Monday, July 25, 2011

Le sigh.

I was really hoping that I would be able to sit down last night or this morning and write a blog post about how well my run went yesterday. And I'm sure you were hoping to read said blog post, right? Well, no dice (that was for Austin).

My run was AWFUL. WAH, WAH, WAH. Please pity me because I am an adult and I decided to take this project on to train for a marathon and now I DON'T LIKE IT and I DO NOT WANT. So instead of taking my training more seriously, and maybe changing my diet to aid in my training efforts, I think the most effective method of improving this situation is CONSTANT WHINING on my blog that my friends voluntarily submit themselves to reading.

Yes? Yes. Glad we're all on the same page here.

The facts of the situation:
After conquering 10 a week ago, I thought that 7 was going to be nbd (no big deal. not even a big enough deal to actually type the words out). Well, turns out 7 took offense to that and decided that it was going to be a BFD (big fucking deal) instead.

I got plenty of sleep Saturday night. I didn't hydrate quite as much as I should have on Saturday, but I did turn down a glass of wine which I feel my body basically should have taken as a sign that I wanted to be completely hydrated. I'm not entirely sure why it didn't get the memo.

I had Chipotle for lunch yesterday. I thought the carbs in the tortilla + the protein in the beans + the good fats in the guac would be good fuel for my run. I can't decide if last night was the fault of the burrito, but I hate to fault burritos for anything, really, so I hesitate to assign blame. The thing that I may have to blame (as much as it hurts me) are the two gigantic fountain Diet Cokes I drank along with my lunch. I should have been drinking water. I knew that. But I figured that I still had several hours left to prepare as I waited for the temperature go down. The thing is, having hours to prepare doesn't really help you unless you use those hours to prepare. I hope you guys are taking notes on these profound life lessons I'm dishing out right now.

Anyway, I downed a bottle of water before my run and set out to do 7 miles. I made it about 2.5 before I had to stop to walk - I had a stitch in my side that I thought I could run through because I was just about to reach the spot where I'd refill my water bottles (and therefore stop running for a few minutes), but I couldn't run through it. I was having a really hard time taking a full breath - I was taking these short, shallow breaths that were really inefficient, but I couldn't get my breathing to be more productive. So I walked for a few minutes, took the break to refill my water bottles, and then tried to run back - but it was just not happening for me last night. I did a run/walk routine the whole way home and gave up when I passed my apartment again at 5.5 miles - I didn't even try to finish up the last 1.5 miles.

My head just wasn't in it last night, and when it's that hot & humid outside, you really need your head to be in it to get you through a tough run. So. Lesson learned - if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail (credit to whoever said that first, I don't think anyone really knows who it was). Occasional failure on a training run is ok. Just gotta roll with the punches.

I am looking forward to this weekend when I will be in Columbus. I plan to take advantage of the less humid/hot weather and do my long run there (we'll see if I can actually do it). 12 miles this weekend. Eeek!

Friday, July 22, 2011

It is hot and I am squirmy.

I started this blog post yesterday while I was at work, and all I typed was the title, and then I gave up and stared at my computer screen for a while. Because it was hot and I was squirmy. I didn't want to blog. I wanted to sit in a meat locker somewhere (I'd accept the meat locker at 123 Chancellor, or an actual meat locker, except maybe without the meat, just the refrigeration). The actual temperature yesterday in Baltimore was around 105* (my car said 108* when I got in to go home around 3 pm). The heat index, though, was closer to 120* with a repeat performance today (hence why I am currently sitting in my apartment with all the shades closed and two doggies chilling at my feet instead of frolicking like they usually are).

Anyway, enough complaining about the heat - but what that does serve to do is to set the scene for Thursday morning when I went for a run with my friend Brigid. I left my apartment at 6:15 am because I was supposed to meet her about a mile away at 6:30 am (no, I don't run 15 minute miles, but I knew it would take a while for my Garmin to find the satellites and who asked you, anyway?). As I stepped out of my apartment building, the screen on my Garmin fogged over immediately from the humidity. Things that are Uncool, #234235.

