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Off the Rails

17 Apr

As you might have guessed, my spring marathon plans have taken quite the detour. Detour is putting it nicely. This train is completely off the rails. 

I wouldn’t say training had been going well but I was remaining positive that I’d be able to string together some solid weeks of training and see where that got me on May 3rd. 

Then winter stepped in. 

For anyone living in the Northeast in particular, you know how brutal this winter was. I’m not really going to complain too much about that because there was never any day where I decided not to run or didn’t complete a planned run due to temperatures. I had no problem using the treadmill if need be. My first 20 miler was scheduled on a day where I knew the temperatures were supposed to drop dramatically; I still decided to head outside for it and prepared by packing extra layers in my car in case I needed them later. 

What I didn’t expect was the precipitation. Which started coming down in the form of ice. Do we all see where this is headed?

  

At first I thought it was just a bad bruise – I actually thought I would be able to salvage my 20 miler the next day. Well, here I am 4 weeks later and I still cannot run completely pain free.  Every time I would try to run, I’d end up with intense aching in my shin which would freak me out and lead me to cross train for a few days. At this point now, that pain has disappeared and I mostly just feel very tight (and very out of shape).

So that’s that. I probably should’ve rested completely and maybe I’d be in better shape today – hindsight is always 20/20. It took me about 10 days to realize that the marathon was probably not going to happen, and a few more to mentally come to terms with it. At the end of the day, there was nothing I could do – sometimes, shit happens. 

I was able to struggle bus it through a 5K last weekend with my girls (<– I really hate that phrase but I can’t think of a single other way to say it, someone get me coffee) and ended up not doing too terribly. 

  

21:50, which is not where I wanted to be right now, but it is a time I would’ve killed for just a few years ago. So the only thing I can do at this point is try to safely build my base back up and start making plans for a fun summer racing and training season. 

My only closing sentiment is to deliver a hearty fuck you! to Winter 2014-2015. You sucked, and nobody liked you. The end. 

Toronto Goodlife Marathon Training: Weeks 2 and 3

2 Mar

Life has been fairly hectic lately (lots of work.  lots and lots of work.) and I never got around to posting a training update last week.  Combining weeks 2 and 3 presents an opportunity for some swell juxtaposition so let’s consider it an intentional literary device rather than pure laziness.

Without further ado, weeks 2 and 3:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 8 miles on the treadmill, 9 minute pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Unscheduled rest.  Legs still feeling like poo from the previous week’s long run disaster so I decided to move Thursday’s run to Friday.

Friday: 8 miles very easy on the treadmill, 10 minute pace

Saturday: 6 miles very easy on the treadmill, 10 minute pace

Sunday: #FAIL

This was supposed to be the Lake Effect Half Marathon with Britt and Laura.  I had planned on running about 2 miles as a warmup and then the race.  The race is a double out and back in a park in Syracuse, and is always a bit of a crapshoot given that it’s February.  In Syracuse.

However, no fresh snow had fallen the morning of the race and I expected the parkway to be fairly clear.

onondaga-lake-parkway-lake-effect-half-marathon

Yeah, about that.

If I had my Yaktrax with me, I would’ve run (slowly – this wouldn’t have been a day for racing).  If I hadn’t had such a disastrous run the previous week reminding me how hard it is to run on snow, ice and slush – I would’ve run.  But neither of those things were going to work in my favor (I live about 40 minutes away from the park so driving home to grab my ‘trax quickly would not have been a viable option).

I decided to not run the race.  It didn’t feel good but I knew it was the right call.  I knew that I was only risking injury by running, even slowly.

If I was a little bit more committed, I would’ve abstained from booze brunch after and hit up the gym to get my miles done on the treadmill.  But I am me, and I am not that committed.

better-than-running

Hanging with these ladies > running 13 on a treadmill.

Total: 22 miles (yikes.)


 

I thought about running on Monday and trying to make up the missed miles, but decided to just get back on track with the plan.  A lot of this had to do with the fact that my calf and hip were still tight and bothering me a bit.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 9:20 pace.

