Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vegan Thanksgiving!

So after a terrible run this morning (headed out for 6 miles, came back after 2... no energy left after doing 400m repeats last night)... I headed over to my friend John's house for a little potluck with just three of us here in Columbus.  John made most of the food; I brought the potatoes and apple pie, and Adam brought the cranberries, pickles, and wine.

Starting with the potatoes and moving counterclockwise:  roasted garlic parsnip/potatoes, homemade seitan roast with cashew gravy, chickpea tart (with spinach and walnuts), bourbon cranberry sauce, homemade garlic dill pickles, and hiding in the back, some raw green bean casserole (which was awesome).  There was also bread with seasoned dipping oil (always my favorite!)

I also made Melissa's raw apple pie (oops, forgot the photos).

I am so... so... stuffed.  I ate like two plates like that one.  Haha.  John did an awesome job with the cooking... and it was nice to have a holiday meal with lots of things to eat, instead of the usual family affair where there's like one vegan thing for me to eat and lots of judgy/aggressive comments.

Yay for holidays with friends and good food!  Hope you all had a good one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New training plan...

Thanks for your comments on my last post!  Yes, I DID get out there and do those icky 1200m repeats I was dreading.  I did all the scheduled speedwork for last week in spite of hating it (yay!)

This is the training schedule I am following as closely as possible for 4 weeks (week 1 was last week):
The current paces, based on my vDot number calculated from the Daniels Running Formula book, are:  E: 11:48, M: 10:15, R: 8:15, I: 8:44.  After doing this schedule for 3 weeks, if I feel good it's time to increase those paces.  

I've already been moving the days around a little--still getting the necessary days in, but moving them-- so I'm not sure how it will go, but we'll see.  And we will see if I feel burned out or not.

I think I'm going to do a special vegan Thanksgiving post!  So look for that on Thursday :D

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Some post-marathon reflections, and anticipating the future.

So, as winter approaches I'm getting increasingly insecure about the whole idea of an "off season" and losing fitness i worked so hard for over the summer months.  It's already happening as I'm running much lower mileage than I was.  I ordered a scale this past week.  I haven't had one because they usually depress me and I don't want to become weight-obsessed, but I am starting to see the value of a scale as a training tool... I'll be able to notice if I'm balancing food intake with calories burned properly if I see whether my weight is going up or not.  And I can do a pre-run/post-run weigh-in and try to get a better sense of my hydration needs (perhaps the most important part).  I think in all likelihood I haven't been eating enough again, and definitely more calories from fats than I should have (one day I ate avocados for dinner.  No seriously, I ate them, several for dinner, and that was all).  The chiro said for running 25-35 mpw I should be eating around 2200-2400, and I've been doing a sloppy job.

The plan moving forward is this:  I am going to do the blue (advanced) training plan out of the book Daniels' Running Formula for I think about 12 weeks (this was the first week, though I've missed at least one run due to my brother's visit).  Then, I'm going to switch to his marathon plan and prepare for a May marathon.  The blue plan is basically designed to help you build overall fitness and work on speed without huge amounts of mileage.  Daniels has a scientific-ish approach to running where you determine what he calls a VDot number based on a 5k race time.  You then take this number and use his chart to calculate the paces you should run various workouts (he has E-easy pace, M-marathon pace, I-interval pace, R-repetition pace, and T-tempo pace).  If you follow the plan you should be able to increase your vDot by one about every 3-4 weeks, so your training paces will increase.  So in theory I should be faster in 12 weeks and can then switch onto the marathon training program, which has speedwork too but also more mileage.

