MarathonMaiden's Blog

August 15, 2010

Home Sweet Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out this giveaway from Jess.

August 3, 2010

Still Fast

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

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

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

Oh Enrique ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Jess is having a giveaway so check it out.

August 2, 2010

Monthly Recap: July 2010

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

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

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

Anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

Week of June 28 –  July 4

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

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

Week of July 5 – July 11

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

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

Week of July 12 – July 18

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

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

Week of July 19 – July 25

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

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

Week of July 26-August 1

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

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

Month of July

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

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

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

So what’s next?

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

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

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

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

Drunk. Happy. Hott. ❤

July 29, 2010

Three Things Thursday: Stress Edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:34

Ummmm pretty basically my life is one big ball of overwhelming stress.

  • MCAT.  2 weeks.  In two weeks from now I will hopefully be drinking on the pond feeling good about my test.  Until then, of course, it’s a little bit unnerving to feel like the entire future I want could hinge on this test.  There have been some high points: I feel better about certain topics that have traditionally given me trouble (thank you library! But no thank you old creepy men who stare at me!) but that by no means makes me feel like I’m totally prepared.  I just want the stupid thing done and over with.
  • Moving.  2 weeks plus one day.  Yes that’s right: I am moving the day after I take my test.  Ugh.  Poor planning on my part maybe.  I had originally hoped to move some of my stuff down this week or early next week but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen due to MCAT prep and other life stuff.  Since I’m just moving out of my mom’s house it’s not the end of the world to live bare-bones for a bit but still.  Not exactly ideal.
  • Medical School Application.  Because I still haven’t submitted it yet.  I need to re-work my essay which I haven’t had time for yet.   Nor have I really figured out how I’m going to pay for it, which adds stress of itself.
  • Not enough hours in the day.  I mean, I’ve been using the hours productively (which isn’t technically stressful) but I’d love it if I could have 2 (or 10) more.  Yeah so maybe a lame bullet point but I cannot just leave three things there.  Lucky number 4 and all 🙂

Had enough complaining yet?  Me too.  I really really try to not complain (and hopefully that does come across in my posts) but sometimes it feels good to just vent.  Also: I hate how the saying “when it rain it pours” is true. Also true? deep breathing = cure to being upset.  I’m don’t easily get upset so when I do I never know how to calm down.  But DEEP BREATHING.  Seriously.  It works.That said, here are three things that have been making me happy lately and, while they might be in vain, have attempted to lower my stress level.

  • Running.  Duh.  I feel like I haven’t been talking about my running lately because stress is so large that it’s taking over my mind and all my runs have been similar. But my runs have been feeling really good lately.  Sure, today I kind of slogged through 8 miles but can it really be called slogging when the average pace is 8:25?  I’m loving it.  Yesterday was a good 8 miles at 8:30 pace so I’ve been really pumped about it.  Thanks for all your comments about racing.  I still know I’m not going to commit to anything now but it’s nice to know that you guys think I could rock a race 🙂 AND I love the suggestions of loosely following a plan so I can get rid of that monotony feeling I have currently.
  • Reading for FUN.  Slash making sure the hour or so before my head hits the pillow is enjoyable. I’ve been making a commitment to reading chapters from a good book before I go to bed every night.  Sure it’s only 20 or 30 minutes or so, cutting into my sleeping time, but I love to read.   So it’s nice to be able to get lost in a story line.
  • Boston Medical. Which is on tonight 🙂 I’ve been absolutely fascinated with the show!  And no, I don’t think it’s because I want to be a doctor although I’m sure that’s part of it.  One of my friends, who is studying interior design, loves it too.  Always a plus to have some chica time. Anyhoo, hopefully my  *last* MCAT class tonight doesn’t run late so I can get home in time to watch the whole thing.  I’ve had to miss the beginnings sometimes and I hate missing the beginnings of shows.
  • And I know this is supposed to be THREE things but I need to put in a 4th (again):

And it’s not just this song but I’ve been really letting music lift my mood lately.  Lacey made me a mix CD that I’ve been listening too on repeat and other people have been “making” me listen to music I otherwise wouldn’t have.  But it works: I put on a good song and for 4ish minutes my thoughts are NOT on stress.

