Saturday, January 31, 2009

Experiencing a runner's high

I don't think that it's a coincidence that this was the Runner's World quote of the day a few days ago: "To me, the runner's high is a sensational reaction to a great run! It's an exhilarating feeling of satisfaction and achievement." Sasha Azevedo

I did a 15.5 run this morning, which I ran at about a 9:20/mile pace. All of the runners in the city were out and about; smiling and in good moods. One woman who was waiting for a light to change next to me was wearing shorts! It was 25 out, and with the 15 mph winds, it felt like it was 12 degrees. I could not believe that she wasn' t cold. I started out slightly too fast; for the first 6 miles or so I was trucking along, feeling unstopable. Although it was great feeling like I could conquer the world, I think that it caught up to me in the end. I was feeling fairly wiped near the end, and thoroughly spent when I stopped and started to walk around as my cool down.

On a more amusing note, I bumped into my friend Seth when I got back to campus. I almost fell into him when I went to give him a hug; I was so tired from the run. He then told me that Mary was upstairs at Starbucks, so I went up to see her (even the 2 flights of stairs felt like a lot). I think it was adrenaline, but I was so keyed up when I saw her. I plopped down next to her, and I couldn't stop giggling. I felt so very dopey. I'm sure it was just my body just crying out "Enough! You can't saying anything that's choherent now...all the common sense is gone." Maybe that was the runner's high in its true form. If so, that was a very enjoyable rush!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

For the Guard...

If you're not familiar with Catholic University, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is on our campus. It's a beautiful basilica to see when I wake up in the morning, and to welcome me back when I return from a long run. I can always hear its chimes, even when I'm off-campus, and it's just always there for me to see.
There are a bunch of security guards who are positioned inside and outside of the basilica. One of the outside guards is a very nice man, whose name I do not know. He is always there to welcome me back from a run, and asks how far I ran. He's also been asking if I ran a mile for him, and I do. He's so nice, how could I not dedicate a mile to him? He always has a smile, and makes me feel good. So a mile always goes to him.
Today was my recovery run (2-3 miles), and that almost felt more difficult than my long run yesterday. I wasn't sore, but just felt wiped. I returned to campus feeling beat, but there the guard was, with a big smile. He's a good man, and that's why a mile went to him.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

National Yoga Day/Long Run sans Charlie

Happy National Yoga Day!

In an attempt to celebrate National Yoga Day, as well as be good to my body, I did yoga both before and after my long run (I find it to be a great way to stretch/loosen up).

Charlie and I had planned to run along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in VA. We drove to Virginia, got gas, got parked, and set out for the path. But within half a mile, Charlie's right knee was bothering him (something he had been dealing with since the Christmas break), and had to stop. The drive home felt very long and sad; I know Charlie was disappointed.

He told me to go and do a run without him, and to run it for the both of us. I did, and it was a little less than 16 miles. It was a hard run; I felt sad that I was doing it alone. Also, it was windy as anything (over 22mph the whole time). That made it a bit scary going over the bridges; I felt like I could've been pushed into the Potomac.

I did the run, and now it's done. I hope Charlie is better for next week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2 months/Thoughts on the Inauguration

I stood on the National Mall (near the Smithsonian Castle) and was able to be a part of the inauguration yesterday - very cool. It was quite the day: we left Brookland at 6:15AM. We waited for hours outside in the cold, but with 2 million people there, it didn't feel as cold. Although I was watching it on a screen, the idea of sharing this moment and being there was amazing (both as a citizen and as a historian). I watched the making of history, and I will be able to tell my kids that I was there when Barack Obama was sworn in.

On a more personal note, today is exactly 2 months until the National Marathon. Aah! Very hard to believe that it's coming up that fast! I am on track, but still nervous that it is starting to come down to the wire (only one month until I start to taper). Anyways, I ran into the city (I was interested to see the vibe of the city post-Inauguration). I originally intended for it to be a 7 mile fast run; which meant basically to the Capitol and back). However, I missed a turn on the way back, and had to navigate my way around. It ended up being a couple more miles than I expected, but that's ok. People were in a very good mood, the sky was gorgeous, and the city seemed full of promise. Yes, that sounds a bit corny, but virtually everyone was happy.
The National Marathon website posted today (maybe they were thinking that it's 2 months away, too) a video of the course, shot from a car. What a weird feeling, watching a course that I will run in 62 days. I must admit, I had butterflies, just watching it. Can't imagine how I'll feel when I actually do it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Purpose-driven running

I spent some quality time in Falls Church, VA with Mary and her housemates, who are all great.

