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People often tell me I’m crazy for being a distance runner. I wouldn’t say I’m crazy, but it’s definitely mental.
It’s alllll mental.
For me, once I got the basic conditioning, running became a mental exercise. For my long runs, I’ve learned some little mind games that I have to do in order to get my runs in the way I should.
If I run in my neighborhood, I will more than likely cut it short and go home early at the first sign of discomfort. Even if it’s just being tired, or a random “phantom pain” that will pass in a minute. It has nothing to do with my physical ability. It’s just knowing that I’m so close to home and could easily change my route and just go home.
Yep, I’m a wuss.
So to counteract this, for my 16 miler today (couldn’t do it this weekend because of Irene), I told myself I wasn’t allowed to run in my neighborhood. I had to run straight out of there, and get a decent distance away. Because then I would know that I had no choice but to cover that distance to get home.
I felt good when I started my run. There were a lot of hills on the route I took today. I feel like my area is nothing but hills. I never noticed it until I started really running more, but it’s like every single road has some big hill on it. And you never notice those in cars either…
My second mind game is when it comes to my pace. I’ve learned that I simply can’t look at it while I’m running. I can feel great, and strong, and if I look at my pace and see that I’m doing well, I start feeling tired. Even if I’m not. It’s just because of the number. So now I cover the pace on my garmin before I look at it, so that way I’m not tempted to check.
For the first 9 miles, I was feeling pretty good. Somewhere around there, I started to get a stiff knee and some soreness in my right ankle (not the one I broke). So I slowed down a bit. I didn’t need to run fast, I just needed to get my miles in.
The rest of my run was okay. Not great, but not horrible. My ankle and knee were uncomfortable, but not unmanageable. Most of the roads around here are cambered (sloped from the middle so water runs off), which I think is what is causing my ankle issue. So I tried to run on the flattest spot, or on the grass. This seemed to help.
So the rest of the run was alright. I definitely slowed down a bit, but I finished strong. I had to go up a huge hill right at the end, and I tried to push. My hills are getting much stronger lately. I think that’s mostly thanks to my extremely hilly neighborhood. I put that last hill behind me and finished out the end of my run.
When I was done, I checked my garmin. 16 miles at a 9:56/mile pace. Hooray! It’s not amazingly fast, but anything in the 9’s makes me happy for my long runs.
Here’s the splits:
- Mile 1 – 9:31
- Mile 2 – 9:45
- Mile 3 – 9:45
- Mile 4 – 9:48
- Mile 5 – 9:44
- Mile 6 – 9:54
- Mile 7 – 9:50
- Mile 8 – 9:55
- Mile 9 – 9:55
- Mile 10 – 10:27 (slowing down)
- Mile 11 – 10:14
- Mile 12 – 10:04
- Mile 13 – 10:14
- Mile 14 – 10:06
- Mile 15 – 9:46 (finishing strong up the hill)
- Mile 16 – 10:08
So I’m four weeks away from marathon #3. I’ve got my 18 miler this coming weekend and then my 20. Then it’s taper time! I’m really looking forward to running at Schroon again. It was a great race last year, even if my knees decided to rebel. I can’t wait to see what I can do this time. Hopefully my good knees will come along that day too. 🙂
Also, yay! This is my 200th post!
I’m feeling much better. I took a few days off from running to work out whatever the heck it was that was plaguing my right foot. Initially, I thought it was my plantar fasciitis coming back, but then the more I paid attention to it, that didn’t seem quite right. Then I thought, pulled muscle? But it went away in about two days, which seems way too fast for a pulled muscle.
We were talking about it at Crossfit on Tuesday, and someone said maybe it was a really bad cramp from being dehydrated. So I went home and drank a lot of water, rested, and wouldn’t you know it, my foot started feeling much better by the end of the day. Wednesday morning, it still wasn’t quite right, but significantly better. And by that night, cramp was gone.
Usually I carry a water bottle around with me, and I regularly drink over 100 ounces of water a day. But for a few days there, I hadn’t been doing that. I’m surprised I felt it so dramatically, but after just a day or two back to my regular water intake, I was feeling much better. Good to know.
Monday morning I went out for a short 4 mile run around my neighborhood. I’ve learned not to look at my pace while I run. I just go based on how I’m feeling, and when I’m done, then I let myself look.
