Monday, November 24, 2008

The Speed-ster

My virtual running buddy SpeedyDDS (which BTW I just noticed that her credentials are actually DMD) called me last night to say her foot is still hurt. I am SO bummed. I'm sad for her and kind of sad for me too. Her plan is to still sign up for the race but rest her foot completely until race day and decide how she feels.

Since I've been thinking about her a lot I wanted to share a bit about her.

Number one, I feel like I owe my running life to her. And really a good piece of my sanity too. The story (I tell often) goes that our housemate from college got married during the Vegas half-marathon 2006! Well when Speedy and I got together with Roomie afterwards we were sad that we hadn't been in running shape to be a part of her big day, so Speedy said "Let's be ready to run her anniversary half-M next year!" For whatever reason, this motivated me enough to get started and I truly can't tell those two how much it has changed me.

What I love most about Speedy is that we are kindled spirits in our levels of sarcasm and good-humored cynicism. She is one of the few people that I could talk to about my fear of dying on the side of the road where I simultaneously feel better about it and more certain that it is going to happen. I think we both thrive off of negative motivators (which is TABOO with Team in Training!) so I love her for that.

She is one of the most internally motivated people I know so I have deep respect for that. I have no doubt that she has the determination to be an IRON-woman if she set her mind to it…even though right now she says she swims like a rock (hehe). Sometimes I worry that she pushes herself too much; I am certain (in my medical opinion) this injury is from overtraining because she is a workhorse and pushes herself pretty hard.

She is also amazingly supportive. When she heard that I was training for a tri with TNT she passed my donation letter to her family and got them to contribute in my name. She was always interested in how it was going and, even better, she let me snark about scary Tri-stuff like cycling in the rain and swimming in lakes with dead bodies.

It was so much fun last year to have a snarky buddy to go to the expo and pasta dinner with. Together we don't move past our fears but instead see the humor in them. Tonight we're signing up for the race together at the same time so our numbers will hopefully be next to each other. This was her idea to make remembering our numbers easier for our loved ones should they need to identify a body.

Darn her foot! If she isn't there it just won't be the same.




Ran 15miles on Sat, felt really good.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Piece of Cake

Had a short little run of ~12 miles on Saturday. Yes, I just wrote a short 12mile run. It was a really fun run. I spent the night at my Mom's house on Friday and went running on a trail that runs behind her house that I'd only ridden my bike on before. It was a gorgeous day and I really enjoyed the crunchy leaves under my feet.

I wanted to do ~13miles but since I don't know the trail very well I decided to go off of time rather than distance. I started a 1hour podcast and headed out. There was a gnarly downhill before getting on to the trail and I decided to try something new. I RAN down the hill! I know, what a concept. But I always really lean back going downhill and kind of over-control it. But that day I just leaned forward and tried to make my feet faster. It was pretty fun. I ran the entire podcast plus one song before turning around.

It was a nice run, a run I can imagine even after the big-M!


2 weeks ago when I ran around the lake a few times and then walked it with a friend we were both totally freaked out when we saw-->

It totally looks like a person calling for help in the water! It was the Sunday after Halloween and a prank that will give me nightmares for many open water swims to come.

Thanks prankster whoever you took me 4 months of lovely open water swims to get over images like this!


I am so mental right now. Actually, I am realizing I am that way all of the time but its feeling especially pronounced right now. I am having the hardest time convincing myself to run these days. I will push it off- telling myself I'll run in the afternoon, or before dinner, or right after dinner-until I wind up dragging myself to the gym at 10pm and slogging through a run. Last night however I couldn't force myself out of a funk and made it only 10 minutes before a faux-coughing fit made me call it quits.

Tuesday, despite putting it off until the wee hours of the night I did have a great run. I was able to hold my 10K pace for 4miles and included a few 400m speed intervals. Then (!) I hit the pool and got in a 30minute swim. The swimming was hard, due in large part to the fact that I haven't been in the pool since my birthday.

While I was swimming I realized what a self absorbed headcase I can be. It used to (and honestly still does) make me SUPER anxious when I am doing laps in a busy pool area (and for those who haven't had the joy of swimming at a 24hr fitness there is a whole AARP social scene on the pool deck). Here are just a few of the thoughts that swim through my mind:

  1. Are they looking at me?

  2. Are they talking about me?

  3. Is there something going on and I look like a jackass cause I am too busy swimming to notice it?

  4. Do they think my technique sucks?/ Do they think I rock? (this is very dependent on the specific group poolside)

  5. Do they think I am lazy?/Do they think I rock? (see above)

If you notice, the highlight is "me/I/my" and my main concern is what "they" think.

