Tuesday, May 31, 2011

post-weekend blues

From the looks of my Google reader everyone had a wonderful long weekend!  Aside from spending 12 hours in a car yesterday, I had a great weekend as well.  We were in Asheville, NC for Joe's birthday/annual pig roast at his friend's farm just outside the city.  I'l try and get pictures of that uploaded in next day or so, probably to facebook for those that are interested. We spent part of Saturday walking around the city itself, just getting a feel for the place and enjoying its funky charm.  We might also have hit up a delicious Indian buffet for lunch too, ha ha.  Since I can't go anywhere without finding something to bring home with me, I bought this ring from a street vendor and I haven't taken it off since.
In between all the fun downtown and on the farm, I did manage to go running once.  By 9 Sunday morning it was already starting to heat up so I threw running clothes on, leapt out of the tent, and headed out to the road.  I was a little apprehensive because there were no side walks (hello, roads on side of a mountain), lots of blind-ish curves and some serious looking hills.  I managed to get in a little over 3 miles before calling it quits.  I was definitely not hydrated well (beer, much?) and I'm still adjusting to the heat of the summer.  I did stop and take a few pictures along the way, it was a truly beautiful area to run through.  Farms, streams, mountains surrounding you. It was a lovely change from the streets of DC.

Alas, my cell phone has paid the price.  The sweat from my run got into the touch screen and it doesn't work anymore. Not sure what I'm going to do about that, I'm not eligible to get $ towards a phone upgrade for a few more months and I'm too cheap to just buy a new phone outright.  I can still text, and whatnot, it is just a pain in the butt to do it.  Boo hoo, first world problems.  As far as this week goes, MCM training starts Saturday.  I am not running today, between the epic drive home yesterday and the 95 degree temperature I just don't have it in me.  Hoping to meet up with a friend's training group later on this week as a trial to see if I want to join.  I've already committed to a long run group but having company for weekday speedwork and the like would be great too.

How was your weekend?  What are your training plans for the week?  What are your best tips for running in the summer heat?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hot run in the summertime...

Just.......no.  What a suckfest.  4.2 miles of poop.  My body just isn't ready for the DC heat yet.  I know I'll eventually adjust (read: vaguely tolerate) but for now it is just misery.  I bagged my run yesterday and I'm totally regretting it.  The weather was much nicer, more forgiving.  There were definitely parts of my route that I walked, I'm not gonna lie.  Pausing at crosswalks became walking the crosswalk became walking a block.  I eventually made it back to the office and went straight into the little deli across the street because I was in dire need of hydration and lunch.  I wish I'd had my phone on me to get a picture of the look on the shopkeeper's face when I stumbled in.  I'm sure the words "hot mess" don't even begin to cover it.  This was me after stopping to grab food and I still have a red face and the crazy eyes.  I tried several times for a better pic of how red and sweaty I was but my hands were shaking too bad to get one that wasn't blurry.
Post-shower and back at my desk, I still feel myself sweating through my shirt.  Ew.  Welcome to summer, I guess.  Despite my urge to buy ice cream bars and potato chips, I did manage to throw together a decent and overpriced lunch.  Salad and fresh fruit, a vitamin water, greek yogurt, and a diet ginger ale for later.  Not throwing a bag of Doritos into the mix was really hard. I love salt so much.
I will say this, nothing tastes better after a really hot run then a fresh bite of strawberry or watermelon. YUM! Aside from finishing out the work day, I just plan on going home and getting ready for the long weekend.  Can't wait to get out of the DC area for a few days and regroup.  With any luck I'll be able to get at least one run in while I'm gone. Its a totally new area for me but I'm hoping I can head out and not get run over or lost.  I wish I'd tried to find a 5k or something in the area, that would have been what a smart runner would do. Drat.   Maybe, just maybe, I can get myself up tomorrow before work and get a run in then.  I do not want to wait until I get to work and have another repeat of today.

Has anyone else gotten in a workout yet today?  How did it go?  Do you have anything planned for the holiday weekend?

Saucony Shoe Giveaway!

Yeah, you read that right.  The ONLY brand of shoe I will run in!  Hop on over to Shut Up and Run HERE to enter for a chance to win your choice of Saucony kicks! These would be mine, so pretty!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Perfection Hook

This post is not really about running although it directly impacts my experience of running, so I won't be offended if you decide to skip right over it. It is however decidedly personal, so please be gentle. This is something that keeps coming up in my life, most recently with the half marathon.  Rachel calls it the "Perfection Hook" and I can't seem to let myself off it.  I struggle with it at work, in the band, in my relationships, and with my upcoming graduate class.  MUST.BE.PERFECT.  There is no middle ground.  I either get an A or I'm a huge disappointment.  I either run well or it reflects badly on my worth as a person. I'm the best friend a girl could ever have or I'm an insensitive bitch. I know how crazy it sounds to completely exclude the middle ground. Yet it happens all the time and I never recognize it.  I start something, I'm remotely good at it, suddenly I must be the Master of it.  I try, maybe not as hard as I could, there is a bump in the road or I don't do as well as I want and BAM I fall to pieces.  Total annihilation. When it comes to other people in my life I like to think that I am supportive and will argue for their own middle ground until I'm blue in the face.  Why I hold myself to a higher standard is beyond me.