Wednesday: 8 miles on the treadmill, 9:25 pace.

Thursday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 10 minute pace.

Quick lower body strength training circuit (single leg squats, donkey kicks, wall sits, clamshells).

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 16.5 miles, 8:25 pace.

BALLER long run.  It was cold as hell (-2 real temp at the start) but for some reason, my legs were just clicking.  I had some stomach issues so it wasn’t all perfect; I couldn’t choke down any fuel on the run because of it.  That aside, everything else felt great and it was very nice to run on clear pavement and get into a good rhythm.  Very thankful for fun and fast friends to chase around for 2+ hours in the cold!

Sunday: 6 miles on the treadmill, 10 minute pace.

Strength training: bench press, biceps, triceps, fire hydrants, plank variants, single leg squats, bridges

Total: 42.5 miles


This winter has caused me to do a ton more treadmill running than I have ever done in the past, but it’s honestly working well for pace control reasons.  I have no problem setting that thing on 6.0mph while I zone out watching Netflix for 60-90 minutes.  It’s nice and comfortable, and it’s kind of fun.  If I was running outside, I would have a very tough time keeping my pace that easy.  I know I am being somewhat aggressive with my mileage increases so I feel it’s important to really keep my non-workout runs at a very easy pace to allow my body to adjust to the miles without the added load of a more aggressive pace.  So far I think it’s been helping; we’ll see how it goes as the weeks go on.

2014: Year in Review

1 Jan

My gut reaction to 2014 is “what a shitty year” and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. For some reason, I think that perception is what is making me want to briefly recap the year … possibly to change my mind about it?  To be a little more “glass half full?” Or to dwell in negativity like the malcontent curdmudgeon I am?

Anyway, getting on with it.

My favorite 3 things from 2014!

1. Hanging out with some of my favorite people in the world (Lake Effect Half Marathon and New Jersey Half Marathon, as well as many other adventures).  Laura, Hollie, Brit – you guys are amazing and I’m so happy my year had so much of you in it.  ❤

lake-effect-half-marathon

Sometimes we wear things that arent spandex.

 

2. Running in Aruba!  And everything else in Aruba.  Because Aruba.

running-in-aruba

 

 

3. Getting through a kickass training cycle with a really good friend and having a blast doing it.  I have honestly never had as much fun training for a marathon as I did training for Lehigh and Megan is at least 93% responsible for that fact.

 

training-for-via-marathon

 

The shittiest 3 things from 2014!

1.  The death of someone close.  I don’t like to get into real personal stuff so I’ll just say I lost someone who was like a sister to me who passed away way too fucking young from cancer.  Diagnosis to death was only 6 months and those were some of the worst months of my life.

2.  Overwhelming stress at work and not dealing with it gracefully.  I’ve had a hard time keeping my cool in professional settings this year and while part of me wants to be all IDGAF about it, another part of me knows that it’s a sign that my job is slowly cracking me.  I need to learn better strategies for dealing with the stress because at the heart of it, I enjoy what I do and the people I work with.  I totally failed at this this year.

3.  My only marathon attempt, and marathon failure, of the year.  This sounds somewhat trivial with respect to #1 and #2, but to put so much time and thought and work towards one single event, and to then have it go horribly wrong?  It’s pretty devastating.

 

Running in 2014: the takeaways!

– I cracked 1500 miles for the year!  This is the highest yearly mileage I’ve ever run.

– I PR’d in the 5k, twice!

– I ran more consistently than I ever have before.  This kind of goes hand in hand with the first bullet, but given my history of skipping long runs … and base runs … and speed work … well, let’s just say I’m proud of the progress I made.

– I went under 1:40 in the half 3 times.  Arbitrary standard?  Sure.  But for now it makes me happy.

Running in 2014: the puzzles!

– I remain frustrated by the fact that I haven’t made any meaningful progress since 2012.  My half PR from that year still stands.  I haven’t come anywhere close to the marathon time I think I am capable of.  I honestly have no real idea why more miles and adding speedwork have not translated for me.