Let's take Catherine, for example. I've only spent time with her on a few (too few, I think) occasions. She gave me an article on marathon running. While that's nothing special (I have seen a few of those in recent months), this was "The Spirituality of Marathon Running" by Father Robert Panke. Well, that's a new twist. He doesn't just speak about the connections between training for a marathon and one's spiritual development. He's done a marathon before and understands the entire process. His comparison about the journey experienced during training and through faith was moving. I'm grateful that she gave me this reading; the timing was perfect.

I went out today to do my easy recovery run (you do a shorter run the day after your long one), and mp3 player died. I had no music; only my thoughts. This worked out very well, for I was able to meditate on the article from Catherine. It truly is amazing how you can feel when you know that God is always with you. To help you, to watch you, to guide to, and just to always be with you. Once that is realized, the difference is amazing. You're never alone, even if it feels like that.

Last year, when I was on the Spiritual Exercises, we were instructed to select a passage from the Bible that appealed to us and put ourselves into it. Since this was right after the Epiphany, I imagined that I was running and following the Star in order to reach the manger as quickly as possible. It was very exciting, and when I went on runs during the Exercises, that was what I imagined. I brought back that image back today, and it was such a great thought to keep with me during my run. It kept me going up the long hill during mile 2 and throughout the entire process.

2 Timothy 4:7 "I have run the good race, I have fought the good fight and now the Lord truly rules my heart." - St. Paul

Sunday, January 18, 2009

DC is the place to be

Due to the break and busy schedules, Charlie and I had not been able to run together in over a month. This morning, we did a 13 mile run into the city, and it felt great. Not just the workout itself, but the fact that we were doing the run together.

The city is full of people and energy! All of the news stations are already there and rolling. We saw MSNBC interviewing people, we saw Pat Buchanan, and we saw thousands of people waiting in line for the free Aretha Franklin concert that will take place this afternoon. I'm glad I decided not to go to that: one massive event for me is good enough for the week. The Capitol looks beautiful with all of the flags set up for Tuesday. I cannot imagine how full the Mall will be in 2 days; it was already pretty crowded today for the concert.

This was the longest run Charlie has done so far, and so I was happy to be with him to encourage him through the last mile or so. I really believe it's important to have someone else with you along the way; to motivate you to keep going, even when it seems almost impossible. I hope he feels the same way, and is not too sore tomorrow. In case you haven't met Charlie yet, here he is! We had someone take this right after the 9th mile or so of our run. Ta da: the dream team!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Yesterday I was able to indulge and enjoy 2 of my favorite things: art and ice cream.

I was in Latin class yesterday and the professor brought up Pompeii, and mentioned this: There is an exhibit at the National Gallery called Pompeii and the Roman Village: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples. It is a collection of rescued frescoes, sculptures and jewlery prior to the erruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. Very good exhibit! It was well put together, and it also included some modern-day paintings of life in Pompeii prior to the volcano, as well as depictions of the erruption.

I decided I could kill 2 birds with one stone. I did my run first (I ran very fast), and was able to see the exhibit. I figured now was the best time, since things will be quickly picking up with coursework.

Afterwards, I enjoyed a pint of Ben and Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream while watching Mean Girls and doing my homework. I originally told myself I wouldn't eat the whole thing at once. But I did, and I do not care. I think with the work that I am doing (both academic and running), I can treat myself like that every once in a while. It was very delicious, and I enjoyed every scoop of it.


Monday, January 12, 2009

running for fun(ding)

In a new article on, Brian Sabin wrote about the need for a "runner's bailout:"

The new administration says its health care plan will require coverage of “preventative health services.” Ladies and gentlemen, I propose to you: What is better preventative medicine than running? The activity burns calories, lowers your cholesterol, and keeps your weight in check. Running regularly taught me to put a greater value on proper nutrition and sleep habits. I’ve become a more healthy person through running, and I’m sure many others have, too.
So I’d like to ask you, the members of the powerful running lobby, how we can shape public policy in our favors. What sort of rewards would we like to see under a new health care plan?
• Should your treadmill
be a write off?
• Should we offer a pre-tax allowance to pay for health club memberships?
• Can a proper pair of running
be considered medical goods? (After all, things can get pretty nasty with the wrong pair of shoes.)
• Or how about my favorite idea so far: We get reimbursed for the miles we log. It’d be just like using your own car on a corporate road trip. You’d be paid a reasonable rate that takes into little revenue stream for us. Of course, it could also have unintended consequences – crowded account fuel (Powerbars, Gatorade, pancakes)
and depreciation (muscle soreness, shoe wear, stinky clothing)."

While these ideas are more of a fantasy than a reality, the author makes a point. As runners, we're working dilligently in order to maintain our health. Shouldn't there be some sort of reward for that? Some companies offer incentives for their employees to lose weight. What about those who continually maintain a healthy lifestyle? Why shouldn't my marathon entry fee be reimbursed? After all, I think entering such a race is proof that I've committed myself to living well, right?