And my friend, who I stayed with in Philly, put up her pics on FB so I have more to share.  Sooooo here’s another.  And I’m going to dole them out slowly because I want to keep you guys coming back for more.  Unless you’re my FB friend.  Then you’ve likely stalked my pictures already and are bored with them haha.

Longwood Gardens. Check out the sock tan line. I am soooo attractive haha

P.S. If you’re not on my blogroll but want to be: let me know! I’m terrible at updating it when I find a new blog I love reading!

July 27, 2010

Woooot!?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 17:54

Well another practice test done (#4 for those of you counting) and well maybe not woot.  I seem to have hit a glass ceiling so to speak.  My scores aren’t drastically improving the way I had hoped.  Part of it is me: I am notorious for under-performing on standardized tests and maybe I’m not studying as efficiently as I could be.  Part of it might be the tests themselves: I’ve heard that the Kaplan tests tend to run harder than what I’ll likely see on test day.

But not matter what it’s pretty damn frustrating.  I feel like I’m putting in the work and effort and not being rewarded for it.  Sure I have seen improvement but not enough to feel really good. I do have a new plan/strategy in place and hopefully I can make some progress in the next few days before I take another test.

I know some of you have commented on how frequently I’ve been taking the tests but, according to my syllabus, it’s not bad.  Take a test, write down the topics that were troublesome, study those, repeat.  In fact, it’s recommended at this stage in the course to take a test every other or every 2 days.  I hoping to get another 2, or even 3, before I leave for vacation in a little over a week (because god knows no studying will get done on vacay) then come back with 2ish days before my test where I can review the worst topics and maybe take another full length.  Good plan? We’ll see.  I think I’ll be okay as, to follow up on my marathon training = studying analogy, I’m in monster month now then I need a taper.

Oh well. Enough study talk.  Can you tell what my life has become lately?

The running part of my life has been a bit more encouraging. I have seen an improvement in my running which is nice.  It’s kind of funny though because each run feels good but slightly monotonous.  I suppose that’s why I like having a training plan: it forces me to change up my daily runs.  Nowadays I just go.  Which is fun in and of itself but not completely satisfying.

Case in point: Yesterday (Monday) I went for a 7 mile run.  And I ran it in 58.18 minutes.  Aka an 8:20 pace.  And it felt so effortless.  Great I suppose.  I love it when I surprise myself and actually can think for a minute that I’m good at running.  But because it was a really easy effort I felt a bit blase about it because it was just a run.  Not that I’m belittling the run itself.  But there’s no excitement at the moment.  No “OMG I’m making progress” because I’m not really. At least not toward any goal.

Because there has been progress of sorts. As I wrote last time I had suspected that my weekly average pace was going to be faster than I’ve seen in recent weeks and I was right.  Yes, I’ve seen faster paces on individual runs in the past but to have a week where the average is that? Quite honestly: it stuns me.  I guess my legs bounced back faster than I thought they would.  I’m going to wager that this upcoming week will be just as fast.  In comparison:

  • Pre-Philly week: 111.1 miles with an average pace of 8:43
  • This past week was 56.4 miles with an average pace of 8:30.

Which puts me in a conundrum: racing.  Clearly my body is primed for it.  My life, however, is not.  The next 3 weeks are going to be stressful, to say the least, and then I launch straight into my job.  I know that hitting up a race is possible but the idea of finding one and, this is the most important part, placing something else into my calendar is a bit stressful.  And more stress is not what I need.

But enough about me complaining.  I do want to race a half marathon with Lacey in September as well as a 10k with her in October and likely will as I am wicked excited for it.  But I just feel like I could smash a record now.  Unfortunate timing.  Story of my life.

Also unfortunate timing? My run today.  Since the test takes 5ish hours clearly no morning run would happen. Meaning that I’m running now at the hottest part of the day.  Bleh. At least it’s not the most humid part.  Choices.

BUT that said I rocked it.  But in the manner described above for yesterday’s run.  I went for 8.5 miles at, get this, 8:15 pace! That is rocking fast but it didn’t feel like it.  It could have been any number of factors, running at 1600 rather than earlier and thus having more food in my muscles, having 24+ hours between workouts or the fact that my mileage is decreasing.  But I’m stoked about it.  Not enough to be elated but enough to feel confident in my capabilities.

