Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One Goal Left

I come back to my sadly neglected blog to announce - I hit my fourth goal for 2012 - 1500 miles.  As of today I am at 1505.  Thank goodness for marathon training.  With that goal, I have one left - sub-5 for my marathon.  Will I make it?

I'm semi-optimistic.  I like to think that if I pace right that I can slide under the wire.  I ran the BAA half this past Sunday.  I was aiming for a 2:10 to give me more confidence. I ended up with a 2:13.  How could three minutes take away so much trust? 

I have 30 days left to Richmond.  I hit most of my training - most.  I just came back from a great vacation in Hawaii where I ended up running 3/4 of what I had been - including missing two long runs.  I came back with mental games and fear, but got back in the game pretty quickly.

I have two long runs left - long defined as > 15.  This weekend is supposed to be 20.  My last long was 18 about a month ago.  I'll have to see how I feel to decide if I want to push to 20, or just go with 18. 

30 days.  I'm excited but not too stressed.  And even if I don't get sub-5 I'm still happy to be going and happy to be trying.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Am I On the Edge?

Back.  Sadly back.  I spent two weeks in my favorite place in the world (Maine!); one week of vacation, one week of remote work.  I got to spend some good time with my family but I also stuck with my training schedule about 80% of the time. 

I got up mornings to run between 8-17 miles.  I stuck with my eat then run routine but my body is so adapted to a certain cycle that it actually was 1.) eat bagel + drink diet mt. dew ,  2.) sit in bathroom for an hour and a half waiting for my body to get all it's pee needs met so that I don't have to beg bathroom usage along the route, 3.) go outside and stretch, and 4.) run.  The reason for hiding in the bathroom is that while I was getting up at 5-6, everyone else was not.  I needed to avoid annoying everyone and since I didn't hear any complaints I considered it a success.

The routes I ran were pretty fun.  If I ran to the right I would go about two miles out and run into a beautiful view of the sea.  If I went to the left I go to run a mile and get to the pier and see the carnival rides!  I've been going on vacation to the same town for 32 years and I still got to see new things by being on my feet vs in the car.

Breakfast was supplied at the main house for our group but I missed it most of the time because of my timing.  I did get to eat the favorite meal of french toast twice, but I did miss out on some conversations by missing out on breakfast. 

I got to spend a lot of time resting on the beach.  That was definitely a good thing.  The bad thing was that even with that rest I still felt exhausted a lot of the time which lead to missing out on some of games in the late evenings.  That exhaustion got worse the second week when I was running/working/playing at night. 

I look back at the vacation and don't regret the time spent training.  I expect next year to be on a less rigorous schedule and be more relaxed about when I would run.  I also got to do some runs with my cousins which was really fun.  I just wish I wasn't so different in my schedule than the others were. 

With the above said I am becoming increasingly concerned with overtraining.  I don't think I'm there - yet.  My main problem is the exhaustion.  I also am concerned that I might not be eating enough for how much I am training.  I find myself fighting against my body on long run days when I get really hungry. I get hunger pains and sometimes resist eating which makes no sense.  I got so hungry yesterday that nothing appealed and I didn't eat.  Bad. 

I feel good about how well I am doing with my training after 7 weeks.  As I enter week 8 I'll be back to the strength training that I missed while I was away, will look at scheduling another massage, and will be rotating in new running shoes.  As always I will be watching myself to not overdo it but at the same time challenge myself. Balance!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tap Those Toes!

Week 4 of marathon training was completed on Sunday.


* Back on my feet fully and back on track after back ouches.

* Getting a really awesome feeling when I complete a week with 9, 10, and 11 mile runs - and none of them are my long runs

* Lowlight is that I skipped personal training but I think it was the right choice; I probably would have thrown myself back in too far with that

Right now I am feeling vaguely stiff and achey in the mornings.  I had a massage on Monday that was good and also interesting in that now I don't have the pain in the back but more around my tailbone?  It's not bad but it is interesting.

I ended the week by going and getting new new shoes.  The new there twice is not an accident; I had bought a pair of Mizuno Inspire + another pair of Ravenna 2s (on sale!) at Dick's but in size 6.  Vanity kept me from buying a half size up, which is a mistake I believe. I need more room right now.  The black toenails are pretty much an obvious sign.  So I returned both pairs and went to my LRS and got Brooks Adrenaline 12.  They are a bit more supportive than the Ravennas and I do wonder if they might be too supportive.  I made the mistake of going in to be fitted the afternoon after 9 miles so I think there was some stiffness that might have made my walking a little off?  I'm going to give them a chance, though.  I wore them this morning for a 6 miler and they felt good!

I still want to get another pair of shoes so I can rotate but that's going to the backburner.  I leave this Friday for VACATION!  So happy.  It's my absolute favorite time of the year and I can't believe it's ALMOST HERE.  My mom drives up tomorrow afternoon so I am WFH and I CANNOT WAIT.

I do plan on following my schedule while I am on vacation but at least I will be able to sleep on the beach instead of having to go to work after those runs.  YAY BEACH!

Oh, and the title of this post?  I've fallen madly in love (in a female crush way) with Sutton Foster.  So fierce.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ow ow MOMMY!

Week three of training finished on Sunday.

* Miles run - 39.  This includes a long run of 16 miles Monday followed by a full day of work.

* I had an awesome streak - 16, 8, 5 were Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday.

* Wednesday was also personal training where I was strong and in good form.

Notice how the above is all early in the week?  That's because Thursday things turned around.  I went to pull my gym bag out of my car and OW.  Lower back spasms straight down into my leg.  That led to two days off work/in bed; I couldn't bend down to the floor, and I had a legitimate fear more than once that I would not be able to get out of the tub.

