Thursday, April 28, 2011

Good for the soul

A three mile run
Is good for the soul
Barely enough time to sweat
Long enough to heal

To set you free
To just let you be
To give you a breath of the fresh air
To push you in the world without a care
To pull you out again without haste
Just a hint, a glimpse, a taste.

This is running at its finest and purest
Its simplest
Lace on, lace off
No watch required

All you need is the desire
You'll find the sweet joy
Running among the trees
Catching the sun setting
A hint of a spring breeze
Hope springs again
The soul is cleansed yet again
All is well
With the pitter patter
Of sneakered feet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Boston Pictures

Okay, I couldn't get the pictures in the right order, but I am sure you can put all of the pieces together. It was a fantastic weekend, and now there are the pictures to prove it!
With my role model, Kathrine Switzer. Surprised and happy to meet Sara Hall! Me and my friend Bettina on the bus to Hopkinton. Desiree Davila finishing. Kara Goucher. Joan Benoit. Ryan Hall. Me finishing. My parents with the sign while they were waiting. At the hotel, relieved, happy, tired.One of my favorite parts: the celebratory dinner!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

For many, it may be the other way around

But for me, the end of the semester causes more fear than standing at the start of a marathon. But let me back track...

It’s back to normal, sort of. I was back in DC for about 36 hours, and then took at bus out to Chappaqua, NY to visit family for Easter (ah, the benefits of being at a Catholic school – Easter vacation!). This was great because it meant 3 days after the marathon, I was getting full nights of sleep every day! I definitely needed that – I was completely exhausted for the first 2 days. But I do believe that if you can get through the first 2 full days after the marathon, you are good to go. Before that, I was so sore, and it is a soreness that it is hard to explain to others. I live at the top of my apartment building, and coming down the stairs was a process. I tended to take a deep breath, and grit it out – I am sure I looked foolish to anyone passing by. But was deliriously happy!

And that’s the thing: the joy hasn’t gone away. Of course, it’s not that surreal, pinch-me-did-this-really-happen, kind of feeling, but still very happy. It’s the kind of feeling that is perfectly timed with the end of the semester: I have about 10 days to go. Surely I can take what I did at Boston and use that to fuel me/reassure me for this final stretch…

I took a few days off – no exercises, no stretches: nothing. On Friday, I went for a 50 minute walk around Chappaqua – figured it was time to start moving at least a little fast, but walking was the fastest I could go. On Saturday, I rowed 6000 meters – couldn’t quite muster a run yet, but wanted to get some form of moderate exercise. Felt good to break out a sweat – which a few years ago that wouldn’t have been a desire. Now, it’s as if when I am pushing that hard, I feel most like myself, most real.

After Mass, I so wanted to go for a run on Sunday – and so I did! 3.8 hilly miles at a relatively fast pace considering that I was less than a week out from Boston (8:06 pace). I think part of me was just so excited to get back on the road. And I did the same on Monday. Very hilly though – I could feel my quads ache on the downhills – they must be remembering going down Heartbreak Hill!

I ran 4 miles today, and that was more for my mind than my body. I have a week and a half of school: papers, exams, papers and exams to grade, and then I will be done. Somehow, I get more nervous about that than marathon training.

So I just need to sit back and remember what I have just done. Surely if I can go sub 3:30 in the marathon, I can finish the semester on a high note. And in the next week, I won't be running to train, just running to stay sane!

Friday, April 22, 2011

How I laid out my plan: A Letter from the Past

I knew it wasn’t just going to be one post about Boston. If you want to know how it all came together, here it is…

Exactly 6 weeks before the Boston Marathon, I was on a plane from Rochester to Florida. I knew it was time to hone in and get everything into place to make the final six weeks go as smoothly as possible. So, I wrote a letter to myself and laid out my plan…

In exactly 6 weeks (it is 10:30AM), the starting pistol will go off and begin my dream race: Boston 2011. The past 2 weeks, I have trained with what I think is a new intensity and passion. I have a new goal in mind: sub 3:30. I think in the past I have been hesitant to set big goals, in part because I don’t want to fail and disappoint myself. But I now have 2 years of marathon training under my belt, and over a year of more focused training through Sarah’s guidance. And now, I am staring into the distance, imagining Hopkinton, Ashland, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and finally, the promise of Boston that awaits me. The picture is simultaneously clearer and blurrier. I have run Boston before. I know exactly what Heartbreak Hill feels like. But what will it feel like if I step outside of myself, dig deep, push myself, reach and find that new layer?