Which makes me think about racing more.  Hahaha.

And to make up for my scatterbrained post (I’m blaming the test from this morning) check out this giveaway from ShutUpandRun. And from Heather.  And from Healthy Stride

AND here’s another picture from Philly. What am I going to do when I run out of these?!

July 25, 2010

There’s a Light in the Darkness?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 14:57

I may or may not have had this in the background while I was trying to study last night

Although this song may or may not be my favorite

Mmmmmmmmm yeah.  I guess I’ve been sucking at updating lately.  But, in my defense, I’m still in MCAT bootcamp.  At least for a few more days.  I took Full Length #3 this morning (and yay for slight improvement.  Keeps the hope alive you know?) after 4 straight days of classes and 2 of solid studying.  I need to get through Full Length #4 on Tuesday and then I’m semi-home free.

Not in terms of volume of workload (because, let’s be honest here: will it ever end?) but the pace slows down a bit in terms of requirements being due and I can focus on areas where I KNOW I’m weak.  Makes me feel better than having to read stuff for class and already know the stuff.  Not that I don’t like being good at stuff but I’d rather focus my efforts on other things.  Because knowing my luck AC/DC circuits will be 100% of the material I’m tested on.

But running.  It’s been happening.  Core and lifting? Not so much.  I’m thinking that this week I’ll reintroduce it but between my trip to Philly and all my MCAT work it just didn’t seem important.  Neither did running a kajillion miles as both of those weeks I’ve been around 50.  Yes a great deal of miles for sure but compare that to June and the 100+ miles.

I’d go into more detail about the specifics of the runs but they all are the same: 6 or 7 miles at 8:20-8:40 pace.  Seriously.  Except for the “long run” I did on Saturday which was 9.  But the pace was the same.

The funny thing is that this pace is the exact same (roughly speaking) now as it was pre-Philly.  Annoying because I want my legs to be like “less miles? Let’s GO” and it hasn’t been happening yet.  Maybe I pushed my legs too far and they’ll need time to trust that I’m not going to go all crazy on them again. I will say that I’ve been having less of those shake out runs, so while my pace hasn’t dropped yet to really fast I suspect that when I calculate the average pace for the week it’ll be slightly faster than it has been.

As for now, I’m comfortable with my easy runs and the lower mileage.  It’s so funny how that trip just broke up the mental cycle of more more more.  But funny in a good way.

I’ve also noticed a HUGE spike in my appetite since lowering the miles.  I think it’s pretty common though, as running (and in the summer too) decreases my appetite in general and running multiple times a day just let that depression continue all day.  I’m not really complaining though.  My wallet might be.  But the wicked annoying thing is that I’m hungry but I’m not craving anything in particular.  So I just stand in front of the fridge/pantry/cabinet and look.  Sure I’ll eat something but it’s never really what I want.

I do know that what I really want is to relaaaaaaaaaax.  But I’m incapable of this (big huge news flash there right?).  So I’ll likely head out for a standard run then do some analysis on my test.  Oh! Actually wait! I have been able to semi-relax at night: Yes I’ve been studying wayyyy late but I have been able to read a bit before actually closing my eyes.  Of course this keeps me up later than normal but it’s so nice to have something else on my brain when I drift off rather than study materials.

And because I’m being lame with my postings I owe you guys another picture from my Philly trip

Grrrr I am strong!

Check out the giveaway from ErikaH

July 11, 2010

Another MCAT Down

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

First: Thanks for all the “you look awesome in glasses” comments.  They made me smile and laugh and feel better about wearing them when I have to.  I think they make me look like even more of a physics nerd.  But that’s okay.  Apparently physics nerds look awesome 🙂

And thanks for all the “wow you are organized” comments too.  I take a certain amount of pride in my organizational skills 🙂  And yes, I realize I carry around too much stuff.  Sometimes, if I’m just running to the corner store or something I just grab my keys and go buttttt I guess I just like to prepare for all the “What Ifs” haha

And yes, I took another full length MCAT this weekend.  Ugh.  I didn’t necessarily do worse than last time but I didn’t make any real strides either.  Maybe 1 a week is too much? I heavily focused on the Physical Sciences this week and it showed.  Both in my grade on that section as well as the others.  Oh well.  I have more data to reformulate a plan.  But, not going to lie, it’s a little disheartening to not see an improvement from last week.