Here is a prime example from last week.  I was talking to Rachel about how hectic but exciting the end of June through the end of July is going to be for me.  I'll be working full time, in a gigging band, taking a grad class three nights a week, training for a marathon, and being someone's girlfriend.  Sure, it sounds like a lot but I'd love to prove to myself that just because I have fear about something doesn't mean that fear is a reason not to try.  I've missed out on too much in my life because I was afraid.  Now, all Rachel said was that she wasn't sure it sounded all that great for me and what I need for myself.  In that moment I was crestfallen. I felt I was right back to the square one of three months ago when I was convinced I couldn't handle it and what was I thinking to take any of it on. All she did was express her concern that I won't have time to take care of myself and I twisted it into a lack of confidence in me or a judgement on my decision.  My hands were shaking, I was so upset.

The reality was that I hadn't really moved on from those doubts of before, I'd just gotten a lot better at ignoring them.  And that is where the Perfection Hook really gets me.  You don't know you're stuck on it. If you have reached the acceptance of something, you're in great shape. Carry on. But I haven't learned to accept anything, I've simply mastered denial.  Acceptance of something means that I have limitations. Shortcomings. Fine, who doesn't?  But those words just scream "failure" to me.  And then I start to wonder why I'm taking up so much space on this planet.

The most frustrating part of it all, honestly, is not the fact that I am not perfect.  It is that no matter what I do in life I never actually give 100% so I'll never really know if I could be perfect at something.  Running is a prime example.  I have never given 100% to my training. If I were a good little runner like so many I follow online I would be posting my cross training, strength training, tempo runs and hill repeats on here. But no, there are a few weekly runs and then a lot of time perfecting the ass-print on my couch.  It gets me across the finish line but never taps into my full potential.  It isn't as though I don't have the time.  It has literally made me cry, this whatever it is that keeps me from giving 100% and knowing I've seen something through for a change. My life has become a spectator sport. Part of me thinks that not giving 100% lets me off the hook in the event that I do fail, since I wasn't really trying in the first place. But by and large, things seem to come together for me in the end.  The stars align and I pass my test, get a good review at work, and finish a race with time to spare. My sister would call that the spoiled brat in me, and I get it.  I wouldn't call it luck, but it is something.  Not that I have it easy or that I don't have to try.  I just have a tendency to be rewarded for mediocre efforts.

Somehow, despite this desire to be perfect (which somehow equates to everyone liking me and being worthwhile as a human being), all I manage to do is phone it in. If they gave out As for showing up, I'd be in Mensa by now.  But showing up is just the beginning. Living life just by "showing up" is a crutch. Accomplishing anything worthwhile involves a degree of sacrifice and suffering.  How else would you know the end result was worth it when you got there?  I know I have the potential for more. I've had runs that showed me I was more than a 10 minute mile.  I'm talking to you, freakish sub-8 split.  I'm scared to want it.  To have to own it.  Accepting the glory is no problem, but accepting the failure that could just as easily happen?  I can't risk it.  I can't stop myself from believing that going all in on somethings means ALL OF ME.

*crickets*  Anyone?

Monday, May 23, 2011

What "trying" looks like

Happy Monday everyone, I hope your weekend was great! I forgot my running shoes at home today so no lunchtime run for me. I was annoyed that I'd have to run in the heat and humidity when I got home, making my day that much longer and going to bed that much later.  However, the forecast was rain so I decided I'd just print out the strength training workout that my trainer gave me and head to the gym.  Ya know, to actually TRY.  Instead of hating on all the girls whose bodies I secretly want I decided I might try what they do to look that way.  Just once. 

5 minute warm up on stationary bike
2 sets of 12 incline dumbbell flys
2 sets of 12 wide-grip pulldowns
2 sets of 12 leg extensions
2 sets of 12 seated leg curls
2 sets of 12 dumbbell hammer curls
2 sets of 12 dumbbell lateral raises
2 sets of 12 single-arm dumbbell extensions
2 sets of 20 seated calf raises
2 sets of 20 full sit-ups
"cardio workout" was suggested next, so I did 3 miles on the treadmill at 29:19.  I was tired when I started so I'm glad that I saw it through the whole run.  And I know I need to get used to running on tired legs, much more tired legs then what I had today.  So I'm proud of myself.  I stopped at the library on my way home to pick up my latest installment of "read everything I can about running," Joan Samuelson's Running for Women.
Me in my sweaty glory.  Be kind and tell me you can't see the obvious waistline-to-crotch sweat stain.  We all get them though, right? RIGHT?  Good.  I got home just before 9 tonight and started writing this while I make dinner.  Pasta with olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and a little parm.
I'll be getting to bed later than I wanted to tonight, which means I'll probably get up later tomorrow morning too.  I have two doctors appointments in the morning before work, and band practice after work.  Another long day and since I'm missing work for the doctor I don't get to go for a run during lunch.  I either take the day off or get up early tomorrow morning and hit the gym again.  Oy. I don't think I'm ready for two gym workouts in 12 hours.  I did pick up a class schedule on my way out of the gym, going to hang it on the fridge and see where I can fit one into my schedule.  All the classes are free (aka included in monthly fee) so I would like to make the most of it.  The only bummer to the evening was losing my parking ticket in the gym somewhere and having to pay the $10 lost ticket fee to get out of the garage. GAH!  My bad, lesson learned.

