Thursday, July 29, 2010

Days 23-31: AGAIN??? REALLY???

"Don't be concerned with what you can't do. Work on what you can do - then count your blessings."
~Alan Robinson ~ 56-year old partially paralyzed marathon runner

So you are telling me I have to run again? But I just ran last night. And the afternoon before. And now I have to run again. But I don't feel like running. Not like my marathon counterpart cares about me or what I feel like doing to be sure.

I'm in the middle of Week 5 of 18 weeks of marathon training and I am already sick of it. Literally, physically and mentally. I feel like crap. Which is probably dehydration. I mean all I do all day long is shove water down my throat. Glass after glass after glass. And go to the bathroom to pee just about as often. And yet I always have that fatigued, overheated, glaze about my person. What's an aspiring runner to do? Perhaps some of it is lack of energy from nutrition but I still blame dehydration in part.

So I'm about to go on my run. I'm half-dressed. I have my shoes laced up and my shorts on. Gotta find a moisture-wick t-shirt and then I'm off. I don't want to go. I have a feeling every step will be a struggle. But I know it needs to get done. Fortunately I get the Runners World online mag Quote of the Day as quoted above. Clearly, if partially-paralyzed people and paraplegics, etc. are running marathons then I need to stop my whiny half-assedness over 3 little miles of running. Still...I don't feel like running. But I digress...

AFTER: Once I got out there, it wasn't so bad. Really it wasn't. It only took all day of wearing my shorts and sneaks to actually make myself get out there. But then... it never is as bad as you think it's going to be. I even got so concerned that I was run/walking a little bit slower than my 14 mile per hour deadline (for every run that is) that I basically started sprinting a few blocks from my house and ultimately up the very steep and long hill that finishes most of my runs back up to the front of my house. I really pushed myself. Of course I realized AFTER I finished that I ran 3.23 miles exactly instead of the 3 miles I needed. Which kind of made me a little p.o.'d as it were because with all the running I'm doing I really really really don't need to be doing any more miles than I already am. Not even an extra .25 miles thank you very much. But it turned out that despite my exhaustion and feeling of inadequacies, I ran the 3.23 miles in exactly 43:00 minutes which constitutes a 13:10 mins/mile pace. Well above the 14 min/mile mark. Tomorrow is a rest day. Thank God.

THE BEFORE AND AFTER:I'm behind a few days it would seem. So I'll give you the short and sweet of what I forgot to tell you about earlier. For posterity.

Day 23: 4 mile run -- I am very very sorry that I didn't write a complete blog of this run but the blog before this Redemption is the beginning of what I would have said. I wish I had written more completely mainly because I was shocked at how well I ran after a week of drinking and being lazy and missing all my workouts. Whoops! But for some reason I have ALWAYS been able to do my best work hungover. Why is that? Is it that your body is so desperate to sweat out the toxins and get those poisons out of the body that its willing to work harder to get the job done? My GPS put me at 4.01 miles in 51:18 minutes which is an average page of 12:18 miles. Which considering I did some walking, means I was really speeding up my running pace. I felt good. I think I even ran the last mile in a 9 minute something, including that big hill to finish back to my house. So I'll remember July, 21, 2010's run as a reminder that even when you mess up or wuss out or laze out, you can get it back. Just forge ahead...

Day 24: 3 mile run -- Of course, OF COURSE, the day after the best run of my running career in the last several years I felt EXHAUSTED and had a really hard time with this run. I had to walk ALOT. In fact I think I ran one song (about 3-5 minutes) and then walked one song (about 3-5 minutes) and so on. My legs were immobile. Which is truly problematic when running requires them to be seriously mobile. Like a lot. Right. I ran exactly the 3.00 miles in 41:29 which was an average page of 13:50 mins/mile. Which goes to show you that even when you are exhausted and have to walk A LOT, you still are capable of what I've been referring to as that terrifying "Beat the Bridge" standard which is my only goal for the first 20 miles of the MCMarathon.

Day 25: Rest -- I was supposed to Rest completely but I felt so completely fat and gross and lumpy from all the drinking and food eating on vacation that I did a Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred 30 minute workout video which is basically high intensity circuit training with weights/strength training, cardio and abs. It definitely made me feel better, albeit guilty for not following my "Rest" commands to a tee.

Day 26: 9 mile run --So I probably only ran more like 71/2 miles (my GPS didn't work. It said I ran .67 miles in 1:24:05 which we all know is IMPOSSIBLE), but I did it in 101 degree weather (I know, stupid, stupid - haven't I learned anything?) So considering the heat, it might as well have been an entire marathon. This was a pretty touch run. I ran with a waterbelt. And some trailmix in my pocket. I even ran with an ICEPACK on my head, underneath a baseball cap!!! Serious I know!! And I stopped after about 2 miles at the first water fountain on my path and then again at another water fountain right inside the back entrace to the National Zoo along Rock Creek Parkway. There were some park rangers/staff hanging out by their truck across the pathway watching me utilize their fountain. I splashed water on my legs and arms and face and neck and wrists repeatedly and gulped gulped gulped. They looked at me like I was a crazy person. I was a little nervous that at any moment they might come over and tell me I wasn't allow to use any more water. I nibbled on some trailmix nuts -- peanuts, almonds, raisons and some M&Ms and then I continued on my journey. I got to Woodley Park Metro and metro'd back to Friendship Heights and then I got the bus home from there. It was a long day and a long run but I was proud to have done it, even having done it in the heat in idiotic fashion. I was doing what I said I would do and that was a good thing.

