Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another weekend, another 20 miles

I switched my long run to Sunday this week to accommodate a social life. What? Social activities? What are those? That's how I've been feeling lately as I say no to anything that doesn't fit into my 10pm Friday night curfew or Saturdays being consumed by pre-running activities, running forever, and then post-running ice baths, naps, meals, etc. So in an effort to restore some balance, the 20 miler was moved to Sunday. I ran home from the train station friday instead of carpooling, quickly scurried off to the bbq, only a little late and had a blast. And didn't make it to bed until 1am, and didn't care. Oh glorious friday night!

Saturday morning we had breakfast with friends and then went for a slow leisurely bike ride around a small agricultural island nearby. It was gorgeous out and so necessary to make room for such fun at the end of summer in Portland. We saw tons of baby animals and rode slowly and took in all the flowers and even stopped for blackberry snacking along the way.

Fiance and I stayed in Saturday night and ate a huge pasta meal, and according to plan I was in bed by 10. It was going to be hot today so I wanted to get out early, but woke up a little later than usual and didn't make it out the door until 7:45.

Today's run was pretty uneventful. Miles 1-5 I was cruising, at mile 5 I jumped on the train and rode it 3 stops to avoid my least favorite part of the run. Miles 5-10 were through NW Portland and involved my only pit stop, at, of course, Starbucks. I had a Clif Shot at mile 6 and the Espresso one at mile 10 and then planned to meet Fiance at mile 15 for a cinnamon roll break. After last weeks success I decided to test drive that fuel source one more time and then if all went well have him bring one when he meets me at mile 18. I got to the meeting point half an hour ahead of schedule (wow!) and knew I couldn't stop running, so I didn't end up meeting him until mile 18. I quickly ate a cinnamon roll and guzzled a ton of water and took off for my last 2 miles. Just that 7-8 minutes stopped left my legs very heavy, but the sugar did me well. I had a slight cramp for a little while, which I think was water related. I made it home in 3.5 hours exactly and headed straight for the ice bath.

Now it's time for some lunch! The long runs are officially over which has me feeling quite a few things:
Can I really do this? Shouldn't I run 20 miles next weekend too? Won't I go crazy during the taper? (yes, probably) What if I spend all my free time eating instead of running? What if my new shoes aren't broken in by then? (sidenote: had planned to run in my current shoes, but my knees have been bothering me in the way they only do when my shoes are worn out, so I bought new ones (exactly the same as the current ones I love) and plan to break them in on my taper runs over the next 3 weeks.)

Doubt creeps in even after a completely successful 20 mile run. Amazing. It's all in your head though, and I will spend the next 3 weeks reminding myself of that!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

20 miles!!!! is a long way to run

It took me so long to map out a route on google pedometer last night that I was feeling rather discouraged at the true reality of how long 20 miles is when I went to sleep last night. I woke up ready to go though, earlier than I needed to get up really, but I hopped out of bed and started my hour of prep before heading out the door. I had loaded up hours of podcasts in an effort to stave off the boredom that hit me during my mid-week 10 miler. (I resorted to calling my best friend and then my sister and looking like a moron I am sure as I ran down the road talking on my speakerphone...the things boredom will lead us to.) The first 5 miles flew by, and really now that I think about it, so did the rest of them. I was trying to refine my water and fuel intake and did manage to drink a lot more fluids this time around, but also had to stop a few times to go to the bathroom. Thank goodness for the frequent appearance of Starbucks and their nice clean bathrooms!

I cruised along at a pretty good pace, trying to remind myself to slow it down every once in a while. At mile 12 I realized I was more than 8 miles from home and would have to alter my original plan to run back home, so I ran to 16 miles and then decided to take the train to the stop that is 4 miles from home. While I waited for the train in front of a bakery that was just oozing delicious smells I decided to use my emergency money to purchase an emergency cinnamon roll, which I then devoured swiftly. It fueled me through my last FAST four miles, at the point I was feeling great and wasn't going to slow down for anything.