– I’m not sure why my form is so wonky or what to do to fix it.  Or if I even should?  I seem to get injured a lot.  I tend to think poor form is to blame.  Unsure where to start.

– I can’t stick to any type of strength training plan.  I actually really like strength training!  Why the hell am I unable to keep it up?

 

I guess now that I’m done thinking about this (and trust me, there was plenty more that didn’t make it into this actual post – I’m really trying my hardest to not bore anyone to death), I stand by my original assertion that 2014 was pretty shitty.  I am, however, grateful for the positives and am looking forward to all that 2015 already has in store.

Happy New Year, friends!

A Training Update

31 Dec

Here we are, in the dwindling hours of 2014, everyone and their mother penning their 2014 year in review posts and eagerly hitting submit.  Over here in the upstate runner tundra land?  Well, the absolute last thing in the world I want to do is look back at 2014.

I suppose I will.  Eventually.  Maybe even tomorrow?  But for now, an update about what’s been going on the past few months.

The last time we talked, I had just run the Empire State Half and was feeling relatively cheerful about life.  What I didn’t mention was that in the few weeks between the Lehigh full and Empire, I had been dealing with some strange pain in my inner knee.  (Strange as in, the location and type of pain is atypical and difficult to diagnose.  The pain is not strange to me, because it has been a come and go type of thing since fall of 2012 – it’s actually the same pain that made me drop from the Empire full that year.)  I had hoped it would ease up on its own, and it did – and then I raced on it.  And it was back.

Back with a vengeance, I might add.  No (reasonable) amount of rest seemed to be helping.  I’ll add that my guideline for that is, if 5-7 days off leads to absolutely no reduction in pain, I determine that resting won’t completely resolve the issue.  I am not a doctor nor do I have any idea what I’m talking about.  It’s just what seems logical to me.

So I went to the doctor, blah blah long stories involving my knee pain being mysterious and not meeting enough diagnostic criteria for an MRI to be approved by insurance, etc.  Since the sports medicine guy really couldn’t do much for me, I went to a chiropractor who is licensed (certified? stamp of approval-ed?) in both Graston and ART.

I backed off the miles to around 15-20 per week while getting Graston and ART treatments 2-3/week.  This lasted for 3 weeks, then I started cautiously upping the miles and reducing the treatments.  I was taking NSAIDS and running with a knee brace (with doctor approval, I might add); I gradually reduced NSAID use and – just this week actually – ditched the knee brace.

The knee slowly but surely improved and I went from being 99.999% sure I had a meniscus tear to being 49.7% sure I probably do have a meniscus tear but it can be managed with treatment and proper training/stretching/strengthening.  Or something.  The chiro was never actually sure what my issue was/is, but scraping the hell out of my knee and ART on my VMO seemed to help.

I’m running the Disney half marathon on January 10th with some friends and that had been a sort of not-that-secret-but-secret-from-the-internet goal race.  A long time ago I audaciously declared that I would run 1:35 at Disney.  Given the knee issue, I more than tempered my expectations but thought I could salvage it somewhat and maybe shoot for 1:42ish.

And then I got walloped by some sort of viral chest infection stomach rage flu.  At this point, I’ve been sick for 10 days and I’m just now starting to feel slightly more like a human.  With the help of a butt ton of meds, I might add.  What this boils down to is, I can’t even imagine walking 13.1 miles right now much less running it much less RACING it.  Joyous!

 

tl;dr version: the past couple months sucked.  I didn’t run very much.  I am very not ready for a race I am supposed to run in a little over a week.  And instead of being super bummed about it, I’m just looking forward to a clean slate and an exciting 2015 spring race season.

Lehigh Valley Marathon Race Recap

20 Oct

When my friend Megan and I decided to sign up for the Lehigh Valley VIA Marathon earlier this year, I was 100% committed.  That never wavered throughout the entire training cycle.  I never skipped a long run and I never cut a workout short (yes, that is the first time both of those things have been true statements for me).  Not only did I never skip a long run, but I also never once even dreaded a long run – that was a true mental breakthrough.  I trained more consistently and much harder than I ever have before.  I averaged 46mpw through the cycle (small potatoes for most marathoners, but consider I averaged 25mpw prior to Shamrock and 38mpw prior to Wineglass) and hit new paces in workouts that I never would’ve dreamed of last year (long tempos at 7:10-7:15 pace, what the what?!).

