Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spirit of the Marathon

At work today, I was thinking about my marathon in New Orleans and feeling really nostalgic for the training and the overall experience. It's so funny- I disliked how training consumed my life and now that it's over, I can't wait for my foot to heal and my cough to go away so I can be consumed by it again.

I went on and printed off his 12 week spring training plan. This will take me right up through my road trip to Seattle, so the last week of training could be pretty interesting! If Xiaobin (my road trip buddy) and I can discipline ourselves to do it, we will be running through some pretty beautiful turf. The route I have planned takes us into Wichita, KS; Boulder, CO; Park City, UT; and Portland, OR. I'm hoping that I will get myself into a good training routine that will carry through to our drive so I can capitalize on all the gorgeous scenery :) 

Today I ran three miles at an easy pace (10:00 min/mi) and felt REALLY good! I had a hard yoga class yesterday so I could really feel the muscles in my abdomen, back, and shoulders working as I ran. The training plan calls for some strength training as well on Thursdays so I did about 15 minutes of core/weight work. It might not sound like much, and that's because it wasn't much at all! But after months and months of NOT strength training, the little that I did was well enough. I love this feeling though... I love walking away from a workout and feeling it in my entire body. That bit of soreness makes me feel strong in a way because I can feel all these muscles really being engaged for the first time in a long time. I kind of forgot they were there! 

I had a long day at work and felt tired at the idea of making dinner, so I stopped at Panera on my way home (Jamie if you're reading, this is my second Panera in as many days...). I enjoyed my yummy asiago bagel and chicken noodle soup and watched a terrific documentary- Sprit of the Marathon. HOLY SMOKES it had me almost in tears within the first three minutes. The filmmakers follow six runners, at various levels of competitiveness, training for the Chicago marathon. Two of the runners were elite marathoners Deena Kastor and Daniel Njenga. The other four were local Chicagoans, a few of whom were running their first 26.2. The trials and tribulations, moments of brilliance and aguish, were shared by all six athletes. They all had their own dreams for the race itself, but also marveled at how preparation for the marathon had truly changed their lives. It's such a corny thing and maybe I'm just feeling sappy because I literally just finished the documentary 20 minutes ago but... I can really sympathize with that feeling. There are people, and then there are marathoners. Yeah there is another tremendous leap between marathoners and elite marathoners, but to be a completer of the 26.2 feels to me like a rite in itself. I know I will never run a 2:20 marathon (probably never a 1:10 1/2M either! sheesh...), but I know that I will improve as a runner and continuing to train and discipline myself will help me to improve as a person. 

Boy, oh boy.

I just need to be better about not talking about running all the time... I know it gets annoying because it annoys me when other people do it! The only other thing I think about these days is the late-2000s financial crisis (I'm working on about four different papers pertaining to it right now) and no one wants to hear about that either... Will reading more celebrity gossip make me a more interesting/bearable person? 8)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

plantar fasci-what??

I don't know if I've mentioned it in my blog yet, but I will be moving to Seattle this summer. Hans and I have been traveling back and forth between Seattle and Mobile for the last two years so this is going to be a terrific thing for us, but... I kind of love living on the Gulf Coast. Last night, I walked from my apartment to a yoga class downtown. My friend Trish and I yoga-ed it out and strolled over to one of my favorite places for dinner, The Royal Scam. We sat outside in beautiful 70 degree weather and I had sweet tea and an amazing bowl of crab and corn bisque. It was a perfect Wednesday night! Okay yes, I KNOW there is going to be PLENTY of yoga and seafood in Seattle, but gosh I finally started to lay down some roots in Mobile and it's time to start all over again. *sigh*... okay I'm done whining.

It's been about 4 weeks since I ran my first ever marathon in New Orleans and I have to say, not much has happened since then! I was itching to run the day after my 26.2, but I felt some tenderness and discomfort around the arch and heel of my left foot. I was limping pretty badly for the first few days and then it went away, but I could feel that my arch was still really stiff. It would flare up again if I wore flip flops or walked around barefoot so I did the nuttiest thing...

Currently, the least attractive shoes in my closet.

Chaco sandals, people! Holy smokes am I a believer. These guys are sooooo comfortable- I'm embarrassed for how much fun I made of my friends who wore them. And they really seem to help whatever weirdness is going on in my left foot (my google research seems to suggest that it is plantar fasciitis- HELP!!!). 

I ran a bit last week, with my long run being 5 miles on Saturday. I may run again this Saturday, but I'm going to be taking it easy until this funk goes away. Even spin class aggravates it. That sucks! The silver lining is that I've gone to yoga three times in the last week and I'm remembering how much I love it. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

marathon- complete!

