MarathonMaiden's Blog

January 2, 2011

Goals of Past and Future.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:22

Or not. It could be that time of year that the goals of the year get reviewed and reevaluated and new ones get written down for the upcoming year.  But I decided not to because everyone and their mom is doing a goals post and everything I’ve been trying to write is kind of blahhhh. Plus I like to evaluate things whenever I need to, the fact that yesterday was January 1st doesn’t really phase me.  I know some of you are like that too and some aren’t and I really enjoyed reading them this year so I’m not a complete hater. I also thought about doing a year in pictures recap but it just wasn’t exciting either.  Maybe it’s because I’ve just celebrated NYE for the past 3 nights and the neurons aren’t firing at 100% just yet. I am still trying to work on it, mostly for myself as a trip down memory lane, and maybe in a few days y’all won’t be sick of those posts and I’ll post it.

That said: overall 2010 was an amazing year.  Like the first year where I feel happy with the past 12 months.  Lots of life changes (graduating, moving out on my own, REAL WORLD) and I’ve grown as a “real person”. And I smashed prs left and right.  And I got to meet lots of my running and blogging friends. It’s going to be really hard for 2011 to top but I’m sure as hell going to give it my all.

I mean, if you’re really interested in what I want out of 2011 the nutshell is: “Run Fast” and “Keep the Momentum of 2010 Going Into 2011″.  How I get there is an experiment.  I’ve decided to start living life on the edge.

Speaking of which: remember how I said on Thursday that my run that day was going to be my LR for the week? Well I guess I lied.  Because, after celebrating pre-NYE on Thursday night my friend and I decided that we FINALLY wanted to run together.  So we did.  And we ended 2010 with 11.4 miles of laughing and running.  I’m still pretty much a solo runner (so is my friend which is why we’ve never run together) but it was really nice.

NYE itself was a blast.  I ended up not going into Boston but staying in Providence which turned out to be a good decision because I had a lot of fun.  So much fun that I didn’t think a run was going to happen but I do happen to know that after a night out, running = amazing.  And I got to start off 2011 with a bang.  Nope not the kind of bang that a good hard interval session bring as I still haven’t yet returned to speedwork yet despite really wanting too.  But the kind of bang where I only set out for 8.5 miles but ended up with 13.2.  I blame the weather for that one because it was 53*.  I didn’t need gloves and finished the run in a sports bra.  Ummmm January 1st? Great way to start off the year!

As great as the run was I cried a little when I had to reset my yearly mileage to 0 yesterday.  I mean, it’s exciting to have a fresh slate but man, I was liking the big running total at the top of my running log.  Boo.

With the past three days being runs of double digits I decided that today was going to be 6 max.  And I respected it.  Holler. But I’m going to be honest here: it was mostly out of time crunching.  Despite staying in Providence for the holiday weekend I didn’t set foot in my apartment from the time I left for work Thursday morning until Sunday morning and there were plenty of chores to do around here. And it was partly because I definitely cannot drink like I did a few years ago when 3 days of partying were the norm.  I mean, it wasn’t 72 hours of straight drinking: I did make a gingerbread house last night.

Before or after drinking? You decide.

The January 2nd run wasn’t as great as the first run of the year.  Not terrible and I wasn’t cussing up a storm while I was running but but as much as I say that drinking = good next day running I don’t think that multiple nights in a row of drinking = good next day running.  First lesson of the new year.  The weather was warm and foggy which was a bit creepy but still, it was warm and yet again it was a gloveless run.  I’m not going to complain about that.  I was having some leg issues toward the tail end of the run and I felt them when I first got up this morning but some rolling took care of that and everything felt normal during the run.  I decided to fully commit to living on the edge, per my new year resolution, and went out for the run without mapping it! Crazy right? I’m such a rebel.

I skipped the pushups and situps on Saturday so they got bumped to today: pushups ( 26, 26, 33, 33, 26, 26, 22, 22, 62 ) situps ( 39, 39, 50, 50, 39, 33, 33, 110 )

I hope everyone is recovering from NYE well and had a great time.  As for the rest of my weekend / Sunday (which I’m digging the three day weekends hardcore!) I have to finish up those errands and then I’m crashing on my couch again. This week is my first 5 day work week since the week before Thanksgiving! I totally need to rest up for it so I can make it to next weekend in one piece.

Check out the giveaway from Lesley (Racing It Off)

September 21, 2010

I Love Fall

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 14:04

First: did you check out my race report for my awesome 5k? Oh shameless self-promoting 😀 

Afternoons that is. Mornings? Not so much. The coupling of the sun rising later and mid-40s for the temps makes it not a lot of fun.  Afternoons? YES.  The warm sun and upper-60s makes my heart go pitter-patter.  This weather would be perfect for running.  Too bad things called work get in the way.  Ruining a perfect weather day.

I also love the turning of the leaves! I live near a lake in my hometown and this is pretty much exactly what it looks like. But this picture is from google images

Nothing I can do about the temps and daylight I guess.  Except try to embrace the hours that I do get to spend outside.  Monday morning was a 0515 wake up call so running outside before work in the sunshine was a no-go.  It was dark and cool the entire time.  Blahhh.  When I got out of work at 1700, however, the weather was nice and I got to sit outside and enjoy the sun.  I debated running again but decided against it.  My motivation tanks after a day of work.

So here’s Monday morning’s run and the data:

  • 1st loop: 4.1 @ 8:56
  • 2nd loop: 4.1 @ 8:28
  • 3rd loop:    1.1 @ 8:02
  • Total:              9.3 @ 8:37

It had been awhile since the last time I did a double loop of the pathway so I decided to do it Monday.  It was nice because I’m so familiar with the path that the fact I was likely still half asleep didn’t matter.  Nor the fact that I couldn’t see too well at this hour and I now know (through many many errors) where every root and stone are.

I don't know if this picture is exactly where I run but, if not, it's almost identical to it. At least all the greenery was what I saw in the summer hahah! Now trying to run this with no sunlight! There is roadway on either side but that gravel path in the center is what I run on.