Day 27: 1 hour cross-training -- I did nothing on this day. I woke up around 4:30 in the morning with a huge knot in my left shoulder blade and electric, shooting pain from my left shoulder blade all the way up to my left shoulder through the left side of my kneck. It sucked. I went and got a deep tissue massage at Elizabeth Arden. It was amazing. Afterwards, I could actually hold my head straight BUT I could tell that the entire area in and around my shoulder blade was swollen and would remain so for days. Hal recommends getting massages every week after your long run or at least 1 or 2 a month as part of your training routine. I can't afford that. Lucky, if you can. If you can do it. It was the best thing thats happened to me in a long time. Plus, since I was in so much pain, I could I not afford it? I ran into a friend of mine, Clay, who is a crazy good runner. He couldn't believe I'd ran as far as I did on Saturday in the heat. He told me he went for an hour long run himself and stopped in the middle to get ICECREAM. hahahhaha. Genius! I'm going to try that sometime. Definitely.

Day28: Rest -- Still recovering from my back injury. No doubt I didn't stretch out enough or drink enough water after that evil 71/2 miler in 101 degree heat so I tried some extra neck and back and shoulder stretching today and vowed that I would make these extra stretches a part of my regular running routine.

Day 29: 3 mile run -- I don't have a GPS recording for this run. Maybe my phone needed charging or I just forgot it. I don't remember this run at all except for the fact that it needed to get done and did. I think I also did a strength training video for 25 minutes or so as well.

Day 30: 5 mile run -- I was a little daunted by having to run 5 miles in the middle of the week and in the middle of two other runs a day before and after. I remember running them kind of late at night and getting home at 9 something after missing a good portion of my favorite summer show: So You Think You Can Dance. Don't judge. I'm sure you have a guilty pleasure that is kind of lame too and I'm okay with that. I remember it being kind of slow going but that I got it done and in a reasonable amount of time and that I felt good about it later.

That just about catches you up to speed. So on that note...

Come Run With ME.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 23: Redemption

“I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying.”

Okay, even I'm not sure exactly what the quote above is supposed to mean. Especially since I killed all my brain cells on my Lake Ontario vacation this past week. But I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that I was completely lame and lazy and missed a whole chunk of my Marathon training, but I'm going to get my $hit together and get back to it and keep following the training plan. Alright.

And surprisingly enough, perseverance and "re"-attempts, and getting yourself back on track ACTUALLY WORKS. Who knew?

I was extremely concerned when I headed out today, Wednesday, July 21st, after a week of drinking and debauchery, that I would be able to coordinate any movement at all, let alone 4 miles of running. I was soooooooooo hungover from my trip, even though, at this point, I hadn't had a drink in 36 hours that I felt too sick to do anything. Inevitably, the dehydration that certainly had to arrive from a week of drinking beer and little water, had to attack my limbs at some point right? It felt like I had been hit by a truck all over my body. Everything hurt. But after a week of slacking off and missing 3 of 4 runs while I was away, and having missed the required run from the day before, and having not been on a run in 4 days, enough was enough. I had to get out there.

Today's required run was 4 miles. And shock of all shocks -- it was my best run to date. Don't ask me how and don't ask me why. Because I have no idea. I should've been hurting. I should've been puking. But instead, I ran more of my runs (than walking) than I usually do and I the times when I was running, I ran way faster than I normally do. 4:01 miles in 51:18 which is 12:18mins per mile.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Days 15-22: How the Mighty Have Fallen...

"I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it."
~Rodney Dangerfield~

Day 15 Requirement: 3 miles = NOT COMPLETED
Day 16 Requirement: 4 miles = NOT COMPLETED
Day 17 Requirement: 3 miles = NOT COMPLETED
Day 18 Requirement: Rest = COMPLETED IN SPADES (by drinking myself into oblivion)
Day 19 Requirement: 5 miles = COMPLETED 4 MILES (3 miles jogged/1mile walked)
Day 20 Requirement: Cross-training = COMPLETED (if you count leisurely swimming in the lake, throwing a sack for cornhole and tossing ping pong balls as light exercise)
Day 21 Requirement: REST = NOT SURE: I spent all day competing in a "Beerlympics" tournament involving quarters, card games, dizzy bat, beer pong, and other drinking games and relay races. Does this count as resting or is this just exhausting myself?
Day 22 Requirement: 3 miles = NOT COMPLETED as I was completely hungover and stuck in a car on my ride home.


Um, yeah, so I drink waaaaaaaaaaaay too much. I know it. You know it. My mother definitely knows it. She calls me an alcoholic all the time. I usually say I'm just a 20-something single person having a good time and enjoying myself when I can, but after the debauchery I partook of this past week at a cottage on Lake Ontario in upstate New York, well, yeah I'm an f-in alcoholic. Sorry liver.

What does this have to do with running? Everything. Because if you succeed in drinking and partying enough, you eventually will NOT SUCCEED in your running goals. Which is my story. Which I am not proud of. But perhaps not completely regretful of either.

So I went on vacation. So lots of true athletes and people in great shape and totally committed to their running would have made it happen. I know. I know. I really do know. But we would wake up and start drinking and swimming and playing and eating never really stopped until the wee hours of the morning continuing to drink around a campfire. It truth. It was awesome. Really, really awesomely awesome. I didn't deserve to have this much fun. I shouldn't have had this much fun. I shouldn't have abandoned my running. But you only live once right?

Despite the Bacchanalian retreat, I did manage to go out on 1 of my 4 required runs and at least it was the longest required run. I was supposed to run 5 miles but instead I ran about 4. Along an endless dusty access road to all the lakefront houses. With grass on one side and little cottages and the lake on the other. It was beautiful. And all looked the same. On my way back I couldn't remember exactly where the entrance to my cottage was and feared I'd be out walking in the hot sun indefinitely. As it were, I made it back and made a beeline straight for the cooler and popped open a beer. Hey...I'll sober up when I'm dead. So get a little crazy and if you can still manage it at least 1 out of 4 times...

Come Run With Me.

Days 11-14

Day 11: Rest
Day 12: 7 miles
Day 13: Cross-training for an hour
Day 14: Rest

So I hope that being drunk in the upstairs of the Barking Dog in Bethesda, dancing wildly and headbanging occasionally and schizophrenically counts as cross-training because that's all the cross-training I did this weekend.

