MarathonMaiden's Blog

September 6, 2011

The Race That Wasn’t Supposed to be a Race. And Wasn’t. Really.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:36

I’m really glad that the DRC Breakfast Bash 5M that I ran on Saturday morning wasn’t supposed to be taken as an actual race for me.

competetor . com

While the above picture isn’t exactly what happened to me during the race it was probably the longest 5 miles. Of. My. Life.

The plan was to get some miles in before the race and then take the race as MP, to get some pace work in, as it was the LR day for the group ( I still feel weird calling it “my group” despite having run with them 3 times in the 3 weeks I’ve been here and 2 weeks in Dallas). MP, of course, means nothing to me as I’m not signed up for a marathon and sooo am not in marathon *racing* shape or really any racing shape.

I met with up with two friends to do a 9 mile loop around White Rock Lake beforehand. My goal was to run the first 9 slow and then just push the race. We started out at 0600 (and it was PITCH BLACK) and we went…slowish. The first mile was nice and slow, right where we wanted it to be (we were shooting for 9:45 average) and then picked it up a bit too much for our liking given how early we were in the run, the first three miles were 9:30 average. Normally this wouldn’t matter too much but we had that race after.  We locked into 9:45 even for miles 3-7.5 and then slowly picked up the pace over the next mile and a half.

Grand total pre-race: 9 miles in 87 minutes even, which is a 9:39 pace. I’m pleased with it.

We finished up with about 20 minutes before the 8am start and I’m pretty sure it was hot out. As I mentioned above the goal for the race portion was to go at MP.  One of my friends who did the lake loop with me wanted to target 9:00-15 pace, and I wanted…well ideally I wanted to PR, but that would mean a sub-7 pace.  Did I ever mention I was delusional?! I set my sights, however, on a sub-9 pace.  Ideally just under since my speed session during the week indicated those were the paces I was training for (according to that chart). As I told my friends earlier in the run, I want a sub-9 pace, even if it’s one f#$%ing second sub-9.

Summary of the race: It hurt and tested me mentally. I gunned it from the get go and my first mile was a little fast, second mile a little slow but the last three were dead on even (8:50, 8:58, 8:55, 8:55, 8:54). According to my watch (and I had to stop and tie my shoe and stopped my watch.  If it’d been a training run, which essentially this was, I’d have done the same. Don’t judge) my time was 44:42, which about a 8:56 pace.  Officially I ran a 45:01.  Annoying 1 second.

I’m pleased.  It’s what I wanted, even and hard effort, and my pace, while definitely not my marathon paces in the past, felt hard and challenging and it was a good workout on tired legs. And  I’ll repeat: it was the longest damn 5 miles of my life.  Thank god for some guy that chatted with me during the second half who kept me going and not letting me quit (and called me silly for not taking any water at the water stop. HA)

That said, after talking with some peeps from the group post-race (see below picture), I’m still excited to get into a training mode for my half in early November. I also got a mini-massage on my achilles and hips because they’re acting up, no injury but just tightening.  Silly Dallas and all your concrete!

Oh yeah, in a race that I was not racing at all I got 4th AG. So maybe it was a race for me. Evidently my AG isn’t too competitive here.  Too bad I’m bumping up one this fall and it’ll get more competitive. Damn.

I went out to Ft. Worth that night with a friend (who ran the loop with me) and met up with a bunch of people, including a girl I went to college with.  We danced the night away! It was so much fun despite, out of all the people we hung out with I only knew two of the people. But I guess now I have more friends after that night.

The rest of the weekend was about recouping, both from the race and getting home from Saturday night at 0430 Sunday.

I got a little taste of home on Labor day, when I stepped out my door for a morning run: 67* and a nice crisp breeze. Yay for “cold fronts”

But after being here for close to 3 weeks now, with the lows in the 80s and the highs being 100+, it did almost felt chilly – guess I’m embracing the whole Texan thing.  I wanted to go for a mid-distance run (and I got it) but I also wanted to get some type of faster turnover and I figured that my legs should be adequately rested from the pace work on Saturday and would be ready for the group quality workout Wednesday if I did them today.

