Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Marathon nightmares

I'm a vivid dreamer. I have incredibly detailed, drawn-out dreams. I attribute this at least partly to waking up multiple times a night, remembering a snippet of a dream, then jumping back into the dream and elaborating on it.

Monday night was my first marathon dream.
This is my training schedule. I get to cross things off. It completes me.

In the dream, Nick and I were running Steamtown together (we're not) and we were in town the night before, trying to find somewhere to eat. For some reason, everything was closed. We ended up finding somewhere that had huge egg rolls, and I had 2 for dinner. I was distressed about my lack of carb loading.

Then the day of the race came, and in my dream I was freaking out. Of course Dream Me has anxiety issues. Dream Me is like normal me, but she makes poor(er) choices. For example, one time Dream Me was caring for a baby and left it in a drawer and then forgot about it. For days! Another time I left my dream child on the bed and walked away, only to come back and find the baby on the floor. Dream Me is the worst mom ever.

That was a tangent... sooo race day. Nick and I line up. In my dream, Steamtown is a teeny race and we're lined up at the very front of the pack. We take off, and there's obstacles and we're running on dirt (the actual race does have a trail segment, but I hear it's not too technical). Then, we have to climb a ridiculous tree to get to the next part of the trail. Like a video game, sort of. I blame that part of the dream on watching Wreck It Ralph recently (adorable movie). He has to climb a candy tree at one point. Apparently that part stuck with me.
(source - ps Sarah Silverman should voice every animated little girl. So good.)

The course was ridiculously difficult, and I remember thinking "there's no way this is a net downhill course! there's no way I can maintain this pace the rest of the way!" Dream Me is super worried about her splits. Nick and I got lost and there was more stress and I woke up feeling terrible. 

And so it begins. I reallllly hope this doesn't keep going for the next 6.5 weeks or else I'll be a miserable ball of nerves by October 13... 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Steamtown Training Week 12

7 weeks to go! Less than 50 days! That's terrifying! I continue to be consistent and complete (if waddling the last 10% of my long run counts as "completion") everything on the training plan. Although I've done 2 marathons, this one is still looming like I've never done one before. I'm nervous. Self-doubt is there during pretty much every run. I know I can do it, but the question of speed is starting to plague me. Too bad my 20 miler didn't build any new confidence for me. 

Victories: I finished my first 20 miler!
Monday: HIIT with Nick. Lots of abs. PS never agree to 8 rounds of 20 sec on/10 sec off walking planks. You'll never forgive yourself.

Failures: The run where I dropped and broke my phone was not the high point of my life. And needing to run/walk the last part of my long run kind of sucked.

Tuesday: 5.1 outside @ 8:18, I was emotional and ran stupid fast and then tried to hang on the rest of the run. Then one of my headphones fell out and while trying to pop it back in, I dropped my phone and broke it. And then I got emotional again. Not my best day.
Wednesday: 24.7 biking @ 18.3
Thursday: treadmill 1 @ 6, 4.25 @ 7.6, 1 @ 7.7, 1 @ 6.7 plus cooldown. 7.5 total. 1:07ish
Friday: treadmill 4.25 @ 6.6 plus cooldown. 4.5 total
Saturday: off, unless you count a Dogfish Brewery Tour as a workout.
Sunday: 20 @ 9:13. 

Totals:  37.1 miles running, 24.7 miles biking, 1 HIIT

So about my long run. The pace? Not quite as quick as I would have hoped. I started off strong and happy (first 10 miles were 8:39-8:55) then the wheels sorta fell off. I knew I could hobble it in and slowly die over the last 10 miles, but then I resolved to at least make it "strong" to 18, then I would run/walk the last 2. I justified this because I hadn't done an 18 miler, only 17, so those last 3 miles were all new territory. I definitely felt like a huge mess for the last 4 miles or so, and my pace reflects it. Afterwards, I was just completely spent and although nothing on my body hurt specifically, somehow everything hurt. As I was driving home, I realized my body just felt done. 

After getting home and eating and drinking a ton, I felt revitalized, so maybe I was just dehydrated/hungry? I definitely didn't fuel too well on Saturday night (I had curly fries and beer for dinner, then a black bean burrito a little later because I was still starving... someone should really revoke my adult card). 