So, I'm trying to read everything I can on running these days.  Kara Goucher was my first choice, of course, and then it was Born to Run and Bart Yasso's My Life On The Run.  I picked up Joan's book tonight and I have three more on hold coming from other branches.  The Complete Book of Women's Running, Mile Markers, and Running on Empty.  Knowledge is power and I want to feel like I've read everything I could to prep for marathon.  Do you have any book suggestions, both inspirational and training-oriented?   How was your Monday?  Any training goals for the week?  Time for a quick shower and off to bed!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Seems like its been a busy weekend in the blogosphere!  Can't say as I have been doing too much today beyond sleeping.   Literally.  I got home from my gig a little before 3 this morning, so sleeping late was a given.  I didn't anticipate how tired I actually was, until I get up around 1, ate breakfast and went back to bed until 6 this afternoon.  And to be honest, the only reason I got up was because my phone wouldn't stop ringing.  I'm going to see if I can try and stay awake for the rest of the day, but it isn't looking good.  I'm not sure why I want to sleep so badly but I'm not concerned.  It isn't often that I have the free time be so lazy so I'm going to take full advantage.
Yesterday was the opposite of lazy.  Joe and I went for a 10 mile bike ride through Georgetown and the Capital Crescent trail.  It was a beautiful day and there were a lot of people out and about enjoying the sun. 
My bike is super old!  It was my sister's 18 speed when she was a teenager.  All I did was get some new tires and a new seat, but it does the job.  I don't really do much with it other than take it on short rides on the trails near my house.  I'm hoping to get the nerve to bike to work soon.  I just need to take a test drive of the route on the weekend so I get comfortable with it.  On the way home from the ride we stopped at the most delicious Sweet Green in Georgetown for some frozen yogurt.  Strawberries, chocolate chips, and coconut on top!
Obviously, I didn't take the picture before I started eating. I couldn't help it!!
Anyhoo, we biked back home and then it was time to get ready for my gig!  Last night's show at Vintage 51 was a blast!  I think it was our best gig so far and definitely the most fun I've had since joining the band.  We had a photographer at the show so with any luck I might have a few pictures to post in the next week or so.   We played from 9:30 pm to 1 am, breaking down all the gear afterwards took until about 2, and then the long drive home.  In bed by 3 and then here we are!  Unshowered and on the couch, eating frozen pizza.  About to rectify the shower part so I can head over to Joe's for the night and watch last night's SNL.  JT and Gaga? Hells yeah!  I hope it rocks!

How was your weekend?  I saw so many of you had races or long training runs and they were all great! Do you have anything fun planned for the week ahead?  I've got dinner with a friend, running, and then heading out of town for the long weekend.  Enjoy what remains of your weekend!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I don't have a Friday theme yet...

I also have nothing interesting to say, so...........

I got my haircut! See!!!!  Definitely not running friendly, but good for rocking it with the band, right? Fun layers, cute bangs.  Of course it won't look anything like this by the time the gig rolls around tomorrow night.

Going to see the new Pirates movie tonight, planning a bike ride and a run for the weekend and rocking it at Vintage 51 tomorrow night.

Are you racing this weekend?  What are your fun plans and/or training plans?  Am I going to sweat to death when the heat hits VA next week? YES.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Off Day = Fun Day

Ok so it wasn't really a full rest day but yesterday I treated myself to a pedicure for finishing the half over the weekend . Picked a bright color too, since I don't usually get my toes done.  Too bad I'm covering them up with cute black pumps today.
What else does a girl do on a rest day to feel taken care of?  Buy shoes, of course.  No, I didn't need them.  But they were $45, on sale for $25.  And then the site offered an additional 25% off the sale price with free shipping so the choice was obvious. Cute, right?!

Today isn't totally a rest day either, honestly.  I'll be doing an hour or so of yoga during my lunch hour.  Probably a decent butt-kicking from Shiva Rea.  I'm hoping it will get out the remaining kinks from the weekend.  The spoiling will continue tomorrow as I'll be using my running lunch hour to get an eyebrow wax and haircut instead.  Both are long overdue.  Saturday will have a long bike ride before my gig, so the week won't be a total workout wash. 

Disclaimer: I'm not usually this spendy on personal treats, most of my portfolio is tied up in food and shelter. It just happens that all this "once every six months or so" stuff came together at the same time with good prices. Perfect storm of pampering! My credit card company will be so happy.  Have you treated yourself to something nice lately?  Are you using a reward as motivation right now for a future goal? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Short lunch break run to get my legs moving again.  There was a brief window of sun in the rainy day according to the hourly forecast on weather.com so I made a break for it.  The majority of the soreness is gone, all I felt during the run was tightness in my calves.  That could have been due to the fact that I never stretch before or after these mid-day runs, oops. I did a short 3.14 near my office in 27:48.  There were little stops in there for traffic lights, etc so don't get carried away with the sudden increase in pace.  Unless I was racing I doubt I would have been able to sustain that pace for long.  My mind tends to wander during my runs and today it wandered on to what I was going to do to take my training to the next level. My goal for MCM is really simple, FINISH. But that doesn't mean I won't be putting 100% effort into my training or trying to push myself to my fullest potential. I spent good money on a personal trainer over the winter months and I think it helped me get across the finish line this weekend.  It gave me a taste of what my body could handle and what it could become. 