I settled for a minute-ladder: 1-2-3-3-2-1, with half recovery between them.  I toyed with the idea of doing it twice (because grand total my miles were around 10.7 and the above workout wouldn’t take that long) but after the last interval, I could take the second ladder or leave it.  So I left it. I’m second guessing my decision so if anyone has any input (*cough*FLO*cough) on what the “correct” thing to do was I’d love to hear it. I’m sure that if I took equal recovery for the intervals I’d have been able to do the second ladder but I’m never sure how much rest to take during speed sessions.

I figure that since I’m getting back into quality workouts, I think I’ve only done 4 or 5 speed ones including today, and that last week was my first “training week” with 92 miles. It might be good to ease back into it and work up to multiple ladders? On the other hand I ran over 10 total and maybe the long slow portion negated the faster minutes.

Who knows. I clearly overthink things. This morning was an even “chillier” one: 63*.  I was running and looking around expecting leaves to be changing and apples to be ripe for the pickin’.  No such luck.  This is Texas after all.  I got my 8+ in though.  I’m thinking of hitting up my standby neighborhood run (aka I can run on people’s grass and not concrete) later today when it’s *only* 80-something degrees out.

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August 31, 2011

To Race or Not To Race

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:43

It’s probably a silly question.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love racing: going fast is awesome.  But on the other hand, I’ve let myself get way out of racing shape.  Mostly by running long and slow but also not taking care of myself terribly well this past summer. In retrospect maybe I could have done things differently but whatever, I did what I needed to do.

That said, once I moved here I jumped on the chance to run/train/race.  I met one of my friends in the Dallas area last December (actually I met in real life a lot of people that December) at White Rock.  We keep in touch via RW and now FB as well as, duh, real life.  She’s part of a running group (The White Rock Running Coop) that meets twice a week, very informally, to do a LR on Saturday and then a speed workout in the middle of the week.  This past week they actually met three times because the afternoon heat has made speedwork hard, so that was changed to an early am session and the night run is a recovery one.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that ever since I’ve known I was going to move here (as in once I had actual plans to do so) she invited me to the FB group for the group and I’ve been excited ever since.  Training with a group is awesome. Don’t get me wrong I love my solo runs. But I ran a long run with them last Saturday and their training mindset was infectious.  After Boston I had vowed to take off racing for the year; I was definitely overtrained, injured and just tired of push push pushing.  These guys are all training for fall races, ranging from Chicago to White Rock, and it got a little bit of the “hey I want to do that. Hey I want to follow a training schedule and have workouts with NAMES again.”

thanks google images

Now I haven’t gone off the deep end and registered for any races yet (I have registered to become a member of the Dallas Running Club and with that you get 8 free races.  I’m not counting those, especially since this one on Saturday is going to be after a 9-10 mile run as part of the long run) but I have some on my little “I want to do them” list.  A couple have price increases as of September 1st and I hate having pressure on me, especially since I still don’t know what I’ll do.

So the title of this post may be a tease because I clearly have no information as to my fall race schedule to give myself, much less you.  I am, however, training as though I’ve committed.

The first week that I was here (and for those of you who missed my last post I am not longer in Providence RI but now in Dallas, TX) I just ran easy.  No shock because that’s what I’ve been doing all summer. It was all about A) getting acclimated to the weather (it’s been 100+ every day with the lows being PVD’s highs!) B) exploring the area — both via bus/rail and running by getting out on the “trails” :

DallasCounty.org

While the trails can be pretty, there are the quote marks because it’s concrete. My legs are taking a beating due to it!

After being here in TX a week, I decided last Thursday (the 25th) to do a speed session. After actually making the move to Texas I felt that my life was less chaotic and during the exploratory run the previous night I felt the itch to do something structural with my running week. So on Thursday I set out.  In 85* @ 7am weather. Excellent.

I’d actually only been in Dallas for a day at that point due to the apartment fail but I had found a nice field on my previous run and thought it’d be good to use for speed work.  I was secretly hoping for a track there but it wasn’t too be.  I used a soccer field instead and did the following workout:

  • 4 X 3 laps of the field (~1000m) with 1.5 laps of recovery (~500m)

After some “extensive” google searching I took the average of all the measurements out there to be that 3 laps of a soccer pitch is ~1000m, and for my pace calculation I took it to be .6 miles. Good enough for me. How’d it go?