I could make my dreams come true.

In order for me to succeed in exactly six weeks, a number of things need to come together.

· I need to hone in on my tempo runs. I have finally gotten the hang of them and they are working.

· I need to keep my nutrition on par. I have come to find a lot of great foods that help fuel my runs as well as aid in my recovery. I have learned that just a little bit of planning with this has made a difference. I think I eat better in general. Instead of pizza and fries for lunch, it’s a roast beef sandwich and yogurt. I don’t drink as much. I drink more milk. I don’t splurge on fast food, since I don’t necessarily know if there’s gluten in a product that probably isn’t good for me anyways. It must be working.

· I need to maintain consistency with my cross training. It is hard doing double days of cross training, and I don’t get that same thrill of a 5:30AM alarm to go rowing that I do for running. But with 6 weeks to go, I need to push on, divide my time, and make it manageable. I can vary things up.

· I need to keep some strength training as well, and continue to do my ITB exercises. These are all of the ancillary things that can make a major difference.

· I need to trust the process. 2 weeks ago, I called this a leap of faith. But while I am partly in awe and disbelief of the possibility of going sub 3:30, I need to believe that this can and will work. Sarah trains with people who have gone to the Olympic Trials. I do track workouts that Olympic Trials qualifiers do. This works: double days, tempo runs, 2 types of track workouts in one, they all lead to great results.

· I know how to step outside of myself. It is funny, but the teeny, almost impromptu Freezeroo 8 miler in some ways may have been a signal that I am ready for a breakthrough. I went through the first mile in 6:53 and it felt easy. I set a PR in the 5k, and I wondered how this was possible. The same thing happened at the 10k mark. I am getting better at pushing myself, and feeling more comfortable being uncomfortable. This is working, and I will be testing myself again on March 26th at the National Half Marathon, aiming to run sub 1:37 in order to receive an automatic bid for the NYC Marathon (revised: mission accomplished – 1:34:37).

· I need to run with joy. I gain strength from my family and friends, and I need to harness that. I just came off of an amazing weekend at Kathleen and Sandeep’s wedding. That joy even translated into my long run. I ran 19 miles on the treadmill, averaging 8:18 pace. That is solid for a long run, considering long runs are supposed to be about 45 seconds slower than race pace. This should mean than 8 minute miles should feel relatively comfortable. Even though it was mentally challenging to stay focused on the treadmill for so long, in some ways, I know it will be easier in Boston. I’ll have changes in scenery, and I’ll have people cheering for me and supporting me. I can tap into that. I think I did yesterday, and certainly saw positive results. I am going to be spending this week with the Uibles. That will give me joy too. I can use that as I begin to peak in training, which will help me feel solid in the taper.

I am looking at a big breakthrough. But I have the tools in hand, a brand new body that I myself have rebuilt, and a support system that will be there for me along the way.

This is an achievable dream that I can reach.

Now is the time.

When I wrote this, I was focused, and sharp – ready for the final press. Reading that now, I have a big lump in my throat.

Because it really was an achievable dream.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Found Victory in Boston: 2011 Report

There is something so incredibly special about the Boston Marathon. Perhaps it is its storied history, the qualifying time, the competition, or the quest to set afoot upon sacred ground, that brings pilgrims from all 50 states, and 93 countries together for one day. But the trip was more about the race itself, so time to go back to the beginning.

I stayed with my best friend in Providence Saturday night, which was so much fun! She got married in March, and I hadn’t seen her since. Very relaxing and we even did a 3 mile shakeout run together Sunday morning. Those final runs always frighten me – they are at a slow pace, and I often wonder how I’ll put out a much faster pace for 26.2 miles. But, we had a wonderful time – Kathleen is very important to me and it was good that she was able to be a part of my Boston journey.