I ran the mile to meet Brigid after my Garmin found its satellite homies, then once we met up we continued along the same basic route we took last time. It was oppressively hot the entire time. My friend Michelle told me once that it is generally unbearable to run outside when the dew point is over 60*. You want to know what the dew point was at 6:15 am on Thursday? 79*. You read that right. So it was a struggle, but it was so much better than last time, I think because I hadn't run the night before and had rested instead. We ran the entire way, and Brigid dropped me off at my apartment after a little bit more than 4 miles (and my Garmin took forever to sync up, so probably in total it was close to 4.3, which is a nice cushion).

I walked into my apartment building to get Mugsy so he could accompany me on my cooldown walk (the word cooldown is relative when you're dealing with these temperatures). The difference when I hit my air conditioned, non-sauna like lobby was amazing. My entire body was immediately cooled off because I was COVERED in sweat that couldn't evaporate while I was outside in the extremely humid air. Note - I ate sushi on Wednesday night with a ton of soy sauce, meaning a ton of salt, meaning I had retained a bunch of water, which they say is good to do before a run. So yay for that! An excuse to eat lots of salt! Anyway, I grabbed the Mugman and we walked back outside and the in-out-in routine really proved to me just how terrible it was outside. As soon as we walked back outside, it was like someone was sitting on my lungs - the humidity was suffocating. Boooooo. But, I suppose my body is adapting because it didn't die. Positive thoughts.

Only 7 to deal with tomorrow because it's another cutback week, so that's sweet :-)


Monday, July 18, 2011

Mama said knock you OUT

Did you see Harry Potter yet? If not, that means you probably haven't seen the preview for Happy Feet 2 where the tiny little fluffball (penguin) raps "Mama said knock you out" by LL Cool J. I'm sorry, but seeing a baby penguin rap "DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK" killed me. Amaze. Heart.

So anyway, it was applicable, because this weekend I had to knock out 10 miles. And after The Suck that was 9 miles last Sunday, I was really not looking forward to the run. Plus, I didn't have the best week of life last week, so I thought it would just be SO APPROPRIATE to cap it off with 10 miles of Suck. I was not anticipating a good two hour (approximately, with water breaks + pee breaks + chat breaks when I ran into multiple friends) run.

But you know what? It wasn't that bad. In fact, I'd venture to say that it went WELL.

Maybe it was my lowered expectations. Maybe it was some sick runner's high. But it was good! And that's good, right?

I drank a ton of water. It was probably hovering around 90* through the entire run, but with some great cloud cover + breezes thrown in there for relief. I refilled my water bottles on my fuel belt (10 oz each) 3 times - both bottles 2 times and then 1 bottle 1 last time. I ate an entire pack of Shot Bloks (6...they really help). I ran really slowly.

I have to do this thing while I'm running to keep myself going - I have to occupy my mind constantly, and it really helps me to break the run down into smaller chunks and say to myself "Ok, you just ran 2 miles, it's really just 5 segments of 2 miles," etc. Sadly, in my head, I started doing this yesterday at 0.25 miles. And I thought to myself "Ok, a quarter mile down...I only have to do...39 more." And then I burst out laughing. Which is better than crying and hyperventilating, yes? One foot in front of the other. Keep calm and carry on.

As an aside, this is what I'm facing in the next 10 days...hence why my running this week will be on a treadmill or at 6 am (trying again with Brigid to prove to her that I am not a total slug):

I got to see two kids on leashes in the Inner Harbor area...which was awesome. And lots of cute puppies. And I ran by a live concert at Pier 6 but I have no idea who was playing. I just saw lots of people sitting outside listening...and then ran into a couple of intoxicated friends which was pretty funny. I try to always think to myself "if you weren't running 10 miles right now, you wouldn't have gotten to see this."

I lost the ability to smile around 7.25 miles, and instead just sort of grimaced at other runners as we passed (I try to smile at fellow runners because I feel their pain, although yesterday I admit I was mostly thinking "I bet you aren't running 10 miles right now, why did I decide to do this?").