LR Minutiae: Slept pretty well, had eggs, toast, lots of water and coffee at ~11am, then 4 date balls and peanuts later in the morning. Wore my new singlet from the race earlier this month and it chafed the crap out of my armpits. Lame. Drank a big bottle of Gatorade during the run, and had 4 Gus- 1 before, 1 @ 5, 10, and 15. 

Subject change!

I got a Fitbit! Because what I need in my life are more opportunities to obsess about numbers!

My parents got me a Fitbit Flex for my birthday (which was last week, did I mention that?). I love it! I've worn it during a few runs though and the numbers are odd for mileage. I also wore it during a bike ride and the numbers were way off. I don't know if it needs to be calibrated or something, but I'd like it to be a little more accurate. I've read the help files and might just need to take it off when I'm biking. 

Other than that, it's really neat! It tracks my sleep, but I'm pretty sure that's not very accurate either. I don't sleep soundly, and wake up a handful of times each night, but the Fitbit has me at 99% "sleep efficiency." I wish I wasn't proud of this, but I really am. I'm efficient at sleeping! Actually, I think it's just not counting the times I wake up, roll over, and then lay there for 5 or 10 minutes until I fall back asleep. Either way, it's pretty cool. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

CSA Week 11

Mid-summer veggies are pretty repetitive. I am not complaining, because I adore tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers. I really do. They just don't make for exciting blog posts or inspired cooking. This (last) week we received:

Small cucumbers
2 bell peppers
a ton of roma tomatoes plus a couple huge heirloom ones
2 enormous eggplants (can we talk about how pretty these are? One is all white. I love pretty vegetables)

In the spirit of consistency, I'll do the normal run-down of what we did with all these, but spoiler alert: there was much sauteeing. 

Sliced and taken to a party, but then we brought home the extras. Eaten with bean dip during the week.

Fritatta. Again! It was a hit with us last week, so we redid it this week.

2 bell peppers
Also taken to party and brought home when we had extras. Standard bell peppers.

Standard garlic usage.

Roma tomatoes plus a couple huge heirloom ones
Nick turned these into a nice marinara. Yum.

2 enormous eggplant
One was grilled, the other was sauteed with onion and sesame ginger marinade. Delicious. These bigger eggplant require peeling though, because the skin is on the tough side.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Aches and pains

I realize that by even daring to write this entry, I'm condemning myself to a lifetime of broken bones and torn everything. My poor dad was in a cycling accident this weekend during a race, and although he's ok (sort of, he has nasty scrapes, stitches, and a broken finger), I know this thing I'm doing is not 100% without chance of hurting myself. Just have to do everything possible to not get injured, and even then it still sometimes happens.

I had a tibial stress fracture when I was in high school and years of infrequent, inconsistent training have put me through many cycles of run a little, feel good, ramp up mileage, get injured, stop running, repeat. This is dumb. I know that inconsistent running and randomly escalating mileage too quickly often means injury, especially if it's something that's happened to you in the past. I've have recurring ITB issues and frequent shin pain. Fun.

I have been ridiculously lucky so far in this round of marathon training. I am currently, this very moment, not injured. That I know of. I think if you asked most runners, on any given day, "does something hurt?" that most of them would say "well, now that I think of it, yes..." Luckily, right now, I have to think pretty hard about that question to answer "yes." I have had some mild left knee pain when running on the shoulder of the road, which I assume is just from being on that banked, uneven surface. Did I just find a totally legitimate reason to run on the super flat Rail Trail? I think I did. I also occasionally have a twinge in my left quad that usually goes away after a few minutes of activity. Nothing major, nothing worrisome.

