Monday, May 31, 2010

The search for the perfect running tank continues...

So, there's something about women's running apparel that I just don't understand.

Why is it that EVERY SINGLE running tank with a built in bra--no joke, we're literally talking like EVERY one--says it's supportive enough for an A/B cup while everyone else will have to wear a bra under it?  Why is it so hard to make a running tank with an actual supportive bra in it--one that's high impact for at least a C cup?  Why isn't there a single manufacturer doing this?  I've scoured the entire internet, I swear.  There must be other women runners who want this besides me.  (Or is every "real" runner except for me such a toothpick that they have no boobs?)

My thing is that I don't *want* to layer up.  If it's summer, why on earth would I want to have what amounts to three layers on top (my regular sports bra, a bra inside a tank top, and the tank top itself) when I could have two (regular sports bra, and the tank top)?  I want as few layers as possible.  I already balk at even wearing a tank top in the heat.  I'd rather just run in a sports bra with no tank, and often do when I'm running alone, but I'm too shy to do that at social runs or with people who know me since I don't exactly have six-pack abs.  So I need a tank I can wear for those occasions... and I don't want it to have a useless nonfunctional built-in bra that makes me even more sweaty.

But ok, if manufacturers won't make a bra tank for me, I can deal with that.  But at least make some good tanks without any bra in them!!  Braless tanks are usually singlets.  The problem here is that most singlets are cut like a t-shirt with no sleeves:  they have a lot of material.  Your back is usually fully covered (they aren't racerback) and they have a small neckhole (not a big scoopneck like a tank would).  Case in point, the one I currently have:

And this sucks because it is summer and I want AS LITTLE MATERIAL ON ME AS POSSIBLE.  And I like tanks because I don't get weird tan lines (oh, vanity).  I found one singlet that's cut like a normal tank:  the Asics Emma:
Buut... I've decided to return it because the material is extremely scratchy and the seams aren't flatlocked, and the last thing I need is an increased chance of chafing.

Add in the fact that I also want it to have no cotton in it, and I'm pretty much looking for something that doesn't exist.  And I really need another tank or two at this point... I hardly have running tops right now aside from race shirts and the one singlet above.  Why does this have to be so hard?  Either I have to get less picky or manufacturers have to figure out the simple fact that they should either make a tank with a C-cup bra or make a tank with no bra at all.  Grah.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Moving the blog!

Ok folks, so I'm not sure how this is going to work, but I'm going to change my blog site and blog name so I'm not stealing Matt's identity.

My new site is going to be:

...which I actually like better anyhow :o)  So if you've been reading, plan on that being the new link.  I'm going to leave this information up for a few days before I migrate so that everyone can see where I'm going to end up.

If you're following me I think this means you have to manually update to the new web address.  

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Things happening to my feet, vol. 2

I did a 13.5 mile run yesterday (my longest training run to date!)  I headed out with the running club and only one other person wanted to do more than 8 miles, and she was doing 20.  I thought I'd be good for 12-13 since I did 11 and felt so good last weekend, but man, was it ever humid.  The humidity was awful.  And if there's one thing I know about myself from past summers, it's that I just cannot run well in humidity.  Last summer I was running really late or really early to try to avoid it.  This Saturday's run started at 8 and it still got unbearably humid.  That kind of humidity where it literally feels like you're not getting oxygen, and sweat just sits on your skin.  Bleh.

I've been getting this blister in the weirdest spot, on the side of my big toe, as if my next toe is rubbing it or something.  It's odd because all of the other blister issues I've had have largely been feet-rubbing-parts-of-shoe issues, and I guess one other toe-rubbing-toe thing that was fixed when I got new shoes before a couple summers ago.  But I've been noticing that I have been getting some rubbing in this weird big toe spot, and instead of bandaging it (figured a bandage would drive me nuts around my big toe the whole run) I put some of this sample of Asics Anti-Chafe cream on it.  It felt slippery for about 10 minutes and then it was doing no good at all.  Don't buy that stuff, seriously.  Maybe you need the "endurance" kind rather than the "original", but the "original" sample said you could use it to prevent blisters on toes and it was supremely worthless.  (And, haha, while googling for the site I found that they have gotten at least one other very unfavorable review...)

