Monday, February 28, 2011

The critical nature of wardrobe selection

I forgot something awesome about my run today.

I was wearing my full marathon shirt and these two really legit-looking runners were approaching from the opposite direction.  One of them was wearing the same marathon shirt.  As we were about to pass each other he smiled really big and pointed at his shirt and then did the bro-fist chest pound followed by signalling "#1" with his hand.  I gave him a thumbs up.

This shirt gives me so much street cred it's ridiculous.  I swear I want to never take it off.  Legit-looking runners never notice I exist or say hi the rest of the time, but as soon as I'm wearing a marathon shirt it's like I'm One Of Them.  And if they're passing in the opposite direction they also don't notice that I'm not very fast.  Win-win situation.  Heh.

Also, yes, you read correctly... it IS 3am and I AM still awake.  ;o)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

week in review..

This week was a mixed bag when it came to running.

Monday: I had a lot of work stuff on my plate so I made excuses and planned to run Tuesday.  Physically Philosophical has made a couple of recent posts that really resonate with my life... the ongoing give/take between focusing on good training and focusing on getting writing done.  Monday was a run-fail day.

Tuesday: It got much colder again and snowed a little after days of rain.  Sam and I ran in the evening, but we went on roads rather than the trail in the dark, and it was a freaking icy, snowy skating rink of a run.  It was terrible and when we got back we just looked at each other and were like, "Man, that was tough."  "Yeah, that was really tough." My sore hip was on fire after that run... lateral movements and gingerly stepping seem to always make it worse.

Wednesday: I went to the chiro and came home too tired/sore to do much of anything.  I spent the evening icing my neck and shoulders, of all random things.

Thursday: Group run in the evening; thankfully the ice had melted.  Did 5 miles.  Nothing much to report... hip felt ok.

Friday: Intense writing day.  After filling myself with coffee and not getting enough sleep, I didn't want to push it by trying to squeeze in a run too, especially when I was planning to do 14 on Saturday.  What this also meant was agreeing to the fact that I would not be meeting my goal weekly mileage of 30 this week, or even coming close.  Fail.

Saturday:  At Saturday's run, the usual people who I run with were for the most part gone for various injury-reasons, but I got to run with some cool new people so it worked out well. Anyway, though, I was hoping to do 14 miles on Saturday but my hip was killing me again.  KILLING.  I don't know if it was still flared up from the ridiculous 5 miles on ice that Sam and I did on Tuesday, or if there was something about how I was running on Saturday that made it worse.  So, I did 9 miles and came home semi-demoralized.  My insurance only covers 4 more chiro appointments and if it's not fully cured by then I'm on my own.  I stretched and foam rolled and iced.

Sunday:  I promised myself  that I'd head out for a run today as well, to make up for missing those miles yesterday.  I know it's not quite the same as doing one long run, but I figured if I got the miles in across 2 days it wasn't as bad as not doing them at all... so today I did 6.  Weirdly, my hip felt mostly fine.  A little pain at the very end of the run.  I have no idea, though, why today wasn't as bad as yesterday.  Saturday there was some ice still on our run, and also I was feeling exhausted, and I think when I'm really tired my form goes to maybe it just was that.

So between Saturday and Sunday I got in 15 miles, which isn't too bad.  Normally I just do a long run Saturday and then take Sunday off for recovery.  Beyond the hip thing, though, the 9 miles didn't wreck me too much so I was good to go today.  I'm thinking of considering the "weekend run" like this now and then instead of just killing myself with miles on Saturday all at once.

The weather's looking better this week.  Today it was over 50 degrees which was awesome.

Also, thanks to those of you who have been commenting... it's brightened my week even though I haven't had a chance to comment back with all of the work-chaos lately!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sore abs... & 12 mile group run

I ran 12 miles at Saturday's group run.  I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I'm basically up doing a half marathon distance in February and not feeling that bad or tired from a run of that length.  My hip is still giving me some grief, but I did a better job of caring for it in the aftermath of the run this weekend and it hurt much less afterward.  While the chiro had worked on my psoas muscle before, we discovered last week that the place at the front of my hip where my psoas muscle inserts or something is tight as hell; he touched it and I pretty much went through the ceiling.  So mid-run and after my run I stretched it a few times, and I iced it twice that day.  It actually seems to have helped.  And my IT band isn't bugging me like it was before.

