MarathonMaiden's Blog

June 17, 2010

Mid-Week 20 Miler? Check. Well Sort Of

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

Conversation while I was studying at a friend’s house last night

Me: Yay another 100% on my quiz.
Friend: See? You’re pretty good at this electromagnetism stuff.
Me: It must be because I’m so attractive.

Okay so that was funnier in the moment I guess.

Something that wasn’t so funny in the moment but later (like a split second later)?  I think I forgot to mention this but when I went out with my friends last time (which was sooooo effing long ago. Damn you MCAT!) we went to a dive bar in the town next to us and who walks in? Yeah my dad.  It actually wasn’t as bad or as awkward as you’d imagine.  I think because I’m…(gulp) 23 years old and just, you know, graduated college my dad kind of expects that I go out.  But I won’t lie: seeing him walk through the door made my heart drop for a minute. I suppose I should have known to expect it when 1) the town you’re going to is where your dad lives and 2) the bar is owned by your dad’s friend.  Don’t know why I was reminded of that today but there’s a nice random story for you.

Moving along…

It was interesting reading your reactions to my…well I’m not going to call it coaching because I realized that I don’t want it to be like that.  Kristin summed it up best:  “an older, kick-butt runner gal cheering me on and asking how my training was going.”  I’m sure the mom was doing a bit of helicoptering when she initially talked to me so I’m going to call (or possibly be called) later this week and chat with the girl.  Many of you said to keep it low pressure and I was thinking a run or two a week, no more than 3 miles.  This way there’s no real commitment on either of our ends. Even if I was willing to do more than just be a role model I just can’t devote any time to stuff other than studying.   So thanks for all the advice and feedback 🙂

You know how I mentioned that I wanted to do a 20 miler, but split up over 3 runs? Well I was honest with you that once I put an idea out there I will follow through.  And I figured what better day than Wednesday? I knew that Thursday it couldn’t happen because of my class, Friday I wanted to get a weight session in which would cram those miles into 2 runs and if I waited until the weekend then I’d get pretty antsy and it would be all I would think about until then.

Therefore I bounded out of bed on Wednesday morning (after staying up far too late — but finishing! — The Lost Symbol) ready to tackle round 1 of the day.

0815 run: Sluggish. Ugh. I knew that my legs were just working out the morning kinks and that no matter what an 0800 run is going to suck for the first mile or so.  Even armed with that knowledge it’s not very nice mentally to know that run 1 of 3 and the first miles out of 20 are going to be lethargic.  Still I was only going to run 5.3 due to this fact but I perked up a bit and extended it to 7.   I figured that putting more miles in the morning would be easier by the time run 3 came along and it was the end of the day.  The weather likely helped in this decision: it got chilly last night so I was running in ~60* so tacking on the extra 1.7 felt comfortable.

Run 1:

  • 0815
  • 7 miles
  • 62:39 minutes
  • 8:57 pace

1200 run: My noon runs are always my favorites buttttt they always tend to get procrastinated on, at least the timing for when I leave the house as I’m usually knee deep in MCAT work.  But after 3 or 4 hours of studying I need the break.  I don’t really have much to say about this run except that, like most of my runs as of late, I negative split-ed it.  It was taken as more of a progression run and I always feel great toward the end of these runs.  I could just keep going and going.  Of course my study materials keep calling my name so I can’t but I want to.  It’s always a Last Mile Party a la Jess.

The initial plan for this run was 7-8 but around mile 6 I figured, like I did with the first run, that since I was feeling good I could extend it to 9 and make my life a little easier mentally when I headed out for run 3.  I’m really happy with the decision as I really was feeling good and ran the last mile really close to 8 pace.

I even got to wear my snazzy sunglasses (sorry for no picture) that make me feel like an elite runner.  Couple that with “fancier” shorts (read: not basketball ones) and I really feel special.  I don’t always wear the shades because…well let’s just say I’m vain enough to worry about tan lines.  So I’d rather suffer and squint.  Oops.

Run 2:

  • 1200
  • 9 miles
  • 78:59 minutes
  • 8:47 pace

1700 run: I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before but my house is at the bottom of a hill.  Legit bottom too.  So every run starts with uphill.  Not even 10 feet of flat to go before going up.  Normally not a problem buttttt not exactly what I wanted after putting in 16 miles on the day.  Sure going straight down at the end of a run is AWESOME but to start? Yeah not so much.