On Sunday, I headed out to Boston to meet up with my parents and go to the expo. My first stop was to meet Kathrine Switzer – my running role model. Gracious as always, and her husband (Roger Robinson) was too – they are very nice people. I also met Sara Hall (Ryan Hall’s wife) – she is an elite middle distance runner. I didn’t know she was going to be at the expo, so I was a bit surprised to see her. She was very nice – signed an autograph and took a picture with me. I had my Pacers gear on, and she also had very nice things to say about the store. Picked up my number, which is always so exciting – the final thing you need before you can run.

I then had dinner with my parents and a few friends from the Marine Corps Marathon and their families. Lots of fun at Maggiano’s, a delicious restaurant that was close to the convention center. We were eating by 4:30, which was good as I think we were all set for bed after that! The waiter was very nice and brought over 3 tiramisu desserts for the table, so my parents had that and I got ice cream after. A couple of phone calls, and then it was back to the hotel for bed.

I am pretty good about falling asleep the night before a marathon, and did a pretty good job Sunday night. I felt at peace with everything – relaxed and ready to go. Woke up in the middle of the night once, and then it was 4:30 on Marathon Monday Morning.

I had half of my breakfast in the hotel, and my parents and I took the T downtown. My parents “put me on the bus” – it really feels like the first day of school again. I rode on the bus with a MCM buddy, Bettina, which was excellent. We had fun and swapped running stories, almost oblivious that we were driving 26 miles.

Time in the Athletes’ Village flew by, and before we knew it, they called us to the start. I made a last minute game change and opted for the tank top, no arm warmers. Bright orange, so I could be fiery fast. Bettina and I walked to the start, hugged, and then headed for our respective corrals. And then the gun went off!

And so I waited, then we started to move forward, and then FINALLY cross the starting line. 2 minutes into the race, I realize that I did not hit start on my watch. Silly me! Hmm – how am I going to figure out my time? I decided I would start my watch at the 1 mile mark, and then use the “lap” function on my watch for every mile, ignore the pace band, and just go according to pace. Went through my first timed mile 7:25. Whoa, easy girl. No need to make up for lost time yet. Within a few miles, I had evened out to 7:45 pace, and was at 7:46 pace by the half.

At this point, I should note that I met with my training coach, Sarah, a week before Boston, and she said I should aim to go beyond clearing 3:30 and be a bit more ambitious, even though the pace would feel fast.

Anyways, the support on the course was as wonderful as I remembered. There was a surge of energy as you moved form town to town: each place with its individual mix of excitement. I gave some little kids high fives, but other than that, just tried to focus on relaxing and taking it all in. People were great with setting up “water stops” outside their front lawns, or handing out wipes (all of the Gatorade makes you sticky). It was hot! I kept dumping water on my head and rubbing it on my arms too. I also grabbed water or Gatorade at almost every stop, which normally I would only take something about every 5 miles. Not on Monday. I figured it was best to be overcautious this time. So again, I have no idea what my overall time is, but I keep averaging 7:45 pace or so, and my thoughts keep going back and forth from “Is this too fast?” to “I could totally go faster, but I won’t.” I was really hoping I wouldn’t crash and burn, because then I wouldn’t be courageous, just stupid. But the first 10 miles clicked off really quickly.

The screams from Wellseley started to rumble in the distance. Brace yourself, listen to them, and harness their energy for later. You could actually feel their screams – so incredible.

And then we hit the halfway point. Alright, halfway to go. The next few miles click off quite quickly, and I am still hoping I am doing the right thing. Maybe I can pick it up after Heartbreak, but you can’t press the pace until then.

A few more miles go by, and then mile 16. Okay, 10 miles to go isn’t too bad, but I am starting to feel a little tired. Reel yourself in, and get ready for Newton. Bam! The first turn of the course, and the spectators are out and ready to help get us ready to climb these hills. At this point, after climbing the first hill, I have my first splits with an 8 on it. That’s okay, that’s okay, these hills are hard, you need to go easy. And then things evened out again: mini sigh of relief.