I had so much fun at a full and fancy dinner at the French Restaurant Lavendeux in Cleveland Park, then having drinks at Yanni's Greek yesterday in Cleveland Park and then continuing the bender by finishing at the Barking Dog as mentioned above and even then having more drinks and conversation in my backyard garden after closing times that I was WAY too hungover on Saturday but to contemplate my poor and hazardous lifestyle choices and try to find some combination of liquids and food that helped me cure my hangover in the timeliest manner possible without making me more sick.

Sunday it was way too hot to run during the day and I was still feeling a little "under the weather" but I knew I had to run. I wanted to run. The fact that I hadn't done what I've required of myself was making me restless, like an itch I couldn't scratch or needed to scratch. My friends were all gathered at an apartment in Pentagon City watching the final World Cup Match between Spain and the Netherlands. I actually stopped by all dressed in workout gear. I convinced myself I would go to the National Mall and run the 7 miles trek I had plotted on earlier in the week. I did go. And it was hard to watch everyone slogging back the beers and mystery punch et al. and not be able to partake. They, of course, tried to convince me not to run but one of my friends Britt said, leave her alone. And turned to me and said "Go Run. Go run now or you'll never go." And so I left.

I drove down to the Mall and it was very very hot indeed. Too hot even though it was already 6 o'clock in the evening. I ran from the Ulysses Grant memorial (reflecting pool) just in front of the Capitol on Independence and 3rd street passed the Washington Monument and down to the Lincoln Memorial where I ran around it and then came back up Constitution Avenue towards the Ulysses Grant memorial and then back around towards the Washington Monument and back once again. All in all, my GPS not strictly working again, I ran about 6 miles, not 7. But I was hot and exhausted and wanted to get back to my friend's party.

One eventful part of my run, was that I believe I saw Mayor Fenty out for a run himself. Dressed in black and looking very fit indeed. Does that man even sweat? There is such great satisfaction that our current Washingtonian leaders, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and Mayor Fenty are all in such great physical shape. Eating right and exercising and encouraging others to do the same. This attitude certainly permeates out in the community in a wave of inspiration. Seeing Mayor Fenty made me want to not look like I was going to pass out at any moment, though there was little hope for that on this particular day.

I finished my run. It was what I was capable of on this day. Really I was completely spent. So, I did what I could do. I went back to my friend's party and was greeted by beer and mystery punch and pizza. And we watched the movie Beer Fest. I ended up at my friend Brian's apartment after that. More drinks, gin and tonics to be exact and got home around 4 in the morning.

I know I sound like such a glutton. And I am one. And certainly if I wanted to REALLY improve on my training or be a super athlete or a super foxy fox with a head-turner bod, I would really need to clean up my act. And maybe I will. Eventually.

But right now, the goal of training for and completing a marathon is all I can grasp a hold of right now. And I am doing the runs. I am putting in the time. And one foot in front of the other. Repeatedly. And for me right now that's enough. Completing the first one, a little bit healthier, a little bit lighter, a little bit fitter and a lot more self-confident, is enough for me right now, to mean a whole lot more than all that.

And it goes to show you. You don't have to give up junk food or alcohol or fun or sleepless nights to run a marathon. Maybe you should. But you don't have to. So even if you like to party...

Come Run With Me.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 10: Not Much To Report

Required Run: 3 miles
Completed Run: 3 miles

After the very eventful midnight run, just the "night"/a few hours before, I took what was really my second run of the day. It was difficult as you'd imagine but doable.

Some runs are just runs. Nothing exciting or adventurous about them. But we have to do them. Grind them out. It is boring and exhausting and annoying even.

But this run, is out of the way. So even if you don't want to...

Come Run With Me.

Day 9: Midnight Blackness and Madness

"We were too hot to think of sleeping

We had to get out before the magic got away

We were running with the night"

--Lionel Richie--

Run #: 6

Time of Day: 12:24am-1:00am

Days to Go: 114

Required mileage today: 3

Completed mileage today: Approximately 3

Problems: No Sleep for the Weary

Tip of the Day: Don't try this at home...

There is no doubt in my mind that Tuesday I got "heat stroke." Bad. The disorientation I felt unable to give that lost motorist directions to a local landmark six blocks from my house was the biggest warning sign of my condition. It was not smart, it was not safe and I'm lucky the outcome of my amateurish idiocy wasn't worse. That said...can I blame the different, but equally poor choices I made on my next run on the damage from the day before? It might make me feel a little better about myself. Slightly.

After my run yesterday, in the middle of the day, and the heat stroke that inevitably plagued me, I felt not surprisingly terrible for the rest of the day. It felt like I had sun burn but I wasn't actually burnt or red. My skin felt dry. I was completely exhausted and dehydrated and I didn't sleep well. I didn't feel much better the next day either. When I woke up, I still felt entirely drained and tired. I didn't want to do anything in the way of being productive in any aspect of anything. I dreaded all day having to run again. And no matter how much water I chugged, I couldn't satisfy my insatiable thirst. The only thing I knew for sure was that I couldn't run during the middle of the day again. I planned to run sometime after 7pm, which would still be sunny, hot and uncomfortable, but I rationalized that it would be a far cry from the worse heat and misery of a 2pm run. Inevitably, even "the best laid plans of mice and men go awry".