However, I can't afford to continue doing that. I would like to implement a strength training plan on my own that can complement my running. I'd also like to start incorporating cross training into my week.  I have a gym membership to a great 24 center with a pool and free classes but I never go.  My lunch runs aren't going to work anymore, as I need to do more then 3-4 miles at a pop for marathon training.  That leaves running home from work to the bus stop and getting home late or getting up really early before work and running near the house.  The real question here is not when I can do this, but how.  I am the worst self-motivator.  I don't have a training partner and I'm lousy at holding myself accountable.  I am a busy person, there is no denying that.  But there is time available in my day to do more for my fitness than I am doing now.  I just can't get my butt off the couch and I don't know how to change that.  I don't want another mediocre racing season. I want to look back, regardless of the outcomes, and know I did everything I could. No regrets. I've never been able to do that before. Some of my dearest friends and favorite bloggers seem to have mastered the life/run balance and I would love to hear some suggestions on how I might be able to do the same. 

What gets you out of bed early/out the door after a long day for a workout?  Do you have a reward/punishment system?  Do you try and trick yourself into a workout? What holds you accountable?  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Greater Binghamton Bridge Run 1/2 Marathon recap

To describe the race in only one word, it would be WET.  It started raining around 7 am, with the race set to start at 7:30 and it didn't stop until about mile 10, at which point everyone was thoroughly soaked.  Not much you can do about it, and I am used to running in the rain so it wasn't like I was unprepared.  If you asked my mother, the theme of the race would have been "Don't Linger."  She repeated that several times as we drove the course the night before.  An aside to the course itself, those of us familiar with certain areas of downtown know that being there for any other reason than running by quickly is cause for alarm and probably arrest.  Oh, Binghamton.  There were plenty of non-shady, non-rundown areas of the course as well, lots of older homes and neighborhoods to admire.  Having grown up in the area, the not so lovely areas stick out to me more than the lovely ones, and I do hope that all of the out of town runners enjoyed the lovely areas.  I talk shit about home a lot, but at the end of the day it isn't such a bad place to grow up.  And I certainly want the race organizers to hear good things from the participants so the race can be bigger and better next year.  

Here is a picture of the four of us before the start, the NASCAR pace car, and a picture of the half start taking off from the local baseball stadium on our way to crossing 5 different bridges within the city limits. Number 1, dead center, went on to win the race in 1:08:57, two minutes ahead of the next finisher.

I started out running with my brother-in-law, Andy and it looked like we'd be hanging together for the duration of the race.  He's usually a faster runner than I am, but he took a red-eye back from LA the day before and wasn't exactly in top racing condition.  Mad props for even getting up that early to run at all.  The first few miles were as tough as I expected.  Despite warming up and all that jazz I still felt really tight.  My breathing wasn't labored at all but I could not get my legs to cooperate.  I took a suggestion from Kara Goucher's book and divided the race into 3 chunks of 5 miles, 5 miles, and 3 miles.  It seemed to make the distance more manageable and I had a different song in my head for each section.  For some reason I seem to be smiling in the professional race pictures.  I'm not sure why, other than telling myself to smile because SUAR said so.  It wasn't like I was thrilled to be out there.  This is Andy, with me following close behind, somewhere between miles 6 and 7. 

The course had several inclines although I am reluctant to call them hills considering what Andy trains on regularly in the wilds of WV.  The crowd support was sparse in places but there were a few parts of the course that overlapped and we were able to see our family twice along the way.  That was a huge boost, along with the little kids with signs handing out "free high fives."  Too freaking cute.  Esp the one in the ladybuy raincoat. 

I was really careful to hydrate and took gels at miles 4, 8, and 11.  I didn't really notice a difference until about mile 10.  My pace was slower than I would have liked, but as expected given my lack of confidence in training, and I didn't anticipate making any kind of a move until mile 12.  As soon as those words were out of my mouth at the 10 mile marker, I suddenly felt really good.  Andy was ok holding steady and I took my chance to see what I had in the tank.  The last couple of miles were a straight shot down the main street and I went for it.  My pace increased a bit from really sucking to not so sucky.  Once I saw mile 12 I tried to push harder and used both my mantras and a fun song from my iPod playlist to keep moving. 

 The last part of the race is a turn back towards the baseball stadium and the road was packed with cheering spectators.  We then ran down the outside of the stadium on the third base side until we got to the outfield gate, at which point the course runs you onto the field itself.  We got to race the last two hundred yards or so on the warning track of the baseball field, which I thought was really cool despite the rain turning it into a slippery muddy mess.
My sister and dad ran the 5k which started 2 hours after the half.  It seemed like a weird time to do it, since so many of the half runners would end up finishing with the 5kers, but it seemed to work out.  I was glad to be done in time to get back to the finish line and see them both finish.  Had they started it earlier to time it to end while most of us were out on the course somewhere, I would have missed the chance to cheer on my family.  They were on the course for me before reporting to their start line and I wanted to return the favor.  I'd also like to give a special thanks to my mom!  She was the pack mule, photographer, umbrella holder, cheerleader, chauffeur and all around amazing race supporter!  None of us would have gotten to the start line, much less crossed the finish line, without her.

I'm a little bummed that there wasn't a picture of me finishing, even though I know it would show me looking down at my watch to stop the timer.  There was another woman right in front of me and she ended up in the majority of the shot.  I might have gotten a random appendage in there, not worth posting. Mom did get a post-race picture of us as well, so that will have to do. Yay medals! At least we're all still smiling!

