Monday, August 1, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
I was on tap to do a 14 mile long run this morning. Normally, even though I am incredibly slow, I don't mind long runs. In fact, I kind of like them! I get into a groove, I get into a mindset, and I just keep going. Today, I just couldn't keep going. I knew within the first mile that this run was going to be tough, and it was all downhill from there. I kept having these very negative thoughts about running and my ability to run. I couldn't shake them. This negativity seemed to be battering me from all sides. I just kept circling variations on the following: I'm too slow. This is too long. My feet are going to go numb at any moment. My calves are going to cramp. Why is it so warm? What kind of runner are you. I can't do this.
My 14 mile run turned into a 6.5 mile walk. A brisk walk, but a walk nonetheless
I was defeated not my my body, which was not crampy or numb or dehydrated or underfueled. By all rights, this should have been a great run. I was defeated instead by my head and my heart, which is more discouraging than physical ailments
However, I am a runner. I am a marathoner. I just have to figure out how to shake this training slump I seem to have drifted into in the past few weeks, and I will be more confident in shouting those two things from the rooftops. Any tips on how to shake off runner's malaise and/or negative thoughts?
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Generally, I am not much of a rule breaker. I genuinely like rules and structure. However, I saw this on Shut Up And Run, and decided to see which rules I just couldn’t seem to follow
- I wear gear for the first time on race day. And we’re not talking short 5ks here. I wore my compression tights for the first time during the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon
- I almost never ice anything. Ice baths? Too cold. Icing injuries? Only if it’s awful. For me, rice is a grain that is delicious when pilaf-ed.
- I sneak coffee into movie theaters. When I saw Harry Potter 7.2 I had a grande iced latte in my purse.
- I jaywalk like it’s going out of style. Maybe it’s living in Boston, but I will dart across the street at any old point as long as cars aren't coming.
- Even when I’m following a recipe, I’m not really following a recipe. One of my least favorite things to do is measure things.
- Connected to this, when I make that powdered mac n’ cheese I don’t add milk. I just put gobs of butter in it.
- I’m very bad at stretching or using the foam roller. Even though I know both will make my IT Band feel good, I can always find something better to do (like shower)
- I rarely turn in a library book or a movie on time. Late fees are the scourge of my existence. Thank god for Netflix.
- I eat way too many salty snacks. They are my downfall. I hope to counteract them with fruits and vegetables, but I’m not entirely sure it works that way
- I drink coffee and sometimes snack in bed. Yep. I’m that person. Sometimes you just need to lounge in bed and be lazy. Luckily, I was my sheets frequently
It was harder than I thought to come up with 10 things I consistently, unrepentantly do wrong! I’m going to take that as a good thing, and not as a “you’re kinda boring thing” ;)
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Because this is held on a Thursday the start time was at 6:30pm, when the approximate temperature outside at race time was 1,503,432 Kelvin. Which is just too hot for me to do anything but fan myself in an air conditioned room. To be honest, with all of the heat advisories that have been issued, I expected the race to be cancelled. However, the email came through at 3:00 pm that the race was still on, and that plentiful water would be available.
At that point, I looked at the bag with my running stuff in it. Looked at Intellicast. Waffled on whether or not it would be a good idea to run in a heat index of 103 on a course that has minimal shade. Asked people if it was a good idea. I made lists. I said, Yes I shall do this! Then changed my mind. Then changed it back again. Then eventually, I decided to bag it.
All within a 30 minute time span.
I love race t-shirts. I love the energy that comes with running on a timed course surrounded by a bunch of other crazed runners. I hate not doing things I've already payed for.
However, above and beyond all of those things, I hate heatstroke. And that trumped all the other factors.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Saturday, was my first ever triathlon! It was a sprint distance triathlon, which meant that it was a ½ mile swim, 12.59 mile bike, and a 3.2 mile run.
Here’s the stats:
AG: 22/22 (oh yeah baby!!)
My main goal going in was to finish and I’m happy to say I did that! Mission accomplished!