I returned home around 6pm to discover that the power in my neighborhood was out. No power, means no air conditioning, which meant my house was as hot and humid as the outside, which was nearing 100 degrees. I put on my running clothes, with every intention of going for a run -- at some point-- and set out to water all the flowers and plants in the back yard, to make myself useful, and to keep myself cool, periodically spraying myself with the hose on my arms and legs. But working in the garden, in the sun and the heat and the humidity, I only felt hotter and more tired, so when my roommates came home, to discover our unfortunately un-airconditioned plight, and recommended we go get dinner in an airconditioned restaurant, it was too tempting to turn down. So we went to Chaddies (or Chadwicks as you might know it) and ate fish and drank gin and tonics and wine and beers and embarassingly stuffed ourselves. If you knew how much I ate, I promise, it would be embarassing. I couldn't bear the thought of returning home again to our own personally hot hell, despite the fact that I should've had a run in my near future, the hours remaining in the day running out. Instead, I drove over to my friend Laura's apartment which was comfortably cool and to see her new hair cut; she had recently cut off waistlength hair for a pixie cut (crazy I know). Though, on second thought, considering this heat, I may dispose of my boob-length hair for a bob cut myself. Or not. After drinking two or more beers, sharing some laughs and beginning to yawn, I finally drove home, tired, yawning and seemingly done for the day. I got home at 11:54pm, 6 minutes left of this particular Wednesday. I realized I was going to miss my first run of marathon training. This being only Week 2 of training, and only what would be my 6th overall run, I cursed myself for my laziness, for my procrastination and for my first real running failure. Sure I'd had to walk, sure I'd run slow and sure I'd been unwise enough to head out in 100 degree heat, but I'd never failed to step out my front door; I'd never failed to try.

With these punishing voices filling my thoughts, I arrived at my front door, painfully aware that the power was still out, the air conditioning would not be on, and I would have to attempt to actually get to sleep in 90+degree heat. Immediately, I knew what I had to do. I would go for my run now. In the dark. In the middle of the night. Something in 20+ years of life, I don't think I've ever done. Accompanied or alone. But how was I going to get to sleep anyways? I knew I wouldn't. Especially not with my inner monologue crucifying me for failing to get my run in as it mockingly ran through my head. Pun intended.

I wanted to write a very long and pithy explanation of how it was to stumble in the dark looking for my ipod, the right clothing and kicking everything in my path. But this edition is getting long and I am tired from all this heat. It soaks into your soul and leaves lethargy in its wake.

I got out the door and I ran. And I think I ran faster than I normally do. Because I wasn't distracted by the aesthetics around me. I could barely see things clearly. After all, it wasn't just the middle of the night, the lights in the neighborhood were out. It was like running through a dark fog, not sure of what lay ahead. It was scary. I worried about taking a fall on a root or jagged sidewalk I couldn't see. And I was a little nervous that I was all by myself. My friends make fun of me for being nervous, even in an excellently "safe" neighborhood, but maybe just maybe nothing bad has ever happened to me because I'm always so cautious and never put myself in harms way.

It was a good run. I completed the 3 miles in reasonably good time based on what I'd been doing lately and I made it home safe and sound. It was relaxing. And enjoyable. And I was proud to have continued my commitment to my training, even when circumstances didn't make it convenient or pleasant.

So even if you have to run at night...

Come Run with Me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 8: Holy Hotness

Kill me Now
~as said by Toddy (right now)~

Distance required: 3 miles
Distance completed: 2.5-3.1 miles (To be explained)
Problems: Hot
Prides?: that I did it at all?
Tip of the Day: Get a Road Id.

Okay, so I'm writing this to you, within moments after my 3 mile run today, so I can be as descriptive as possible how it feels to run in the middle of the day, in DC, in July. Let's just say, I think this was stupid and dangerous and I don't recommend it. I ran between 2:10-2:45pm in 101 degree heat. For the record 100 degrees in the middle of the day (as a high) is a HUGE difference between the low of 80 degrees that we can assume existed early this morning and will return much later tonight.

My head is throbbing, my hands are shaking, I feel nauseous, I'm feeling actual sensations of pain in my chest/heart area. I'm a bit disoriented, the backs of my hand feel sunburned/they are literally on fire, I'm dripping sweat, my face looks like a burnt lobster tourist at Myrtle Beach on Memorial Day weekend. This is not fun. I tried to give a lost girl in her van directions and I could barely think I was so out of it.

I walked A LOT of this run. Probably 1/3rd. I ran the first half - 1.5 miles through. It was definitely a struggle. I felt like my whole body was just dry and fatigued and not fluid. I felt tired. My legs were definitely tired. I know I partied this weekend but why did it feel like someone took a baseball bat to my left thigh and how is it possible to feel the pain of "bruises" when you are running but not actually touching or poking the affected bruised area?

I feel awful. My chest is so tight and my body so overheated, I immediately had to take off my shirt and 2 of my 3 sports bras to get cool and release some tension on my chest.


I'm dizzy. Seriously dizzy.

The only intelligent thing I did was bring two water bottles and my Road ID but within 10 minutes of the run the water was warm and didn't provide much relief even when I poured it on my face, neck, and wrists to try to cool down even a little bit. Even drinking it, my mouth still felt dry. I stopped to walk mostly when I felt SO HOT that I was seriously concerned I might overheat and pass out or faint or at least trip and hurt myself. I would walk in the hopes of cooling down. For awhile the walking breaks did help me cool off and then I'd go back to running but during the last half mile I JUST COULD NOT COOL DOWN and so I finished the last quarter of a mile entirely walking. I like to finish my runs with actual running as a final sense of pushing myself and accomplishing something, but today I can only say that it was what it was and there's not much I can say about it. If you don't already have one, go get yourself a Road ID. It's only around 20-30 bucks at . You can put your name on it, emergency contact number, e.g. Dad, Mom, Scarlett, etc., any emergent health conditions, e.g. diabetes, allergies, etc., that you are an organ donor (god forbid), your blood type (apparently very helpful to EMTs) and then for yourself you can put a nickname or a motivational phrase to look at and be reminded of on your run. They make them for your wrist and for your shoe. Mine is for my shoe. Its just this tiny little belt buckle that wraps around my shoelaces. It weighs approximately nothing and takes up very little space. I just leave it on my shoes and never take it off. You might have noticed the pic of it above. Just possibly.

