Friday, December 31, 2010

Obligatory Year-End Post..

I made this list of things I did in 2010 that I've never done before.  I posted it over on my other blog, but I thought I'd share it here as well (so what if it's not all running-related...)  I like that I have this many things I did this year that were completely brand-new:

  • trained for and ran a full marathon
  • went to a music festival for 3 days (Pitchfork Music Fest in Chicago--it was awesome)
  • overcame my paralyzing fear of water and learned to swim, with semi-good form
  • went to arizona (sedona, prescott, phoenix)
  • ran my first destination race (in Arizona)
  • successfully navigated NYC public transit, and by myself
  • joined a running group
  • had a paid summer off teaching (it was a fellowship, so I still had to do writing)
  • briefly wooed a hot cyclist (and it was as fabulous as it sounds)
  • wrote 28 pages in 24 hours
  • touched a famous french man (well, his legs.  at a concert.  ha.)
  • co-op gardened (and failed, except for some tomatoes)
  • went on my first ever completely blind date (friend set us up)
  • watched The Office
  • went to Virginia Beach
  • applied for my first "real" jobs that will require my PhD
  • participated in a hot pepper eating contest in a public venue (was totally owned by a guy wearing a jester hat)
  • started a training/running blog
  • got/ran in vibram fivefingers
  • weighed in at approximately my high school weight 
  • rode my bike in downtown Chicago traffic (against my will)
  • got my first ever speeding ticket (for going 31 mph, seriously)
  • went to court and got out of my first ever speeding ticket
  • went to Ladies 80s, thus finally participating in a popular Columbus cultural phenomenon
  • spent substantial chunks of time alone with my brother
  • ran 20 miles with no company or friend-support
  • saw a chiropractor
  • had a flight of bourbon with a cool new person I met in Louisville
  • decided to finally own the fact that I simply hate sauteed fajita veggies
Things I HOPE I will do for the first time in 2011:
  • call myself Dr!  (*please can I graduate yet? omg....must write faster*)
  • visit Los Angeles (this is happening for sure, in just over a week)
  • run my second and third marathons (one spring, one fall)
  • beat my existing marathon time
  • establish some new kind of job situation--if not a permanent one, at least something I can tolerate for another year
  • see the Rocky Mountains; do some other random traveling
  • if I secure a better income, take up some kind of cool outdoorsy sport (rock climbing? kayaking?)
  • be able to make a list of "brand new" things that is longer than the list I made for 2010
New Year's resolutions:
  • going to stick with my speed training, even if that means only doing one set of intervals/wk rather than two, and maybe a tempo run or something (something has to be better than nothing...)
  • trying to consistently write 4pg/day of single-spaced garbage--even if it's garbage, at least it's down on the page
  • doing a better job of sticking with the whole foods supplements the chiro has me taking, and also juicing greens more regularly again (daily if possible)

Feeling very American right now...

...because somehow I managed to go home for the holidays and pack on 5 lbs.  I have no idea how this happened, because honestly, I ate like crap while I was there (it's very had to be vegan around family, and I usually take my own groceries but this year I didn't)...but my version of "eating like crap" involved simply not eating enough (quantity), not eating enough (variety), and not seeing a green veggie in like 6 days.  Don't normal people get holiday fat from delicious cookies and sweets and cramming themselves full of holiday potluck food?  I guess I had one sweet thing the whole holiday season, and I was hungry most of the time.  I mean, here's a sample of what I ate:

  • salsa, corn chips, and refried beans -- mom had these gallon containers of frozen homemade garden salsa.  Honestly I ate way more salsa than I did chips, sometimes even attacking it with a spoon, so if I'm fat from chips I'd be kind of surprised.  In any case, I had salsa for a meal at least 3x.
  • coffee cake:  my mom made me this 8x8 coffeecake that was freaking delicious... this is the only holiday sweet I had while I was gone.  She said it didn't really have fat in it but it had a lot of white sugar and white flour.  (It was really amazing, with swirls of cinnamon and a crunchy cinnamon topping... oh man.)  Anyway I didn't eat the whole cake... I had probably like 4 pieces total.
  • quinoa salad:  for Christmas day mom made a quinoa salad with dried fruit and edamame.  It was really good and I ate a ton of it, but cmon, it's quinoa.  Also on christmas day I had some "plain" sweet corn and a bunch of butternut squash (garden things my aunt had frozen and thawed).  
  • On Christmas eve, I ate 5 dinner rolls, a bunch of pistachios, and some radishes (no other vegan options).
  • mom made a loaf of homemade cinnamon bread... no fat, but white flour (and so amazing).
  • black bean soup from Panera while I was checking my email
  • on my drive in each direction I wiped out a box of Bunny Grahams.  So sue me.  Am I fat from that??  I guess each box is about 900 calories, so maybe I AM fat from that.  I pretty much never sit there and eat 900 calories of something, unless it's a weak moment and I'm having at some potato chips.
  • I didn't eat anything other than coffee for breakfast.  On Christmas Eve I also skipped lunch.
So I mean, if I was going to gain weight I sure wish it could be from pigging out on things I wanted to eat instead of for the most part eating unhealthy scraps while others ate full meals.  I did drink so freaking much coffee though.  Right before my trip I was pretty much done with coffee... I successfully converted myself to either Macafe (roasted maca powder in hot water) or a small bit of coffee brewed with Teeccino.    But when I got home it started almost immediately, the coffee drinking.  If there is prepared coffee around, I have no self control.  My mom enables my dad really badly by putting coffee and a filter and water in the coffeepot so that all he has to do is press "on" whenever he wants a cup.  So basically, we finish a pot and then the pot is ready to make more, and my dad walks by and remembers there's coffee there and turns it on.  I had coffee all morning, coffee in the afternoon, coffee with and after dinner, coffee before bed.  I completely derailed.  Then at Christmas Eve I was really exhausted from family stress and I wanted to feel comfort so I had a couple of cups, and Christmas day I took my own thermos so I could have "good" coffee... once I killed that, I refilled it with some of the Folgers the rest of the family was drinking, so across 5 hours I had about 5 cups.  Usually when I'm drinking excess amounts of coffee though it tends to make me LOSE weight, especially if I'm having coffee as a meal (I know it's unhealthy so I try not to do it...but I know from times when I've been really high stress with no appetite and still drinking coffee... it's a nearly sure way to lose weight).  

So basically, I have no idea where these 5 lbs came from unless a) my theory holds true that when I'm eating less calories than my body needs, my body freaks out and starts to store them, or b) 2 boxes of bunny grahams and some coffee cake really did it, or c) my body freaks out when I dramatically change what it's used to.  

Since I've been back I've been trying to really eat healthy; I started juicing greens again, and I've made a couple of good meals (yesterday I made this okra stew over quinoa... it was really really amazing, and I don't like stew).  I had one feast-meal with my vegan friend who made this epic brunch-for-dinner with apple beer marinated tempeh strips, tofu scramble, biscuits and cashew gravy, and hash browns.  But I cut the junk for the most part and I'm back down to 1c of coffee or so per day, yet here I am lingering around 134 lbs when I was lingering around 129 (marathon weight was 123, but I was ok with 129 for the off-season).

I never used to be this weight-concerned.  Oddly, my neuroticism about it started after I lost marathon weight.  I mean, realizing I weighed only 123 was kind of amazing and now I'm obsessed with wanting to weigh numbers in the 120s instead of the 130s.  

As for running, while I was home I had 2 good runs; one was an 8x400m interval run, and the other was 6 miles in strong wind so my pace wasn't that great.  BUT I stuck with my runs while I was home--there wasn't that much snow for the first year in ages.  I did go cross country skiing a couple of times too.  So I wasn't being totally lazy.  Since I've been back is another matter... I ran on Saturday, drove back on Monday, did a cycling interval ride on Tuesday, and ran 4 on Thursday... so basically I had like 5 days off of running.  As I realized I was fat I also got depressed and skipped runs :( which is like the worst thing I could do to solve the fatness.  

The weather is going to be amazing on Saturday though (50 degrees in January!!) so I'm going to try to do a good long run then.  

Facts are facts and I guess I need to ramp my mileage back up if I don't want to be as fat as I am right now.  I was lurking around 22-25 miles/week before holiday week.  I need to update dailymile.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Various happenings...about time I posted an update!