A lot of mental games along with the back pain.  Was this going to derail me?  Was I ever going to be able to run again?  What if I can't - I'll get fat again!  The last thought led me to overeat chocolate, which of course is very helpful.

I ended up going to the doctor on Friday afternoon.  She took a look at my back and immediately said I was very tight.  I ended up being told everything I had been doing - warm baths with epsom salts, IcyHot, painkillers - was exactly right.  She told me to take a triple dose of Advil as needed and offered muscle relaxants, which I declined.  I asked her about my training and she said this was a very common problem with marathon training and that I could keep going (yay!).

Hearing from the doctor that I wasn't going to die made a huge difference mentally.  I ended up doing a walk (with some short running bursts) Friday night, and was back out running on Saturday.  All in all I missed one full day of training + cut short my Saturday run since it was my first back.

Right now I have some remaining back aches but it feels better when I run.  I'm trying not to take too much of the Advil because 1.) I don't want it to be a habit and 2.) it can be bad for the liver over the long run, especially when taken right before running.  I'm also deliberately stretching more post-run and am adding a light walk at night followed by stretches/hot bath.

I'm entering my fourth week of training and am doing my best to keep sane and balanced between not over thinking the back thing but also not ignoring it.  I also plan on getting in for a good massage on Thursday to help with the remaining tightness.  I have personal training tomorrow and I've warned my trainer in advance so we should be able to work well but safely.

Cross fingers week 4 is better than week 3!~

Friday, July 06, 2012

Feed me, Seymour

Second week of marathon training.

* 14 mile run in heat = taking more breaks than I wanted, but FINISHED.  Then got in a car and drove for 4 1/2 hours to Mom's house, no break for lunch.  Me  =/= smart at that point.

* Mid-week runs - two around Mom's neighborhood, relatively hilly.  Still hot, still adjusting.

* Third mid-week run - on a nice very shaded path.  Meant to be 12 but started late enough that I didn't want to deal, swapped with 6 mile run.

* Yesterday's 12 mile run, same path mentioned above.  New experience - #1 and #2 trailside.  And I do mean trailside; about a foot before dropoff.  Luckily no one saw me.  Other new experience - running only in sports bra.  It was HOT.  I wanted to give up at 6 miles but didn't.  But - walking at some points.   Don't feel too bad about it, actually; I feel like I gave my all.

* Today = day off.  Yay!  First since Memorial Day, as I was finishing out the RW summer streak.

Notes from this week:

* I WAS STARVING.  Really, seriously, hunger hunger.  It's harder/awkward feeling this way in someone else's house.  My choices aren't here and it was one of those strange hungers that was hard to satisfy.
- Mitigation plan - Good snack planning when I get home because this is going to continue while in training.

* It was hot.  Hot hot hot.
Mitigation - Need to consciously ignore the Garmin and SLOW DOWN even more.  Consistent running > some walking > not finishing.  Let's get more in the first group, but second is still okay.  Time on feet.

Next week:
* Books on yoga for running on their way to the library - yay!

Overall still excited/happy with my training.  My butt belongs outside!  Running tan FTW!

(Tan, not burn - sun tan lotion also mandatory)

(Still starving)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I can fly!

I spent $30 bucks on this image - it's going everywhere.  That's me (duh) at the race this past Sunday.  Pros - both feet off the ground, which is good to see.  Not too much waist fat showing.  Pretty cool angle on the legs.  Arms look muscle-y.  Cons - I think I'm held up by the combo high arms/clenched fist action.  Need to work on that.

I started marathon training this past Monday. The first day was six miles - and it was hard.  What - I can't PR and then bounce right back?  Inconceivable!  After that first run, however, I have to say all the rest were super great.  The one that I had the most nervousness about was on Tuesday - 5 miles easy + 5 miles moderate = 10 miles total.  I've done 10+ miles multiple times but for some reason this was overblown in my mind.  Happily I really got into it and ended up with a great run - followed by a series of great runs all the way through this morning.  I'm feeling extremely confident about this training schedule - but talk to me in 19 weeks when I'm approaching the race!

I also am going to be finishing a running streak on July 4 - the Runner's World streak.  I am totally looking forward to it - I think I need a rest!  

Today's run was 4 miles - breaking in  new shoes!  Well, relatively new; they were a pair of orange Ravenna 2s that I got several months ago when I saw they were releasing a new model.  Wearing them really made me realize how beat down my three pairs I run in (Asics 2160, 2150, and Ravenna 2s) are.  They are all in the 250-300 mile range.

I want to get another new pair of running shoes, and right now I am drooling over the Mizuno Wave Elixir since I saw someone wearing them at the 10K.  I'm also thinking of the Inspires as a more day to day shoe.  I might get both.  I'm worth it!  Plus saving my knees is worth it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I ran it right (BAA 10K)

I ran the BAA 10K today and PR'd.  No surprise on the PR, my prior PR was extremely soft.  I had never run a 10K without walking some sections.  I knew I would PR when my easy training runs were faster than that PR.  That's not the important part of the story.

My mind going in to this race was less on a specific time and more on running more evenly paced then the Run to Remember half.  I wanted to learn from that experience.  I also wanted to run a negative split.   My 2012 goal of sub-60 would be icing on the cake.  I didn't focus too much on that because I wasn't sure what kind of heat we would have.

Got up at 5:30 AM, bageled up, got dressed.  Purple Nike tank top, purple running bra, purple/lavendar Lululemon marathon running skirt.  Sense a theme?  I didn't even mention the purple running socks!

Drove to Porter Square, took advantage of the free parking, jumped on the T.  Got down to Park Street/Boston Common and wandered around a bit.  I had run the inaugural 10K last year and I didn't see a whole lot this year that was drastically different.  I picked up my t-shirt and checked it; I don't know what the deal is but the neckline is very small.  I don't have a large head but I struggled to get it on.  Weird.

