Monday, October 31, 2011

FINISHER!

Subtitle: Everything is so much more awesome after you're done with a marathon.

Uh yeah, that happened.

I might not have been fast, or quick or speedy or anything even close, but I finished, and I didn't walk (except through water stops). Here's some pics and a quick recap of the events of the weekend...







Expo




Saturday was the very well run expo... in the SNOW! That is so so rare for DC, and a little disconcerting. The Expo was great, but really crowded, and we were there before Ryan Hall... I can't imagine how crowded it was once he got there.

Race morning:
No pics of this, Nick was photographing. We had a very early 4:30 wake up time to drive about an hour to the Metro. We stopped for coffee at the only thing open, 7-11, and it was terrible, but I downed it. The metro ride was uneventful (although really full), and my tummy was acting up a bit because I tend to get nauseous on Metro anyways, and it was stuffier and lurchier than usual. Also I might have been a little nervous at that point.

Once off the metro, we walked for what felt like forever in a huge crowd of people toward the start. There were tons of Porta Potties and the lines were pretty short. We met a retired Marine name Chris who was full of running advice and calmed a lot of my fears. He was great! Walking to the start line was terrifying, and I started getting pretty shaky. I went to put on my newly purchased iFitness Belt and barely could because 1) I was FREEZING (it was in the 30's) and 2) I was freaking out. After crying a fair amount and kissing Nick goodbye, I was on my way. Minor detail- I had pinned my race number to the back of my shirt, and had to turn it around while waiting to start. I made friends with some nice South African men who laughed at me turning around my shirt.

Race:
It happened? It was a weird, fun blur. I was on such a high for the first 2 miles or so, but nervous and trying to find Kim and Scott. They caught up to me around mile 2 and we ran together for almost 10 miles. It was so wonderful seeing them, and she definitely pushed my pace, which I needed. It made the first half of the race just fly by. The only thoughts I had were, "holy cow, I'm doing this." My IT band was achy, but only a little distracting. My feet were hurting, which was weird, but I powered through.

Nick asked me when I knew I would finish, and I think it was around mile 13, I said, well, you made it this far Laurel. I was by myself at that point, and having a great time. I felt strong and happy. Then reality set in: YOU STILL HAVE 13 MILES TO GO. I didn't start feeling super cruddy until about mile 17. I was in pain. My feet ached really bad, and at every water stop when I slowed down to walk, my calves screamed at me. It was around that point that I realized that if I tried to switch to a run/walk combo, I would die. Really and truly, I realized I would most likely not finish if I slowed down, my joints and muscles were far less painful when I was running.

I saw Nick and my dad at some pretty critical points- around mile 12, 16, 20, and then at the end. It was so wonderful to see them, it really helped me and it is great they were able and willing to come hang out and watch me all day.

I powered through. I 'Beat the Bridge.' I ran through MISERABLE Crystal City- it was terribly congested and only a couple miles of out-and-back. My least favorite part of the course. I kept chugging along. Around Mile 22, I began counting down the miles left in 0.1 mile intervals-- mayyyybe just a little too early to do that. It became a crazy mental battle to just keep my legs moving, but somehow I did. I haven't pulled my paces off my Garmin yet, but although I felt like I was going <11 minute miles I definitely was not. I was struggling, and that last 0.2 UPHILL (c'mon guys, that's just cruel) was not fun. But then I was done. I actually said, out loud to myself "Laurel, you can stop running when you cross. You get to stop!"

My stomach was mediocre throughout- I was crampy and uncomfortable off and on, and considered stopping, but I didn't want to make my legs hurt even more, and if I ignored my tummy I did just fine. Also, bathrooms were scarce and seemed to have long lines at all of them. Not cool.