The run on Saturday was a lot of fun.  Still no one showing up for the 10:30 pace group so I ran with the 11:00ers again (all the better for me--I like those folks).  We had a group of about 8 up until mile 3.5 when a bunch turned back and just left me and two others.  One of the people I was with is an ultrarunner and was in the process of doing a 40 mile training run; she'd been up since 3:30am running, so we spent miles 12-24 of her run with her.  It was a lot of fun... exchanging stories about races and other stuff.  I always really love running with the ultrarunner because she's so steady and relaxed and good-natured.  Also they had water out on the course for us so I didn't have to take my fuelbelt, which was awesome.  I tried a gu gel for the first time and was not really impressed (I'll stick with Clif, I think--Gu was really overly sweet).  Twelve miles was Sarah's longest run to date, and she also had her first gel ever (and her reaction to eating gel was priceless... heh).

So last week I didn't hit 27 miles as I'd hoped to but I was close.  This week I'm aiming for 25-30 again and then I think next week I start introducing speed work and ramping up to 40 miles a week in the very near future (eek.)
I've been walking around with perpetually sore abs. They were sore after I did 5 miles Thursday night (that run was a nightmare btw... not enough sleep, not enough food all day, too much caffeine all day, and the usually "slow" group was cookin' along at a very much not-slow-for-me pace--we were running 9:30 for the first couple miles, and eventually I fell off the back of the pack and we were still doing 10:00 miles according to my garmin.  Anyway, I felt like complete crap... I think I was compensating by keeping my stomach muscles tight or something because MAN were they sore after that run...)  I can't wait until March when I'm done teaching at this terrible late afternoon time that messes up my ability to have anything resembling a healthy Thursday.

And my abs were even more sore after the 12 miles (maybe I was running funny? Or just that I haven't done runs that long in awhile? not sure).  The chiro has me doing side planks and these other back exercises daily, and I've missed a couple days because my abs are so sore.  I also recently got a door gym and I've been trying to do negative pullups in preparation for doing real pullups--right now I'm too weak for doing even a single pull up so I have to spend a few weeks starting in the "up" position and lowering myself slowly to build strength.  Weirdly, doing these pullup-things also seems to make my abs ridiculously sore.  Like, while I'm clinging to the bar for dear life and fighting to hang on, it also seems to give my abs a workout.  And now even sitting in this chair is making me remember that I have abs. Agh.

All in all though I'm feeling really good about my training right now.  It's only February and my next major race is in May.  Plenty of time left.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

run+food+nap = awesome day

I ran 10 miles this morning and overall I felt pretty damn good.  Good enough that I could've done more miles, if I had some water.  This week I ran 25 miles total, which doesn't sound like much, but I sort of had a mileage layoff in January so I'm comin' back from that.  Next week will be 30.  I feel really good about myself again just because I'm sort of back on track.  Running always makes such a huge difference to how I feel... it's kind of crazy.

Running with the Pacers is also going well... it's always extremely difficult to drag myself out of bed early enough to get dressed and drive to the store where the group meets, but the run is over pretty early in the day for me then and it's nice to have people to run with.

Also, nothing makes me happier than eating after a long run.  Running is worth it just for the eating, hunger is so much different and more authentic than regular hunger. Today i went to Dirty Frank's, this hot dog joint downtown, where I had 2 vegan dogs, fried leeks (they are AWESOME), and some tator-tatchoes (nachos with tater tots instead of chips).  Then I came home and had a 2 hour nap.  Now I let a whole day go by without being very productive, and I ate a whole bunch of greasy stuff when I normally try to eat post-run healthy food, but overall I think I really needed to just chill the hell out for a day.  I feel like a new person and like 95% less burnt out.

I've been needing a day like this for way too long.

