Monthly Archives: October 2011

Remembering the long run

December 4th. That is the date of my next marathon. According to my calculations that is six weeks away which means only four more weeks of ramping up before tapering. Somehow that hit me this week and lit a fire under my tush. Part of me realized that I needed to get back onto my long run or this marathon would be a nightmare. I know that there are individuals that can run a marathon after only training to 14 miles (I’ve seen it happen), but I don’t want to take that risk.

I haven’t created a strict training regimen, I just knew that I needed to step up my game. Although I had three hours of work to finish, I took Saturday morning off from the office and focused on my needs. And what did I need? A fifteen mile run. I’m not sure where I pulled that number from (probably my tush), but I settled on it.

Unfortunately there aren’t many loops in the area that amount to more than 6 miles, so I had to seek out a longer route. The running club suggested a hillier than necessary 12 mile loop and I couldn’t find any other options. (There is a 5 mile loop on campus, but the likelihood of me completing three laps is very low.) The description of this route indicates that there are some “small inclines” and that it elevates so slowly that you won’t notice you are climbing a mountain until you reach the top. Yeah, apparently they haven’t met me. I notice all changes in grade.

After the first three miles I realized that I would have to start infiltrating the bike lane, right on the street. (Sorry bikers!) I ran past the entrance ramps onto the highway and started going up-up-and-away. I have been considering taking a Galloway approach, but I did my best to get up the hills with limited walk breaks. I shocked myself slightly with the effort I managed to put in to each hill. I’ll admit that I took a few walk breaks on my way up the mountain, but they were few and far between.

On my way down the hill (miles 9.5 through 14) I managed to pick up the pace (as one would expect). Although after three miles of downhill my legs started to get upset. My breathing was normal, my endurance was there, but my legs were ready for a serious stretch. Since I’ve been having calf issues recently I took the proper precautions, in fact I even bought a foam roller and I can’t wait to work these bad boys out.

At the end of my run I examined my Garmin data and found out that I was going at a decent pace (for me). It wasn’t as quick as I’d like, but it definitely surprised me after being on long run hiatus for the past several months. I’m overjoyed to know that my body can still handle the distance.

What’s next? Heck if I know. I’m hoping to get an 18 mile run in this weekend while I’m in Ohio for a Halloween themed wedding reception. Hopefully this will be the start of training properly (a girl can dream, right?). I’m not positive that I’ll make it to 20 miles before the big day, but at this rate anything is possible!

How do you motivate yourself for a long run after a hiatus? What are you going to be for Halloween? (I’m a little behind on creating a costume.)

Dearest exercise

Please do me a huge favor and find your way back into my life. Seriously, I miss you and want you back. I’ll do anything. Really! Don’t make me grovel…

Honestly, although I love working out, I just haven’t in the past three weeks. What does this correspond with? Well that would be the starting of the school year. Since beginning classes I’ve given up control of most other aspects in my life and given myself over to the program. It is rigorous. My sleep pattern has suffered, I’ve had minimal time to meet new people, and, worst of all, my running is going on the back burner.

This weekend, when I was given the opportunity to have a few hours off, I chose to go to a party in San Francisco. This in itself is not the issue, the issue is my decision to stay out late and drink too much so that I could not pull myself out of bed to go for a long run in the morning. Instead I got restless sleep for a few more hours and spent the entire day working in my office. I did manage a short run this morning, but I know that I need to pick it up a notch to prepare for my marathon in December.

The issue I’m finding is that I feel inappropriate leaving the office early when so many of my fellow grad students are staying in the building to get work accomplished. In fact, I can honestly say I felt guilty when I left the office to go play frisbee this week. If I could manage to get out of bed by six every morning then maybe I’d be able to have the time, but this would also require me to leave the office before ten each night. Sigh, what did I sign myself up for?

How do you make the time to workout? What sacrifices have you made to exercise more frequently?

This is what I spend my time doing these days... (Did you know art is hard?!)

Note: More positive posts to come later. Maybe. If I can find the time to write posts.

Ringing in the New Year

No not the typical American New Year, but the Jewish New Year. For those of you who are not familiar, last week was Rosh Hashanah and today is currently Yom Kippur. In the last week we were told to beg forgiveness from those we have wronged over the past year and today we are purging ourselves in a fast.  As the sun sets this evening I’ll have a clean slate and (hopefully) be inscribed in the book of life for the next year. Though before that happens I’d like to publicly apologize. In the words of Glinda (Wicked): I ask forgiveness, for the things I’ve done you blame me for.