My left knee bugged me consistently throughout the run, and I'm icing it now. Other than that things went great! and I am considering altering my training plan to do another 20 next week to build up my confidence a little more. But we'll see, I am wary of overdoing it when things are going well.

Now I am off to eat and take a nap and rest up for date night with Fiance.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

That Plus 10 Miles

Another 16 mile run. This time I had to drag myself out of bed and felt like the run was doomed for the first few miles. And rationalized all the reasons why I should cut the run short.

But I didn't. I got far enough away that I had to complete the run to make it back home. I felt better the second half of the run too. I have a new fuel belt which made hydration much easier. But the daunting fact that I have to do today's run PLUS 10 miles is nagging at me at the moment.

My wonderful fiance is planning to run the last 8 miles of the marathon with me so I think that will help-- I originally asked him to run the last 6, but the course comes by our house at mile 18 so it makes sense for him to jump in there. His training consists of running my Tuesday run with me each week-- 4 miles or so and playing ultimate frisbee a few times a week, but he has entertained the idea of running the entire thing with me a few times.

Ice bath-ed again and will ice this complaining IT band a bunch today. And now it's off to relax at a friend's cabin for the holiday weekend.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Longest Run Ever (Again)

I am enjoying this phase of my training-- every week is a new "longest run ever!". This week was a 16 miler. I kept right around the 10 minute mile pace, and felt really good throughout. 16 miles is a LONG way though! I covered some serious ground in and around Portland. But it's a fabulous way to get to know a new city!

I bought a "real" fuel belt on Sunday and will start working on the hydration element of my running. The fueling I think I have figured out, but generally I don't drink any water at all while I run (including on my long runs for 1/2 marathon training). But that approach is just not going to work now that I am above 10 mile runs every weekend.

This week my challenge is to not slack on the mid-week runs either... we'll see how that goes.

In other news, I have a new job, and need to figure out how to work my runs around my new schedule.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where I've Been

With big plans to keep on track with my running schedule while traveling, backpacking, moving and visiting friends and family we left LA at the end of June. We landed in Portland, our new home, last week. The running plans were adhered to on occasion, but largely proved to be impossible due to a) grizzly bears (more on this later) b) being in a new place every night c) other priorities.

I think the other priorities is something a lot of athletes, and runners/triathletes especially, run up against time and again. There is a time and place to organize your life around running and while on a vacation planned for three years with one's significant other, it's to everyones advantage that running be a "only if it fits in" activity, rather than what the day is planned around.

We were quickly at elevation in the Grand Tetons at the beginning of July, and able to squeeze in a run on the main road in Tetons. We were staying at the Jenny Lake campground, a highly coveted tent-only site, with a lake at its edge. Boyfriend wanted to run around the lake on the hiking trail, but having spent a summer in Alaska, I realized that running in grizzly country is a quick way to incite a bear's hunting instincts. So we ran on the highly traveled road and saw zero wildlife while we were out there. Two weeks later a fellow backpacker in Glacier National Park relayed a close-to-home scary story about a runner being mauled on the Jenny Lake trail. Very glad we ran on the main road!

We got to our premiere destination, Glacier, July 21st and spend an amazing 18 days there. We hiked over 100 miles during the course of two trips, and I ran exactly zero times. I managed not to feel guilty about that for 17 out of the 18 days though! On July 25th, at the top of the highest pass we climbed Boyfriend proposed to me- making his moniker slightly outdated at this point, since I said yes!

The leg strengthening effects of that much hiking and many days of big elevation gain were indisputable! I was happy to be coming back down to sea level and reaping the effects of being at elevation for a month too. I started back into my running plan the first morning we were in Portland and have been generally on track ever since.

Yesterday was a 14 mile long run, which ended at 13.7 thanks to record-breaking heat and the realization that I HAD TO HAVE WATER right at THAT moment, and was in front of a Starbucks. (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Starbucks while I am running- bathrooms & water at reliable intervals!) I hopped into the ice bath and spent the rest of the day re-fueling, as my body was definitely in "how do we recover from that again?" mode.