I had really, really wanted to finish somewhere between 1:40 and 2 hours, and I missed that by 6 minutes. But I’m looking at that as room for improvement.
I got up at 4:30 am (which I’m not even sure is a real time), ate some Lucky Charms (for the magically delicious luck) and a banana, grabbed my giant to go cup of tea, loaded the bike onto the back of the car, and was one the road by 5:15 am (which is a slightly more valid time).
I got to Amesbury and was unloading my hoards of stuff by 6:15. I decided to do a final check of the tire pressure in the parking lot, and decided to top off the tires. I connected the pump to the valve of my front tire and heard a giant, deafening woooossshhhhhhh. Yep, my tire decided to go flat! Not only did it go flat, but the valve snapped off!
The broken valve:
This started the first wave of panic of the day. I didn’t have an extra tube. I didn’t know that there would be anyone there with an extra tube for my awesome hybrid bike. I mean, it has skinnier tires, but it’s not a road or tri bike! I decided to carry my bike up the hill to registration to see if maybe, perhaps they would be able to help me.
And they were! There was an awesome bike tent set up by the nice folks at FitWerks, and they were able to fit my tire with a new tube. So now old Betsy has a fancy, schmancy road tube in her front tire.
After that, I got my transition area set up, got body marked, struggled my wetsuit into place, and took a quick dip in the water. I was ready to go.
Swim – 0.5 miles:
This was the portion of the event that I was most worried about. I am NOT a strong swimmer at all, and my one attempt at an open water swim was cancelled due to thunder and lightning. In other words, I felt very, very unprepared for this part.
That being said, this particular triathlon had a “newbie” wave for the swim. I made friends with an awesome group of ladies who were also wearing the red newbie swimcaps, and when our wave horn sounded we were pumping each other up and shaking our neoprene clad booties.
However, as soon as I dived into the water I went into full blown panic attack. Complete with hyperventilating. At one point I had to stop and bob there while a rescue kayaker came over to make sure I was okay. The kayaker ended up pacing me for quite a bit to make sure I was okay. She told me after the race that she was quite worried about me!
I just couldn’t put my face in the water and do a proper freestyle, so I ended up doing the back stroke the entire way. I stayed on course fairly well until the last part of the swim when I decided a zig-zag pattern would be an awesome idea. However, I made it on to shore, in no small part thanks to that awesome kayaker and the other red hats who cheered me on!
I wasn’t entirely sure how this whole transition thing worked, so I have spent the last few weeks watching videos on YouTube. So I got out of the water, ran up to the transition area while taking off the top of my wetsuit and my swim cap and goggles. I actually changed really quickly, but was held up by my complete and utter inability to get my bike unracked!
Bike – 12.59 miles:
The bike portion was awesome. It was honestly my strongest event. The sun was starting to come out, the course was gorgeous and bucolic, and while there were rolling hills, there was nothing too bad. Because the newbies started last, and my swim was so slow, I spent the bike portion of the event pretty much by myself. I was passed twice by guys on fancy tri-bikes, and I passed a few people, but I spent most of the race in isolation.
Which meant I could talk to myself. Aloud. A lot.
I talked myself up hills, telling myself that I could do this. I was almost at the top. I did hills longer, higher, and harder than this on my trip to the grocery!
At one point I turned a right hand corner and looked at a long stretch of rolling downhill. This excited me, so I yelled “SWEET BIPPITY, WE’RE GOING DOWNHILL!!!” Let’s just say the police officer that was directing people to turn right laughed and commented “have fun with that ma’am.” Well officer, I did indeed have fun with that.
So again, I was watching YouTube videos about the transitions to figure out what to do. Well, all the videos I watched were like “don’t unclip your bike shoes. Take your feet out of the shoes as you’re coming into the transition area, and put your feet on top of the shoes to pedal in.”
Apparently, this is the hard core way of transitioning from the bike to the run. I did it, therefore I am hardcore. I am also amused the race director greatly by doing this. He was tickled that someone who was obviously a newbie, who had a hybrid bike, was doing this advanced, gearhead maneuver.