On race day?  I ran 4:00:38.

steel-stacks-race-expo

Bib pickup at the Steel Stacks! Looking happy because we haven’t run a miserable ass race yet.

——————

Laura (the most amazing friend and race supporter you could ever hope to have) dropped me off at the start line that morning and I as I hung around stretching and hydrating, I realized I was freezing.  I also made a mental note of how little I would appreciate that irony later on when I was sweating to death and about to keel over.

At the start, Megan and I agreed we were going for it – that was the whole reason, the entire purpose of choosing Lehigh.  It was BQ or bust and we wouldn’t be deterred.  I have no regrets about that.

Unfortunately, even from the start it never felt easy.  First 6 miles: 8:16, 8:12, 8:13, 8:19, 8:07, 8:07.  We saw Laura on the course around this point, and I already knew I was in trouble.  The 8:07s were a little aggressive, but make no mistake – I do not believe this was poor pacing.  Considering the past two marathons where I set out at 8:00 pace, I was really striving to keep it contained in the first few miles.  I was hoping that eventually my legs would just wake up.

They never did.

Temperature at the start was hovering around 64 degrees, the humidity was a brutal 90%.  This became readily apparent once we started running.  Oh to be freezing at the start line once again!

Somewhere around mile 11 or 12, I let Megan go ahead.  I could tell she was feeling a bit better than I was and I needed to start really pulling it back.  Around mile 14, I was struggling to get a pack of SportBeans open so I stopped to walk.  I pulled myself back together and ran all of mile 15 (8:44).  I never saw another 8:xx mile for the rest of the race.

The next 5 miles are just a blur of misery in my brain.  Lots of canal path.  Lots of other people trying to be encouraging as they ran by.  Lots of hating myself and hating marathons.

When I finally saw Laura at mile 20, I just flipped a double bird.  My attitude was shit, my quads were absolutely shot, and my hip felt like it was broken.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I said “my hip is broken” about 729 times between mile 20 and the finish.  I was an absolute delight to be around, I’m sure.  If you’ve ever bonked in a major way at a marathon, you know exactly how this feels.  If you haven’t … well, I’m not nearly a good enough writer to do it justice.  I just hope you never do experience it because your brain can pull some pretty nasty tricks on you.  Some of my lowest lows have come in the last 10 miles of a marathon. (That’s entirely a white privilege/first world problems statement right there, but I hope you get what I’m saying.)

I started pushing a bit once I could see the finish, but pushing at that point was roughly equivalent to hobbling with a desperate expression on my face.  I crossed at just a smidge over 4 hours and was mildly happy to at least have come in under my CIM time.  No personal worst today, I RULE! </sarcasm>

Pretty sure I am legitimately crying here, and they were NOT tears of joy.

Pretty sure I am actually crying here, and they were NOT tears of joy.

I’ll note that Megan, while not having the race she wanted, still managed to PR and come in around 3:48.  She is pretty damn awesome.

————————–

So where does that all leave me?  Blame it on the weather?  Well, as I mentioned earlier, that’s tricky and feels a bit like a scapegoat at this point.

If it’s not weather, it’s misjudging my fitness.  That’s where I get frustrated.  Could I run more miles? Yes – and that’s the goal I’m working towards.  I find it hard to believe, though, that I can run a 3:45 on 25mpw but shooting for 3:35 on 45mpw is so aggressive that I bonk as hard I have.

At this point, the only conclusion I can come to is that the training I have been doing is not working for me.  If you want to change the results, you have to change the training, right?  So in the past few weeks, I have been talking to a few people, researching some things, and trying to figure out a path forward.  I know I will run another marathon again and I know that a BQ will happen eventually.  I just need to figure out how to get myself there.