Well, on my run that morning, I did 4 miles at a 9:01/mile pace. And I felt good! The first three miles were at an 8:56/mile pace, but my last mile had a big uphill, so I slowed down a bit. But overall, I’ve improved a lot since this time last year! I’m really excited!
Here’s the splits:
- Mile 1 – 8:45
- Mile 2 – 8:50
- Mile 3 – 9:12
- Mile 4 – 9:16 (big hill)
Then, tonight after work, I went out for a nice 5 miler, again around my neighborhood. I didn’t feel like I was really pushing the speed too much, but I ended up doing the first 4 miles at a 9:07/mile pace, and then busted my butt on the last mile to try and get it below 9:00/mile. I ended up with a 8:58/mile average pace. Booyah!
Here’s the splits for tonight:
- Mile 1 – 8:53
- Mile 2 – 9:05
- Mile 3 – 9:06
- Mile 4 – 9:24 (big hill)
- Mile 5 – 8:20 (heck yeah!)
How much do I love that my slower pace going up a huge half mile long hill is 9:24??? I’ve come a long way since this time last year.
This week last year, I ran
- 5 miles at 11:16/mile
- 4 miles at 12:12/mile
- 6 miles at 10:44/mile
- 18 miles at 10:14/mile
I don’t know about my pace for my long run this weekend. We’ll have to see how that goes. But my last long run was 14 miles at 9:38/mile, so I’ve definitely improved on the long runs too.
I always used to be so amazed with women I knew who ran in the 8’s and faster. It always seemed like some unobtainable goal for me. It’s still amazing and very inspiring, but I no longer feel like I’ll never get there. I know I can. It’s just going to take some time and hard work. But I’ll get there!
Over the last week or so, I’ve developed a nagging feeling in my right foot. It appears that my plantar fasciitis is back, and I’m so irritated. It’s not anything debilitating, but it’s annoying and frustrating, nonetheless.
Since my next marathon is in just a few weeks, I’ll have to manage it until then, and then rest it afterwards. That’s really the only way to get it to go away, which sucks.
To manage it, I can do a few things:
- Wearing supportive shoes as much as possible
- Rolling my foot – I have a Foot Rubz ball, which is awesome, but you can also use a tennis ball or frozen water bottle in a pinch.
- Icing my foot
- Stretching my calves – tight calf muscles can lead to a tight achilles, which can lead to plantar fasciitis. The first time I dealt with this, my tight calves were definitely the culprit, but I don’t feel that problem as much this time. But it still can’t hurt.
- Resting my feet as much as possible – Really the only way to get it to go away. Since I’m still training, I won’t be resting completely, but every little bit helps.
Also, a tragedy has struck my house…
MY TOFU PRESS DIED!!!
I love that thing so much, it’s incredible. There is always a block of tofu in my fridge, pressing away. And now I can’t! Part of the lid snapped, and now I can’t lock it down to press anything.
I’m so sad.
For now, I borrowed my friend’s press. Anybody want to get me a new one? I don’t think I can survive without it.
EDIT: The more I pay attention to it, I don’t think it’s my plantar fasciitis coming back. I think I just pulled a muscle in my foot from hobbling around all weekend. All the same, I’m still stuck on the couch with an ice pack. Boo. Although, I’d rather take a pulled muscle.
Every morning when you wake up you make a choice. What kind of day will today be? Will I get my workouts in like I planned? Will I do my work that I need to do? Will I eat well and choose foods that are nutritious and good for me?
Or… will I sit on my butt all day and watch TV and eat junk?
This whole week, I made great choices. I got all my workouts in, I’m absolutely LOVING crossfit, I ate really well, made great progress on a huge house project, and I walked the dogs every day – sometimes more than once. I was feeling great.
At crossfit on Friday, we did a squat ladder – you start with one squat in the first minute, two the second, three the third, and so on. You go until you run out of time in the minute and can’t fit any more squats in. I made it to 28 minutes. I could have done more, but since it was my first time, I wasn’t using any weight on my bar, so I never maxed out. Next time I’ll use some more weight.
When I got home, being the nerd I am, I added it up to see how many squats I did total…
four hundred and six.
Yep, you read that right. Four hundred and six squats.
Yowza. I knew I would be feeling that on Saturday.
The next morning, when I woke up, I rolled over and immediately felt those squats exacting their revenge. I could barely walk all day. I hobbled around downtown with Chelsea for a while and must have looked like a nut.