Run – 3.2 miles:
Holy crap, was I tired at this point. This is my slowest time ever for a short distance, which is saying something, because I’m a slow and plodding runner under the best of conditions.
By the time the run had started, it was in the 80s. I did what all the tri websites had told me to do, and I had refueled and hydrated on the bike. I managed to down 32 oz of water and an orange GU, which meant that by the time the run started I had to pee. Badly. Like real, real bad.
So it was hot, I had to pee, and I was seriously exhausted from doing all that biking and swimming nonsense, therefore I proceeded to talk my way through the run:
Okay, Diane, you can keep going until that lightpole….you can do this. Okay, now the next lightpole…and the next…
Okay, Diane, see that guy in the white shirt up there? You can totally pass him. Let’s do this. Trudge faster!
At one point, I came up on a woman who was walking through a water stop. Now I always walk through my water stops, because I am ridiculously incompetent at running and drinking at the same time. We were talking about how there was less than a mile to go, and we both wanted to finish strong. I was like, well let’s go! Let’s run (slowly) and finish this thing. I was trying my best to be a motivator, but apparently I’m not that good at it, because she ended up walking and I could convince her to keep on truckin’.
I was so freaking happy to finish that race, and collect my post race beer. I met up with some of the other red caps, who throughout the race were the most incredible, motivating group of women. Whenever I saw any of them we would yell and shout “Go red caps!!! Wooo!” at each other. Drinking a beer with them afterwards was a great way to end one of the harder things I’ve ever done.
I am totally going to do another one of these things. I have to redeem my panicked swim and less than stellar run. That being said, I probably need to take another set of swim lessons, this one being triathlon oriented. I also need to practice swimming in the open water.
As for the run, the only thing that will help with that is doing more bricks. If you’ve seen my daily mile page, you know that the only bricks I did were when I biked to soccer and then biked home. I need to do proper bike/run brick workouts in order to learn to run for distance on tired legs.
I also need to figure out some sort of sunscreen strategy. Apparently, sunscreen wears off when you swim-bike-run, because I am currently rocking some awesome tri tan lines!
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Belated Happy Birthday America! I would have wished you one sooner but I was celebrating it with a 26 mile bike ride and then by the pool with food.
/most awesome excuse ever
Anyway, I thought it would be nice to look back at the month that was June and see how this whole training thing was progressing. Especially considering how many races I have on the docket from here to October 30th!
Total miles: 72 miles
For comparison’s sake, I had 21 total miles in May!
Run: 29 miles. (Compared to 15 in May)
Bike: 39 miles (0 in May)
Swim: 2 miles (0 in May)
Added into all of that there were 4 hours and 15 minutes of soccer played in the month of June!
My swimming distance is frighteningly low, especially given that whole triathlon thing that I have going on Saturday morning. However, the sheer increase of my biking miles over last month is awesome.
I have also discovered the whole “you have 0 miles this week” on Daily Mile motivates me like none other. It has become a personal mission to change that number as quickly as possible.
Races run: 2. Well really, one but it counted for two!
Days of rest: 12 days. I’ve been trying to do 2 rest days a week, but in the beginning of June I was still trying to get my sea legs under me
Pounds lost or gained: 5 lbs gained as of this morning. I went from 178 to 183 as of this morning. I’m really hoping this is post-holiday bloat, because I am way too far above my fighting weight to be comfortable.
Overall, I would say this is none-too-shabby for the first month back in the swing of things since the Philly Marathon. However, never again will I be such a lazy, lazy, lazy person for such an extended period of time. Getting back down to my fighting weight is taking a lot more time than it used to, and everything’s a bit slower than my already slow pace.
Goals for July:
- Complete that pesky triathlon on Saturday (eep!!!!!)