My feelings about doing another marathon are mixed at the moment.  Things I liked about the experience/reasons I want to do another:

  • I felt really great in training, mentally and emotionally.  My life had structure based on workouts that I absolutely would not move (my Saturday long runs).  I had specific pre-run and post-run routines that I always followed.  I felt good about myself for the most part.
  • I felt really great physically in training.  I mean yes there were bad runs and yes there was pain, but overall I felt better and better as I saw myself handling more and more distance.  
  • I felt better about myself generally.  I slimmed down a little bit, and I got more muscle definition which was awesome.  While these were pretty small changes, these were things I thought would never happen to me (I thought I was just "built" how I was, and would always be that size/shape).  
  • I really started to enjoy food without guilt.  I sometimes felt bad about eating bread, pretzels, etc before because these are the more processed carbs and I feel like if I were really healthy I'd be getting my carbs from veggies, fruits, whole grains, etc.  But I got to the point where I was just so damn hungry all the time I was eating everything without guilt.  And overall bread and pretzels seem relatively harmless anyway, as foods go.
  • I felt like I knew what I was doing with calorie intakes and thus I lost my fear of getting fat all the time.  (Thanks mom, for this one.  Growing up she was always obsessed with her weight and calorie counting and I feel like I sort of inherited that a bit.  This was the first time I've EVER done calorie counting and mostly it was to eat MORE rather than LESS, but I definitely always have this abstract lingering fear of getting fat regardless of what state I'm in, just as mom always did.)  So marathon training let me feel more in control of that fear.
  • The race itself was a challenge to be faced and overcome.  I was able to plan, pace, and hang tough, and this was a good feeling.
  • The energy on race day was pretty exciting.  The journey from mile to mile was a lot of fun as well, running around the whole city, etc.  
  • The feeling after finishing was amazing, and it stuck around for days.
  • I like being a "marathoner."  It has a nice ring to it ;)
  • I like how being a marathoner has helped me to become part of a running community.  I've enjoyed getting to know the folks through Cbus Pacers and I like the potential to meet more runners/cyclists/athletes by being one myself.  
Things I didn't like about training/reasons I'm not sure I want to do this again (but probably will anyway):
  • Am I doing this again because I really want to, or because I don't want to be one of those people who just do a marathon to "check it off a bucket list"?  I kind of feel like to ensure my status as a Real Runner, I need to do a second or third marathon, so I'm not one of those many one-timers who does it once and is satisfied.  Ridiculous, but definitely I'm thinking about where my motivation might be coming from if I do this again.
  • It's really really hard for me when the weather is cold and ick to want to get my foot out the door.  There are a lot of days where I simply DON'T want to run.  I've definitely noticed this is seasonal, too... so it's hard to say if I'm just like "eh I ran a marathon, so I'm sick of running" or if it's more "ick its cold and I'm depressed and I'd rather stay inside on the couch throwing a pity-party."  I tend to think it's more the latter.  I could take winter off somewhat at a reduced training intensity, but then I'm just going to feel worse about myself for being lazy and will regret the "wasted" time when spring comes around and I'm still slow and have to get myself back into mileage again.  I probably have to mind-over-matter this one, and then training kind of becomes a slog I have to get through rather than that really special part of my day that I'm looking forward to.
  • The shorter daylight hours are making this really hard now.  If I run in the "evening," I have to basically be running by 330 or it will be dark before I'm finished.  This is difficult because it cuts into my daytime productivity with writing and work, which affects my mood in other negative ways as I feel bad about myself for not getting enough done and guilty for fitting a run in.  I really have to run in daylight because the trail is unsafe at night (even dusk makes me a little nervous). And the early mornings are just so damn cold. I know people run in worse climates than mine and I know I did it last winter just fine, so I'll probably adjust, but it sure does suck at the moment. :(
  • I hate speed training.  I loathe it, really.  Whenever I'm faced with an interval workout I basically spend all day trying to come up with ways to justify skipping it or moving it to the next day.  Yet I don't feel I can justify another marathon unless I start working more intently on this part of my training.  I do not want to run for 5 hours again.  So my choices are basically don't do another marathon or suck it up and do the speed training.  How can I be mentally tough enough to get through a marathon but such a baby about speed training??  I have no will power with some things I guess.
  • The memory of that one awful 21 mile run is still lingering with me. Why would I want to willfully do something that makes me feel that level of pain?  I've never experienced pain like that in my life.  Granted it was a one-time deal and even the marathon itself wasn't as bad, but regardless.  I have some fears about it now anytime I imagine myself setting out for a long run that's over 18 miles.
  • Miles 19-24 of the race were a real sonofabitch.  Unsavory is putting it mildly.  Now that the sheen has worn off the "yay I ran a marathon" thing I'm now starting to remember how bored I sometimes am on long runs, how much mental energy those final miles took, etc.
At this point I guess I have decided that the "goods" outweigh the bads, so I'm just going to have to suck it up with the "bad" things.  As I said I have training plans and will do another race in May most likely.  But it's making me question myself a lot that I have these negative feelings and doubts about my sport.  Most runners seem to just be like... omg running!  always on a running high!  sometimes maybe a bad run but omg running!  And I'm about 75% "omg running!" and 25% "i'm not really an athlete at heart, am I? why is running always such a battle?"  Maybe some self doubt is healthy somehow, I don't know.

