Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pain in the foot

The half was on Sunday, and on Monday I rested. Sort of. We did yard work for a couple of hours and got my upper body (but mostly my forearms) good and sore. Tuesday was one of the first near-90 days we've had so far, and I chose to celebrate it by running in the air conditioning. Oh treadmill. You complete me. I did 5 miles, fast, because I just wasn't feeling too tired. Weird... Did I not run a half 2 days ago?

Tuesday morning my foot tried to separate itself from my body when I stepped out of bed. Major shooting pain along my arch, towards the top of my foot. It only lasted about 10 steps but it was enough to wake me up and get me worried. The rest of the day was uneventful as far as pain. I swam 2200 meters and had a delightful time.

This morning, once again, ow. Stabbing occurred. Grumbling occurred. It worked itself out again within a minute. Tonight I'm kayaking for a little low intensity workout and hopefully another rest day helps it relax a little more. I'm not too worried, but if this continues it'll be something to get checked.

This weekend it's off to the Outer Banks!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hi, my name is Laurel...

...and I ran a sub-2:00 half marathon. I'm getting a shirt that says that. Because I did. And I want to TELL THE WORLD.

Laurel Wright            26 F    1:58:02  9:01 (min/mile)

So.. let's recap the magic of the day. And the magic of the whole weekend. On Saturday, Nick and I slept in a little then headed to a family friend's birthday/Memorial Day party. I had a veggie burger, at least 2 kinds of mayonnaise-based salad, lots of veggies and cheese, and 2 beers. And cookies. And half a cupcake. I eat like a champion.
Party number 1 was followed by party number 2, a low key event with yet another beer (Newcastle Founder's Ale.... delicious). Nick and I rounded out the evening with pizza and salad and then lamenting our stomach situation.

Sunday at 5am came way way way too early. We didn't go to packet pickup on Saturday (because that would have infringed on the beer drinking. duh), so we needed to go extra early. The race started at 7:30, and we left the house around 5:20 (I ate 2 eggs and a banana before leaving the house) to give us driving time and also coffee time. Ever important coffee time. We tried one Starbucks that the Internet claimed opened at 5am. LIES! I sucked it up even though running a morning race without coffee seemed like the worst idea ever. We got to the race site and picked up our packets. I found a Starbucks and had a coffee, then split a granola bar and had a Gu with even more caffeine before the race started.

It was a pretty small race (around 1000 finishers, 1200 registered). Between indoor bathrooms and porta-potties, it didn't look like there were any problems with facilities. I didn't see any pre-race water or snacks (although there was pre-race 5 Hour Energy... is that a new thing I missed?). Lining up was easy, Nick and I picked a spot in front of a 65-year old guy who was running (I think) his 78th half marathon. Holy cow. He said he used to be a 2:40 marathoner back in the day, that he had run Marine Corps 8 times, etc. He was pretty neat. He liked that it was Nick's first time. He was a little weird, but very friendly.

We started out, Gus in tow and it was already 70-some degrees and very humid out. My watch had timed out of GPS mode so it started about a minute late. That meant the whole race, my mile splits were way off the markers. Bleh. After the first congested mile, we were around 9:24/mile. With a hill and dodging people. I was pretty sure that my sub-2:00 dreams had evaporated already. 9:09 is the pace for a sub-2, and I thought that 15 seconds, right from the start, sounded insurmountable. The next mile was around 9:10. Decreasing, but still, not. good. I still thought 2:00 was impossible.

Nick and I chugged along comfortably, although we died a little in the sun. I have to admit, the whole time I was bracing myself to fail. Even when a couple of 9:00 (+/- 1 second) miles rolled by easily. Even when we kept passing people. It was unreal to feel so... okay. I had complete faith that Nick would be able to keep up with whatever I did. He's naturally a very good runner, and I think his mental strength is leaps and bounds beyond me. He was depending on me to keep us on track, so I felt like if he was still beside me, we would finish just fine (aww... I know, we're awesome). We took Gus/Blocks at ~4 and 8.5 and grabbed water and Gatorade a few times (TONS of water stops).