What have I done differently this round of training (I'm somehow already 12 weeks in! on a sidenote, 18 weeks is way too long for marathon training. Never again.) that has helped me stay injury-free so far?
  • Stick to the plan
    • The "plan" being the Runner's World SmartCoach plan that the Internet dreamed up for me. Luckily, it's not a random number generator. It had me starting at mileage similar to what I was running before training, and ramping up slowly and steadily. It's been kind to me (there's a big however, see next point...). There were a few times when I thought "Hey! I should run another mile/interval/whatever! I feel great!" and I usually squished those feelings down. Knowing you have 16 miles waiting for you in 3 days makes it easy to stop a workout when you're supposed to.
  • Listen to my body
    • I felt run down and incapable of completing a couple of my long runs a few weeks back. Those miles were just not happening. It was probably 60% mental, but there was a physical component to it too. I wasn't sleeping well, and 6 days a week of training had started to catch up with me. So I backed off. At this point, I still haven't done a 20 miler. On one hand, that sucks, on the other hand, I have several weeks still to fit those runs in. It'll be ok. 
  • Mix it up
    • Nick is my partner in life and my partner in looking ridiculous in our living room. I firmly believe that doing some sort of interval training most every Monday has strengthened a lot of my lower body stability-type muscles (is it obvious I never took anatomy?) and helped me stay injury free. My butt is rarely sore from running, but always sore from intervals. Also, weekly biking mixes up my schedule, adds variety to my life, and uses different muscles. 
  • Strict(ish) rest days
    • I've had a few rest days that were not so restful (like walking all day around Kings Dominion or the mall, or biking 30 miles), but for the most part, I take it easy every Saturday. Sometimes too easy. I might feel like a slug by sitting around some days, but I know it's for the best.
  • New shoes
    • I have tons of running shoes. No shame. New, supportive shoes, and rotating the shoes I'm using has prevented me from running any one pair of shoes into the ground and helped protect me from damage from the many miles I've been putting in. My love affair with Mizuno continues.
  • Foam rolling
    • Even when I don't feel like it. Even when it's late. Even when I'm full of ice cream. Foam rolling has never made me feel worse, and almost always makes me feel better. I have ridiculous knots in my calves, and the foam roller makes them less ridiculous. Hurts so good. I've been doing it at least 3 times a week and I swear it helps.

Apropos of none of that, I ordered this Plant Fusion protein powder to replace my old reliable egg protein powder, and it is horrible.
"Easily digestible" and "Amazing Taste" never go together.

Nick tasted it and said "you got chocolate again?" because the flavor is so off that it definitely doesn't taste like the "vanilla bean" it's supposed to be. It tastes like peas. That makes sense, since it's made of peas but wow... I do not want to eat ground up peas that are mildly vanilla-y. It's a little gritty. One positive note: it dissolves really easily without any chunks! So you're drinking, gritty pea powder, but at least it's not chunky.

I'll finish this canister, but this is definitely not an encouraging first foray into vegan protein powder. Blech. (note: I can't do hemp protein because I value my job too much to jeopardize it even the tiniest bit, so hemp is unfortunately not an option)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Steamtown Training Week 11

8 weeks. 8. This was another stepback week, although it feel like I just had one. Not complaining! With so few weeks to go I've sort of started thinking about things like race logistics and what I'm going to wear, eat, and drink. I've had a successful run (ha) with a combination of Honey Stingers, Gu and Gatorade, and if I drink electrolytes/sugar every 2 miles, I am good with Gu/Honey every 5 miles. 

Also, it's time to really, really think about pace. I think (hope) I'll be able to gauge this a bit better after my upcoming half (Parks Half Marathon, which is a lovely race- and Nick will be running too!). Since I'll be running that race on heavy legs, if I can pull out something slightly faster than my last half (1:49:02, 8:26 pace), I'll be super happy. If the weather or my stomach or whatever don't cooperate, and I end up going slower, then... whatever. I don't want to race race it, I want to.. you know.. go fast, but not too fast? I want to know that my May half wasn't a fluke. I also plan on running a bunch of cooldown miles after the race so I can get in mileage for the day (I think the schedule has me at 18 for that day, so... 5 more miles after a half? That's reasonable. Not.). I suppose I could actually try and race it and get a better guesstimate of what time I might expect in October, but I also don't want to trash my legs for the week that follows. Except it's a stepback week, so that actually might be perfect. 

I just typed a lot and came to zero conclusions. Thanks for hanging in there, readers.

Victories: Stepback week! perfect weather! Ran outside for 3 out of 4 runs due to the nice weather.

Failures: Gluten. Dairy. Wine. My birthday was Friday and I managed to gain 10 pounds between Friday afternoon and Sunday. TEN POUNDS. I ate bread and pizza and the BEST tzatziki I have ever had and then more bread. And pizza leftovers. And.. yeah. 10 pounds. I know it's not real weight, but it feels like real weight, and it made Sunday's run feel gross. Nick came with me (yay!) and before the run I was dreading it like it was a legitimate long run instead of a leisurely 7 miles with my husband. It ended up being just fine, but the bloat discomfort is real. It feels like I need to re-learn this lesson pretty much every week. I need to not be such a doofus.

