Thursday, April 30, 2009

If I can run a marathon, I can do anything! right?

Last week, I met with a professor to discuss progress on a final paper.  She asked how the end of the semester was wrapping up.  So, I told her about the other papers, and the difficult latin exams ahead.  She replied, "But you ran a marathon!  This shouldn't be as bad or hard."  So I said "But the marathon was fun!"
And it was.  This stuff, especially the latin, is much harder, in my mind.  Running just comes a lot more naturally than latin morphology.  
Today is another example of that.  I realized I haven't ran a timed mile in a while (not since February), so I did did a 2.5 mile jog to the track, and then did a timed mile.  6:42 - my personal best!  I knocked 7 seconds off my time, so I was pretty pleased about that.  I would like to get down to 6:30 before the Marine Corps marathon, and I would love to run a sub 6 mile at some point down the road.
Anyways, how can it be so easy for me to improve on running when the latin takes so much time?  It's interesting.
Allow me to explain this morphology business, since I know that only the people in my history program understand it.  It is a test that you must receive a 90 on by the end of the semester.  You have to transform latin phrases (as they morph...hence the name of the test) so that the second example agrees with the first.  Example:
cive forti (with the strong city): fructus parvus (the small fruit) turns into... fructu parvo
It may not make a lot of sense, but that is what I have to do.  It may seem easy at first, but it's actually not.  I've been trying all semester to pass it.  It's like trying again and again to qualify for Boston.  But tomorrow is the has to be!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

As many thoughts as miles ran today (4)

1) I need to learn how to run in the summer.  I only started seriously running in October, when things had cooled down significantly.  The past few days, it's been 80 degrees in DC, and even though I've been hydrating like I was in training for the marathon, it hasn't been enough.  So, I've been trying to work on that and be extra conscientious about it.  The past few days, I've been able to do a few miles, just because I've been fatiguing a lot quicker than normal.  I think part of it has to do with it being the end of the semester, and not getting enough sleep too.  Something to work on.
2) I registered for the National Police Week 5k on May 16th in DC.  My friend Manan from CTY has a goal to run 50 races in 50 states (and DC) in 5 years, and that race is on his list.  The funny thing is, this is my first real 5k, so I'll be interested to see how it goes.  I'm looking forward to seeing him and participating in part of his goal - which is so cool.
3) I am not good at team sports.  Thankfully, I'm good at running.  But today, I was playing frisbee with some friends, and after a few bad catches, they asked if I was ever good at organized sports.  Now, of course, they were teasing, but I really am terrible at sports.  I stink at throwing and catching.  But at least I can run a marathon!
4) Today was the Country Music Half and Full Marathon in Nashville, and apparently 2 runners died.  I was so sad to hear about that; it's always a shame when that happens - I'm praying for their families.  It seems as if the heat had something to do with it, especially since most runners (myself included) aren't acclimated to it yet this time of the year.  A lot of times, there are people who take events like this as proof that people shouldn't run, and I think that is not true.  There are far worse ways to go (as evidence by tuning into any news station) than doing what you love.  As someone in one of the Runner's World forums said, "I'd rather die in a marathon if I'm going to go early."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Friars' Salute

My morning runs are generally low-key. I only see a few people while I'm out, and with those people, I typically exchange some sort of nod, smile, wave, or grunt (depending how long I've been running).
The majority of this morning's run around Brookland was no exception. It was fairly humid out, and starting to get hot even before 9AM. I'm starting to realize just how hot things get in DC, and it's only April! Anyways...
I was rounding the bend to get back to campus. I always finish by going up the basilica circle, and then pass by it to finish, but there was a group of about 8 friars standing in the pathway, talking and whatnot. I was about to yell out "excuse me" or something, but then they parted ways. Not only did they do that, they whooped, clapped and yelled "you can do it!" What fun! I was not expecting that, and it completely brightened by day. This was just supposed to be a regular run, but the friars acted as if I was crossing the finish line of a big race. So, here's to you, friars of DC - you rock! Thank you for the morning salute!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Reflections on Boston

No, I was not in Boston for the marathon today, but as a new member of the marathon community, definitely followed the events of the day.  While I cannot give a point-by-point commentary on the race (like Melissa's American Idol critiques), this will have to do.
Did I think both Americans (Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall) were going to win?  
No.  An American hasn't won the marathon (for either sex) since the mid 80s.  Since then, the winners have been primarily from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Russia.  However, when Kara took the lead at the 20 mile mark, I started to think that there was a chance for her to win.  I was so excited about it, but Salina Kosgei and Dire Tune pulled away and Kara received 3rd place.  I didn't really see as much as a chance for Ryan Hall, even though he placed third too, just because he was about a minute off the pace.
What did I think about Kara Goucher's post-race reaction?
If you didn't see the press conference after, here's a summary: Kara was very choked up when giving her answers, and while she tried to smile and maintain her composure, it was quite evident that she was in a lot of emotional (and physical, I'm sure) pain.  Moreover, I'm sure that pain increased when Salina joined the conference as well and they sat side-by-side answering questions from the press.  
I was very choked up watching Kara give her answers.  I'm normally not that into sports, but since this is something I do participate in, I was really hurting for her.  All that pressure, all that build up, everyone proclaiming that this was the year for an American winner, and then to take 3rd.  Now, placing 3rd in Boston is still quite an honor, but not when your country was hoping you would win.  However, Kara is only 30, so she still has a few years to win this.  This was also her Boston debut - maybe she just needs another race on this course.
But we must all move on...

