Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Taste of Awesome

Ever have one of those workouts where you just feel ON? Today in the pool I had that feeling. My form was good, my strokes were smooth, my times were steady, and even after the sweat-inducing, humid, hilly 6-miler I did yesterday followed by quad and bicep crushing weights, I still felt ON. THE. BALL.
   It's workouts like today's that remind me why I love swimming so much: gliding through the water, lost in your own thoughts, feeling the smoothness of each arm's stroke as you push the water down and prepare for the next one. Perfect peace interrupted only by the Aerosmith coming through the underwater speakers. Definitely worth waking up at 5:30.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Things Not to Do the Night after a Long Run:

1. Skip your ice bath. You will go to bed stiffer than the Tin Man.
2. Watch Ice Road Truckers until 11:30. You will not be able to fall asleep until midnight because you will be replaying the moment where Lisa and Ted seperately almost drive their trucks off the same of the Andes' mountains in your head.
3. Only drink half a bottle of gatorade. Hand-cramping due to a lack of salt will occur and you will look like an old Wiccan with spindly, crooked fingers when you try and grab your hairbrush to put in your bag.
4.  Leave your car key off its chain and convince yourself that, "Oh, duh, it's totally in my purse and I'll find it before Master's tomorrow!" It will not be in your purse. You will spend 10 minutes looking for it the next morning, get exasperated, give up, use the spare to drive to the practice you are now sort of late for, and then realize when you get home that the key in question is, in fact, hanging on the house key rack. Win.
5. Wear compression sleeves that come past your knees and onto your rather muscular thighs. Indents from your socks are not sexy, especially when you don them with your geeky 10k tech t-shirt and 90's throw-back gym shorts the next morning.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Knatty Boh

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME Ten-mile run this evening. I had originally wanted to run this morning to beat the heat and start the day off on a good note, but I stayed up late watching Running the Sahara. What an inspiring movie. 4400 miles in the Sahara desert, 3 runners, a support crew, and a fantastic cause: H20Africa, an organization that helps provide clean water to the residents of African countries. My favorite part of the movie was at the end, when one of the runners talked about how the entire journey taught him that mileage goals are all mental; if you think you will only run 5k, you will only run 5k.
   I tried to apply this philosophy to my run tonight. I haven't done a run longer than 7 miles in a month, and I have a half-marathon in a mere three weeks. This has been causing me some major stress- I want to do well in the race and enjoy myself, but I have also been having trouble convincing myself that I can do the LSD runs. Today, though, I set out with an easy pace, a good set of tunes, and headed to one of my favorite places to run: my high school and its surrounding area. I love running through all the neighborhoods I grew up in and thinking back on all the memories of my childhood. It made for a very peaceful, relaxed run, probably the most relaxed run I have had in some time.
    I had told myself I would stop at mile 9, since this a. got me to 30 miles a week and b. it was the most I could do without running out of water. When I hit 9 miles, though, I was on a trail right behind my high school that lead to the soccer fields, and nothing seemed a more perfect end to a run than a mile more on the lush, green grass I used to jog around in my field hockey days. With 10 miles done, without fuel, in the humidity, I feel back in the running groove. And (until I showered), completely covered in knats.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Numbero Uno

Race last night?
  My shoes were sticking to the ground it was so muddy in some parts.
   Right up until the finish.
    First in my age group!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The First of Many

Since my running addiction is now in full swing again, I decided it was time to sign up for a few races. And by a few, I mean about 8. The first in the series is a 10k tonight at six. It's on a beautiful equestrian course out in the country, and though there is a MASSIVE hill at mile 5 that makes you want to toss your cookies, it's still poised to be an awesome time.
  What's not so awesome? It's raining. And I have to work until an hour and a half before the race. And I barely got any sleep last night or the night before.
    Plus side? MUDDY CALVES

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Epic Win:
7:37 500yd time!
Successfully wearing legging without looking like I am committing an act of pubic indecency!

Epic Fail:
PCOS levels are wack-o again.
During my last 500 of the set today, my swim cap fell off on lap 7. When I was ON PERFECT PACE. Do you know how hard it is to get a swim cap back on when your hair (and hands) are wet? Hard. Once I finished the rest of the 500 I told my coach how mad I was that I had to stop and re-adjust. He informed me that he had seen it coming and was just "waiting for the cap to fall off." I was tempted to pull him in and yell at him for not warning me, but he did left me off a 500yd early, so I guess I can't really complain...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Can You Get Paid to Nap?