Time and Distance:
My watch says: 36:51 seconds. My "MapMyRun" iphone app says: 37:26. The discrepancy is the distance. I clocked this distance in my car and using another online running tracker last week and one gave me about 2.9-3 miles and the other 3-3.1 miles. Which would mean I ran/walked a 12minute mile pace which would be right about where I want to be. However, My Map My Run app says I only ran 2.49 miles. Which, if correct, means I only ran/walked the distance today with an average of a 14:42 mins/mile pace which would NOT get me past the 20 mile mark/14th mile bridge closing of the marathon. But I find it really hard to believe I went that slow considering I ran the first 1.5 miles at a fairly decent clip. I'm hoping that the GPS just isn't perfect and there was a "blind spot" if you will or something where the GPS didn't work. Looking at the route now it does look like I was shortchanged 3-4 blocks of my run but I really don't know if that would constitute 1/2 mile. Oh well. At any rate I was out moving my body -- running/walking/jogging, whatever for 36-38 minutes for at least 21/2 miles and I survived the heat. But I'm still l not happy about it.

Overall Sentiments:
I don't feel like I pushed myself as hard as I could of but then again I don't know how safe it would've been to push myself harder. I am mad at myself for not getting up at 6am when my alarm woke me up and running in the "cooler" temperatures. I am mad at myself for walking. I don't feel ready for the marathon. I don't think I can do this. Why is 3 miles so much of a struggle? How will I ever do training runs of 13, 15, 18 and 20 miles, when I can't even do 3? I'm hot and I'm in over my head. I'm feeling very negative and defeated.

I have to go stretch and drink a barrel of water and maybe do a little bit of ab work because its good for the running/back support. But I'm cranky. Definitely cranky. I know you don't want to now but, still, do it anyways...

Come Run With Me.

Day 7: Rest but Not Relaxation

Good judgement is the result of experience,
experience is the result of bad judgment.
--Mark Twain

**Monday, July 5th**

Day 4 in a row (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday) of Fourth of July Weekend debauchery. Thank god today was a federal holiday, AND, a marathon training rest day as I was out for the count, hungover, dehydrated, exhausted, over-fed, over-drank, over-tired, waste of spaceness.
So I got to rest. Hope you had a good Fourth of July Weekend. Hope I don't want to die trying to actually put two feet in front of the other and run tomorrow for the first time in a few days. Ugh. Wish me luck or even...

Come Run with Me.

Day 6: Cross-Training for Boozers

"Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can."
~Lowell Thomas~

**Sunday, July 4th**

Today was cross-training for 30 minutes. I'm not really convinced I completed this task, but I was hungover (day 2 in a row; give me a break it was 4th of July weekend) and I had people to see and fun to have.
I did have to walk the mile and a half to the metro which easily took 20 minutes and then I played corn hole,this other lawn/ball game and volleyball at this bbq I went to. So because I was active, I'm going to say this counts as 30 minutes of cross-training, especially the walking and the volleyball.

Okay, cop out I know, but it was 4th of july. I want to run this marathon, and I'm dedicated to doing it, but I had an AWESOME time being irresponsible this holiday 4th so I can't really regret my lazy, half-assed cross-training. So now that it's no longer a holiday...

Come Run With Me.

Day 5: First Long Run

"Run like Hell and Get the Agony Over With"

Required Distance: 6 Miles
Distance Actually Completed: 71/2 miles
Location: Rock Creek Park
Problems: First Blisters/Annoying Shifting Gear
Good Things: Found new running application that is awesome on my iphone to track my runs
Moment of Pride: The fact that I ran at all considering how hungover I was.

First long run of the training program. It was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. I ran the first half -- 3.17 miles to be exact, without stopping. Then I felt like I could keep running but all the experts say that you should stop and take a walking break (if you need walking breaks) when you can take them by choice and not when your body is just completely exhausted and you have to stop. I'm not sure what the theory is behind this. Maybe if you allow your body a short rest before it desperately needs one you can continue to work and work harder for longer? Because you haven't entirely exhausted yourself yet by taking rest in advance? Just a guess.

Tip of the Day: Practice with your Gear
So...I have a water belt with four neon yellow little water bottles attached. I didn't need all 4 bottles on my run. I saw lots of people just carrying one water bottle in their hand on their runs passing me by out there and thought, wow I have a lot of water. But...I figure as my long runs get REALLY REALLY long I will need all four water bottles and may even be putting some combination of Gatorade/water in the bottles to keep me going. So I figured it would be good to just start running with most my runs with all four bottles to get used to it. And it is awkward. For some reason the two water bottles on my right side stay put but the two on my left kept sliding around my left waist to the front. And no matter how much I pushed them to the middle of my back they kept sliding front. It was obnoxious. But you have to see how your body is going to respond to any equipment/gear you want to use and get used to it. So I just started automatically pushing the bottles back towards the left/behind every so often and tried to forget about it. Eventually I did. Must be like Andy Roddick, how he adjusts his t-shirt EVERY SINGLE POINT HE PLAYS. I watch him and think, wow, he really needs to get a more comfortable t-shirt that he doesn't have to adjust constantly, but by now its probably a part of his focus, routine and habitual movement so why mess with success?

I also used this MapMyRunApp on my iphone. It gives you a GPS map of where you are and whats around you, times, distances, current minute per mile pace, average minute per mile pace, etc. I loved it. Of course my phone wasn't charged so at 5.88 miles my phone died without saving any of my information so I can't tell you how fast I was going but I do love this app. You can get it at or using your iphone app and searching for it.

Blisters, Ugh.
Well I knew they were coming. I knew. First long run, first two blisters. I got one on my back right heel which was relatively small and despite it sort of naggingly making me aware of it during my run it hasn't hurt since and looks like it'll disappear soon. The second is very very painful and on the top left of my left foot and is very raw. It hurts so bad that wearing flip flops and walking around is painful. I put some neosporin and a band-aid on it, which helps, but not entirely. I think I'm going to have to do blister research because I'm a baby when it comes to pain, blisters, being uncomfortable so I need to figure out how to keep blisters at bay. If I got them at 6 miles I'm probably going to get them every week for the next 17 weeks. Not fun.