So happy day, it's a cutback week this week which means my long run this weekend is only 7 miles. Can we talk about how ridiculous it is that a run of "only 7 miles" makes me this excited? And I know that at some point, a run of "only 10 miles" will make me really happy.

Also, I just glanced up at my training schedule and this week I'm supposed to run a total of 18 miles over the course of the week (broken into 4 runs, but let's be real, we know I'll only do 3). Now, compare that with the fact that 7 weeks from now, my long run will be 18 miles. So, you know, running IN ONE CONTINUOUS SHOT the amount that I am running this entire week.

**Let it be known that I actually Google Image searched "Runner Fetal Position" and this is what it came back with, but since it's Dwight it's awesome and that's pretty much what my brain looks like when I think about all the miles I have ahead of me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

One of those important life questions...

How do you
when all you want to do is


seriously, people. i want answers.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It'll all be fine

***EDIT: This post is really funny when you compare it to my post on March 22, 2009. I just talked to the same friend who I reference in that post and she said the same thing...and I laughed, remembering the "implicit hope." Cynicism rules!***

Will it?


That's what "They" say. It'll all be fine. It'll all turn out ok. Will it? I'm feeling bad for myself at the moment, so indulge me. Things don't turn out ok for everyone. They just don't. Shit happens. Tsunamis happen. Earthquakes happen. Terrorist attacks happen. And no - in NO PART of my mind am I comparing my life to that of anyone who has gone through one of those things or had someone they love do so - but my point is just that I feel like sometimes, "It'll all be ok" is something they (They) tell us so that we don't go fucking nuts and kill each other.

We Hope.

We Have Faith.

Is it only because the other options are too hard to consider?

Wah wah, give me some time to roll around in my self pity and I'll buck up, I promise.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

After all of my running, I'm finally coming...home.

Have you seen Country Strong?
If you haven't, you should.

It's a good movie, but I think the soundtrack is even better than the movie itself. There are many great songs on the soundtrack, but my two favorites are Country Strong and Home. Country Strong REALLY pumped me up on the treadmill tonight -- these lyrics specifically:

"I have weathered colder winters
Longer summers without a drop of rain
Push me in a corner and I'll come out fighting
I may lose but I'll always keep my faith

'Cause I'm Country Strong
Hard to break
Like the ground
I grew up on

You may fool me
and I'll fall
But I won't stay down long
'cause I'm Country Strong"

And these lyrics from Home:
The world tried to break me
I found a road to take me

There ain't nothing but a blue sky now
After all of my running,
I'm finally coming

I mean how could you not love you some Gwyneth?
Or some Leighton?

At the very least, it's worth seeing the movie or buying the soundtrack to listen to Leighton Meester lend her extremely thick, extremely fake southern accent to all her songs - for example, "fainger" instead of finger. Totally normal.

ANYWAY. The point of this post isn't to convince you to see Country Strong (although that may be a subpoint). The point is to talk about how after all of my running, I'm finally coming home.

I've been feeling sort of lost lately - in life, in running. And I feel like finally I'm getting back to where I belong within myself. Getting my groove back, so to speak. There's still some work to be done - but I'll get there. I needed to regain faith in myself, and I think I did it tonight on the treadmill.

I set out to do 3 miles and it went well. I had to slow down and back off my initial pace but once I slowed it down (and keep in mind, I'm already slow, so slower than slow is...really slow) I felt really good. I was able to speed it up once I got my stride back and ran the 2nd and 3rd miles faster than the first, which made me HAPPY.

After my run I took Mugsy to the dog park where he spent some more time rolling in the baby pools (if you haven't seen him do that yet, here is a link) and I caught up with my friend Patrick. After THAT I came back and ordered an entire pizza for myself for my dinner, which was delicious. I only ate 3 pieces (cough so far cough) but I eagerly anticipate eating the remaining slices.

Finally - I'm going to cut my hair tomorrow. I'm thinking of making my bangs more like Zooey Deschanel's:
Because then when I make the above face/hand gesture it will look more natural. And I'm thinking I'll take 3 or 4 inches off the rest of my hair - it's just TOO HOT to have hair this long.