I got a text on Saturday afternoon that I would not need to work on the response this weekend so I immediately threw some stuff in a bag and headed for New Orleans! 2.5hrs later, my buddy Matt met me at the expo and helped me find my bib # and packet. Funny story- when I signed up for the marathon, I must have forgotten that I was signing up for a marathon because I listed my anticipated finish time as 1:59:00... I was hoping I'd end up in the 1st corral, but they stuck me in #17. Just as well.

That night, we went out to an Italian place in Metairie, LA for dinner and I had a GREAT fettucini alfredo and fried chicken dish (gotta love the South). It was a nice opportunity to catch up with some friends and relax before the big run. At dinner, Chrisy informed me that two of our friends had gotten t-shirts made in memory of Thomas for our group of buddies to wear at the Rock 'n' Roll. Matt and I picked up our shirts (which were actually tank tops) and I thought it would be great motivation for me to wear during my marathon debut.

I didn't sleep much. Jimmy had scored us a room at the Ritz Carlton on Canal (there was a massive leak at the hotel he had actually booked) but I was so nervous and anxious (and sad) that I may not have slept at all...  a rough start! At 6:30 we left our hotel and walked to the start at Poydras and Camp St. I was worried at first that I wouldn't be able to navigate us there but there were TONS of people to follow!!! It was amazing. Even more amazing than the size of the crowd was that I ran into my favorite spin instructor amidst the chaos! It was nice to see a friendly face because, of course, I had already gotten lost and separated from my group. I felt nervous about not having pooped yet (I used to get the same way before rugby games) so I got in one of the incredibly long porta-potty lines and waited it out. The gun fired and there were still probably a dozen people ahead of me in line. You can imagine what it looked like when I finally made it to the throne. Why the fuck couldn't I have pooped at the Ritz Carlton?! Anyway, after that horrific ordeal, I hopped into one of the corrals and actually ran into ANOTHER person that I knew. Kay was shooting for a 4:30 finish and I told her I'd hang on for as long as I could. I stuck with her for maybe 2 miles. Haha.

Okay I could give you the turn-by-turn but I'm already bored with that idea.

I finished in 4:50:39, which is a pace of 11:06. I think I feel the right mix of happiness and... I don't know... hopefulness, with that being my first marathon. I'm happy that I was able to finish it and I know there are a handful of things I can do differently next time to improve myself. The first tweak I think I ought to make to my training is incorporating more strength work. My quads and glutes were tired pretty much the entire time, but I never found myself breathing hard. This tells me that it probably was not necessary for me to supplement my cardio work with spin classes as often as I did. I think I would have had a more comfortable marathon if my legs were stronger. The second tweak that I (hope I) will make is incorporating more long runs, even if it means starting my training a few weeks earlier. Having a 20-mile run under my belt was invaluable, but I think my body would have been happier if it was more used to the impact. Exhibit A is my left heel/ankle which I am currently treating with alternating hot/cold packs.

The best part about my run is that I never really found myself hitting a wall. My pace was pretty consistent and manageable and it helped that there were water stations every 1.5-2 miles because I allowed myself to walk for a few seconds at each of them. I expected my mental state to deteriorate at mile 18 or 19, but it never really did. When the miles started to feel longer and longer, I just thought about the tank top I was wearing and how important it was to honor Thomas' memory by finishing well. My pace picked up significantly when I saw all my friends cheering me on in the home stretch. I had taken so long (most of my friends ran the 1/2M and my friend who ran the full with me finished it in 3:20) that I halfway expected them to have already left for the bars. But they were there in their tank tops! I sprinted to the finish and got my medal and snacks and hugged my friends. Side note: I am so lucky to have such great people in my life.

Running my first marathon was a great experience. Here's hoping my second marathon will be even more awesome! Guess what I signed up for today...

October 28, 2012!

I wondered if it was a bad idea for me to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon this afternoon, as I gingerly hobbled across my living room to retrieve my credit card. I think the timing will be good though. I will have wrapped up my last long bike ride 2 months prior to the MCM, so I should be in good shape and I'll probably be anxious to switch my focus from cycling to running. I think it'll work out well.

Anyway, that was my marathon experience! I was somewhat consistent with my training, dropped off the face of the running planet for most of the month of February, ate awful food, slept very little (taking three classes this semester was SOOOOO stupid), and I still survived it. Great success!