Despite running a kick ass 5k on Sunday (which THANKS again for all the congrats. I’m still riding high from it 8) ) there was minimal soreness.  Don’t get me wrong: my quads — and abs! Must. Do. More. Core. — were feeling the effort from the day before.  But it was no where near as bad as I though it was going to be. Probably because I iced down and stretched afterward.  And I wore my diabet compression socks all day.  Maybe I’m learning as runner?!

So I was only planning on doing one loop and then then the add on. But I was actually feeling good after doing those guys so I tacked on an extra pathway loop.

My theory is that when you’re feeling strong embrace it.  That said, I did stop at the 9.3 despite feeling like I could have done more.

And I took to this theory again on Tuesday for my run.  Monday’s tend to be long days, not at the clinic, but in terms of waking hours just because I get up so early.  So it was nice to wake up feeling slightly REFRESHED. I fell asleep around 2230 and slept like a ROCK until my alarm went off at 0730.  9 hours? Yes please.

While the sun was shining outside, the thermometer read 44*.  YIKES! See what I mean about fall? Mornings suck.  I need to migrate south. STAT.  I was still feeling decent but, as you probably know, anything can happen over the course of a run so I nixed the idea to do a big long loop in favor of a few smaller loops (but then again, I’ve been doing that a lot lately).

This is what my path will look like in a few weeks! Hello fall! Again, like the image above, I don't know if this is exactly where I run (hey google images) but it looks damn near identical to it

The aim was to do the first two loops listed below, which would give me 9.7 miles.  And I seriously do not know what it is about running the week after a race but my runs just feel strong and fast.  So I tend to “cheat” myself out of recovery.  Hence adding an extra 1.3 miles to make it 11.


  • 1st loop: 4.1 @ 8:46
  • 2nd loop: 5.6 @ 8:40
  • 3rd loop:    1.3 @ 8:22
  • Total:           11.0 @ 8:40

Clearly neither of those runs would qualify as recovery runs.  But it’s not like I’m *trying* to push things after a race.  Of course I’m not trying to hold back and stay true to recovery.  I guess I’m just going.  Might not be the smartest thing but I guess I’ll let my body dictate?

One thing that my body will NEVER tell me to do naturally is speed work and since my next race (a goal race of sorts) the Tufts 10k (less than 3 weeks!!) I want to ask you guys what kind of speed work have you found to be useful in fast races?  Any thoughts as to what my next three weeks should look like? I obviously have thoughts of my own on this topic but the more ideas I can get the better my running will be!

Which, I know this is getting lengthy and I have no sparkling pictures of my beautiful face to show you 😉 , but this might be a good time to revisit some goals that I set for 2010. (you can see the full list by clicking that link).  Yes, I know that it’s the middle of a month but I’ve doing a lot of thinking about how I’ve progressed as a runner this year.  So bear with me.

These were my specific time goals aka the tangible goals that needed focus (my NEW comments are in blue):

  1. sub 20:00 5k — considering my only 5k time is 21:32 and I didn’t train for it I think this is lofty but do-able if I train for a 5k.  Who knows if that will happen though as I ❤ the long stuff. CHECK.  Hizzah. And this happened on no real specific 5k training.  Just two speed work sessions 10 days and 6 days before.  New goal? Sub 19.  Very lofty.  But I think that with specific speed work I can do it.  Maybe not before the year is out.  But it’s the next target.
  2. sub 43:00 10k — ideally I just want 43:23 because that works out to 7 pace even but being the overachiever I am I want to break a round number. I have yet to run one this year.  But I think that I can do this at Tufts.  *FingersCrossed*
  3. sub 1:40:00 half — every time I run a half I smash my previous pr.  I’m currently at 1:41:56 which was a 2 or 3 minute improvement from the previous pr.  Definitely going to be hard but I think it’s do-able. Totally do able! And done-able! I smashed this by running 1:33 over Labor day weekend.  New goal? Sub 1:30.  Going to be hard but I think if I want it bad enough I can get it.
  4. 3:35:00 marathon — I was going to write sub 3:30 but that’s an 8 minute pr and I’m not sure how realistic that would be.  Actually to hell with it: the goal is sub 3:30.  I left the last marathon feeling like I had plenty of gas in the tank so we’ll see if I can capitalize on that in 2010. Well I missed the Sub 3:30 goal but I walked away from Boston with a new PR of 3:35.  Which was the original goal.  Sub 3:30 is what I have my eyes on next.

So it’s WAY exciting to see that I’ve PR’d in every distance that I’ve done this year (and since I’ve only run one of each I pr’d in every race!) including the 20M and 5M I did that weren’t in the goal list because they popped up randomly.

This has definitely been a great year so far.  Luckily there is still a little over 3 months left 😀

July 2, 2010

Ooooooooooooh we’re halfway there

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

Bear with me as I wanted to get A LOT into this post: weekly totals, monthly total, year-to-date, New Year goals, what’s next….

I’m not quite sure how interested you guys are in week-by-week accounts of the month or if you want the whole story right away.  But I’m going to break it down weekly just because I think there are a couple of interesting trends that went on.

First off I want to make a big fat disclaimer that this month was obscene.  I had absolutely NO intentions of running as much as I did.  But May ended graduation and I flung myself full throttle into the process of studying for the MCAT as well as applying to medical schools.  This led to the rise of the double (and occasional triple).

I’m actually semi-embarrassed by my totals.  Sure, I do feel great physically with no true wear and tear buttttt….the fact that I was running so much and not keeping tabs on my mileage makes me feel a little bit silly.  I highly doubt I would have run so much if I had known how quickly those “just a few more minutes” or “just another mile” moments added up.

That said, no regrets. While the numbers may be blush-inducing I feel great.  I feel fast and strong. Ultimately I think that’s what matters.