Of course, feeling inspired, I did a brief 4 mile run around campus this afternoon.  Not much to write about, but my thoughts were on today's events and runners.

It is my intention to be in the 2010 Boston Marathon.  I think that is why I was so excited about it today, because I hope to be there next year.  12 minutes to slice off my time, and then I will be there.  A lot of work will need to be done between now and then, but that's the dream.  Yes, there are those who go to Boston to win, but for most, it's the ability to get there that is what counts.  This is the Olympics for the regular marathoner, and I want to be there.  Here's hoping...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Here comes the sun...finally!

After 3 days of torrential rain, the sun finally came out for the weekend in DC!  And while there is still a lot of work to do, I couldn't help but enjoy the beautiful weather.  Spring is definitely here, although it feels almost like summer (it got up to 75 today).
I went for a night away, and spent the night at Mary's house last night in Falls Church.  Even though we stayed on campus late working, it felt great to leave at the end of the day.  We just hung out and watched The Cutting Edge (so cheesy and awesome) - and also exchanged massages - something I also needed.  We came back to campus this morning and had a Dunkin Donut breakfast outside.  Also a treat.  Again, even though I had to write for a few hours, and then go to work, all of that was just great.
This afternoon, my RAs put on a program called CV grand prix - an afternoon of bbq, music and bike races, quite simply put.  I am not sure what it was, but something about watching the set up reminded me of CTY (something like watching Carnival or First Saturday Day being put together)-  so I called Melissa and left her a message saying as much.  Thinking that was it, as far as CTY related, but then Metro Station's "Shake It" was playing.  I don't think that is even CTY low canon, but I know it's been played at the dances - at least 2008.  I think CTY just has been on my mind a bit these days, since I know I'll be back again in 2 months (almost exactly). 
After the program, I worked on my paper a bit more, but just wanted a mental break.  I ran into the city - my first real city run since the marathon (I've mainly just been running around the Brookland area).  It had cooled down a little, and watching the sunset was beautiful.  Lots of people were out, and I really was just able to enjoy the run.  I felt light, free, and somehow, no thoughts of schoolwork popped into my head.  That doesn't always happen, so I felt very fortunate.  The city just looked stunning - flowers in bloom, fountains flowing, the monuments illuminated - all gorgeous.  Again and again, I still cannot get over that DC is my city - I get to live here and be a part of it as much as I like.
All of this turned into a good run - and as the sun set, I finished, very satisfied.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Schoolwork/day brightner

So, my running has been fairly low key since the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. I have no races coming up, and the marathon training won't resume in full force until the summer. Hoenstly, because I have so much schoolwork, I've only been able to go running a couple of times a week. Which would be fine, but running does really give me such a mental and physical break, so I miss it a lot. Schoolwork really has picked up. There are only 2 full weeks of classes left, and a lot needs to happen during that time. Papers need to be written, and most importantly (well, not necessarily most importantly, but it must be done) is that I need to up my latin abilities. As soon as I finish one of these papers this weekend, I need to just go on lock-down Latin mode and commit all of the morphemes to my brain. Needless to say, I'm not really looking forward to it, and I'll be quite happy when the semester is over. Don't expect to hear much on the running front until after May 10th.
My day yesterday brightened a bit, because my friend Wes from grad school gave me the pictures he took from the marathon. They all came out really well, but there were 3 in particular that I enjoyed:

These are of my dear friend Mary from grad school, and my parents right after I finished. I just felt so unbelievably happy, and you can tell that they were too. I got all choked up yesterday looking at them, because they're a reminder of that good feeling (so much more than just a runner's high). I just need to hold onto that feeling for the next few week and use it to propel me through the latin exams and paper writing.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