It has gotten better. There was a time when I would get so freaked I'd get out of the pool. Or, more ridiculous, I'd want to get out of the pool but be so worried about what "they" would think that I wouldn't. Now it is more of passing thoughts that kill time but on Sunday my friends pointed out that I need to get over myself. Nobody cares.

In so many areas of my life I am so concerned about looking foolish that I fret over it until the opportunity is lost. In 27 years I have gotten good at convincing myself that I dictate my own actions but I'm starting to see that, often times, the decisions I make are guided by fear.

Funnily enough the above questions could be the ones that I ask myself all the time:

  1. Are they looking at me?

  2. Are they talking about me?

  3. Is there something going on and I look like a jackass cause I am too oblivious
    busy swimming to notice it?

  4. Do they think my approach
    technique sucks?/ Do they think I rock? (this is very dependent on the specific group poolside)

  5. Do they think I am lazy?/Do they think I rock? (see above)

It isn't to say that I never make decisions even when I think the above answers are yes but the more self conscious I am about things the closer I keep them to my chest. And usually it is ridiculous. Examples: (a)When I applied to graduate school I didn't tell anyone that I had applied to Yale because I figured they'd be rolling their eyes inside (and this is despite the fact that I was a damn good student and cracker jack researcher, hehe); (b) I was ~1month into training for my first 5K before I told anyone

But there are too many times when I let my interpretation of answers to the above questions get in my way. Examples: (a) Making a decision about where I want to be career-wise/going back to school; (b) Almost any romantic instance :P

The bottom line though is that if I want to meet my goals (like a marathon or a triathlon or…happiness) I need to stop letting my interpretation of things cloud the fact that I am in charge.

I'll close with a picture of a person who, despite wanting to impress him more than almost anyone, I never feel stupid around. My little SuperNephew.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nutrition (and I'm going to be a total girl for a minute)

A note on nutrition

I find that I am WAY less hungry marathon training than I was in the thick of Tri training. I'm not sure why that is. I know swimming seems to bring out the hunger monster in me but I just remember days when I couldn't go more than a few hours without having a snack; it honestly got out of control. But I felt like it was true, honest to goodness hunger and, for a while, I really felt like I was getting good at knowing what I needed. I had worked out how, when and, more importantly, what i needed to eat before a workout. And it was all good.

Then I started mostly running. And I got less hungry. And then I just started eating because I thought I could and because I wanted to. It started out innocently enough, a "reward" type meal after my long runs. Having lunch or dinner the day of my long run at a restaurant I had practiced avoiding. Then the slacking (snacking) continued on for the rest of the day. Then it all went to hell and I'm one step away from having bacon wrapped bacon with a side of gravy for a midday snack.

One of my earliest joys in running was that it let me eat a bit more and still either lose weight or maintain. It was that thought that pushed me through some of my very rough first runs. Even now that I enjoy running MUCH MUCH more it still makes me happy not to have to sit on my hands when I go out to happy hour.

I think though that it's time to get a handle again on the mental side of eating. Eating for hunger=OK, eating for other reasons=not so good. I need to get back to not only eating less but also thinking about nutrition again.

Now, on to being a girl. Despite the above, and despite the fact that the scale says I've not lost one pound, by some miracle of God, I just bought size 6 jeans.

Since forever I had always dreamed of a perfect 10.
Then, after some triathlon training, I though WOW! 8 is great!
Now, I can't wash these jeans for some time and the pockets are not so roomy. But wowza (I still feel chubby though and the glass doors on the cubes at work don't help)

today's workout was a spinning class and a 3mile run with a smidge of speedwork. I have been having a low volume week this week because of the weird pain in my leg. I have just done 2 cycling classes this week and an attempted run on Tuesday. Tomorrow I'm gonna try to get a run in after lunch.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Indulgences (and the LONGEST RUN YET!)

I had the a rather thought provoking (and honestly, slightly hilarious) one of my coworkers. He is relatively new at my company but he came to the states from India ~3-4 years ago. My boss was telling him about my marathon and he later came to me to talk about it. It made me reflect a bit about how indulgent these sports can be.

I'll list his questions:
1. Do other people do this?
2. Do you make money off of this?
3. (When I explained that no, indeed I will pay a good chunk of money to enter the race) REALLY?
4. Why?