Monday: HIIT with Nick

Tuesday: 7 outside @ 8:33 with Nick... kind of warm out, felt fast.
Wednesday: 20.2 miles biking @ 17.4
Thursday:  7.1 outside @ 8:18. felt fast but not terrible- great weather!
Friday: treadmill 7.2 @ 6.6 plus cooldown, 7.45 total in 1:07
Saturday: off
Sunday: 7.3 @ 8:48

Totals: 28.6 miles running, 20 miles biking, 1 HIIT

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So what does a gluten-free, soy-free ovo-vegetarian eat?

Subtitle: is ovo-vegetarian even a thing? Wikipedia says it is!

I get asked fairly frequently "So what DO you eat?" and I can see the questioner's imagination fill up with vegetables. And, obviously, yeah, there's vegetables. Lots of them. The question asker is usually appalled by the thought of a human subsisting on JUST vegetables, and if I want to make them uncomfortable, I just hiss "saladssssss" and watch him or her contemplate a life of just lettuce. It's fun for me.

Never claimed to be a nice person.

If I actually want to be informative/helpful/a good advocate for people with food sensitivities/preferences (if you're new here, and in the interest of full disclosure: I've never been diagnosed with anything, but Dr. Google and I are BFF and I did an elimination diet so I'm an expert on my own GI system, at the very least), I will craft some sort of response. If I'm still feeling grumpy, my response includes something about how surely, question asker, you don't JUST eat meat, cheese and bread, right? Replies to that question range from "...oh.. right.. I guess there's a lot of other stuff to eat" to "Well, I kind of do, but I get your point."

But really, the actual answer is: I eat a lot of the same things. It's true. In addition to having a restrictions self-imposed on my diet, I am a creature of habit, and I've found what works well enough for me, keeps my energy up, and keeps me from feeling horrible. So my day is almost always:

Breakfast: Banana. 2 eggs
Morning snack: Rice Chex and an apple
Lunch: Huge amount of raw veggies. Soup/chili/dinner leftovers
Afternoon snack: peanut/almonds, (egg) protein shake post-run, other snack (gluten-free muffin, date balls) if I'm hungry/need more calories for a workout
Dinner: salad, corn on the cob, or other veggie. Lentil soup, chili, farro stuff, frittatas, bean/squash mixture, veggie burger (either homemade from lentils or Dr. Praeger's which have soy but not gluten!), GF pasta with TVP or other meat sub (soy. sad face.) Dinner is basically a combo of protein, GF-ish carb, and veggies.

Each week Nick and I usually end up going out to dinner one or more times. As far as fast food... although I CAN eat a salad anywhere, fast food salads suck. My solution is to just not eat at traditional fast food places. I carry a lot of snacks. I eat heartily before going anywhere. The few times I've found myself needing a proper meal when out and about and crunched for time, I've had Chipotle. Their burrito bowl with black beans, veggies, and guac is a fantastic, hearty meal. I put all the salsas on it and go to town.

If I can get by just buying a snack on the go, I get nuts. Or potato chips if I'm feeling sassy. Nordstrom has a good veggie/hummus snack pack. Wawa has hummus and veggies, plus pitas if I'm cool with being gassy later (gluten makes me puff up like a champ!).

Dinners out are sometimes challenging. Again, Mexican is a safe option. Rice, beans, corn tortillas (if they have them) and fajita veggies. I stare sadly at flour tortilla chips but then when the entrees come out, it is my time to shine. I tend to get surprised looks from servers when I demolish ALL THE VEGGIES!
This is unrelated but adorable. (source) Found when searching for a suitable "eat your vegetables" image. Cute.

Indian food almost always has a lentil dish and bonus: it's amazing so I would be fine with eating Indian everyday anyway. Thai is a bit trickier because I usually have to choose discomfort or protein, in the form of soy. I usually choose discomfort, because I enjoy tofu and I enjoy protein. For fast Italian, Olive Garden has a GF menu, and though the dishes aren't very exciting, they are food. So it works.

Why don't I eat more sandwiches, crackers, tortillas, etc? 1) I'm cheap as hell. I don't like spending a ton of money on standard grocery fare, 2) It's not very good. Yeah yeah, Udi's bread is manna from heaven. And it's priced accordingly, but it's not real freaking bread. It's not the same. Baked goods that try super hard and fail are depressing. I avoid them out of protest, 3) I make some super-fine GF baked goods at home with Bob's Red Mill AP Flour, so my muffin cravings can be satisfied and 4) GF baked goods tend to be fluff and devoid of nutrients. GF bread is usually MORE processed than regular whole grain bread, so if I can be eating something fluffy and nutrient-poor or forgoing the baked good altogether and just eating an extra serving of nuts (or rice, or lentils, or whatever), I go for the "real," less processed food.