I immediately went over to the port-a-potties - yay getting there early, short lines!  Afterwards I wandered over to look at the starting area.  The one thing that really changed this year was that they did wave starts.  What was funny to me was wave 3 - which was entirely the 9-9:59 pace.  I guess they assumed that this would be a large set of people?

Did some stretching, bathroom break, lined up.  Lots of talking people around me blocked out most of the race announcements which I think did me a lot of good; I didn't want to know the exact heat because I think it would have psyched me out.

Started running.  I had decided that I needed to run as I trained (duh!).  I am slow at the start and will eventually speed up without noticing it.

Mile 1 - 10:03.  Not too fast but definitely not a slow run pace.  Felt comfortable and relaxed.  Wasn't feeling too crowded even with a good amount of people around me.

Mile 2 - 9:34.  Faster but not too much faster. I hadn't conciously turned up the speed, same comfort level.

Mile 3 - 9:24 - Grabbed water; had to pause to grab the water and even managed to splash some on the volunteer.  Practiced the grab, squeeze cup, drink,  run move.

Mile 4 - 9:16 - Accidentally grabbed gatorade instead of water.  Good thing I don't react badly to Gatorade.  Also good thing I didn't pour it on me to cool off.

Mile 5 - 9:27 - Definitely getting tired here.

Mile 6 - 9:26

Mile .28 - 8:48.  I was tired but found enough in me to sprint to the finish.

Final official time - 59:26

Crossed the finish line exhausted. I was a little out of it for about a 1 minute or so, but felt okay by the time I got to the volunteers to grab my medal.

Other points:

* I had to avoid trying to tell the story to myself before the race was over.  I didn't want to psych myself out at the beginning.

* I feel ridiculous sometimes because right before the race all forms of "luck", good or bad, become portents for the race.  Found a penny?  Good race!  Good number (which I did have this time - the first number was the sum of the other two which I love)?  Good race!  Person next to me drops iPod?  Even though it has nothing to do with me?  Bad race!  Luckily I kept my mind clear and didn't let myself obsess over the randomness.

* It was interesting to come up on a hill around mile 2.5 - 3 and see this mass of people ahead at the 5K/turnaround point.

* I was particularly proud of how I handled the hills.  I had heard something on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me a few months ago about a study of runners that found that it was better to run by the same effort going up a hill as on the flat vs. running to keep to a specific pace and have a harder effort.  The study found that recovery from the harder effort was worse on racing time than picking up time post slight slowdown on a hill.  I kept that in mind and consciously moderated myself on the hills and I think that really made a difference.

* There were a good amount of people not running the race that were trying to cross the roads.  A couple people cut across in front of me but luckily not close enough to cause me to pull up.  The funniest was a pair of probable college guys that were running next to me around mile 3.5.  I was a bit bummed that they were running in flip-flops and carrying a grocery bag/drinking a beer but running a bit faster than me.  I passed them, however, so go me!

I think this was honestly one of my best races.  Not because of the time (which was nice) but because I felt good running it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


It's a rainy day out.  I'm enjoying it because it gives me the excuse to be lazy.  Of course I need no excuse to be lazy...

The BAA 10K is tomorrow.  Temp at start predicted as 69.  I'll see what I can do with that.

I mentioned my goals in the prior post.  I also want add enjoying the run as a goal.  I definitely think I will because strangely enough my 6 mile runs in training are usually my favorites.  We'll see how well that translates.

Racing prep today - laying out my outfit (most likely in purple because that's my thing).  Polish nails.  That's about it!

I'm definitely looking forward to this race. It's not a race I specifically trained for but it's one where I will enjoy seeing how far I've progressed in the 7 months since I last ran one.

I do feel like I've grown in my running comfort massively in the last few months.  The training program I did twice for my last two halfs has really brought me to a great point.  

Can't wait to race!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Don't Have Much To Say

So I'm sick of having my "pee-5K" as my top post.  It's been a few weeks and I've been able to move on from that.  I will say that in telling my brother about the race he didn't stop laughing for literally 10 minutes.  He also suggested I talk to his 3 year old, as she is learning to potty train and could give me some suggestions.  Ha ha.

I'm over halfway to my 2012 goal of 1500 miles; at 790 as of today due to a lovely 11 mile run before work.  It's become a habit to swap my long runs from Sunday to Monday.  Way I figure is I have to get up on Monday anyway, so why not have two lounge-in-bed days on the weekend?  Of course since I'm a respectable working person, my inner clock has my "lounge-in-bed" time up to 8 AM.  Weak.  I have a cousin who will literally sleep from midnight to noon if you let her.  Have to get tips from her.

My next race is this coming Sunday - the BAA 10K (race two of three for the distance medley).  Not sure how I'm feeling about this race.  I've hit two of my three race distance/time goals (see right sidebar).  I haven't run a 10K in over a year so I expect to PR, but deep down I'm not sure this race will be the one where I break 60 minutes. I think I have it in me to do so, based on current race times and training runs. Partially I'm remembering the crowd at the 5K and wondering if it will be the same (although this race is only on its second year and is not as popular a distance as the 5K).  Maybe I'm still overthinking how I raced the Run to Remember.  Although my 5K is more recent (and successful) a 10K is not a grab on and hold race, there's some strategy involved.

At the end of the day all I can do is get out there and race.  I have goals of PRing (pretty much a definite), sub-60 (maybe...), and negative splitting.  The last is a goal that I think is fairly important as I want to learn how to hold back at the beginning but also have the mental fortitude to pick it up at the end.  I love that I've done several long runs (10-14) where I had to pick it up in the last 1-2 miles; it really does let me know that I have it in me to pick it up when needed.