It's no secret that lately all of my runs have been done to the sounds of club dance music and extremely explicit rap. Today's running music however, was ESPECIALLY awesome. The mix was a classic blend of Lil Wayne, Drake, Dev, and Blink 182, so of course my pace was outta-sight fast, and the weather could not have been more perfect.
   The one problem? I want to go farther faster sooner. I know I need to build my mileage up again slowly, but with all my cardiovascular endurance from the triathlon training, these 4 miles runs are just feeling too easy!
   I am considering making a bit more of a mileage jump- nothing major, but definitely more than the usual 10% that most running plans call for. Though I haven't been running as much in the last month, I have still been doing a lot of training, especially with intervals, and I feel like these 25-30 mile weeks aren't really on-par, intensity-wise, with what I have been doing.
   Plus, now that it is fall here and the weather has (finally!) cooled down, it is perfect weather for hitting the pavement. Normally, I am not a morning runner, but lately I have really been looking forward to getting up early and lacing up the Mizunos for a quick 4 mile jaunt. I just wish it were 5 miles. or 6. or 10.
   And swimming..? I skipped it this morning. I got the workout and  plan on doing it tomorrow, but when I woke up at 5:30 this morning after a mere 4 hours of restless sleep, I could barely peel my eyes open enough to turn the light on. Usually my lovely little reading lamp wakes me up enough to realize OH HEY GET READY, but today, not even a 60 watt bulb could wake me from my state. I texted my Coach to tell him I wouldn't be there, asked for the set, and hit the pillow again for another 3.5 hours. Which did absolutely nothing for my energy level and I still *had* to take a nap at 3:00. As much as I love napping, it'd be nice to once in a blue moon not have to take a mid-afternoon siesta to get me through my day. After all, that ain't gonna fly come January when this chick goes back to school.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tired Tootsies

No one ever tells you that 9.5 hours on your feet is going to be a little tiring. Actually, maybe they did but I didn't listen. Until now.
   Since I am taking a semester off and I tend to get antsy if I don't have 89 things going on at once, I got a job at the local running store that I have been a loyal customer of since my early years as a runner (read: 7th grade). I am totally loving it, but I didn't realize that working a ten-hour shift at the pool is not quite the same as working a shift of almost the same length at the store. I didn't bring NEARLY enough food, for one. I was really busy every day I was there, so there wasn't a whole lot of time to stop and eat, but almonds and dried fruit are not going to sustain my 14 year old pubescent boy-appetite from lunch time until 7:30. Ain't no way.
   I also didn't wear the right shoes. I bought Ryka minimalist shoes to wear during work, but my feet are killing me by the end of my shift. I really want to just go barefoot, but I know this is completely inappropriate during work hours, so I am saving my money up for some Vibrams.
   In other news, my runs lately have been AH-mazing. After a month of minimal mileage and lots of recovery, I am so excited to be back into daily runs and the upcoming fall racing season. The Pandora App on my iPhone has also been helping; it's hard not to get excited about running when I know that Dev and Lil' Wayne will be the music of choice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Give me a couple days, or, How I Make Decisions

Me at 4am Sunday morning: No way am I ever doing this triathlon thing again! I have to remember to pack way too much stuff, there are too many transitions, too much gear, and running races are just an assboat load easier.

Me at 10:15 am Sunday morning, after the awards ceremony: Maybe I'll do it again next year, but I don't have time to get in all the bike rides necessary for that tri I (stupidly) signed up for in October.

My text to my Mom today at 9:45 after reading this Hey, so I am actually doing that sprint tri in October...

Yes, I caved. Or, more accurately, I sucked it up. Yes, my bike workouts may take a bit of a backseat to the swimming and running training I am doing for the college teams I want to walk onto (that is a whole other post...), but I have never just completely bagged a challenge without at least attempting it, and I am also craving that feeling of accomplishment that I had at Sunday's finishline. I paid the money, I have the endurance, so I might as well get my little tush into the big, blue-ish green Atlantic Ocean on October 9th and swim myself to victory (or the finish- whichever is more plausible mid-race).

Side note: Guess what? I have totally been slacking off in swimming and (running) the past two months and am now paying for it. I can see that is going to be a long journey on the road to being able to swim 6,000yds in one practice (what they do in D3), as in no more days of just "settling" for a 3200yd workout, but after today's set, I know I am at least mentally, if not almost physically,there. My coach had us doing 2x( 2x200 pull, 8x50 pace, 2x500) with the second set of 500's descend. When he said this, I wanted to punch him in the face a little, but after the first 500 I felt AWESOME. Descending the distance actually made it mentally easier to handle, and I was able to push through all my bodily fatigue and really go all out on the last 50. Afterwards, I was beat, and contemplated just cooling down and calling it a day, but I really wanted to 4300yds, and as my coach said, if I want to swim on the team I have to get used to sets like this, so I channeled the explicit mash-up music booming from the underwater speakers and got in the zone for the last 500. It totally paid off, and while my triceps are so sore that sleeping on my arms is a wee-bit more than uncomfortable (because yes, I took a mid-morning nap. Don't judge), I can say with confidence that this crazy Ginger athlete is back, and she ain't goin' nowhere.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crankin' the Base