And I had to take the silly (well it’s not silly really.  Rather annoying though)test  in Starbucks because…dun dun dun…the library was closed and let me down.  Which is does All. The. Time.  I mean, I understood last weekend when I had to take the test that the holiday weekend would shut things down.  But July 10th? WTF?!

Starbucks wasn’t so bad.  I’m of the age where the employees were all clearly younger than me but not by soooo much  that I  think they wouldn’t feel comfortable telling me to leave.  It was a bit distracting have all people wandering about maybe that contributed to the mental fatigue and antsy-ness I felt by the end of the test. But, again, it wasn’t so bad. And I LOVE the smell of coffee.  I can’t drink the stuff but the smell is amazing.

Good old New England FINALLY got some rain over the weekend as well. Didn’t really cut any humidity out but for the duration of the storm the temp dropped a little and it felt a bit cooler.  Sure the storm passed through in about an hour but that hour was glorious.  Especially since I was determined to do some more work and try to pinpoint the exact ways I can improve my study habits and refocus/regroup.

I did get a good muggy run in before taking the exam though. It wasn’t my fastest run ever (I’m blaming the fact that I haven’t had a 0545 wake up in a very long time) but it felt good and luckily it didn’t rain on me.  Granted that meant that all the moisture was in the air and I felt like I was breathing water buttttt I like sunshine.

I have a love / hate relationship with running in the mornings.  On one hand I love it.  I love waking up with a run and shaking out the morning cobwebs.  The temperature is a bit cooler and that feels nice too.

On the other hand, the humidity is the worst in the morning.  And, one of the reasons I have morning cobwebs is because I’m staying up so late to study.  Wah wah wah.  I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this 🙂

But the biggest reason running in the morning has a hate component? Deer flies

Basically the bane of my existence in the summer

I think it’s just me.  Okay so maybe not as I see lots of people swatting at them as well.  But on every single run I’m attacked by them.  And it’s not just one fly, it’s a swarm.  I guess I just smell nice?

And the only way to kill them is to let them land on you and, before they can bite because they hurt like whoa, squish them like the little bugs that they are.   For real.  My running buddy thinks I’m really weird for literally pinching them between my fingers but I’ve found that if you hit them and even give them a good smack they will come back.  I’ve seen deer flies that I’ve smacked on my arm and thought were dead come back to life.

Annoying right? And it’s the absolute WORST in the mornings.

The weird thing is that it’s only about a mile radius from my house that they’re the worst.  I think it’s because I live on the water and water tends to be bug breeding grounds.  So while I get to swim and frolic in the water (ahaha who am I kidding I don’t have free time for frolicking!) the trade off is the bugs.  Ick.

Oh well. That’s my rant for the weekend.

I was also given a blog award from Jaime for having a blog of substance.  Very nice to hear because sometimes I think I just ramble and ramble and ramble. Thanks girl 🙂

The Rules:
•Thank the blogger who awarded it to you.
•Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five (5) words.
•Pass it on to 5 other blogs which you feel have real substance.

New Friends Who Love Running

Basically, the long and short of why I started blogging is because NONE of my close friends do.  So it was kind of lonely to not be able to talk to others about running or bounce ideas off of and whatnot. Luckily now I have TONS of new friends who love running as much as I do.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet some of you and run with you. 🙂

And I’m going to be lame and not tag anyone.  Because I want everyone who reads this to do it.  Seriously.  I love reading this kind of stuff!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! The agenda for today (Sunday) is to look over what I got wrong on the exam I took yesterday and then attack those sections with a vengeance. I tried to do some of it last night but there’s so. much. material.