I didn't have a real idea of our goal time after the first 4 miles or so, because my watch was so far off the mile markers. I knew we were close. At the 5k remaining, I saw we had ~29 minutes to do the last 5k and finish in around 2 hours. It actually looked like it was going to happen! I may or may not have grouched at Nick as he optimistically narrated the last couple miles of the race. I was still somehow worried that my legs might just fall off me. I wasn't even all that dead tired, I was just... overwhelmed. The last couple miles were hot with a small but mighty bridge to cross. Ugh. When we finished, I didn't even glance at my watch or the course timer, I just gave Nick a huge hug and grabbed water and a medal (pics to come!).

We stretched a while and grabbed some food and waiting for times to be posted... didn't happen. They had the finishers up to ~1:50, but even for 30 minutes or so after the race they didn't update the list. We grabbed food (potato chips! bagel and peanut butter!) and headed home.

Sunday night was a little bit of a dream. I'm so happy and so proud to be able to have shared that race with Nick. He's such a trooper. I don't have enough words to describe how much relief and pride I felt when we were done. Running had become a chore and now I'm like, hey! I can run this afternoon OR NOT... and I actually want to run! My body is not sore at all (except from yard work).

Now onto the next race... Richmond Marathon in November maybe?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ideal workout week

Subtitle: Does not equal ideal taper week

Nick was gone for 2/5 days this week. So I had extra time on my hands. Also, it was rainy out so I had legitimate excuses to run on the treadmill. These things combined to make the PERFECT WORKOUT WEEK.

Oh yes. I said it. I should also say that if you check back with me in 3 days after I've run (or crawled or whatever) 13.1 miles, maybe I will not be so positive about this week. Glycogen stores are made to be depleted. Anywho.

Monday: 5.25 miles on treadmill, FAST! All miles were sub-9:00. And a 2% grade (I think). Then 8 minute Buns and 8 Minute Legs. PS if I never hear the word "bun" again it'll be too soon. 8 minute BUTT. I also hate "glutes."

Tuesday: My quads were sore from working out my buns. Bun just sounds like such a made up word. "10 Minute Solution: Kickboxing somethign something something" (I really just love choosing stuff from Netflix that will totally confuse the computers that are trying to trend Nick's viewing preference. "He likes Dexter... Always Sunny in Philadelphia... and.. Pilates!?!?!?"). It was like 50 minutes and not too intense but it was something.

Wednesday: incline run on treadmill. I don't remember exact what I did but it was something like 0.4 mile intervals, 0.3 miles at 2% grade and the last 0.1 at 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7%. Holy moly. It was hard. I only did them at 6.0 mph but still it was killer. The second half was 0.4 mile increments but I did 0.2 at 2% and 6.0, 0.1 at 6.1 and bumped up grade, and 0.1 at 6.2 with same grade. If you can't tell, I need some variety to keep me interested. Total distance was around 4.5.

Thursday: The piece de resistance: 20 mile bike ride. Nick and I went to the Indian Head Rail Trail and it was glorious.  The weather was lovely and overcast, there were a few runners and bikers but not too many. It was a little hard on the bun though. My buns were uncomfortable. Bun discomfort is the worst. We finished up in about 80 minutes which is 4 min/mile. Not blazing fast, but it was challenging (and supposedly burned 800-ish calories?!?).

Today: 3 miles, outside, maybe. Also, eating ALL THE CARBS!

Saturday: rest. Glorious rest and Memorial Day parties where I will stare longingly at the beer all around me, not drink any much, and rest my buns.

Sunday: My 3rd 13.1. Do it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hit "Publish"

Subtitle: What is.... things Laurel can't do?!

Subtitle 2: Isn't publish an awfully lofty word for a freaking blog post? Right? Publish!? It's words on the internet.

