June 23, 2011

Lessons from a renegade plan

Since I have yet to find anyone that has run a TM and a full marathon back to back, it leaves me with no choice but to create a renegade training plan on a whim, and fix/change it as I go. I learned A CRAP TON of lessons this week.

Last week, I ran my long run on Thursday with a friend. Successful. I slacked off Friday and Saturday, then ran the WWB Sunday, and I was sore. So the not smart decision, ie...what I did, was head out for my normal run on Monday, 3 or 4 miles. Didn't go so well, made it about a mile, and decided...let's run sprints. That's the obvious answer. (total sarcasm inserted here.) So I ran 12 of those. Enter more soreness. So then come around to Tuesday, cross-training day. Successfully did plenty of hamstring bridges, wall squats, burpees, etc, etc.


Then that brings us around to today (had Wednesday off, thank heavens!). Today I decided, like last week, to run my long run. I behaved for dinner, went to bed early, tossed and turned thinking about the 8 miles in the morning and how sore I already (still) felt. I woke up at 0415, changed, and headed to the trail. Before I got past the monuments, I realized how dark it still was, and being the chicken that I am...deemed the trail not safe until at least the sun semi came out. So instead, I decided to park by the Capitol and wing it. BAD IDEA. What ended up happening is this: I ran up by the pool in front of the Capitol, back down Madison towards Wash Mon, past the WWII Memorial, over to the Lincoln...(UM someone failed to tell me that the reflection pool is completely jacked up...ruining my tranquil-ness!), over to the Korean Vet Memorial then back up the same route. A gnat flew in my eye TWICE by the Washington Monument, one even got stuck in there causing me to wipe my eyes, causing my mascara from previously to make me look like I've been crying...which I may as well have been. This morning sucked. Not going to lie. There was a portion of the run where I second guessed my decision to run the marathon.

I second guessed my decision to run the marathon.

Not the Tough Mudder.

The marathon.

The TM just SEEMS like so much more fun than running on the road for over 5 hours. And I already have a Tough Mudder shirt, meaning, if you have the shirt, you HAVE to do the run.

I find myself in this weird spot where I want to do so much, and still need to find the balance. I now know, hills then sprints then xt is a horrible idea. I know I prefer to do long runs with a buddy, and I know that walls are not just found in marathons, they are day to day. I'm still working on my solution to bust through the walls.

ALSO: Today I ran with my shirt tucked into my bra....veeeeery brave of me. It made me think of some etiquette/rules for going shirtless.

1. If you're a man and sexy DO IT PLEASE. It helps motivate me/It's really yummy to look at you pass by.

2. If you do not have a flat tummy, probably keep your shirt on...

3. If you are iffy about whether you have a flat enough tummy, running before the hours of 7am is acceptable with your shirt off (like I did). Consider it like vampire rules, only until the sun comes out, or after the sun goes down :)

(sidebar...the Korean Vet Memorial scared me when I was in 6th grade, and it still creeps me out today...)

June 20, 2011

W&OD and WWB

"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit." - George Sheehan

I'm an extremely lucky girl. I have amazing friends who are willing to listen to me complain about my self inflicted pains from training, who will go beyond what is necessary for their own training, and who will boost me up with simple words of encouragement when I feel that doubt set in.

I decided to run my long run on Thursday this week, due to certain events that happened. I was scheduled for 7 miles, and decided last minute to run with a friend of mine. The initial decision was to run 5 with him, then finish the two on my own...but thankfully, at the turn around point for the 5 miles, he decided to do the full 7 with me. This was a day that I truly needed someone to suffer in silence with me....even if it seemed like I was the only one suffering and begging for a walk break. We went out on the W&OD Trail, which can seem isolated at best. I count the 7.5 miles as a success, and I look forward to running again with him (fingers crossed) for my 8 miles this Saturday. There's something comforting about running with someone you've known for so long, where there are times you can chat and give each other advice, and times that a whole mile will go by without needing to say a word. Not to mention them not getting completely grossed out by how sweaty you become...I was even allowed to go to Subway after :)

On Sunday, I decided to try a new route that a friend told me about. It's the WWB Trail (Woodrow Wilson Bridge), and it is harder than it looks. These pictures I'm adding don't do justice to the way my legs felt climbing a mile up the bridge, sailing the mile down, before climbing the mile back UP the bridge, only to sail back down and head back to the car.

The bridge has great views of Alexandria, and little viewing stops where you can look through the binocular things (name escapes me) and see all the way to the monumets. On the other side of the bridge to can eventuall see National Harbor, and there's a beautiful park area with benches and facts about the area and trail. And tons of wasps. I'm surprised nothing stung me...honestly. I was dodging and weaving from those suckers for the entire 4 miles. My legs were pretty tired from that, and I'm pretty sure I sprinted the last half or quarter mile down hill to the car because I was so done with the trail :) I will do it again, however, not after a long run. This is something you should do days before your 7 miles. Good times. Good challenge.