Too bad I don’t have a marathon on the horizon and most fall marathons have already filled up.  Couple that with the fact that New England doesn’t have any December/January marathons and I’m feeling a bit bummed that I can’t *truly* capitalize on this fitness.  Ideally I’d want to take the rest of the summer and scale back and then NAIL a winter marathon.  Maybe Disney? Any other thoughts? In the interim, I do have the local 5 miler in July, a half planned for September and a 10k in October but my mileage is a bit overkill for that.  Hell, it’s a bit overkill for a marathon to be honest.

So here it is, with slight commentary because I was an idiot and didn’t write down lots of thoughts during the actual weeks themselves:

Week of May 31 – June 6

  • 92.3 Miles
  • 13 hours 23 minutes 32 seconds
  • 8:43 pace
  • 3X Core, 2X Lifting, 0 XT

First week where I really did doubles with regularity.  At first my double runs were slower, or at least felt slower, but overall very happy with the pace.

Week of June 7 – June 13

  • 112.6 Miles
  • 16 hours 30 minutes 30 seconds
  • 8:48 pace
  • 3X Core, 1X Lifting,0 XT

More miles.  And a slightly slower average pace.  Still a wayyyyy faster pace than during Boston training.  There seems to be an interesting line between a slower average pace but with speedwork (Boston) or just easier runs everyday and a faster average pace.

Week of June 14 -June 20

  • 128.1 Miles
  • 18 hours 39 minutes 12 seconds
  • 8:45 pace
  • 2X Core, 2X Lifting, 0 XT

Bam.  Definitely a weekly PR.  Included the triple where I amassed 21 miles in a day (which I went on to repeat later this month) AND I got to run with Jess.  Which I think was a turning point because my runs have just gotten speedier since then.  I also got in an actual long run this week, not a split one, after going out drinking the night before.  So a very interesting, but awesome, week to say the least.

Week of June 21 – June 27

  • 125.5 Miles
  • 18 hours 2 minutes 2 seconds
  • 8:38 pace
  • 4X Core, 1X Lifting, 0 XT

Boom.  Pace dropped.  The miles were “scaled back”.  Not intentionally and obviously 3 miles isn’t a lot when the total is so high. I’m just very impressed with the pace for this particular week.

Month of June

  • 500.5 miles
  • 72 hours 38 minutes 12 seconds
  • 8:42 pace

Well these miles are ridiculous and definitely a new monthly PR.  The pace is just mind-blowing to me.  How could I run an average of 8:42 for 500.5 miles?!  I mentioned earlier in the post that there was that interesting trade off when I have speedwork in my week and that generated a slower overall pace.  I think that not needing the shuffle runs this month helped; everything was even keeled.  Well I also think the key is the double.  I was able to sufficiently recover from 2 X 6 miles (or even a 7-9-5 day!) because my ass was glued to a chair and I got to eat between.

Year to Date

  • 2169.1 miles
  • Too lazy to calculate time or pace hahah

Well if I remember correctly from my New Year’s goals post way back when….well actually I just looked back and I never had a mileage goal for 2010.  I know that 2009’s total was 3116.0 so I’m well on my way to smashing that.  Not sure if I want to though.

In light of the New Year’s goals I figured now would also be a good time to re-evaluate the concrete goals as well as the ways I wanted to reach them (and I just pasted the actual goals here with my current thoughts, although anything in red or bolded is from the original.  If you want to see the original thoughts you can click the link above):

Goals for 2010:

  • PR (duh who doesn’t?).  I don’t know how obvious it is or how clearly it comes across in my blogging but I race to race.  I don’t sign up to “have fun”.  I sign up so I can run hard enough to want to puke my guts out when I cross the finish line. I think that by incorporating new strength moves and speed workouts will help that.  Mixing things up and see what happens.  Specifically (and yes they are lofty but I think that with some real focus I can come real close to most if  not all of ‘em): I really wish I had been able to race more!
  1. sub 20:00 5k Haven’t raced one yet!
  2. sub 43:00 10k Haven’t raced one yet! (But definitely have one for October)
  3. sub 1:40:00 half Haven’t raced one yet! (But will in September)
  4. 3:35:00 marathon — I was going to write sub 3:30 but that’s an 8 minute pr and I’m not sure how realistic that would be.  Actually to hell with it: the goal is sub 3:30.  I left the last marathon feeling like I had plenty of gas in the tank so we’ll see if I can capitalize on that in 2010. The red is what I wrote back in December/January.  Came close with Boston with 3:35:53.  Unfinished business.
  • Do an ultra. I had one in mind right for right after graduation but all those toe infections, shin problems put that one one hold
  • Dare I say it? Requalify for Boston. Check 🙂
  • Not sure how realistic this one is as I have no idea where I’ll be in the fall but I want to run MCM.
  • And super long term I want to run the Big 5: New York, Boston, Berlin, London, Chicago.  Maybe I could get lucky and find myself in Europe this fall / next year. I can dream right? :) Well no plans right now to make good on this one
  • Have fun. I am.  Yes I tend to stress out really easy but running really has been fun.  Especially post Boston where I’m just running for the hell of it.

And the ways I wanted to get there:

  • Drink more water. Yes. I am definitely drinking more water than I did last year.  But not nearly enough.  One 16 oz bottle isn’t going to cut it.  I know I drink other stuff during the day but I need more H2O
  • Get faster. Well by looking at my marathon PR and this past months weekly totals I’d say YES.  But I originally wrote that I wanted to do this via speedwork and the funny thing is that lack of speedwork dropped my overall pace.  But I did go fast in Boston using speedwork so different tactics with different logic behind doing it.
  • Get stronger. AKA strength train more. Yeah.  I’ve been dreading going to the gym lately but I have been going regularly.
  • XT more in general too. Not so much.
  • Stretch more. Ditto above.
  • Respect the rest day. Nope.
  • Listen to my body. Yes and No.  I’m very stubborn but when I was FORCED to listen to my body (back in March/April) I got better at it.  Let’s keep this trend going.
  • Wear sunscreen. Meh.  Definitely room for improvement here too.

So what’s next?