The rest of the month will be intense. I said to Fiance "the only things I am allowed to do in August are run and apply for jobs", and so far I've been relatively true to that. The time and the place for running to be the priority is now until October 5th: The Portland Marathon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Long Hiatus

Our moving day is rapidly approaching! which means that I will be away from a computer for most of the next month as we take a much needed series of vacations and do some celebrating along the way. I will be squeezing in runs around travels, but am leaving the computer behind! I'm sure I'll find time for a post here and there, but until mid-August it'll be mostly radio silence.

I will do 2 more runs here in LA- 5 miles and 7 miles, as we pack the truck and then head north. I'm so looking forward to Portland and cooler climes! we will miss the amazing restaurants, endless possibilities for entertainment, close proximity to the beautiful So Cal beaches and our cute little apartment here. But it's time for a smaller city! and a running/biking-centric city will be much appreciated too!

Today's 3 miler, small bike ride and ab/arm workout are already behind me, so now it's back to packing!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Santa Cruz Long Run

I did my weekly long run in Santa Cruz yesterday, which meant almost 2 hours of running on the Pacific coast in a place I love! And the people watching was entertaining as well. I had 10 miles planned but decided to run over to the tennis club to meet Boyfriend and his parents and neglected to add in the extra couple miles when I decided what route to run. So I ended up closer to 12 miles but felt great up until the last 1/2 mile or so. At 11.5 miles my IT bands both decided they had had enough of the slanted roads and running altogether but I didn't want to walk because it would take longer so I toughed it out. I feel good today so I guess they got over it.

We move this next weekend so I am trying to schedule this week's runs around packing, cleaning, errands, goodbye dinners, etc. But if that seems hard, I am trying not to think about July where I'll be trying to get my runs in while we travel all over the place and do other fun things that might make me tempted to skip the runs...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

5 before the sun

I set the alarm for 6, changed it to 7 when I realized how little sleep I'd get, and then woke up at 6 anyway- took it as a sign and got out there before it was too hot. Me and everyone else! I don't think I've seen that many people biking and running at one time here, oh, maybe ever! It was great actually- and probably it's all the people who like me skipped their afternoon runs because it was too hot, the regular morning people and then the people who were getting in their runs planned for this afternoon too. It is nice to have so many people on the streets that early though.

My legs were a little heavy today- thanks to quite a bit of biking last night, which also included a bike disaster with Boyfriend and I ending up in a fight on the side of the street. He is comfortable with tons of traffic, which is frequent here in LA if you aren't careful to avoid it, I'm not comfortable with it. He took off way faster than me and took me on a route that had me biking past a highway on ramp and off ramp (yes, having to cross them!) which put me into full on I-am-going-to-die-on-this-bike-ride panic. Not good. So instead of bike back to the train station we'd gotten off at, we just bike the whole way home on much mellower streets. Who is glad they are moving away from LA?!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today I wish...

that I could be at the beach. Or somewhere with a strong breeze. It's very hot and I don't actually feel like running. Let alone running on the treadmill which is really the only way I'll make it any distance at all. Thinking of switching my 5 miler to tomorrow a.m. and getting up ridiculously early to get it in before the sun sets in, and doing 3 on the mill right now. Ugh.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Success on the Bike & Easy Tuesday

I am so into this active recovery from the long run- I try to bike for an hour the day after my long runs and it makes my legs sooo happy. I did the bike-train-bike commute yesterday, and got in about 1.5 hours total on the bike. My legs didn't feel tired at all, which is nice!

Tuesdays are "easy" day on my marathon training plan, so it was 3 at 10 min/miles. I ended up getting every red light possible, so it was a run/wait, run/wait kind of run. I ran to the bank and then back home, to try and get in an errand too since I'm still trying to cut back on gas.

And then I made a strawberry rhubarb pie to celebrate summer! mmmm! (and I said to Boyfriend "when was the last time you made a pie before work? no, me neither!", there's a first time for everything).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Oh easy long run

Just back from a (hot) 9 miler and feeling terrific. I felt fabulous for miles 0-7 and then still felt good during 7-9 minus the extreme thirst and being drenched in sweat. It was my last long run here in Southern California, because we're moving at the end of the month and will be out of town next weekend so I'll be running there instead.