  1. 4:32 (7:33)
  2. 4:31 (7:32)
  3. 4:37 (7:43)
  4. 4:39 (7:45)

I guess I’ll take it? It’s slightly slower pace wise then when I did my 4 X 800m three week prior but slightly faster than when I did my 4X1 mile two weeks ago.  Since I really have no idea how long the entire field was, my paces ranged from 15 seconds faster (if you assume I ran further than the distance I used) to 30 seconds slower (if you assume I ran shorter). With all that guesswork involved I’ll just say that I’m happy with it because it felt hard and very taxing.

Just an interesting note that I saw lightning off in the distance during these early bird hours of running. Weird to me to have those t-storms so early; in MA/RI those storms crop up in the late afternoon. And there was a creepy kid doing soccer drills in the field.

No apologies for this one. Once I wrote lightning I had to watch it. And then share

This past Saturday was my first group LR.  I think I’ve run by myself for long runs with the exception of maybe 5 total.  This was the day that I started really feeling the itch of having a marathon on tap this fall.  The plan was to go for 15 miles, but a few wrong turns from the group leader got us to 15.6. NBD in my book.

We started at 0600 to try and get the bulk of the miles before the sun came out (sun rises around 7 in these parts) and the run was okay.  With my summer going how it went and the Texas heat I started out with the group that was running 9:45 pace and stuck with them.  At first I felt like I could have gone faster but I’m glad one of the guys told me not too.  I felt great until mile 11.  Miles 11-13 were eh.  After that I just wanted to be done.  I did finish: 15.6 miles @ 9:45 pace. As one of the guys told me at the end:

“Welcome to Texas”

Also just a note, because this is getting sooooooooooooooo freaking long!, I started a bare bones strengthening workout this week that I plan on doing 2-3 times a week (found it in a recent RW I think).  Nothing major but it makes me feel like I’m doing something.  At some point I’ll add to it or actually hit a gym but it’s good for a nice quick 10-minutes-and-I-feel-better-about-myself lift.

  • 20 walking lunges
  • 50 crunches
  • 10 pushups
  • 20 squats
  • 30-45 seconds of plank

I’m going to call this past week (August 22-28) my first week of training.  For what? Who knows. But after those two workouts above, re-starting a strength plan (hadn’t done anything like that for arms/core since May and legs was probably December) I’m beat and wearing compression socks to bed.  I’m sure adjusting to the heat has something to do with it too. No injuries although, as I mentioned above, my legs are feeling achy from the concrete. Regardless I finished up with 62.7 miles. Lower than I’d like but a solid place to start.

Wow I didn’t realize how much I had to say about my running lately. Sure makes up for my lack of exciting running this summer! I’ll post my track workout that I did this morning (it was the group workout that I had missed Tuesday morning because I wasn’t going to walk in the dark to get there!) tomorrow or Friday because it was a doozy and put some things in perspective in terms of races and this fall, as well as the group recovery run I’m going to tonight.

January 17, 2011

I Am Such A Bad New Englander

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:17

And apparently a bad blogger. Whoops. Guess I haven’t posted since last week.  Lots of good running going on since I last left y’all.

Friday: 9.1 chilly miles yet slow before heading into work. Ummm I didn’t write anything else about this run in my log book.  That night I did make a really good apple crisp with a friend and hope to post that recipe soon. So moving on…

Saturday: 15.2 miles @ 9:04 pace.  It was before my family came and visited (and due to an unforeseen emergency payment for oil that was delivered today my sister didn’t spend the weekend with me because I wasn’t going out and spent the weekend with a friend) and I didn’t think I’d be able to get all those miles in. But I did.  And they felt good too.  Not the fastest but they felt strong and not week.  Good thing because Boston training is in one week from today for me!

We went to CraftLand in downtown which was really fun

Me and my youngest sister

Sunday (bad New Englander moments!): No running but I went SKIING for the first time.  The person I went with isn’t from around here so it was his first time skiing too.  The irony is that I ended up wearing all his clothes out skiing because, surprise!, I do not own much real winter / snow gear.  Or at least stay-outside-for-long-periods-of-time gear.  But  man, it was SO FUN.  It was also a little humbling because I’m a naturally athletic person and this was soooooo awkward for me.  I think I was quoted as saying that skiing was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done”.  Of course the guy I was with picked it up immediately, which he said was an ego boost.

