Sunday, April 30, 2006

My endurance measuring stick

I haven't been able to run for the last 2 weeks, because I came down with a wicked cold that took total control of my sinuses and lungs, and i could barely breathe while laying down, so running was totally out.

So today, I had a soccer game, which sounds like a lot of fun, until one realizes that I will have to run for 90 minutes after having taken 2 weeks off. For those who are wondering, yes, we do have subs on our team. And for those then wondering the next obvious question, no, I do not come out. For whatever reason, our team has decided I am good enough that I need to play the entire game, while everyone else on the field subs in and out. I love it, I'd rather play than sit anytime, so this is very cool for me. But I was quite worried, since the most physical thing I've done in the last 2 weeks is having horrific coughing fits in the middle of the night.

Anyway, I played the game, and we ran more than we usually do, because the team we played was really really good. And, surpringly, I felt great. I am not sure how I managed to take 2 weeks off and still feel this good after running for that long and that hard (I had three 3/4 field sprints in the middle of the game, besides all the regular 20 and 30 yard sprints and stuff), but it was awesome. I am so reinvigorated, and excited to start my regular training regimen again Monday.

As the title of this post suggests, I try to use soccer as a measuring stick for my endurance. Yes, if I sat back and ran in the 10-10:30 min/mi range, I could probably run for a really long time. But, I like to see how I do when I'm running at that pace, and then I throw in a bunch of wind sprints. It feels great. Hooray!!!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Running 16 miles in the rain - pretty badass, moderately insane, or just plain stupid?

Today we ran the Drake Relays Half-Marathon. This is the logo from the website - ah, only in Iowa.

Well, it was raining when we left Ames, it was raining when we got to Des Moines, and it rained every step of the way through the race. We had 18 miles on our schedule today, so we planned on running an extra five today. We were there early so we ran three miles beforehand. I ran that pretty slowly so I figured it would be fine. Big mistake. I was a little skeptical of the 17 mi long run followed immediately by an 18 mi long run the next weekend, but Kecia modified our schedule from Hal Higdons website, so I guess I figured it was alright. But I was clearly nowhere near recovered from last weekend. Not that I really expected to be, but I had a good running week with a fast (for me - 9:42 pace) 9-miler on Tuesday. I think Kimberly and Kecia felt the same way since we all hit a wall. Needless to say, we didn't run the extra two at the end.

My wall came pretty early - at about mile 10 (mile 7 of the race). My quads were just so tired. Mile 7 was probably right at top of the big hill that I apparently didn't notice while I was running. The whole time we were running down the big hill, I was very nervous about the fact that the race was a loop and that eventually we would have to go back up. But I must have been totally spacing out because I don't remember going up that big hill at all. Anyways, today was rough, but I considered it a good mental training day. I wanted to stop every step of the way after mile 7 of the race. Six miles can seem like an eternity at that point. Nothing hurt whatsoever (except in a "I'm tired" sort of way), so I had no excuses to stop. So I made myself run every last step of the way. I figure that the last 6 miles of the marathon will probably feel the same way, so it was good practice.

I didn't have lofty goals for this race, but I really wanted to beat my time from the 20K I did last summer (I know that it is 0.7 miles more, but I can run a lot faster now). That was 2:17. Today I cruised in at 2:19. Although in my head I am taking the time of the first 13.1 miles I ran today, which was 2:13 :-)

I actually really liked the course though and will probably do it next year. Since I don't remember the hill, it can't have been that bad. The course runs through all these nice neighborhoods. And knowing the course now, I know I can let go more on the downhills. I was afraid of pushing too much on the downhills and not having the energy for getting back up. I also really liked that you can see the finish line from about a third of a mile away. That was just the motivation I needed for one last push to the end. Also the end was flat. To me, there is nothing worse than getting to the end and realizing you have to sprint up a hill. I think that is just plain evil. Even more evil than the styrofoam cylinder.