Basically, life requires a little more thought, and I cook a lot more from scratch than I did before, but I enjoy it (usually). Nick is happy too. He is a champ for eating lentils in some form 3 times a week and not killing me in my sleep. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Steamtown training Week 10

9 weeks to go! That means 6 real weeks of training and then taper. Yikes. Can I get some virtual high fives for how consistent I've been with training? Please? Having a schedule on the fridge for me to check off warms my heart. It might make me a 12 year old, but I enjoy crossing things off. It makes me feel accomplished.

But with great(ish) consistency, comes great fatigue. I truly don't understand how people run more than I am running now. I know it makes a difference if you are running sub 8 minute miles, because having a 7 mile run take less than an hour vs. an hour-plus just means runs are over more quickly. I find that getting home from work around 4:30, getting out the door by 5, being done ~6:15, stretch/abs, shower, dinner, dinner cleanup, pack lunches and suddenly, it's time for bed. My floors are in desperate need of a deep clean. The only thing I'm really good about is laundry, both because we'll run out of clean clothing, and because if my workout clothes linger too long they smell horrendous. I'm lovely.

Victories: morning run! And a nice, consistent long run pace. Highest mileage week I've ever run. Long run done on the roads instead of the wussy rail trail.
Failures: Umm. Can I say nothing? I overindulged a bit on Friday night, and that meant Saturday was a weird day of eating. I was worried it would screw up my long run, but it didn't.
Sexy Metro picture. Because Nick looks like he's enjoying life and I look like I'm in an ad for cheap, squinty perfume.

Monday: (included on last week as last week's long run)
Tuesday: 6.2 outside with Nick, 8:53 pace- still felt heavy legged from the long run... 
Wednesday: bike 26.6 @ 17 mph 
Thursday:  tempo- 1 @ 6.0, 5.2 @ 7.6, 1 @ 6.6 plus c/d. 7.45 total
Friday: 3 @ 6.5, 3 @ 6.6 plus c/d. 6.3 (morning run minutiae- the morning of this run I slammed a banana and took water down with me to the treadmill. Prior to the run I couldn't remember if I had eaten before previous morning runs. isn't this why I have a blog? Why don't I actually write these things down?)
Saturday: off
Sunday: 17 miles @ 8:48 - slowest mile 9:05, fastest 8:32! Woo!

Totals: 37 miles running, 26.6 miles biking, 4 hours standing in heels

Long run minutiae: had way too much Greek food, including about 75 falafel, real, fluffy bread and cheese on Saturday night. I was worried it would ruin my stomach for Sunday, and it did, but postponing the run until evening got the worst part out of the way. Sunday morning had banana, eggs, pumpkin muffin and coffee around 11am. Then 4 date balls dipped in peanut butter (I was hungry... no judging) in the mid afternoon. Tons of water throughout the day. During the run I drank a bottle of Gatorade and had a Gu at 5, 10, and 14 miles. Weather was warm but bearable. Thought I was going to get killed 2x, once by a motorcyclist who drove directly toward me on the median, and a second time by a dude who I swear was stalking me in a neighborhood. 

Roadkill count: 4, and one 100 m stretch of really disturbing smell but no visible dead things
Honks: 3, 2 were friendly(?) and one was creepy
Other runners/bikers: 0. Not even a dog walker. Our neighborhood is weird. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

CSA Week 10

I wonder about what the CSA owners are thinking when they put together our veggie bag each week. Do they honestly think 2 people (it's supposedly the right amount of vegetables for 2 people) can eat 4 eggplants, 6 summer squash and 6 little potatoes? That is a lot. I was talking to a friend about CSAs this week and she said "They mostly make me feel bad. Like, if I'm not eating all these vegetables, what am I eating instead?" which is exactly how I feel. We can't finish off the veggies because we're busy eating...? Brownies? Are we supposed to forsake all other food groups and subsist on vegetables? That's not fair. Can brownies come in the CSA box too?

We have definitely made our dinners more vegetable-centric, which I love, but still. I'm whining about our abundance of food again. I'll shut up.