Well I’m thinking that the miles are going to have to come down.  I know I’m not feeling anything terrible right now but it’s only a matter of time before my body can’t withstand the impact.  I know I’m a high mileage runner in general but I’m hoping that July and August is reduced and I find a marathon to do over the winter, or even late fall although I think any around me have filled up.

I also have some unfinished business with my goals so I’m printing out that old post just to keep them in my line of sight and they don’t keep falling by the wayside. I think that I just posted them and then out of sight out of mind.  I need to make a bulletin board or something like that.

And since you made it this far with the post here’s a picture that my friend uncovered from Boston on her camera.  Her caption when she put in on FB was “After she finished. She could have prob. kept running” hahahah.  My response? “So NOT true. but I love this picture anyway” 8)

April 16, 2010

Just Release. And A Look Into My Academics

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

Hmmmm yeah. I had nothing to really say yesterday. Hence no posting. Also my running has been boooooring.

But I did get in the 6 (well really 6.3) miles I wanted too on Thursday.  It was sooo hard to NOT push more miles.  I really didn’t start feeling good until the end — per usual — but obviously more miles with such little time left is silly.

I’m still in a semi-zen state although planning the logistics of getting to the start, what I’m going to wear and (most pressing) what I’m going to pack to head to the hometown for the weekend are starting to get to me. I don’t want to deal with it so I keep putting this stuff off.  But with 3 days to go…well let’s just say that I should really think this stuff through BEFORE race morning.

But I think that I’ve got some plans underway.  I think the lack of planning is because I’ve thrown out all expectations for this race.  Seriously.  I think I talked a bit in the beginning of the training cycle how I wanted to get 3:29:59.  Well I just don’ t think that this is going to be that race for me.  And I’m not saying that out of taper doubts or being all self deprecating or fishing for compliments.  I really just don’t think my body is in the right place to gun for a spectacular time.  And it’s my own fault really.  I got caught up in the more is better bug.

I kept trying to push and push and push.  I think I wanted it too much. But like I’ve said all along: I’m a newbie at this.  Sure it’ll suck to not PR (I think that every race I’ve ever run has been a PR) or to smash goals.  It’s a learning curve though.  I’m only 23 years old and have plenty of running years ahead of me (*knockonwood*!!).

Oddly though, as soon as I realized over the weekend that 3:29:59 is likely not in the cards, I was at peace with things. Releasing all that pressure just made my life feel really good and less stressful.  It’s been like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  And who knows, maybe going in with little expectation (other than have fun) might just make a good day and wonderful things happen.  It’s not like I’m purposely going to keep things nice and easy if I’m feeling good.  But I think that I’m a bit overtrained, so I guess I’m just trying to be a little more realistic.

Although as much as I’m not feeling like a stellar time is in the cards I’m feeling more self-assured and confident in myself.  It’s like I’m very comfortable in my skin at the moment.

Guess the taper is making all philosophical. Hahah.

I also feel more at ease and on top of things in my school life too.  Obviously training for a marathon is a huge deal and I’ve been obsessed with it for the past 4+ months.  Now, I’m not saying I’ve been slacking on my school work butttttt the combo of trying to do hardcore studying and hardcore training has been so draining.  But once I released the running tension, it was like I got renewed focus and productivity.

I talk so much about running here that I think many of you suspect all I do is run.  I mean, I know I bitch and moan about school sometimes but I wanted to take this time (since I’m still not running much) to share a bit of two projects I’m working on.

My Capstone: I’m continuing my research into Adhesive Capsulitis (frozen shoulder) that I was doing last semester.  In the fall I look at what it was and who was affected.  Kind of boring, but at least I was able to find information and literature on it.  Now I’m trying to look into the mechanics of it and it’s not known.  Like at all.  And I’m the kind of person that likes to be able to find information.  Not cool.

BUT I was able to do research on mechanical and chemical stress in the body and how that affects cell growth (which A.C. is characterized by huge amounts of cell growth).  The way it works it that a stressor (be it a hormone or increase in pressure) can change the way a cell responds to it’s environment.  For my purposes I’m looking at stressors that cause cells to grow uncontrollably and unchecked.  It’s kind of (really) cool but still frustrating because I can’t run experiments or trails or have access to real patients.  I guess this is good for me to learn that life doesns’t happen in a bubble the way college is set up.

Plus it strengthened my resolve to want to go into endocrine as well as try to pursue research in a diabetes research facility next year.  Fingers crossed for me — it’s really hard to get the kind of position I want. But that still leaves me sitting at my computer trying to put together a powerpoint presentation. Ugh.

Experimental Physics independent lab: The first half of the semester this class was all about doing pre-selected experiments to solidify our knowledge of physics concepts.  The second half my lab partner and I get to design our own experiment to study something physics-y but of our choosing.  And since my lab partner is basically a slacker (which I am SO trying to not be bitter about) I designed a lab to measure the effect an increase in pressure has on the human heart.

I tried to base my model on obese people vs. “normal” people (that sounds so bad to type out like that!!). The lab was taking tubing and creating a closed circuit (it ended up not being closed due to the difficulty of making the tubing stay) and varying the amount of pressure being placed in a particular spot on the tube — aka like fat around the heart.  Placing a marble into the model I was able to measure how fast it traveled with the different pressures.

I’m still not quite sure what my results mean (the more outside pressure lead to an increase in velocity) so I’m trying to find research on hypertension and obesity and what exactly causes the two to be related.  Like with my capstone I doubt there’s a lot of literature out there on the mechanism, so I’ll likely be looking more into the physics behind hydrolic pressure and fluid mechanics.

So hopefully you found this post to be interesting.  Since I use this blog as a way to talk about my running (because no one in my “real life” gets running) I tend to ignore the other things.  But I swear I’m more than one dimensional!

And here’s a giveaway from Run Girl Run. And from ErikaH

P.S. I do apologize for not getting around to responding to comments.  I hope that once I’m off campus I’ll be able to catch up on them!