Post-race:
Getting out of the finish area was miserable. Another -1 to the MCM- it was too crowded and we all came to a stand still for almost 10 minutes. That was painful, since at this point I was able to fully realize how sore I was. We got space blankets and our medals ( +1000000 to the MCM). This was probably why the finish area was so congested, but getting a few seconds with a Marine who actually made eye contact with me and congratulated me was so special. Maybe have a few extra Marines next time? Then there were finish pics in front of the MC War Memorial, and then the really bad planning hit me. It was a bottleneck trying to get out to where families were, because everyone was stopping to grab water and gatorade and little boxes with snacks in them. It was just terribly crowded. Then there was quite a walk to meet up with spectators. I saw my dad, we walked and found Nick, and then the misery set in. I was SORE and I was FREEZING. My stomach finally decided it was done with behaving, but by the time we got to porta potties at the finish line, they were all out of TP! YIKES. I did finally find one that was fully equipped. I chugged some gatorade, sipped water, and tried to eat... I choked down some of the snacks from the snack pack they gave us- little thing of dried edamame (meh), diced pears (okay), and chocolate (yes!). I sat in the sun for a few minutes and tried to recover, take pictures, and recount the race. I continued shivering and being sad. Then we stood in a long to get back on Metro and begin the hour long ride home... ugh. I started feeling even grosser, super nauseous (riding metro. again) and icky. I puked a couple times when we got to our destinationm, ugh, and then hunkered down in the car. I was finally sort of warm at that point. After another hour long commute, I was back at Nick's.

I took a little shower and then soaked in a super hot tub for a few minutes. It was amazing. I tried napping but my legs were achy and my mind was still racing. I still had not eaten. Yikes again. After the failed nap, I transferred to the couch with Nick, ate some Halloween candy and 2 pieces of pizza, and chilled for a few hours. Then I went to Taco Bell. I can eat whatever I want, I ran a marathon!

Today:
Today I am starving, and I am exhausted. I slept alright, but not for very long. I'm sore, but not ridiculously sore. Stairs suck. My upper body, back and abs are surprisingly sore... I'm trying to eat like a normal person but my stomach is demanding food every 10 minutes. Insane.
Also, I am so super proud and happy. I am a marathon finisher!!!! More thoughts on the race, training, food, etc. will come this week. Yayyyy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where I'm at

(stolen from Becky)

Yeah, that's about right.

Happy Thursday! 43 hours and counting (I'm not freaking out. Not even a little, nope nope nope).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The post about anemia.

Can we all just agree that since I'm tapering I have too much time on my hands and that's why all I do is read and write about anemia? K thanks.

New discovery: iron isn't absorbed as well when it's consumed with coffee. Gasp! Also, GRR! I consume 45 of my RDA of iron (today I had double, so that's 90%... can't be too careful) in the form of Cheerios. In the morning. With my coffee. So my options are to time my coffee intake or my cheerio intake differently. I need Cheerios to survive (I'm a breakfast girl 100000%), but I also need coffee to survive. CONUNDRUM.

I decided to delay my morning coffee to after my breakfast has been absorbed, so at least 8:30am, but long enough before lunch to not affect that absorption. My mid morning snack of an apple and string cheese is not affected because they only have about 0.28mg iron, combined.

My naturally obsessive personality isn't going to get any better if I have to think about stuff like this.

I'm feeling very energetic today and very much want to run tonight. I'm going to do a test run of the stuff Megan got me and a new Spibelt because I'm supposed to carry fuel with me while I run? Is this some new trend for me to learn? Nick has a pretty good plan for seeing me several times during the race, but I can't rely on him just in case we miss each other, so I'm going to bring 4 gels with me (we don't get a food station until mile 10, and then it's oranges... sticky.).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

AnemiaGirl Fights back!

In the long run (haha.. get it? marathons are long runs. I'm awesome), it totally won't matter, but my dinner last night consisted of:

2 Boca burgers: 10% iron x 2 = 20%
2 servings of peas: 6% iron x 2= 12%
~1 serving of brown rice: 4 % iron x 1= 4%
= 36%.

...some perspective- the package of peanut butter + fakey-orange crackers I had before swimming was 8% of my iron... and 200 throwaway calories. What has this world come to? Can't I eat healthy plus get a boatload of iron? No? And don't start on me with 'Just add blackstrap molasses to oatmeal!' because that sentence makes me nauseous. If I'm going to choke down oatmeal, which I'm most certainly not, it will not have sugary nonsense involved. Sigh.

What's that? You've been longing for a poorly lit mirror self portrait of me wearing a tech shirt and work pants? Well, you are in luck!


I came home yesterday to a package and it was open before I got in the door.. it's 50 yards from my mailbox to my house, it would have been silly to wait those 10 seconds... 