Outlook for this upcoming week is great too:  the weather this week is going to be awesome (40's and 50s) so I can't wait to get out there and RUN IN SHORTS without freezing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Now for a delicious easy snack..

Avocados contain almost 20 different essential nutrients, including potassium (good for runners) and B-vitamins (good for vegans).  They are also possibly the yummiest food ever and the healthy fats make you feel full.  Nutritional yeast is a source of B-vitamins and protein.  Also, it's delicious and I'm freaking addicted to it.  Flaxseed is a good source of omega-3s.  So... combine the 3 in this magical way:

Raw Avocado "Fries"

  • Slice the avocado into strips (easily do this by cutting the avocado in half, removing the pit, then scoring lines down into each half with a knife and peeling the skin off)
  • on a shallow dish or plate, pour out a few Tbsp of ground flaxseed
  • add 1-2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • add 1/2 tsp of oregano (more if you want)
  • add 1/4 tsp of garlic powder (more if you want)
  • add 1 tsp sea salt
  • mix that together; coat each piece of avocado in this "breading"
I warmed mine in the oven at a low temp for just about 5 minutes, but you can also just eat them without doing that step.  This doesn't sound like much, but WOW... seriously.  This is officially my new favorite way to eat avocado.  I just realized that if I was going to post this I should've taken a photo, but I literally ate the whole avocado in under 3 minutes... sooo yeah, no photo to be had.  But trust me, you'll love this.  Next time I might add some dulse flakes as well.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blog makeover, etc.

So, with the new training season and some new goals, I've been working on a little redo around here.  When I first started this blog, it was simply to chronicle my training and the things I was thinking about as I trained for that first marathon--and a way to yammer on about running at will without annoying all of my non-running friends. It's also become something I didn't even expect... a way to virtually "meet" runners from all over the country and all over the world, which is completely awesome.

Now that that first marathon is over, though, I've been thinking more broadly about what I'd like my site to do.  I want to make this blog into more of a resource for people who might stumble in here wondering about veganism or vegan sports nutrition or contemplating a first marathon, or any number of running-related interests.  I really like the idea of having a site with some substance.

To those ends, there are new tabs along the top. They don't all have content yet, but they will.

  • "My story" is a little narrative of how I became a runner and what's kept me invested.  There's a version up now already but I will probably add more later.
  • "What I Eat" is going to be a page that will include a) a little personal food philosophy statement, and b) a section on being a vegan endurance athlete--tips for what to eat, easy ways to keep track of your nutrition without going insane, what I've learned as a vegan athlete in marathon training, etc.  I've been getting asked a lot about various nutrients and how I get them, what kind of protein I eat, whether I take supplements, etc, as well as how I make sure I'm eating a well-rounded diet in the first place, and I thought it would be nice to have a part of the site devoted to explaining some of that.  I will also comment on gels/sports drink/etc and what my pre-run/during run/post-run eating habits are.
  • "How I Train" will have some discussion of training plans I've followed and what I think works/doesn't work, at least for me.  I will also talk about other cross-training-ish things I do besides running.
  • "What I Wear" is a section devoted to commenting on gear I like.  This is because I constantly look for reviews of products before buying online and it seems I can never find anyone who's bothered to write a review of a lot of the stuff I want to buy.  So I'm going to start filling that void by putting in my own $.02 about assorted running gear.
  • "For New Runners" will be my cheesy little section where I wax philosophical and give advice to newbies... not so very long ago I wasn't a runner at all, and there's a lot I've learned along the way. I want a little spot to share what I've learned.  I'll probably also have a "what I learned from marathon training" list or something as well. 
Other things I'm considering:  more food posts; hooking my site back up to my account (I 'unhooked' it because I don't like that when I upload my garmin data to daily mile it also shows the entire universe where I do my runs on a google map... and I don't know how to make that stop..); maybe a little photo thingy that rotates various race photos.  Maybe a tab for "running in Columbus, Ohio" where I talk about good parks/trails/routes around the city and good stores and running groups!  
Today I did a very cold, kinda icy 8 miles.  Decision to wear shorts in 32 degree weather = not a very good decision.  I thought it was warmer than it ended up feeling by about the last 3 miles.  But oh well.  And, I pencilled in my very first number on my new Daniels training plan!
See that tiny tiny handwritten 8 in the Sunday column???  Yep, that's it! (sorry--terrible cell phone photo there...!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And so it begins!