I've been an extremely lazy blogger lately.  I think perhaps, like Physically Philosophical, I need to give some thought to what I want my new blogging identity and purpose to be now that I've achieved that seemingly unattainable marathon goal!  Once it hits January, though, I think marathon training might actually begin again.  I need to bust out the book with my training plans in it and see if that is the right timeline.

Future Marathons:
I'm thinking at this point that I have two choices for a spring marathon:  either the Cleveland Marathon on May 15, or the Sunburst Marathon on June 4.  I want a flat marathon, so that rules out Pittsburgh and Cincinnati's Flying Pig.  I have my reservations about Sunburst because, while it was a great first half-marathon for me and while I could stay with my parents to run it, it's pretty late for a spring marathon--the half I did was extremely hot, and I'm not sure I could handle a full in those conditions.  Also, it's a small field of runners (950ish expected for 2011) and also an exceptionally fast field for some odd reason compared to most bigger marathons.  Oddly, too, it's mostly men--the 2009 results show, of 595 finishers, 409 men and 186 women.

I want to do a spring marathon and then a fall one as well--I'd love to do Columbus again because it was a super-awesome race.  Throwing a wrench in my plans, however, is the extent to which my 2011 year is completely up in the air.  It's possible I will be graduating in June, and could be moving away from Columbus in either June or August.  It's also possible that none of that will happen for another full year, so I'd be here as usual, but completely broke.  I want to plan to do a destination race with weeona, but as of yet I have no idea if I will have a job and what and where that job will be (and thus whether I can afford a trip).  I also don't know if I'm moving and graduating in June or not, and if I am, the Sunburst marathon would have terrible timing (Cleveland would be a little better).

So, these things are keeping me from making a real commitment and registering for a race just yet.  I'm not really sure what to do... it could be well into April before I have any idea what is happening with my life for the remainder of the year.

Fun Running News!
I got picked to be a pace group leader for Cbus Pacers, Dublin!  This means every Saturday morning for the first half of the year I'll be leading a group of runners on a long run at a 10:30 pace.  I'm hoping I can handle this regularly without imploding, as my usual long run pace was around 10:45, but I think I can do it.  I did 10 miles Sunday on snowy terrain at about a 10:45 pace, and if I can do that in snow with unsure footing, I should be good to go for 10:30.  This is good because now I have committed myself to not be a lazy-ass in the foul winter weather.  I do wish I lived closer to Dublin so the drive wasn't so far, but eh, it's ok.  I'm a pace group leader!  And hopefully I'll get to meet some more awesome runners.

Other happenings:

  • I've still been seeing my chiro, who's working on my right hip that's been bugging me a little since the marathon.  Good news is he thinks it's basically just muscular rather than structural, so I see him once a week and he rubs on the sore spots to loosen them up.  I have seen some improvement (actually a lot of improvement) but we're not quite there yet.  Also, randomly my achilles started hurting really bad a few weeks ago and he fixed it with only two treatments.  He is my hero, seriously.
  • I got some new shoes and, after several pairs of loyalty to Saucony, have switched to Brooks Ghost.  They are SO LIGHT it's awesome.  So I have a neutral pair of shoes with superfeet inserts (who knows if those silly things even do anything, but I've had them for awhile so I just use them).  These shoes are so light, and they aren't all overly smooshy like some pairs of shoes--I like to feel the road.  I'm pretty psyched.
  • I bought a scale and have discovered that my weight is basically normal and I haven't turned into a huge post-marathon fatty even though I feel like it sometimes.  My weight fluctuates within about a 4lb range, though.  And I also discovered that on Sunday my 10 mile run caused me to lose 2lbs (water weight... and I looked this up online and you have to drink 16oz to replenish each lb lost).  So I lost a lot of water.  No wonder I'm always so thirsty on runs... I guess I sweat a lot.  I have a feeling my hydration needs in a marathon are much higher than I had been accounting for before, but there will have to be some experimentation with this.
  • I've started doing cross-training!  D. has some really sweet cycling trainer videos, where you ride along with Robbie Ventura and the bottom of the screen cues you along with what intensity you should be working at.  I wear my heart rate monitor to help me gauge if I'm working hard enough.  The one we did on Friday was a criterium... we did a 10 minute warm-up and then what amounts to a really hard interval workout for 45 mins.  On the video, Robbie Ventura narrates race strategy and you follow these guys riding the course through crowds, etc... and there was even a sprint finish.  Of course I got totally geeked about all of this because I'm totally obsessed with watching pro cycling and this was like.... simulating me getting to ride along with the Big Guys.  So D. and I set up our trainers in his living room and did an hour long workout.... I was so sweaty by the end.  I don't think I've ever sweated that much even on hard runs, probably just because we were inside with no wind and on trainers.  We have plans to do this again on the 28th, when we might go to a group trainer ride at the local BikeSource.  I'm afraid I'll look like a total n00b loser with my uncool older road bike, but he insists it will be fine.  If we keep this up I might consider clipless pedals for a better workout and for more comfort (I was getting some pain behind my knees and D. says this is because of the toe clips....)  Anyway, I have high hopes that workouts like this will help me improve my cardio fitness.  We will see.
The Holidays...
I'm soon off to Indiana to spend Christmas with family... this is usually terrible news for running, because they live in an area that gets tons of lake-effect snow and much colder temperatures due to Lake Michigan. Last year I ran 6 miles in literally an ice-storm... literally.  It was completely insane.  I have my screw-shoes so I can get traction in such situations, but I'm definitely not looking forward to doing that again!  Going to try to squeeze in one last interval workout tonight, and then I'll have a tenuous running situation until I return on the 27th or so.  Whee!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Free socks? Yes please!