I thought these were all pretty interesting. Firstly from the perspective of someone who comes from a country (to be fair, he explained to me that his province specifically is overall impoverished and this is not necessarily true everywhere in the country) where people do not have the luxury to waste the time and MONEY on something as trivial as running 26.2 miles to nowhere I imagine it must seem absolutely bizarre. He was honestly shocked when I told him that these events can be huge and you can find a "fun run" type event nearly every weekend day.

The prize money question CRACKS ME UP. I have no idea how the finances work for professional athletes or even serious front of the pack/elites. I have never even been curious enough to find out what the prizes are (though, I did win that one tri and I got a $25 GC!).

The cost of some of these events still shocks me and I did find myself somewhat ashamed to tell him how much I am actually paying for the privilege of running until I want to die.

The last question is not specific to the international set, I have been asked this questions many times and asked myself this question as well. I'm still not sure why the marathon. Pride maybe, health sort of, the ability to eat a ton of crap at happy hour and not sweat it too much, sure. But I definitely know that in the process of training for this marathon (and my Tri TNT training) I have drank the Kool-Aid. Running has changed my life and I never miss the opportunity to evangelize it. The feeling you get when you finish a specific distance or cross a finish line is UNBELIEVABLE. I want everyone to feel that feeling.

Separate note:

So I ran 22miles. What a disaster. i think I get why all of the plans have you only go up to
20miles. I feel a total wreck. It took me forever and i was hurting (a weird pain in my right lower leg).

But I finished. Since then I have indulged like never before. I don't think I have stopped eating. It is a weird chain eating that I have got to shake.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My favorite day

Today is my favorite day of the year!

Election Day is a most special holiday that (usually) only comes once every 2 years. I've always take the day off of school/work because I am useless there on Election Day anyway.

I am all aflutter the entire day because there is such a spirit of togetherness (even though some sour it with dirty Election Day trickery) and a building pulse of change (whether it is the change you want to see or not). I also love it because it is the great equalizer day; we all have one vote. Do what you wish with it but on this day your one vote is your only official word.

Election Day is a great chance to reflect on what the last 2 years have brought, for you, your community, your nation, our world. The last few years have been rough to say the least but I am so looking forward to the change I envision in DC and look forward to what the next few years bring us.

Since this blog is supposed to be documenting how I fit running into the lifestyle equation I have my day planned as such:

7 am




Get into work and start my experiment



Leave to GOTV in Bellevue






go for a run
(while watching returns)



Democrat's VICTORY party



Who knows…



Good luck to us all!!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back on the horse

Long overdue long run report

well, it is about 4 weeks out until the big marathon. I have missed reporting on my last and longest long run but i want to note it for my record. So I will do so in bullet fashion

18 miler about 3 weeks ago:

This was my hardest long run yet. I'm not sure what my problem was but it was a toughie and I was dragging at the end like never before. My back was killing me afterwards which I hadn't experienced before. I did however find that fantastic bathroom.

2 weeks ago I slacked off for my birthday weekend and had a hard time getting back in the groove.

Last weekend: 20 miles!
I was really nervous about this run. It is the biggie in my training plan. In fact, there is only one 20 mile run included in Hal's plan and I had placed quite a lot of weight on it in my mind.

But it was...ok. Here is a picture of the lovely scenery.

I tested out my iPhone GPS for the first time and was bitterly disappointed in it. I used the fancy bathroom only once (!) but I had to wait FOREVER to get in. I debated running along but figured it was good practice for the actual race (when I did the 1/2 I had to wait in line for the Honey Buckets at mile 6 for ~5-10minutes) .


and I also ran. A lot.

the running was fine I guess. I have no idea what my pace was doing but I did the 20miles in ~3:45 with the long bathroom break which I am OK with.

I have been trying to notice my stride and turnover but all it did was crack me up. The last few miles I was hardly lifting my feet at all. I tripped every ~100meters. I looked drunk or like I have a neuromuscular disorder.

But overall I am really glad to have done that distance.

This weekend:
The plan was to do a short-long run of about 13miles. I tried on Saturday and it was not happening. I only made it 1.5miles out before turning around. Today I did 8.5miles and walked another 3 or so with a friend. Not what I wanted but it will do.

The plan for the next few weeks:
Next weekend (11/9), 20miles probably on a new path (one with a few hills so yikes!)
The weekend after (11/16) 15miles (I want to find a half marathon for this weekend)
The weekend after (11/23) 19 miles (this is according to Hal, though to me 20 is more mentally satisfying)
The weekend after (11/30)- 8miles cause I should be tapering now!

That's the plan. Now if I can keep mentally and physically healthy all the better!