Sweaty Bands with "26.2" printed on it PLUS a long sleeve super cute technical tee from Megan!!!! She recently moved to Atlanta and got me this shirt from a local running store. I LOVE IT. I tried them both on, although I did wait until I got in the house to change.
Success!!! The headband feels really comfy already (although I'm normally dubious, the interwebs seem wild and crazy about the things, and Megan heard the same). The slogan on the back of the shirt is also the slogan for the Annapolis 10-miler.. although I am pretty sure Atlanta has better heat and humidity than Annapolis. But the A10 might have them beat on hills.

I'm going to try out both these items during a short run tomorrow and make sure they'll work, and if they do I'm going to wear them Sunday :) I can't wait... new clothes get me pretty excited.

Last night I swam somewhere around 1300 meters.. maybe 1400... it was 30 minutes, I know that. I felt alright. Last week, during swimming, my arms felt like my legs do during running, which was alarming. I want to not feel this crappy. This week was a little better, but who knows if that's mental or I'm actually retaining some nutrients.

Today is an evil evil rest day. I slept icky last night (restless legs syndrome is tied to anemia... please go away, stupid anemia, so I can sleep), so I guess it's for the best that I'm resting. I'm also STARVING, even though I had a big dinner and my usual breakfast (plus extra cheerios for extra special iron!).

5 days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anemia

Subtitle: Yay I have a new excuse for everything!

I got my blood work back from my primary care provider and I'm way anemic. Turns out all those times I've been turned away by the Red Cross for 'low hemoglobin' I've actually had really low hemoglobin. Really low. I have a value of 8 g/dL, when the normal band for women is at least 11, preferably up around 12. The Red Cross requires 12 to accept your blood. A little bit of paranoid googling will tell you that folks with persistent low hemoglobin for other reasons (scary cancers mostly) will get transfusions when they get to 8 g/dL.

Uh.

My MCH, MCHC, RBC and MCV were also all low... some just right below the normal band, some quite a bit below. My PCP said this all means that I most likely have low iron stores, meaning my body is no longer able to make enough red blood cells. In young women, the most common cause (my Dr. said) is heavy periods. Well, I'm on a 4 periods a year oral contraceptive, so I am not only having light periods, I'm only having them 4 times a year. That is not the cause.

According to Medline, the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia are (source):
  • You lose more blood cells and iron than your body can replace
  • Your body does not do a good job of absorbing iron
  • Your body is able to absorb iron, but you are not eating enough foods with iron in them
  • Your body needs more iron than normal (such as if you are pregnant or breastfeeding)
Bullet 1 is not me. Bullet 2 might be, Bullet 3 is most likely not me, and bullet 4 is definitely not.

More info, same source:

Iron loss can be due to bleeding. Common causes of bleeding are:
The body may not absorb enough iron in the diet due to:
You may not get enough iron in the diet if:
  • You are a strict vegetarian (yes, BUT I'm mindful of what I eat......)
  • You are an older adult and do not eat a full diet (I'm older than I was yesterday, but no one could say I don't eat a full diet!)
I'm seeing a hematologist a week from today, and she will draw blood yet again and do some extra testing to get a better picture about what exactly is going on. One of the most likely possibilities I've toyed with is Celiac, because you can be asymptomatic for Celiac, but goodness I hope that's not the case. I heart gluten so very much.

I mentioned I'm using this as an excuse for everything from now on, because I'm an opportunist like that. From my totally web-based research, I feel I'm justified in blaming my crappy running on the anemia, because fatigue, especially when excercising, is basically guaranteed. Other symptoms include: feeling grumpy (BINGO!), headaches (eh), and lightheadedness on standing (yep). I am choosing to also blame the following on anemia:
-super cold hands and feet
-laziness
-desire to spend the day tucked in flannel sheets instead of going to work
-desire to walk up hills instead of running them
-letting Nick do yard work while I sit on the couch.

My physician said I'm ok to run the marathon, but just to be careful and don't push myself too hard.. I'm not going to damage myself further by running, but I'm not exactly 100% healthy. She said I could dose myself heavily with iron this week and maybe get a little boost, but mostly I'm stuck with how I am. Crappy performance, ahoy!

But really... I'm hoping I can cross that finish line and be proud of what I've accomplished.

6 days.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Final Countdown!

You should now be hearing that song in your head and imagining GOB performing his "illusions"... if you are, we are friends.

9 days till the marathon. 9 days until I run for probably somewhere around 5 hours. 9 days until I vomit in sight of each and every memorial in DC... I'm dreaming big on that one.