The Hangover Cure:
I got home around 4 am the night before. It was my friend Shayna's birthday and I was at 2 bars, 1 comedy club and finally a dance club/bar. I spent all night putting toxins in my body, dancing, sweating and then getting a terrible nights sleep. I woke up completely and utterly dehydrated. But skipping my run never entered my mind. After 6 hours of sleep (from 4 am to 10am) I woke up Saturday morning and just started chugging water. I also managed to eat about half a bowl of oatmeal. Then I put on my running clothes, shoes, water belt, got my iphone/music and headed out the door. And I told myself, if you have to walk after a mile that's fine, or two miles, fine...but I pushed myself to 3.17 miles before walking and I ended up doing a walk/run for 71/2 miles. The extra mile and a half past the 6 mile required distance was really by accident because I miscalculated the distance of my running path but regardless it didn't feel too bad (even tired and hungover) and I got it done. So even if you've been out drinking the night before...still...

Come Run With Me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 4: The Cheese and Mustard

“Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting
before you get tired.”

~Jules Renard~

Oh holy sweetness, a requisite day of rest.

In Marathon, HH describes: "Rest" as "the single most important word" in his whole book (33). I don't even care if that is true I just absolutely love that I have absolutely nothing to do in terms of exercise today. I mean, you know me, if I could, I would run, sculpt, yoga, pilate or otherwise but I am encouraged, nay required, to sit on my ass as part of a proactive measure to progress in my training. Maybe I'll use what otherwise would be my allotted running time and go see the new Twilight movie in a dark, air conditioned theatre instead. Then I'm going to a bunch of happy hours and a stand-up comedy show for my friend's bday celebrations later this evening. Utter joy is me!

Seriously though, there is scientific reasoning for getting one's running rest freak on: to avoid (1)injury (2) fatigue (3) repeated colds and (4) lack of improvement. HH explains: "Mileage buildups of the magnitude required to finish a marathon create stress. A certain amount of stress is acceptable and good since stress creates strength. Too much stress, however, is bad...The whole purpose of training is to break the body down so it will rebuild itself stronger than before. It's when you fail to allow time for the rebuilding phase that problems occur. Overtraining can result in muscle injuries and stress fractures that halt training or in upper-respiratory illnesses and frequent bouts of fatigue that limit performance" (86-87). Ouch!

So get your lazy laze on today and do something completely idle and worthless. To do my part, I'm going to stop working on this blog, because I'm supposed to be resting right? And to conclude I've decided to give you some of the lyrics to my favorite running song of the moment: "Heart of a Champion" by Nelly, featuring the Lincoln University Ensemble. I'd give you all the lyrics, but frankly it would be all together too taxing on my ten, over-worked fingers and today is a day of rest, is it not? Go download this song immediately for some inspiration on your next workout (not today of course). You won't be sorry.

I hot dog cause I can, I got the cheese and mustard
I got that cain't stop, won't stop, in my veins

I'ma keep the same grin whether I, lose or win
Up, or down ten, I'ma fight to the end
Let's go

I think it hard to go and change your route

Cause you don't know if I'm blitzin or if I'm sittin and readin

It's like a game time decision made on how I can twurk it
If hard work pays off then easy work is worthless
My work habit ain't no habit man, I do it on purpose
I push myself to the limit so my talent'll surface

Ain't no way they can stop me now Nelly
Cause I'm on my way, I can feel my reign comin
It's the blood of a champion, pumpin
Deep inside my veins, too much pride to be runnin
I'ma give what I can and more, even if
My blood, my sweat, and my tears don't mean nothin
It's the heart of a champion (it's the heart of me)
(It's the heart of a...) in me

Come (not) Run with Me.

Day 3: My Legs Feel Like J-E-L-L-O

"People often say that motivation doesn't last.
Well, neither does bathing -
that's why we recommend it daily."
~Zig Zigler~

Only 121 days, 11 hours, 57 minutes, 17 seconds to go at time of post. Today wasn't bad but thank god for the extra days, hours, minutes and seconds. All of them. Seriously.

Another day, another run. Today I was prepared to run and didn't mind running. 3 miles today just like the 3 miles of yesterday and the 3 miles of the day before. It was cool again today. Sunny with a high of 80 and a low of 65. Totally doable. I did run in the middle of the day again, but because of the lower temperatures it wasn't a self-fulfilling, defeating prophecy. It's hard to find the time to do all these runs. And I'm only on Day 3. Most of us have to work for a living and even if we don't we have random shit to do. It's hard to get up early in the morning to run and at the end of the day you either don't feel like doing it or you have somewhere you want to be - dinner- happy hours - whatever. And once you start to drink...forget about it. Once the boozing commences, the dream of exercise has officially died.

I actually remembered my watch today to time my run, amazingly enough. I ran/walked 3 miles in 34:23 (34 minutes and 23 seconds). I actually ran pretty fast, and walked a significant amount, so I'd guesstimate that I ran at about an 8-9 minute pace today. I took walking breaks mostly when traffic intersections and lights forced me to stop anyways and I stayed hydrated. I don't have much else to report so I'll leave you with this tip of the day:

When I started running, my legs felt like JELLO. Like total utter and complete Bill Cosby gelatin J-E-L-L-O. Every part of my body that isn't muscle was undulating bizarrely and alarmingly. My tip, if you weren't too horrified to stop reading, is that the jello-sensation goes away. Your legs will return to normal and they will not fall off or melt into a pool of chocolate pudding. Just saying.

Here's some other food for thought:

If all the world were Jello-O
And whipped cream filled the sea,
Then the only spoon from here to the moon
Would have to belong to me.

When you're done eating your chocolate-vanilla swirl...

Come Run With Me.

Day 2: Motivation at the Start

"Some training runs are fun,
but other training runs-let's be honest-are not fun.
You struggle through them because you see the carrot dangling before your eyes."