Afterward we wandered about Wickford Village which is a quaint little village in RI and I found this adorable (and soooooooooo true) shirt:

Monday:  Brought about  11.1 miles @ 8:55 pace. Very exciting and very unexpected that I felt as good as I did.  Beyond the skiing soreness (which was only in my arms. Hizzah!) I haven’t been sleeping much lately.  Mostly because I haven’t been spending lots of time at my place and hanging out with friends = movie watching and gossiping.

I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of cars this morning during the run.  And then I remembered that it was a holiday.  And I was still up at 0530 running. Grrrrrr.  But the run felt strong and the splits (I ran 3 different loops to make up the 11.1 ) were 8:56, 9:01, 8:20.  That last split was only for 1.1 miles though.  Boo. But way to end of a high note, right? If only that had been the entire run and not just a LMP.

But overall I’m really happy with my running as of late.  Good thing because in a week I’ll be officially Boston training.  The funny thing is that I don’t really feel excited for it.  I have yet to pick out a specific plan to follow! I kind of like how I prepped for WR: tempo, LR, track.  And I went with the flow. Is there anything wrong with doing that again?

Sorry for the lackluster post.  Only running really.  But I wanted to let y’all know that I am, in fact, still alive, having a blast with friends.  And running.  And baking (hopefully next post has my recipe in it!). Apparently skiing too.

Check out the giveaway from Mary and Christina (Sisters Running the Kitchen) and DC Rainmaker and Matt (Kitchen of a Runner)

January 5, 2011

Where The Wild Things Are Sex Running

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:05

Another spicy search term to brighten up your day/week because: WHEW it has been dragging! Guess that’s what I get when I take days off and don’t work a full work week since pre-Thanksgiving.  I’m hoping I can stay strong and pull through to the weekend!

Training wise…yes I said “training”.  Even though I’m not officially starting a plan for the 2011 Boston Marathon (!!) Sunday marked 4 weeks post-White Rock.  And thus I’m not purposely limiting myself to only easy runs.  I mean, if I feel like going easy on a day I want to do something specific I’ll take it(no sense in mentally beating myself up and wearing down) but I’ve decided to throw some “hard” (or rather quality) workouts in here and there.  Just to make sure my body doesn’t forget how to train (like it ever could!)

Monday: Easy 8.8 miles at 0545. Ugh. After a weekend of only sleeping 13 hours this run was really rough.  Like unbearably rough.  Sunday night I crawled into bed around 2030 to read because I was done with everything I needed to do (yay productive Sundays) and wanted to catch up on the good book I’m reading. I swear I was out cold within 10 minutes.  Because when my mom called me at 2115 I was sooooo out of it.  I am such an old lady!

But despite the sleep deprivation I had a good run.  It was refreshing to be out in the crisp morning pre-dawn air.  And I was running pretty fast too.  I had only planned a 6.5 mile route but was feeling so strong that I ended up adding the extra 2.3 miles.  I faded hardcore towards the end of it and wish I had stopped at the original distance (so much for not wearing myself out 😉 ) so that I could end on a BANG rather than a fizzle.  But hey, the run was still good.  So I was happy. Not bad for the first early morning run in about 2 weeks.

 

Although I might have felt great on the run this is likely what I looked like. Thanks google.

Tuesday:Again, I slept for an obscene amount of time. Apparently my body can’t handle three days of drinking over the weekend like it once could. For shame I tell you! Anyway, Tuesday was tempo Tuesday during WR training, and will likely be during Boston training, so I decided that Tuesday would be a good day to reintroduce speed.  While a good idea might have been to do fartleks or something to ease into it.  Nope. Not me. Here’s what went down:

  • Warm up
  • “Tempo” : 4.4 miles @ 7:43 (2.2 @ 7:47, 2.2 @ 7:40)
  • Warm down

Tempo is in quotes because I know that it’s not tempo paced.  But for some reason any run that is faster than easy and supposed to be steady = tempo in my mind.  Maybe that’s something I should work on this upcoming training cycle. That said, I’m soooo totally not disappointed that it’s not actual tempo pace of even MP.  It hurt and was hard.  And confirmed that I hate tempos.  But it was a great start and, despite hating every minute of it, I still loved pushing myself.  T-3 weeks until Boston training for me!