I am looking forward to this race, but also looking beyond it - as the next day is my first day of marathon training!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

No, that's not sweat...(Tory Row 5K RR)

I PR'd today in the 5K.  I hit my goal of 27:xx (at least by my Garmin) with a 27:38.  I also peed myself.

The race was at Harvard Square starting at 9 am.  I was very glad today was cooler than it was a week or two ago, as that's a little late to start a summer race.  It was also gray and drizzly at the start so I was chilly in my tank and shorts.

I tried something new for this race - running a mile to warmup before the start.  I wish I could say that it had a positive impact on my performance but I don't think it did. I don't think it had a negative impact, just neutral.  A full mile might be a little much for me on the mental side - getting myself too hyped up before the actual race.

I got to the race which had a good amount of people - probably 2-300.  My garmin was ready, my iPod was not.  I was trying to get to a playlist for my prior 5K but everything was so wet that the circle thing wasn't working.  Finally got it set just as we were about to start.

The start was the standard - air horn goes off, people start walking as everybody gets jammed crossing the start.  I kick myself out and go all out - Mile 1: 8:44.  Things seem to be going okay, course is relatively flat.

Then the hills come.  There were three hills to climb in the course and I swear to God that even though we were on a loop course it never felt like we got to go down any hills - not fair!  I pushed myself up those hills best I could although I definitely admit I felt my motivation lagging a bit when I faced the third hill.

Ran past the water stop, and shortly after that I started to feel like I needed to pee.  Still about a mile and a half to go, I thought I could maybe make it.  Nope.  Immediately after I started feeling it and even thought about stopping to borrow a bathroom (we were in a residential area), the pee started.  And this wasn't a trickle - it was a flow.  I have no idea how the people around me reacted.  I just kept going.

Mile 2: 9:05.  A little tough mentally (especially in the second half with thoroughly wet shorts).

I could see that I was on track for a PR.  I wanted it, wanted to prove to myself I could do it.  I didn't have the drive to really pick it up but I did think I could hold on for the next 1.1 miles.  There was a tall guy next to me that I tried to hold on to and pass but didn't, but it was definitely a good motivating factor.

Mile 3: 8:47.   Just a little more, if I could hold on, I would PR.  I picked it up just a little, and that last .1 was 8:13.  Not a full sprint, but pretty nice.

I crossed the finish line and unlaced the chip on my shoe.  I had made the mistake of lacing it too high on my shoe and the edge cut into the top of my ankle.  I didn't hang around for my banana or free beer and just started walking back to where my car was. Thank goodness I had parked at my gym; I borrowed a towel to put underneath me when I got home.

How do I feel with this PR?  Good...I guess?  I don't know, maybe the focus on the pee part has got me a little out of it.  I will say that I pushed myself hard on this.  I crossed the finish line with very little left in the tank.  This one felt almost miraculous to pull out, which makes me think too hard about what my next 5K will be.  Will I succeed as well?  Given the conditions for this one, I think I will.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Yeah, I'll remember that one (Run to Remember RR)

So, I ran the Run to Remember. The short version is - I definitely did not hit my goal.  I basically blew up - went too fast at the start, ended up with last mile as the slowest mile, and although it might have looked  like I was okay when I crossed the finish line, inside my mind I wasn't.  But - I think that I have some good lessons that came out of this race.

First lesson - Run like I trained.  I started out with a slower mile than my goal, which I expected - 10:24.  Next mile - 9:15.  Danger, danger!  What was happening in my mind was I saw that first mile and my brain went stupid and said "Ohmigod - that's too slow.  SPEED UP SPEED UP".  What I really should have reminded myself of was those training runs where I naturally started out slowly and then GRADUALLY sped up.  I also had multiple 10-14 mile runs where I practiced pushing those last 1-2 miles, so I know that I can pick up a lot at the end.  All that flew out of my brain in the midst of this frantic need to be FAST FAST FAST way too early in the race.

Second lesson - Adjust to race conditions.  I mentioned in my last post that the summer heat was starting to come on.  I had been running in those conditions for the past couple days.  I wasn't fully adjusted, I believe.  It's a few days later and I feel more comfortable to push the pace, but that day?  Wasn't there.  It especially ties in with the above - I need to remember that even though I'm not feeling the heat yet, it will heat up as I get further into the race.  Slow it down now so that I'm not as uncomfortable later in the race.  Plus - take the water.  I took more than I'm used to and was okay, but I think that skipping the first couple water stops was a bad idea.  I've also pretty good now at running through the stops and doing the top squeeze, drink, toss, so no time loss.

Third lesson - Plan for the race, not just the goal.  For shorter races like 5Ks it's easier to grab a pace and just try to hold on.  Not effective for 10 miles, half marathons, marathon. Those longer races I need to get my mind to a place where I have different comfort levels at different points in the race; easier at the beginning to get adjusted, pick up the pace mid-race, all out (as much as possible) at the end.   I need to learn this lesson now, before I crash and burn in my first marathon.

I will say that even though I'm not happy with my result (2:20:42), I still enjoyed the race.  It was a good size race - ~8,000 people - but I didn't feel exceedingly crowded, although there was never a time where I was alone on the course.  I did like the course because it really made me realize how close areas in Boston are to each other.  The course ran from World Trade Center down by Seaport all the way up to  Harvard square.  Along the way it ran past Government center area and a nice bit along the Charles river.  The finisher medal was fun, the t-shirt although not a tech shirt is fairly nice if a bit boring.  Overall I came out of the experience wanting to run it again next year.

What's interesting about the whole experience is it really did make me see that I'm at a point where just crossing the line isn't a miracle and that every time I put effort in I will PR.  I have to race smart, and I really hope with my next half marathon (BAA in October) I will be ready to get the PR I am looking for.  I just have to pull this page back up the day before and remind myself what this race taught me.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Let's DO this thing

I'm running the Run to Remember tomorrow. I'm very excited because 1.) I feel my training went well and 2.) my bum hamstring has been feeling much better recently.  The second seemed to improve after enforced rest after a nasty cold; hey - that's a silver lining on that knock-me out cold.