Aside from what I would consider to be first-race issues (needed a louder PA system, putting the chips in the bags so people don't make 2 stops at bag check, etc) I didn't have any complaints for the organizers.  They anticipated having about 250 runners in total for the half and the 5k.  They ended up having to close registration once it topped 1,800.  I think that is pretty cool and the organizers said that they were thrilled with the overwhelming turnout.  The rain kept a few people at home on race morning, but that doesn't bother me one bit.  Fair weather runners need not apply and I'll take your medal too, thankyouverymuch.  I would definitely run the race in the future, I'd love to improve on my time of 2:13:27.  I was faster than last year's half but not as fast as my first. Meh, I'll take it.  My main concern was finishing and I did, so I can set my sights on a time goal for the next one.  Depending on what races are in my area, I'd love to do another half this summer amid marathon training.  

Lastly, a small portion of the "reward" foods consumed over the course of the day.  A delicious bowl of Mud Pie Mojo from Coldstone.  Coffee? check. Oreos? check. Fudge? check. Nuts? check. Peanut butter? check. What more could you want in an ice cream? 

How was YOUR weekend?  Did you eat something delicious?  Run a race?  Buy something fun?

Great giveaway!

Fear not, the race recap is almost ready to go!  I just need a few more pictures from my mom and then it will be up.  In the meantime, head over to everyone's favorite snarky running blogger, SUAR, and enter her awesome giveaway.  To earn brownie points with me for my first giveaway (coming soon!) tell her I sent you in your comment and let me know you did.  Happy running!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I survived!  A full recap will come once I get race pics from my mom and the race website.  Did better than my last half but not as good as my first.  Still, I'm pleased and glad I'm done.  For now, you may gaze upon my medal while I go take a nap.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Early to bed

Happy race eve, friends.  Just a quick note to tell you I made it to my parents house in NY without a hitch.  Spent today running a couple errands, driving the race course, going out to dinner, and seeing family.  I was ready for bed about an hour after I woke up this morning.  It took me a while to fall asleep last night, different bed and all, and I had some unhappy dreams that I won't get into here.  Right now the family is gathered in the living room watching the Yankees/Red Sox game.  It isn't often that we are all together, and 4 of the 5 of us are running in the half or 5k tomorrow.  Mom is going to be our number one cheerleader, which as you all know is an incredibly important job.  We need to be out the door at 6:30 tomorrow morning so I am not sure how much longer I am going to stay up tonight.  My bib is pinned to my shirt and my chip is already attached to my shoe.  I just have a few more things to set out tonight and then I'm going to bed.  I think I'll put a movie on and just (hopefully) pass out.  Please send me lots of good vibes for tomorrow! Congrats and/or good luck to all the other racers this weekend!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger fail

Right now it looks like Wednesday's post is totally lost.  Awesome.  And the saved draft only has two lines. Hope that gets fixed damn skippy.  The following was supposed to go up yesterday afternoon, enjoy:

Did my last run before the half Sunday, an easy 3.25 miles around my office.  Aside from Sunday's run it was probably the best of the week.  I still felt tight, but I also don't have time to stretch or do anything else before or after my workday runs.  I barely have time to shower and get back to my desk.  I'm packing my foam roller for the weekend so I can put it to good use Saturday night and Sunday morning.  I tried out a new pair of sunglasses today, courtesy of the superfast shipping at RoadRunner Sports.  My ancient pair of $5 Old Navy shades fell apart last week and sent me into a panic.  No way could I run the half without a pair of shades.  I'm not going to squint for 13 miles, thanks. And there is now rain in the forecast, grrr.

I'm cheap as all hell and was not thrilled with the idea of having to shell out for an actual pair of running sunglasses, hence my purchase of the cheapest well-reviewed pair online.  They showed up at work today, 48 hours after I placed the order (thanks RRS!) and I'm pretty happy with them.  They are superlight, which is always nice but can also make you think they might be a little cheap.  They fit snugly to my face and the lens are fairly small, just covering your general eye area and nothing else.  On a windy day I might be concerned about dirt, but for most of my runs I think they will do the trick.  They also have a soft rubbery nosepiece which fits really nicely.  I usually have to nudge glasses back up my nose a few times on a run but not today. I did it a few times out of habit but the glasses hadn't actually moved.  

Do any of you have examples of cheap but awesome running gear finds?  Any last minute packing reminders? Tidbits of advice for pre-race evening and race morning? I'll leave you with a picture of me in the new shades since I know you must be dying to see them.  Ignore the messy desk and atrocious post-run hair. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ho hum

Dumdum forgot her watch today so no time or pace for my afternoon run.  3.62 miles around DC, about 72 degrees out. Without repeating the contents of my previous posts I don't have much else to say about how I'm doing in the lead up to the race. I did sleep better last night despite going to bed late after practice.  If I can get a few more nights like that, I'll be grateful.  I made a packing list today at work (I know, shame shame) and I plan on occupying myself with that tonight.  The list is surprisingly long for someone who is only going to be home for about 48 hours.  I generally think of running as a minimalist sport, until you actually have to gather all the "necessary" crap together so you can take it somewhere.  Sixteen of the twenty-nine items on my list are going to be worn, carried, or consumed by me on race day. Minimalist my ass.