So Saturday was a lost cause for my long run. There was no way that was going to happen. Unfortunately, when I have a workout that gets tossed, I tend to make bad choices for the rest of the day. So Saturday was spent hobbling around, sitting on the couch, and eating really junky food. Lots of it. Bad choice #1.
Sunday, yet again, I woke up and my legs argued with me. Things were slightly better than Saturday, but still not looking good for my long run. So yet again, I spent my time being pretty sedentary, and eating poorly. Bad choice #2.
Today, my legs were not quite good again, but getting much closer. However, my bad choices continued throughout the day, and I ate lots of junky foods, and spent the day angry with myself for all the excuses I had made over the last two and a half days.
So today, it was raining ALLLLL day and ALLLLL night, and I was sitting on the couch getting madder and madder at myself for not doing my 14 miler and making excuses yet AGAIN. At 5:30 tonight, I was so irritated with myself that I grabbed my stuff and said “screw it” and headed out the door in the pouring rain for my 14 miler.
I ended up running 14 miles, by myself, in the pouring rain, with no ipod, and giving myself a new PR.
My 13.1 split was 2:05 (so close to a 2:00 half!!!), and my average pace for the whole 14 miles was 9:38/mile. I used to be consistently in the 10’s for my long runs, and I’ve been comfortable at 9:45/mile for 6-ish milers for a while now, but I haven’t done a long run with that speed, ever.
Even though my quads were still really sore and tired, I felt strong and really great. My neighborhood is insanely hilly, and I just powered up those suckers like they weren’t even there. I don’t know where that strength came from! It’s awesome to see all the hard work (running with people who are faster than me, biking a lot, eating better, and crossfit) paying off.
So now the “bad choice demons” are extinguished for the night. I’m proud and feeling good. I counteracted those not-so-good decisions by making one really good one, and that’s what I need to do to break the cycle and get back on track. I find that when I start to get frustrated, things just keep going downhill, and I have a heck of a time getting back on track. But for me, that’s the way to do it.
Stop the presses! I have found the most amazing ice cream recipe on the planet.
Yesterday, I was wandering around town, and on a whim, I decided to go into the library. I spent a while puttering around and ended up coming out with seven books.
One of those books was “The Vegan Scoop” by Wheeler Del Torro.
Of course, I couldn’t resist, so I then immediately went to the grocery store to grab some soy creamer (I don’t drink coffee, so I never have creamer at home. Also, I hate the taste of coconut, so coconut creamer is a no-no for me). When I got home, I grabbed our ice cream maker (hooray for wedding presents!) and got to work.
Of course, being me, I HAD to start with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl ice cream. Duh.
By the time it was done churning, I needed to go to bed, so I popped it in the freezer and went off to dream about amazing vegan ice cream that was unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I’ve always been just a TAD disappointed with vegan ice cream. So my hopes were high.
First thing this morning, I pulled it out of the freezer to check the texture – it looked perfect!
It’s a beautiful summer day, and I figured delicious ice cream would be a great way to finish off my lunch. But I was really just too excited to wait until dinner. 🙂
So I scooped…
It was creamy. It scooped like magic.
I resisted the urge to pile tons of it into a huge bowl and devour it all in one sitting.
I even managed to contain myself long enough to take a picture!
And then I dove in.
After the first bite, I think I was in love. I had to stop and just close my eyes for a second to enjoy the flavor.
It was rich. It was decadent. It was creamy and smooth.
It was bliss.
It was gone in ten seconds.
I can’t wait to make another one!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream from “The Vegan Scoop”
- 1 cup soymilk
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 cup soy creamer
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- Combine the arrowroot powder with 1/4 cup of the soymilk. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, mix remaining soymilk, creamer, sugar, cocoa, and chocolate chips. Melt the chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat as soon as it begins to boil.
- Add in the arrowroot mixture and vanilla. This should cause the mixture to thicken.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Once chilled, follow the directions on your ice cream maker to freeze. Add in peanut butter in the last few minutes of freezing.
My first day of Crossfit was yesterday. Now that I’ve had time to relax, rest, and reflect on it, I’m ready to sit down and organize my thoughts.
1. This stuff is AWESOME!
I had such a great time yesterday. The people were all incredibly nice and encouraging. The workout was tough, but do-able. And just the fact that I was working out with other people pushed me to work harder than I would on my own.
