Since I’m really awkward at writing about food — I am by no means a foodie! — maybe I’ll just show an example of two of what I eat after my runs? Sounds good to me.

Post-breakfast run:

  • Cheerios with 1% milk (what I was raised on) and banana with a peanut butter & banana sandwich on an english muffin.  Hands down favorite meal.  Very carb heavy but with protein in the form of milk and pb.
  • Oatmeal (I go for instant apples & cinnamon) with the pb and banana sandwich washed down with a glass of milk.  This is more common in winter when I want the oatmeal to warm me up.
  • Typically though, most morning I’m rushed and don’t have much time to clean up after myself (re: rinse out one bowl haha) so I’ll have a big bagel and make the sandwich on this.  Easy clean up because I use a paper towel as a plate.

As these three sample breakfasts indicate I put an emphasis on carbs with a side of protein in some form.  The same holds true if I’m running pre-lunch, which is the case on the weekends or during breaks when I don’t have anywhere to be.  I’m a pretty boring lunch person, truth be told, as I ❤ sandwiches.

Post-lunch runs:

  • Turkey sandwich with cucumbers, tomatoes (in it) and some cauliflower, yogurt, and fruit.
  • Peanut butter & honey / peanut butter & jelly with a banana, sometimes in the sandwich and sometimes not.  Can’t forget the big ole glass of milk to wash it down either.

Yet again an emphasis on carbs and protein.  I bet you can guess what I eat if I’m running in the pm (which I rarely do) right? Yup lots of carbs with some protein. And I think that is the take home message for this is carbs + protein = great recovery fuel.

And I don’t do a lot of pre-dinner runs but I’d imagine that I’d make up some lean meat (I absolutely love chicken and fresh caught fish from my brother) and pair it with some vegetables and bread.  I hate pasta (gasp) and rice (double gasp) so I rely on hearty breads to fufil the carb portion of my meal.  I particularly love “multi grain” breads that have nuts and seeds in them for a little added crunch.

But what about when you need to dash off and an actual meal isn’t possible? I know that many of you guys have incredibly busy lives and, while I’m really busy too, I have the luxury of being a college student and my schedule can be flexible if it needs to be so I can rely on the “eat a meal right after” thing.  Sometimes I cannot though as I have labs or meetings etc that I need to dash off to.  My big thing is to think ahead so that I can still eat something within that 30 minute time frame and not have to rely on grabbing the first thing I see which is usually a vending machine of sorts.

In a hurry post-run fuel: that can fit easily into a gym bag, backpack etc.

  • Granola bars.  I’m not talking about protein bars, fitness bars etc that are really popular.  Nothing wrong with them at all.  I just don’t like to do ’em.  I happen to love Nature Valley granola bars (there really isn’t a flavor I don’t like in fact) and they are easy to pack in my bag and it doesn’t matter a whole lot if they get smushed.
  • Fruits that come in their own wrappers (I am a HUGE germ freak haha) like bananas and clementines (so easy to peel).  It’s also easy to stick a zip-lock bag around other easy to tote fruits, such as apples or pears that are also pretty resistant to being in a bag
  • Nuts (cashews are great and my personal fav) and if you can plan ahead you can make your own trail mix with some dried fruit, pretzels etc.  Perfect combo of — ready for this? — carbs and proteins.

Also just to note: how much I eat post-run doesn’t really depend on how long the run is.  Since I try to time my runs to end at a meal I’m hungry anyway (unless it’s the summer where heat = appetite killer).  That said, however, a short recovery run doesn’t make me rush to refuel the way a long run or speed workout does because it’s not as taxing on the body.

Also to keep in mind: this isn’t a meal plan for me that I follow religiously.  I definitely do not eat everything I just wrote on a daily basis. It’s just guidelines I try and keep in mind once I hit “stop” on my watch as I end my run. 🙂

Whew…another long winded post.  Hopefully something was useful here.  I doubt what I wrote was ground-breaking or anything like that but I had received some comments asking me for how I eat/fuel, that kind of thing.  Plus Part 3 was loooong overdue. I included lots of examples of what I eat to refuel but that is by no means an exhaustive list and I hope I didn’t bore anyone by including it, it was just the best way for me to illustrate what I do.

Also checkout this Cookbook Giveaway. Perfect giveaway for a food post, no?

