Search This Blog

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Track Workout That Wasn't

I think by now it is a well-established fact that when a track workout is on the schedule I will somehow find a way to skip it. I only do track workouts when I am either
a. on a treadmill, or
b. have a sudden urge to do a Crossfit endurance workout.
  Other than that, I would much rather do a hill workout than spend my time endlessly speeding around the forsaken oval that caused me so much race anxiety in high school.
   So it would only make sense that I skipped this Tuesday's track workout in favor of buying new running shoes with my Mom, then going home and running a leisurely but enjoyable 5 miles. I switched back to my Brooks Pure Grit; the Brooks Trail Adrenaline was getting to heavy. So far I really like the Grit. It has a much lighter feel and I can definitely see the difference in my form when I wear those versus the Adrenaline.
   I also did a killer hill workout on the treadmill this week ending with 2 minutes of running at 10% incline. These hill workouts are part of my attempt to make my body somewhat ready for the Ultra I am planning on doing in November. It's a hilly, technical course, so I want to prepare my body for the incline.
   In other news, I bought more obnoxious running gear! Neon, of course, because I refuse to buy practical colors. Where's the fun in those?
    Stay tuned for tomorrow's rainy 12 miles around my neighborhood accompanied by an NPR podcast and, as always, my Cinnamon Gummie Bears.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cinnamon Bears.. The Greatest Gummie Invention Ever

  10 miles on the notoriously hilly reservoir roads nearby. Did I survive? Yes! Did I thrive? Yes! Was it, then, a success? Yes!
   The rain that was forecasted for Saturday morning thankfully turned into sunshine by the time the run started, and for once the humidity was nowhere to be found. It was the first day since March that I have not felt like I was running in an oven and breathing in lentil soup, which automatically made the run more enjoyable. These feelings were only heightened after a glance at the lake. It is my favorite lake in Maryland, one that I skipped rocks on and splashed around in as a kid. That morning it had a slight mist on top that only happens on the most perfect late summer and early fall mornings.
   Saturday's run was the best run I have had all summer, maybe all year. I fell in with two of the other women in my training group and spent the better part of the run swapping stories about running, family, and school. You know you have some good people to run with when the silence in between these conversations does not feel empty and awkward, but rather comfortable and contemplative. Powering up the hills surrounding the dam was a kind of fun I had almost forgotten about until that day, and I didn't realize until I reached the top how much I have missed early morning runs. Sure, getting up and seeing the clock read 5:30 isn't exactly on the top of my Favorite Things list, but the early morning wake up call is worth the delight I feel soaking in my ice bath with some hot coffee after a long, slow, enjoyable morning run where I can listen to my breath, smell the twinge of fall in the trees, and eat cheap candy. Because OHMYGOSH were those Cinnamon Gummie Bears delicious. They are the only things that I have ingested on the run that do not send my stomach reeling in protest, and they are a heck of a lot cheaper than gels (because yes I care about the .75 cents I now save on gels. It adds up to at least an extra cup of bagel shop coffee on Saturdays, which is possibly the best part of my weekend).
   The fantastic morning continued into a fantastic day filled with Chipotle tacos (SO GOOD. GET THEM!), a nap, and an evening viewing of a local production of Hairspray starring my mama's coworker among other extremely talented volunteer actors.
    Next up is Tuesday's track work... ick.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Contemplating on the Run

    Today was supposed to be "Tempo Thursday." As I began my warm up around my neighborhood, I thought of whether or not I had actually done any tempo runs back when I first started training with my group. Answer: Not really. At least not in the traditional sense. See, my running is a little anti-establishment. I don't particularly like following concrete schedules, workouts, or even proper hydration, resting, or fueling rules. I understand the science behind it all, but running is one of the only things in my life that can be as unstructured as I want. I don't really care that eating a certain ratio of carbs to protein after a run will help me recover better, or that running at x pace for x amount of time will help me nail x finishing time. Sure, it's fun to win awards and go fast, but those aren't the only important factors. Fun, food, and a post-race alcoholic beverage are just as essential to a healthy runner (I can't be the only person that actually fantasizes about beer during the last few miles of a half marathon..).
    So, with this in mind, I decided to ditch the tempo run and do some short hill repeats in the middle of my run because I like hills, I wanted to go fast for a bit, and I figured that *sort of* counted as a tempo-ish workout. For the rest of the 5 miles, I turned off my music and just listened to the cicadas buzzing and the frogs croaking and tried to soak in as much of the perfect night as I could. I am definitely going to try and run more without music; I feel the the run goes by faster, and you soak in more of the enjoyment. I remember during one 16-miler in the fall of my senior year, I ran the whole thing without music. It's amazing where the mind wanders during the silence of a long run. 
    On my runs, I have composed essays, poems, songs, and experienced some of my most lucid decision making. I'm an incredibly high energy person (read: I'm taking 17 credits, have an internship at a local hospital, am the sports editor of our college's newspaper, am training for an ultra in November, and am teaching myself French), so running is an excellent way to get myself to calm down, shut up, and take some time to think that I would otherwise fill with a countless amount of activities. 
     And just in case any of you were wondering, I did still wear a ridiculous outfit. Neon green shorts and a purple sports bra. I didn't stop traffic, but I fancied myself a pretty fine looking sweatball. 