But anyway, this was seriously the biggest blister I've ever seen.  I took off my shoe and it was like my toe grew a second toe.  I knew it hurt during the run, but holy crap.  I have photos but they are entirely too disgusting to post, trust me.  Next time I guess I will wear my toe socks that I don't like that much to see if it helps.

Buuuut... yay!  I ran 13.5 miles on a training run!  And it felt like a death march for the last 6 miles in the humidity with my toe and everything else.  So glad I finished.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tree fluff season!

It's that time of year when the air is thick with tree fluff.  This makes running extra fun...whee!  I'm pretty sure I breathed in like a pound of this stuff on last night's run.  Plus when you get sweaty it sticks all over you!

Last night I had this plan to run to the social run at the park.  The group usually does 4, and the park is 2 miles from my house, which would be just right:  6 total miles of running.  Except that I left my apartment running late, and had to haul ass up to the park... I ended up doing between an 8:30 and 9:00/mile pace the whole first 2 miles to try to get there on time, which of course meant I completely blew up by the last 2 miles.  I fell off the back of the pack with the people in the group doing a 12 min mile.

Soo... It felt really good to know that I could sustain that crazy 8:30-9:00 pace for 2 miles, but clearly going out too fast is still a bad idea (some things never change).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Icing the knees...

Icing myself with *organic* spinach tonight.  Nothing but the finest for these knees.  We're moving up in the world.

Awesome morning run!

Totally rocked it today on the run!  I headed out to do 10 at 7:30am, and felt so good I ended up doing 11!  Check it outttt....
(Also, apparently I'm moving at a 27:35 pace while standing perfectly still in my apartment.  Whee!)

I didn't go to the group run today because nearly everyone in my pace group--at least, all of the ones I met last week--had races or other obligations so wouldn't be there.  So the plan was to do 2.5 miles and then meet a girl from the running club at the local park, where we would do 5 together, and then I would do 2.5 on the way back.  Unfortunately for me I can't do even the simplest math so I totally screwed up the first part.  The park is 1.25 from my house so I knew I would have to go south on the trail a bit to add a little over a mile, if I wanted to get to 2.5 before arriving at the park.  So, I ran 0.25 from my apartment to the trail, and then thought if I ran south on the trail until my watch said 1 mile, I could then turn and get to the park in 2.5.  Apparently that's totally wrong because I realized as I passed my original trail entry point that I was already coming up on 2 miles and I still had the whole 1.25 to the park to go!  I totally booked it because I was now going to be late and knew someone was waiting on me--worse yet, someone who doesn't know me very well yet!  It looks like I did a mile at about a 9:00-9:30 pace, and I got to the park when my watch said 3 miles even.

So much for planning.

We did our 5 (just over 5 really) and it was great having someone to talk to and right in the middle of the run, to break up the boredom.  I feel like I hardly noticed those 5 miles.  Then I got back to my place and felt good enough to go ahead for 11 miles, so I did.  I had to dig pretty deep for the last half of that extra mile, but it was worth it.

Also I love my nuun sports drink and how yummy it tastes compared to the juice/water/salt combo I took all summer last year.  This stuff is supposed to be natural as in no weird chemical ingredients, but I am still going to have to figure out what a couple of the ingredients on the label are :\  At any rate, it has no fructose and no artificial colors.  When I have it with me I usually don't end up using shot blocks, which may or may not be good... but if I don't feel like I need them, I guess I don't need them.  The nuun gets tastier and tastier as I get more and more thirsty.  I have Orange Ginger flavor now but might branch out with my next bottle of dissolving tabs.

ALSO, nuun doesn't turn moldy inside your bottles if you get back from your run and throw off the belt and forget about it for 3 days.  (Unlike juice.  Ew.)