This week:
Summer squashes
Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Tomatoes.
"Sweet Italian peppers" a.k.a. pointy red bell peppers
Spotted leopard melon
Yellow onion
More cherry tomatoes (not pictured)

Summer squash
Squash, eggplant, onion, peppers, beans, pesto. Sautee, devour. That used half the squash. The other half was made into this frittata, which was amazing, but it took a few more steps than I normally allow for a weeknight dinner. Luckily, it'll last 2 meals, so the 1.5 hours were put to good use. Lesson learned: a little more cooking on a weeknight pays off. Sometimes.

Exact same fate as the squash and bean mixture. We still have 2 left. I am thinking we'll just sautee and add it to marinara, which hopefully will not result in watery sauce.Oh, what first world problems I have.

Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Tomatoes.
Nick repeated the amazing farro recipe we had a couple weeks ago. It blows my mind. It is super easy (especially when someone else makes it for you and it's ready shortly after you come home from running 16 miles!) and super delicious. Farro is the bomb. The neat yellow tomato was eaten by itself, salted and peppered. That was also ready and waiting for me to eat when I got home from running. Nick's the best.

"Sweet Italian peppers" a.k.a. pointy red bell peppers
These peppers really don't seem like anything special. They're yummy, and peppery, but why are they Italian? These were combined with the squash and eggplant, but we still have 4(!!!) left nearly a week later. I suppose the rest will go with the eggplant in pasta sauce. Sauteeing is the lazy woman's savior.

Spotted leopard melon
I'm afraid of this melon, and it remains uneaten. Not a melon fan. I don't want it to go bad but... ugh. Melon.

These little guys made the frittata super hearty and amazing.. Also put in lentil soup. Yum.

Yellow onion
Used in the pesto/squash mixture. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Steamtown Training week 9

10 weeks to go! Nick and I finally made it back to the pool for a swim this week. We talked about swimming with wedding rings and it made me realize it's been forever (January!) since we last swam. I was actually worried my card wouldn't work to get us in. Technology may have advanced in the last 6 months. Swimming was was hard, but felt great. I love swimming! It has definitely fallen by the wayside in the midst of all the other activities I'm trying to do. Frustrating. How do people training for triathlons do it (I know, they shift their priorities and make it happen. but how do they even carry all the stuff they need for all the sports?! I would always forget something. I'm baffled).

After doing mile repeats on Thursday, a race on Friday, and drinking beer/standing way too much on Saturday, I was not feeling 100% on Sunday. My left hip and lower back were uncomfortable, my sleep schedule was all screwy, and I really just wanted a day with Nick, some cooking, and the couch. Mission accomplished. Mission not accomplished- long run at the proper time.

I did the long run Monday night after work, which happens to be the time of my last horribly unsuccessful long run a few weeks ago. Luckily, this one was not so terrible. Did I slow down to almost a 10 min/mile toward the end? Yes. Did I lose my stupid expensive Yurbuds headphone cover when my phone crapped out with 4 miles to go and I tried to run while shoving my headphones into my water carrier pocket? Sure did. Did I still finish >16 miles (I added an extra 0.5 on the end because it made me feel accomplished)? Yes. Although I didn't feel super great, I did it, and I am happy. My official training schedule had me at 20 miles for the long run this week, but since I'm semi-disregarding that I'll still put it in the W column.

Victories: the return of swimming! And I ran outside for all my runs except speedwork!
Failures: Too fast at the 15k. Delayed long run (is that a failure? I still did it.)

Monday: Swimming! 1700ish m in 32ish minutes (I cannot count...)
Tuesday: 4.3 outside with Nick, 8:13 pace, followed by a realization that this was marathon pace and felt fast. I really hope these next 10 weeks help this pace feel less terrible.
Wednesday: 21 miles biking @ 17 mph
Thursday:  treadmill- w/u 1 @ 6.0, 3x (1.05 @ 8.1-8.2, 0.5 @ 5.0) 1.0 @ 6.6 then cooldown. 6.25 in 55
Friday: Baltimore Back on my Feet Sneaks Come Out at Night 15k - 9.3 miles in 1:17, 8:17 pace
Saturday: off
Sunday: off (oops)
Monday: 16.5 in 2:27, 8:57 pace

Totals: 1700 m swimming, 21 miles biking, 36.4 miles running


Monday, August 5, 2013

Baltimore BoMF Sneaks Come out At Night 15k Race Report

Subtitle: Longest race title ever.
Subtitle 2: 9 miles is a long way.