Again? I have to run again? So soon? I did not realize when I decided to train for this marathon that I would have to run three days in a row, every single week. Every single Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for 18 frickin' weeks. (Not to mention the long runs on Saturdays). So if I have a bad day on a Tuesday, like yesterday obviously, the result on Wednesday is kind of twofold. (1) I had a shitty run yesterday and do NOT feel like running again any time soon but (2) It could give me a chance to start fresh, run fresh and move on to the next run; to wipe the slate clean if you will. And that's exactly what happened today.

Yesterday, was abysmal. Let's be honest about that. I couldn't carry my fat ass up the hill in 90+ degree heat. But the weather gods were much kinder today --giving me a considerably cooler day, with less humidity. And the Toddy neurons were firing a little smarter today --giving me the sense to run my favorite 3 mile loop, that I've run dozens of times, and to run a little later in the day than yesterday. I also sprayed on a little sunscreen to my arms, legs and neck and wore a bigger, more breathable shirt. So better equipped and with better luck than yesterday, at about 4:15pm, I took off running...

Day 2 is another 3 mile run. And I had given myself permission to walk if I needed to, but I really didn't need to. I felt great. It's so mind boggling that one day you feel about a thousand pounds heavy and a thousand years aged and the next day your flying down the streets like a weightless, sprightly, prancing gazelle or something. What gives? I'm sure there is some scientific, biological, anatomical, nutritional, physical explanation. But I don't know anything about that. All I know is that yesterday I felt like crap and today I was enjoying my run.

I did walk a little bit, especially towards the end, and especially up the last hill. But I easily finished in around 30 minutes. I forgot to wear my watch altogether today but will try to remember tomorrow. That's a 10 minute per mile pace. Which really means I ran faster than 10 minutes per mile when I was running and then you add in the walking time. To all of you out there that run 6 minute miles or 8 minute miles I know you think I'm slow and lame. But to all of you out there just learning to run -- I know you are impressed or at least appreciative or understanding. So thanks.

In the cool air (well admittedly cool-er air, not necessarily actually cool), blasting my Glee soundtrack cover songs (e.g. "Don't Rain on My Parade" from the Regional competition episode) it felt pretty damn good to be moving my legs beneath me, breathing big gulps of air in and out of my lungs. It completely wiped out the paralyzed, inferiority of the day before.

So what's the moral of this particular blogs tale? Since I know we all strive to be awesomely wise like Aesop when we get the chance--Be Motivated. "Beginners need motivation to begin-and to keep at it once they have begun. The key factor in any beginner's training program is motivation" (HH, 33).

I did not want to run again today but I want to run this marathon. I have good reasons for doing it and I'm committed to doing it. So there's no choice really. Whether I wanted to run today or not, I had to run. Its part of the plan, its part of my program. And you can always tell yourself...I can walk the whole thing if need be, I just gotta lace up the kicks, get out there, and put in the miles...any which way I can. And chances are you won't walk the whole thing or even any of it -- because once you get out there and start moving one foot in front of the other, its not as daunting or impossible as it seemed just moments before. On days when "it may feel as if running will never get any better...Hang in there. It will...If you want to succeed in the marathon- or in any other activity in life-you need to be ready to pay the price" (HH, 40, 98). Are you? If so...

Come Run With Me.

Day 1: This is Going to be Harder Than I Thought

"Even thinking about running that far takes a certain amount of endurance. And courage. And maybe even arrogance."

Okay, so I'm no idiot. I knew this would be freakin hard. I mean I knew it. But knowing it and then really knowing it are two different things, you know?

I don't really have the base level of running that you are supposed to have when you begin your marathon training. What I mean to say, is that it is probably not the best course of action to just decide one day nonchalantly, "I think I'll run a marathon." Which isn't exactly what I've done. I've been an off-an-on, slow runner my whole life and I was even running for hours at a time back in the Fall. But that was before I got the flu (twice), pneumonia (twice) and mononucleosis (for about 4 months). So I haven't been running far or regularly in recent months, so I have to admit I'm not in the best physical condition to start an 18 month marathon training program.

HH (Hal Higdon) recommends that ideally a person be able to run distances between 3 and 6 miles, be training 3-5 days a week, averaging 15-25 miles a week and have run an occasional 5-K or 10k race (Marathon, 28). Um, so far so not good. I haven't been able to run a full 3 miles more than a handful of times since I began running again after recovering from my illnesses. So I can't run 3+ miles as of today's start date, let alone 6. I have definitely NOT been running 3-5 days a week, though it is some consolation that I have been working out (i.e. circuit training, strength training, yoga, walking or jogging) 3-5 times a week for the last 2 months. I definitely have not been logging 15-25 miles a week. It's been more like 2.5-6 per week. Oh and I've never run a race longer than an 8k in my life, so having run a 10k is out. Shit. The only positive note is that I have run at least three 5k races (2 in the last 2 months; 1 about 4 months ago) and those went well (slow, but well).

So, should I just give up now? Because I don't have the "ideal" running baseline fitness? Hells to the No. HH is more positive when he goes on to say: "It is possible to run a marathon with less of a training base, but the higher your fitness level, the easier this 18-week program will be." He goes on to say that "Not everyone should approach a marathon without having run before, but if you're young and highly motivated (and maybe just a little foolish) or decide you want to complete a marathon to raise money for a charity, I'm not going to stand in your way" (Marathon, 28-29).

Am I Young? Check. Highly Motivated? Check. Maybe just a little Foolish? Check, check. I think the idea here is that all is not lost. I've said I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this. So let's do this. But I also think the idea is the more fit you are, the easier training will be. The less fit you are, the harder this training will be. That's just super. So where do I fall? You'll know as soon as I tell you about my extremely challenging first run.