If it was easy to run a well-executed marathon, well, it just wouldn’t be that fun, would it?

Buffalo Half Marathon Race Recap – 1:39:30

2 Jun

Pre-Race

Last year, I woke up the morning of this race at 3am and made the 2+ hour drive to Buffalo.  While it wasn’t the worst (or craziest) thing I’ve ever done, as this year’s race day drew closer I was feeling less and less like that was a thing I wanted to do again.  Luckily, Laura was also wanting to avoid a super early wake up and our fabulous friend Britt volunteered to host us for the night prior.  Umm, girls slumber party?  Does not require much arm twisting.

sleepover

I drove to Rochester to meet up with Laura, saw her work and her new adorable apartment, and then we headed to Buffalo.  We arrived without too much incident and headed to the expo.  Typical girl shenanigans followed: carbs, more carbs, meaningless chatter, lots of foam rolling, beer, and wine ice cream.  We stayed up way too late and tried way too hard to get a futon unfolded.  It was everything you could possibly ask for in a pre-race evening.

All the pre-race essentials right here.

All the pre-race essentials right here.

Race Morning

Buffalo was originally my goal race for the spring, but after running well at New Jersey and wanting to turn my focus towards building my base mileage back up since then, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do … or what I would even be capable of.  I tapered for NJ and did not do so for Buffalo, so I really had no idea what to expect out of my legs.  I had decided that I wouldn’t start so slow that I might sabotage a PR attempt, but I also wouldn’t push too hard for it if the legs weren’t having it that day.  I wanted to put in an honest effort but not totally destroy myself, if that makes sense.

Britt’s apartment was very close to the start, which was perfect.  Laura and I ran the approximately 1.5 miles with Britt escorting us via bike; I remember my chest feeling very heavy and my breathing felt labored even though we were running ~9 min/mile pace.  Not very comforting.

I tried to shake it off; we met up with Laura’s sister who was running the full, said some good lucks and have funs, and then hustled our butts into the corrals.

Miles 1-3:  7:38, 7:22, 7:17

I find it amusing that my first split in every decent half I’ve ever run has been 7:38.  Apparently this is my magic “sorta hard but don’t go out too fast” pace?

I felt like I was working fairly hard, but I felt like shit during the first two miles of NJ as well so I told myself not to let up too much.  During mile 3, you could see the leaders on the turnaround and I spent my time looking for Laura.  This apparently was a very good distraction, as this ended up being my fastest mile of the race.  Note to self: run more out-and-back courses.

Miles 4-6: 7:30, 7:38, 7:27

WHY AM I SEEING ALL THESE 7:3xs.  WHY ARE THESE MILES TAKING FOREVER.

why-am-i-doing-this

It’s never good when you’re ready to be done at mile 5.  It’s also never good when your stomach is starting to feel a little off and you’re questioning why you didn’t make one last bathroom stop before the start.

Miles 7-8: 7:26, 7:33

The first .35ish miles of this segment was great – it was the last section of Delaware Ave and was relatively close to the finish, so the sidewalks were thick with spectators and hubbub and music and all that fun stuff that makes you forget how much you are NOT feeling this race.

However.  You then make a turn onto Niagara which is probably the worst section of the entire race.  This street was part of the old race course, but it used to be mile 1.5ish-2.5ish – early enough where you didn’t care that the street was shitty, the area looked rundown as hell, and there were no people around.  At mile 7 of a bad race, though … I remember purposefully looking for a street sign so I could curse it in an appropriate manner.  I grunted “Niagara Street, you are stealing my fucking soul right now” and some guy passing me gave me a dirty look.  I love making friends during races.

zero-fucks

The other fun thing about this section is that my mild stomach discomfort turned to a very distinct sloshing sensation.  I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN RIGHT NOW!!

Mile 9: 8:26

Ha.  Ha ha.  Ha ha ha.  The sloshing in my stomach persisted and all my focus went to determining if I could make it to the end or not.  At mile 8.52, a single porta-potty appeared directly to my left and I was immediately so happy to see it, I could swear it was glowing around the edges.  I darted in and tried to make it as quick as possible, but I ended up losing about a minute.  To be honest, I’m pretty frustrated by this only because it continues to be a theme in my races.  I should like, do something to figure out why this happens or something.  Hmm.