Quirky race distance like a 15k are so nice- instant PR! (forgive me if there are tons of 15k's in your town. I've never run one. I live in the sticks.) But also, a 15k? That's 3 5ks, or 1.5 10ks, but not quite a half marathon, so how the hell do I race it? This was also a nighttime race- weird in and of itself. It was on Friday evening, in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, which is... pretty hilly. The weather was pretty good- it was warm (80ish) and humid, but manageable.

 First, let's talk about what went great. The race was put on by Back On My Feet, an organization that I supported way back in 2011 when I ran Marine Corps. They're great, and I believe in what they stand for. A girl who works with my company volunteers with them almost every day. She runs with the folks in the program most mornings and fundraises at events and is generally awesome. When this race was coming up, she tried to see if our company would sponsor us, and they did. Basically, the stars aligned. Free race entry for an organization I think is great? I'm in. There was a "Corporate Challenge" to get teams of 3 people to each run a 5k, and Nick joined with 2 other speedy guys. I chose the 15k. The volunteers at packet pick-up were amazing. They were helpful with my confusing questions (my coworker picked up our shirts, and my last name has changed, and our company name may have changed and...). The location was also nice. I don't know how many people ran the race (last year they had about 350 runners) but parking was ample. They also had plenty of water and Gatorade set out before the race. And this is the shirt! You can't tell from the horrible picture, but it's a fluorescent yellow, Brooks, technical shirt. Women's sizing, too! A+

Everyone started at once, the 15k folks as well as the 3 x 5k relayers. I knew that a bunch of the people around me would be running way faster, so I needed to be conscious of them and not go out too fast. The course was 3 5k loops, which is great for the relay folks but a horrible mental hurdle for the 15k people. Here's what the course looked like according to my Garmin:

My favorite part is the far left, where the Garmin lost it and I off-roaded.

It basically went run up a hill, down a straightaway, around a cone, back up the straightaway, down a hill, repeat 3x, run around a lake, then do the whole thing again. That meant that I did those 3 little out and back loops 3 times each... 9 little out and back loops. Around a cone. Then the path around the lake was wide open and pretty, but mentally exhausting. I don't want to be able to see the whole course I'm running at all times! It makes me sad.

My splits are horribly embarrassing, but here we go:
7:15 (this is faster than I run mile repeats)
last 0.4: 9:15
Total: 1:16:57 / 8:16 pace

Who gives up during the last 0.4 miles of a 9 mile race? Seriously? I am ridiculous. Also, my first 5k was around 24 minutes I AM NOT SMART, DO NOT RACE LIKE ME. Obviously, I did not run a smart, restrained race, and I paid for it badly. I was so spent by the last lap, I didn't have any kick or really even any determination left in me. I saw Nick about half a mile from the finish and he yelled at me encouragingly. I contemplated giving him the finger but decided it would require way too much effort. It was really tough running a race surrounded by people running a 5k, although that is not a reasonable excuse for how my run went. Having speedy folks blow past you randomly is not easy on the ego. I immediately felt like death when I finished. I choked down a snocone, stretched, and fought my feeling of disappointment. The thing is, if I had only run at an average pace closer to 8:15 from the very beginning of the race, I would probably have finished feeling just as much like death, but at least I would have been proud of my finish. Instead of dragging myself to the finish line, I could have been happy with my performance. But no. Excitement got the best of me.

And then I won my age group! With an 8:16 average. I'm still waiting for race results to go up, but I'm pretty sure I must have been the only person in my age group if I was able to win it! Also, Nick's team WON as the fastest relay (they were beat by a solo runner though! amazing!). I was so proud of him, and he and his teammates enjoyed it and ran really well. Sidenote: I loved talking to his teammate beforehand, who casually (and humbly) talked about how he liked the Richmond Marathon and he negative split it. First half, 1:20, second half, 1:18. I actually heard the record scratchy noise in my head as my mind struggled to digest how fast this guy is. He's in his mid-40's and has an adorable family too, so I'm just generally jealous of his life.

I experienced serious stomach trouble for the rest of the night. Nick and I hung out and got our awards, then hurried to get dinner before everything closed. We got to Chipotle about an hour before closing. I forced myself to eat a burrito bowl with guacamole so my body would have some calories to work with. I told Nick I felt like I had run a marathon. I was just completely spent. 