But with 9 miles to go, that is a long time to still feel tired. It felt hot at this point too, so I just kept focusing on taking in liquids whenever possible. Another hill, another 8. But then I popped a 7:45 split. Then, time for Heartbreak Hill. I had trained on harder hills, I was ready for this. It is a long climb, and patience is absolutely a necessity – the top will come at some point. And when I finally made it, the frat boys of Boston College were waiting and cheering. I had an easier time this year than last year going down Heartbreak Hill – I think because I was ready for it. 5 miles to go, which I figured would take about 40 minutes, especially since I could just feel my energy dropping.

My mind is just swirling with thoughts and images at this point. Then 4 miles. Get down to 3, that would be less than half an hour. We then are in Brookline, next to trolley tracks, and people on the trolleys are taking pictures of us. We’re dying and they’re photographing it? Then someone by me is carrying an American flag. People are chanting USA! USA! USA! My heart surges a little. Then back to the hazy swirly feelings. My legs hurt so much. Then, the crowd’s intensity picked up again. People are shouting “Ole, ole ole ole,” and I feel myself feeling excited again. My heart is pounding. 2 miles to go. You can get through another mile, and then it’s just one to go. Keep your head down, ignore the Citgo sign, and just keep going. How are there more hills? Mile 25. Wait for it. Then, the 1 mile to go sign. You can do this, you can do this. Then, 2 turns to go. Then, the final turn.

So spectacular to get onto Boylston Street. The blue finish arch hangs like a glimmering beacon of hope. And oh my gosh, the crowds are phenomenal, indescribable. I am running and running, and feel happy again – this is going to happen. I know my parents are somewhere, I look to my left with 100 yards to go, and there they are – I joyfully wave and continue on. And as I lift my hands with joy and relief, I cross the finish line. I have done it.

And I have no idea what time I finished in.

I got my cape and medal. I called my friend Jenny, who had been tracking me but didn't know my final time, but was so excited. Then, I called my parents who gleefully reported to me my time:


7:54 per mile

almost a 9 minute PR and almost 12 minute Boston PR

Oh my God, I actually did it. The diet, the cross training, all paid off. I went sub 3:30 with room to spare.

My other stats

Overall: 6764/23879

Women: 1083/10073

Age Group (18-39): 850/5202

I could barely walk, so I shuffled to the curb by a church and sat down while I waited for my parents. I was wrapped in my cape and on top of the world We headed back quickly, got cleaned up, had some celebratory phone calls, then went out to dinner. That is always one of my favorite parts: we always have a lot of fun. Went to Outback (very good GF menu): had steak and potatoes and Redbridge GF beer. All so delicious, and I packed it all away, and ice cream too. A few more phone calls, and then time for bed, blissfully happy about the course of the day.

Tuesday at the airport, there was no swagger, but certainly a wide stride in each runner, trying to navigate and make the legs do what is normal, after having done something completely abnormal. But again, just like upon arrival, the jackets are donned, and now the medals are worn, and we all know that we shared in something special.

More is to come: my parents took lots of pictures. Here is a preview: I took this back at the hotel afterwards.

This was the race that mattered so much to me, for so many reasons. It was more than a triumph, it was the victory I had sought after – I answered Boston’s call, ran with joy and courage, and found so many blessings along the way.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And the pilgrim's journey has begun

I have begun my pilgrimage.

Interestingly enough, I am strongly considering developing a project on medieval pilgrimage. It is a fascinating topic, and my interest has piqued this semester with both my own courses and what I am teaching.

Mecca, Jerusalem, Rome are all sites of pilgrimage in the religious realm. But for those who also embody another passion, running, Boston is the pilgrimage site.

People come from all walks of life: old, young, married, single, all over the country and all over the world, to congregate in this one place on this one day. By bus, by train, by car, by plane, all will do whatever it takes to arrive in time for Marathon Weekend.