I also hope that everyone has a good week this week. I’m off to Philly this week for job training so I’m probably not going to be posting until mid-next week.  I’ll have my phone with me so theoretically I can but doing anything on my phone, save calling and texting, can be a pain sometimes.  It’ll be weird to not post whenever I want but hopefully I’ll have LOTS of fun pictures to share when I get back 🙂

July 3, 2010

I Just Took The MCAT

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:36

Well not the *real* one but rather Full Length Test Numero Uno.  For my course we have to take 5 full lengths before our actual test and the first was today.  On the holiday weekend.  Fun, right? MmmmmHmmmm that’s what I thought.

Even funner? The fact that when I was driving to my friend’s house (where I was taking the test because my house is NOT conductive to quiet and focused-ness and all the libraries, testing centers etc are closed for the holiday weekend) a deer came bounding out into the road.  Damn near hit me.  Luckily I have cat like reflexes.  Too bad that those reflexes caused me to jump the curb and blow my front tire.

Oh well.  As my friend put it when I finally got to her house “better the tire than the damage that deer would have done to your car”.  Amen. But obviously NOT the way I wanted to spend my precious moments trying to calm my test taking anxiety.  Especially since I had been out late the night before picking a friend up at the train station and then grabbing some food to play catch up.  *LeSigh*. Luckily I had a spare and everything turned out okay. My nerves were frayed but okay.

Including the test.  I didn’t do as well as I want to for, say, the real thing but overall I was really happy with my performance.  While taking the test sucked hardcore it was good to get some real feedback to confirm my strengths and weaknesses and where to go from there.

But after taking a 5.5 hour test (and yes I did take the entire time) I’m giving myself the rest of the day off.  Hopefully I can relax a bit and catch up on some summer FUN reading.

Now onto running.

Or lack thereof.

You see, as astonished with how much I ran in June (and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get any satisfaction from it) it was way scary to see the numbers.  So after tallying the numbers on Wednesday night I decided to take some time off of running.

And by “time off” I mean 2 days because I’ll likely jump into a run pretty soon today because I’m so tense from the test, as well as tense from not having my release the past 2 days.

But, while I guess this is a chance for me to recoup, I feel really agitated.  I suppose this is like a withdrawal period? Who knows.  I do know that it’s not as though I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs.  There is studying to be done. I don’t really think I’m getting more done as I’m distracted so everything is taking way longer.

I’m also thinking of doing a race tomorrow for the 4th. It’s a 5 miler so it’ll be interesting to see if my legs have those fast-twitch capabilities anymore.  Last year I did this same race without any speed training post-marathon so anything can happen I guess.

I haven’t committed yet because there’s a chance I might being going up to my friend’s lake house for the night (and coming back Sunday night for a Monday morning appt.) but I still haven’t nailed out the details.  So if I do go I obviously wouldn’t be able to do the race.  Since I currently do not have a way to get there it’s looking like the race will happen and I’ll just go to cookouts and then into Boston for fireworks with some friends.

Soooooooooo that’s all I got.  My brain is FRIED so apologies on a scatterbrained post. Happy 4th of July weekend all 😀

Giveaway from ErikaH

And I’ll leave you with the song that was in my head for the entire 5.5 hours of my MCAT practice test.

June 30, 2010

Oops! I Did It Again

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:34

My homegirl.

I don’t think she was talking about running but I am.  I ran another 20 mile day.  21.5 miles to be exact. I really should think about a marathon I guess.  (And I’m delaying tabulating my June miles for now as well as the *GASP* half way through the year numbers.  I have the weekly totals (and past months) and everything calculated but summing it all up is going to be very interesting. Ha.  I’m playing ostrich:)

This was the first image that popped up during my google search. It scared the bejeezus out of me!

This is what I really meant

In my defense it’s been one hell of a long day.  Yes I’ve been studying for weeks now but today was really test/quiz intense and my brain was craving the idea of leaving it all behind and my body was itching to move. And move I did.

It was also a pretty emotional day just because of all the testing.  I think I’ve mentioned this before but I suffer from really bad testing anxiety so emotions were obviously going to be running high.  And, while I didn’t do badly at all on the tests and quizzes I took today, I didn’t do as well as I wanted.  But it’s hard to hit the “A” goal when it’s perfection.  And running releases that to a degree.

Like last time I’ll recap it in three different runs.