The race, except for the sucky course, was perfectly done. The volunteers were abundant and amazing. Post-race refreshments were the best I'd ever seen (3 ice cream trucks! Little Debbies! Sno Cones!). Next year: run smarter.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July Totals

July was hot, so although my mileage overall was pretty good (highest mileage for the year! a mile), I did a lot of treadmill running, which is meh. My mileage would be even higher if I hadn't shortened a couple of long runs mid-month.

Overall, I'm still free of aches and pains. My back pain still flares up sometimes, unexpectedly, like during a HIIT workout late this month. Then I baby it a little, use the heating pad at night, and the pain backs (ha!) down. I'm thinking I might need to see a chiropractor to see if it's an alignment issue. The pain really doesn't seem to be related to running more, or biking, or anything besides possibly burpees (but planks seem fine, so it's not core-work related? my body is weird). My legs have been good overall, surprisingly. I thought for sure I'd have some issues by this point! Summary: I'm healthy, and that's surprising to me.

Things that went well this month: eating more. Drinking alcohol somewhat less frequently. Drinking water somewhat more frequently. 
I hung our super awesome medal hanger from Tiffany, and it's awesome. That also went well this month. It's on our glory wall, along with a plaque from Marine Corps and one from Richmond.

Things that went not-so-well: I need to go to bed earlier and reduce the hour or so of mind-racing that I have every night before I'm finally able to sleep. I've also been really lax about eating things that don't upset my stomach. This means I've been eating more freely and getting more calories and (probably) more protein, but it also means my stomach pains/issues keep me up more often than I'd like. Soooo I need to eat less soy, gluten-y things and dairy (read: ice cream, let's be honest) and more stuff that works for me. I am trying hard to look at pizza and re-frame my thinking from "I want to crawl inside that cheesy blanket and eat my way out" to "that will most definitely make the next 1-2 days of my life difficult."

July 1: HIIT with Nick.
July 2: treadmill 3.5 @ 6.4, plus cooldown. 3.75 in 35:50 (on 2% incline, as if that makes this sound any speedier)
July 3: bike 18.2 in 1:05 (16.8 mph)
July 4: treadmill- w/u 1 @ 6.0, 3x (1.05 @ 8.0, 0.5 @ 5.0) plus another 1 x 0.5 @ 8.0, then cooldown. 6.65 in 60
July 5: 3.7 miles outside at 8:07 pace, sort of on accident
July 6: off
July 7: off
July 8: 10.0 miles on the rail trail. Hated life. 
July 9: 3 miles with Nick @ 8:34
July 10: 26.8 miles biking @ 17.6
July 11: w/u 1.0 @ 6.0, 5.0 @ 7.5 (UGH), 1.0 @ 6.5, c/d, 7.25 in 1:02
July 12: 3.3 outside @ 8:09
July 13: 12.3 outside @ 9:24 
July 14: off
July 15: HIIT 
July 16: 6.25 in 58 min- 5 @ 6.5, 1 @ 6.6 with extra incline. Treadmill because it was HOT. 
July 17: bike 17.3 miles @ 17 mph
July 18: 6.35 on tmill in 59 mins- 4 @ 6.5, 1 @ 6.6, 1 @ 6.7
July 19: 6.45 on tmill in 59 mins -  3 @ 6.5, 1 @ 6.6, 1 @ 6.7, 1 @ 6.8, 0.2 @ 6.9 plus cd
July 20: off
July 21:  8 miles outside@ 8:37
July 22: HIIT ('the usual' 5 x 4 minutes) plus abs and arms
July 23: 5.35 on the tmill- start @ 6.5, up by 0.1 each mile till done.
July 24: bike 27.1 miles in 1:40some (16 mph including stops)
July 25: tmill 7.35- 1 @ 6.1, 5.1 @ 7.6, 1.0 @ 6.6 plus c/d
July 26: tmill 5.45 - all @ 6.5, because it was in the morning.
July 27: off- hiked a few miles with Nick. 
July 28: 16 miles @ 8:42 !!!!!
Ju;y 29: 1700 m swimming!
July 30: 4.3 miles outside @ 8:13
July 31: 21 miles @ 16.8 (or 17 if you believe my dad's Garmin)

July totals: 115 miles in 16 runs, 3 x HIIT, 100 miles in 5 rides, 1700 m swimming 

Year total: 601 miles!