February 5, 2010

Friiiiiiiday and 5 week check-in

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:59

Hey all! Another busy Friday for me.  Do I ever get a break?! This weekend is going to be all about the homework.  It feels overwhelming but — deep breathe — I know it’ll all get done. How? Good question.  But it will.  Small steps.  So clearly I am being productive by blogging 😉

Nothing too exciting running wise here.  Got in a very nice recovery run this morning and followed it up with some afternoon lifting. The pacing of the run was typical: start of shuffling and then after loosening up the legs move into a more fluid form.  Another reason I like morning running is that no one I know is awake on campus to see me doing the “granny shuffle” as i start these runs.  So my ego gets to stay relatively intact 🙂

My knee is feeling somewhat better today.  Definitely still bruised and it’s red/purple.  I wish I could remember what I banged it into!! So annoying but the more I think about it I could see it being a lifting related bruise.  I often bang my knees with the weights inadvertently.  Nothing really bad  but I’m a klutz haha. I’m also thinking it could be a result of the way I sit in my desk chair: with that leg under me.  I’ve always noticed that it hurts my knee when I get up and I think that it might be a cause of the pain that’s there.  I’m not ruling out a running injury although the color of my knee suggests that’s unlikely.

I figured that since today is about 5 weeks into the New Year I’d take a moment and reflect on the goals I set for myself like I did a week into the year.  I think it’s very useful to frequently remind myself of them so that I don’t keep them on the back burner:

  • Drink more water Ehhhhh.  I do drink a liter of water, a liter of milk and some diet coke with lime everyday so I am staying hydrated but most of what I drink is in the afternoon and night.  This makes my sleep interrupted because I have to pee.  All. The. Time. At. Night.
  • Get faster aka do more speed training. Semi-Check.  I still have been doing the 2x a week speed that my plan calls for but I feel stagnant a bit.  I mean, yes I am fast, and my tempos have been rocking but I think I need a race to truly give me a sense of where I stand with this one.  I’m sure I am faster (how could I not with the killer speed stuff I’ve been doing?) but I need a good check-in and hopefully I can find a race in the next few weeks.
  • Get stronger aka do more lifting. Check.  Since my last check-in I’ve been lifting 3x a week and still LOVE it.  I definitely love the way my muscles look when I keep lifting regularly and I know that the reason I’m able to hit quality workouts is because my muscles are strong.
  • XT more Kind of Check? I’ve incorporated ellipticalling into my routine but not as a replacement for running. More as a supplementary was to do a shake-out run without actually running.
  • Stretch more Maybe. I’ve been inconsistent with this one.  There are periods of a week or so where I am religious about stretching and then periods of time where it won’t happen.  So better than last check-in where I had yet to begin a routine but definitely room for improvement.
  • Respect rest day FAIL. Nope.
  • Listen to body Ehhhh Check. Last week I let the streak go because my body just wasn’t feeling it and I’d like to think that it let me be a little less obsessive with the miles.  I am really good at listening to my body when it comes to pacing and I’m a lot less judgmental about that.  Which is a HUGE victory.
  • Wear sunscreen FAIL. And I’m just going to let what I wrote last month stay: “Granted the sun hasn’t been out that much in the past 10 days or so when I made these goals but I need to remind myself that even though it’s WINTER the sun is just as bright and dangerous.  In the vein of skin care I have made a dermatologist appointment to get some of my suspicious moles checked out.”

So I’ve actually improved over the past 4 weeks since I last checked in. Obviously room for improvement but what fun would life be if all your goals immediately came to you? I like a challenge!

Okey-dokey.  Going to go try to do some work before heading into the city tonight to catch a movie with a friend.  No idea what we’re seeing but that’s okay because he has free passes.  And since I’m not spending my own moolah I don’t have to be picky haha

And check out this giveaway over with ErikaH

Happy Friday!

January 8, 2010

Recovery and Reflections (yes I know it’s only day 8 of the year)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:30

Lengthy title? Yes please! But as nothing I do is ever straight to the point anymore (oh how there was a time when things were simple and short & sweet) does it really surprise you? Yeah, didn’t think so either…

First off check out my chica Erika over at DrTriRunner.  She’s thinking about going back to teaching spin and she’s looking for pump up songs.  As athletes I know we all have them: my favorite is Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry.  Get’s me hyped like no other.  (The link above is to her post asking for help on this).

On and off flurries here in good ol’ New England.  Very pretty to look at from the warmth of my room.  However the 24* temperature outside makes me want to stay holed up here forever! Luckily I got my workout in early when I was still half asleep and not awake enough to realize how cold it was.  The cold did wake me up a bit and the very light snow was really nice to run through.

Since yesterday was a rockin’ tempo I knew that today was going to be nice and sloooooooooow.  It’s recovery so I’m okay with it.  Ever since having a training plan to guide me I’ve been increasingly comfortable with a wicked slow pace.  I think it’s because I have hard days included in my plan and I’m focused: each run has a purpose and it makes no sense to be hitting certain paces when the point of a recovery run is to just circulate blood and get the junk out.

This is totally different than when I’m not in a cycle because, in this case, I wake up every day and have no clear idea of what I’m going to do.  Wow, totally long winded way of saying that my 9:32 pace this morning was exactly what I needed because that’s what my body did. With no judgment from my mind. (Well very little as I was able to ignore the bashing thoughts)

I also got in a nice lifting session when the campus gym opened at noon.  My muscles must be really reacting nicely to my sessions because today felt pretty good and almost on the easy side; I’m going to need to up the weights soon.  Exciting!

Guess what I found yesterday?! My 2008 day-by-day running calendar.  It was fun to flip through and see how much of a *distance* runner I’ve become since then.  In the back of the book was my 2008 yearly mileage.  You ready for this?  2367.  Compare that to the 3116 miles of 2009 and I think I’ve found my niche as a looooong distance runner.