I was supposed to finish my Hundred Pushups Challenge and 200 Situps Challenge.  But I didn’t .  Yes I’ve completed all 6 weeks. But I’ve done this challenge before and don’t feel the need to “prove myself”.  I’m 99% sure that I can do it buttttt, I’ll fully admit it, I just wasn’t into it.  Doing the days and weeks was a vehicle to get myself to reintroduce some type of resistance training.  Mission accomplished.  Instead I did a core workout for 15 minutes and then did another type of pushup challenge.  The gist of it is to do 1 pushup on January 1st, 2 on the 2nd, etc. and culminate with 365 pushups on December 31st.  I actually decided to do this on Tuesday and had to do 10 to catchup.  But after doing the other challenge, it wasn’t so bad…we’ll see as the year progresses what I think.

Wednesday: Another 0545 run.  Blah. This one was actually a little worse than Monday but only because I had to work late last night and didn’t crawl into bed until late. But I’m glad that I got out there this morning.  I don’t know where this “Oh hey I can sleep more and then run after work” attitude is coming from.  Not that it’s a bad thing per se but I used to be a real go-getter in the mornings!

Not too much interesting here except that I totally wiped out about a mile or so from my apartment. Normally I’d just shake it off but since it was around 0700 at this point it was getting lighter out and a guy totally saw me hit the ground.  To his credit he asked if I was okay and if I was hurt.  Only my ego buddy. I need to start paying attention hahah! I still ended up with about 8 miles at a good easy…dare I say recovery (after 4 weeks of recovery running I’m not sure I like the phrase at the moment!)?…pace with no fading at the end and there might have been a light negative split. Emphasis on the slight.

Well that’s all I got for you today. Happy Hump Day. I usually hate that term but considering the search term I titled my post after and the picture for pushups I’ll use it.

Check out the giveaway from Julie (Hot Legs Runner) and Muncher Cruncher and Matt (The Kitchen of  a Runner)

December 1, 2010

Previously On MM….November 2010

I think when I wrote my October recap I ended the post saying “Let’s hope November is just as good, shall we?”.

Well it was. It truly was — anyone know that quote? It’s not really a memorable quote but whenever someone says that line, the scene from this movie pops into my head!

I kind of liked not breaking down the month week by week like I’ve done all year and doing a previously.  Like LOST and 24.  I consider myself as BAMF as the great men in my life 😉

And I have to only pick one LOST pic? UGHHHHHHHHH

Thanks google for both images

Anyway.  November was another great month.  While October brought about the firsts for lots of things (including baking as well as Dallas WR marathon training), November was really where the magic was made.  I put in LOTS of hard work and to go purely by the numbers, this was a colossal month.  Not as big as that crazy June I had but pretty darn big.

Since I liked the format I used last month, I’ll keep it the same.  For your sake as well as mine.

November

  • 454.1 miles
  • 61 hours 23  minutes 15 seconds
  • 8:54 average pace

Comparing 2009 to 2010

  • 2010: 454.1
  • 2009:  293.6
  • Percent Change:54.7 %

YTD (as of 30-November)

  • 2010:  3988
  • 2009: 2766
  • Percent Change: 44.2%

Races:

None here.  I was debating a Turkey Trot with my lil’ bro but opted out.  Oh well.  I’m sure that in a few days I can make it up to myself.  He did school me in an xbox dance off on Thanksgiving so I’m sure he’s over not running with me.

I did, however, get my official-in-the-mail acceptance to Boston which is hard to see past WR but it’s there. Waiting.

Not my image. Google images

Training:

Lots of good stuff here.  Last month I linked to all my quality workouts leading up for this WR cycle.  This month I’ve done 3 quality ones a week.  That’s a lot to link to.  So here are the memorable ones / highlights of what I was trying to accomplish (the links are mostly so I can go back and re-read if need be in the future):

I think the biggest thing of the training here was that it was all about learning. I’m slowly trying to wrap my head around how to train right.  That there are many types of workouts and each has their own place. That I’m a pretty decent runner if I put my head to it.  That I set expectation really high and can be disappointed because I expect so much from myself.