Oy.

I see the doctor this afternoon to have her check out my IT band, again, after a week (nothing changed. still there. still hurts, here's your copay), and give me results of my blood work. If it turns out I'm super duper anemic or have hyperthyroidism or something along those lines, then at least I'll have a legitimate reason for my slowness. I'd like a reason. Is it bad I'm kind of hoping something is wrong with me?

I took yesterday off and went for a nice, but short walk with Nick. It was nice, but rest days kind of make me feel like a slug... I'm going to run 5ish with him today, take tomorrow off, and do a final "long" run of 8 miles on Sunday. That's the plan. Next week I'll be slugging it up on the couch...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fruit Flies

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the Drosophila.

I live in Maryland.





I like it here. We have crabs, Camden Yards, and the Chesapeake Bay. All good things. We also have humidity, warm falls, and tiny bugs that crawl up your nose while you try to run.

There's lots of tiny bugs in those pictures, I swear....

In addition to the running related bugs, there are the fruit flies. My house is basically a sieve. It's drafty and airy and all those things that seem pleasant when walking through in the late summer, and horrible when Nature decides it wants to live in your house because it is cold out. I have had spiders, beetles, and now fruit flies. No photo needed, if you've had them you're familiar.


Early last week I noticed a couple little guys hanging out around my trash can. No biggie, little bugs happen, especially when you live in a sieve. Bonus points are added because 1) I don't have an outside trash can (YET, I'm totally buying one now...) and 2) I have to lug my trash to the dump if I want to dispose of it, and the dump is problematic. It doesn't open until 7, and I am usually at work before 7. It is open until 7pm, but I tend to be way too lazy to turn around and leave the house once I get home after work and after work activities.

Anyways. The flies became annoying, then gross, then down right disgusting. They were swarmy. I finally gave up my regular smash and shoo tactics and dug around on the interwebs for an answer. I chose apple cider vinegar, a few drops of dish soap, and 20 seconds in the microwave. Apparently that takes them to fruit fly nirvana and the get all drunk and disorderly and drown in it. Yum. I must have captured 100 fly bodies, along with an aggressive vacumming schedule. And also, because life is awesome, I now keep my organic (read: smelly) trash in a plastic bag in the freezer.

Brownish stuff is banana peels, orangeish stuff is oranges. It's all I eat...

They SEEM to be gone. Seem. I know they may have laid eggs all over and soon I'll have a fruit fly nursery on my hands, but I'm crossing my fingers that my obsessive cleaning regimen keeps them at bay.

On the plus side, I'm loving my nails right now:

They're dark purple, almost black. And I did 30 mins elliptical, 30 mins bike (my hammies are oinking up a storm), some angled side crunch things and tricep things. All technical terms. I'm liking my work gym a lot more now that I'm not spending 240 minutes on the treadmill there.

11 days till the MCM... get excited!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How running a marathon is like having a baby.

Disclaimer- I have never had a baby. Chill out, Dad.

What people say to pregnant woman: Ahh! Look at your stomach!
What people say to runner: Ahh! Look at your stomach!

What people say to pregnant woman: Should you be eating that?
What people say to runner: Should you be eating that?

What people say to pregnant woman: Are you just hungry all the time?
What people say to runner: Are you just hungry all the time?

What people say to pregnant woman: How long until you're done?
What people say to runner: How long until you're done?

What people say to pregnant woman: How long do you think it'll take?
What people say to runner: How long do you think it'll take?

What people say to pregnant woman: What will you do if {insert bodily function} happens during it? Because I saw this video where this woman..... (this is where the question asker gets really animated and graphic)
What people say to runner: .... you get the idea...


Ok... so I'm semi-exaggerating, and obviously being pregnant is way more personal than running a marathon, but oh my goodness, the questions I get asked. I SNEEZED today and was asked what I would do if that happened during the marathon. Uh... keep running?

I will admit that having everyone around me know what I'm doing is cool. It is a motivator, although lately I've thought about just lying to people. So tempting to blow people's minds by saying "oh yeah, totally ran 47 miles this week" because one of the more common questions I've been asked is "How many miles is your marathon?" I'm gonna start just throwing out numbers.

I'm running a 34 mile marathon. The extra 8 are for luck.

Running a 22 miler because I hear those last 4 suck anyways.