Remember? Too hot for life, so too hot for hair.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dear 9, you're the WORST.

I ran 9 miles yesterday. Well, ran is a relative term, I suppose. I ran/walked 9 miles. The heat was such in Baltimore (around 90* with 40% humidity when I started, even at 6:20 pm) that I had to stop frequently to walk/drink water so that I wouldn't overheat. And yet I still found that I wasn't sweating about 3.5 miles into the run - which is not a good sign. So I walked more, drank more water, and found some shade until I could feel myself cooling off and feel the sweat coming back. I really didn't want to get sick so I was being extra careful.

I had a few desperate moments during this run. The heat combined with the humidity combined with the fact that I was running further than I have in over...jeez, 8 months? It wasn't pretty. Then I misjudged a tree branch and slammed my head into it...uncool. I then discovered a large bump on my head during my post-run shower last night. Doubly uncool. So I definitely had a few of those "OhMyGodWhatAmIDoingWhyDidIThinkICouldRunAMarathonIShouldStopRunningImmediately!" moments. And when they happened, I walked, and I said to myself "You're just panicking. You'll feel better as soon as your heart rate comes back down. So stop freaking out." And I reminded myself that those moments are the REASON you do long runs during your training - because you need to get the freakout moments out of the way during the months you're training so that you DO NOT have them on the race course (or, if you do, you're well aware of how you should self-soothe and keep on truckin').

I ate 4 of these:

Clif Shot Bloks are basically candy that you get to eat while running to make the fact that you're running 9 miles in 90* heat more bearable. Seriously - tropical punch flavor? LOVE YOU. Anyway, they have caffeine and other glorious things that make you feel better pretty quickly after ingesting them while running.

I also bought one of these and wore it yesterday for the first time:
My comments:
  • It was very convenient to be able to put my keys, ID, cash (any number of reasons I could have needed that...bottle of water from hobo on the street, cab ride home when I spontaneously quit running), and Shot Bloks in the little pocket on the back.
  • The water bottles bounce around A LOT when they are full. Less so after you've had a few sips.
  • You need to sip evenly from the two bottles otherwise it will start twisting around your body.
  • Maybe - just MAYBE - you should look at the fact that these things have SIZES before you buy yours, and not just grab the only pink one on display and gleefully run to the cash register with it. That's how I ended up with a size Large, when I probably needed a Small (I'm not trying to brag, it's just that with the incorrect size, the velcro doesn't overlap as much as it should, meaning a less secure fit and more bouncing. The last thing I need is more bouncing).
Other things:
I ran in 3" compression shorts last night. If you don't know what these are, they're basically like those little bun-huggers that volleyball players wear. I was trying to wear as little clothing as possible again, in order to not overheat, but I'm pretty sure it's a bit of a faux pas to run in 3" compression shorts. I'm pretty sure people were looking at me and saying "Is that girl even wearing pants?" but maybe they were saying "We should get her a bottle of water." Whatever, I do what I want.

People say that to get used to running in the heat you should RUN IN THE HEAT. And that your body will adjust over time. They're all lying. It's not working.

I had bought dinner for myself at Whole Foods earlier in the day but when I got home, even the idea of BOILING WATER was too much for me (I was going to make black bean/goat cheese ravioli, yum) so I microwaved my leftover mac & cheese from Saturday night's dinner. And it made me sick. But I am still blaming the heat for my getting sick. Mac & cheese never does anything wrong.

The thing is - what I really learned last night is - that I need to cut the shit. I've been messing around with this training. I haven't been cross training, I haven't been stretching like I should, I haven't been taking my nutrition all that seriously. And maybe you can get away with that bullshit when you're training for a half, but you can't when you're training for a full. My longest-mileage week when training for a half was 20 miles -- two 5 mile runs during the week and one 10 mile run on the weekend - and that was MONTHS into training (two weeks prior to race day). This past week I ran 16 miles - during week 3 of marathon training. I was supposed to run 19 but I skipped one of my runs because I think I need to cut down to 3 runs/week instead of 4. This week, there are 21 miles on the schedule. Passing my highest mileage week ever - only 4 weeks into this training schedule.