- Run the Jim Kane 5 miler faster than I did last year (53:52)
- Up my bike, swim and run miles (and thus my total mileage)
- Run all long runs, every week, even if it means getting up at o’dark-30 to beat the heat and humidity of a Boston summer
- Eat healthier and avoid the evil office candy dish so that perhaps I can start getting down to the happy weight.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Anyway…I woke up on Saturday morning fully intending to do my first (and only) open water swim before the triathlon on the 9th. However, Mother Nature had other plans. Her plans? Thunder, lightening, rain, and hail. Not exactly ideal conditions for swimming in a conductor of electricity, so my friend and I wisely decided to nix the open water swim and bake Strawberry-rhubarb pie and Rhubarb bread instead. I believe this was
a truly wise decision. My stomach and taste buds agree with me.
The picture and recipe are from this website. You need to make this. It is the most delicious pre-race food ever.
Mother Nature decided to play nice, and the thunderstorms passed, so the Warrior Dash was still on. All the rain we have been getting washed away some of the parking lots, so we spent an hour in the snaking conga line of cars that were trying to get parking, which meant that we missed our wave. Luckily the organizers were letting people run in later waves due to all the weather related issues.
Finally, we were off! The dash took place at Amesbury Sports Complex, which in the winter is used for sledding. The first obstacle was the first obstacle was running up the sledding hill. No problem, I run on hills all the time! My house is uphill, both ways, from anywhere that I would go running! Wrong. My hills are conveniently made of cement. They are not made of grass and dirt, which has turned to mud. All I could think was: “This is going to MUCH more difficult than previously expected!”
In fact, four straight days of rain hadn’t just washed away parking lots, but had turned 3 miles of trail into 3 mile of sucking, sloshing, slipping, stinking, mud. Mud that I was tasked with running through. So I ran…and then I did some sort of high-stepping walk/run, and then I grabbed on to any available sapling or tree or shrubbery in an attempt to stop myself from crashing face first into the muck.
I’m guessing that after two days of Warriors dashing, there’s not a single baby tree left in those woods. Here’s why:
Those elevation changes are brutal! Especially when you’re trying to keep both your footing and the shoes from being sucked off your feet!
So part of the Warrior Dash is that you do obstacles in the course of your running. There were 9 of them along the course, but heavily weighted at the end. There were ropes strung across the path like cobwebs that you had to get through, this over/under thing (where you go over the short wall and under the barb wire), a 20 foot wall you climbed over, balance planks, a FIRE THAT YOU JUMP OVER, another giant wall, a muddy hill (that I went down superman/slip and slide style…aka on my belly), and ropes that you needed to crawl over to get to the end. I think the obstacles were my favorite part. They were so. Much. Fun. (Pictures of these will come at a later date).
By the time I got to the end of the course, I was more tired than 3 miles should make me, exhilarated, euphoric, and muddier than I have ever been in my entire life. Seriously, there was mud in places that there should never, ever be mud. Ever.
My time ended up being: 57:09.
So while it was my slowest 5k time ever, it was also none too shabby for the course.
So, I ran/slogged my way through this race. However, due to the unseasonably cool temps, there was a decided lack of summertime sweating. So not only have I (most likely) placed last in the Sweat Your Thorns Off 5k, I believe I have failed in the titular activity. No real sweating pour moi. I am sorry I failed you.
However, after I hosed myself off, I did get free granola. And a free beer. And a Viking hat.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
|You know what's scary? This little chart here. My big, reach goal for the Marine Corps marathon is to get close to the 4:30 mark. This little chart says that it's entirely possible. It's from here, and the calculations are based on a 5k that I did on New Year's day. For reference sake, my time for the Philly marathon? 5:11. Gulp.|
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Want proof? Here’s a little recap:
Monday: 3.15 miles as part of the Somerville Road Runners weekly Bur-run. This is the first time I’ve run with this group, and it was awesome. They were very friendly and welcoming, and I’m pretty excited to put in a few more miles with them. I definitely pushed myself a bit harder than I normally would on a Monday. Especially a Monday that fell the day after a long run!
Tuesday: I biked to the pool, I swam at the pool, I biked home. I contemplated the ability of my bike route to be uphill both ways. I might live in a vortex, I’m not sure.
Wednesday: 3.5 miles with my running buddy. Neither of us were feeling it, and only the fact that we had made this running date got us out the door. That being said, we were shooting for 2-3 miles, and ended up doing 3.5. Sometimes getting off my patootie* and out the door is the hardest part.