I swear I'm not a mean person, and I get that what might seem common knowledge to runners totally isn't common knowledge for everyone. Still, the naive questions are maybe getting a little grating since I'm already reallllly nervous. I've had people ask me IF I will finish, and when I answer honestly, that I'm not 100% sure I will, they get all weirded out. I'm truthful.

Anyways... my answers to those statements up top?
-"thanks?"
-"Pretty sure a mini-Snickers won't kill me"
-"yes, totally, that's why I'm eating this Snickers"
-"I am done when I cross the finish line. Sometime on October 30. Or October 31 if things go poorly"
-"It takes some people around 2 hours. A one hundred year old just finished in 8.5 hours. I'd like to be faster than the 100 year old but I'll take what I can get."
-If I {bodily function} myself, I'll probably cry, suck it up, and then carry on. Same holds true if I get tired, hungry, or something hurts. I'm finishing this thing, damn it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Doctor, Doctor...

Give me the news!!!

Great now I have that stuck in my head. That's what I get for creativity with a post title...

My IT band has been aching terribly and I have been getting shooting pains a few miles into each and every run. I was getting fed up with it, so I went to the doctor on Friday just to feel like I was doing something to make it feel better. Her verdict? If I keep running, it will keep hurting and likely turn into an even bigger deal.

So what do I do? I go on a run with Nick that very afternoon. I never claimed to be smart. I'm also taking some mega doses of ibuprofen, running uber slow plus walking when I feel like it, and icing. I might go see a physical therapist this week, but since I have had an injured IT band before, I'm familiar with what to do to make it better. The physician also drew blood to test my iron and thyroid levels, as I told her I'm actually getting a lot slower in running (she asked how training was going overall). Of course, now I'm convinced I have hyperthyroidism (the symptoms are super vague.. everyone feels fatigued, right?).

13 days until the marathon and suddenly I decide to get all concerned about my aches and pains and fatigue. I ran 7 yesterday and felt pretty crappy, my knee was achy and I was tired.. but I did it anyways.

13 days until the marathon and I had a cupcake for my mid-morning snack. Again, never claimed to be smart. Plus I ate Halloween candy galore all weekend. Plus I drank wine galore all Friday night. Yum.

In more positive news, I used a LivingSocial deal for Whole Foods ($10 for $20 of food!) and spent $15. So really, I spent $25, including buying the deal. What did I get for that?
-4 pounds of green lentils
-~4 pounds of chickpeas
-Brown rice cakes
-Salsa
-Tofu Pups (cute name)
-Some cinnamon kettle corn that Nick fell in love with

Last night I attempted lentil soup. The following sequence of events happened.
-Prep, get out my container of veggie broth, slice onion, zucchini, garlic, bell pepper
-Sautee veggies in olive oil, add ~4 cups of veggie broth, tons of curry powder, and cumin
-Add 'some' lentils. Mix.
-Wait 10 minutes. return to find my lentils have soaked up ALL the moisture and are quickly becoming a paste.
-Thank the pantry gods for letting me having veggie bouillon cubes a plenty
-Add 8 bouillon cubes and 8 cups of water
-Simmer for about 4 hours

It turned out pretty great, Nick was a fan and it made my house smell delicious. Even with all the water additions, it was still not incredibly soupy. Also, we have enough for dinner, twice, and 3 lunches for me. So, 7 meals total! Awesome.

Today is swimming and hopefully not breaking my knee any further.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I can't stop talking about my weekend.

2011

~2005?

~2004?

See the trend? I find it super funny that I have so many pictures of me in profile, gazing at a campfire. I look eactly the same in profile, even though I was 18 or 19 in the earlier pics and am 26 now. Frizzy hair is eternal.

Let's talk about my favorite parts about hiking/backpacking:
-My boyfriend likes it and has lots of the necessary supplies to do it successfully instead of me cobbling together the stuff.
-Cool people tend to backpack, so we met some neat folks along the way
-Bathing in the wild, in very cold, fresh water is exhilirating both for the sneakiness factor (in theory, I could have been seen... not a lot of voyeurs on the Appalachian Trail though) and the feeling like an outdoorswoman factor
-The bed in my house seems to have a lot less pull when I know it's 68 degrees outside of the covers versus 40some degrees like it was in the tent. 68 is balmy, get out of bed, Laurel.
-I love snacks, and you get to snack all day when hiking.
-it challenged me and used new muscles
-Beautiful views

Least favorite parts:
-sore hipbone, still, from sleeping on the ground (we didn't bring any squishy material for under the sleeping bags... lesson learned)
- I get bored. I spent my whole weekend walking, eating, and laying around talking about walking and eating. I am not good at relaxing, so I had to fight the feeling that I was being 'productive' by resting up after the day of hiking.
-Maybe using new muscles and challenging myself was not so good < 3 weeks before marathon time?


