Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Today was the first day I've gotten my bike out--the trail near my place reopened so I now I can ride to the gym when I want to swim. My estimate was that it should take me about 15 minutes to get the bike in shape, 15 minutes to bike there, 30 to swim, and 15 to bike back...which puts me at about an hour and 15 minutes for the whole ordeal. Annnnd....three hours later, here I am.

Stuff that didn't go according to the plan:
  • Couldn't figure out the air pump I borrowed from Sam; began by completely deflating each tire on accident, stumbled around and eventually got it to inflate, then accidentally deflated the tire when I tried to put the cap back on it
  • Couldn't find gym locker lock
  • Had to get off bike and carry it over several obstacles on the trail (it's open, but not unobstructed yet apparently)
  • Had to figure out how to work the bike lock I have, which is also borrowed from Sam
  • I got back and was going to lock my bike in the basement instead of carrying it up 2 flights and storing it in my bedroom. I carried it down this little awkward outdoor 3-stair stairwell and I'm holding the bike up with one hand while fumbling with my keys, and the door won't unlock. I try and try and finally I look up and to the right and see a sign saying they changed the locks to keep out "intruders" and we should enter through the front doors. So I awkwardly maneuver my bike back out of that tiny stairwell, around the building, and into the front door where I have to carry it down a full flight of stairs (at that point I may as well have just carried it up 2 into my apartment). The dumbest thing about this is that it's not like our building's front doors are secured in any way, nor are they any more public or well-lit than the back doors... so I have no idea how they think this added inconvenience is going to keep intruders out at all.
  • In the basement the bike rack is completely full. It took me a good 15 minutes to maneuver my bike into position at the end of the bike rack, and I'm really afraid that the way I locked it the lock will scratch it and/or so will the person next to me when they try to get their bike out. There MUST be a better way. I'm really tired of having my bike in my bedroom and tripping over it constantly, but if I don't lock it up downstairs I don't know what I'll do instead. I decided to put it downstairs because I figured I bought it to use it, not to polish it and maintain it, so I should suck it up and let it get some marks of usage. But even though it's not even that nice of a bike, the thought of it getting beat up still makes me cringe.
I'm hoping some of these were first-time problems and once I get a routine it won't take this much time, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, biking. I like how fast it gets me where I want to go. The ride to the gym was indeed about 15 minutes, so not bad at all. I'm unsure about biking in general, though... while I used to be pretty serious about distance biking, this is a different (newer and better) bike, and it moves easily along with me, and I'm always startled by how responsive it is. Sometimes I feel like I'm careening along and will at any moment hit a small stone or groove in the pavement and completely wipe out. Also, while my last bike was also a racing bike, this one has ridiculous tires--the woman who sold it to me was bragging about them being european or something, but they're SERIOUSLY insanely thin. You inflate them with 120 lbs, and like probably 1/6 of an inch touches the pavement, if that, so I feel like I'm precariously balancing atop the thing. I have to get over my biking cowardice and get comfortable again. I also need to buy a helmet.

Swimming: I haven't been in the pool in probably 2 or 2.5 months and I think I've somewhat forgotten some of the stuff I learned in January/February. I can still do the basics of swimming, but I can tell that my form is a hot mess because it really seemed like a lot of work to get from one end of the pool to the other. I wish M. would make time to come help teach me again, because it's so helpful to have someone watching me and telling me what to correct. Maybe some of it will shake out and I'll stop feeling this awkward in the water if I go more often again. I'm just hoping I don't go back to where I was before: terrified of water and unable to do anything.

I did my first "ladder" workout today... actually a baby ladder since I'm such a beginner.
25m x4 to warm up
then 25, 50, 75, 75, 50, 25
then 25 x4 to cool down
Total of 500m

I'm going to be following this program, which I'll post about in more detail once I integrate it with my marathon training plan.

This was my first ever bike-swim-bike! I don't know if it counts since the bike there was only 2ish miles, and the swim was 500m broken into tiny baby pieces, and the bike home was 2 miles...buuuut it still feels kind of awesome to do biking and swimming together. And even with that little amount of biking, in the wind my quads felt like they got a heck of a workout. It's quite windy here today.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This race on Saturday... going to totally own me.