It was just an exhausting day all around. So I think I am going to spend the rest of the day sitting on my couch, drinking a pot of tea, and watching movies. Good times!

This is a recovery week on our schedule, thank goodness. I am going to take full advantage and rest up and do this 15K trail race next weekend. Second highest point in Iowa? Wow! I hope I don't get altitude sickness.

P.S. I realized that I should probably stop whining about hills if I am going to do this relay. The average elevation gain on each leg is about 400 ft (although there are several legs with over twice that much).

Let us compare the elevation map above from today, with leg 19 of the relay:
Each one of those lines is 100 feet. Okay, granted this is probably the hardest leg in the relay (+1655') but it works for effect. After the marathon in June, I shall make myself run hills once a week.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I have discovered the instrument of hell and it is a foam roller

On Monday, Susan (the masseuse) gave me three things I need to do:

1) Massage my tibias.

2) Stretch my hip flexors.

3) Roll my IT bands on a foam roller.

Number (1), no problem! Number (2), I do that anyways for my back! Number (3)? Someone please shoot me before I have to do that again. Who knew that a cylinder of styrofoam could cause so much pain? I called Kori, who is a pro at this, and she affirmed that it indeed sucks.

The styrofoam cylinder of death seems so unassuming. And then I lay on top of it and tried rolling my IT band and I could do about one roll down my thigh, screaming expletives the whole time. I made myself do 5 each leg (with about a minute rest between rolls).

I stole this picture from the internet somewhere, but it describes my feelings.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

They're dropping like flies!

So Adam has just informed me that his best friend's bachelor party is the same weekend as the relay and thus will be unable to attend. I think he is just a wuss. Who needs friends when you can run over the Continental Divide?

Well anyways, that means we are down to 10. Before departing, Adam did manage to possibly recruit someone, so maybe we are only down to 11. But anyways, everyone needs get those recruitin' skillz sharpened so we can fill out the team again.

That's okay Adam, we didn't want you anyways ;-p

they're religious, and they run

My running sucks less than it did a week ago, thanks in no small part to D putting me on a schedule. I'm getting the cobwebs out at last.

I can do 3-4 miles pretty easily now, but my problem is that I get bored out of my skull after like 2 miles. So I'm combating my lack of mojo by starting a running group at my church. Our first meeting was last week, and I'm the only one who showed up. I ended up doing 40 minutes worth of circles around Queens Park, which in the late afternoon is filled with Toronto hippie types getting baked. I think I got a little bit stoned.

The second meeting is today, and it's pissy and raining out, and I'm starting to get sick. Will those lazy bums show up? Will I?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Margaritas and Krispy Kremes, the breakfast of champions!

Yesterday was the ever so fun Donut Run 5K. If I hadn't signed up a week ago, there is no way I would have done that race. It being VEISHA, there were lots of bands playing for free on campus the night before. As I have no natural resistance to peer encouragement, there was a little too much tequila consumed that night before heading out to see Cross Canadian Ragweed and Rober Earl Keen.

So I woke up Sunday morning still feeling hazy with my stomach not feeling 100%, but I paid my $15 gosh darnit, so I was going to run that race. I was also resolute in meeting my four donut goal. The race was at 9am, so I had plenty of time to get up and clear my head (I find it very hard to sleep past 7am). Once I got running, I actually felt okay. I even ate three donuts and still felt pretty okay. The fourth donut though, man that was hard to get down. But I did it. If I had done one more, I would have gotten a 2 minute bonus, but I just couldn't do it. The last half mile was pretty rough, but I made it to the end. My unadjusted time was 30:11 and my donut time was 27:41. Considering it takes me about 30 seconds to eat a donut, my actual running time was probably in the low 28s, which is good for me.