Today- last long run, even if it rains on me the whole time. Mother Nature won't stop me! (but I will run 5 mile loops so I don't get too far from home... )

Monday, October 10, 2011

Camping!


Subtitle: why today is a rest day.

Friday night I went on my first backpacking trip as an adult. As I've said before, I was super duper nervous. I've never had to carry all my supplies for survival for so much as a day. Hell, I get worried if I don't have enough snacks in my purse when I go for a long drive. I did not take any pics of the pack, but it was a not very full at all, standard backpacking backpack. I carried clothing, food, toiletries, water, and assorted 'stuff' like headlamps, GPS, and car keys. Nick had the tent, sleeping bags, blanket, and some more food.

The first day was a long drive, dropping off cars and hiking to the campsite. This was my first time wearing the pack and feeling the weight... yikes. We were on top of a ridge line the first night so we couldn't replenish water until the next day, so all the water bottles were filled up. The hike to the site was less than 1 mile, but I had tired legs from the longish run the day before and it was UPHILL. Mucho uphill. I was a little scared at this point that I was sweating and panting just from that little bit of hiking... I was convinced I was never going to make the next 2 days of >7 mile hikes. We settled in for the night and enjoyed the beautiful clear sky and chilliness. Sleep was terrible. I'm a pretty big wuss about sleeping, so being cold + weird location + hard ground + weird noises meant I slept poorly. But I survived.

Saturday was the first day of real hiking. We got on the trail at 8am. It was around ( I think ) 2.5 uphill miles followed by TONS of downhill switchbacks. Those were tough on my legs and tough mentally because I was pretty stressed about twisting my ankle and being incapacitated for the marathon. The group I was with was more experienced than I was and I was also worried about being the slow poke in the back, slowing everyone down. That was not the case (I don't think). We made incredibly good time and were at our campsite by 1:30! Uh... what to do with 5.5 hours of sunlight? We were in a beautiful valley with a considerable stream running through it. Nick and I chose a substantial pool and 'bathed.' It was the chilliest, least cleansing bath ever, but it did the trick and we smelled and felt much better afterward. I ate a dehydrated meal for dinner because Nick knew even with my resistance to what I considered creepy dehydrated food, the lure of a warm dinner was too much for me to resist. I had this and it was DELICIOUS. It tasted like actual food, had real chunks of veggies in it, and had a fair ingredients list. It also had a ton of protein without a ton of calories. There was a lot of relaxing, some water filtering, and bear bag hanging (who knew it was so difficult) before a MUCH more restful night of sleep.

Sunday... the end was in sight. I was pretty sore first thing in the morning, and a chilly start did not help. We got on the trail again and hiked downhill MORE. I was irritated because I felt like every downhill step was a step in the wrong direction after Saturday's long descent. We had >1000 feet of elevation to regain on Sunday, why oh why were we going downhill!?! I quickly regretted not relishing the downhill, as it turned quickly into some mild rock climbing. We weren't anywhere near vertical, but it was incredibly steep, technically challenging terrain. I hurt! My calves were tight and my IT band was aching. My pack felt like it was 100 pounds (it was probably around 35). I just wanted. to. be. done. We covered the ground pretty quickly and the last bit of hiking retraced the first 0.8 from Saturday (downhill became tiring uphill) plus the 0.8 miles from Friday night (uphill became downhill! so nice!). I have never been so happy to hear cars on the roadway.

We changed clothes, went to Subway and Starbucks (civilization!) and headed home. After the best shower of my life, I had excellent Thai dinner with Nick and slept like a rock. I would definitely backpack again, although I think 'car camping' and hiking during the day sounds a little more appealing. When we went for little treks without packs on our backs I definitely enjoyed myself more than when I was carrying all that extra weight.

This morning my legs hate me a little, so I might do a low impact On Demand workout when I get home after class, or might just call it a rest day... tomorrow is 20 miles! AH!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fully furnished

Subtitle: A camera phone is not a camera.