I don't think I've ever been this undertrained for a race before. I mean I've whined about being undertrained for other races, but I at least had decent training mileage and was lazy about speed. This time I've sort of been lazy about both, doing more short runs and fretting over my form instead. Which was probably a horrible idea.

I just did 7 or so to test out the legs---was aiming for 8 but my garmin died and I was worried about time because I have somewhere to be this afternoon, so I just called it quits. To even do 7 I had to mix in a couple walk breaks. It seems I can easily sustain an 11min pace--could run that pace seemingly forever. But if I start running 10 or under, I can't maintain it and get exhausted.

This isn't going to be pretty. After this weekend, the REAL training commences again... no more of this unscheduled sloppy training stuff.

Weather for Saturday is forecasted to be 80 and rainy. I also haven't done a race in the rain before.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Race volunteering: my first experience.

I had my first ever experience with race volunteering on Friday (about time, eh? I've wanted to get involved for awhile but didn't really know who to get in touch with or how to make that happen). I did packet pickup for the Capital City Half Marathon. What I thought this meant was standing at a table and handing out bib numbers, shirts, and bags with a smile. I even "studied" the race website so I could do a good job of answering questions about parking and whatever else people might be unsure about. Then, I got there and they had too many volunteers. With 3 people already working the packet pickup table inside, they sent the remaining 4 of us out behind the building to stuff packets.

Imagine an hour and a half of "pick up plastic bag; put in lotion sample; put in 4 fliers; pass to the next person. Repeat," all while standing up and bent over a table. Let's just say I have a new appreciation for all of the race packets I've picked up and those who put them together, and I also have mind-boggling amounts of respect for people who do repetitive work their whole lives.

I got to go inside for the last half of my time there to pass out numbers and packets and shirts. People often brought lists of like 8 bib numbers to pick up, so it was a bit chaotic and nuts trying to get the right shirts and everything correct (They had shirts for both the half marathon and 5k, and then different shirts for men and women, and then the various sizing, so it was like a 3 step checking process). I'll be doing this job again this week, since I volunteered for a couple of sessions. The session I'm doing this week won't have 7 people there (just 2) so hopefully I'll just get to work the table instead of packet-stuffing. Though I know someone's gotta do that work too.

I got a free race registration and am running this one on Saturday. The good thing is: this is amazing and FREE. The bad thing is, I'm completely untrained for this race. My longest run in the past month was like 9 miles, and it had a little walking mixed in, and I've been pretty lazy about following through with speed training. Saturday is probably going to kill me. My goals are a) to come out of it without being injured from undertraining, and b) to try to come CLOSE to my January time of 2:15 (though at this point I don't really think it's possible), and c) to run the race to get a sense of my current fitness level so I can better plan my marathon training, and d) to have fun and try not to be ashamed of my slowness in spite of all of the faster people I know who will be running it.

Race shirt: Kinda weak. It's awesome that they did male/female sizing so I didn't just have to get a small men's shirt like I usually do. But they're cheap polyester "wicking" material, tight across the shoulders and chest, and baggy in the stomach/waist, and they just have a boring single-color screenprinted logo on the front. Last year's shirts for this race were nicer. But hey, this was free for me so I can't complain. And, the fit is probably still better than a men's shirt! I love it when races have a women's shirt to choose.

Now, to go take this shirt off before I curse myself with bad race luck!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Race reports + Winter nostalgia

I dug up 3 race reports from my private blog and posted them (backdated appropriately) here. You can find them under the "race reports" tag if you're interested. Unfortunately I seem to have no race report from the Columbus half marathon... I think I was so demoralized after running it while I had the flu that I didn't care to write anything up :\

While I was looking for them I also came across this. Can you believe that only 2 months ago this was how I had to dress for a run?? Yay screw shoes. Boo winter. (As a sidenote, those Sugoi Subzero tights were the greatest thing to ever happen to me... I didn't have to add a layer over them a single time throughout this whole Ohio winter. They're fleecy inside.)

This getup was just too ridiculous for words.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Speed Training: Hate.

So, there's something very important you should know about me.
I. Hate. Speed. Training.