Great motivation.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

CG HH-6535

It's been a really bizarre week. On Tuesday night, a Coast Guard HH-65 went crashed into the Mobile Bay with one of my friends as the co-pilot. I was called in to help manage the search and rescue and salvage operations and it has been a very emotionally-charged few days. Resources from several different agencies flooded the bay to search for the four crewmembers but the only person recovered on the first night was the rescue swimmer who was sadly declared deceased shortly thereafter. When they recovered the fuselage, the three missing crewmembers were not there. Dive teams worked exhaustingly long hours in the murky waters and were finally able to recover two of the bodies on Thursday. Thomas and LCDR Taylor were brought to Sector Mobile late on Thursday night and there was a small crowd of Sector and ATC members there to welcome them. It was one of the saddest experiences of my life, to see my friend and classmate wrapped in an American flag and carried into the ambulance. But I can't imagine not being there for that. 

Life is so fragile and precious... We Coast Guard men and women are such a small community that when something like this happens, we are all deeply affected. One of my best friends worked as a rescue swimmer with Fernando Jorge for years. Another friend of mine was stationed with Andrew Knight when they first came into the service. An award citation that Dale Taylor received as a LT has been circulating through my group of friends this week. If you get a second, please read it and consider the bravery and selflessness that is required of our aviators.   

And of course, Thomas Cameron. I had the great honor of meeting his parents and brother yesterday evening and it was great to hear everyone recount their hilarious and moving stories about Thomas. Sorely missed, he is.

I may have to work on the response tomorrow, so I'm not sure if the marathon is going to happen or not. It seems pretty insignificant to me right now. Honestly, I think I would rather work and be part of the team who gets to recover the final crewmember of HH-6535 (the flight mechanic is still missing) but I guess we'll just wait and see what happens.

My classmates set up a memorial fund for Thomas. If you are interested, please visit 

Your legacies live on in our hearts

Thursday, February 16, 2012

lazy legs

This Monday was my first run since the 20-miler. So weird- I hadn't taken that long of a break from running since... idk, October? It was really nice though. Between work, school, and family time last week, the only workout I got to was Wednesday's spin class. The biggest time suck of last week though?- MGB. I spent the last four months planning a Mardi Gras Ball and now that it's over (it happened on Friday), I feel like I have so much more time on my hands! It turned out to be a great event. The DJ was great, the live bands were great, the food was AWESOME, the photo booth was super fun, the professional photographer seemed to be doing a good job (we'll see when I get my picture back!), and I think it was fun for everyone to get dressed up and celebrate. I'm happy that it went so well and that it is behind me.

Carolina John had suggested that I up the pace on my shorter runs. I think I'm going to focus on that this week. I'm not sure if that's a great idea so late in the game, but running faster gets it over with quicker 8)
Yesterday, I ran 6 miles at a 9:30 pace. I was so much faster earlier in my  marathon training... I'm looking at my training log and I did the same run in November at a 8:59 pace. I don't like that. Is it because I shifted my focus from speed to distance? Yes, my capacity for endurance has vastly increased since November, but why should that change how I perform in shorter runs? I've got another five or six mile run this afternoon before class. Hoping that my lazy legs will carry me to a < 9:30 pace!
Spin class yesterday was rough again. I don't know what it is...  I felt weak and kind of nauseous in the second half of class and almost thought about cutting out early. Is this my body punishing me for taking last week off? Okay body, I'm sorry!!! Now can we get our shit together and wrap up these last 2 1/2 weeks before the marathon??!

On a lighter note, my mom posted this on my Facebible wall yesterday:

Is she saying I ought to drink more? Thanks, Mom 8)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

study break

It's been a crazy, crazy week. I cannot believe that it is already Wednesday. I drove back to Mobile this afternoon and I have this icky feeling in my stomach... I hate being here when my awesome family is hanging out with baby Lily without me. But I definitely had to come home. I had already missed three days of work and two classes and my cats were basically starving to death, so it's good that I'm back.

This is week one of my epic FOUR WEEK taper. It was supposed to be three weeks long, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get my 20-miler in this coming weekend so it was either four weeks of tapering or two weeks of tapering. Most people thought that I ought to train on the conservative side, this being my first jaunt into marathoning. This week is pretty shot for me, because of family time and Friday's Mardi Gras Ball and more family time, but I did manage a spin class tonight and I am planning a 10-mile run with Hans while he's here this weekend. I figure I kind of owe it to him, seeing as he was flying all this way to run a 1/2M in St. Pete. (We decided against making the trip so that we can spend time with my family. Priorities!)