With that in mind, I figured I’d take a moment and reflect on the first week (plus 1 day) of 2010 and see where I am with my goals / “resolutions”.  I doubt I’ll do weekly check-ins but when I’m first trying to make a change or make an improvement close monitoring helps hold me accountable.  So here it goes:

  • Drink more water Check.  I’ve faithfully had a water bottle in my hand and I’ve been drinking lots of tea lately so I’m definitely getting in fluids on a regular basis.  My only “criticism” is that most of the fluids in happening in the afternoon which sometimes makes me get up in the early morning hours to pee
  • Get faster aka do more speed training. Check.  Luckily my training plan has me doing speed work twice a week which I LOVE doing so I have been religiously.
  • Get stronger aka do more lifting. Check.  Ever since the fall semester ended I’ve been able to get in 2 sessions a week.  I’ve been feeling more powerful lately too.
  • XT more FAIL. Running is just too damn good right now.  Last night I did do some elliptical but that was after my tempo session and I wanted to give my legs a chance to circulate the blood / waste in them.
  • Stretch more FAIL. I haven’t made it a point to do full body stretching after I run.  It’s been more “Oh my quad it tight, let’s stretch it”. I really want to get better with this and I think that I need to schedule it into my day to make it a point that it’s important to me.
  • Respect rest day FAIL. Let’s just say the streak is going strong.
  • Listen to body Check. Like I mentioned above I’ve been okay with letting my body do what it wants with respect to training.  I think that over the course of this cycle I’ll be okay with respecting my body.  Granted I haven’t had to really “test” this one yet as my body is itching to go lately. And it’ll be interesting to see what happens post-marathon.
  • Wear sunscreen FAIL. Granted the sun hasn’t been out that much in the past 10 days or so when I made these goals but I need to remind myself that even though it’s WINTER the sun is just as bright and dangerous.  In the vein of skin care I have made a dermatologist appointment to get some of my suspicious moles checked out.

So 50%.  Not so bad considering today is only the 8th day of the year.  I think it’s good to reflect on goals.  I think the number one reason goals / “resolutions” don’t get done is because people don’t reflect and do assessments on a regular basis.  Like I said, weekly will likely be too much in the future but to make a change it’s be (for me) to have frequent check-ins.

Time for me to get off my butt and go shopping (tough life I know!). It’s only to Target but I hope to come out with a new camera, or at least the camera I got for Christmas in a different color.  I’ll then be able to incorporate pictures into my posts.  Although knowing the way life works I won’t be inspired to take any or be able to take any that relate to what I want to talk about.  Pretty basically the story of my life heh.

And woot it’s Friday? Where do my days go? I had no idea until I looked at my calendar.  Oops.  Well wooooot! indeed. Hope some of you have awesome plans because seeing as how I just realized it I surely do not.

January 4, 2010

Twenty Questions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:50

Well more like 12 questions as I’ve kept waiting and waiting for more but they aren’t trickling in I guess.  Oh well, either that means my life is really boring and no one wants to know more or I share too much of my life and no one needs to know more 😛

So while I begin to do laundry and gather up my things to head back to school (classes don’t start for another 3 weeks but I need to get the heck out of this house haha) I figured I’d post the questions I did get. With my responses of course.  And I loved all the questions I got, there were really thoughtful and I totally had fun answering them. Enjoy and if you want to know more just ask — I’m totally down for doing a second installment of this if there’s interest 🙂

1. Any meals or foods you can’t live without?
YES. In the afternoons I always have honeybunches of oats (cinnamon clusters) with a smashed up Nature Valley granola bar (flavor varies) and yogurt (flavor also varies). I really love breakfast foods, I think I could live off of the stuff haha.

2. What’s your favorite food?
Hmmmmm. Peanut butter. It can go on anything. Seriously.

3. Non-alcoholic beverage of choice?
Diet coke with lime. Drink it everyday. Elixir of the gods I tell you!

4. Adult beverage of choice?
Jack and Diet Coke. With a slice of lime. Not such a big fan of fruity drinks: I like to feel the burn haha

5. What is your typical training schedule like?
Hmmmmm. I usually have speed stuff on Wednesdays and my long run on Saturdays. That’s about as scheduled as I get. I do try and rotate intervals, tempo, hills around in my speedwork sessions. Usually rotating once a month with the fourth week being easy. The rest of the time I just go “easy”. I do core 5x a week (every day that I’m not doing speed or long) and try to do lifting 2-3 times a week (New Years Resolution!)

6. What’s your favorite color and why and what do you own that you love in that color?
Gut response is blue but I’m straying from it lately and I don’t think I ever really looooooooooved it, rather everyone else did when I was little (and I was very impressionable). I’m really getting into pink and I have a pink vest that I absolutely LOVE and wear all the freaking time. I don’t really have a not-so-favorite color though.

7. If you could go back and be one age you’ve already lived, which age would it be and why?
Gosh this is really hard.  I’d chose the beginning of college so age 19.  I didn’t have a great first 19 years of my life and it wasn’t until my freshman year that I became a *person* and felt that I had a purpose and that I could do things for *me*.  So that was when life started being fun.

8. First kiss? Do you still talk to this person?
First kiss was in sophomore year in high school to a guy that I really didn’t know. But I was at a holiday party at my friend’s house and we just hooked up. Kind of awkward. I haven’t seen him since. Wow. Awkward to think about. It was NOT as sketchy as it sounds to type out! We did have mutual friends in common and he actually still keeps in touch with some of them.  We just didn’t have anything in terms of common interests.

9. If you could have a movie made about you, who would play you? And what songs would be on the soundtrack?
First the soundtrack: lots of country. I really feel like I am a southern girl at heart even though I am tooo uptight to ever leave New England ha! There would definitely have to be some Jay-Z and Lady GaGa too because I love to dance to them. As for who would play me…I’d love it if Kyra Sedwick did. I know she’s a bit older than me but I love watching everything she’s in and I think she’s such a strong woman.

10. What is your favorite thing to do that isn’t running or blogging/reading blogs?
I loooooooooove to read. I can easily read 1-2 books A DAY if I can. Mostly adventure / detective stories. I do have a soft spot for sci-fi though and Michael Crichton is my favorite author with Jurassic Park being my all time favorite book.