Anyway I love love love running at 730 nice and early on a Saturday when it's just sunny and cool and awesome out.  Nothing beats the feeling of getting back before 10:00 and already having 11 miles done.    I'm gonna love my Saturdays this summer.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Help me get new name ideas!

I might need a new blog name... apparently there's already a guy who goes by no meat athlete over at, and he has a pretty strong internet presence.  I don't want to be a copycat even though I didn't know he existed when I created this blog :o(  Any ideas for a new name?  Pleeese help... I think in blogger you can just change your name and all of your content transfers.

I hate to be shifting around when I just got settled and am building a cozy blog situation for myself, though.  Blah.  Naming is hard.

My friend suggested "CouchSprout" since I started on a couch to 5k and have "sprouted" into a "real" runner, and since I eat sprouts, buuut... I'm afraid it's not runner-y enough if I want readers who are interested in running to find me.  I don't know though.

Group runs = awesome.

So the club run I mentioned a couple posts ago was amazing.  I did 9ish miles on Saturday morning and it didn't even feel like 9 because we were talking the whole time.  There were probably like 7 women there in the pace group I joined.  The director guy mapped out an out and back course for us with chalk on the sidewalks so you could just turn around whenever you wanted and follow the arrows back.  People in the group were doing 22 miles, 17 miles, 9-10 miles, and 5-6 miles, so there was a pretty good range.

Then tuesday night was a new social run for "slow" people called Turtle Tuesdays, and it was right in my neighborhood on the trail I usually run.  We did 4 miles at about a 10:45 pace and then got food afterward at a vegetarian restaurant.

And last night was probably the best run; I just met up with a girl who was my pace at the Saturday run.  She lives really close to me and was doing 10, so she did 4 and then met me and we did 6 together.  It was super super humid and hot, and I don't know if i would've been able to complete the run without the added incentive of having someone there.  It was a lot of fun to have someone new to talk to the whole time.  She has a full soon in a few weeks, but is planning to train for something this fall too so I'm hoping that we'll keep getting along and that we can keep being running buddies.  It was a good run.

I think having people to run with is going to be really important to me achieving this marathon goal, because of how I've been losing running enthusiasm all spring.  This has kind of made me excited about running again.  Running with people makes a huge difference mentally.

The people have all been cool so far... still hard to tell if we have much in common beyond running, but hey, running is the important thing if you're looking for RUNNING buddies.  :o)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

aches & pains...blah

I've been increasing my training since the race now--I'd gone a couple weeks with JUST a long run and no smaller runs during the week (ridiculous I know--one week was race week, so I ascribed my laziness to "tapering," and last week I was swamped with work and wasn't sleeping enough to have any energy).  I'm getting 3 runs in this week, and hopefully will be back onto a 4 runs a week schedule for next week.

I am paranoid as hell about training for this full, so every little ache and pain I notice I'm like "OMG, I'm injured!  I won't be able to run all summer!"  This is what happens when you read too many articles about marathons being hard on your body.  I am having some legitimate aches and pains though, but I'm hoping they'll diminish as I get back on my regular running schedule.

Saturday it was my knee.  After the 9 miles I did, the outside of my knee hurt so freaking bad I could hardly walk on it.  Sources say this is probably an IT band thing.  I tried doing some stretches and looked at foam rollers online but didn't buy one.  Then, my ankle has been bothering me, too.  When I'm running I can feel it pronating... like I literally feel my ankle roll inward.  I know I always overpronate with my right ankle but I've never been able to feel it move--it's almost like I land correctly and then as I shift my weight my ankle rolls inward.  Then the inside of my ankle hurts, as does the arch of my foot.  I have my old superfeet inserts that I had given up as useless and I might try them today again to see if they help at all.  I'm wearing a light stability shoe and they are not that old (maybe 2 months, and I haven't even been training normally the whole time.)  Part of it may be too that I've lost fitness to the point where I've lost control of form somewhat... but cmon, I just did a half marathon and was fine, am I really THAT unfit?  I don't know what's going on.