Miles 10-13.1: 7:33, 7:29, 7:28, 7:35, 1:06 (7:28 pace)

When I exited the porta-potty, the 1:40 pace group was directly in front of me.  This was probably the saving grace of the rest of my race.  I hopped out in front of them and kept telling myself “do NOT let them pass you.”  I wasn’t sure how my legs would react after the pop-n-squat and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t cramp up or start refusing to cooperate.

Pretending Im happy at mile 11.5ish

Pretending I’m happy at mile 11.5-ish

At this point though, the chest-lung-breathing thing that I experienced during the warm-up caught up to me.  Every time I tried to take a deep breath, it hurt my lungs and I felt like I was going to choke.  I just tried to hang tough with whatever I had left, and stick to my mantra of “do not let them pass you.”  It certainly was not the fast finish that I had in me for NJ, but I can’t say I’m disappointed with the overall time.

DONE.  Finally.

DONE. Finally.

Overall: 1:39:30, 45/2110 females, 9/428 age group

 

garmin-splits-buffalo-half

 

I saw Laura and Britt immediately after I finished and I stopped in the chute to complain about my complete inability to breathe properly.  I was happy in a weird way to hear that Laura had experienced the same thing – we both realized it was pretty damn humid outside and neither of us have really had a chance to acclimate to the weather.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m just being a big baby, so when the girls with elite numbers have similar issues, it makes me feel less like I’m just composed entirely of wuss genes.

Here is the medal I got for my wussiness.

Here is the medal I got for my wussiness.

I realize this recap sounds like more complaining than anything else, and honestly, I’m rubbing myself the wrong way even as I type this (heh heh … TWSS).  This was my 3rd fastest half marathon ever, I should be nothing but happy – and again, it’s not really the time itself I’m upset with, more the actual race experience.  It wasn’t pleasant.  That being said, I am definitely grateful that even on a bad day, I can still come in under 1:40.  I finally really feel like “I’m back” after a slow, gradual build up of mileage and fitness over the winter.  I am excited to get back to my weekly routine, get back to speed work, and to not pin a bib on for a while.

When Nothing is Clicking

7 Apr

This blog is typically an amalgam of poorly written race recaps and random musings of no importance to anyone but myself.  I rarely get personal up in this space, but I’ve been feeling pretty crappy lately so forgive me for this incredibly self-indulgent post.

It’s hard to point the finger at any one particular thing in my life right now as the root cause of my general malaise.  Really, if I were to iterate out the entire list of complaints, it would all be first world problems to the utmost extent.  (Which also adds on to my guilt … there are people with legitimate issues in the world, and I’m upset because it’s cold out and I’m not running as well as I’d like.  I mean, I’m giving myself a huge middle finger right now for being spoiled and bratty.)

The easiest place to start is with work.  I’m not sure when, but at a certain point, work became more stressful and depressing than challenging and interesting.  I never realized how important having a fulfilling job was to me until mine became not so fulfilling anymore (you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone? pave paradise … ok, I’m done now).  While I know that it is a temporary issue, and that I’m also lucky to even have a job, it’s definitely affected my mental well-being.

It’s also led to quite a few more happy hours.  Which are absolutely great – I love nothing more than blowing off steam with co-workers whose company I thoroughly enjoy.  It has not been so generous to my waistline, however.  As I eat and drink away my troubles, I’ve also managed to gain about 8 pounds from where I was last summer.  In terms of vanity weight, that’s hardly anything and I recognize that.  But when you’re desperately trying to get back in PR shape, having an extra anything on you is a step in the opposite direction.

There are a lot of different studies, calculators, etc out there but in general, I’ll use the 2 seconds/mile/pound guideline: for each pound lost, you gain about 2 seconds in speed over 1 mile, so we’ll round down and say 26 seconds faster in the half for each pound lost.  Trying to PR at my current weight therefore means a 208 second handicap, or a roughly 3.5 minute difference.  That’s huge!