HH's "Novice 1" training guide technically lists day 1 as a "rest" day, but let's be serious. For me, Day 1 was the first day I actually had to run. And the first run is an "Easy 3 mile run." But now that I look back on that decision it was seriously foolish. Because what should have been day 1 (yesterday) and a "rest" day was a day where I didn't run but I decided to do a lot of strength training and circuit training and yoga in my basement watching my tv using Comcast Exercise TV fitness videos, specifically Brooklyn Decker's "Bikini Revolution" programs. And while I didn't run at all, except for some very light jogging in the circuit part of my workouts, I was sore as all get out today when I had to run. So I wasn't in prime condition to begin with. Big mistake. Rest days are rest days - PERIOD. Lesson learned. Then, I decided I was excited, it being my first day and all, so I would try a new running route. I was bored with my old 3-mile running route. So I set out in my car and plotted out a 3 mile route. A very, very, very hilly route where you go uphill for days then downhill for days but then uphill again for days. Yeah, not a good idea as it turned out. My third and worst mistake of my very first day (I know you are starting to lose faith in me and I don't blame you but I promise to behave smarter in the future) was to run in the middle of the day, around 12:45-1:25 in the afternoon, in DC, in June, when it was 90+ degree weather. Oh, and did I mention that the local weather reports say its officially been the hottest June in DC history? Yeah, no joke. (Check out "How to Adapt to the Heat for Summer Runs" at for some great ideas on how to deal with this heat which I'm going to use in the future including (1) staying hydrated all day, including before you even start exercising (2) wearing the right clothes (3) considering working out early or late in the day and (4) wearing sunscreen to avoid the additional dehydration, fatigue and heat that comes from sunburn.)

So there I was, running in extreme heat, up and down hills, on a new running route, sore from over-training the day before and setting out on my first day of marathon training. It was not a good start.

From the first footsteps, I felt tired. And sore. And defeated. But I did run the entire first half, the first 1.5miles to be exact. But when I went to turn around after 1.5 miles and run the other 1.5 miles back, the first leg of that return was uphill and I was already exhausted. My whole body was so hot it felt like my arms were on fire. My clothes felt tight to my body, my legs weighed a thousand pounds. I had to walk. So I began to walk and to walk up that hill and to try to rejuvenate myself with a little water (I'm not a complete idiot -- I was carrying two little water containers-- the kind that attach to those water belts).

The question now becomes: Can I do this? If I can't even run a full 3 miles on my first day, how am I going to do this, I mean how? Can I do this? So in my head, as I marched up the hill, I tried to comfort myself and think about my faults and my failings in a positive light. Okay - so you couldn't run the whole thing today, so you may never run any of your training runs in full, so you may not run the entire marathon, but do you care? The answer...not I don't care if I have to take walking breaks through every single training run. And I expect even if I was in great shape, I'd probably have to walk during the marathon I need to get over any shame or disappointment about this reality. I'm going to have to walk some of this. And that's okay. Even HH says its okay. He says:

"Walking breaks are okay in a marathon if your main interest is in finishing and you don't care about time" (130). He even goes on to say that his son, Kevin used a running w/ walking breaks strategy to run 2:18:50 and qualify for the 1984 Olympic Trials and that "Bill Rodgers walked several times and even stopped to retie a shoe while winning the 1975 Boston Marathon in 2:09:55. So no apologies needed, you walking runners" (130).

Okay, I'm convinced, but how much walking can I do? I do want to mostly run this thing but it's going to take me awhile (let's hope 18 weeks is enough) to build up my endurance to run longer and longer and I may never realistically be able to run the whole thing. How much walking should I expect to do/allow myself to do within my training runs? Here's the conclusion that I came to: The Marine Corps Marathon website,, under the FAQ section, explains that you can walk the marathon must maintain a 14 minute per mile pace for the first 20 miles. Here's why: The 14th street bridge, apart of the race course, must re-open to traffic, about 5 hours (or a little under 5 hours) after the race has begun and it would be unsafe to allow runners to continue to race that part of the course with the bridge open to traffic. Therefore, anyone not having crossed the 14th street bridge by Mile 20, in around 5 not allowed to continue the race. With this information in hand, I figure I have to be able to do every single training run and the first 20 miles of the marathon at a 14 minute per mile pace or faster. All of a for this marathon sounds totally doable.

Now, I want to be clear that I'm not trying to give myself the lowest expectations for myself and my running possible. I want to be realistic about my abilities and accordingly set realistic expectations for myself and then attempt to surpass those expectations when and if I can. Which I really do think I can. But since I'm a beginning runner, this is my first marathon and my only real goal is simply to finish, then I need to focus on the goal of finishing and do what it takes to get there. Period. So...14 minutes per mile pace, be it running or walking or run/jog/walking...let's do it.

Ultimately, of course I did finish my Day 1 Training Run of 3 miles. I ran probably about 2 and a half miles of it and walked about a half a mile. And while I was wearing a watch I was scatterbrained enough to forget to both (1) look at what time I left and (2) set the timer to time the whole run, (doh! I'm an idiot!), which means I have no idea how long it took me. Regardless, I feel fairly confident I finished it within a 14 minute mile pace or faster, i.e. 3 miles at 14 minutes is completing 3 miles in 42 minutes or less.

Overall, it was a hot, hard, hilly and somewhat discouraging day but here's how I got through it and here's how I'm going to approach this semi-defeat to keep at it tomorrow and the next day...

I spoke to my friend EC this evening. And I started to FREAK. OUT. How am I supposed to run 6 miles this Saturday? That's in 4 days???!!!! And 7 miles next week? And 9 miles two weeks after that?? I don't know if I can do this. And he said the simplest, but best thing he could have said. "Just take it one run at a time, one week at a time. And don't worry about what comes next." And he's right. I'm going to take it one run at a time and one week at a time and do my best (whatever that may be) each and every time. And that's all I can do and all I can hope for. And put like really does seem doable. No, really, it does. So...till next time...(I can't believe next time is tomorrow which means I have to run again tomorrow)...

Come Run With Me.