I hardly needed to verify my gate: the seats were full of lithe runners, donning marathon jackets, drinking water, reading Runner’s World, and gazing far-off in anticipation for what is to come. I am wearing my Boston 2010 jacket, and I exchange knowing glances with the runners,

You and I are here for the same reasons. Our training may different, our life stories may be distinct, but you and I want the same thing. I may understand your lifestyle more than some of those who actually know you, and in that way, we are comrades and pilgrims together on this same journey.

There is an unspoken excitement in the air. And this was what greeted us upon arrival in Logan:

I am now staying with my best friend for the night, and my parents will arrive tomorrow. And the clock keeps on ticking until Marathon Morning.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All These Things I've Done: A Training Recap

The hay is in the barn. Single days and single digit runs are all that's left.
Last night, I did 8 x 400 averaging 1:43 pace - just wanted to get a little leg turnover. It felt great - I settled into a groove very quickly, and even with just 200 meter recover, each time I kicked off felt good. I then did a mile at 7:40 pace, and even after the 400s, it felt good too.

I sat down to figure out the numbers of all of my training since January 10th (incidentaly, which was also the day I went gluten-free): this includes running and all forms of cross training. Weight work, core work, and ITB stretches are not figured in, but these are all the things I've done to get ready:

Running mileage: 529.25 miles

Swimming: 40,000 yards

Elliptical: 206 miles

Rowing: 75,300 meters

I don't know how many hours that adds up to, but this is the most I have ever trained for a marathon. Ever. It has been consistent and focused. Once I started physical therapy in January, the IT Band pain went away permanently. My new diet has been consistent. I am physically a lot stronger - my legs and arms look different. I don't tucker out toward the end of a run anymore. I have figured out how to run tempos. I ran a solid half marathon (1:34:37) that indicates going sub 3:30 is more than doable.

I have run this course before - I know what the hills look like, what the crowds sound like, and what this magical race feels like.

This is one of my favorite songs (All These Things I've Done by the Killers), and especially paired with the clip of Joan Benoit Samuelson winning Olympic Gold in 1984 is all the more inspiring. It is one of my power songs, because it reminds me that I have assembled a good training cycle and followed it to its end.

My power word is going to be "courageous" on Monday. I have taken several leaps of faith: with my diet, with the cross training, and my goal for Monday. I am going to have step outside of myself, which I am learning how to do, and push on Monday. But I am going to run focused, simultaneously running free and happy.

I am setting myself up now to relax my mind and enjoy myself in these final days. I get to have a few dinners with medieval faculty, which I am excited, and see some of my dearest friends and family. That is going to put me in an ideal state for Monday: relaxed and happy.

The door has been slammed shut, the hay is in the barn, and I cannot wait to run on Monday.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

MassAHage away my cares

I am a tense person by nature. I am working on this: on playing, on going with the flow, and trying to find the opportunity and a reason to laugh during the sticky sitations. Running has helped relax me a bit too, at least mentally.
But physically, it has tightened me up. Between the running, the rowing, and the weight lifting, my muscles have just tightened up. I am not a loose, limber person, and that's okay. But I do tense up my shoulders when I run, so my upper back tends to be on the tenser side of things.
One thing caused my shoulders to relax on Friday. I found out that my TA fellowship has been renewed for next year - thank goodness for funding! I had my annual review with the director of graduate studies in our department, and everyone is pleased with progress, both with my research and teaching. That was reassuring and a good reminder that hard work pays off, both in the classroom and on the road...
On Saturday, I ran my last tempo run: 1 mile warm up and cooldown, and 10 miles of tempo - averaged 7:36 pace. Overall, felt really strong, especially because I took on a lot of hard hills.
Afterwards, I went to "A Calmness Within" - this wonderful massage center in Silver Spring. My therapist gave me a wonderful sports massage, with just the right blend of agressive and soothing. I knew my shoulders were tight, but my calves were too! But, it is now Tuesday morning, and all of the tension is still gone (even after a 16 mile run yesterday). Talk about effective! I can't really afford to go often (I go once every 6 months), but when done right, the money is well-spent. I am hoping that this looseness feeling will persist through Monday.
On a Boston-related note: so excited that Joan Benoit Samuelson (1st female gold medalist in the Olympic Marathon, 2 time Boston Champion, former world and American record holder) is also running Boston! Good luck, Joanie!
I am going into this final week hopeful. Hopeful that the tension will stay away, that sleep will be a regularity, and that I can find that delicate balance of excitement and focusness about the tasks ahead!
Forge on...