It was drizzling a bit when I left my house and I was really hoping for the rain to hold off.  I get kind of pissy sometimes in the rain.  Of course sometimes I really love it but I had the feeling this wouldn’t be one of them.  Luckily actual rain never materialized.  I don’t really have any straight-up even 4 routes so I chose my 4.2 route (an out-and-back) and then was feeling good so I tacked on some side streets to make it 5.  The first half was pretty easy and net downhill but going up a particular hill was a bit rough on the way back.  But whatever, besides that blip I was feeling good.  And it was a really great feeling to come blazing down that hill after putting in a grand total of 21 miles.

Run 3:

  • 1700
  • 5 miles
  • 43:53 minutes
  • 8:46 pace

I love how my last run of the day was also the fastest (albeit by 1 second per mile).  I think that my legs were warmed up and rarin’ to go.  Of course the time of day probably played a role.  I know that I run the fastest (or maybe the easiest effort for the same pace is the best way to put it?) between 1500-1800.  I just like running earlier.  Guess that’s just a trade-off.  Stupid circadian rhythms 🙂

Total for day:

  • 21 miles
  • 3 hours 5 minutes 31 seconds
  • 8:50 pace

I definitely don’t feel like I ran 21 miles (both yesterday and this morning).  I think the breaks between each one were enough to get food in me and put up my legs (while I studied ugh) and keep my legs from being beat up and totally depleted.  I really only felt it at the very beginning of a new run and I don’t know how much of it was tiredness from the previous one or just inertia holding me back.

Today will be easier.  Yes I’m going to run.  But only a single.  Partly because I’m assuming the “damage” to my tissues is the same overall regardless of how well I recovered in between runs and partly because I don’t have time to run more. And because if I run more then my food bill will likely exceed the national debt.

Just a note about food (I know this is a really long post. Sorry!): I really should have paid better attention to eating enough throughout the day.  I never went hungry and totally ate enough to fuel my running, but after dinner I realized that, for the amount I ran, I definitely didn’t eat enough and, consequently, tried to at least make up for some of it so I’m not a ravenous beast today.  Let’s just say that the stomach really isn’t all that expandable.  And luckily I have ample ginger ale 🙂

June 4, 2010

How [Double] Running Can Rock: Refueling

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

I’m so glad that many of you are fans of doubles! It’s sooo nice to know that I’m not the only crazy one 😉

Although sometimes I “feel like I’m taking crazy pills”

Fun Fact: This was the movie I watched the night before my debut marathon

just because I’m putting in soooo much MCAT study time then polishing my application to school etc.  I apologize if my comments have been sparse lately. And replying to emails.  I swear I’m trying to get caught up. I’m thinking I might have my life back at the end of the month so please bear with me! And maybe send some positive vibes my way? Win-Win: I get my life back AND you get to read my witty comments some more 😉

Before I get too far into what I want to talk about I want to say why I’ve kept putting off writing a post about what I eat. It’s for a couple of reasons.

  1. I’d be a terrible food blogger because I’m a) not a foodie by any means and b) I never remember to take pictures of my food.  Seriously. It’s only AFTER I eat my food that I remember I’ve promised to document it for you guys
  2. I hate posts about what people eat during the day.  If it’s for you then great but I can’t stand it.  Sorry.  And that’s not to say I avoid them.  I do read and comment on some blogs like that but they’re few and far between.  If you’re one of the lucky ones then congrats 🙂
  3. My nutrition is a work in progress.  Now I know some of you may think, all the more reason to share.  If it’s “imperfect” or whatnot.  But that’s not really what I mean.  What I mean is that I’m still tinkering around with what works and what doesn’t work for me and my running and feeling my best while training at this level.  So I’d feel weird putting out a day of eats and saying “this is what I do” because I’m not sure if it’s what I need to do or if I’ll keep doing it.

Anyway that was my long-winded justification of saying “I’m not likely to do a Day-In-The–Eating-Life-of-MM” anytime soon.  And I apologize because I said I would.  I feel bad but it’s my blog.  If you’re interested in fueling you can check out my pre, during, and post-run posts I’ve done in the past.