Thursday & Friday: I rested. My legs were like giant overcooked noodles. This rest period may or may not have involved quite a bit of eating as well as a few delicious mojitos. I shall never tell.
Saturday: 7.2 mile bike ride. It was real hot and real humid, but I finished in about 33 minutes, which isn’t too shabby, especially since that includes a lot of stop lights and some rolling hills. I’m feeling pretty good for the bike portion of that pesky upcoming triathlon.
Sunday: I went for a very leisurely bike ride with my 9 year old cousin. He’s such an awesome bike riding partner, and I love going out with him. Of course, it often involves him “conning” me into mid-ride snacks. I also went for a quick run. 2.28 miles in 22 minutes. Not too shabby, but not the 7 miles I was supposed to have done. Major training fail
Monday: Soccer game. First game of Summer season, and the team we were playing were rough. Like two-handed shove to the back, and then a sarcastic “I’m sorry” rough. I had a great time, but boy am I feeling it today!
There’s more running, biking, swimming, and soccer on tap for the rest of this week. Plus the added bonus of my first open water swim, the Warrior Das, and The Boring Runner’s Sweat Your Thorns Off!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
During heat waves, triathlon training trumps marathon training. Every time.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
On May 29th, I ran the Run to Remember 5 miler in Boston. My finish time was a disappointing, yet not wholly unexpected 57:35. That puts me squarely at an 11:31 pace. While this was the longest distance I had run since the Philadelphia Marathon, and I therefore knew my pace was going to be slow, I expected more like an 11:00 minute mile.
Things that went poorly:
Well, as the time suggests, this wasn’t my best race. Not that I’m fast by any means, but normally I can bang out a 5 miler somewhere at a pace that is somewhere between the 10 and 11 minute mile mark. A couple of things slowed me down. First and foremost, I probably wasn’t fully prepared for a 5 miler. Like I’ve said previously, my life got in the way of a lot of things, and I didn’t work out all winter. I’ve been running fairly consistently since the mid-April, but I’m not sure it was enough.
Second, I had the most vicious calf cramps I have ever have. My calves squished up into tight, little knots of pain, and they would not un-squish. I walked. I stopped to stretch. I drank water. Nothing helped. Normally, if my calves cramp, they will shake themselves out by the time I’ve gone a mile. This time they didn’t relax until the Wednesday after the run. This sucked.
Things that went well:
I ran it and I finished it. Sometimes that’s all you can ask of a race. However, in spite of everything, I had fun. The course was amazing, and it wound its way past a lot of Boston’s historical sights, by Boston Common and the Public Gardens.
Best of all, my racing buddy stayed with me the entire way. We had a great time chatting and laughing, but when the going got tough, and the tough got a calf cramp, she was made sure I kept going. Laughter didn’t make the knot go away, but it did take my mind off of it for a little bit!
Overall feeling after the race:
Despite the vicious calf cramps, and the disappointing time, I had a great time. The race was well organized and had a great course through downtown Boston. Plus, running with my friend was amazing and a great morale boost. Like I said, I don’t know if I would have made it through the whole 5 miles without her.
I guess if a picture is worth a thousand words, this one says it all. My eyes are closed but I'm both running and smiling, so it can't be that bad!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
- Ran, finished, and rocked the Philadelphia Marathon in November. It was my first marathon and I truly didn't know if I could do it. I wouldn't have been able to without friends to run with, my awesome roommate to cheer me on, and the sheer strength of will to power through a second half out and back (that nearly killed me mentally).
- I studied for (and passed) my comps! Next station on the road to PhD land? Dissertation station.
- I got to work with some truly awesome co-workers and students, which made the job of teaching that much more enjoyable.
- I very nearly lost what little bits of sanity I have left during the process of studying for comps. Memorizing authors and arguments in preparation for a 5.5 hour written test is un-fun, to say the least. Which leads me to...
- I haven't really done any working out since the marathon. A few runs, a few soccer games, a few sessions of yoga, but nothing really consistent.