Spin was kind of rough tonight. I don't know if I'm still fatigued from my run on Saturday, or just feeling shitty because of all the bad food I've eaten since this weekend (I was POOPED after being up all night at the hospital on Sunday and indulged in a Baconator on Monday... my first fast food of the new year!). After class, a bunch of people came up to me and asked how my marathon training was going. My first thought was, "Damn! I need to stop telling people about this! Now they all have expectations!" but really, it was kinda neat. Except for one of the guys I chatted with who is a very experienced long distance runner and cyclist and has run something like 30 marathons. He asked me how my 20-miler went and I have to say... I was pretty embarrassed to tell him. IT TOOK ME FIVE HOURS. He started doing the math out loud for what kind of pace I was running and I started making excuses "it was hilly, I had a cold/flu-thing, my legs were already tired, etc." All in all, not a very uplifting conversation. But he was nice about it and tried to be encouraging and I know it will motivate me to know that I have people that I am kind of sort of accountable to. I'm the kind of person who likes to keep goals a secret because I hate to let people down almost as badly as I hate to let myself down. Maybe it's time for me to nut up a bit.

Anyway, back to studying :-/

Monday, February 6, 2012

Baby girl!

I meant to write about a few things over the weekend. Let me just breeze through the highlights so I can cut to the awesome part :)

1) Finished my final long training run for the marathon! I ran 20 miles from Daphne, through Montrose and Fairhope, to Point Clear, and then back to Fairhope. I wanted to show a map of this run because I'm pretty proud of it, but I'm blogging from my phone and that might be a bit much for this ol' iPhone to handle. The run was TOUGH. Much harder than my previous long runs and I think that was partially due to the awesome hills of the Eastern Shore and maybe the 16 mi run that I did less than a week before this one. My friend Sam ran the last half of the run with me and thank goodness, because I really needed the company! Now I just have to heal up and maintain my fitness for the marathon on March 4th!

2) I ate a lot of amazing food this weekend. Xiaobin and Melissa came to Mobile and we hit up this incredible jazz brunch on Sunday morning. Here is a list of things that I ate: eggs Benedict, bananas foster French toast, lasagna (such an amazing breakfast item), king cake pastries (almost choked on one of the babies), scrambled eggs, bacon, and a waffle. If you think this is stupid excessive, allow me to offer an excuse. I was pretty nauseous and icky all day Saturday (after my run) so this was the first real meal I had in 24hrs. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

3) I watched the Super Bowl last night (duh) and came home and chatted with my Hans about our plans for St. Pete next weekend. We were really looking forward to running the 1/2M but not sure what to do because my sister was looking like she might be ready to go into labor sometime soon. Seconds after I got off the phone with Hans, Joann called me and told me that her water broke! I threw some stuff in a backpack and arrived in Slidell, LA at around 2am. I was really scared of what it would be like in the deliery room and what my sister would be like but the atmosphere was not chaotic at all; it was very quiet and focused. It was such a blessing to see my sister and brother in law work as a team to deliver our baby girl. I was floored by how strong and serene my beautiful sister was through her labor and how nurturing and encouraging Ben was to Joey. I wanted to step in and hold Joann's hand and help her push an be part of the action, but it was Ben and Joann's show and all they needed was each other. Lily McCrae was born at 6:05am today. She is such a precious thing! She's goofy like her daddy and sweet and good-natured like her mommy. She's nursing beautifully and great at napping. I don't have a lot of experience with babies, but Lily seems like an awesome one :)

I'm an aunt!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I want to ride my bicycle

I took yesterday off, much to my disappointment. I had a 5 mile run and spin class planned out but I have a cold or flu or something and it was recommended to me that I take it easy. New thing I learned about strenuous training- it takes a toll on your immune system. Dislike! If I'm going to attempt 20 miles this weekend, I need to be feeling better than I do right now...

I did do something productive and exciting though, beyond finishing off the tub of thin mint ice cream in my freezer (what is wrong with me!!)- I signed up for both of my bike rides for the summer!

July 14-15, 2012

This summer will be my first time riding the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic! I'm super excited because it's one of the biggest cycling events in the country (~10,000 riders) and I've heard that it's a lot flatter than the RSVP... 204 miles with an elevation gain of around 5,000'

August 17-18, 2012

Yes I am doing the 188 miles AGAIN... It was a tough bugger last summer, but I think I'm in better overall shape this year so I should be able to fare the ride a bit more comfortably! Even though it is a f-ing beast... I think the elevation gain was 7 or 8,000'. The steepest thing I saw was this spot of road in Vancouver, BC called "The Wall". A lot of folks were walking their bikes up... meanwhile, I was climbing soooo slowly, I could barely stay balanced on my bike. According to my bike computer, I was riding at 4mph. I am very excited about the RSVP this summer though because one of my best girlfriends will be joining the team! She's coming to Mobile this weekend to catch the Super Bowl Sunday sale at my bike shop, Cadence 120. Hopefully we'll be able to find her a road bike that she likes and is a better price than I paid for mine ;)

RSVP 2011- We have reached America's hat!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Eating "healthy"??