On another note, did you know fasting is difficult? I had several dreams last night about accidentally eating today. Apparently food is constantly on my mind. In addition I’m not drinking today which makes life incredibly difficult. I had wanted to get many things accomplished today, but I’m afraid of becoming dehydrated. Instead I slept incredibly late and have been doing work for the past few hours. Not how I’d typically spend my Saturday or Yom Kippur, but it is necessary with all the work I have on my plate these days. Later I’ll return to services and (in seven hours) I’ll return to food.

This has been another long week. I had a large project due on Wednesday which came with a presentation. I forgot what it was like to present in front of my peers… For some reason I can happily talk in front of them in an informal setting, but when it comes to a darkened room I clam up. Not my best moment. Fortunately I was able to relax when it was over (for the night).

So I went out to a local running club to see if they had anything to offer me. Turns out their showing on Wednesday was minuscule (only 15 people). I spent my run with the “sweeper” who was still going considerably faster than I would have expected. I shouldn’t complain though, he managed to get my rear in gear and I completed 5.5 miles much faster than I expected. He was quite the interesting fella, apparently his father had lent Steve Jobs the money that was used to found Apple. Oh the people you’ll meet in Silicon Valley. I’m not sure if I’ll return to the group, but I’m trying to keep an open mind about the experience.

Now I’ve been assigned another large project and plenty of smaller tasks. It is stressful! I’m trying to keep my head up and remind myself that this is the life I wanted for myself. Although it is a lot of work, we’ve had plenty of fun interspersed throughout. Hopefully tomorrow isn’t swallowed whole by my class obligations and I can go for a long run in the morning (one can dream).

How do you ask for forgiveness? What new and exciting activities have you done this past week?

Well that was unexpected…

It was a long weekend. A long, packed full weekend. Friday afternoon I rushed to San Jose to grab my race packet before driving off to Big Basin for an evening of camping activities. I forgot how much fun it could be to cook over an open fire and tell stories late into the night. I also seemed to forget how uncomfortable I get when attempting to sleep in the great outdoors with people I don’t know all that well.

Needless to say I didn’t accumulate much rest on Friday evening which led me to passing out sleeping on the car ride home. And then napping… Although I wanted to be social on Saturday, I knew it was in my best interest to get some rest. After two and a half quarters of the Stanford/UCLA football game, I snuggled up in bed to get my first full nights sleep in a while.

When I woke up it was race day. Physically I didn’t think I was prepared. Did I mention my longest run since April was 8 miles? Only 8 stinkin’ miles!! Not quite the training I had hoped to get before this half marathon. Mentally I knew that I would finish, but I didn’t have high expectations for my finishing time.

So I suited up in pink from head to ankle (Hey Brooks, let’s discuss a pink shoe for me, okay?) and got on my way. I lined up in my corral and as we shuffled to the start line I reminded myself to start slow. It wasn’t about impressing anyone, it was about keeping my body happy for the entire 13.1 without failing.

And then we were off. I felt good for the first mile, but kept noticing that I was going faster than expected. I didn’t want to push my luck, I made a decision to slow down and then managed not to stick with it. By the half way point I noticed that I was keeping pace with my PR from last October. I didn’t think it was possible since my 8 miler last weekend was 30 seconds per mile slower. I had started the morning out hoping to finish in 2:30, but now it was looking as if I could go faster.

Mile 9 passed by and my right ankle thought about giving me trouble. It started aching slightly and I had to remind it to suck it up. I wasn’t going to let my clumsy injury from April ruin this race for me. I pushed through and near mile 10 my left knee decided to get in on the action. Fortunately I wasn’t having it. By mile 11 all random pain was gone.  I kept reminding myself of a fitness mantra I saw on Carly’s blog, “You don’t stop when it hurts, you stop when it’s over.” This phrase was so helpful in pushing through the final few miles.

There were moments when I didn’t think I’d keep up the pace. Times when I thought slowing down was necessary, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Crossing that finish line I knew I had done much better than I could have ever dreamed. Had I trained better I would have PRed, but I’ll settle with having an awesome race day. Final clock time – 2:23:32, just thirty seconds from my PR. (Note: I hate talking about time because I think I’m miserably slow. Perhaps it is time for me get over this fear.)

The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose was by far my best half marathon. No negative thoughts passed through my mind and I was able to pace myself without dropping off. I ran the entirety of the race (except through water stations) and never considered walking for any reason. I am overjoyed.

Afterward I was invited out to meet some other lovely runners over brunch. It was inspiring to hear how well some of the other folks did. Renee managed to set a PR by several minutes! (Can you say rock star?) And, even though she was hungover, Courtney managed to have a great race (although she may not think so). This was my second blogger meetup in the Bay Area and I had a great time, looking forward to getting to know these folks more!

Have you had an unexpected exercise victory in your life? How did you feel on your best race day?