I think this month really is laying the foundation for how I approach running and training and RACING for the future.  It’s a bit weird to put it like that but I just feel like this month was special (or maybe it’s been there all fall and just now I’m starting to notice)

Oh man, sentimental much? Lots of other confidence building workouts in there this month but those above were the best of.  I also started the hundred pushups and two hundred situps challenges, of which I am in Week 4 of 6 on currently.  Plus some foam rolling.  Maybe I’m changing my bad-runner-habit ways?

I guess I can’t wait, then, for the first weekend in December.  I get to “run the rock

Preferably in that time too. Asking too much? 😉

Baking (ahem slash cooking):

  • Chocolate CheesecakeThe baking queen herself was impressed.  I’m not going to lie: the idea to do this (and to bring it to a Celtic’s game?!) was born after a glass or two of wine.  As all ideas are?
  • Sweet Potato Soup. I was a complete brat and emailed my mom (not even a phone call!) a week before Thanksgiving to request that she make this for me.  I did make it at the beginning of the month but still.  I am such a terrible daughter.

I actually also made Apple Cinnamon muffins but just haven’t yet shared the recipe.  Here’s a sneak peak? (because I’m sure y’all are tired of seeing pictures that I’ve already posted)

Trust me: better pics in the actual post. I'll try to get it up this weekend 🙂

Life

Despite working 40+ hours a week, running 454.1 miles this month (including marathon training runs!) I maintained a really good social life as well.  The highlights include:

  • I celebrated a birthday.
  • Had the best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.
  • Drank the most tequila I’ve ever had in one night.

All in all a very good month. I mean, we did get the first snowfall at the beginning of the month but I got a tiara.  Who can argue with that?

November 3, 2010

Previously On MM…..October 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:07

We were under another freeze warning here in the North East so it was a brisk 28* when I rolled out of bed this morning.  In some ways the temp was nice for a recovery run just because I didn’t have to go fast in such cold weather but I definitely ran faster than a normal recovery pace just because it was so cold. I wanted to get back into my warm apartment! Still shorts weather although I did break out a second pair of gloves 🙂

I typically do a week by week summary of how the previous month has gone.  I’ve been doing this for maybe 10 or 11 months now and I’m sick of it.  Mostly because I’ve been getting lazy about recording my thoughts on each week as it passes and by the time the last day of the month comes I only have numbers.  Which are good and all (I’m a numbers nerd remember) but it’s not as exciting as recapping the bet of the month.

So, at least for this month, I’m going to nix the *weekly* numbers and data and give you a brief highlight from this month.  Kind of a “previously on MM…” (in fact I like that title so much I just went an d re-did my title post from “Very Best of” to what it is now haha!) I’ve seen other bloggers recap their months this way and I like it.  Especially since I’ve been doing quality things, not just in miles and paces but RACING and TRAINING.  As well as other things.  Ummmm I apparently can add cookie baker to my resume 🙂

But just for the record, because I still love numbers and data, in October of 2010:

  • 422.1 miles
  • 61 hours 51  minutes 36 seconds
  • 8:48 average pace

October

  • 2010: 422.1
  • 2009: 307.8
  • Percent Change: 37.1%

YTD (as of 31-October)

  • 2010:  3533.9 (this is the running tally I keep at the top of my log book. According to my monthly total tally my miles are at 3534.4 miles. Weird.)
  • 2009: 2472.4
  • Percent Change: 42.9%

Races:

  • Sure I did more races in September (2)  than October (1) but the Tufts 10k was pretty freaking fantastic.  Where I continued my trend of smashing PRs and ran a (to me) astounding 41:20! Plus I got to run it with Lacey. Makes it even better and sweeter.

Therefore, because WR is soooooooooooo soon, I got to do some seriously hardcore

TRAINING

Okay, so maybe even before registering for WR I was running intensely, but within the second half of the month I got in some focused workouts (and I know these links are really recent.  So you probably remember these workouts without clicking.  Or maybe I just like to think I’m important enough that you remember haha!)

  1. 18.1 plus 2.3 mile run — when I thought that I’d be running a portion of a November marathon with a friend
  2. 10 X 800 meter repeats
  3. First tempo that I completed feeling good about — but maybe that’s because I had literally registered for WR 10 minutes before going out the door!
  4. Official first 20 miler of cycle — and on a workday too!
  5. 2 X 3..errrr 2.85 mile repeats

All of which I feel really good about. Don’t get me wrong: I did have my first aborted speed workout ever this month too — and on the FIRST DAY. Way to start off the month!)