Eeek! I've been slacking! Time management has been tough on me lately. Last week, I missed one of my short runs because I was preparing for my sister's baby shower (totally worth it, obv) and I have yet to establish a routine for handling my night classes. Aaaahhhh I really need to figure that one out. I hate rushing to do my homework an hour before class!! And next week isn't going to be any better because I have a conference in Ft. Lauderdale and a Mardi Gras Ball AND THEN I'm driving to St. Pete to run the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll 1/2M. I'm not complaining about any of this stuff because I know next week is going to be really fun and exciting (FLO RIDA is playing the post-race show!!!), but stuff like doing the dishes and blogging tend to slip between the cracks.

This morning, I want to talk a little bit about food. I've been making a real effort to clean up my diet this year. I cut cream & sugar from my coffee (hahaha- baby steps!), cut fast food (I love a good Baconator at 9:30pm after my Managerial Accounting class...), and decided to be make better choices in general. I have used marathon training as an excuse to eat whatever the hell I want and I think it has gotten a little out of control!

Exhibit A: Giant plate of greasy, amazing lasagna from Cousin Vinny's in Daphne

So I'm eating healthier for a few days and I realize... wow I really feel like garbage! I was getting through my workouts but I didn't have as much energy as usual and one night I thought I was going to need to leave class early. I was sitting in Financial Management and I had a bad headache and felt nauseous and I realized... I couldn't stop thinking about salty food. So I proceeded to Jimmy John's and ordered the usual: #5 light mayo w/ salt & vinegar chips. The #5 is The Vito, my favorite sandwich in the whole wide world. It comes pre-loaded with lots of sodium, but I like to stuff it with the salt & vinegar chips for the extra crunch ;)

I love you, Jimmy John's

I ate the sandwich and felt way, way better. My friend Jamie wrote a post the other day that touched on how runners should be more mindful of their sodium levels because sodium is essential to remaining hydrated. I also read about how you can flood your body with water to stay hydrated in a workout, but without also consuming sodium your electrolyte levels will get all out of whack. There's probably a much more eloquent way to say that but I'm over it. 

So I think my idea of eating healthy would be great if I wasn't in the tail end of marathon training. But right now, maybe I should be listening to my body and giving in to some of these cravings... 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

training questions...

I'm in something of a quandary... my long recovery from the First Light 1/2M put me a week behind in my long runs and it's looking like I will either have to sacrifice one of my remaining long runs or sacrifice a week of tapering. I am inclined to sacrifice the week because I don't want to cut any more corners in my training... but I know that not getting adequate rest could really bite me in the butt. What to do??!

The week has been pretty good. I ran five miles on Monday and did some hill work for the first twenty minutes and speed work for the remainder. I ran for 40 minutes on Tuesday and did the same. Today was Bill's spin class, which was obviously amazing. Since I had actually called it quits early on my Tuesday run (I ran 4.2mi instead of 5), I decided that I owed it to myself to run a mile after spin. I hopped on the treadmill and knocked it out in 7:50. It felt SOOO good to run fast! And yes, I know it's not that fast, but it sure f-ing beats the paces I've been running for the last few months! I don't think I'm getting burnt out on running, but I'm definitely getting tired of running slow. Maybe over the summer when I switch gears to cycling I'll try and incorporate some short runs during the week... I'm not saying that I'm shying away from these longer distances. I just want to run them FASTER!

<3, M.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

18 miles?? PIECE OF CAKE!

Just kidding, it wasn't actually that easy. I meant to knock this one out on Wednesday, but I didn't get out of work early enough to catch the hours of daylight I would need to run EIGHTEEN MILES. So I ran five and went to spin class instead. As always, Bill's class whooped my ass. I could really feel the burn in my quads as we did the sprint work and lately I've been wondering if I should just bite the bullet and buy some good spin shoes. I have the ones I use for my bike, but I don't think they're compatible with the type of clips on the spin bikes. Hmmm...