I might also be packing up some laundry to take with me, since the services at the parental establishment do not require quarters. I'm 30 and I still take my dirty laundry home. Sue me.  At least I wash it myself, I'm not a total cretin. I also learn the fate of my iPod tonight after work.  I don't think it is going to be good.  I can't find the little Shuffle that is somewhere in the house, so I may have to beg/borrow/steal someone's for the weekend.  It is one thing to commute without it, but not being able to listen to my carefully constructed racing playlist makes my hyperventilate.  I don't run with music, personally I think it is a little like cheating.  Running = suffering and all must get the full experience, bwa ha ha ha ha! Honestly its more about safety and training as close to race conditions as I can get. To each their own, really. There are times that I do wish I ran to music, and I will use my headphones at the gym to watch tv while I plod along on the treadmill.  At any rate, the point of this story is that I have no iPod to listen to music before the race in hopes of preventing an anxiety attack.  Keep your fingers crossed for one of the following to happen: the Genius Bar fixes my iPod, I find the damn Shuffle in my apartment, or I use my feminine wiles to borrow one from Joe.

Do you have any pre-race rituals that you MUST do?  Do you run with music and why? What is something that I'm probably going to need and forget to pack?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oh, Tuesday

If you know me, you know Tuesday is my least favorite day of the week. The fun of the previous weekend has worn off and the upcoming weekend is no where in site.  If I am to have bad luck at all during the course of the week (awful run, trouble at work, issues with my commute, spilling coffee on myself, etc) it inevitably happens on a Tuesday. I just don't like this day.  As I write this the email server at my office just crashed. Perfect.

I slept poorly for the second night in a row, thanks to this continued race anxiety issue.  I did force myself out of bed and out the door for a short run this morning.  There was just no other time today that it could fit into my schedule and I didn't want to have a gap of two days off between runs, taper or not.  Again, it was mediocre.  3.47 in a little under 34 minutes.  By the time I got to my usual Tuesday morning appointment I was closing in on tears. Rachel and I talked for the better part of an hour trying to find out what was going on  and what I can do about it.  So far it seems like my identity and to an extent how I value myself as a person is wrapped up in being a runner. I should have realized that sooner, as that was a huge problem for me when I was injured. So a race is no longer a life experience, rather an evaluation of who I am as a person.  A more thorough assessment could be run to figure out how my brain made that all or nothing connection in the first place but for now we just brainstormed on what I can do in the next 4 days to ease up on myself and inject something more positive into my psyche.

I've got a list started and I want to hammer it out into something more concrete.  Ideally it will be something I can read Saturday night before bed and once more Sunday before the race starts.  A combination of affirmations and reminders that I can use while I am out on the course.  I think the process of compiling and refining the list over the next few days should help with the intrusive negative thoughts.  At the very least it will give my brain something else to focus on. However, if anyone wants to chime in with extra words of encouragement and advice for me in the comments, I would be thrilled. My head is still half in therapy land and half in work land so I'll leave you with a little something funny that I am trying.  Since my intrusive thoughts go beyond running in my life experience I needed to come up with a way for my brain to intercept them until I learn to override them entirely.  That something is picturing this happening to each unwanted thought in my brain:
Yes, a laser cat. Search and destroy laser kitteh, search and destroy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rest day

Rest days, or as I think of them, "justkeepeatingalldamndayyoulittlepiggy."  The runners appetite is definitely a double-edged sword.  I'll spare you an explanation of its highs and lows, I am sure you are just as aware of them.  Suffice to say I feel like I'm still trying to lose the pounds I put on when I was injured.  My appetite was let off the chain and free to meet up with its favorite dining companions Depression and Anxiety.   Those two little tricksters have been darkening my doorway as the 1/2 has been drawing near, so I'm trying to keep things simple this week; maybe head them off.  Eat smart. Hydrate. Medicate. Rest.   Those are the most basic things I need to do in any given week and the first things I check when I'm not doing well.  No reason to divert from that, as much as I am willing to try anything to get my mind and body ready for Sunday.  I'll keep it short tonight, as the only thing I really have to talk about are my pre-race jitters.   Currently watching season 3 of How I Met Your Mother while eating dinner, and hopefully reading before bed.  Jen loaned me another running book today and I might have to put down Portia de Rossi's "Unbearable Lightness" in hopes of finding more inspiration.  I leave you with a picture of my tasty pizza bagel dinner.  Gnight, kittens!

A public service annoucement!

As is the habit with blogs that are way cooler and more read than mine (which, let's be honest, is every other blog on the planet), one of my favorite running bloggers is have an amazing GIVEAWAY.  Hop on over to Janae's place and enter to win some sick shoes from New Balance.  No, really, DO IT.  You'll be glad you did.   And now, back to my regularly scheduled griping. Ciao!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Custis Trail redux

Saturday was a definite off day, in several ways.  No running, and the consequences of having too much fun on Friday night.  Spent the day with a gig out in Reston, then dinner and a movie with Joe.  I was passed out by 10:30 and didn't wake up this morning until 11:30.  Oops.  Could have bagged the run but since I'd only gone on Tuesday and Friday I knew I needed to get a solid run in.  Several years back I had a particularly tough 10 mile training run on the Custis Trail.  If you are unfamiliar, it is a paved trail running from Rosslyn that goes west until it runs into the W&OD trail.  And it is 90% uphill, if you are running it to the west.  It is quite the butt kicker.  Most of the way back is downhill but that chews up your quads pretty quickly, especially having run up all the hills on the way out.  That training run was brutal and I felt like I needed some kind of redemption from that first meeting.  I had no plans of doing the full ten again this close to the 1/2 so I did 4.95 miles out and back on it in 50:36, and it went pretty well.  I was toasted on the last hill back up to Joe's apartment but there were no stops this time, which is a pleasant change.  I know 5 isn't 13 by any stretch, but it was something.  I haven't decided how many days I'll be running this week since I should be tapering. At least two during the work week, can't decide if a third will tire me out or not.  Can I crosstrain on a bike at the gym for one of the three days?  It wouldn't be as taxing but I'd still get in a decent calorie burn.  It isn't like I can bank any more fitness for the race. That ship sailed a few weeks ago.