I have a goal.  I did 2:12 with a bad leg; one training cycle and healed leg later, I believe I can do 2:07.  The only thing holding me back now is the weather.

Not optimal, but I think I can work with it.  I've been training through the heat/humidity only in the last week, so there's definitely some adjustment that's started but I might not be 100% there.  What will bring me through is the mental game.  That's really what I feel got stronger in the last two training cycles, the reminder that "Yeah, this sucks.  It's not supposed to be easy, otherwise it wouldn't be a race!".  When I'm 4 miles in and want to just stop - I won't.  That's kind of obvious because duh - where would I go?  But just that mental reminder that I'm in this place to push myself to my limits and not to give up will give me that boost I need.

I had someone ask on one of my prior posts how I took so much time off my half.  There are a lot of factors (including that I had so much time to take off!) that I will go into in a longer post, but one definitely is the mind game.  I feel like this training cycle and the one before have made me much stronger overall - body and spirit.

Run to Remember - I'm coming for ya!

Extra bonus - Just as I was writing this post the doorbell rang.  New clothes from Lululemon!  Yay!  They of course will not be broken in until next week - NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY - but it was a pretty awesome pick-me-up when I started to get a little mentally down.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's going on

I got a comment recently (hi Jill!) asking where I've been.  Although I wish I could answer that I was off drinking martinis in a tropical paradise while a multitude of half-naked men catered to my every whim, it was not the case.  But that's a good fantasy to keep in my back pocket.  Nor were my arms broken, as is often asked when you are too lazy to do anything.  It's pretty much the last part of that statement - too lazy to update.

Me and Hahvahd

What's been going on:

* I ran the BAA 5K.  It was crowded and I improved my PR, but only by 14 seconds.  It was okay for what it was - a race you can't take too seriously because of the # of people running vs. the size of the streets - but I was disappointed because I want that big PR improvement. 27:xx baby!  To that end I have a pair of 5Ks coming up - actually back to back ones on June 2/3 - one of which I will PR!  Or maybe not.  See next bullet.  PR will probably have to wait until July 5K in Maine

* I've been training for the Run to Remember which is this coming Sunday.  Training has been going very well; I'm repeating the training I used for Quincy, which is the half marathon level 1 from Run Faster by Brad Hudson.  Love those training plans.  I think I executed more effectively on the plan this time too; I figured out how to modulate my paces more and I think that helped me get through the runs better.  I've been keeping my eyes on the weather for the race - cross fingers it stays semi-cool.  Right now it's showing in the 60s which is slightly more than I want.  Still aiming high - 2:07:xx is my goal.  But if the weather doesn't co-operate - there is still the BAA half later in the year.

* From the prior two bullets - yes, I am still running.  That pain in my butt?  Moderately better.   I want to say much but I still have it annoying me for a lot of runs.  What did help recently was three days of enforced rest brought on by a nasty cold.  Plus - foam rolling, the stick, better stretching.  Also still doing personal training and feeling strong.  Still need to be better about scheduling in massages/yoga.  Will have to mod next training program.  Which leads to...

* MARATHON TRAINING.  Although this is technically not something I've been doing but will be doing, it's something that I am excitedly looking forward to.  I will be starting my training June 25 - right after a 10K.  Good timing, huh?  In between I have about a month for light training; keeping up the mileage, one heavier session a week, but trying not to kill myself.

* And although it's not easy to believe, I do other things than running.  Photographic proof!

Cousins in NYC!

From the NYC trip - NEWSIES is awesome, go see.  Mary Poppins is disappointing not because of the performances (although kid actors can annoy) but because by it's nature it had to vary from the movie (how could they do the painting scene?) but it varied so much that it was too unfamiliar.  Like when you love a song and you hear a cover that just is too different?  Craftbar is a great restaurant, especially when you have a friend of a friend who is the sommelier make the reservation.  We got free food at every course, ending up with four desserts at the end because we had no pattern recognition and ordered three desserts without thinking "Duh - we've been getting free food at every course, MAYBE THEY'LL DO IT AT DESSERT".

The best was the one in the center (cornbread with peach topping), which was complimentary.

* Not me specifically, but my family - I have a new niece!  Violet.  She is plain adorable from what I hear.  No pictures yet.  Second child - it will take time to get them as they are busy having a three year old and a newborn.

Other than the above - work is busy/stressing.  I'm "fighting my weight" although it's a moderately successful fight as I am sticking within a pound or two of a sticking point.  It's just a sticking point that's 5 pounds higher than I want, and I don't have the mental energy to motivate myself into buckling down.

Oh, and I've been trying out new hairstyles - what do you think?

(And for Jill, since she's the one who prompted me back out of hiding...I'm going to find a good picture of the costume I wore when I did Bay to Breakers last year.  I did it with a group and we were on the news and in multiple newspapers!)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Well, that was...okay (Half of Quincy RR)

Half of Quincy is in the books.  And although I did PR, and hit exactly halfway between my B and C goals, it doesn't feel very good.

Let's start with the day before.  I was feeling good that day, very excited to be running.  I had a lovely lunch of a leftover half meatball sub and was feeling good.  At night I had a lighter meal - english muffins, one with PB, one with butter, green beans, and a yogurt.  Then I had a serving of chocolate.  Then another.  Only two servings, but that second serving was out of mental desire not true hunger.  It happens, but this time it happened when I was already feeling a bit overfull. 