I have quite literally 7 draft posts that I have started and then never "published." I don't have anything to share with the world. I've been doing a lot, so one of the posts was about being busy (of course), and I've been really happy, so another post was about being happy. A third post was about biking. Another one about how I've been runnning more frequently yet not hating my life. None of these sound all that gripping, right? Yeah, so I spared you. You're welcome (note: misuse of you're vs. your welcome is what keeps me up at night. YOUR WELCOME? THE WELCOME THAT BELONGS TO YOU? DOES NOT COMPUTE.)

Here's some pictures.

Photographic evidence that I actually took my back tire off my bike, had my dad replace the tube, and then put it back on. All by myself. It only took 2 Youtube videos to figure out how to orient the chain/derailleur complex. And then I tried to unbutton my khakis before washing my hands. No matter how badly you need to pee, you have time to wash your hands first. Promise. I bought that ring at the Maryland Craft Beer Festival the other weekend (I told you I've been busy!), and it is awesome. Aside from turning slightly yellow when I go swimming, it's great.

I went to Career Day at a local elementary school. The kids? Loved me. I got hugs.... from the teachers. Jk. Sort of. Anyways, I think they enjoyed the presentation mostly because I passed around the pinwheel. Yes, I use a pinwheel and clay to describe my job. It's highly technical. Side note: Nick and I were at the store looking for the pinwheel and he claimed we wouldn't be able to find one because "What decade are we in again?!" Solid argument, but it's almost Memorial Day and pinwheels are neat and grandparents will buy them for their kids. So there. It was also like 97 cents. Win.


We're trying to grow some new little jade plants. These guys were cut from our big jade plant and we've been waiting for over 2 weeks for them to sprout. Now, when you pull on them they have some resistance so we think that means there's roots! Yay!

In less successful plant news- my orchid is dying. The leaves are still in great shape but the stalk is brown? What's that about? I'm still watering it, but I don't have a lot of hope. I thought orchids were supposed to be sort of death-resistant.

Nick and I went to Philadelphia, ran 3 miles from his sister's house to the Philadelphia Art Museum, and got this picture of 48% of my face, 100% of Rocky and 100% of Nick (I see your preferences, dear boyfriend, and  I'm not pleased. Jk, phone pics are a pain and there were tons of people. Do better next time.).
I bought this stuff from GNC online when I had a weird moment where I realized I need both more protein AND more calcium in my diet. And it was buy one, get one 50% and free shipping soooo.... it basically bought itself. This has both nutrients (50% RDV Calcium, 15 g protein). It also tastes slightly like death to me, but I can choke it down. I know I could make it into a delicious smoothie if I could get over my hatred of dishes and just use the damn food processor, but I refuse. I'll dissolve it in water, choke it down, complain and go on with my life. PS/TMI the "digestive enzymes" they speak of do something pretty ridiculous to my digestive system. They might be a little too enzymatic for me.

Nick and I and a random kid on the "Ricochet" at King's Dominion Amusement Park (Exhibit B in the How Busy I've Been Museum). It's hard to tell, but Nick and I are being SUPER unenthused (on purpose). Nick nailed it, I'm giving 50% duckface. I think all of our displaced enthusiasm spilled over onto excited kid in front of us. He had a blast.

This is the forecast for our half on Sunday... no comment. Granted, we'll be running from ~7:45-~9:45 (or like 10:30 if we're being realistic), so it won't quite be 90. But still. Hottttttt. Whiiiiiine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5.5 "happy" miles

I've been a wee bit grumpy lately. As I stated in my last post, running has been mentally incredibly tough for me lately. I've tried to think all sorts of positive thoughts, because I'm pretty sure I've actually been running faster than I ever have before, but I still do not want to set foot outside the house for a run. Ever. Never ever ever ever. Yesterday Nick and I had planned on running all day but then it was cloudy/drizzling and we needed to stop at the grocery store and I was tired and I was hungry and and and....