 That's right, with my triathlon done and only a few key races left in the season, it's time to bunker down and build up my base again. No more 24-mile wees without a long run. Yeah, speed workouts are fun, but so is being able to go out for a 7 mile run and not feel like my legs are about to fall off (granted, that was in 84 degree heat at 12 o'clock...).
      My goal is to be at about 53 miles per week by Thanksgiving with almost no doubles. Though I have tried higher mileage before and experienced almost insurmountable fatigue and an eventual near-injury, I think I now know how to do it a little more safely than before. My first bout with it last winter had me doing tempo runs and 2 track workouts a week along with a long run, which was too much intensity for my body to handle. This time around, it is going to be all about easy miles with just a little fartlek throw in to shake things up if I get bored.That is actually how I started getting back into running- going every day at a moderate pace, with only a little speed thrown in. I used to be able to run for an hour and a half almost every day, and while they were slow, relaxed miles, it was still such a great feeling to be able to just go out and have 9 miles be an *easy* run. Looking back at that time, I remember just really enjoying running, not worrying about pace or time or distance. I am really looking forward to getting back to that place, where running was simply an escape from the everyday and not just another workout on the training schedule.
  .   This evening's run was just like one of those runs I used to have- though my pace is about a minute faster than it was back then! I went for a nice, easy 3 mile run around the neighborhood, jamming to my iPhone and admiring the beginning signs of fall in the neighborhood: a hint of orange in the trees, some piles of dead leaves on the road (which I happily made a point of pouncing onto), the slant of the setting sun. I was enjoying myself so much I extended the run another mile 1.75. My legs are still a little tight from yesterday's race, but overall the run was one of the most perfect I have had in weeks.
    The explicit club music from the iPhone may have helped..

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Diamond Girl

Good news: I am officially a triathlete!
Better news: I placed 2nd in my age group!
Best news: My run pace was 6:50!

So why am I not happy? Well, I am absolutely ecstatic about my overall performance, especially on the run, but my feelings on my swim time are not to quite the same tune. I trained for MONTHS to better my stroke, my form, my speed, everything, and while this race wasn't the end goal, it sure was supposed to be a milestone. My coach told me to aim for 16 minutes.. and I was more than a few minutes off. I felt like I was really pushing the whole time, and I know that there was a current, but I am still disappointed. Stupid, I know, since I threw down some sick times on the run and managed to not die on the bike (I even passed two people!), but still, this stinks. I am trying my best to look at the overall win and the fact that hey, I finished my first triathlon, which is really more important. That, and the fact that I won some more hardware. Because let's face it, people, I can tell myself and everyone else all about how I am "just doing it to finish," "out there for the experience," but when I saw those girls with numbers corresponding to U19 on their calves? You bet I wanted to podium the H-E-Double hockey sticks outta this race. CHECK.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

     Sometimes I forget that the Mid-Atlantic likes to pretend it is Florida and experiences endless summers that make walking outside feel like scuba-diving. This morning was one of those times that I forgot, and paid for it dearly as I began what was supposed to be a 9-mile jaunt around town. Alas, it was not meant to be. The first two miles felt terrible, but as Quenton Cassidy states in "Again to Carthage" (read it if you haven't already), you should never judge how a run is going until two miles in. Sure enough, after 2 miles I settled in to a nice pace and managed to forget for about a mile and a half just how similar the outside temperature was to the average furnace.
    However, at mile 3.5 I realized a few things.
1. I really wanted that Chipotle burrito I was thinking of buying for lunch.
2. I was almost out of water
3. The old track and field route I was running was way less hilly than I remember (aka I used to be a wimp) 4. This whole 9-miler thing was not going to happen if I wanted any chance at placing in my age group at my triathlon tomorrow.
           So, I settled for 6 miles, and kept the pace easy since with each step the mercury was rising by a degree or two. The run conveniently ended right at my car, so I got to hop right in and speed go the speed limit all the way to Chipotle and its delicious burrito salad bowls. Then it was off to a day of minimalist-shoe shopping, running-capri and yoga-pant buying, and a nice, long, afternoon nap followed by a short freakout of "OHMAHGOD I AM DOING MY FIRST TRIATHLON TOMORROW WHAT IF I FALLOFFMYBIKE THESWIMCOURSEISCLOSED ITTHUNDERS ICANTFUELPROPERLY."
    The freakout was quickly followed by a mad dash to make a packing list... which I haven't actually looked at yet. And I have to leave at 4:15 tomorrow. So I should probably get my a into g.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Have You Had Your Quickie Today?