So - off to bed feeling vaguely queasy.  Slept well, which is good, but it also helped that I had slept well the night before.  Woke up - still feeling a little off from the sugar overdose.  Got up, toasted my bagel, PB'd it, and was out the door on time.  I will pause here to say that on the days that I don't want to do my long runs it's really the bagel that gets me out the door.  Not so much the fueling (which it does), but the mental thing - "ate the bagel - let's go run!".

Drove down to Quincy to a gorgeous, sunny morning.  It was in the forties but I knew it was going to warm up so I was in a long sleeve tech shirt and shorts.  The shirt was from the Tufts Women's 10K from last year, and it was really funny how many other women I saw wearing the same shirt! 

Lined up for the bathroom (of course), and as I was waiting a woman wearing a jacket that said Security came over to the line and tapped the woman in front of me, me(!), and the two women behind me.  She said "Come with me.".   I was mentally like - "What did I do?".  She walked us over to the other side of the hall (we were in a high school), and unlocked another bathroom!  She said since it was only four stalls she wanted to manage the number of people going in....

Did some more stretches, lined up for the bathroom again, got in just in time, and lined up outside.  It was interesting because this was the first year that this half also was doing a 5K.  They both started at the same time and lined up at the same place, but the 5K people were splitting off to the left while we went straight.  I do wonder how well it went in terms of traffic management. I didn't see any issues, but I might do a check to find out what people's experiences were.

Started out feeling...ehn.  Not fast like the 10 mile race, more like just running was an effort.  I fought from the start and it didn't get any better.

And as a note - never believe a race director when they say the course is "mostly flat".  Mostly flat.  Like I'm mostly Nicole Kidman.

The run itself was mostly uneventful.  I did have a mini cheering section in my cousin and her boyfriend.  They were at mile 4.  What's awesome is that I had started out wearing gloves because of the chill, but by mile 4 I was so hot that even though I had taken them off and tucked them into the front of my shorts I even felt hot with them being there.  Just as I was thinking that I saw my cousin ahead of me; she was cheering, I veered over towards her, and tossed my gloves.  She caught them.  Good thing - wouldn't want to lost 67 cent gloves that I had multiple pairs of at home!

As alluded to above there were definitely some hills on this course.  I mentally wasn't feeling them and had to fight to not walk.

I've gotten this far into the race report and haven't mentioned the major problem yet.  My right hamstring/piriformis?   Killing me the entire race.  Literally the entire race.  Luckily it's not the kind of pain that throws off my stride, but it was not fun. 

So even with the oversugaring, painful glutes, overheating (yes - even though it was a light tech shirt I was still hot), I still feel that I gave all that I had that day. 

 My old PR for the half was 2:29:45; this new one is 2:12:00.  So - good.  But just not mentally good.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Goal time!

In less than 12 hours I will be getting up, getting dressed, and pinning on the below #.

I'm already trying to make up why this # is good luck.  It's my 10 miler # + 20?

I'm excited for this half because it's the first where I really plan to race.  This is my third half.  My first was "I am in intense pain and sick, but I will cross the finish line".  My second was "Let me see if I can run the entire thing".  (Spoiler - I did).  This one is "I have trained my butt off - let's DO this."

I definitely have goals.

a.)  PR.  This is inevitable.  My current PR is 2:29:45.  The training runs that I've been doing - at easy pace - are faster than this.

b.) 2:15 .  This is a safety goal.  I really feel that I can get here with no issues, but it's still working hard.

c.) 2:10.  This feels right?  Sort of?  McMillan has me at 2:07 which seems too much of a stretch.  Or am I underestimating myself...

The thing is, even with my goals I'm very much in the mile when I run.  I'm very bad at the mental math, so I really won't know until I get towards the last few miles where I am.  Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration - I will have my mile splits, so I'll have some idea.

I'm excited and nervous about this race.  It's ~1,300 people, which compared to my other two halves (Disney) is distinctly smaller.  On the plus side I will have my cousin cheering me on - she said she will be at two places on the course, plus at the end.

Love ya lots, Pammy!

I was a lazy bum today, fueled myself wonderfully (what - meatball subs are awesome the day before a race), the weather looks gorgeous...I'm ready to dominate.

Watch out Half of Quincy - I'm comin' for ya!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Holy...! (Black Cat 10 Miler RR)

Quick update - I did not make it streaking through February as planned.  That's okay - I think that the effort got me more comfortable with my legs which is enough for me.

I also got exceeding lazy about posting my goals for my first race of 2012, which was this morning.  So call this a goals and post mortem at the same time.

First of all the race was the Black Cat 20 and 10 miler.  I did the 10 miler; this was my second 10 miler ever. It doesn't seem to be that common a race distance so I don't know how many I'll end up doing.  Randomly I saw someone posting about doing an 8K, and I couldn't even believe that was a distance.  Makes no sense to me.

Anyway, goals.  I was having a hard time getting A/B/C (absolute/probable/stretch goals) because one that I was considering seemed like good practice more than a goal.  What I did have were:

A - PR.  Considering my PR from my prior 10 miler was slower than my current slow run pace, I figured unless I slammed face first into the pavement (sneak peak - I didn't) that I was safe with this.

B - 1:40.  It's a nice round number, exactly 10 minute miles.

C - This is where I ran into trouble.  I was torn between setting a goal of hitting McMillan prediction (1:39:47, based on my last race) and trying to negative split.  I don't think I ended up on a decision, so I really went in with A and B goals only.

So - race.  The race was in Salem, MA, which apparently I only visit to race?  It's not that far away and it's full of historic interest - get on the ball, chick!  Anyway - I was 90% prepared when I got to the race.  The missing %?  My stupid brain which forgot blister band aids that I've been living on recently (new shoes are needed desperately) and my sunglasses.  Luckily I ended up not really needing either.