Run 1:

  • 0830
  • 9.3 miles
  • 80 minutes 43 seconds
  • 8:41 pace

I don’t really know what possessed me to go so far for a first thing run.  I slept terribly last night. Weird because some sort of front came through and knocked the humidity out of the air so theoretically I should have slept like a baby. But I was up late doing work and I think I was just overtired.  So I didn’t fall asleep until 0200 or 0300.  And naturally I wake up at 0800.

The lack of humidity (hello 40%!!) probably made me run so far though.  It was practically chilly when I stepped outside and, for the first time in awhile, I felt awkward running in just a sports bra and shorts.  The start of the run was, like always, a bit rough but my legs kicked it into high gear in no time and I was WAY surprised when I passed my street and thought to myself, hey let’s go further. I was even more surprised when I figured out my pace with about a half mile to go and realized that I was running way fast.

Go me.

Run 2

  • 1230
  • 8 miles
  • 67 minutes 59 seconds
  • 8:30 pace

I had just finished up an Orgo section on oxygen binding molecules.  Fun stuff.  And no, I’m not really kidding there.  I LOVED orgo when I took it.  There’s something about it that is amazing and nice and…I’ll stop there as I don’t want to fully cement my nerd status just yet.  It’s also hard to hate on a subject where, in one of the labs, I got to make 95% ethanol.  That’s 180 proof.  I’m a bamf.

Where was I…oh yes the run.  Regardless of how much I love orgo it still is tricky stuff.  So my body was ready to GO from sitting and working and my brain was ready to GO because it was pumped after doing an orgo section.  So after 6 miles I looked at my pace and figured that 2 more miles wouldn’t hurt. I felt good and happy and strong.

The weather was also still REALLY nice.  There’s always a trade off with heat and humidity: early mornings = high humidity but low heat and afternoons = low humidity but high heat.  Sure it wasn’t COLD when I went out for this run but a very pleasant 75* with, and OMG, 35% humidity.  I can’t remember the last time there was so little water in the air.

Don’t be too jealous though because tomorrow the humidity is supposed to come back with a vengence

Run 3

  • 1700
  • 4.2 miles
  • 36 minutes 13 seconds
  • 8:38 pace

At this point in the day I had done SO. MUCH. TESTING.  Granted, like I mentioned above the orgo I like and don’t mind doing.  But my PM studying/testing was in Verbal.  Now don’t get me wrong: I’ve always tested well on verbal and I probably could say it’s my strongest section for the MCAT (There are 3 well really 4 but Writing doesn’t count: Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and Biological Sciences) but no matter how well I do on the subject, it’s very mentally draining.

I probably wasn’t being the smaaaahtest person ever by running 17.3 miles prior to this point but hey, it happens.  I also knew that I needed to run.  So I planned to do only 3 knowing full well that, like the rest of my runs today, it would end up being longer.  Which, duh, it was.

The run itself was really good.  The beginning sucked.  My legs were stiff from the miles and the Verbal section test but I picked up the pace and fell into a groove.  I was very surprised to see that my pace was so good.  Normally on runs I check my watch at familiar checkpoints just to use as a gauge for how I’m doing.  I don’t know where they come mileage wise or anything but they’re just relative reference points.  I didn’t do that this run because I was just trying to unwind from the day so if I had to base it just on feel I would have said I was eh.  Pacing is such an elusive thing but I didn’t really feel like I was running mid-8s.

Total for the day

  • 21.5 miles
  • 3 hours 4 minutes 55 seconds
  • 8:36 pace

Great day.

I’m obviously not planning to do this again.  Or at least purposely.  Maybe my next post about this will be “Gimme More” or something 😉

I’ve got to get back to studying.  *LeSigh* My brain is sufficiently recharged from my running and I think I can tackle another chapter or two of Biology.