I hate it with the fiery passion of 1000 suns. This is probably why I am such a slow runner. I will make every possible excuse not to do it, and I have even been known to show up at the track, run around it once, and go home discouraged because I want to die. The only thing I like about it is that it is quickly over.

The old Galloway program I was following before (and will likely continue to follow for my marathon training) has Sundays that alternate between long runs and speed training. This was working out pretty well for me before, because every other week I could have a break from speed training ("Yay, a long run!! I can relax and not do speed work!") and then every other week I could have a break from long runs ("I hate this so much, but at least it's over in 45 minutes instead of 2.5 hours for a change").

I did speed training yesterday with S. for the first time since before I ran the Phoenix RnR half marathon in January (yes, I wasted FOUR ENTIRE MONTHS doing halfass tempo runs rather than actual interval work... I am already regretting this... if I want to get faster I should be training for fastness. Sigh.) We only did 5x800 at a 9:00 pace. Using Galloway's formula before the Phoenix race I'd figured out that my speed intervals should be at a 9:14 pace if my goal race pace was 9:45/mile. So I thought, it's time to get faster now, so I may as well do a 9:00 pace. This is probably not actually accurate for me based on my current ability levels since my last half was NOT at a 9:45/mile pace (closer to 10:05 I think). Now I struggle to run even one 10:00 mile so I'm even less fit than I was before; I have no idea how I did 13 of them consecutiely only 4 months ago.

Anyway speed training brings out all of my inner demons and makes me have baby tantrums apparently. I was pretty foul to S. last night when he was merely trying to encourage me into doing one more 800. I pretty much feel like a huge douche, and that's putting it mildly. So I guess the quickest way to make me into a monster is to make me keep my HR over 200 bpm for awhile. Training WITH someone for speed should make it better, and instead I take out my angst on that person. Great.

I freaking hate track workouts so so much. How do you get through yours consistently and cheerfully?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Kale in a smoothie, take 2?

In my quest to be eating healthier (and thus do a better job of fueling for and recovering from runs), as a starting point I'm trying to add like... one good nutrition-packed thing to my day. I'm eager to get a juicer so that nutritious thing can be fresh juice, but for now, I'm stuck in smoothie-land.

You might recall that I once tried to make a kale-banana smoothie:
Verdict? It was pretty disgusting. For starters, I don't have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender (just a kitchenaid hand blender). This smoothie was from a recipe I got online and it had banana, kale, maple syrup, and ground flaxseed. It was so gross that it actually made me feel sick to my stomach after drinking about half of it, so I had to throw the rest away. Needless to say I haven't tried another kale smoothie since....well, until today.

I got a copy of The Raw Revolution Diet from the library and it has a section with smoothies, and for this one smoothie it has this nutrition note: "delivers 7 grams of protein plus more than 20% of your day's supply of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and six B vitamins (folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B6). Furthermore, it supplies your recommended intake of vitamins C and K and beta-carotene several times over." Then, the recipe cautions you to drink it out of a solid colored mug because its appearance will probably be off-putting. Perfect.

Ok, well, me being me, I'll eat pretty much anything if I'm first sold on it being "good for me," even if it's going to look like a vile cup of slime and even if the recipe itself says not to look while you drink it. So I busted out the hand blender and made this thing. It's called a Blue-Green Smoothie, and for it you blend together: 2-3 cups firmly packed chopped kale, 1 and 1/4 c. blueberries, 1 large ripe banana, 1 medium orange, and 1 cup purified water. I decided to be true to my kale-smoothie roots and once again give it the Evie test:

She's definitely more interested this time, but still slightly freaked out, kind of like me.

It's actually not too bad, though. I mean, it's drinkable so far. But it's kind of more of a "chewy" than a "smoothie"... it's not smooth in any sense of the word. It's full of teeny-tiny bits of kale and blueberry skins. It's going to take me some time to get this massive serving of goo down, and I'm drinking a lot of water with it. Incidentally I don't think I'd EVER be able to drink something like this before a run-- it's far too dense and heavy.