I just feel like if I knew how to run with correct form, if someone could help me make that happen, I wouldn't have to worry so much about injury.  I have books on form, and have watched videos on form, but it's so hard to tell what you're doing when you can't see your own feet/legs.  If I knew I was running correctly I probably wouldn't be so paranoid constantly that I'm hurting myself.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A new training group!

Guys--I'm so excited! I found this running club in the area--well, it's based in a suburb-ish area, but its only about 9 miles from me. It's free to join, and they do long runs on Saturday morning on a course that has water already set up, and you can run with a pace group, and there will runners there in a nice slow pace group so I can do my runs at low effort.

AND... they're going to start a social run called "Turtle Tuesdays" right in my neighborhood, right on the trail that I always run, followed by food at one of my fave local veg-friendly restaurants, Northstar. The person who's arranging it is vegetarian, too :o)

This has the potential to be very awesome. I hope hope hope everyone is cool and I have a new option for spicing up the running life, because it's been getting a bit boring and I've been being pretty lazy and unmotivated... and I want to be in my best possible shape for the race this fall!

Dig my new "badge" on the right for being a Cbus Pacers member. hehe. Also, here is a photo from the race on Saturday at the finish... totally, completely soaked.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Race Report: Capital City Half Marathon

Yesterday morning was the Cap City half marathon right here in Columbus! The race had so many ups and downs it was kind of crazy. I didn't PR, but I didn't expect to either since I wasn't really trained to run this. But I finished! And under difficult conditions. This is gonna be a long report!

Pre-Race. I checked the weather in the morning and as you can see in the previous post I made, well... it was going to rain. A LOT. Ack. I've done training runs in the rain (but as it turns out, haven't done training runs in the amount of rain we would get during this race!). This was my first rainy race ever, though.

I felt kinda clumsy getting ready for this race... I used to have a nice little pre-race routine but it's been awhile since I've done one, and I hadn't even done a consistent routine before my long runs. I had half of a clif bar and a glass of water, and would've liked to have had some juice but didn't have time. I couldn't find my race belt, and spent a bunch of time tearing my apartment apart trying to find it. I literally haven't seen the thing since January--no idea where it is. It's just a cheap one--a strap of elastic that clips, with a little tiny pocket attached to it--so I don't mind buying a new one if I have to because I want a different kind anyhow. I like having the belt to hold shot blocks in case I want them and because I can pin my number to it, and then if I want to lose layers from my top half I can do so easily. I'm so spoiled that this was the first race I've done beltless--I shoved 3 shot blocks in a plastic bag into the key pocket of my shorts, which wasn't really big enough to hold them, and I pinned my number to my shirt. Unsure about the rain situation, I wore a hat and also did the classic garbage-bag-wearing thing so I could stay dry at least until the start. It was pretty ridiculous:

Nothin' more flattering than wearing a trash bag, that's for sure.  And boy do I ever look stupid in a hat.

So we headed out in a hurry. The traffic was a mess down by the race, and we got there later than we'd hoped, but I was still able to squeeze in a quick restroom break--maybe because everyone was already lined up in the starting area? But they had these weird portable trucks with bathrooms in them, instead of just regular porta-potties, which was nicer. They were playing the national anthem as we made our way over to the starting area. It wasn't raining so I took off my bag and carried it in my hand; I wasn't sure if I'd want it later on if the rain came back, or what, since I hadn't done a rainy race before. We squeezed in near the 2:15 balloon, but the balloon was toward the middle of the street and we were on the edge, and once the gun went off the middle of the pack moved forward while the edges couldn't. We ended up crossing the starting line about 15 minutes after the gun, alongside the 3 hour pace group.