Friday, April 8, 2011

The IT band exercises that saved my running (w/pics)

I took some pictures (using the self timer) of some of the exercises and wrote descriptions for all of them. I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll clarify them.
Take a resistance band, wrap one part around your ankle and hold the other part. Hold this for 20 seconds. Do this 3 times.
Next, bring your leg across your body (45 degree angle), and hold for 20 seconds. Do this 3 times.
Then flip over (keeping the band wrapped
around your ankle) onto your stomach. Pull your
leg toward your head and hold for 20 se
conds and repeat 3 times.
Now, tie one end to a table leg and wrap the
other part around your ankle and have it stretched apart so that there is some tension. Sit with your legs square (sorry, no picture - couldnt do it fast enough with the self timer) and pull your leg away from the either side (think hip ab/adductions). Do 2 sets of 15. Then, reverse the chair (so you can work both sides of your leg).
For the next part, you need a shorter,
thicker resistance band.
Wrap it around your knees.
Have your knees spread so it is taught. Take 15 side steps across the room - lead with your right leg on the way out, then left leg on the way back.
Do this 2 times.
Still using this band (but move down to your ankles), you are going to do an exercise that will make anyone in your household laugh.
It kind of looks like a dog lifting his leg to go to the bathroom.
This is your starting position. Then, lift your leg up to the side 15 times.
Repeat. Do this on each leg.
Then return to central position (legs straight, band around ankles). Drag your leg behind you at a 45 degree angle.
Do this 15 times. Repeat.
This brings us to what I think is the hardest exercise and there is
no band involved. Now you switch from dog to ostrich/flamingo.Do this on each leg.

Stand on one leg and have the other leg tucked behind you.
Now, dip forward 15 times WITHOUT ever touching the ground. Rest (you need to on this one) and repeat. Do this on both legs.
This is really really hard, and don't be surprised if you fall over. BUT, I promise you will build up a ton of strength with this one.
Then, return to the thin green band and have it wrapped around the table. Stand on one foot, grip the other end in your hand, and twist out 15 times without touching the ground. Repeat and do turn around to do the other side of your leg (band should be going across your body) - sorry couldn't get a picture of this either. Think of pulling out while balancing.

And that's it! When I first started this in January, I did it twice a day and it took 30 minutes. In March, I moved to once a day and it doesn't take as long (as I built up strength).
I cannot reiterate how helpful these are. When I started, the ITBS pain was so bad I could only run 2 miles. Within a week of starting, the pain was gone. I have done these every day and was able to move up to 21 miles, and now Boston is just 10 days away. THESE EXERCISES WORK. You gotta believe - I did!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Quest for the Gluten Free Donut: Kinnikinnick

...there lived a medieval celiac runner in the far-off land of Washington. While she had tweaked her diet and found new products, one food still was lost to the Gluten War: the donut. That perfect, sweet, best post-run snack ever that goes down the best with coffee. It was snatched by the wicked Gluten Monsters, who said that the Medievalist would never have a donut again.

Zounds! What ho! How could this be?

Surely, there was someone who knew who to right this awful wrong. So the Medievalist went on a quest for months: searching across the lands for the gluten-free donut.

After traversing distant lands (and the Internet), the Medievalist found: Kinnikinnick. Behold! A company that made gluten free bread, cookies, and could it be? The gluten free donut!

She tries the cinnamon flavored one after a 6 mile run. The adrenaline was rushing in exciement - would it be the sweet taste she had once remembered?

ABSOLUTELY! It tasted delicious - sweet, good texture, and actually a bit lighter than a regular donut. And behold, the world was right-side-up again.

Kinnikinnick has freed the donut from the evil Gluten Monsters. This was an impressive feat - and a very sweet victory.