Stay tuned for Saturday's long run recap, when I'll run 11ish miles, eat cinnamon bear candy, chug at least my body weight in water, and try not to get hit by any cyclists.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Speedwork Smackdown

Today was Speedwork Tuesday. I was all excited to head to the track to sprint until I
A. Puked, or
B. Hit the exact times I was gunning for

But alas, the weather had a different idea. Thunderstorms were likely later on, so our coach told us to hit the treadmill and stay safe while we sprinted our butts off. The workout on paper didn't look too bad, but it was pretty killer. After the first 400 my legs were screaming "WHAT THE HELL?! We haven't gone this fast in months!!" and though I have actually been doing speedwork for a month now, at that moment it sure didn't feel like it.
By the second 1200 I was contemplating collapsing, vomiting, or, even worse, turning down the speed. Luckily I manned up and instead directed my attention to the horribly explicit Eminem song blasting in my ears and, when that ended, the mildly revolting Man vs. Food episode playing on my TV.

**Note to self: If you are feeling queasy, the last thing you should do is watch a man shove 2 pounds of spicy pulled pork down his throat. Even if pulled pork is your favorite food. Even if you have been craving it all week.

Still, I made it through the workout, and though I didn't hit my exact times, I know I'm improving, getting faster, and can now successfully rap all of the words to Eminem's "Without Me," (though I don't think I'll be doing it when my Mama is around. Somehow I don't think she would appreciate me yelling lyrics discussing ejaculating on someone's chest... Just speculating..).

Stay tuned for Tempo Thursday, when I run around my obnoxiously hilly neighborhood in an outfit so ridiculous that if I don't get any honks or catcalls, I don't consider it a successful run. Because if I'm going to be speeding along at an almost-uncomfortable pace, I'm going to look damn good while doing it.

The Bitch is Back!

So I may have taken a rather long hiatus, but rest assured, running friends, I am back with a vengeance! I just needed some time to clear my head and have a semester of believing I was a swimmer and not a runner in order to convince me that I am, in fact, a runner. Go figure!
     What have I been up to other than that whole college thing, you might ask?
-trail running
-eating a lot of Chinese food (Best takeout on a college budget. $7 lunch special?! YES PLEASE!)
-switching to Brooks shoes (I am sorry Mizuno! I will love you forever!)
-getting an awkward bathing suit tan
-working 3 jobs (never.again.)
-lifting weights
-filling up my closet with far too many dresses and shoes
-getting 3rd place in my age group at last weekend's trail 10k

I've obviously been busy, but I realized I am too sassy not to have an internet outlet to write down my daily musings on life, races, and the obnoxious geared-out runners I pass at them. Look forward to a few posts a week from your favorite redhead.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sore Places

4800 yd swim workout. I am sore in places I didn't even know existed.
   I went to the Y to swim around 9:30, forgetting that all the water aerobics classes go on in the mornings. This means I had to share a lane with 2 other guys who were doing some sort of scuba diving-breast-stroke thing- all good, because hey, exercise is exercise, but I nearly got nailed in the face a couple of times by one of the guy's legs. Someone needs to teach the man some black line etiquette.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Brats and Breads


   A lovely picture of me, myself, and my sweat ring from a local 8k yesterday. The course was on a vineyard and we actually got to run through the grapevines- sounds cool, until you get smacked in the face by a vine. And then get stuck behind slower people because you have to go single-file for half the course. Still, it was an absolutely awesome race on a beautiful day with perfect weather. A couple of my running buddies did it as well, which always adds to the fun, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the cider and homemade breads at the end (Sweet potato bread..SO. GOOD.). And the best part of the whole day? Speeding up a hill at the end and having a guy come up next to me and say "You brat! I was drafting you!" Fuel for the fire, darlin'. I sped up, passed him, and then did the polite thing and congratulated him later while we were both getting cider. Because though I may sweat like a dude, there's a lady in here somewhere.