Race: The first couple miles were really rough. This is possibly TMI, but I've been fighting a bladder infection all week, so for the first two miles every single step and bounce was making me have to pee, even though I *just* peed before the start. It was ridiculous. I tried everything to take my mind off of it because it was giving me that nagging feeling that I wouldn't be able to do this race. I made myself pass the first set of port-a-potties because I knew that, in theory, I *shouldn't* need them yet so hopefully the feeling would go away if I waited it out. It eventually did go away, and I made it the whole race without a pee break, but ugh. Sam ran the first couple miles with me, and we talked about how the 2:30 pace group was ahead of us--they started way before us, and we knew we had to catch and pass them at some point if we wanted to be in the 2:20 or 2:15 range at all. I knew it made sense that they were ahead of us, given the start situation, but it was so demoralizing to know that we were currently "worse" than a 2:30 finish--at least in the sense that we were so far behind the pace group that we couldn't even see it.

After Sam took off ahead of me and the pee problem went away, though, I started feeling nauseous. I have no idea why. I felt so so sick.... like almost ready to run off the course and throw up sick. I can't think of anything I'd done differently to bring this on; I had a very early dinner the night before the race, and only half a clif bar in the morning, which is sort of normal and very small. The miles weren't passing quickly enough, and everything was sort of blurring together. The first 6 miles or so had occasional small hills (more like long gradual and very subtle uphill grades, but enough to make this midwestern girl feel 'em). It started drizzling and then raining around mile 4, so I put my plastic bag on just to see how it worked. It kept me dry for about 3/4 a mile and then I realized that it was basically like running inside a body-sauna. Better to run in the cool rain than to get sweaty under a sheet of plastic, so I tore it off of me hulk-style, which awarded me more amusement than it probably should have. Kinda fun and a momentary distraction from the nausea. Rawrrrrr... me no need plastic bag... I destroy. Anyway, all signs point to the garbage bag being a good idea for standing in a rainy starting area but not for running in (I probably should've known this?)

I then proceeded to carry the torn bag in my hand for 2 more miles because I couldn't find a place to throw it away and didn't want to just litter, even though it probably would've been ok to do so on the course. I got to the water stop at mile 6 and decided to take some powerade because i felt horrible and nothing I was doing was helping.

So about Powerade. I don't drink this vile shit, ever. I'm very anti-sports drinks that have sugar and chemicals and gross stuff I can't pronounce in them. For training runs I either use a 50/50 juice and water mix with a bit of salt in it, or Nuun sports drink tabs. I drank this powerade fully expecting it to make me immediately sicker (new thing on race day + possible stomach cramps from sugars, etc), which is why I don't think this was some kind of placebo effect but....

This stuff was omfg-holy-crap delicious! Like nectar of the gods delicious. I drank it down in disbelief and kept running. And then I started feeling awesome! Like superman awesome. I took a little more at the mile 7 marker and this was near the part of the course where we started heading north on High street--which is one of the main streets in Columbus, where we were running first through the cool arts district, then past OSU's campus--both parts of the city that I'm familiar with. Mile 7 was amazing. It started raining really hard but I didn't even care... I was running a 9:30 pace and passing people left and right. I'd been passing people even while I was feeling sick since I had been so far in the back, but now I was passing people in droves.

And then.. I caught up to the 2:30 pace group, which had been ahead of me for all of this time! I wanted to scream and yell and shout and cheer. I actually started crying and smiling at the same time as I passed them, it was ridiculous. I was having all of these other optimistic thoughts, about how maybe some of my friends or someone else I knew would be there to cheer me on (they didn't), about how running was the greatest possible thing in the world and I was more than half done and hadn't done a run this long since January. It was the greatest runners' high ever.

Then it started POURING. Torrential downpour pouring. I noticed this guy around mile 8 who I'd passed, and then he'd passed me, then I'd pass him again, etc. Finally I turned to him and laughed about how I was going to use him to keep up this pace, and we ended up running the last 4 miles or so together while talking. This guy (his name was Tom, he was probably 45 or so?) was a blessing to have along as the miles started getting tougher and the rain got harder. Around mile 10 I stepped in a puddle that covered my feet and from then on my feet were making audible squish sounds. I was getting a lot of rubbing on the back of my right heel. Apparently water in the shoes causes blisters and rubbing, go figure.

