Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bonking the long run

Today, I bonked. I failed. I was taken out of commission by the naysayer that lives within my head.

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

10 Ways I Break the Rules

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

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. I sneak coffee into movie theaters. When I saw Harry Potter 7.2 I had a grande iced latte in my purse.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Connected to this, when I make that powdered mac n’ cheese I don’t add milk. I just put gobs of butter in it.
  7. 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)
  8. I rarely turn in a library book or a movie on time. Late fees are the scourge of my existence. Thank god for Netflix.
  9. 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
  10. 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

Wordless Wednesday - Triathlon edition

Earlier in the month, I completed my first triathlon. Here are some more photos of that auspicious occasion:

I swam...but not very well.


I look very determined in this photo. However, I think I'm just very determined to get out of the water :)

I biked.


I look very angry in this photo! I hope I don't look this angry every time I get on the bike!

I I was dying.


Wow. This photo. I was in pain, and I really had to pee. Can you tell I just wanted to cross the finish line?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5 miler - DNS

For only the second time in all of the years I have been running I DNS'd a race that I had registered for. The Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5 miler was held on Thursday, but as I'm sure you've heard, we're having a little weather problem here in the Northeast.

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.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fun Food Friday

I guess it was actually fun food Thursday, but I like alliteration, what can I say? I took an impromptu rest day yesterday and decided to stretch my culinary muscles instead. I have produce delivered every week from Boston Organics, and the last couple of boxes have had an abundance of vidalia onions, carrots, and leafy greens.

While I had never cooked with kale before, I am quite the onion carmelizer, so I experimented with some herbs from my little herb garden, some of the veggies from the delivery, and my very favorite blend of carbs. It turned out to be really, really tasty!

Here's the recipe for pearl couscous with carmelized onion, kale and carrots:

2 c chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup Trader Joe's Harvest Blend (or you could use plain old Israeli/Pearl couscous)
3 carrots, grated
3-4 (or maybe 5) stalks of kale
4 garlic cloves
Coupla sprigs of thyme,
5-6 basil leaves
handful of oregano
1 large onion,
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese

1. Slice onion into half-rings. Heat 2 or so tbsp of olive oil over med-high heat until ripply. Dump the onions into the oil and stir to coat all the onions in oil. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Lower heat to med-low. Stir occassionally until onions have changed color and most of the liquid is gone. Add a couple of splashes of liquid to the onions to carmelize more and deglaze the pan. This time I used wheat beer, but vinegar, wine, madeira, sherry, or port would also be good. At this point you should be stirring a lot. The onions are going to thicken up. This is good. Keep stirring. The total carmelization process takes about 25-30 minutes, onions in pan till deliciousness.

2. During the beginning of the onion process (when there is less hands-on stirring involved) I de-ribbed the kale, roughly chopped the garlic, shredded the carrots, and roughly chopped all the herbs (I used fresh cause I had them on hand, but dried would work in a pinch...har har).

3. Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to boil. When it comes to a boil put the kale leaves in it and poke them till they're submerged. Let them boil for about 5 minutes and then drain them. Run cold water over them in the strainer, squeeze them until most of the water is out and then chop them real good.

4. By now the onions should be basically done. Remove them from the heat and put them in a bowl. DO NOT WAS THIS PAN.

Here's most everything ready to go:

5. Using the unwashed, quite delicious onion pan, add the 2 cups of stock and bring to a boil. This is going to add even more of all those delicious onion flavors to your meal. When it comes to a boil add the Harvest Blend/couscous, garlic, herbs, and a bit more salt and pepper. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes.

6. Okay, after uncovering, you're going to add carrots

Simmer this for 2 or so minutes

7. After that add the kale and the onions. Stir it all together, and simmer until liquid is dissolved. Then turn off the heat and grate some Parmesan cheese over the top

Monday, July 11, 2011

DAM Triathlon - Race Report

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:

Time: 2:06:45
Place: 409/429
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!

Time: 26:21


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!

Time: 5:02

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.

Time: 53:19


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.

Time: 1:57

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’.

Time: 40:08


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.

Lessons learned:

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!

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Those are some sweet new tan lines I'm sporting.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

So very hot. Much too hot for 90 minutes of soccer, but I'mma gonna do it anyway.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Belated June Totals

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!

Here goes…

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.