You get the idea. Luckily, Nick is not susceptible to my whining. He wasn't feeling 100% either but still pushed us out the door. I stalled by fussing with my shoelaces and wailing and generally acting like a child but eventually I sucked it up and headed out.

We went a different direction than usual, which was a nice change. I wore different shoes. It was overcast with a few random raindrops, so the weather was perfect. I tried to capture all these positive bits and use them to power through the run.

I think I can stop right now. I think I can head back home. I think I can... (source)

No dice. I was stuck in hate mode. Instead, I focused on how fresh my legs felt after 3 days of not running at all (we went on a mini-vacation Friday-Sunday and running was not on the agenda). They were not achy, or tired, or anything. Physically, I felt great. So I ran fast and tried to pay attention to the cool stuff my legs let me do when they're feeling good. Nick suggested a slightly longer than normal run, even though I had contemplated going home about 75,000 times already. We turned around a little less than 3 miles from home. The run back was definitely more about getting home and being done. When we finished, Nick remarked that I was running a little fast. Fact. I was tired but not dead. I was happy to be home. I was sort of happy to have run, at least so I didn't have the lack of run guilt hanging over my head.

I am not sure why I'm in this funk. I am hoping to take a little running hiatus and maybe change things up after the half marathon. Hopefully that will help matters, because no one likes a complainer.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Inside my head

Thoughts I have while swimming:
32 laps to go....32...32...32...wait... 31? no. 30? more? 33? When did I start? If I average 1:45/100 meters and I started at 30:00 on the pace clock, should I have gone further? Should I swim 1600? More? I wonder how Nick feels. How far have I gone now? 800m? Sprint tris are only around 750m I think? I should definitely do one! Open water swimmnig is weird though. Didn't I see one with a pool swim? I should do that. I need to bike more. I need to inflate my bike tires. I could probably even do an Olympic distance tri, that's only 1500 m. How far have I gone now? How is it that 20 minutes swimming feels like an eternity? I think I get more tired swimming than running. I wonder if I'll be sore tomorrow. Yikes my form feels terrible. I'm not kicking smoothly. It's called flutter kick, Laurel, not random splashing kick. Almost done now! 10 more minutes. La la la swimming is fun.

Thoughts I have while running:
This needs to be done. Now. Hate. 45 more minutes. 44.5 more minutes. My legs feel funny. Am I injured? Omg what if I'm injured. My knee feels tweaky. My foot hurts. My legs are sore. It's hot. Am I getting sunburned? Oh geez, I'm sweating so much. I wish sweat wasn't in my eyes. I think my shorts are going to chafe. Good job, thighs. Or good job drinking all that beer last week, Laurel. Don't blame your thighs. 41 more minutes. 40.5 more minutes. Ugh, hill. Ugh, dead animal. Did I not fuel properly? I didn't sleep very well last night. I bet that's why I feel terrible. Is Nick faster than me? Am I holding him back? 38 more minutes. Now my leg is really hurting. I bet it's my IT band. I'm totally undertrained for a half marathon. What if it's hot on race day? What if my stomach is upset? Ugh my stomach hurts now. Wonder if I'll make it. 35 more minutes. That's 2/9 of the way through. 2/9! Weee! This needs to be done. Now. Hate.

Ummm so I think I might hate running? It takes a village to get me to the swimming pool, but once I'm there I tend to do pretty well. I can chug through a workout and feel pleasantly tired at the end. I don't usually stress too much about my aches and pains. Swimsuits are super comfortable.

...I should swim more!

But really, I go through this every year. Or every month. Running is not easy for me, and some aspects of it I straight up hate. I love how I feel when I'm done. I love how it makes my legs look. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I really love running with Nick, even if I worry about my pace... it's great knowing we share an enjoyment of running. Right now I might just be falling out of love with running since I'm stressed over the half marathon in 19 days, which I feel utterly unprepared for (I ran 9.1 miles on the treadmill in my super awesome new shoes (thanks, Mom and Dad!). I finished in around 85 minutes, so I ran at an appropriate long run pace. I didn't feel totally dead. But still... 4 more miles...?!?!