My furniture came yesterday... I bought it in early August. Ugh. Since early August, I have been living in a house with a living room that looks like this:



Super duper boring, yes. I didn't have anywhere to sit, so the TV had to be watched while sitting on the floor... that TV is brand new, and it has been turned on less than 10 times. Waste o' money. Now my living room looks like this:




Much better... excuse the blurriness. And the shoes on the floor. I bought a couch, 2 end tables, a coffee table, entertainment center, chair, ottoman and sofa table. Have you noticed how I say I'm never home? Yeah I'm kind of thinking buying all this stuff was a little unnecessary, and a lot expensive. I'm happy to have furniture but I kind of feel like it'll be wasted. Also, now my house smells uber chemically, and since I'm gone all weekend I don't want to leave the windows open. Ugh.

I ran last night. That is all I have to say about that. My tummy issues are so incredibly ridiculous. Evening runs just aren't working for me, but it is when I have time. I stopped earlier than I had hoped because my IT band was super achy. It still hurts something awful this morning, and I'm about to go backpacking for the next 2 days... sigh.

Only a 22 more days until the marathon...!!!!

I am excited about the hiking, but also nervous... Nick and I packed food last night, and my food consisted of (for 2 days):
-prepackaged crackers x 4
-trail mix x 2
-chocolate covered pretzels x 2
-Gu and sports beans x 4
-Kashi Go Lean bars x 2
-Granola bars x 4
-2 cans chickpeas, roasted

I counted the calories... I've got >2000 for each day... and it doesn't seem like nearly enough (even if I was in a low-cal mode, I'd be eating 1600 normally) with ~7 miles hiking plus elevation change. We'll see. If I undereat for 2 days, I am pretty sure I'll still survive.

Nick brought the following:
-Beef jerky x 2
-Dehydrated meals x 2
-Clif bar x 2

.....


I am becoming certain he's an alien.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Quickie

I had a happy hour yesterday. This girl drank only water. No Booze-tober is a resounding success (shutupiknowitsonlythe6th)!  It helped that I had fun people to talk to and a baked potato covered in cheese. Covered. In. Cheeseeeeee. Delish.

I was semi-starving after my workout yesterday, which was short and sweet. Or at least short. I biked 5.8 miles in 25 minutes then still had energy so I ran a half mile at the end at a 9:07 pace. It was one of my weirder workouts. When you're training for a triathlon, those are called 'brick' workout because your legs feel like a brick during them- I had forgotten how hard it is to transition from biking motion to running motion.

And I took this pic:


So the tiny black dots on my shirt and chest? Those are bugs. During my run on Tuesday I had them ALL over my face, in my nose and mouth. The pic is from yesterday, when they mostly clung to my arms and stayed away from my face (because of angle of head during biking? Who knows). Yuck. Extremely yuck. They are gnats or something. Very tiny, and ubiquitous in my area. It's been cooler and dry for the last few days at least, but we had very warm and wet weather all last week, so maybe it's just the last of the little bugs? I am also running at dusk now, since the sun is going down so early, which is different, but still. Come on. Ick. I'm doing my long run indoors today because the bugs were uber distracting.

I get furniture today!!! I am not even kidding, my living room has had zero actual furniture in it. I will take before and after photos so everyone can be impressed by how grown up I am. I ordered the furniture 9 weeks ago, so hopefully I still like it... I think I bought a green couch?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Meh.

Just meh overall. There's turmoil at work (again), meaning I potentially have to work weird hours. I keep finding spiders in my house. My 5 mile run yesterday was s-l-o-w. Bleh.

On the plus side, I've had some really wonderful and generous contributors to my fundraising goal for Back on My Feet. Nick found a statistics page that I hadn't seen before, and it is really inspiring:

Washington DC chapter

  • 5 shelters with BoMF programs
  • 5 teams with 47 male and female currently active members and alumni
  • 450+ volunteers
  • 112 members who have completed a competitive race
  • 21 members who have completed a half-marathon
  • 5 members who have completed a marathon
  • 2 members who have completed an ultra marathon
  • 29 members who have obtained more supportive housing
  • 47 members who have secured jobs
  • 57 members who have enrolled in job training programs or schooling
  • 83% of members in Next Steps
2 members finished an ULTRA marathon? Holy cow. I'm in awe. Reading these stats makes me even prouder to be running for Back on my Feet. I know my contributions will be valuable.