There was a guy in the race dressed up in a full-on Pooh Bear costume (like with a big furry costume and a big Pooh head with his face sticking out under the bear's nose). Apparently Pooh Bear finished the race and then went off into the woods to throw up. While this image is quite funny in my mind, I am sure a few kids were traumatized :-)

I got a sports massage this morning. It was the most painful massage of my life, but she was good. My IT bands were hella tight (the source of the nagging pain on the side of my left knee). I fear the fate of Kori, so I must buy a foam roller so I can massage my own IT bands.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

<Awesomeness Level="High">Joe Rules</Awesomeness>

I can draw < and > signs. I rock harder than Danielle!

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I can't think of any other Queen songs. Note I had to take the <> off the title because blogger didn't know what to do with a nonsensical tag and I am not talented enough to make it do what I want :-).

I have been trying to avoid being the only one who posts on this here blog (hey guys, I get bored reading about myself :-)). But apparently I have more rambling and/or procrastinating tendencies than the other five people here.

But today I just want to brag that I ran 17 miles this morning (10:25 min/mi). This is the farthest I have ever run. About eight months ago, when I was training for the Chicago Marathon, I ran 16 miles. But my calf hurt a lot, and after the fateful weekend in Toronto, I had to stop running for like two months. But today nothing hurt! Not the weird nagging thing in my left knee, not the random hip pain, and most importantly, neither of my calves!

It was such a perfect day. It was 45 and sunny when we started at 7am. And maybe because I didn't let certain other team members convince me to stay out late drinking beer like last week, I felt good the whole run. The last mile was rough, but it was awesome to finish (on a hill!) and feel that pure exhaustion and not have it accompanied by some random ache that you worry might debilitate you next week. You know you just had a good long run when everyone comes back with salt visibly crusted on.

Innovation of the day: Mr. Kimberly making us omelets. On the grill.

Unfortunately, I have to spend the rest of this gorgeous day inside, doing work. And because it is VEISHA I rode my bike the few miles to my office at school so I wouldn't have to worry about parking. Let me tell you, those hills between here and home were not pleasant. Here is to hoping I don't die during the 5K tomorrow!

Okay, time to crank up the tunes (I am glad no one else is in my office so I can sing along to Gillian) and start using my EXCEL skills to make pretty spreadsheets for rainwater harvesting in Africa.

Oh yeah, I saw this linked from another blog and it made me laugh and laugh.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Any way the wind blows...

Okay it is windy today, but that title is a stretch. I just didn't want to be the one to break the Queen streak. And I always think of Lisa's karaoke story when I think of that song.

So, it's Marathon Monday! I hail from Newton MA. In addition to being the home of the Fig Newton, Newton is right on the Boston Marathon route. In fact I grew up about two blocks from the bottom of Heartbreak Hill. In Massachusetts we have this holiday called Patriots Day, which I think is supposed to celebrate the battles of Lexington and Concord. Somewhere along the line, they started running the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day so we all got a school holiday for Marathon Monday. My parents used to have barbeques and everyone would wander over to the course to watch the action. Good times.

Anyways, the winner this year did it in 2:07. That is about a 4:50 min/mi pace. Insane!

So I set out on my evening run today with the goal to be faster than twice as slow as the winner. And I was a total rockstar, doing the four miles at 9:24 min/mi (shut up, it's fast for me). On Saturday, I was more than a minute per mile slower for our 11 miler and I was dead at the end. I was cursing myself for putting the 13th Street hill in the last mile of that run.

Song that got me pumped to run at the beginning: As Cool as I Am by Dar Williams
Song that got me up the 13th Street hill today: By Way of Sorrow by Lucy Kaplansky, Dar Williams and Richard Shindell

If anyone knows that last song, they will probably think I am weird that that song would be of any help while running since it is sort of slow. But two things:

1) There is a faster paced fiddle part in the middle that conveniently hit about 100 feet from the top.

2) I like to sing along, even though one would think that singing along (out loud mind you - I am shameless) would mess up my breathing, especially going up a hill. But I have the embarassing habit of totally getting into music when I am singing along so it totally (all encompassingly?) gives me a burst of energy. I also tend to close my eyes when I sing along and running up a hill with your eyes closed (which again makes me look like a total freak) makes the hill go faster.