11. Where would you like to travel to in order to run a marathon?
Where would I not travel? I definitely want to do Disney someday. And a marathon in Europe.  I think I’d travel anywhere though because I don’t much in the way of travel experience under my belt and what better way to see the world than through running?

12. If you had to pick one lifetime running goal, what would it be?
To be running when I’m 80 and beyond.  So cliche I know! But I see this woman who lives on the street next to me running all the time and she’s giving me training tips and is such a bamf! I’m in awe of those who have taken such good care of themselves that they are younger physically than people my age. That and I want to be the old broad who whoops the young’uns asses in races (because that has totally happened to me before!)

And there you have it and hopefully you learned something interesting. Again, if you want to know anything (I was mildly surprised at how few “favorites” questions there were) just ask and I’ll be happy to answer. Happy Monday all!

P.S. Check out this giveaway that TeaMarcia’s doing. Pretty sweet, although I want to win so don’t enter 😉

December 26, 2009

2010: Running

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:25

Hey all.  Happy day after Christmas 🙂 Hope it was everything you wanted it to be.  Like I said yesterday my day was really low key which was perfect.  I went on a date with one of my best friends from high school and Mr. Robert Downey Jr (btw the movie was GREAT!) and then hit up a restaurant for some drinks and Chinese food with other friends who joined us. Yummy-ness and hilarity ensued!

But since everyone else is doing it (and I am a lemming) I put together some thoughts on what I want to do in the upcoming year. Be warned it’s long but oddly enough it’s all running.

But first running reflections on 2009:

2009 was a great year for me. I ran my first marathon, first 5k and pr’d in the half.  Plus that marathon? Oh yeah, a BQ. I am very happy that I raced as much as I did this year too, with most of it happening in the fall.  I tend to try and save money (like most people) so I’m really hesitant to sign up for races unless they are meaningful.  But racing = fun so I gained experience (and shelled out cash) which was great. I also ran the most miles in a month as well as a week.  And those two accomplishments came NOT during marathon training.  Overall I’m happy with this year. I feel like  I became a *real* runner rather than a chick who likes to run. Maybe a self-righteous feeling but hey that’s me 🙂

Goals for 2010:

  • PR (duh who doesn’t?).  I don’t know how obvious it is or how clearly it comes across in my blogging but I race to race.  I don’t sign up to “have fun”.  I sign up so I can run hard enough to want to puke my guts out when I cross the finish line. I think that by incorporating new strength moves and speed workouts will help that.  Mixing things up and see what happens.  Specifically (and yes they are lofty but I think that with some real focus I can come real close to most if  not all of ’em):
  1. sub 20:00 5k — considering my only 5k time is 21:32 and I didn’t train for it I think this is lofty but do-able if I train for a 5k.  Who knows if that will happen though as I ❤ the long stuff
  2. sub 43:00 10k — ideally I just want 43:23 because that works out to 7 pace even but being the overachiever I am I want to break a round number.
  3. sub 1:40:00 half — every time I run a half I smash my previous pr.  I’m currently at 1:41:56 which was a 2 or 3 minute improvement from the previous pr.  Definitely going to be hard but I think it’s do-able
  4. 3:35:00 marathon — I was going to write sub 3:30 but that’s an 8 minute pr and I’m not sure how realistic that would be.  Actually to hell with it: the goal is sub 3:30.  I left the last marathon feeling like I had plenty of gas in the tank so we’ll see if I can capitalize on that in 2010.
  • Do an ultra.  I do have a potential one in mind too about 5 wks after Boston.  I think that the end of this year has made me really think that reeeeeeeeeeeally long distances is cool and that my body is totally capable of doing it.
  • Dare I say it? Requalify for Boston.  I’m scared of the course (I’ve heard really dramatic stuff!) so I don’t know if I’ll do it there or not.  And since I’m not sure what my post grad plans are so I don’t know if I’ll have another shot at it this year.  I guess in the same vein I don’t know if I’d even be able to use a BQ before it “expired”. Still it’d be cool to requalify (and I guess this goal falls under PR as well because I didn’t exactly smash the BQ time last time)
  • Not sure how realistic this one is as I have no idea where I’ll be in the fall but I want to run MCM.  I have this huge patriotic side to me that I rarely (living in New England — sorry HUGE stereotype) get to express.  I’d really love to be a part of that military experience because I actually get verbally attacked when I express that stuff around here
  • And super long term I want to run the Big 5: New York, Boston, Berlin, London, Chicago.  Maybe I could get lucky and find myself in Europe this fall / next year. I can dream right? 🙂
  • Have fun.  I really want to relax that must-pr-or-die mentality.  Not sure how I’ll do this.  Since I am a poor college student I tend to pick my races carefully and thus don’t want to “waste” money by not attempting to pr. I think doing an ultra might fall under this category because from what I’ve heard they are a totally different beast than what I’ve been doing. Also maybe leaving the watch at home? I don’t ever look at my watch during a run but to actually not be timing might be a good way to chill out.

I think that’s a healthy list of running goals.  And I think I’ve brainstormed ways to get them.  Overall I think that this year has the potential to be a good year for me.  At least the first 6 months.  Life after graduation is still up in the air as I don’t know if I’ll still be in New England or what I’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis and how feasible training will be.