Obviously fueling is really important part of running.  If you don’t have enough fuel you won’t be able to preform optimally.  And those links I’ve linked above are more geared towards one workout in a day, with the ability to have lots of recovery between sessions.

But what about if you’re going to be working out within 4-6 hours after you last peeled off your running shoes?

Well the most important thing that I’ve found is to eat right away.  I know that everyone talks about the “refueling window” but I think it gets too much hype if you’re not training for something or doing intense work or…doing doubles.  So I make sure to eat within 20 minutes of ending my sessions.

I’ve known some people who do tris and “brick” workouts, where they do two training sessions, in different sports, in the same day.  And the principle is basically the same for me doing my doubles, at least if I don’t want to die: nutrition is important.

For me, having *CARBS* is the most important during my refueling window.  Carbs especially.  After I’ve done my first workout of the day (be it lifting, running or XT) my muscles are drained.  And they want energy.  I’ve actually come back from some second runs and been wicked shaky because my muscles were “empty” before hitting the streets again. Like I tried to stand still and my muscles just didn’t have the control to stay in place. Not good and quite scary the very first time it happened.

The biology in a nutshell: carbohydrates:

Molecular structures because I'm a nerd

Yummmmm. And haha this was called "bad carbs" on googleimages

are actually not essential for energy.  Proteins and fats can be broken down (in the lack of carb environment) and then used to live but carbs are the most commonly used “currency” for energy.  This is because cells use glucose to make ATP (cell energy currency) to function.

Carbohydrates are made up starch and sugars.  Basically anything that is a sugar ends in -ose like:

  • glucose
  • galactose
  • fructose
  • sucrose (glucose + fructose)
  • lactose (galactose + glucose) etc.

As you can see there are MANY types of sugars as seen in my molecular structure Figure (can you tell that I’m a scientist now? Figure vs. Picture). And starches, are basically LOTS of sugars bonded together in plant cells as stored energy.  The human / animal equivalent is glycogen but we typically don’t ingest much glycogen in our meats to get energy from it .  In the human body starches  and glycogen are broken down into simple sugars to go into our blood and ultimately our cells for energy.

Many people talk about “good carbs” and “bad carbs” in terms of giving us energy and keeping us fuller longer.  Which is all true.  Our bodies, however, can use the “good” aka complex carbohydrates (the starches, which give us long lasting energy because we have to break the bonds in the carb) and “bad” aka simple carbs (which go straight into the blood stream) in the same way.  Both types provide energy.  But you (and I) need to be smart about when to use each type.

I’m the kind of runner who absolutely CANNOT run with food in my stomach.  Like at least 3 hours post-meal.  But that creates a dilemma: food = gain energy and running = expenditure of energy.

So what I’ve found is to each complex carbs for breakfast, right when I get up.  This provides my stomach time to get rid of it but, since complex carbs have fiber which is hard for the body to digest and takes time it doesn’t ALL go into my system at once and some of it gets stored as glycogen in my muscles.  The energy gets released slowly so that in 3 hours when I go running my body can still perform.  I’ve found that oatmeal works wonders for me but YMMV.

The opposite is true when I *immediately* finish a run.  The important this here is to get those simple carbs in me so that it does get released to my muscles fast.  After a hard workout, or even an easy one but a second session in a few hours, the muscles are depleted of their glycogen storage so there’s nothing for my cells to dip into.  Hence the extreme shaking because my muscle cells were literally being starved for energy.  They needed something immediately and simple sugars are the best way to do that.  For me that could be fruit (fructose) or bread and jam (sucrose) etc.

Not only do my cells get relief but the flooding of carbs into the body also makes the liver start to release enzymes to turn glucose into glycogen which goes back into the muscles to be used during workout numero dos.

Of course, protein and fats and HYDRATION are very important to preform optimally.  For example I put PB on things like whoa  or if I’m running right before lunch it will be a turkey sandwich. But I’ve found that for my double sessions carbohydrates are the most essential and absolutely clutch.

[Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert in this stuff so I may have gotten stuff wrong and the fact that carbs = most important is my *opinion*.  Others may disagree but this has been my experience with my body]

  • fructose

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