Note that this is the first time I've bought and peeled an orange. I know it's ridiculous that I'm a 28 year old vegan who's never peeled an orange before, but I find them so incredibly disgusting that I've never been able to make myself do it. I like orange juice, but oranges look so gross as you peel them... their texture makes me think of shrimp or something, and the sound they make as you tear the skin off... ughhhh. Anyway I survived (not without some cringing, though) and I'm not noticing the pulp in this drink because it's so chewy in the first place.

Score for trying new things.

Now back to your regularly-scheduled running posts.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Summer summer summer!

Summer is here! I went for my first early-morning run this morning because it was forecasted to be 85 degrees out today ("early-morning" is relative here, because I actually left the house at like 830 I think...but I haven't been on a morning run in ages!) My first summer as a runner (summer '08) I was always out the door running before 7am, regardless of whatever else I had going on. I wish I could get back to being that morning-persony, but it's hard with my schedule as it is now. I dream of a summer world in which I'm always going for early runs and am showered and ready to take on the day by about 9:30. That would be pretty awesome. If only I could make myself do it and still be well-rested.

Anyway, the run, while tough, was pretty nice. Sunny, everything in bloom, dew on the grass, quiet. Somehow, though, even though I was back home by 9:30, I still got some sun (!). I'm not sunburned, per se, but I'm definitely more freckled and a little lightly red.

The path that I like to run on has been partially closed for several months now as they work on the sewers near the river (I can run north but not south). I am really really hoping that rumors are true and it will reopen next week. I like my north route but I'm really getting tired of it, and also I want to be able to run/bike south to the gym and pool. Maybe one of these days I'll take my camera along for some photos of my running route.

Summer Products I like:
I have this ongoing sunscreen dilemma. I check most products I buy at Cosmetics Database because I'm paranoid about toxicity of chemicals. The core reason for my vegan diet is my desire for healthful clean living. And let me tell you, it is HARD to find an easy-to-apply sunscreen that isn't rated between a 7 and 9 for toxicity, which is pretty high. I like the banana boat sport spray on (non-aerosol) because it takes literally like 10 seconds to spray my shoulders, back, and arms and it doesn't seem to sweat off or feel greasy. It's pretty full of toxic stuff, though. Last summer I started using Alba's "Sun" sport kind for my face and neck. But I know myself and if I have to spend 15 minutes applying rub-on sunscreen before any run, I'm probably just going to skip it, and the resulting sunburn may be worse than chemical exposure... not sure. This Alba kind is pretty rockin' aside from the fact that I prefer spray-on.

Another thing that really starts to matter to me in summertime is a good deodorant. I realize that while I'm running I shouldn't care that much about how I smell, but I'm pretty sure I'm possibly the sweatiest girl ever and I can't stand to smell bad regardless of the activity I'm engaged in (I know, I know... really vain of me). While I've been eating vegan for about 5 years, there are still a couple of products that I haven't veganized yet because I haven't found a satisfactory vegan alternative, and one of them is anti-perspirant. Any natural deodorant I've tried just hasn't cut it... I still smell sweaty, or worse yet, sweaty AND like a patchouli hippie, and then I feel gross. But I've always had a lingering paranoia about the possible link between aluminum in anti-perspirant and breast cancer, and the Secret deodorant I normally use doesn't really cut it for a run either; it seems to get all cakey and then melt off (literally, it's the weirdest thing ever).

After reading some reviews online I got some of this Crystal Body Deodorant to try. I used it very cautiously at first, just at times I knew I wasn't going out and wouldn't be around people. But then I wore it on a run, and miraculously enough it completely prevented odor! Now that I have new faith in it, I've even worn it to work (where I'm constantly paranoid about sweating through shirts while lecturing in front of 45 people). The only thing I don't like about it is that it's completely unscented, and well... I like scents. But they also have a roll-on kind that is scented, so I got some of that to try too, and it is also awesome.

So if you're looking for a completely nontoxic, inexpensive, and also vegan deodorant that actually WORKS, even on serious hot-weather runs, you have to check this stuff out. If it can stand up to long runs with me, it's gotta be quality.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Swimming: It's complicated!