I also need to solidify plans for the 4th of July as well as a week in August when I don’t have ANYTHING to nail me down to a specific location the way my class is now (can you tell how much I want to procrastinate after a full day of work? haha). I was originally going to go up to my friend’s house on Lake Winnipesaukee this weekend but I have to take a full length MCAT on Saturday and I have an early morning appointment on Monday the 5th.  So it doesn’t make sense to drive 2ish hours to be up there for not even 24 hours.  Bummer.  Anyone doing anything spectacular to give me an idea to steal? A couple friends have to work that weekend too so we’ll be hanging out and celebrating America  8)

EDIT: Kristin brought up a good point in the comments about not relying so heavily on running as my release.  I completely agree! Today was probably the exception as I’ve been pretty good about tuning into the Office for breaks. Like you said, running is just such a release. I know it CAN’T be my only one so I’ve been experimenting with other things (TV, trashy mags) but haven’t really posted about them as I just don’t plain like them as much as running as well as the fact that this is a running blog. But I see the point. Thanks for looking out for me guys :)

June 29, 2010

¡Viva la España!

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

Uh-oh. Definitely spoke too soon about the whole crazy lady not calling me.  Because she did.  Apparently while I’ve been thinking I’m all coy about dodging her they were on vacay.  And now they’re back.  I didn’t actually take the call but I know I have to return it.  She mentioned to whoever took the message for me that she would pay me.  My  mom actually knows who she is and told me that I’d be “effing stupid” to not take the money.  Haha.  We’ll see how it goes.  My bank account has been dwindling lately.

Apparently Uncle Sam’s has been too because I’ve been told that I cannot fly to Philly for my job training in two weeks.  Too expensive.  So I have to take the train.  Ugh.  At least I’ll have plenty of time to study for the MCAT — which I’m taking in 6 weeks.  (Holy Moly.  6 weeks?! OMG freak out time!)

As some of you noted running has been a great stress relief from the test.  Definitely why my miles are so high lately.  I’m also liking the no real structure to my running and I think the lack of pressure has made my pace drop as well.  That and my whole lack of sleep rule.  As a few of you asked, no I don’t have AC in my house so I’m guessing that sleep is going to be fitful for the rest of the summer.  I rely on my good old trusty window fan.  I can get a semi-cross breeze as I’m on the corner of the house with two windows.  Sometimes it can be a help sometimes not.

But enough about stress and complaining.  And on to running!

This morning I woke up and wanted to get in a good run before I had to deal with my pre-med advisor.  I also had to drive my sister to camp so I woke up extra early.  In vain too, because when I got back from my run I had a message waiting for me saying that, despite taking the past 4 weeks off he wasn’t going to be in today and the office didn’t know if he would be in all week.  Ummm did I mention that I wanted to get these applications in pronto?

Oh wait, did I say I wasn’t going to complain?! Oops 🙂

But in some ways it was good that I was under the impression the meeting would still happen because I ran very decently this morning in my haste to get it done before the day started.  I wasn’t so sure when I first got up because my legs were a bit stiff from the lifting of Monday and my leg had been feeling achy last night.  It was almost as though I was one of those old people that could feel when the weather was changing.  No pain but I was like, GAH I’m soooo old hahah.

But I loosened up after the first 10 minutes or so like I always do.  I think it helped that it was slightly cooler this morning than yesterday and slightly less humid.  Granted by the end of the run I doubt that anyone could tell the difference but for the first part of the run it wasn’t so bad.

And, while I know many of you run in hotter weather, I miss my perfect late-May / early June morning weather.  I do, however, thrive in heat, as evidenced by my great running this summer.  I’m the NE girl who prays for this weather in January.  I just don’t like looking like I went for a swim after an 0800 run.  Oh well.  Win/Lose situation I guess.

I chose to do 2 X 5.5 miles just because it was easy to quit after one if I wanted.  Anyone else do that? I’ve never actually quit after the first loop of something but I rarely do full one-loop long runs anymore.  I think it’s partly a mental thing as NOT quitting or giving in makes me a tough chic 8)

I even negative splitted it which was really nice to see as it’s been awhile since I did a LR first thing in the morning.  And, while I fully will take pride in ANY negative split, it was a 3 minute negative split.  Great way to start the morning and, despite the lack of pre-med meetings, I’ve been pretty productive.  Another great way to start the morning / day.

Off to study MORE before my class.  Or maybe just pretend to study as the Spain-Portugal game is on right now. ¡Viva la España!

Oh and I want to say how awesome Rebecca is.  She ran the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon over the weekend and was a champ.  You can read how she did here.  I’m totally thrilled to be called her mini-me 🙂

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