 So, for the record, helping a friend move totally counts as a workout. Yesterday I helped my friend move out of his apartment, and HOLY HELL were his dressers heavy. I started sweating the moment we picked up the first piece of furniture, and I can't even blame the ridiculously humid weather outside, because his AC was on full-blast.
    What's the title about? Well, we had to drive to Goodwill 3 times to drop off all of his furniture since his new place is fully furnished, and each time we drove to the drop-off center, we passed a Brick Bodies with a sign outside that read "Have you had your quickie today?" We both giggled and I thought to myself that technically yes, I had, since I went to the gym yesterday morning and had the sweatiest elliptical + strength training session in the history of the YMCA. My sneakers were squeaking by the end from conatact with puddles of my sweat...TMI?
     In other news, I feel like I totally fell off the workout wagon. The last two weeks have been so hectic, with me geting ready for school, going to school, leaving school, moving back in at home, etc. My training hours totalled have been less than 14 lately for the whole week, and while I had a GREAT 6-mile tempo run the other night, I am afraid I am losing running shape. Each morning I wake up craving a run, but something always gets in the way- today it was an interview, yesterday it was the moving, Monday it was work... I know the next few weeks will be a lot more free, but it's frustrating knowing that my mileage is the lowest it has been since my sophomore year of high school...yikes!

Monday, September 5, 2011

One O' Those Days (Weeks)

  I am a dichotomy. I am mature in some aspects, and still a kid in others. I can handle all the physical pain you throw at me, but give me mental stress and I fall apart. Given the choice between going through this week again and run a marathon each day, I would have picked the repeat 26.2's.
    School has not turned out has planned. There is the initial strangeness when your parents leave you and it doesn't hit you until your noggin touches the pillow that "Holy hell, I don't live at home anymore." This, I can deal with. There is the point where your phone breaks. This was harder. There is the momet when your Microsoft Office won't install because they didn't give you the product number and you realize you can't do your homewrk. At this, I started to get a little unnerved. There is the time when your WiFi goes out, your roommate is gone, and your dorm has left for dinner so you have no way of calling home to tell them that you now have no internet connection to check email to figure out when your Dad is driving up with a new phone. This is when my blood started to boil. There is the time you have to drive home to do said homework and get said phone. On the way home, I counted down exit signs. There is the time you get lost going to class. I tried to enjoy the extra time I had to sit and enjoy the weather, but then I looked down and saw the blister on my ankle from walking in shoes I hadn't yet broken in. There is the time you skip multiple meals because you can't find anyone to go to the dining hall with you. My stomach eventually just stopped growling, allowing me one less thing to worry about.There is the time when you want to crawl in bed and read and everyone else is going out to party and gives you a look. I tried to ignore those looks.There is the time when you wake up and realize, "I am not suppose to be here."I couldn't ignore this.
     If there is one talent I have besides running, it is the ability to ignore my inner self. I can shut up my concsience quite well; I tell myself what I am doing is right when it isn't, and wrong when it is. Back when I applied to colleges, I had no idea what I was looking for; I didn't know what size I wanted, what majors I was interested in, or even what part of the states I wanted to be a resident of. The entire process I felt so lost- my mind craved time, but as is often the case in life, time was in short supply. Before I knew it, my applications were in the mail and I was playing the waiting game, half-hoping that the admissions committees would make it easy for me and give me only one option. That is not quite what happened- I passed up a great institution with a scholarship for a bigger school because I thought that is what I need. A big school with lots of spirit, athletics, and a variety of people. Then I got to that school. And felt overwhelmed. I wished and begged to be somewhere else almost every second I was there. The only enjoyable part of the week? Walks around the town in the morning and night, where I was alone with the sidewalk and my thoughts. Running was hardly possible this week; I barely had time to eat, much less workout. I got in 2 runs the entire time, but I knew I was in a low place because I was craving those 60 mile weeks again. When things get rough, I grab my Mizunos, and I have never wanted to lace up those babies more in my entire life.
    So what to do now? Well, there is a lot to figure out, but I am trying to be optimistic. As my Dad put it,"It isn't about how you start the race, it's about how you finish it." So whether I stay there or take a semester off, I know that in the end, I will still be crossing that proverbial finishline with my hands up and a smile (and hopefully my racing Stunna shades).