I have great plans of mixing swimming in with my marathon training program. The program as I've designed it now has room for swimming on MWF, which are zero or low mileage run days. I'm thinking if I want to get some low miles in, I can somehow pack up my swimsuit, goggles, and a small towel, and run to/from the gym for the swim (or, I could bike there). This is all very optimistic, of course. In practice I always have a habit of taking rest days when I should be cross training, mostly because I *hate* going to the gym (which is one of the reasons I like running--I don't have to go to the gym!). Whatever motivation it takes to get me out the door for the run, it takes like 3x as much energy to make myself go to the gym.

I've (literally) only been swimming since January. I'm happy with my swimming progress, because at the start of January I was petrified of going underwater and couldn't do anything resembling swimming. But I've had a person who really knows swimming teaching me to overcome those fears and how to swim, and I can swim a passable crawl stroke now with halfway decent form and sort of correct breathing. I just need to build swimming endurance. This morning I was looking around for a structured program that would help me do just that, because I have no idea really whether I should be focusing on building distance or doing short fast intervals or what. The answer seems to be: neither. Check out this article that talks about the differences between how you train for running and how you train for swimming:

Apparently, you don't approach swim training like you do running at all. This same website has a beginner swim program that's 3 months long, with training 3 days per week, that schedules out the drills you do and how far you go, I might try that. I'll post my swimming program once I figure out what I'm doing, along with the marathon program.

Meanwhile, M. is going to sometimes show up to try to teach me new strokes besides freestyle so I can mix it up a little. He thinks I should just be swimming 100s constantly with 15-25 second breaks in order to build endurance and efficiency, so maybe I'll do some of that too rather than just this program I found, since he seems to know what he's doing.

I just want some goals for swimming so it doesn't feel pointless and futile. If I'm going to bother going, I may as well be making it count.

Also I'm thinking about finding a way for, where I upload my garmin data sometimes, to send that info to my blog so I can keep myself honest with the training. I don't know.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Apple Almond Bok Choy Salad (AABCs?)

As I'm working on incorporating more raw foods, I've been trying to eat raw things that I "normally" would otherwise cook. I love bok choy but never had it raw before, and when I googled for ideas, I turned up this guy, who seems to be one heck of a character (click for video):

After laughing my head off at this guy, I realized that I had none of these ingredients aside from the bok choy, but I liked the idea of running bok choy through the food processor. So I took 3 baby bok choys and some "adult" bok choy and ran it through the food processor with the slicing attachment. Randomly, I also ran an apple through, and then I minced some fresh ginger and threw that in, along with a bunch of lemon juice and some slivered raw almonds. Toss it together and voila:

It doesn't look like much, but this was revolutionary as salads go. I usually hate salads, because I don't really have the patience to eat them, am *tired* of eating them since it's the default option people come up with to feed vegans, and well... they don't leave me feeling very satisfied or full. But I ate a whole mixing bowl of this stuff and it was pretty awesome. I will definitely make this again, and am probably done cooking bok choy for good. Why cook it if it's this amazing and flavorful as it is?

Maybe sometime I'll try that guy's corn and cilantro bok choy thing.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Race Plans..

I'll officially be doing the Capital City half on May 1. I am indeed getting a free race registration. Sadly though I haven't done much if any speed training for this race, given the bounce-back from leg injury and ensuing laziness and work overload. I don't expect to PR, but hopefully it will be fun anyhow!

I'm also officially committing to the Columbus Marathon this fall rather than the Akron one. The Akron race gets amazing reviews for being really great, but the course is really hilly... and I don't think I can handle that right out of the gate for my first race.

Working on my training plan! I'll post it once it's all figured out.

The Anatomy of a Bad Run

Sunday was the worst long run I've had in quite awhile. I knew before going that several variables were converging to make this a bad run--most significantly, that it had been 3 weeks since my last long run, since I let work take over my life--but I thought I could push through it.

First, a little background. Whenever I do a long run, I do heart rate zone training. This is because I've read that the best way to train is to have runs that train JUST the anaerobic system (speed intervals and the like), runs that train both systems (tempo runs), and runs that isolate the aerobic system--which takes the form of a long run at 65-75% of your max HR. I have no idea how significant or necessary this kind of training is, but I know of a couple runners online who swear by it, and I'm trying it out since I now have a heart rate monitor.