September 25, 2009

Old Lady

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:02

Ok well I might not feel 100% like an old lady but the muscles are definitely feeling my lifting from yesterday! Sucks because it means that I really did neglect it but awesome because I love the sore feeling.

When my alarm went off this morning I thought about pushing my run to this afternoon.  But I knew that I was going to slammed with work and didn’t want to feel any stress over A) getting a run in and B) getting all my work done.  Now, as some of my friends have pointed out, I could have just skipped the run.  But, dear friends, you know that is not a solution!

The other rationale for pushing off the run was that I was on my feet for lots of hours last night at the hospital and because of me being there I wasn’t able to eat as much as I wanted / usually do so I wasn’t sure how fueled my muscles were going to be. Although the hospital food was actually really decent and I got a good amount of food with the $5 voucher I was given.

Side note: The ER was okay.  A little on the boring side but I was able to observe cases that directly related to my physio class which made writing the paper so much easier.  I think the doctor was a little bored too, or maybe he was just tired after a long day.  Either way the lack of traumatic stuff kind of made the night feel a little flat.  Some cool stuff buttttt I wish there had been something HUGE (okay well maybe not because that would mean that ppl would have had to get hurt but I wanted it to be like ER, and preferably with a doctor I was shadowing looking like George Clooney)

Back to this morning. The humidity dropped off overnight and made the run nice and cool.  My hands were actually cold and I didn’t really sweat at all.  Compare that to the other day when I was drenched within the first mile.  And despite my worries about my legs being too sore, not fueled etc my pace was about 30 sec per mile faster today than on Tuesday.  Maybe a little slower than an “ideal” easy run but still a confidence booster because it showed me that the weather plays such a huge role in how I run. And luckily the weather is suppose to cool down over night to low 40s? That would be wonderful (and trust me, if I could share I would!)

I got around 9 miles, maybe 9.05 – 9.10 (and yes I actually do track the hundredths of a mile even though in my log I only go to the tenths haha).  And I got to see the sunrise.  Always a plus.

The rest of my day has been: classes, grocery shopping, paper writing.  I have so much to do this weekend that’s it’s almost comical.  I’ve been working for the past 4 hours straight and will continue to work until 2100 (after finishing this and grabbing a quick bite to eat).  I’m going to the on-campus movie: Public Enemies with a friend.  I actually watched a documentary on John Dillinger this summer so it will be interesting to compare real vs Hollywood. Part of me wants to blow it off and continue to work but I know that I need to do something not school related so my head doesn’t explode. I have the feeling that tmrw and Sunday will be very similar to today.

I do have a job interview in the afternoon tmrw that I need to start prepping for, which I’ll do over dinner.  I don’t want to sound like an idiot over the phone! Sucks majorly though that I have to have a working supper. But hey, you do what you gotta do so you can do what you wanna do.  Right?

Hope you guys have a better Friday night planned than me! 😉

September 23, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:02

I think the humidity needs to go away. Again.  It’s fall and we have summer weather.  I guess I was spoiled too much last week with the cool, crisp, dry weather.  Muggy and humid is back with a vengeance.

So I’m not quite sure if that’s the reason my run kind of sucked this morning or if my legs really are just exhausted.  On one hand I know that humid weather is like running through water and definitely slows down pace hardcore.  On the other hand I’ve been running a lot and intensely.  I haven’t given myself much rest since my half marathon 17 days ago and my 5k 3 days ago.  And both of those races were fast (at least for me).

Today in physiology lab we had to dissect a frog to expose the sciatic nerve and stimulate the nerve ’til the muscle couldn’t contract anymore.  Somehow something fired in my brain and I wonder if I’m doing something similar (I know the analogy doesn’t hold 100%) to my legs.  Guess I’ll have to pay attention to my body a little more for the rest of the week.

So clearly if you haven’t figured it out yet, this morning was a sloooooooooooooooooow run.  I pushed through 8 although I really don’t know how.  I’ll be honest though, it wasn’t a painful run or one where my body felt it had to stop.  It was just that my body couldn’t really go faster without feeling like the previous sentence.  So I resigned myself to the fact and completed the run just fine.  A little slow but fine.  Total miles for the day was 8.3.  And I ran it about 4 minutes slower than last week which translates to 30 sec per mile slower? Guess that doesn’t sound too bad but it was really odd feeling to be like my body was limiting me because my motivation was just fine. So, to me, that indicates weather?