Shit's about to get real.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Right back at ya, humidity.

I felt like this this morning:
I wanted to feel like this:
but unfortunately I did not. I don't usually compare myself to Homer Simpson but seriously. I felt terrible this morning.

I went out at 7 am to run with my friend Brigid. She ran the 0.5 miles from her apartment to mine and picked me up, and then we ran 3 miles together and I dropped her back off at her doorstep and plodded home. And I mean plodded. I think I ran about 15 steps of the last mile and walked the remainder (which was 1 mile minus 15 steps). Normally if I haven't made it to my mile mark by the time I get home, I run up and down the block in front of my building (which doesn't look strange at all) until I hit the mile mark and then I go inside. Today I was so terribly wiped out that I just threw in the towel and got in the elevator and went upstairs.

I blame the humidity (and the fact that I haven't run in months). Trying to run in the humidity is like holding a damp paper towel over your mouth while you're running and trying to breathe through it. It's not a pleasant experience and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

So anyway I felt like crap.

I need to research how to adjust to running in the humidity. Because it is the Suck.

And I think I'm going to cut my running to 3 days a week (two midweek shorter runs and one weekend longer run) because my body is NOT PLEASED with running 2 days in a row no matter what the situation.

I'm surprised anyone is still reading this.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

One foot in front of the other

I ran tonight. Well...I...covered the distance required by my training plan on my feet through a combination of running and walking. More running than walking though! And not too terribly slowly! I was trying not to go out too hard because I'm running with my friend Brigid tomorrow morning before work (it's not ideal to do two runs within about 12 hours of each other but I'm desperate for some company and Brigid is kind enough to run with me).

So anyway it was super hot outside but I really wanted to use my Garmin so I ran outside in the heat - it wasn't terrible - it was a little cooler because I didn't start my run until 7 or so. I sweat a lot. In general and during this run.

I don't really have anything else interesting to say.



OK bye again.

You're not really reading this, are you?

I've gotta say, people. For once, I gave you free license to berate me (with the condition that I didn't post regularly about my running)...and I've been silent about running for almost a week now...and no angry texts? No e-mails? No blog comments saying "Where the eff are you and I know the answer is on your couch because you're a lazy sack of potatoes!"

Hmmmm. I may need to find meaner friends.

Anyway, I was supposed to run 15 miles during week 2 of marathon training...I ran 8. Oops.

I just started typing the words "In my defense" and then deleted them because all the reasons were stupid. I could have gotten the runs in. I just didn't. I chose to hang out with friends, eat food, drink beer, and rest instead. I'm ok with my decision. I just hope my body is ok with my decision when I ask it to run 9 miles this Sunday.

So anyway I did my long run on Sunday evening. I had to do it indoors on the treadmill because it was too effing hot outside to even THINK about running. Like, you think about running, you start sweating. No good. So I ran it on the treadmill, and I knew that I was going to have a hard time completing the run from a mental perspective (I felt pretty fresh physically given the 4 "rest days" I took) so I told myself that I could run 1 mile, walk 1 minute, and repeat until I hit 5 miles. It really helped break up the run into smaller, more manageable chunks.

I rested again yesterday and today I'm planning on conquering my 3 mile run after work...on the treadmill again because it's once again, too hot in Baltimore. I think the forecast should just say that - "Today: Too hot." Too hot for what, you ask?


Anyway. I hope that as the race grows nearer (3 months 11 days from today), I will be able to move my long runs outside because - while I am not certain of much when it comes to running - I am certain that my body will not be able to handle 26.2 outdoors without having trained on similar surfaces.

Also, in other news, yesterday Jeremy tried to prove to me that Diet Pepsi is better than Diet Coke. I told him that I was sorry he was so terribly misinformed. We decided to do a blind taste test (note to reader, when I first wrote that I typed testes and then giggled to myself) in my apartment using a can of Diet Pepsi and a can of Diet Coke. The idiot tried to fool me by giving me Diet Pepsi twice in a row but my sophisticated palette knew exactly what he was up to.

Diet Coke reigns supreme. Forever.