So I get out there and start running. Initially I'm feeling pretty stiff, some calf cramping. Then it starts to get hot. It's the first week in April, and apparently it's already time to start doing runs in the morning rather than the afternoon. Keeping my HR at 75% means keeping it under 173 bpm and I CANNOT get my heart rate to stay down. My garmin keeps beeping at me like every 45 seconds to tell me my heart rate is too high, and I'm running a ridiculous 14:30/min pace (not even running at this point!) trying to keep my heartrate in check. Eventually I get so frustrated, tired, hot, and stressed that I literally start to cry and I raise my heartrate alert to 183 bpm.

I have my fuelbelt with me, and before I'm halfway out I've already drank more than half of the 3 bottles I had along. I pretty much want to die, but I push onward until I'm halfway out. At that point I'm whiny and miserable and upset and disappointed in myself and feel like this run is a waste and have sore feet and am focused on every other possible negative emotion one could have while running. The trail is miserable around my turnaround point; there's freeway noise and full sun. At this point I basically mentally give up and start walking back.

I alternated walking/miserable running for most of the way home, doing far more walking than I have during a run in ages. When I was a mile from home, I decided I wasn't going to completely mail it in... so I ran the last mile back at an 8:30 pace. I was sore, exhausted, and semi-grumpy for the rest of the day.

And, I've been dreading this week's long run for most of the week.

But I think the facts are simple: Heat was a pretty huge factor on this run. I'm hoping if I go early this Sunday, and can muster up a positive attitude, I'll be ok. I'm sort of nervous that I can't handle a 10 mile run after wussing out on a 9 mile run this badly, though. 9 miles wasn't that hard for me before though, so I don't know. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On my race plans for this spring, and why they suck..

Back in January, I was feeling ridiculously optimistic about this training year. This is the first winter that I kept my mileage up throughout the cold months, and I even did the Phoenix Rock n Roll half marathon in January (it was warm there for the race, but training for it here in Ohio was pretty hairy). I finished that race with my best time yet, which is still a slow time by most peoples' standards (2:15) but I was 9 minutes faster than my previous personal best. I should've been poised to take on the world this spring...I was considering a spring full marathon and maybe even a fall triathlon, if my swimming was progressing ok.

Then the days after that race set in. I ran it hard, probably harder than I should've (my heart rate was in the max zone the entire time, ranging from about 193-205--I have a weirdly high max hr). I think I had trained well for improved speed with my interval training but not so well because I didn't do any tempo runs really... so maybe my body wasn't used to sustaining a hard pace for that long, or maybe my form fell apart as I got tired, I don't know. But in any case I really hurt my right lower leg. This weird kind of stabbing pain that extended from the inside side of my knee, down my shin, and around the inner arch of my foot. I took a week off and then tried to run gently, decreasing my weekly mileage, but it didn't help. I took more time off, but pretty soon it was to the point where I couldn't even make it a mile. The pain only happens when I run, not any other time. Finally i went to see a trainer (and if you know me, you know my feelings about medical people of all varieties, so you know this was bad). She thinks it might be a stress fracture from a defective shoe, and she showed me my Sauconys side by side on the floor, and sure enough, the padding on one shoe stuck out a little more than the other shoe. She says that now and then a shoe is manufactured just a few degrees off and it's enough to really screw up your leg.

This is a bummer obviously since these shoes only have 200 miles on them and I'm a poor grad student who paid $100 for them and planned for them to last 400-500. Another doctor tells me it's not a stress fracture and I should try getting new shoes and see if the problem goes away, so I do. These sweet-looking Pearl Izumi SynchroPace III's enter my life:

...and the problem goes away. Meanwhile, it takes a little time to adjust to this new shoe. I start rebuilding mileage. And then I start tweaking around with my running form, trying to switch from being a heel-striker to a midfoot-striker, and it's already mid-March.

This past week was kind of weak as far as training goes, because I let life interfere too much with my training runs... I wasn't sleeping enough and it's hard to keep up with training when I'm not getting enough rest. But I'm headed out for 9-10 miles today and hoping it goes well, even though this was a low-mileage week.