I am sure I must look insane running with my eyes closed and singing along. I don't know if I could ever look as insane as the really thin Asian woman with massive coke bottle glasses who Lisa and I would pass running in the Hole - she used to only wear shorts and this white bra that wasn't a sports bra, just a regular bra, but it was about 3 cup sizes too big for her. Yet she was out there running several days a week. I guess running attracts the crazy ones.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Like a rocket ship on it's way to Mars...

A somewhat appropriate Queen reference to keep up Danielle's trend for at least one more message... so in between the dropping out and the throwing up I thought I should post a quick update on how I've run 16km for the last two sundays which, while not quite the mileage being put in by some of you, is something I haven't done in over two years and so far I'm moving along at a decent pace (1h 35m this morning) and feeling better and better about my running with every outing. Not a bad job off 6 weeks training at least. Bring on August!!!

Bicycle! Bicycle! Bicycle! I want to ride my bicycle!

So this is only related to running in that it is cross-training, but I am thinking of buying this bike.

A psycho-biking enthusiast friend says it is a great deal and will fit me well, but I am still not sure about buying a bike on ebay. I have a hybrid now, and I would like a road bike so that I can do a triathlon in style this summer. But $300 for a good bike is a steal.

Another one bites the dust

So Jenni e-mailed me today to tell me her summer job unfortunately goes until August 12th, so she can no longer run the relay. So here is another call out to all of you to convince a friend that they want to run with us in August!

Saturday, April 15, 2006


so for the last few days, whenever i've gone running, after about 1 1/2 miles, i start to feel like i'm going to vomit. i think it's the passover food; i just feel crappy after i eat it, and i think it's screwing with my stomach.

i also just realized that the race i registered for labor day weekend, yeah, i can't go to. before i got sick (so like back in december), a friend of mine told me he was getting married labor day weekend. it had slipped my mind until last night when he mentioned it again. so i just bought a $70 t-shirt. yay.

this has been a crappy week for running for me...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Smooth Criminal

While, I know this is supposed to be a running blog, I just had to share what just happened to me.

The first time I ever got pulled over, I was going 48 mph in a 30 zone. I had "Disarm" by the Smashing Pumpkins blaring, so I didn't even hear the siren. Perhaps it was the tears welling in my eyes or perhaps I just looked so innocent in my Catholic school uniform, but I got off with a warning. Between high school and college, I managed to get pulled over about 6 times for speeding, driving the wrong way down a two way street (damn you Ithaca and your one way roads!), and driving with just my parking lights on. Every time I got off with a warning (and Joe, you think I am jealous of your cuteness?)

Anyways, after a six year lull, I got pulled over again tonight. For running a stop sign. On my bike.

Fortunately, I just got a warning again, but c'mon!


"Like a controlling boyfriend, the onboard GPS tech tracks your every movement, monitoring your distance and speed."

Note that this website only sells one techy item per day and tomorrow it will be a different item, so if you don't click on this link today, you might get something like a sound card.

I want to be like Joe

Actually, I don't, but he reminded me that I need to register for two upcoming races:

The Doughnut Run (April 23rd)

Yay for Krispy Kremes! I did this 5K last year and it is wicked fun, as long as you can eat doughnuts and run without vomiting. Last year my running time (including the stops to eat doughnuts) was 31:01. I ate three doughnuts so my doughnut time was 29:31 (you get 15 seconds off for the first, 30 for the second, 45 for the third, and 1 min for every doughnut after). I think last year I ate doughnuts in vain, as it took about 30 seconds to scarf each doughnut, so really I just broke even (you have to eat the doughnuts at the water stops so they know you ate them). So this year I am going for four doughnuts. My last 5K was 28:17, so I am going for a sub-28 minute doughnut time. The small goals in life are nice.