Aside from getting a lot of sleep and eating well, I'd really like to use the time to mentally prepare for the race.  Given how I've been feeling about running for the past couple of months, my mental game could really make or break this race.  I was thinking of trying a little visualizing like the elites do.  I don't quite have a grasp on how to do it but if it works for Kara Goucher then I am going to give it a shot.  I also want to finalize my power words and mantras.  I can't reflect back on my training as a confidence booster, since it was nowhere near as thorough as it should have been.  I had 2-3 ten milers and a bunch of shorter runs, none the full distance.  So I think the only tools left in the bag are visualizing and verbal cues.  Has anyone else used these techniques before?  Did it work?  Are there any other suggestions you have for pre-race jitters?  Right now the plan is to drive up to NY Friday night after work, arrive really late, and crash.  I figured it would be better to sleep late that Saturday morning rather than stay in VA overnight, leave early Saturday and spend most of the day before the race in a car.  The more time I can get at home with my family the better, I'm not there nearly enough.  I also took Monday off from work since I didn't want to jam myself into a car for 6 hours right after finishing the race.  I don't think that would be a pretty picture.  Sorry for the rambling post today, I'm feeling a little scattered.  Going to spend the rest of my Sunday doing laundry and washing dishes.  I know, be jealous.  Send all the positive vibes you can my way this week, I need it! 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Where is the love?

Dear Running,

WTF?  I know we've been together a long time and we may not appreciate each other as much as we used to.  But that doesn't mean we still don't mean as much to each other.  The past few weeks have been unpleasant to say the least.  You make it really hard to enjoy your company.  My legs are deadweight and my mind is screaming at me to quit and cry.  I don't think I've ever struggled as much as I am with you now.  We made it through Cherry Blossom together and I thought that was the breakthrough we needed.   I guess I didn't realize the extent of the situation.  We've got a big day coming up, a half marathon, in just 9 days and we really need to be on the same page.  Lets both step back and take stock of things, sleep on it, and come back together in the morning, ok?



So yeah, today's lunchtime run was not great. Against my better judgement I did my Mall loop. I managed 3.9 miles in 35:56.  It sounds good, but there were stops for traffic lights and a few pictures, which meant stopping the watch since I wasn't actually running.  I don't think I could have maintained the pace nonstop, which is discouraging.  I wanted to walk after the first mile. I forgot to use any of my words or mantras.  Aside from the scenery, there wasn't much to smile about.  DC and I will never be tight, too much has gone down between us, but I will never get tired of runs that include stuff like this:

Aside from the shoddy cell phone camera skills, running around the monuments rocks.  It even makes dodging clueless tourists tolerable.  This was my first run with the phone, since I generally hate carrying anything in my hands while I run.  But fellow bloggers I enjoy seem to capture lots of pictures on their runs and I thought I'd join in.  We'll see if I keep it up, for the duration of today's run the phone ended up stuffed in my sports bra.  Seems to have survived all the boob sweat, for now. :)  I need to get back to my actual job and finish out the day, so I'll leave you with this: me before the run, blissfully unaware of impending suck.
Take care of you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Unexpected smiles day

One good thing at the end of a long day can really make the difference.  In my case, it turned out to be 3 good things.  A morning doctor's appointment followed by another mediocre work day didn't do much for my mood.  And because I took two hours off work for my appointment I didn't feel right using my lunch hour to run.  Luckily, a scheduled dinner with one of my Top 5 and a few surprises in the mail when I got home afterwards really turned things around.  Dearest Jen and I hit up Maoz for dinner.  Salad and falafel loves rejoice!  Neither of us had been there before and it was delicious.  Of course I am already somewhat partial to an all-veg restaurant before I walk in the door, but I also think that means I set the bar a little higher as well.  It did not disappoint.  Five freshly made falafel on top of a bed of lettuce with feta and avocado.  Then had to the salad bar and top it off with whatever you want, which in my case was a chickpea salad, a cucumber and tomato salad, some tabbouleh, and a cilantro dressing.  Add a freshly squeezed blend of carrot and apple juices and you've got yourself dinner in heaven.  There were no survivors.  You would think after such a great meal that we'd waddle on to the subway and head home.  We almost made it too, until we came across this little miracle next door to the metro station entrance.  Self serve?  Endless toppings?  Why yes, in the interest of dessert science we must make a sacrifice.  One giant bowl of chocolate and strawberry yogurt with strawberries, oeros, and reeses peanut butter cups later....