Anyway! Yesterday, I mapped out three different ~6 mile loops from my apartment. I left out a bottle of water/gatorade and some GU and hit the road at around 10am. It was very humid and the sky looked like it was fixin' to rain (aww I love Mobile) but the sun burned through at around noon. Then, it was hot. Very hot! I kept my heart rate at right around 155bpm (the upper limit of my aerobic zone) and never felt like I had to breathe through my mouth. Although this run was easy on the cardiovascular side, it felt tougher on my muscles and my joints because my stride was really short and so perhaps the cumulative impact was greater? What was weird (but kind of nice) was that the aches and pains would come and go and be replaced by a discomfort somewhere else. So my left arch (the mostly problematic one) would bother me for about a half hour, and then the pain would switch to my right hip and my arch wouldn't bother me anymore. As I write this, I wonder if it had to do with me adjusting my stride to compensate for the pain in the different parts of my body. I don't think I hurt myself too terribly bad though because I feel perfect today. No lingering soreness anywhere!

I took a break in between loops to grab some water and devour a GU. I feel good about the breaks that I took because they always came just when I was starting to feel tired or thirsty. I didn't time my running or my breaks because I wanted to focus on how my body was feeling and not push too hard- this worked out really well for me! When it was all over, I wasn't exactly tired but my muscles were definitely fatigued and I had to support myself a bit on the railing as I made my way upstairs. But yeah, today I am good as new! I think I will stick with heart rate training for my long runs... seems to be working so far.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

fat, fat, fatty

I spent the long weekend in beautiful Ferndale, WA. Hans and I had made plans to do an 8 mile run on Saturday and a 5 mile run on Sunday BUT it snowed all weekend!!! So for once, we had an excuse to be lazy! We stayed in and watched lots of movies and ate delicious food and didn't feel bad one bit.

Lunch at Luna Park Cafe in West Seattle
Tell me, have you ever seen anything more sexy?

I got home late last night and had all kinds of wacky dreams (maybe from the spam musubi I had on the flight to Atlanta...) and woke up feeling like I might be drunk. I had to rush to make it sort-of-on-time to work and I forgot three ESSENTIAL things that I NEVER forget: breakfast, coffee, cell phone. Spent a good part of the day sneaking into different break rooms for a cup o' joe... because if the same people notice you go into the same break room for coffee six times before noon, they might think you have a problem, see???...

Got five miles in on the treadmill after work. I did it nice and easy at a 10:00 pace because I'm going to attempt the elusive 18-miler tomorrow afternoon. That is, if it ever stops dumping rain outside. I have never, ever seen it rain like it rains in the Gulf. I lived in a RAINFOREST for 16 years, and it rains way more severely here. Crazy.

Anyway, I'm beat. Nighty-night.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Achy Breaky Feet

Yesterday, I planned to do my long run for the week- 18 miles. I mapped out two different 9 mile loops (to keep things interesting for myself), strapped on my heart rate monitor, set a water bottle and blueberry GU outside the gate to my house, and off I went! I tried to keep my heart rate in the fat burning/aerobic zones (50-70%) and would slow down if my heart rate approached 160bpm. Folks, I was moving slower than a swimming sloth.

Leave me alone, lady! Can't you see I'm trying to maintain my target heart rate zone?!

When I finally made it home, my knees and feet hurt but I felt great! My heart rate was low, my breathing was easy, and I was excited to knock my second 9 mile loop out of the park. I devoured the GU and slammed some watered down gatorade and I was on my way! 18 miles?! NO PROBLEM!!!

Two miles later, I was finished. My feet felt like two crushed birds, delicate bones protruding sharply from feathers in my Asics GT-2160s. I hobbled my ass back home and wondered what the fuck had happened. Two miles is a long way to walk when it hurts to walk. When I finally got home and had a hot shower, I realized that I probably hadn't given myself enough time to recover from the 1/2M this weekend. 

Today, I feel... better than ever, actually! My feet and calves are just fine, and I wonder if the stupid long run was just what I needed to flush out the lactic acid (in my feet???). I went to a great spin class during my lunch hour today and I feel confident that I'll be able to handle the 18 miler when I get back from this weekend. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

rest day, take 2!

I thought about working out today. I actually packed some clothes and my running shoes to get five miles in after work... thing is, my arches are still really tender from the run this weekend. So I got a pedicure and a massage instead! I went to Nou Veau in west-ish Mobile and took advantage of their stellar BCS Championship special: $74 for a pedicure and a 1 hour massage. Roll Tide!

A nice mint green pedi to disguise my icky feet!

Sorry if that picture is too gross. I know a lot of people who hate feet, but I am proud of what my feet are able to do (sustain the impact of running for miles and miles and miles and miles...) and REALLY proud of this cute nail polish color choice! So suck it, podophobes!

The massage was pretty stellar, as well. The massage therapist had me strip down to my underoos and lay under all these soft, warm sheets. The room was comfortably dimmed and the sounds of water flowing and the gentle ringing of bells just soothed the HELL out of me. I was asleep and drooling in minutes.