The final part of the course went onto the bike trail where I run sometimes, which was kind of terrible course design. It's very narrow, and there were WAY too many people. Tom and I kept trying to maintain pace and pass people anyway. The trail was also sort of hilly because you have to keep going under roads and back up, so it was pretty tough in the final 2 miles or so. We wanted to really open up and haul ass for the last mile, but after those hills I didn't have much energy left in the tank--not to mention that my feet felt completely rubbed raw. I didn't see the race casualties at this point but Sam told me later there were like 3 women passed out on the side of the trail during this part of the course, which would explain the police motorcycles. The humidity was crazy high and it was pretty warm despite the rain, so maybe it was dehydration.

We finished, high-fived, and I checked the Garmin: 2:22:57. So... a full 7 minutes worse than my pace in January, but still my second-best race time, and I hadn't expected to PR anyhow. I'm happy with it considering the lack of training, bladder, nausea, and rain. And I still managed to have fun even though I didn't do my best time ever (what with my inner perfectionist, sometimes this is difficult).

I finally found Sam and we squished our way back to the car. A quick finishing photo in the parking garage:

We were so so soaked. This is gross but I have to post it for posterity. Look what running in the rain did to my feet! Holy crap! They're all pale and shriveled and ack.

A totally-soaked car photo, and a view from the window:

Post-Race: I'm still boggled about the powerade thing. Maybe the reason for my nausea was dehydration or something. I didn't use any shot blocks during this race, but I drank strangely delicious powerade for the whole second half.

After the race a few things were notable:
1) my right hip didn't hurt at all! I wonder if this means that my efforts toward strengthening my hip adductor and trying not to turn my foot outward is all paying off?
2) my right knee hurt on the outside, bad enough that I started limping in the afternoon. It was swollen, like a big lump on the side of my knee. But when I woke up this morning it was 100% better (feels perfect today!) Maybe it was just inflammation? Today I have some muscle soreness but no joint pain at all, which makes me very happy.
3) Apparently I can get inner thigh chafing if my shorts are completely saturated with water. I don't think I really have particularly huge thighs that rub together but apparently they DO rub together or this wouldn't have happened. I have to remember this for my full marathon. Ditto with greasing the hell out of my heels if it's going to rain.
4) Having no crowd support apparently makes me sad even if this is the 5th half I've done and therefore no longer "new and exciting." It's disappointing that aside from Sam (who is usually also running with me!) no one I know cares enough about running to want to come cheer us on. I hope that at least someone will show up for my first marathon or I'm going to be really sad :'( I feel selfish for wanting people to be there, but also I wish they cared enough to bother on their own without me asking and/or pleading them to care. People seem to think that if I'm not going to "win," and if I am slow and have already proven that I can finish the distance, there's no point in caring. But running is so important to me... it would make me happier than almost anything to get a little unrequested support now and then.
5) Fixing my posture makes me feel like a much stronger runner. I was really sloppy with my form during the first part of the race because I was too sick to care, but during the second half I focused on some posture things I read about in the book Chi Running (more on that another day). It really helped!

I've been trying so hard to be healthy and eat more raw and all that, but after this race I went completely nuts with the food. I was so freaking hungry. Sam and I went to Red Robin where I got a vegan burger with guac on it and ate like 3 baskets of fries and several pitchers of water. After a nap, for dinner we had chinese (veggie tofu dumplings!) and tea. And today for lunch we had a huge pile of hashbrowns with some black beans and broccoli. I feel like I should be doing something to detox the massive amount of unhealthy crap I ate along with the powerade but I also sort of don't care because it just felt so good to EAT. I don't know.

I'm counting this race a success and I'm glad I did it. I leave you with a radar map from when we got home:

Totally clear outside! Haha. What timing. :o)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oh my god

Crap crap crap... this is coming for us. Race starts in 1.5 hours. It WAS saying that the rain would hold off until 11... so much for that.