Fat and happy at home.  I can't say I'm looking forward to recording these indulgences in my food log tomorrow morning, esp since the exercise notation will read OFF.  But the laughs and catching up with a dear friend are more than worth it.  Does anyone else find themselves coming off the diet rails a little bit on your days off?  Do you beat yourself up over it or just keep calm and carry on?  I know I'll be kicking myself for a few days, honestly.  And I might force an extra run into the mix for good measure. Once home, the good things kept coming.  Yoga Journal was in my mailbox along with a card from another Top 5, Riss. She was in town from NC last weekend and we ate our way across the DC metro area.  Oops.  Again, totally worth it, even the awful 10 miles I slogged through the Sunday morning after.  Lastly, this shiny little piece of awesome was also waiting in my mailbox.
Huzzah!  Now I know that there are runners out there who think they give medals for just about anything these days.  And yes, I think medals at a 5k are a little silly.  But ten miles?  Gimme.  This was my first big race since turning 30 and going through a few other crises that shall not be named. I beat my previous time, and I didn't walk.  It was another race where I didn't train as good as I could have.  And one of these days it will catch up to me.  But on Cherry Blossom Sunday, it didn't.  And that did so much for my confidence, I can't begin to tell you.  Hopefully it won't catch up with me at the Greater Binghamton Bridge Run 1/2 Marathon coming up in 9 days either.  Are you listening, running gods?  At any rate, this bit of shiny put a much needed smile on my face.  We all deserve that, don't we?  A tall glass of water, the final chapter of Born To Run, and a bed are in my immediate future, friends.  Take care of you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Blogging from the tub.  No, really.  I couldn't decide what I wanted to do more, post or soak, so I'm multitasking like a pro.  Yesterday's run was at the gym despite the lovely weather outside.  If I'm paying $50 a month for a membership I should probably show up from time to time.  Four miles on the dreaded treadmill in 39:09 with some ab work to follow.  I'll take it.  I've had some seriously shitty runs lately, so I can't afford to be picky.  I've been running faster on the roads recently, during my lunch hour, but I also have small pauses for traffic lights etc that allow me to catch my breath before plowing forward.  Not sure that I could maintain that pace on a treadmill or open road for the distance.  I also think the time constraint might help.  I only have 40 minutes to run, since I lose time on both ends of the hour thanks to changing and showering.   So I want to pack in as many miles as I can.  Last time I got into that kind of groove, however, I tore my hammy.  So, I suppose I should be careful.  Maybe.   I'm kind of addicted to watching my pace improve, hell or high water, so....yeah.

No run for me today, 40 minutes of lunch hour yoga a la Shiva Rea instead.  Her Surf Yoga dvd doesn't have as many choices as some of her others, but if you want to work up a quick sweat you are in luck.  She has a section called Agni Namaskar, which basically means "I'm going to kick your ass, but with love and light."  Nine sets of ten prostration pushups sandwiched between basic vinyasas had my tshirt clinging to me by the end.  The small breaks between sets help at first but can only do so much to get you through 90 pushups without shortening the sets or going to your knees.  She knows this and for the last 3 sets she asks that you make a dedication to something in your life for that set.  For me, I chose school, running, and recovery.  Repeating that particular dedication for every push up in the set really did help me power through.  It made me wonder what else I could do with a true dedication and some harnessed energy.  It sounds great, but hard.  And since one of my biggest struggles with anything I do in life is give 100%, I can't see myself making headway with a specific goal any time soon. 

Does anyone else struggle to give 100%?  I have had races where I toe the line knowing I didn't do everything I could have to get ready.  In fact, most of my races are like that.  I blew off workouts, didn't watch my nutrition, etc etc.  Every damn time, in fact.  Mental toughness aside, the ability to give 100% and do what it takes to toe the line at MCM with confidence is going to be a huge hurdle for me.  Am I ready for something like running to take over my life for several months?  Because to be the best that I can be, it will have to.  Nevermind school, work, and a personal life.  Am I willing to make those kinds of sacrifices?  I don't think registering for the race was a sign that I might be.  Clicking the mouse is not making a statement or throwing down a gauntlet.  What will it take for me?  How can I focus and commit?  I'll be looking to other blogs and books for help as I start working this through.  Suggestions are actively encouraged. 

Since the water is becoming room temperature and my skin is getting that pruny look I suppose I should wrap it up.  Aside from that fact that I'd love a solid 9 hours of sleep tonight too.  Be safe, run well, and take care.

A running blog?

In the last weeks I've discovered that I like a good running blog.  Freaking out over my impending marathon training has led me to read as much as I can about running and from runners.  Books, blogs, etc.  Aside from those that sparsely post (selfish me wants to read about you and your running exploits every day, dammit) the thing that I've found to be lacking is a blog from what I consider to be an average runner.  By average I mean not 7-8 minutes miles and PR times that make me cry about my lack of running ability.  While we runners share many common experiences, most of us average/slow peeps have a hard time commiserating with someone who is pissed that their run was ONLY at an 8 minute pace. Sure, I know what a bad run feels like and it sucks.  And I know that fast runners don't post their stats with the intent to make others feel bad.  You run what you run.  But at the end of the day I want to read about bad runs from someone else who will never place in their age group.  For whom finding purpose in the (quasi)suffering of running takes a little more effort.  Maybe I'm just too insecure about what my body is willing to do, but I'm willing to bet I'm not the only self-conscious runner out there who wants to read about someone closer to my pace.  Beyond that, I'm really not sure what these posts are going to entail.  Post run pics? Workout recaps? Race plans?  I think I'll be checking in on some of my favorite blogs for tips.  In the mean time, I hope to find some other average runners out there.  Comments and suggestions are alway welcome, and feel free to link to your own blog in comments.  The more the merrier!