So, about this year's races. I decided at the start of March that a full was basically not going to happen this spring for me. I want my first full to be after a few months of high weekly mileage (like in the 35+ miles/wk range rather than in the 25+ where I'm usually lingering comfortably). I know a marathon will be tough pretty much no matter what I do, but I would like to make it suck as little as possible by at least having a solid training foundation. So I decided against the full for this spring.

I wanted to do the Flying Pig in Cincinnati, even if it was going to be a half and not a full. I watched Sam run it last year and it looked like a blast....people in costume, the whole bit. And I have some friends from high school who will be there running it. But that race is pretty expensive to enter, and because it's in Cincinnati, there would probably also be a hotel involved. I was still considering it anyway when I found out that the Capital City Half Marathon right here in Columbus will allegedly give you a free race registration if you volunteer to do packet pickup. So I sign up for packet pickup, and I get no info about that in the confirmation email. I sign up for a second session of packet pickup, thinking you may have to do a more than just one session, and still no confirmation. My friend contacts the race director to ask and he/she never replies. Rumor has it that you just tell them at packet pickup that you're running it and they will give you a free registration, but how is that going to work exactly? A refund to my credit card somehow? So I haven't signed up for this race yet. I realized last night that if I don't sign up for it, I won't have a packet/bib to pick up and thus it will basically be too late to run it, so maybe they are assuming that you will already be a registered runner at the point you're requesting a free registration.

So this sucks for a variety of reasons: 1) If I was going to be paying for a race, I'd be paying for the Pig--the only reason I'm not running Pig is because I thought this other race would be free the same weekend. 2) My training has been pretty craptastic, so I don't know if it's worth it to pay for a race when I know I may not have a shot at beating my January PR. I have been doing lots of tempo-ish short runs but no speed intervals at the track in quite some time. I mean, I feel like after 4 halfs I'm kind of past the whole "just running this to run it" thing and now I want to be improving or not bothering to spend money. I'd run it for free just to see where I am right now...but do I really wanna drop the cash on this?

And that's where I am right now. I probably should decide today.
Another option is doing the Sunburst half in South Bend, Indiana, which I really enjoyed last year and it's June 5. That was such a fun race. I feel like I would pay for Sunburst OR Cap City, but not both--and I would far rather run Sunburst than Cap City... I'd have another month to train, and a more fun race experience.

So I guess a lot of my indecisiveness is just riding on whether or not Cap City is going to end up being free or not... if it's not, I don't really want to pay for it and I don't really want to run it because there are better options. But clearly since they aren't going to let me know in advance of paying whether or not that is going to happen, I need to start making decisions.

Fall full marathon options are the Akron Marathon on Sept 25 or the Columbus Marathon on October 18. Tentatively planning on the Columbus one, since I wouldn't have to travel for it...but Akron sounds more fun.

Product Review

Yeah, yeah... my first post ever is going to be a product review.

But I just can't get enough of these new shorts I got. I want them in all possible colors, and then I want never ever to take them off for the entire summer. I want to wear them for running AND wear them around for other stuff.

The Brooks Epiphany 2 stretch short. I got them in "blackberry," which means they are extra awesome. The photo makes them look like nothing special--and maybe even makes them look a little weird. I wasn't sure about getting them online because it looks like the back is longer than the front, or some weird thing. But that isn't an issue once you put them on. This is the first item of Brooks clothing I've owned besides one of my winter caps, and I'm pretty impressed.

Here is why these shorts are great:
  • "semi-fitted" instead of the weird puffy-butt effect that most shorts give they actually look cute while you wear them (and when does that *ever* happen with running shorts?!)

  • super-light material

  • split sides so they don't ride up, but the splits are done in a way that they are "shut" and your legs are covered unless you are in the process of running. And when you are running, they aren't weirdly split to the point that you feel like you need to keep making sure your butt isn't showing.

  • they are the perfect (short) length, and you can wear them at two lengths: with or without the waistband rolled down

  • when you roll the waistband down, it STAYS that way, unlike with Saucony's shorts that are made to roll down

  • nice wide waistband... so you can run in just a sports bra and not have a hideous shorts-induced muffintop

  • no chafing from lining. Key pocket that stays in place thanks to the lining.

Have I convinced you yet? has the blackberry and wasabi colors for only $25 with free shipping/returns (even cheaper if you google for a discount code).