My sentiments exactly, Mr. Meow Meow

She traced the muscles along my spine and around my shoulder blades and found a few small spots that I didn't even know were sore. My arms, unconditioned and lacking any semblance of musculature, did not benefit much from this massage. She flipped me over and did a nice job on my shins and my quads but I have to say- overall, she could have been a lot harder on my legs. My calves and whatever it is that runs down my calves to my heels are still pretty achey and my feet, particularly my left arch, are very tender. It felt nice to have someone touching them, but I kind of wanted to feel it more. I don't know.

One thing I really like to do is use my elbows to massage my arches and the bottoms of my feet. If that sounds weird, sorry, but my thumbs just can't push through all that tough skin and tissue enough to make a difference. Maybe my weak hands are an extension of my weak arms. But anyway, elbows. They are pointy and hard and I can use them to dig precisely into each of those sore spots way more effectively than this (otherwise very talented) masseuse did this afternoon. Yeah, yeah don't knock it till you try it, okay? 

This is how I do it: I sit down as though I am doing the butterfly, or groin stretch. I adjust my feet so that they rotate somewhat towards the ceiling (this requires some ankle flexibility). I take my elbow and push it into my foot, sometimes slowly rotating in circles and sometimes just dragging my elbow along the length of the bone or muscle. I do the elbow massage after every long run and it hurts so, so good.

Foot turned slightly towards the ceiling. Elbow in the arch of the foot. Also, penguin PJs.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The impossible happened!! The official times haven't been posted yet, but I know my raw time was under two hours... crazy, crazy day. I hit a great rhythm at around mile 4 and was able to ride that through mile 11. The last 2.1 miles were a total mind game... I almost convinced myself to walk it the rest of the way, but I knew that if I pushed through the pain I would meet my goal time. In the last mile, I tried to focus on "Violent Pornography" blaring through my headphones, and this quote:

"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never pushed through the obstruction." -William James

Thank goodness I didn't give up on myself! :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

listening to my heart

I got my heart rate monitor in the mail earlier this week. The Omron HR-100C has a stopwatch, backlight, settable target zones, and a zone alarm and that's pretty much it! It cost me ~$35 on and is probably one of the most basic models out there. I know some folks whose heart rate monitors save recorded values through entire workouts and can shoot out beautiful graphs and interesting data to be used for optimizing one's training routine or approach to a given workout. I could get really geeked out on something like that, but I chose to go simple. Mostly because I had just put a massive order in at and knew it would be unwise to spend another $569.95 on something really cool.

I wore my heart rate monitor to the gym on Wednesday. I ran 2 miles at right around an 8:30 min/mi pace (I don't have my workout calendar handy for the specifics) and I think my heart rate was up in the 170s. That sounds high to me, but I felt really good and could have definitely kept going if I wasn't already late for spin class. In spin, my heart rate stayed 130-150 and might have shot up a bit during sprints. I felt GREAT in that workout (the class I blogged about in the previous entry) and mostly breathed through my nose- a good indication that I wasn't working too terribly hard.

My friend Sam recommended that I use my heart rate monitor to measure my resting heart rate by wearing it to bed and taking a quick reading when I wake up in the morning. I tried to do that, but I'm a tosser and a turner and the thing was so darn uncomfortable, it would wake me up several times through the night. I would take a reading before I ditched it and went back to sleep. Having done that for a few nights, I think it's a safe bet to say that my resting heart rate is 55 bpm.

Maximum heart rate is a more finicky chicken to pluck. I used this MHR calculator to estimate that my maximum heart rate is 197bpm. There are a few age/gender based equations out there, but the gold standard, supposedly, is a clinical stress test. This Runner's World article describes a DIY method of calculating your max heart rate while running a track workout. I want to do this at some point because my estimated MHR seems kind of low to me... I will regularly end a tough treadmill workout at 185bpm (as measured by the sensors on the treadmill handle bars) and that would put me in the 90%-100% maximal zone which is potentially dangerous to heart health. Either my estimated MHR is off or I'm working way beyond what is safe for my poor ticker. Hmmm...

In other news, tomorrow is the BankTrust First Light Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. I will be running the 1/2M with some friends and then spending the rest of the day eating bagels and pizza to "restore my carb reserves". In the handful of races that I've done, I have always had two goals- one goal would be the one that I share with people who ask, the other goal would be my REAL goal which I would keep to myself. The goal that I share with people is a finishing time that I am positive I will make. The goal that I keep a secret is what I consider the ultimate, best-case scenario and it's so lofty that I am embarrassed to even speak it out loud to someone else. The lame thing about this blog is that no one reads it. The AWESOME thing about this blog is that... no one reads it. So here is my real, secret, lofty goal for the First Light 1/2M: I want to finish in under two hours.