*I wrote all of the above before running with Nick last night, where I tried really hard to keep my thought processes positive. Even when the air smelled like a mix of honeysuckle and death. Even when breathing was hard. Even when my hips ached. There was a lot of mental back and forth and I'm pretty sure I spent more time in the negative zone than the positive, but it was a start. I just need to be less of a grump and try to cultivate positive thoughts. Some ideas:
"This could suck worse"
"This is totally going to make my butt less squishy. Positive!"
"At least it's not raining!" (if it is not raining)
"At least it's not raining hard!" (if it is not raining hard)
"All this rain will make my veggie garden grow!"

Anywho. Here's a weird "baby carrot" i found in my carrot bag last week. You can't fool me. That's not a baby at all.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

All grown up.

Note- part of this post was written last week when I was on work travel in Charlotte, NC. So if you know me in real life, don't be confused by how events are sequenced.

I've been a legal adult for almost 9 years now (gag). I've been legal drinking age for almost 6. I've been out of high school for 9, and out of undergrad for 5. I'm employed. I have my own health insurance. I pay for my housing. Probably look like an adult to most onlookers.

So why is it that when I take a trip for work suddenly I feel like I'm in some special adults-only club and I'm trying to fit in? Paying with a corporate card makes me feel like I'm playing a game. I called down to the front desk of the hotel because the Wifi was non-existent. Who am I, the Queen of England?! Maybe it's the combination of being in an unusual city, and being alone that makes me feel so out of my element. I suddenly get super scared I'll get carded when we go out to dinner as a group and they'll all realize that I'm omgtoo young to be in their club

Anyways. While in Charlotte I had to be a morning work-outer a couple times because in the afternoons were full of dinner plans. I was reminded of how miserable morning workouts are. This first day I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and felt horrible. I "pushed myself" and got to 32 minutes. Did I earn some sort of merit badge? The second day I climbed on one of the two  treadmills at the tiny hotel gym. It only went up to 3.2 mph. What is that?? Such a ridiculous low limit. I feel like someone must have screwed something up on the machine for that to be the low setting. I tried the other treadmill and it worked properly, but I slogged along at sub-10 minute miles and struggled to get to 30 minutes. I think I did 3.5 miles in like 36 minutes. Two days prior, I ran on the Mallard Creek Greenway for about 50 minutes and I was cooking the whole time. My body just hates morning workouts.

A note about the Mallard Creek Greenway-- it is the best thing, ever. Apparently it covers almost 6 miles in northern Charlotte.

Umm. Some more recent runs? A painful but quick 4 miler with Nick last Friday when I came home, 4.5 miles (in 40 minutes... yay me?) on the treadmill on Monday, 3.6 miles with Nick on Tuesday. We were going to swim yesterday but instead watched the Hangover II and made jalapeno corn chowder, which I have been requested to immortalize so that we don't forget it for next time:

2 small onions
1 large red bell pepper
3 jalapenos, 2.5 of them seeded
lots of pepper

Sautee until things are tender

5 cups water, 3 veggie boullion cubes
2 peeled, cubed large-ish potatoes

Boil until potatoes are tender

1.5 bags frozen sweet corn, one tiny container heavy whipping cream plus low fat milk (I know, irony) up to about 2.5 cups milk.

Simmer/LOW boil ~40 minutes. Add cornmeal and water to thicken.

If we did it again, I'd probably use 1 cup less water, but I'm not sure. The cornmeal addition at the end made it really chowdery and perfect. It was spicy and delicious. I had gotten some ideas and measurement amounts from this recipe and this recipe, but I also did my own thing. Pictures are forthcoming.