But the rest of the month? Very confidence boosting and the hard work I’ve put in this summer and early fall translated into a GREAT month of training.  When I think back to October I’m going to think of the goodness that made me start to buy into this “I can do whatever I want in running.  I CAN DO IT” aka confidence building.

Therefore some good food must be involved.  And by good food I mean cookies.  Because that’s all I’ve really had to make that’s been blog worthy.

BAKING

I channeled my inner baking queen this month with

I know that 2 cooking things isn’t a huge number but hey: I am not a cook in any way, shape, or form.  I’ve never before felt the need to cook for myself  (and hello dining hall for 4 years!) and suspect that will change now that I’m on my own.  Granted I still don’t find the time often because of my work schedule but October has taught me the satisfying nature of baking.

So two this month.  Who knows how many next 🙂

LIFE:

I know I don’t really blog much about my life in general (just little snippets here and there) but October was really good to me. The first few weeks after moving here were really exciting and then September was pretty painful: the excitement had worn off and I felt a bit lost. October was really good to me socially and ended with a bang on Halloween weekend.

Which, by the way, I got to give out candy to trick or treaters for the first time. I think I may have been more excited than the kids 🙂

The Girls

So a GREAT month.  Let’s hope November is just as good, shall we?

January 30, 2010

Cold Long Run. Finally New England Weather!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 9, 2010

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Marathon Training

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:15

Good Saturday afternoon y’all! And a chilly one at that (hence the y’all because I want to be in the south. Although they’re getting hit with some crazy cold too — well crazy for them heh). But it’s okay because today was the first day it felt like I’m in marathon training (hence the title which was inspired because yesterday’s flurries got “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” stuck in my head).

But first just a few housekeeping things because I have the tendency to complain or worry about something but never update anyone on the outcome soooo:

  • Camera.  Went to Target yesterday but they only had the camera in the color I already have.  So now I don’t know what to do because I really like the model I have but not the color and I’ve already gone to 2 different stores with no luck.  I may just have to suck it up with the color.
  • Grades. I did really well this semester.  Maintained my G.P.A. (always good) and did *much* better in a class I was SURE I was going to get a C in, while getting all A-s elsewhere.
  • Financial aid.  If you send thoughts/prayers/good vibes my way: thank you so much! I received an email yesterday and although my school itself isn’t upping my grant from them, they were able to secure me a decent sized federal grant.  So YAY.
  • Erika at DrTriRunner is asking for YOUR help putting together some power songs for her spinning classes.  So go check her out because she’s a wicked cool chica.  Yes I know I plugged this yesterday but I figured a second day wouldn’t hurt.  (okay so I never complained about this but still: check it out)
  • Tricia @ Endurance isn’t only Physical is having a giveaway. So don’t enter because I want it heh.
  • Another giveaway!  This one from FitnessNYC.

Now that that’s out of the way: Today was the first “official” long run of the cycle.  Holllleeeerrrr.  Granted last week there was a long run that, being on the plan, was official and all but I ran in on the TM so it didn’t feel like a long run and it was “only” 14.1 miles, which is definitely a considerable distance but not that much more than my daily runs had been.

But anyway today my plan called for 15-18 miles.  Many of you probably are assuming that I hit the 18 miles because I’m always going for the high end of the range.  If you thought that, then I’m sorry, but you are wrong.  I wanted to go a little bit conservative because I’ve been running double digits for many days and because it’s still early in the training cycle.  Yes I am following an ambitious plan but there’s no need for me to be at 18 today.  Maybe next week 😛

So you’re probably wondering how far, in fact, I did go.  Well it was 16.2 miles.  Really good miles too.  A nice bright sunny day greeted me and that made the cold(ish) temps bearable.  It was apparently 25* with feels like being at 14* so nothing extreme but when the wind blew, man, did I feel it. It was also amazing how much the sun makes a huge difference.  I’ve probably said this before but whenever I was in the shade I felt my entire body move towards numb on the coldness spectra but once I popped back into a sunny spot I warmed right up.  In fact I think I damn near sprinted through the cold spots simply to stay warm heh.