Super-sweet $100 sock giveaway going on over here at Goals for the Week!

In other news, I swear I'll be posting more regularly starting almost immediately :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

shoes, shoes, shoes

So... the question of the hour is, how often do you replace your running shoes?  How many miles do you estimate that you get out of them?

My shoes (the ones I trained for the marathon in, and have been running in since) seem to be finished.  They look ok, a little dirty, a little hole in a part of the inside lining, but according to my best interpretation of garmin data they only have about 350ish miles on them.

I talked to my chiropractor about it and he says that he replaces his with even less (he either said 200 miles or 280 miles).  But my two primary running buddies run in their shoes until they're nearly falling apart.  I think Sam replaces his maybe yearly, and John even worse--he waits for the shoes to fall apart.  His current pair is over a year old, and I think it's a pair he got at Kohl's or something rather than a regular running store.  His previous pair was a couple years old.

This sucks because I'm in graduate school.  It's hard to drop $100 on shoes more than once a year.  Sam and John act like there's some problem with me, like maybe my need to replace them is mental rather than real, because I "just got those shoes."  Trust me, I don't want to go spend $100 right now.  The idea that this is some subconscious desire of mine to always be buying new shoes, rather than a real need, is kind of insulting and also makes me doubt whether I really need new shoes or not.

In the past I'll get this dull ache in my knees behind my kneecaps--it doesn't start to happen until immediately after a run.  I'll just be sitting around post-run and my knees will ache SO BADLY inside.  Sometimes it goes away in a few hours, or sometimes they're still a little stiff the next day.  If this is happening, in the past, I've gotten new shoes and it's stopped completely.  Immediately.  How can that be mental?  More than once, I've experienced the same knee ache and then cured it immediately by just putting on new shoes.  That HAS to be what this is again right now.

In all fairness, in the time I've had this most recent pair of shoes, I've ran about double Sam's mileage (for at least part of the time--probably most of the time).  But when I mention the shoes thing he still looks at me like I'm completely nuts and wasteful.  The chiro said "everyone's different," but if that's the case why do I, the person without a real job, have to be the person who has crappy aching knees, while my two running buddies with good jobs never have to buy new shoes? :(  *whine.*

I wish I could be awesome and get sponsored like Frayed Laces, so I could have sweet gear and not go broke from it while I'm finishing graduate school :(

On another note, cast your vote now.  Should I:
*get re-examined/re-fitted at the running store and possibly try something new, since in the time that I've had these shoes I've trained for and run a marathon, run in vibrams, and seen a chiropractor weekly who is trying to work on some minor alignment issues--so maybe something about my running gait has changed?  or
*just get the same pair of shoes I have, leaving well enough alone?