It was wonderful this morning to wake up in my real bed.  And within half an hour of waking up, my brother came home from school as well.  The family is all together again!
My mom and I went to the gym today for part of the afternoon.  I did 4 miles on the elliptical, but was pleased when I looked over to the treadmill section.  My mom has been using the treadmill for months now, but this time, she was running!  Not fast walking, not gripping the handles because it was too fast, but real running.  I was very impressed!  She does about 2.75 miles in 30 minutes, so I want to get her to do a 5k in a few months.  She should definitely be able to do it, so hopefully I can help to make this happen for her.
We then went to the Good Friday service afterward.  At least in recent memory, regardless of how the weather has been during the day, I always leave the Good Friday service and it is sunny outside.  Luke 23:44 "Around noon darkness came over the entire land and lasted until 3 in the afternoon."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

apparently I can run fast

Since the marathon, I have come to realize that I can run fast.  That may seem like an obvious statement, but because I beat my goal time by so much, it really changed my view on my speeding ability.  More than anything, it has given me confidence that I am able to run fast.
This moves me to my next subject: my run today.  It was so nice to be at home, to run without the pressure of having to return back to campus for a meeting or work.  I decided to go at a quick pace, and ran 7.6 miles around home.  Nice weather, about 50 and sunny in the afternoon.
My pace ended up being 8:23 per mile...which although I realized I was going fast, it didn't feel that difficult.  It was slightly beyond my comfort level, so hopefully I can get comfortable at that pace quickly, as it will be my race pace in October.
This really is a learning process: my body keeps changing as my training progresses.  I wouldn't have been able to do this 6 months ago; even 3 months ago.
So that's why I titled this one "apparently I can run fast."  It wasn't always apparent.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cherry Blossom 10 miler

Since the 10 miler did not start until 7:45, I got to "sleep in" until 5 yesterday morning.  I just felt more prepared this time than I was for the marathon, for a few reasons.  1) I had already run a marathon - 10 miles would just fly by.  2) I had the experience of going to a race, so I knew how to pack, what to eat/drink before, etc.  
I took the metro in, and again, it was filled only with runners - such a cool thing.  The capitol looked beautiful as the sun was rising (c. 6:45).  I checked my bag very quickly, and was able to even hit the john twice before (I had gotten there a lot earlier than I needed to).  I stood in my corral (Orange) for about 40 minutes (they put us in there too early - and at that point, I did really feel like a horse at the starting gate).  I stood next to a nice woman named Meg from NJ - a frequent half-marathoner.  She was very pleasant, and a nice person to talk to while we waited around.  I hope she had a good experience - we ended up not running together for long.  
The gun went off, but it would be a few minutes before I would even cross the starting line.  We finally got off, and man alive, was it crowded!  I was wrong, it wasn't 12,000 people running, it was just under 15,000.  My first mile was around 8:47, too slow for my liking.  Things started to thin out a little bit.  The cherry blossoms were gorgeous - it was like running through a forest of blossoms - so beautiful.  The weather was great too: no winds, and about 48 outside.  After about 5 miles, I realized I would be fine (I had been worried about my ability to run 10 miles 15 days after the marathon), so I kept trucking.  At mile 7, I got shoved by an incompetent male runner who did not apologize.  I was so mad, but rather than doing nothing, I figured I would use my anger to my advantage.  I picked up the pace, and then threw the hammer down for the last mile.  Lots of people out and about watching, so I pretended they were all rooting for me, personally (slightly self-centered, I know).  

And the results are in: 
1066/8288 women
139/948 for my age division (F 20-24)
10 mile time: 1:23:16
8:20 per mile pace
I was very happy with how I did.  The scary thing is, that is the pace I'm going to need to do to qualify for Boston 2010, at the Marine Corps Marathon in October.  So, I just need to keep that pace for 16 more miles...but I still have 6+ months to do it.
On a side note, I was able to share my marathon experiences today.  I gave a talk at the CUA Fitness Center entitled "26.2 miles?!  How to sanely and successfully train for a marathon."  It went really well, and the students had lots of good questions.  I was glad to share my thoughts and advice with others, because while it might not get you to the Olympics, I think it's good stuff.  On a related note, I now have a handout that serves as an effective guide - if anyone wants it - please let me know.
Thanks to SpeT on runner's world for the beautiful pictures that I have featured here!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

cherry blossom expo

Had you walked by the National Building Museum today you would've thought you saw a crowd of people waiting in line for concert tickets or the opening of Star Wars in the 70s. But no. This around the block, doubled-up line was to pick-up racing bibs for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler tomorrow. I could not believe it - it was so crowded! At least it was sunny and beautiful outside, so the line wasn't that bad. I picked up a nice new pair of running shorts on sale for 10 bucks (originally 30), which was sweet. I also got a "Hooah" pin from the Army station, also cool.
I'll be going to bed in the not-so-distant future, since the race is at 7:40AM downtown.
12,000 people, 10 miles - it's going to be great! More about it tomorrow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

onto the next...

Yes, I have signed up for my second marathon - the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25, 2009. It's called the "People's Marathon" because while it is one of the largest marathons, it offers no prize money. So, everyone does it just to do it.
I am really excited that I'll be a part of this huge event. I'm hoping to qualify for Boston 2010 at this race, so I listed my expected finish time to be 3:40. I need to slash 12 minutes from my 1st marathon, which I've been told by many that that is completely doable. It's going to be great training for it, and even better doing racing in it. I won't begin formal training for a few months, which works out well since schoolwork is picking up rapdily. That's all for now.
And I completely missed out on doing a good April Fool's joke too. There's always next year!