"Aspire to be great instead of good, aspire to be remembered instead of forgotten, aspire to accompish what others have and have not done, aspire to be yourself and nothing else for when you strive to be yourself everything is limitless because you are not holding yourself to the limits of others." - Troy Streacker

June 14, 2011

Don't mind if I do...

Woot! Get pumped! I just ordered a new pair of running shoes, running shorts, running tank, and running sports bras, got the Foo Fighters ready to go, and my brand new stability ball pumped up, and the kettle bell waiting for me when I get home.


Yesterday I ran a very successful 3.5 miles, complete with my right foot falling asleep for the last half mile (weird, right?). It was gorgeous outside, I ran in 33:34, so not too shabby. I hope this weather continues because I am lovin the no humidity!

Sidebar, saw a few older gents (assume military) running shirtless yesterday, and I have to say, in the words of Rachel Ray, 'YUM-O'!!! Weird? Maybe...but all three of these guys were ten times more ripped than any guy my age I've seen on that trail. Cheers to you guys for making that run just a little bit easier. I almost said "Thank you" as I passed them by without realizing. Glad I caught myself :D

I'm hyped up for a little cross training today, and planning out a new route for my miles tomorrow.


June 13, 2011

T-Minus 139 Days!

I've written and rewritten the first paragraph for this posting a few times now, writing, reading, and deleting due to my own negativity.

Saturday I was scheduled to run 5.6 miles at Iwo Jima at 7am with my charity team, Team Semper Fi Fund, or TSFF from here on out. I had a semi late night on Friday...which helped me learn (AGAIN) a valuable lesson. I had a ridiculously hard time getting myself out of bed at 7am, so I decided to skip the team run and log the miles later in the day on my own. Ohhh hindsight....why are we sooo acquainted?

I finally rolled out of bed around 1030am and made a mad dash for all my running clothes to get dressed before I convinced myself that the bed was more comfy. I ended up at the Roosevelt Island parking lot at around 11, and I got situated with my camelbak for the 6 miles. An unshaded trail at midday was not the best decision I've made, and I definitely paid for it. I set out running, and fizzled off and on thanks to the humidity, already dehydration from the night before, and just my sucky attitude. Sucky, sucky attitude. Instead of telling myself, 'You got this! You are going to destroy these 6 miles!' I went with the pansy approach...another lesson learned.

I turned around at Gravelly Point with the planes flying overhead and heading for the car. The second half of my run included way more running than the first half. I decided that no matter how fast I am moving/shuffling/grandmas could walk fast than me at this pace, I needed to keep moving, if only to finally get to the gatorade, shade and air conditioner.

Today I'm heading out for the usual three, and I wish I woke up to run before work this morning because it was the coolest it's been in a good while. Hope this means that after work won't be as bad also. Currently contemplating the Custis or just the Mt. Vernon for a quick 3. Also hoping to shake off the funk I've found myself in ever since I realized not many people think I will survive through the mudder and the marathon. I think I can do it, I just want others on board :) I guess now is the time to prove to them otherwise!

June 08, 2011

Swamp Run

Yesterday was a great day to stay inside. I'm stubborn. I went outside. I changed at work and went straight to the Roosevelt Island parking lot, and decided semi-last minute to run on the island for some "trail running" to aid in my training for the TM. I unknowingly took the Swamp Trail, following an older asian gentleman into the woods and trying to keep a safe, but within eyesight distance to keep my pace. Well, old man was hauling butt! I eventually gave up on trying to keep up with him, and found myself crossing onto wooden planks for about a mile of the 1.3 trail.

This trail is beautiful, and it's definitely a swamp. I felt like I was running through a rainforest, with the bugs and birds making noise and the thick, humid air filling my lungs. I was dripping with sweat, and sucking down water from my new camelbak, which btw I LOVE!

I love trail running because it makes you feel more connected with your surroundings. I don't wear my ipod or anything like that, and I usually run alone, so all that I have is the sound of my breathing, my footfall, and whatever is in my environment. (And the sloshing of water in my Camelbak). It's easier to disconnect yourself from your day and just focus on that moment.

The trail doesn't go on forever, and before I knew it I was back at the bridge to cross over to the Mt Vernon Trail. I ran a little ways on there, then headed back to the car to grab my kettle bell for some swings and arm workout. I did squats and lunges for good measure, and I feel the effort today, used in a good way.

This morning I was able to roll out of bed in enough time to make it to NSV for my BoMF run. It's the first one I'm able to attend in a looong time, and I was happy I made the effort. NSV is about a mile away from my new apartment, so I strapped on the Camelbak and sprinted there, walked with a member about a mile, then ran the mile back home and came to work.