On that note I suppose I should get ready and head out for today's 1200m repeats :(

Sunday, November 14, 2010


My little (not-so-little-any-more..he's 25, haha) brother is visiting me this weekend!  And he has vibram fivefingers too, even though he's not really a runner... and he came with me for a little 3 miler just now.  Aren't we both super-cool?
Seriously, I meant to do 6 miles today but I'm so happy my brother is here that the runs are getting cut a little bit... I so rarely get to see him because he lives in Connecticut, and I want to spend as much time with him as possible.  Yay!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An update (about time, eh?)

Well.  So, I've been conspicuously absent.

Stuff that's been happening:

  • Post-marathon lag:  Yes, this is real.  And icky.  I was on this like nonstop adrenaline high for 5 days and then I came to a crashing, burning halt, feeling like I had nothing to do with myself and nothing to do next.  I have yet to fully plan my next course of running-action.  Combine that with work stress and everything else, and well, my life's been peachy.  The next time I have a marathon in my sights, I will also set and register for a post-marathon mini-goal... maybe another race 6 weeks after or something.
  • Realizing that running is important to my mood.  Related to previous point.  No runs = sad Annette.  No goals = sad Annette.  No time outside = sad Annette.  No social runs = sad Annette.
  • Marathon training gave me strong feet. This is kind of awesome.  I got the Vibram Fivefingers out again since post-race it's basically a free-for-all now... and I can run 2 miles in them pain-free.  Compare that to before when I was getting various foot aches and pains.  This is kind of awesome.  
  • Onset of cold fall weather.  Bleh.  I haven't busted out the tights yet, but there've been hat/gloves/longsleevies.
  • No post-race injuries.  Seriously, my hip was twinging a little but nothing that bad.  The outside of my opposite knee hurt a little (a confirmed IT band thing) but nothing that bad.  This means my body took a lot of crap from me and still came out of it all right.  I'm feeling somewhat braver about raising the training stakes.
  • Reading "Daniels' Running Formula" and setting new goals.  I think I'm going to target a 28 week training cycle with a planned marathon in the first or second week of May--and I'll use his training strategies to work on my speed and overall fitness.  More on this in another post.
  • Haphazardly running here and there; taking days off all the time.  That's pretty much what happens to me if I'm not following a training program, and I don't like it.  Hence, time to lay out the program.
  • Watched/cheered/biked around at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  An old friend from high school did her first full marathon so I made the 3 hr trip there to watch her.  It was fun to be a spectator... there wasn't much crowd support at this one maybe because it was so cold.  After awhile I was able to station myself around mile 23 and really laid it on thick with the cheering for people.  For a non-outgoing person like me, I think I did a pretty sweet cheerleader job.  Heh.  And my friend totally kicked ass and finished in 3:58:50.  She didn't even look like she was suffering in the last miles.  My REAL goal is to be able to run a marathon and not look and feel like a corpse, since apparently this is possible.
  • Joining  Are you on there??  If you are, even if you haven't commented before, you should come out of the woodwork and tell me so and we can friend each other :)  I'd love to start using that site more to help me stay honest with speedwork all winter.