I guess another variable would be sleep.  I’m only getting 6 hours (if I’m lucky) and my body functions best on 9.  So even with my sleep binges of 8.5 on the weekends, I’m still not treating my body to the rest it needs and deserves.  The one thing I think I have going for me is fuel.  I’ve been making sure I’m eating enough even when I don’t think I’m hungry.  This semester has been weird because a lot of people I know (including myself) have been feeling more full with less food at the dining halls.  Weird because this is NOT the case.  Usually everyone is always foraging for food after meals.

And speaking of food, I’m sad because I’m missing AppleFest tmrw in the dining hall 😦  I have to go to the hospital for my third (and final!) rotation for my service learning component of my physio class.  Applefest is where the dining ppl base all the meals around apples, have apple cider (both hot and cold), apple crisp & pie as well as TONS of locally picked apples.  Like at least 10 different varieties.  So I’m a little sad.  Plus I don’t think I’m going to get to go apple picking this year.  The timing of my schedule with other ppls doesn’t jive.  Bummer.

Another bummer is the amount of work I need to do today – slash the rest of the week through weekend.  I originally wrote out how much I have on my plate right now for y’all to see but then I realized that EVERYONE who reads this (or at least those who comment and I feel I “know”) are wicked busy.  And I hate it when others complain about how busy they are.  So I deleted it — but not before I wrote it all out on paper for me to see. And as monstrous as the list looks, I doubt it will be that bad.  I’m so type-A (as I’m sure I remind you all the time haha) that I’ll get a rush out of it.  Kind of sick, right? I think it’s the feeling of conquering it 🙂

So I best be gettin’ crackin’ ! Adios, au revoir and have a great Wednesday night!

August 26, 2009

Sweet Success

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:16

Against the better advice from VeganFritz as well as my friends at RWOL I decided to re-do my tempo run this morning.  I definitely had a bee in my bonnet all day over the failed tempo and had a compulsion to set it right.

And boy am I glad I did.

I warmed up with my typical 1 mile/ 1 lap around my campus and then set off. I chopped down the projected tempo distance to 4.5 and made sure that my *mental focus* was present at all times.  I think part of the problem yesterday was that I let my thoughts wander.  Which is okay when doing an easy or recovery run (or even a tempo on the TM) but NOT okay when you’re trying to push a pace outside, on your own.

This morning I decided to not ease into the pace I wanted (although being garmin-less I really had no way of knowing how on or off I was / am) and I set off at a pretty tough pace.  Now I purposely chose to feel the hurt early on.  If I take one thing away from my running it’s that the first mile of a tempo is going to hurt and then the body adjusts.  Well actually that might not be the one thing I’d want to take away from running; maybe something along the lines of “Have fun” but I digress.

The first few miles were incredibly tough.  I was sweating disgustingly (and in a slight aside: I would say sweating like a pig but I have recently come to find out that this expression means that you’re NOT sweating.  Which, upon reflection, makes sense because pigs have no sweat glands and therefore cannot sweat) and my legs were on fire.  But I told myself to suck it up and that this was a pace I could hold for the whole time.

To which I did.  In fact I was so pumped seeing my time (and, yes, MENTALLY calculating my pace — maybe that’s why I don’t have a Garmin, I like to challenge my brain cells haha :P) that I tacked on an extra half mile before the mile warm down.  The overall pace for the whole 7 miles was good but the 5 miles of the tempo were fantastical!  I actually ran those 5 miles almost 15 seconds (in reality 12) faster per mile than necessary.  Definitely a confidence boost and assertion that I am not, in fact, a bad runner.

It never ceases to amaze me how much external factors (such as food and sleep and weather) play such a huge role in the way a run goes as well as mental.  Theoretically it should just be simple: RUN.  But I was able to eat really well (and regularly) yesterday, sleep for 8.5 hours last night (I was so exhausted I fell asleep in my half chair while reading a good book!) and the weather being cool and cloudy (like usual I guess) but additionally there was about 10% LESS humidity in the air.  Plus this morning I was able to keep focused on doing what I needed to do: tempo it up.

This afternoon after my incredibly long and frustrating meetings I pulled my first double in a looooong time.  It ended up being a 3.8 mile run that was wayyy faster than I anticipated.  I headed out around 1630 and I was just flying.  It only took me 30 mins! Methinks this was way to fast for a recovery / shakeout run.  We’ll see tmrw but I find it so interesting that my body thinks running is easiest in the late afternoon but my mind wants it done first thing!

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