The first 14 or so miles were really “easy” and unremarkable.  I think this is because my body “knows” how to run for 2 hours without batting an eye (or cramping a muscle so to speak).  The last 2ish miles were quite an effort truth be told.  On my long runs I try to increase my pace for the last 1-2 miles just to get my body to know how to put in a harder effort when tired.  I’m not sure if my pace actually increased over these miles today but I do know that the effort I was putting in greatly increased.  Likely I was maintaining my pace (which was right where I wanted it to be) or just a few seconds per mile faster but the effort to keep it there increased if that makes sense. But it wasn’t a lethargic effort, I still felt like I was running and not shuffling. Always a plus.  And I ended the run feeling like I could have banged out another mile.  I didn’t (obviously) but it’s nice to know that I could have.

All in all I’m quite happy with this run.  It’s the furthest I’ve gone since my marathon last May and the last time I attempted to go 14+ I remember thinking “How on Earth was I able to run a marathon” because my legs just got so tired.  I’m sure that the reason I didn’t feel that was today was because of my huge mileage weeks of late but it was really nice to get that boost of “Oh this isn’t soooo bad”.  Which is good because eventually I do have to run 26.2.  Preferably fast.

So my recovery socks are on, I have another bowl of cereal in front of me (I guess 16.2 miles will make someone hungry heh) and I’m going to play catch-up on CSI and CSI: Miami.  Last semester was so crazy that I didn’t watch them at all.  Luckily that means I have lots of episodes for my viewing pleasure. Perfect Saturday afternoon.  Hope you guys are doing fun and enjoyable things 🙂

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 🙂

July 27, 2009

Bad Mood Be Gone?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:59

I’ve been in a perpetual bad mood lately.  Pretty obvi if you’ve been reading my posts lately.  And also pretty obvi that in order to change that I need A) sleep B) this test to be over C) my friends to force me to chill out. Well, A isn’t going to happen for a while as long as B still is hanging over my head.  So that leaves C but…

I’ve never been the type to be able to put away my work when times are getting tough.  My attitude has always been to put my nose to the grind stone.  Intellectually, though, I need to step back sometimes when I’m too close to my work in order to gain perspective. Very VERY hard for me to do.

First off, I’m going to complain that I had to organize the girls night out that is happening on Wednesday.  I am stressed silly so it is ridiculous for me to plan.  The silver lining is that I got to choose the time and place. So I chose to see HP6 in IMAX close to my house as a time that conveniences me (these are college friends who will have to drive anywhere from 40 mins to 1hr15).  Wednesday is going to be stressful because I have to come home from the city then turn right back around to catch the film.  As much as this is raising my blood pressure right now, I know deep in my heart that I need this night for my sanity.  Whatever anxiety I feel now will be worth it once I get to see ppl I care about.  This week is also going to be fun because I’m seeing T.Swift and Keith Urban on Friday with a high school friend.  I am pumped because I’ve been looking forward to this since February. Yay! Again, very very hard to do because I just want to hole up –> T-8 DAYS.

To talk about why I titled my post the way I did (because although I know the friend stuff will help, it just hasn’t happened yet) I had a tough workout that pushed me.  And hopefully all the gunk out of my life. The goal was to get out of the funk I’ve been in; just release it.  I pushed myself with squats, lunges, pushups etc ’til I didn’t think I could move.  Then I went out for a 7 miler.  The beginning of the run was awful because A) I had just done a circuit that left me breathless B) it was HOT (temp & humidity) C) the bad mood was lingering.

I am happy to say that once I told myself to quit bitchin’ because running is something I love doing; the running then got faster and happier.  I just needed that hour to clear my head and forget about my stress.  My body is so weird though, because yesterday I seriously thought I was overtrained because of how lethargic I was feeling, my irritability etc. but now I’m not so sure.  I should prolly *trytotakeiteasy* but I want to start cranking out tempos and actual training for the half I want to do over Labor Day. Any thoughts on the matter? The race is < 7 weeks away, so I’m not sure I want to lose any of that time. OTOH, if it is overtraining pushing through will likely make it worse…

And thanks for all the kind words about how I’m juggling everything.  Sometimes I lose sight of how much I really have on my plate.

Whatever anxiety I feel now will be worth it once I get to see ppl I care about.  This week is also going to be fun because I’m seeing T.Swift and Keith Urban on Friday with a high school friend.  I am pumped because I’ve been looking forward to this since February. Yay!

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