I did a hard tempo run today - it felt really good and exhausting. It's amazing how you can convince your body to go fast that you want it to, or than it's used to going on a regular basis. I've never one to really go for speed workouts: I would much rather see how long I can run versus how fast I can run. Even though it's not my favorite thing to do, I do want to improve on my speedwork. A lot of articles have said that marathon training can help you with your shorter-distance racing. I'll need to wait a bit before I test that, since I most likely won't be doing any racing before the marathon.

On a somewhat amusing note, the news in DC (other than that big party on the 20th) is that "cold winds" are coming. As someone from upstate New York, I'm guessing that it's not as bad as it could be at home. We'll see!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

15 miles in DC

I still haven't been able to fully appreciate living in DC. I moved here thinking that I would do one city-thing per week. Once schoolwork picked up, that goal stopped. And that's ok, but I do appreciate the times I do have to explore this city.

In today's run, I was able to see the Capitol, Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. The Capitol is all decked out for the inauguration: lots of flags, and the pseudo-stadium is all set up and ready to go. It's so cool to me that I can see those things on a regular basis, whereas many people travel from all over to seem them.

15 miles! I was so happy that I was able to do it. And the timing was good, too. It started to rain about an hour after, and I'm glad I didn't get caught in that. Feeling a little sore, but I spent the evening watching Doctor Who and reclining with an ottoman. It sounds silly, but I love being able to put my feet up, especially . I'm going to need to make sure I get a nice recliner when I get a real place of my own. And with that thought, I'm going to put my feet up again.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Citius, altius, fortius

Or, "Swifter, higher, stronger," if you don't read Latin.

That's the Olympic motto, and also the quote of the day sent to me from

Because that was the first thing I read this morning, it was on my mind for my morning run - the first run I've done in DC since I got back. I didn't really have the time to that far, but I could go fast. So I did about a 5.5-6 mile tempo run. I pushed very hard, running around Brookland while listening to "In the Navy" by the Village People (you really can't go wrong with them). It went well: I felt very tired after, but that was because I pushed myself at a pace harder than I usually do. This week has been really busy with work, so I haven't been able to get in as many miles as I normally can. I'm hoping that on Saturday I will be able to do a long run. Here's hoping!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Friday was the long run. I woke up yesterday and felt fine. Fine enough to do a smaller run around town. It went well: I did my 10k pace (8:52) for a little under 5 miles. It was very pretty outside: the sun was just starting to set. The temperature was just right, and it looked gorgeous.

I also did one this morning after church as well (circa 5 miles). But that must have pushed me over the edge, because I felt sore a few hours after. It still hurts to squat done all of the way, and I cannot imagine doing lunges or anything like that.

I don't think anything is really wrong with this - it's just my body saying it's tired. It's the first time I've felt this wiped from a long run, so it's just a bit new. Well, not new. I used to feel like this a lot when I would get back into running (typically instigated by Kathleen), but this is the first time I've felt like this fatigued (from running) since I started training for the marathon.

Friday, January 2, 2009

14 miles

Today was my longest run - 14 miles. I ran through the snow, all through Spencerport, in a little over 2 hours. I wasn't sure toward the end how far I had ran (I check my distance on g-maps pedometer), so I hit two cul-de-sacs near my house. And I'm glad I did - otherwise, I wouldn't have surpassed 14 miles.

It was fairly windy this afternoon: probably the windiest day I've ran through. Since the wind made me work harder, I'm sure it was helpful in the end. While I normally drink Gatorade (Fruit Punch flavor) following a long run, this was the first time I brought it with me. I think it helped, and it lasted the whole time. I did a long cool-down around my street; I felt as if I stopped, I would just stiffen up. I'm glad I did, because although I feel pretty wiped-out, I could be feeling a lot worse.

According to a lot of the articles I've read about marathon training (which primarily comes from - a great website), the longest long run should be about 20 miles (and that takes place 3-4 weeks before the race). From that point, you taper off your long runs. Race day is done on sheer will, I suppose. So, I just have 6 more miles to add in my training. And I have a few extra weeks built into my schedule, so if anything pops up, I should be okay.

What a relief!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Happy New Year!

So, many of my friends have been asking what my anticipated finish time in the marathon will be. It's my hope to finish under 4 hours. I'm expecting to go no longer than 4 hours and 20 minutes (that would be if I hit the "wall" early and get slowed down). I don't have any reason to believe that I won't be able to finish. So, I would like to push myself so I can do this under 4 hours. I'm hoping to work on that in the next few months.

Here's hoping for great things to happen in 2009...