So, work stress, feeling bad about my weight.  Add in a little personal life drama.  Then throw in the fact that I’m not where I’d like to be running-wise (likely due to the aforementioned weight issue, but also due to being a nutty, overanalyzing head case about it right now).  Then let’s add in the most miserable winter I’ve seen in years where it’s grey, snowy, and bitterly cold for months at a time.  It’s all interrelated.  Feeling bad in one sector leads to bad decisions in another sector which leads to more bad feelings in yet another sector.  Nothing is clicking.

I recognized about a week or so ago that I’ve been allowing myself to basically wallow in half-misery/half-okay-ness (totally a word) for quite awhile now and it’s probably time to suck it up and start doing something to change it.  When it feels like everything is out of your control, it’s really hard to have a positive, can-do attitude towards making changes.  But even when we feel powerless, I suppose we need to look for even the small things that we can control.  I can’t fix my work problems right now, but I can fix how I react to them.  I can cut back on the booze and the junk food, and you know what?  My weight will probably start to regulate itself given enough time.  It will make me a less unpleasant person to be around because I won’t feel like a pile of shit all the time, so maybe it will allow some personal relationships a chance to improve.

All of this is easier said than done, but I’ve been plugging away at it for a week now.  Yesterday, even though I physically did not feel stellar on my long run, my friends and I spent some time planning a fall marathon(s?) and bouncing around some ideas about what we wanted to do.  And for the first time in a very long time … I started to feel more like myself again.

I can’t say I’m where I want to be quite yet but hopefully I am on the path to the place where everything starts clicking.

CIM Training Weeks 5 & 6

27 Nov

(…aka welcome to the rollercoaster that is me when it comes to training for a marathon)

Week 5
Mon:  rest
Tu:  unplanned rest
Wed:  10.18mi @ 8:14 pace

This was unexpectedly amazing.  My watch was buried under my jacket and glove so I ran by effort, and ended up with a surprisingly quick pace.  Runner’s high was unbelievable for the rest of the day.

Th:  1.79mi @ 10:19 pace

Aaaaaaand the crash.  Set out before work to get 8 miles done.  At .8ish miles in, I had to turn around.  Stabbing pain in the top of my foot; so sharp that it felt like my foot was breaking in half.  Got home and was screaming every curse word I could think of in the hallway (I am delightful to live with, really).  Extremely painful to flex my toes upward, and I honestly couldn’t (still can’t) believe this was happening.

Fri:  rest
Sat:  rest
Sun:  rest

Total: 11.97 miles

Overall:  Fuck everyone and everything.

Week 6
Mon:  rest
Tu:  6.24mi @ 9:40 pace

The previous afternoon was spent in a plane, and I woke up feeling cranky in the everything.  I figured if four days off hadn’t left me feeling magical, I might as well just run.  Took it nice and slow.  Pain was manageable, but present.

Wed:  XT (1hr on elliptical, alternating 3mins-hard effort/2mins-recovery)
Th:  5.55mi @ 9:40 pace
Fri:  rest
Sat:  17.17mi @ 8:29 pace

What the what?  I have no idea what happened here.  I went to my group long run because I missed my friends, and didn’t expect to be able to hang for any longer than 60-90 minutes.  I had gotten home from my business trip at 2am the night before, and I didn’t bring any water or gels.  Due to some miscommunication, the group wasn’t there when I arrived at the park, so I started on my own and surprisingly started running 8:20-8:30s.  I ran into my friends and the pace dipped a bit to 8:50s, but it eventually picked back up closer to 8:20.  Then they took off (they had started running at 7am, I didn’t show up until 9 due to my late night) and I decided hey … I’m feeling pretty good, I’ll just keep going.  I finished out the last 8 miles at ~8:15 pace.

Sun: rest

Total: 28.96 miles

Overall:  I am confused and maybe I hate running.