But here are some other things that I think will help me become an even better runner in 2010 and achieve the goals listen above:

  • Drink more water.  Yes I will admit that most days I do not drink enough (water that is).  I feel the best when I’m hydrated and I preform the best when properly hydrated.  And I’m also including tea and other semi-clear liquids.  Alcohol and coke? Nope, they’ll count towards my fluid count but not the hydration count if that makes sense
  • Get faster.  I want to become more comfortable with speed.  In my 5k this past fall (first and only) I was cruising at a great fast pace until the last mile or so.  So I want to be able to push how far I can run at a “sprint” speed.  I guess I can work on that by racing more? Although that does get expensive so I want to commit to keeping speedwork (tempo, mile repeats etc.) in my routine in a more consistent basis when I’m not training for a longer race.  When I’m not following a half or full marathon program I tend to slack in that department.
  • Get stronger. AKA strength train more.  Like I’ve said in posts of the past I feel so much stronger and fitter and faster when I keep lifting in my routine.  I don’t think this will be that hard to keep going once I commit to doing it.  Which I’ve already started.  But I need to make sure I don’t go on any 10 week hiatuses again!
  • XT more in general too.  Potentially do a tri although that’s not really a huge goal of mine at all (hate biking) but having a goal like that could be an impetus to XT it out more.  Which will help my running.  A win-win.  Except for my butt which will never be friends with the bike.
  • Stretch more. Now that Jazz is over (so sad!) I need to make an effort to keep stretching even if it’s just 2 or 3 times a week like the class met.  In the two-plus weeks since that class ended I have not stretched once! And I definitely notice my muscles being more reluctant to do what I want.  I know that I’ve told my friend to drag me to yoga twice a week if that’s what needs to be done (and you know how I feel about yoga haha)
  • Respect the rest day.  I’ll admit that I hate taking rest days.  I am a mileage junkie after all. But rest is what repairs the muscles and is actually what makes you stronger.  And while I do take ’em (and easy days too I swear! I’ve just been on a kick lately!)
  • Listen to my body.  Falls under respect the rest too I suppose but there have been times in the past where I push through a hard tempo when my body wants an extra easy day. Shocker I know.
  • Wear sunscreen.  I’ll consider my life improved if I wear it once a month this year.  Because that would be about 12 times more than I did in 2009.  Yes I know I’ll have skin cancer, like, tomorrow (trust me I have enough pre-cancerous moles to say this) and even if I dodge that bullet I don’t want to be all leather-faced in 10 years.  I guess this isn’t technically running related but, especially this summer, the only times I was out in the sun (especially the bright sunlight) was when I was running.

Yikes. That’s a lot to digest I guess.  Thanks for sticking with it if you’ve made it this far. I actually started this post over a week ago and kept refining it / adding to it.  But I think that’s a good start.  Nice small simple changes.  Some of them will be easier than others.  But change is change and I’m resistant to it.

With respect to “resolutions” well I hate the term resolution and, come to think of it, the fact that I’m starting these things on January 1st.  I think that those labels put a pedestal up which sets a lot of people up for failure.  Like starting something on a Monday, it puts real significance on that (too bad January 1 doesn’t start on a Monday heh).  Which may or may not be a good thing for some people.  To me these changes are designed to improve my running not just in this upcoming year but FOREVER.

So upon writing this post and thinking about it I am starting these things right NOW. Today.  Going to go grab a glass of water and drink it while stretching. And maybe hit up the gym for a strength session.

December 7, 2009

“I said

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:45

BRR it’s cold in here”

First truly cold day of the winter.  And technically it’s still fall.  Oh man December.  I didn’t check the temp when I first got up (ignorance = bliss) but when I checked at 0800 it was 23*.  MMMM-hmmmm the sun was up and shining at that point too so I’m a little bit scared to think about how bone-chilling cold it was when I left my building.

Cold enough (because I checked the weather the night before and it said 0600 temp was going to be 25*) to break out a thermal top and layer it with an underarmour (but non-thermal) base layer with a windbreaker.  I still wore shorts because A) my legs don’t really get cold, it’s mostly my upper body and B) I don’t want to break out the truly cold winter gear just yet.  I also layered my gloves but to no avail. I mean, it took the cold 5 miles to penetrate them but when you’ve got another 4 miles to go that’s really no consolation.

So yes, I did run 9 miles.  I really mentally wanted to go an extra 1 so I could get another double digit run in but I refrained.  It’s a slippery slope adding more miles and I need to wean myself off of it!

Not that my body is complaining (which I do think I say every day).  I just don’t want to burn out or (even much worse) injury myself.  But it’s just so hard to stop when it feels so good.  Too much of a good thing, however, is not a good thing anymore.  It’s weird to think that just 2-3 years ago I considered 10 miles to be the LONGEST DISTANCE EVER.  And now? It wants to be my Monday morning run.

As December the year draws to a close I’m doing what most ppl do: contemplating the next year.  This is scary because I’m graduating but in terms of running I’ve been doing some thinking, mostly on my run haha, about where I want to go with running, potential races etc. So I’m going to brainstorm and share here because Sarah asked 🙂

My main goal is: requalify for Boston at Boston.  Going to be hard because of the hills there and lack thereof where I am.  Lacey has offered to run some hills where she lives with me so I’m definitely going to take her up on that 🙂

Achieving the main goal is definitely going to be tough but I’ve got two potential races lined up to fine tune my game: This half marathon and the Eastern States 20 miler. Anyone who is going to be around is more than welcome to join in on the fun!!

The only downside to this being my main goal (well other than it being really hard) is that the race is in April.  So if I do hit it then the rest of the year is up in the air.  Sure I have some races that I’m likely going to do and although don’t want to think too far ahead of Boston they’ll likely include

  • The half marathon that is attached to the marathon I ran last year.  It’s 3 weeks post-Boston so I’m not sure what’s feasible in terms of racing
  • Hometown Fourth of July race
  • Swanzey Covered Bridges Half
  • Tufts 10k
  • MCM

Maybe a smattering of other smaller races thrown in there and, like I said, I’m trying to focus on Boston right now so I really don’t know what post-Boston will bring.  Or even if I’m going to be in the area to do the local stuff (you know that whole life thing haha)

If I don’t hit the Boston goal? Well I guess I have a list of races handy to redeem myself haha.

Oh and on a non-running note: the Yankee Swap / Holiday party for preceptors was really fun last night and I got to come home with two boxes of colored Christmas lights. Hollllleeeeerrrrr.  Which match perfectly with my colored light menorah (ok so it’s a plain ole candelabra with only 5 candles but I’ve been calling it a menorah since I was a wee one so just stick with me here haha.  My room is oh-so-festive right now with the lights + menorah + frosty the snowman lights.

Enjoy your Mondays all 🙂

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