Drake Relays Half-Marathon (April 29th)

This is where I exact revenge for Toronto last year. Theoretically we need to add 5 miles on to the end of this run, since we are supposed to do 18 that day, but I don't care. If I have to drag my ass 5 miles after pushing during the half-marry, so be it. It builds character.

No wonder why I am broke - I spend all my money on race registrations. I actually do have a line item in my budget for race registrations but, like the U.S. government and science (specifically fabulous research on transport by intrusions generated by boundary mixing in lakes), I never fund it enough.

WTF happened to spring?

Really, that title needs an interrobang.

So on Saturday morning I was trying to decide appropriate attire for a 14 mile run in 30 degree weather. Last night I was doing the same for a 7 miler in 75 degree weather. At least there was a nice breeze (a mere 25 mph out of the south with 40 mph gusts). Only Kimberly, Kecia, and I ran 7 last night. I was actually able to keep up (a rarity) because both of them are still feeling saturday in their legs (probably because they might have been actually picking their feet up the last couple of miles that day). We started out at a nice clip (9:40 min/mile) but in the end we averaged 10:10 as the heat started sapping us. But again nothing hurt, yay! Except for the tops of my feet, because I tied my shoelaces too tight on Saturday and didn't notice until about mile 12. The laces on my Adidas always come undone and I didn't want to have to stop during the race. I think I should get these.

I am planning our run on Saturday and I am torn between laziness (i.e. not wanting to get up any earlier than 6:45) and possible hotness. We are only doing 11 miles (insert yet-to-be-invented emoticon that implies sarcasm), which is technically a rest week, but will still suck if it is hot out. As it is Easter weekend, I think instead of stocking our water stop with gatorade and gels, I think I will just fill the cooler with marshmallow peeps.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

another race

I just signed up for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach over Labor Day weekend.

I tried to run this race two years ago. 3 weeks before the race I tore my calf muscle and couldn't run. I am assuming I will be in shape to run this time, with it being a month after the WWR, so I'm pretty excited to get a second shot at this one...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bored of the same old running route?

We use this to map out our routes:

You might find a route you hadn't thought of before.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Keepin' it real

I call it my game face, not "thug mug," but does anyone else besides me have this problem?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Suck it up, princess!

I am going to run off with Lisa's mantra for the day, because that is how I felt all morning. After running 3 miles total two weeks ago then running 30 last week (which I am sure is a recommended jump in mileage), my legs have been wicked tired. Combine that with being sleep deprived from driving out to Grinnell to see Dar Williams on Thursday night and helping Adam celebrate his masters defense last night, waking up at 5:30 this morning (in the dark! stupid Daylight Savings!) was not fun.

We had a 15 mile run scheduled this morning, but we wanted to run an 8K in Des Moines. So before we even started, I ran two miles with Kori (so I only ended up with 14 at the end - Kimberly and the others ran 3 but just made it back to the start). I was afraid I might turn into one of those people who you see jogging a couple of miles before a race. Fortunately, I don't think this gives me any speed advantage, although it was nice to be warmed up. I ran the 8K in 49 minutes exactly. Not a PR by any means, but I can live with it, especially as I wasn't going all out. But it was hard to get through my head that I still had to run another 7 miles after this finished. Especially when people start sprinting by you at the end. Me, competetive? Never!

Man, those last 7 miles I thought I wouldn't make it. Nothing hurt (which I am very happy about), but my legs were like jelly. I wasn't even sure I was lifting my feet off the ground. It was one of those "just put one foot in front of the other" days. But I finished, and my average pace was 10:22/mi, which isn't too horrible for me.

Then I collapsed on the grass next to the car in sheer exhaustion.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Links to Us

It seemed like it would be a good idea if we could all get to know each other a little better before we actually get to Colorado.

So, as you can see on the right side of the page, I've made a few tweaks. Besides just having running and race related links, I added a section where we can put links to personal websites or blogs. I added the only two I know of, me and Lisa.