So what do you think about that?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Love's a Revolver

Spin class today kicked soooo much ass. I LOVE Wednesday 5:30pm class because Bill is an incredible motivator and he always has the best music. 2/3 of the way through class, he played this remix of Madonna's "Revolver" and I felt the way I feel in the end of a Bikram yoga class- totally at peace and utterly unstoppable

I'll just get it out there- spin class is very sexy to me. They dim the lights and crank up the noise and everyone's in there checking everyone out in the giant mirror in the front of the room. It always makes me feel like I'm in some steamy, spandex-y dance club. Kind of erotic- especially when we're riding in third position... it's a standing climb with your hands on the very ends of the handlebars and your hips stretched waaaay back with your bottom hovering just over the seat. Most of your weight is in your legs and your hands only lightly touch the handlebars for balance. When I'm in third position, I feel like I could ride my stationary bike right over any insecurity or self-perceived flaw I might have. All my anxiety is gone. All my inadequacies are gone. I feel the solidness of my core and my burning, pumping legs and my palms just grazing the PVC-dipped bars and I think, "DAMN, girl!"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First yoga of 2012!

So I totally meant to run four miles after work today... but I took a nap instead. I think I'm just exhausted from the holidays, honestly. I set my alarm for 5:20 so that I could throw on my favorite pair of pants and meet Trish for 5:30 yoga at the Y.

Lululemon Wunder Under Pants- favorite pants in the world

Of course, I'm late for yoga. That's okay though, because promptness wasn't one of my goals for 2012! Maybe next year... Also, of course, it's INCREDIBLY crowded!!! People were right on top of each other in this tiny yoga studio. And yoga is probably the shittiest class to be late to because it's soooo quiet. I mean, if I tried hard enough I could probably have heard people's heart rates pick up in their annoyance with me. The spot next to Trish was ocupado so I settled for the last available free space- directly in front of the instructor, who I had never met because I had never taken yoga at the Y.

Not really a good start! But gosh, was it a great class... We started with flowing through some sun salutations and it felt AWESOME to sink my heels into downward dog. I also wasn't as weak in chaturanga as I thought I would be

Chaturanga Dandasana 
(PS- who is this BABE?!!)

We did some core/hip strengthening work which I felt really strong in. We also did my all-time favorite stretch, pigeon. It was especially sweet after my 10-mile run yesterday. Surprisingly, the hardest part of the class for me was the balance! Things I used to kick ASS at, like eagle pose, were totally impossible. I felt every tiny muscle in my feet and ankles burning for rest. I'm wondering if not doing yoga has made my stabilizer muscles weak... and if that has contributed to the pain I've been feeling in the arches of my feet. 

In the book Born to Run, Chris McDougall talks about a dude whose flat feet had caused him all kinds of running injuries. As a last ditch effort, the guy abandons shoes altogether and the muscles in his feet eventually developed to where he had a strong arch and he stopped having foot pain. He also went down a half size in footwear! Okay I might not have all the details exactly right, but I think it's interesting. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Intentions

One of my resolutions for 2011 was to log all of my workouts. I decided to write them in a calendar in my living room so that I could easily see when I was having a good month or a lazy month. It ended up being really great motivation for me! 

My December 2011 workouts

Here is a breakdown of what I did in 2011:
45 Bikram Yoga workouts
25 spin classes (I thought this number would have been much higher!!! Maybe I wasn't as diligent as I thought)
665.5 miles biked
365.57 miles run (106 of which were in the month of December alone!)

As a side note, I also read 13 books in 2011. I logged all the books that I read on this calendar as well, and will probably keep that going in 2013. Yay!

I had some bad months... in May, I was in Yorktown and didn't bring my calendar so I didn't keep track of anything that I did (which probably wasn't much) and in September, the only thing I logged was a 9.3 mile run on the 7th, shortly before I came down with strep throat.

Anywho, I still need to buy a 2012 wall calendar but Hans and I already set some good fitness-related goals for the new year. My goals are to ride the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic and the Ride from Seattle to Vancouver (and Party), log 500 running miles and 1000 biking miles, run an ULTRAMARATHON (will more than likely go with a 50k), and do a pull-up.

I'm thinking that I will throttle back on my running after my marathon in March and focus on preparing for the long bike rides in the summer (the STP is 202 miles long and the RSVP is 188 miles long). Then I should have a solid three months to prepare for a 50k in the late fall...

Yeah I might be a little overly ambitious but it's the beginning of the NEW YEAR and I feel soooo great!