I mentioned I am hiking for 2 days on the Appalachian Trail this weekend. I'm really excited! Last night I went to the store and played a fun game- how much calorically dense food can I buy? Not my normal game, but it was super fun. I checked out this site for ideas. I really don't like the idea of freeze dried food, and I was afraid that would bite me on the butt because I'd end up bringing lots of dense, watery food. Two days without fresh fruit or veggies? Um no thanks. Then I thought about how hungry I am on a normal day (hint: very hungry), and added a heavy backpack and 7+ miles of hiking and realized I'm going to have to give into the light food forces and just go with it.

I bought:
-chocolate covered pretzels
-peanut butter cracker packs
-trail mixes (nuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries)
-granola bars

I plan on also drying some apples and bringing baby carrots as a weight splurge. I'll also take cheese and crackers. Yum. In reality, we're only hiking for 2 days, so it is not like we're going on a weeklong trip, but I don't want to totally throw my body off and come back next week feeling icky.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

18.1.

VERY delayed in posting this. So.. this is what happened last Wednesday night!

18.1 (plus some uncounted walking for a long while at the end). Not even close to 26.2, but I'll take it.

On Wednesday night I ran on the treadmill for over 3 hours. Then I got in my tub at home, surrounded by ice and cold water. I now love 2 things I didn't think I would ever love: ice baths and Gu. I love Gu because I am certain I felt a difference after taking it during the long run. I'd be dragging, then take one and feel at least a little bit better. Good feeling. I have one at the beginning of my run and then one every 4 miles. Since I'll also be having gatorade during the race (and other treats! Munchkins at Mile 24 sound like a realllllly terrible idea... sorry Dunkin Donuts, I'm not sure I can handle when I still have 2 miles to go...), I'm not sure how I'll handle carbs just yet. I might play it by ear, but that's basically tummy roulette... no one wins that game.

Speaking of tummy issues... (TMI alert) I had some fairly minor GI stuff throughout that run but the major event was a lot of upchucking at mile 13. I guess I drank too much water? I felt a lot better after that, and kept water to smaller portions towards the end of the run (I might have been chugging up until then...). I'll totally be that runner during the marathon puking on the sideline. Cute.


Warning: spider pic ahead.




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I warned you. This big fellow was hiding behind my scale! Yikes! I considered putting him in a cup and tossing him outside, but the thought of knowing that he was still out there, somewhere, secretly wanting to be hiding in my bathroom disturbed me. So he met his end and I'm pretty ok with reducing the huge, scary spider population by one member.


Now, to what happened this weekend!
Nick and I left Friday to drive to upstate New York (Saratoga Springs area). He used to live up there and I had a wedding. On Saturday, we went hiking and I got this:

It's a gnarly bruise on my shin. I got that from sliding down a rock on my tummy instead of climbing down it. My first 'real' hiking experience was a rainy one, but Nick and I still had a good time. We got to the peak and it was misting/raining. I swore I felt freezing rain, and when we got back to the car (I think the elevation change was around 1000 feet), the car thermometer said it was in the low 40's.. so there definitely could have been freezing rain.

Sunday was the wedding for a grad school friend and I got to see folks I hadn't seen in years- awesome! The wedding was beautiful but COLD. It was outside, and of course I didn't anticipate this and ended up not having a coat. I am silly. I borrowed a pullover from Nick and a sweater from a friend and survived... barely. We came back on Monday, leaving before 7am so I could get back in time to teach class. I was flustered, dropped something on the ground when I got out of my car, and stood back up as the car door was swinging closed, and got this:

Ok... so it doesn't look like anything except a shadow of a bump on my forehead, but it feels awful, vaguely headachey whenever I raise my eyebrows. Also, I feel incredibly silly and I'm really hoping it doesn't bruise, so there's that too.

Um.. 26 days until marathon, maybe I could stop hurting myself soon?

The week ahead is a lot of work, a happy hour (right at the beginning of no-drinking October... lame), a longish run (not going all out this week- I'm thinking 16-18 this week), and then leaving Friday AGAIN for a backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail in central Virginia. Exciting but nerve-wracking since I'll be going to the middle of the wilderness for 2 days and have to carry all my food and water with me... do you have any idea how much I eat and drink? Heavy stuff.