If anyone else has a website or blog or MySpace page or whatever they'd like listed there, leave the URL in a comment in this post and I'll add it to the list.

Do I really have nothing better to do?

While writing my daily long e-mail ramble to Lisa (yes, I have enough rambling in me to write long e-mails and long blog posts and talk too much) I was agreeing to get on her case about training after Easter. When I was looking at the suggested half marathon training website I gave her, I realized I didn't like it. So, because I am an obsessive planner and organizer, I decided I would make one up that was more similar to the program I used when training for my first half-marathon last year. I figured I would post it here in case anyone else who is new to the distance thing wanted a suggested schedule. This is mainly different from half-marry training schedules on the internet in that:

1. The distances are a little farther, since in the end, we will all be running at least 15 miles.

2. I included a double run day, just to get used to the idea of running, stopping for 8 hours, then running again.

So here is a pretty PDF training calendar.

No pressure then

Hey everyone!

Alcohol is a dangerous thing - I'm still trying to remember the exact point at which I actually offered to do this but it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun and I am definitely looking forward to meeting everyone and taking on the mighty Rockies! Hopefully my google reputation doesn't precede me too much. My running has been a bit hit and miss the last couple of years but I'm getting back on track and will be in good form come August.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12!

That was meant to be sung with the Sesame Street tune and a mental picture of psychadelic numbers.

So we are back up to 12, yay! Tom has been replaced by Mark, one of Lisa's colleagues, who has nothing to do with the midwest, but who I am allowing on the team because:

1. We need someone.

2. I googled him and he is fast.

3. A team member with a British accent might make us seem more urbane. :-)

Welcome aboard, Mark!

Monday, April 03, 2006

And the water turned to blood (insert evil laugh here)

So my officemate Jenny had to read a book called that (minus the evil laugh) last semester. Granted it was about red algae, not well-meaning scientists who dumped a little too much dye into a river. Anyways, I ran only once last week because I was down in FL doing this to a poor unsuspecting National Scenic River. My advisor, who can't seem to suppress his musical abilities, actually wrote a whole song with piano music about the other FL river we have dumped Rhodamine dye in. One of the verses is fitting:

Some folks are hooked on crack.
In Iowa, it's methamphetamines.
My group's got a curse.
We're hooked on something worse.
We're hooked on injecting Rhodamine.

Lest you worry too much about the poor river, Rhodamine isn't toxic (hehe, although Pete challenged me to drink some), it mixes away, and besides the river gots its revenge in the form of ornery alligators. Do you see how small this river is? When an alligator sees us and plops into the water from its little beach, where do you think it goes? That's right! There is nowhere to go but under us. Also there were lots of trees down in the river from the hurricance so there were branches everywhere. I was sitting in front of the canoe and my legs are covered in bruises from where, to quote my canoeing partner Ryan, I "got bitch slapped by the Loxahatchee."

Oh some actual running content! That might be nice. On Saturday, we ran 13 miles. Well Kori and I ran 13, Kimberly and everyone else ran 14. I had run a total of 6 miles in the two weeks prior to this, so I was surprised I could even drag myself to 13 (and at a 10:13 pace). The good news was that while I felt my Achilles a bit in the middle 5-10 miles, in the last loop, my hip started hurting (which is why I stopped at 13), and that drowned out any Achilles pain. Yeah, whine whine whine. I think the hip was just a random thing though. Kori's knee didn't hurt the day after either, yay! Yesterday, Kori and I did a yoga class with Kecia (I can't figure out how we haven't convinced her to do this relay yet) and we all had to laugh at our pathetic inflexibility from running.

Next weekend is Loop the Lake in Des Moines (8K). Apparently we are tacking 10 miles on the end of that in DSM for a change of scenery. I think also we are signing up for the Drake Relays Half-Marathon at the end of April. Fun times if any of you Amesians want to join us!

What, me ramble? Never.