MarathonMaiden's Blog

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 1, 2010

In with a Semi-Bang & 2009 Monthly Totals

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:40

Man I didn’t think I was going to be this sore after yesterday’s full body lifting + tempo! It’s not as bad as it could be I suppose and, in fact, I quite like this type of soreness.  Let’s me know I pushed hard yesterday which I did.

Hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve.  I had a low-key night and stayed in for a house party rather than going into the city.  We made frappes with Bailey’s which was heavenly 🙂 And we also thought that we were cheated out of the ball dropping.  Turns out we’re just idiots because upon replay the ball did in fact drop. Heh.

Despite a late night I still got up early because of my internal alarm.  The weather was really nice (upper 20s no wind) even early but my sore muscles + extreme hunger pushed off a run until late morning.  Not quite a huge bang to welcome 2010 like I said goodbye to 2009 but a solid 13 miles nonetheless.  So a semi-bang because 13 miles isn’t anything to snivel over even though the run itself was kind of unremarkable.

But without further ado (because I have another massage scheduled that I need to head out for then heading to see Avatar in 3D. Yay!!) here are my 2009 miles. Maybe I should have posted this in 2009 but whatever I’m combining posts because I don’t want to keep putting off telling you how great I was in 2009 haha!!

Here are the mileage breakdowns for each month of 2009 (along with some thoughts / things I associate with each month — sorry but I am a terrible picture taker because I don’t really ever do it).  It took me forever to do because I kept “eh” records prior to the summer.  I had all the data but I never totaled things etc.  Gross.  But I was curious to see the ebb and flow of my running over the course of the year.  I am not ambitious enough (nor bored enough yet) to calculate the overall time spent running / pace.  I kind of do want to know that info but I think I’m going to save myself the headache heh.

January: 161.4 (Kind of low, especially when you consider my miles lately.  But I had a really case of cellulitus in my toe which led to a bad blood infection — and hospitalization — so I was out of commission for a good week-ish and then could only xt for a bit after.  So overall not that bad.)

February: 219.9 (First 20 miler ever this month! And after that run was the first time I posted with the RWOL Dailies crew.  Awesome people, good support & they’re all wicked smart. The overall monthly mileage is kind of low compared to future months though)

March: 265.4 (First month that I ever did double digits during the week.  I turned my Tuesdays into mini-long run — like 11-12 miles — and I felt like such a bad ass doing that many miles then going to classes)

April: 254.9 (Longest run everrrr — at least not including the marathon — of 22 miles.  Ran it in HURRICANE conditions (no joke: legit hurricane) on Easter weekend.  Wrote in my log “very challenging mentally and physically, let the taper begin!” haha. I think this was the month where I created the blog )

May: 229.1 (Marathon was at the beginning of this month and the rest was focused on recovery although to look at the weekly stuff I didn’t take long to bounce back)

June: 237.4 (Started the 100 pushup challenge this month because I still wasn’t anxious to get back into a lifting routine.  I really liked this challenge even though I haven’t done a single pushup on my own accord since doing the 100. Oops!)

July: 250.7 (Ran my first 5 mile race and did it well.  Kind of embarrassing that it took me so long to get back to speed post-marathon as this was it)

August: 264.3 (This month including some hardcore hills because I visited my friend up in Lake Winnipesaukee.  I felt wicked hardcore hitting what felt like mountains)

September: 281.5 (Beginning of the fall of racing. I did the Covered Bridges Half Marathon — and Lacey was there even though I didn’t know her yet! — and my first ever 5k which I had mixed emotions over.)

October: 307.8 (Raced the Tufts 10k with Lacey & her sister — finally a meet up! Also a huge month for me, first time over 300 miles!)

November: 293.6 (Obv the highlight here was the 23k on my 23rd.  Genius of my advisor to tell me to go metric!)

December: 350.0 (Woot to high mileage.  I was running like it was job here!)

As you can see I pretty much increased my miles every month! And I have pretty good memories to go along with it.  I actually really liked flipping through my log to pick out the stuff as I don’t get to “rest on my laurels” ever.

And 2009 grand total? Drumroll please: 3116.0


Okay so I’m not convinced that it’s a point 0 total (I use an online tracker and sometimes question it’s accuracy) but I like it anyway. And I know I didn’t include those warm up/down miles for lifting, these miles are “pure” running ones.  But I am pumped and wicked pleased.  2010: you have a lot to live up to 😀

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.

October 24, 2009

Today is a thinking day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:18

Since when did just running to run not be good enough?

Wow tough question to ponder on this Saturday morning but that’s what I found myself asking myself on my long run today.  I’ve just been pushing myself so hard and feel pressure (totally from me) to run a lot more miles than I need to.  Mostly for bragging points.  I mean, sure, the extra miles usually do feel good but during my run my thought process is this: Push 1 more mile so that you can say that you ran x miles when someone asks.  Ummmm hello missy but most people are impressed that I get up early to run AT ALL much less that I ran 8 vs 7 miles or what have you.

This was the case today with my long run.  For the past 3 or 4 weeks I’ve been running around 14 miles I think for the lr.  Time for some cutback so I planned out an 11 miler which I thought I was going to be okay with.  Especially when my legs felt soooo slow during the first few miles. But, even with dead legs, my mind kept working out ways that I could turn the 11 into longer.  Crazy right?

In the end I only added 1 extra mile to get 12 but I felt BAD.  And bad in two sense: 1) 12 miles =/= 14+ miles so I felt guilty (don’t know if that’s the right word) that I wasn’t doing as much as last week and 2) 12 miles =/=11 miles so I felt guilty (again not sure if that’s the right word) that I couldn’t stick to my plan. Crazy right? (Uh-oh I can feel crazy being “the word” for this post).

After eating and showering I’m accepting the 12 for what it was: a decent 12 miles.  My legs felt AWFUL during the first couple of miles (I actually debated cutting the run shorter) but they felt better as time went on and my last few miles were slightly below target pace, leading the overall pace to be slightly slower than target but I’m okay with it. My stomach was also bothering me. I know that during hard exercise blood get diverted away from the GI tract so it can do to the muscles but there really wasn’t anything in my actual stomach to feel all funny.  I honestly thought that I wasn’t going to be able to hold anything down when I finished! Even now, 2+ hours later my stomach is still feeling queasy.

I feel like I’m heading into a funk.  And I don’t like it.  I know that funks are cyclical so it will end.  I also know that the more I try to fight the funk the worse it’ll get.  So I need to buckle down and let it wash over me.  Part of the funk is due to me pushing so hard with the running so I’m going to attempt to cut down my running this week; hopefully I can get over my mentality that I MUST run a certain amount.  Because no one else cares about the exact mileage.  So why should I?

The other half of the funk in the uncertainty of next year.  For the first time in a while I don’t know what the next year or two is going to bring me. And that is slightly scary! But again, I know that it will pass eventually.  Just need to accept it for what it is.

Now, re-reading what I just typed the words feel really really heavy.  Especially for a weekend haha! Don’t worry as I’m not sitting around brooding over this.  Just some slight musing as I had ample time over the course of my run. I go from yesterday’s bubbly non-running (at all) post to a serious post 🙂

But here’s something that I’ve been listening on repeat for the past hour or so. C-mon now, you can’t NOT smile when listening to it!

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