2. DOMS is a bitch.
When I went home, I immediately jumped in the shower and when I went to wash my hair, I realized my arms were already incredibly tired (our workout included lots of pull ups and kettlebell swings). But later last night… Oh my. I was still able to brush my teeth and take out my contacts to go to bed, but it was definitely an effort. Today I’m feeling pretty good.
3. Getting up early is really quite nice!
Don’t tell my dad I said that. But I loved getting home from my class and realizing that even though I had already been awake for three and a half hours, it was still before the time that I would have gotten up on my own (I get lazy in the summer).
It’s only been one day so far, but I’m already in love with Crossfit. I can’t wait for my next workout! Just the act of getting up early and getting a good workout in has caused me to be more focused with my other workouts, and my nutrition. My runs yesterday and this morning were really good. I also ate well yesterday, and felt great because of it. I have a tendency to snack mindlessly when I get bored, and when I’m making such an effort to train, I’m much more aware of that habit.
So now that the day is young and my workouts are already done (ahhh… the joy of morning workouts…), I’m going to go enjoy a lovely summer day.
Also, I think all of this is making me perkier, no?
Tomorrow morning I start Crossfit, and I can’t wait!
I checked out my local Crossfit box last week. I did their one-on-one intro session and loved it. It’s challenging and the people there are sweet, helpful, and so encouraging. Even just doing my baseline test, I felt like I wanted to push myself harder than I would on my own simply because they were cheering me on. It’s amazing how motivating others can be.
I plan on taking some “before” pictures tonight. I’ve heard from many people that their bodies changed dramatically due to Crossfit, and I’d like to be able to see the progress. I always forget to take before pictures, but I finally remembered for once!
I’ll keep you updated with my Crossfit experience! I’m looking forward to it!
I feel like I’ve been so sporadic lately! My summer work is officially done as of yesterday and now it’s time to train, train, train. This summer I taught a 5 week class, and then did a 5 week research program with one of my students. Now I still have lots of work to do, but no set meetings so everything is very flexible.
I’ve been starting to get back into cooking again. It was hard for a while because we bought the house and moved, everything was a mess, and the kitchen was pretty empty for a while there. But as of today we’ve been in the house for four months, and we’re feeling pretty settled. Things are clean(ish) and the kitchen is stocked(ish), and I’m ready to get back into the kitchen and try new recipes.
Over the last couple days I’ve made some great dinners straight out of Veganomicon. I love that cookbook so much. Everyone should have a copy in their kitchen.
Dinner #1: Greek-style Tomato-Zucchini Fritters with Fresh Herbs and Mediterranean-style Cashew-Cucumber Dip and green beans
These. were. AWESOME. After his first bite, my husband said he thought it was the best vegan meal he had ever had (thus far…). He then polished off his plate and ran back into the kitchen for more. I decided to bake them instead of fry. They still came out great. (recipe)
Dinner #2: Broccoli-Millet Croquettes with Grilled Asparagus
The fritters were my husband’s favorite vegan meal… Until I made these two nights later. I was going to make them with the Dill-Tahini Sauce (Isa and Terry also suggest White Bean Aioli, but I’m a sucker for dill), but realized I was out of tahini after it was too late. They were still awesome just on their own. I can’t wait to try them again with the sauce! (recipe)
On the training side of things, I went for a run with one of my coworker friends yesterday. He’s 6’4″ and his legs are about twice the length of mine (I’m only 5 feet tall), so I was pushing faster than I would on a normal run – and it was great! I liked running with him because it made me push myself (speed-wise) beyond what I would do alone. We ended up doing 6 miles at a 9:15/mile pace. The first four miles were actually around 9:00/mile, but I slowed down a little for the last two.
This weekend I’ve got a 16 miler to do. It’s been terrible here lately with crazy heat, but things seem to have cooled off a bit. I hope it lasts through the weekend! I don’t handle heat well at all.
On top of the running, I finally got a road bike! Wohooooo!
Mine is silver and blue, but you get the idea. It’s a Specialized Dolce 48cm. So far, I love it! Until a few weeks ago, I’d been riding a mountain bike with slicks, and it was ROUGH. But this thing is like riding on air!
I should be calling it a night though. My sleep patterns are all out of whack and I really need to get back to normal. I hope you are all having a fantastic summer so far!