Seriously, this is an awesome product. They also sent me some cookies and sandwich bread, which have been delicious. But this is certainly their finest product, I think in part because they did what seemed to be impossible.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In an oxygen-deprived state

(For some reason, blogspot won't let me have line breaks in my poem, so the slashes will have to serve as breaks) In an oxygen-deprived state/The pace of the tempo is accelerating/As time speeds on, the legs stride onward/Faster faster/Picking up when all else says slow down/The pace has gotten quicker/Adjusting to the new cadence/And in those final minutes/It is literally an uphill battle/Climbing 150 feet within half a mile/Higher and higher, steeper and speedier/The oxygen is quickly pulled away/The brain is foggy/Yet simultaneously clear/Climbing, arms pumping/Leaving the base/Seeing the summit in full view/Renews my spirit/Digging deeper, pushing harder/I have reached the top!/Time to descend once again/Legs fall rapidly in mindless bliss/I have conquered the tempo/I have beaten the hill/Reached the peak/The view from above is a wondrous one. (The end) Averaged 7:19 pace for 5.65 miles in today's tempo run! The last section was tough, and actually will be tougher than Boston, at least in terms of speed. Won't be climbing Heartbreak Hill at 7:19 pace! The run in total was 10.6 miles - pretty good for the taper. I will say, things were very interesting in my brain during that final part - pretty much just single word thoughts at that point. And then once it was over and the pace slowed, reason returned!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I saw all of DC during today's 19 miler

While that may be a slight exaggeration, it's not far from the truth. I met up with one of my MCM buddies in Dupont circle and we covered rougly 7.5 miles together. We both have run MCM and Boston, and both are getting ready for Boston again. No surprise we had Boston on the brain...
After he finished (he did his long run yesterday), I set out to finish the rest of my run. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for a run: 40 and sunny! Here are some of the things I saw during my run:
  • Adams Morgan
  • Dupont Circle
  • Rock Creek Park
  • Embassy Row
  • National Theater
  • The White House
  • The Capitol
  • Some of the Smithsonians
  • Washington Monument
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Arlington Cemetery
  • Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
  • Haines Point
So much sight-seeing in 19 miles, and I even went into Virginia! Dave and I had a good time, and I also enjoyed the rest of my run. It has been a while since I've run downtown, and I really love taking in all of the sights. Those who ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler had great weather, and I just loved how full the city was of runners! This is a great city for running, and today was proof of that. I am so relieved to be done, and to finally hit the taper. 2 weeks and a wake up call away from the Big Dance...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cake for breakfast?

During peak week, all bets are off.
I ran 189 miles in March, plus a ton of elliptical time and rowing. While the peak has been going well, I am completely exhausted. School, work, and teaching all have been busy, and combining that with the highest training week of the season has me very much yearning for the taper. Although my energy has waned, I'll tell you one thing that hasn't this week - my appetite! I eat breakfast every morning, yet I am pawing around for my lunch by 11, 11:30. And I am sure that is normal - you up the training, your appetite is going to soar as well. So, I end up parceling my lunch into several meals. But breakfast has been odd - I eat two breakfasts. I have Kix cereal before I train, but I need something else after, something to eat at my desk while I am reading about medieval saints, pilgrims, witches or what have you. Now, we have a Starbucks on our college campus, so a lot of my friends grab a pastry, call it breakfast, and move on. I can't have those pastries anymore (which is fine, they are so overpriced), but I need that second breakfast.
Aha! I made vanilla cake (Pamela's Vanilla Cake Mix) - no frosting - looks beautiful and tasty. So why can't I bring that?
Behold...cake for breakfast! I am having my cake and eating it t00. I see no problems here. It is very light, yet filling, and gets the job done. Needless to say, it also made think of the Bill Cosby Chocolate Cake for Breakfast routine, "Eggs, milk, oh goody! - that's nutrition!"
I can't find a bad thing about this. Can you?
I did a 12 mile run this morning with 10 miles at sub 8 minute pace. The sun finally came out at the end, which was lovely!
Tomorrow's 19 miler marks the end of peak week - thank goodness!