Boyfriend's graduate school commencement ceremony was yesterday, followed by a party to celebrate 4 years (!) of architectural school coming to a close. I volunteered to be the DD in order to make sure I got out the door early this morning. I think I have quite a few more celebrations and occasions between now and October where I'll be making that move, along with being the impetus for my carload of folks to depart before midnight. It's ok with me, and so far Boyfriend is extremely supportive, but I think he's in for a surprise at the way my weekends will need to revolve around the long run EVERY week. I tried to sneak out of bed early (trying to make it out before it was too hot and knew I'd need an hour to eat/digest etc.), and got the "where are you going?" followed by the "when will you be back? 10 miles?!"....long sleepy pause..."ok...". But, he's currently making me post-run breakfast crepes with peaches and cappucino so that's always fabulous!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

One bad run...

The power of one bad run is truly stunning. It has the ability to shake months of confidence and training, and to set you back at "can I do this???" so quickly. My four miler on Wednesday went from bad to worse to terrible. Started off with heavy legs and uncomfortable breathing and then went into the low blood sugar zone at about mile 1.5. I've struggled with blood sugar issues for years now, and generally pay very close attention to when/what I eat. I guess my crazy hectic schedule as of late caught up with me on Wednesday because I couldn't remember exactly when I'd had lunch and just went for my run instead of eating a snack and waiting a while like I normally do. The tunnel vision and lightheadness are complicating factors when you're trying to run... But I decided I was going to push through it, since I needed to get back home anyway. I made it through the run- but not without building up a mountain of doubts on my way, which stayed with me all night and into the next day.

I had company in town which provided a good excuse for postponing my next run. Of course that meant I had 24 hours to mull the impossibility of 26.2 miles when I could barely make it through 4!

The next morning I just put on my running clothes and shoes the minute I got up, to avoid any more excuses, at my one piece of toast and hopped out the door. My run went fine, of course, despite the lingering doubts. And I spent the entire time convincing myself that I will probably always have bad runs every once in a while- I'll just try to be grateful that they are few and far between. I'll also try to focus on drowning out those very loud voices of doubt that infiltrated my confidence this time, but surely won't the next time they come around.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Running toward October

I printed off my training calendar for the marathon today. And posted it on the fridge so it's really official! and when I get my paycheck next week I'll be entering the Portland Marathon! and buying a Garmin!

Off for four miles now with a new podcast- I'll let you know what it is if it's any good!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

First Tire Blow Out & Onto the 3s

I had this brilliant idea to bike/train commute to work yesterday. I mapped out a route that would allow me to avoid the seriously busy LA streets- think Sunset, Beverly & Santa Monica Boulevards. I pumped my tires up on the way out the door and made it to the train, from one train to the other, back up to the street and 2 out of 5 miles into my ride. I was just thinking to myself "Biking in LA isn't that bad! this is great! I love biking!" when BOOM! my rear tire exploded. Not just a flat, but the sidewall has a 4 inch gap in it now. So me and my sad little bike got on the bus for the rest of the way and Boyfriend had to come rescue us at the end of the day. Sad. The funny thing is, I had brought my hand pump and patch kit for, yep, the first time EVER. I have been biking since I went to college and not once did I bring those things with me. And not once did I need them. The one day I cart them along...

But I'm not discouraged- I'm off to buy new tires (going to go ahead and replace the front one too, it is time...) and tomorrow we'll try again!

In running news: 3 miles easy on the treadmill this morning. Or I should say the running part was easy-- the treadmill is a serious mental test for me though. I really just can't handle it! Even when I cover up the clock all I can think it "am I almost done? has it been another minute? ohmygod, it's only been 8 minutes?!" and such. Not good, since I am inevitably going to be running on the mill at least occasionally in rainy Portland. I also forgot it was summer pool hours since it's June and missed my chance to swim this a.m. too. So back to the gym this evening for my first swim in forever.