My marathon training schedule is officially planned.... I printed it out and decorated it with colored crayola markers, much to the amusement of my friends, but hey whatever makes me feel enthusiastic.  :o)  I'm going with Marathon A plan from Daniels' Running Formula--a slightly abbreviated version, because I have 15 weeks remaining instead of the 24 he recommends.  But, he says you can be ready in less, and he gives this little chart to help you know how many weeks to spend in each of 4 training phases if you only have x weeks remaining.

Things that are good about this program:  I've read a bunch of blogs and people report great success with increasing speed on this plan;  I'm interested in trying something new after following a rather straightforward Higdon plan the last time around.

Things I'm not sure about yet:  This plan is REALLY flexible.  I have a bunch of blank boxes and only 2 planned workouts per week.  The blank boxes will be filled in with however much I end up running--this plan goes by weekly mileage, and it doesn't matter how you distribute those miles around the 2 planned quality workouts.  I wanted to try to distribute them ahead of time, but people online suggest keeping it flexible and running based on feel (if you feel great, do a few more miles that day... if you feel crappy take a rest day and make it up later in the week, etc.)  So in theory this sounds great, but I know that I am the type of person who follows a plan... if I know that the schedule says to run 5 miles on a certain day I'll make sure to run those 5 miles, while if the schedule is "eh run whatever you feel like" i'm much more likely to procrastinate and then end up in the last 2 days of the week with 20 miles still to run to meet my weekly goal.  On one hand I think trying to have discipline without a plan will be sort of good for me, but on the other I'm a little bit nervous.  We'll see how it goes.

I also don't know what my current Vo2max is... you use a 5k time to estimate it, and it is important because it determines the 5 different training paces that Daniels uses, but my most recent 5k time was September.  I think tomorrow or something I'm going to have to do a 5k test run and try to convince myself it's like a race to see how I do... except we just had a mega-ice storm so it's going to be basically impossible to get good footing.  Maybe I should just roll with the September time.

My season:  Here's the plan!

  • Run Cbus 10 miler, April 10 - this is a B-level priority for me... I want to do it but have to make sure I can afford the "big" races I want to do
  • Cap City Half Marathon, May 7th-ish --this is a great race and lots of my friends are doing it, but I can't run this one because of Cleveland, so I'm gonna be a course volunteer.  It's on the list here cus it's something I'm really looking forward to even if I'm not running it  :D
  • Cleveland Marathon,  May 15 -- the big goal is to hit 4:40 or under
  • Sunburst Half Marathon, June 4 --I'll be in South Bend this weekend for non-running reasons, so I may as well do this race!  I'd do the full instead of Cleveland, but I can't be hobbling and limping along the day after the race for this one.  I need to be in good shape that Sunday because apparently I'm giving a public speech.  (? i know right?)  I'm hoping I can have a shot at a PR even though it's only a few weeks after Cleveland.  After half a season of marathon training I should be in good shape to completely blow up my current half PR.
  • Tough Mudder in Wisconsin (July) -- This is a pretty expensive mud-slingin' adventure race; an 8 mile course with like 17 obstacles, basically like Warrior Dash on 'roids.  S. has expressed interest in this one and if my other friend and his cousin will also commit to going, we'd have people to stay with in Wisconsin so the only costs would be registration and transportation.  I think it would be ridiculously fun in the right company, so it's on the radar--not confirmed yet.
  • Columbus Marathon in October -- yeah I really want to repeat this one.... whatever.  It's fun that a race this awesome is right here in my backyard, and lots of my training buds will be doing it.  
So... that's it.  I guess I should get back to working on my dissertation.  I came to the little cafe/deli I always go to, and I ran into some regulars I hadn't seen in awhile.  This happens all the time here and it seriously gives me the warm fuzzies.