I got to the race location half an hour early with the expectation that I would do an actual warmup mile or two before the race, instead of taking the first couple miles in the race at a slower pace.  That decision went out the window when I saw that I could wait on line for bathrooms inside instead of using port-a-potties.  Once I was done peeing I did some stretching and went out to the start.

It was a bit chilly but not that bad.  I really didn't hear the start announcement and only knew what was going on when people ahead of me started moving.  I also was very lucky that I kept my eyes on the road, because giant pothole right at the start!

Not much going on during the actual race.  ~mile 2 the voice in my head piped up, right on schedule - "Do you really think you can do this?  Maybe you should slow down.  Walking sounds good.  You're breathing pretty hard...".  Ignored.

Also around mile 2 there was a woman with disturbingly tight shorts ahead of me.  Serious wedgie.  She had incredibly awesome legs but those shorts... I really was glad when I passed her because they were seriously creeping me out.

The description of the course said  - "The only big hill is entering into Marblehead, there are a few other hills on the course but nothing major."  I don't know when they imported Mt Everest to MA, but it must have been right before this race.  It was a big hill alright but I felt good powering up it.  I was also happy that the course was a loop so I got to run down it on the way back.

This was the first race where I didn't walk through the two water stops that I ended up using.  I splashed myself pretty good on the first, did the squeeze sides of cup on the second which worked well.

Mile 8 the voice came back - "You still have two miles to go - maybe you should slow down?  You're going to trip yourself".  Stupid voice!  I don't listen to you!

I wanted to kick it up in the last mile.  I didn't kick it up as much as I have before, but I think that's a good thing?  I didn't leave much on the course?

My result - 1:35:40.  Almost 4 minutes faster than I was going for.  Wow.  Where did that come from?  So goals A and B definitively met, as well as beating McMillan.  Did negative split - first 5 miles were 48:28.

All this makes me excited for my half in two weeks.  I'm gonna bring it!

Monday, February 20, 2012


I tried to find the right video to go with the title of this post, but nothing showed up that I liked on YouTube.  Kids these days  - no respect for the classics.  In my day our bands wore Kabuki makeup and WE LIKED IT.

Anyway, just to keep you all up to date I'm still on a running streak.  I will be running every day until Feb 29, and then taking a day (or maybe 2!) off.  I have a race March 3 that I will want fresh legs for.

Thinking about that race brings me to the title of this post (ah-ha!).  It's the mnemonic for Keep It Simple, Stupid.  It was probably stupid to spell it out because I'm sure most folks know it, but I like to be clear, just in case.  Anyway in my case the simple part is focusing on one thing at a time.  For example, that race March 3?  It's not my goal race for training - it's a 10 mile race 2 weeks before my goal half in Quincy.  I'm lining up race strategy for the 10 mile race, (including trying to do negative splits - but that's another (soon to be posted) post) but I'm not even 100% focused on the half marathon. I'm already mentally skipping ahead to the marathon in November.

Now I know that it's understandable - first marathon, so of course I'm thinking of it.  But it's something that I do a lot; focus too much on what's in the future and not enjoy what's here.  I do it with vacations and visits, special occasions... I also do it with the bad stuff which can get me into a perpetual anxiety spiral.

My goal for this upcoming race is to race smart for what it is - a warmup/tuneup race - but still stay within that race and not think too much about the half marathon.  I'm looking forward to PRing at both races, even without truly racing the 10 miler.  It's been a year since my last 10 mile race and I know that I can pull more out of myself.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nothing useful

Nothing really useful here, but I thought I'd share a couple YouTube videos that have been my obsessions the last couple weeks.  I have no idea who any of the people in these videos are, I just love the pretty and the dancing.  And I think I have a total crush on the lead guy in both these.

I love dancing.  Love, love, love.  

Saturday, February 04, 2012

It's been a long time...

I shouldn't have left you, without a dope beat to step to....

In other words, hi!  I'm not dead!  Hope you all are good as well.

In running news I kicked off a running streak January 4 that continues through today (February 4th).  I ran at least one mile every day.  A whole month!  Of course when I looked up running streaks I found this page - United States Running Streak Association, Inc .  43 1/2 years of running every day?  Now that's hard core.  Still, I'll keep my streak going for a bit longer.  It gives me something to do every day to clear my head.  I also believe that it's been giving me more confidence in my endurance and power.

On the racing front it's four weeks until my next race.

Image cropped from

I haven't raced since early December so of course I am excited.  I am doing the 10 mile race.  It's actually going to be a warmup/time trial for my half marathon two weeks later.  With that in mind I am going to do my best to go in with a race strategy and execute on it.  It's totally different from my usual "hold on and pray I finish" strategy.  I've run and raced this distance before so there is no excuse for not getting out there and pushing (wisely).  I'm working out my A/B/C goals and will post them soon.  Promise! 

Other than that stuff has been stuff.  I visited my mom a couple weeks ago to help with her first cataract surgery (she came through great), and will probably be visiting her again in the next couple weeks to help with her second.  On the job front I'll be getting a bonus payout in a couple weeks.  I will be banking most of it but am considering splurging on a new purse with some.  We'll see.

I've got some other things to say but am too damn lazy today to say them.  Oh - except for if you want to follow me on Daily Mile, please go ahead and do.  Hi!

More later.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just plain nutz

January has been an interesting month in running for me.  I'm trying to streak through January (run at least  a mile per day every day), started the effort on the 4th.  It's 11 days later, and I'm still going strong.  I'm hitting my miles and even doing some speed work.  I get lost in my runs and my body just handles it.  I'm not tripping over my own feet or kicking myself in the ankle (which I've done frequently before).  Everything is...good.