I love coming to work and already feeling like I've accomplished something for the day.

Life is good to me.

June 06, 2011

Diary of a badass

Most will replace the bad in badass with dumb...but I prefer it my way. Today I did something crazy. I signed up for the VA Tough Mudder, an ridic race that's a week before my first full marathon. Here's to hoping this does not come back to bite me, and that I don't get hurt either training, or racing.

This now brings me to:
July 4: 5k
Sept 18: Philly Rock'n'Roll Half
Oct 23: Tough Mudder
Oct 30: Marine Corps Marathon

Yikes. Time to revise my plan of attack and training schedule. I'm switching one of my weekday runs to a trail run and incorporating more weights and strength training into the cross-training days. Hello body I've never seen before! Time to change my diet too while I'm at it. Less beer, more healthy foods...I'm already on the right track with my eating, just need to cut back on the drinking.

On October 30, when the miles get tough, I will be able to dig deep, look at myself and say, "This is nothing. I did a TM, and I am a badass." .....I hope! :)

No turning back now. Registration is paid, and you know how I feel about that! If I pay, I play. THIS is how you live life!

June 03, 2011


Frienemy #1. The Weather. Listen up Mother Nature....waiting to rain until I've finished my run and am driving (sweatily..new word?) to my apartment, not cool. If it's going to rain, I prefer it happen while I'm out pounding the pavement to get some relief from the heat. Also, making today an absolutely GORGEOUS day, not too hot, not humid at all...that's not cool. Today is my running day off, and I am extremely disappointed, considering I sweat my ass off yesterday, which brings me to...

Frienemy #2. The Custis Trail. You are a jerk, as are all the people who told me to go run on it, but failed to mention the at least mile long climb you suffer through right in the beginning. Yesterday, I was feeling brave and decided to park at my normal spot after work, but run towards Rosslyn instead of on the Mt. Vernon Trail. My mistake. The very first thing you hit, after maybe a tenth of a mile of flat road, is a big ole hill to get into Rosslyn. Then the trail turns into the Custis. I shudder at the name. I used to think I loved hills, and that I was fairly good at running them and sucking it up to get to the top. And I think this could have been the case, had I ever gotten a break from the uphill! The only benefit was knowing eventually I would turn around and head back downhill. Some people probably would have copped out halfway up the hill that had no end in sight and headed to flat land...but I'm extremely stubborn when it comes to running. This is when you embrace the suck. I know MCM is not flat (nor is it THAT hilly) and I know that running these hills now and preparing myself is way smarter than keeping to mostly flat runs, so hence the love/hate relationship I have right now.

Going up and down my apartment stairs now hurts so good.

Frienemy #3. The "Sexy, Can I" song. I think it began as motivation to myself to sing about getting sexy, but now I can't get the damn song out of my head ON EVERY SINGLE RUN. It's like some weird default my brain goes to to keep my mind occupied. The best part is that I don't even know the whole song. I just have the catchy loop. I don't run with an ipod, so this is what works for me. There are a few other songs that go on the brain rotation as well, but since I'm not running right now...I can't actually think of them. But they are also my frienemies. I love the entertainment, but hate it at the same time.

In other news, 5k tomorrow with a good friend of mine! Woot Woot! If I behave and only drink water tonight (yeah, good luck...) then the plan is to run the 3 miles to the race start from my apartment, then run the 5k with my friend, and check that off as my long run to close out this training week.

Whaddup 149 days!

June 02, 2011

Respect the process: 150 Days

Sometimes I can get so driven and determined to complete all my training runs for the marathon, that I lose sight of the fact that running is still supposed to be fun and enjoyable. I get swept up in the desire to see immediate results, a change in my body, or endurance...that I need to remind myself to respect the process. I know my endurance won't change overnight. Patience is a virtue that I continually reach for in my life and in my training.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of running with Erin again, for a new weekly ritual. Often times when I run alone, I get so introspective and try to untangle my problems in my head, that I forget how beautiful the trail is, how awesome it is to run past all the monuments, how captivating DC can be from far away, how GREAT it feels to sweat everything out...

Running with her reminds me that this can be a social activity. It's a great way to 'bond' and catch up with a good friend, swap stories, fears, excitements. I got to express my concerns over running with people more experienced, and she in turn was able to help me see that I'm missing the point of what running and training with friends can do. So, starting next Wednesday, I plan to attend the morning meetings of Cardozo Crawlers for their track workouts after my morning run with BoMF.

I'm the worst about giving myself credit for accomplishing goals in running, so hopefully this is a good start for me! Today I will go out for a few miles, and just try to enjoy the ability to be out there.

If anyone is sitting on the fence about lacing up today, I encourage you to go! It's not AS hot today, and the effort is what's important. Put on your shoes, leave your watch at home, and just run for the love of running.

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