Sharing the Road: A Guide to Getting Along with Runners

5 Jun

In honor of National Runner’s Day (which I admittedly still don’t really understand), I decided to take advantage of the momentary heightened awareness of our sport to talk a little bit about courtesy.  This isn’t exclusive to runners, of course – it should be thought of as general guidelines to ensure you’re not being a complete douchebag when you, person driving an automobile, comes in contact with another being that is in some way, shape or form trying to exist on part of the same road  – be it a runner, cyclist, walker, jogger, stroller-pusher, another driver, you get the point here.

The guidelines that follow comes from real life examples that I witnessed yesterday.  Yes.  All from yesterday.  A 45 minute span of time running in suburbia.

  • If you are turning right, but only looking left, you may very well be likely be startled by – gasp! – a runner in the shoulder of the road approaching the intersection!  Please give a quick glance both ways before turning.
  • Secondary to this, if you are utilizing the entirety of an 8-foot-wide shoulder to turn, you’re doing it wrong.  You have a lane for a reason.  The taxpayers spent good money to have someone paint those beautiful white lines.
  • Horns should only be used in an emergency.  As in, someone might die or be severely injured if you don’t take action immediately.
  • Horns should absolutely not be used in an attempt to communicate any of the following*:
    • “Hey look it’s Heather HIIII HEATHER”
    • “Hey baaaby”
    • “RUN, FORREST, RUN”
    • “Fucking fatty”
    • “Want a ride?”
  • If you’re going to take your sweet time at an intersection to light up a smoke, that’s your prerogative.  If you’re not going to be bothered to wave me on or even signal, leaving me with my proverbial dick in my hand waiting to figure out if it’s safe to cross in front of your path, you’re an asshole.
  • If you’re going to neglect to leave a little room for comfort on a narrow road and you’ve got a dog half hanging out the window barking angrily, you deserve at least a dirty look.  Come on, give a girl at least a couple feet.  Or get your dog to be less terrifying.

However, not all faith in humanity was lost that day.

  • If you pull up to an intersection well before I arrive yet still stop to wait for me, and then signal me across your path with a wave and a smile, well … you, good sir, are a shining example of a man and I hope everything in your life is beautiful and happy and nothing hurts.

Happy running day, friends!

*To be clear, I only got a horn yesterday.  However, these are all things that have actually been yelled at me while running, always preceded by a honk.

I’m Losing My Mind

5 Apr

I finally broke my running-ban streak today, and I’m not really ready to talk about it yet (read: everything isn’t as fluffy and sparkly and unicorns-pooping-cotton-candy beautiful as I had hoped) but what I can share is all the inane stuff I’ve been doing over the past week.

I’ve been spending a lot of time bonding with the elliptical.  I’m sorry, PreCor, it’s you – not me.  You just don’t satisfy the way my first real love does.  I’m glad you have low enough self-esteem to make yourself available when I call on you randomly at 5:30am on a Sunday morning though.  So thanks for being there, but don’t plan on this continuing to be a thing.

I’ve been lifting weights.  And I … actually enjoy it?  I really need to keep on keeping on with this.

I’ve been trying to ignore the internet.  This has been assisted by the fact that I’ve been putting in 12 hour days this week due to some crazy stuff going on at work.  But when I can’t/shouldn’t run, I really can’t handle reading about everyone else’s awesome training and racing and general amazingness.  I should be more mature than this.  I am working on it.

And most shocking of all – I’ve been spending time in the kitchen.  I whipped up these amazing Pumpkin Protein-Packed Clean Organic Kale Cookies!  Only 13.7 calories in each!

LOOK AT THESE BEAUTIES!

LOOK AT THESE COOKIES!  JUST LOOK AT THEM!

JK JK who do you think I am?  These have brown sugar and regular sugar and real whole eggs and butter and even shortening!  Also I’m not even entirely sure what a kale is … but these are delicious.  Really delicious.  Life is short and sometimes you need a real friggin’ cookie or 12.

I’ve also come to grips with the fact that my beloved Google Reader is going away.  I’m hopping on that Bloglovin’ train for now and we’ll see how it goes.  If you’d like, follow me here!