Today was an interesting run.  Temps were going to hit a high of 21.  With windchill - it was going to feel like it was in the low negatives.  I bundled up in my new Underarmour set (yay birthday gift from Dad!) and started out.  I probably should layer up more next time because I definitely felt chilled for a large portion of the run.  I also think I made the mistake of stopping for water/fueling at mile 7.  Even though the water was room temp (thank god!), I think my body was sending blood to the stomach to digest and it probably made it more chilly.  Also I had stopped about a mile earlier to go to the bathroom and I think my glove got a bit wet next to the sink.  I looked down at a little over mile 8 and the tip was frozen stiff.  At that point I could have stopped; I was next to a T station and had cash, I could have hopped on and finished my run on the treadmill in comfort.  I seriously thought about it but in the end kept going.  Mostly because I knew if I took the T it would be the T and a bus because of construction on the line.  And I still don't like the treadmill.  Not hate as much anymore, just not my favorite.  Definitely warming to it for speed workouts, however.

Anyway, like I said I kept going.  Around mile 10 my fingers started feeling numb.  It was definitely scary, but I kept moving them and putting my hands in my armpits when I was at stoplights.  I got to mile 11.5 and that's where I was supposed to turn it on for the last 5 minutes.  Amazingly I did.  Even after 11.5 miles I had something in me and I poured it on.  It felt good.

I'm a couple months away from my next big race and I am already excited for it.  I'm going to be careful in my training and eating going forward.  I have high hopes for a great race and for a great 2012.  Don't forget - I already called it as my year!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Food, as simple as that

Remember when I used to blog about my cooking?  If you've read my blog lately probably not.  If you look at the url for my blog you can see I started it centered around cooking; specifically cooking five new recipes a week.  This was years ago and a prior job and I actually did pretty well at it I think.  But times and hobbies change, and, well...

But this weekend I cooked.  It's actually not a surprise I cook most weekends but I just don't take pictures.   I think pictures are more critical in a post about food than a regular post so, no pictures, no post.   But - I remembered to take pictures this weekend!  Yay!

Sunday night was Classic Beef Chili from Eating Well .  I stuck pretty firmly to the recipe but declined to buy scallions just to act as a garnish/topping.  It's a waste because I never use the rest of the scallions before they go bad.  Anyway, result is below.

I don't love the result.  It's an interesting recipe in that it includes shreds of sweet potato which are meant to melt into the chili.  Mine ended up with most melting in but some still around which gives the deceptive appearance of having cheese in the result.  It's kind of disappointing to expect cheese and not get it.  Other than that it's kind of a generic chili.  Not spiced strongly enough for my tastes, and the meat wasn't meat-y enough for what I am used to.  Definitely not a repeat.

I was in the mood for chili after New Year's because my brother made some on New Year's Day.  It's our traditional family meal for the day.  This chili satisfied that craving but didn't make me long to eat the leftovers in my fridge.  I'll definitely keep and freeze what's left - squeezing in to my freezer (pictures will be with post tomorrow), but still on the lookout for a good beef chili.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Use it or lose it

Hello!  Been a bit since my last post.  Not as long as a lot of the gaps in this blog in the past, but more than I wanted to have given my recent posting history. 

It's long enough since Christmas that I can't believe I ever went away.  It's always a funny feeling to get off a plane and be home after being away.

I think I'm past the post-holiday doldrums; advent calendar is away.  That's about it for my Christmas decorations this year.  I can get exceedingly lazy when I am decorating just for myself.  If I had folks visiting I would do it up a bit more.

My next race is a the Black Cat 10 Miler, but my next goal race is the Quincy Half Marathon.  As I said before I am aiming for a 2:15:xx in the half which I believe is a non-stretch goal.  This is my third time through a half marathon training program but I decided to choose a more challenging one.  My first two I went with the Hal Higdon Beginner program; this round I went with an 18 week schedule from Brad Hudson's Run Faster.  Definitely more challenging, as my attempt at a ladder workout today will attest.  It's higher volume and includes more speedwork.  I am pretty sure that I will use his plan when I start my marathon training in a few months.

Other than running nothing major going on.  My PM work is getting more smooth (as far as I can tell) but I'm still working which is always good.  My company hit 2 out of 3 of our bonus goals (unofficially) so I will get a bonus, just not the full one we would have gotten if we hit 3 out of 3.  But hey - a bonus is  a bonus!

So with that catchup I'll say what the post title means.  I'm someone who buys stuff - in this case food - because I love it in concept but then get it home and don't eat it that fast.  It mostly comes from years of limiting myself when I was losing.  I don't have anything but good things to say about my experiences losing/maintaining with Weight Watchers, but there is no question in my mind that it gave me a lot of reluctance to eat outside of the bounds of "the list" of healthy foods.  Now that I'm eating more in tune with my body and mood I actually allow myself once in a while to buy non-wholesome snacks!  Wow!    So I buy them and now I have a full shelf of snackiness just for me.  With that said my goal is to buy less of the stuff while I do some more eating from what I have. Not a big goal, but meaningful to me.  I have such wonders hiding in my kitchen too, so I'll probably be sharing what I've found.  Look forward to it!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

All good things...

Home again home again, jiggity jig.  Not so happy to be home after a wonderful trip to see my brother's family.

Oh how I miss this little sweetness

It was a very relaxing trip.  We got out some more after our day at the zoo, including going to the botanical gardens.  They had a train exhibit which of course fascinated my niece.

After the garden it was time for lunch at a diner that has fabulous desserts.


My partially decimated reuben

The highlight of the rest of the week for me was my birthday!  It also happened to be New Year's Eve, but we all know that my birthday takes precedence.  My brother and his wife had some friends over and we all had dinner and played Cranium.   Definitely a lot of fun and laughter.

Yay cake!

Morning after

I flew home on the first.  I really miss my family right now.  It's really hard to get back in to the swing of things - definitely some post-holiday depression.  It's only natural after so much joy.  So - I guess I'll take it. The trip is worth the let down.

Hope to see this lovebug again soon!