Friday, November 23, 2012

One Does Not Simply Walk 26.2 Miles While Watching Lord of the Rings

This is awesome!

A woman who goes by the name preservetheverve decided to walk/run 26.2 miles while watching all three of films in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.  From The Mary Sue:
Here’s what she had to say, “In honor of The Hobbit coming out in December, I decided to have an unexpected journey of my own. 26.2 miles in 9 hours and 18 minutes, a movie marathon marathon.” Before you put on your nerd monocle and fault her for not watching the extended editions, first of all, think about how long that would be, second of all, read this: “When we watch our family LOTR marathon for real we will watch all three extended edition blurays on widescreen with hobbit themed food.” Booya.

So what’s next? “Now I just have to figure out how to do a Triwizard Triathlon,” she wrote. I can see this catching on. Before you try it yourself though, read the comments on her post to hear the entire experience.
Gives new meaning to the term "runnerd," doesn't it?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Run Turkey Run 5K - Race Round-Up

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for having the means to travel to my parents' home in Connecticut.  Even though being here can be weird sometimes, it's still nice to come back.

I'm thankful that I'm healthy enough to run.  This one goes without saying.  I'm thankful that I haven't had any major injuries or illnesses (knocking on wood) that have kept me from doing something that I love.

I'm thankful that I can find and register for a race no matter where I travel.  After the Marine Corps Marathon, I didn't really think about my post-race plan.  I would run, of course, but I wasn't sure that I would race beyond one or two holiday-themed races in DC. I figured that since I was home, it would be a great time to run with my dad so I went on a search for Turkey Trots within a reasonable distance.  I settled on the Run Turkey Run 5K -- the price, distance, and distance from my bed were right.

I'm thankful that I can run with my dad.  My dad basically said, "If this is what you want to do on Thursday morning, this is what we'll do."

I'm thankful for challenges.  Dad drove us to the race. We started together, but I wanted a little bit more of push and went on ahead.  The course was an out-and-back along a trail in Hamden. It was a pretty straight forward course, and there was a bit of bunching at the beginning but things thinned out.   I wanted a PR, so I started the race at about an 8:30 pace and held that for the first mile.  The second mile was a little bit slower, but I was able to pick up the pace for the last mile.  According to my watch, I hit 3.1 miles in 27:25 (Personal Best - 25:47 at the most recent Love the Run You're With). 

I'm not entirely disappointed by this.  I made a lot of progress in my first year of running because I had a lot of progress to make.  Now, if I want to run faster, it's clear that I'm going to have work a lot harder to reach my fitness and time goals.

I would love nothing more than to PR at this year's Jingle All the Way 8K.  It's two weeks away, but I have plenty of time to get in a few really good runs and speed workouts.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Adios Barbie: Binary Thinking About Body Image Hurts Us All

Supporters of the “Black is Beautiful” campaign and several others similar to sought to redefine beauty in ways that both included and uplifted black women from what Princeton professor Imani Perry describes as the “generally degrading and unattractive, or hypersexual and less feminine” images of black women in society. The message was clear: as Bill Cosby famously put it, “It isn’t a matter of black is beautiful as much as it is white is not all that’s beautiful.” Could it be that black women ignore the dominant images of beauty and instead dance to their own tune, or have we simply flipped the coin and replaced one set of controlling images with another?

Being skinny was never a crime. Yet somewhere along the way, African American pop culture took over and a binary standard of beauty once more became dominant among black women. In a classic two-steps-forward-one-step-back scenario, the Washington Post announced what watching any rap music video will tell you: skinny is out, “thick is in,” and having some extra meat on your bones is a virtue (cue the parade of “fiercely real” women with curves, because “real” women obviously come with curves.)
From Binary Thinking About Body Image Hurts Us All via Adios Barbie

Thursday, November 15, 2012

From NYT: Young Endurance Runners Draw Cheers and Concerns

The New York Times has a very interesting piece about two endurance runners - ages 10 and 12 -- who compete in multiple (challenging) events per year.

From afar, they looked like twin pixies, Tinker Bell One and Tinker Bell Two, though the   sisters were actually two years apart. Kaytlynn, 12, and Heather, 10, had long blond hair tied back with elastic, and the younger girl had a tiny stuffed animal — a raccoon — pinned to the front of her sports bra. Each of them weighed about 60 pounds. Their thighs were not much bigger than saucers, and the full loop of their hips was only 21 inches.
These children sweetened the scene with a dollop of cuteness, but curious onlookers were unsure whether to be intrigued or appalled. The trail’s ascent was an exhausting slog, and the precarious downhill required careful balance as swift feet inevitably slid on the loose and stony ground. The dry, thin air could suck the strength out of even the fittest runners.
Were these girls really capable of competing with elite athletes? And even if they were, was it a good idea for children this young to be in a race this tough?   -- From Too Fast, Too Soon

This...this seems a bit much for two girls so young.  Multiple endurance events on the weekends, without a hint that there are rest periods?  Bodies need time to recover.  Hearing your dad say "You quit on us today"? Seriously?  They're 10 and 12 and they're competing in trail marathons that challenge people who have been running longer than those girls are old.  The girls seem to enjoy what they're doing, which is great.  But, I can't imagine the toll that this is going to have on their still developing minds and bodies.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Project Unspoken

This video, from Project Unspoken at Emory University, asks men and women what they do to avoid sexual assault and harassment.  While the interviewed men don't have much to say, the women in this video list how they change their behavior to protect themselves from harassment and gender-based violence.  I can't say that I'm surprised by the responses (or the "I haven't really had to think about that" from the men) but, as Feministing points out, this does show differences in how men and women experience public space.

This sums it up well: "It should be a right to walk down the street and be safe."

UPDATE: The folks at Project Unspoken reached out to me to share their follow-up video.  You can view it on their Youtube channel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

From NYT: Lessons From a Marathon Not Run

Lessons From a Marathon Not Run:

"As dramas go, this is more pathos than tragedy. One reads about breast cancer survivors going from deadly prognosis one year to the finish line of the marathon the next, and runners from war-torn countries lifting themselves from abject poverty onto the winner’s podium of the world’s major marathons. Then this monstrous Sandy hits and people living just a few miles from me have far, far greater needs than any possible need I have to return to form.

Yet the storm and that soccer ball have kicked me back to running essentials. It has reminded me that running centers and stimulates my life, making me more positive, more capable and willing to do good in the world."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Marine Corps Marathon Race Round-Up

It's been a week, and I still haven't blogged about the Marine Corps Marathon.

I think I'm still trying to process the race.  I finished, and this may have been the first race that I ran a consistent pace for 30K.  (My Dad signed up for text updates during the race, and that was the thing that struck him.)  But, I didn't PR.  Philadelphia is still my fastest time, and I'm not any closer to beating Oprah's marathon time. I seem to be getting slower at the marathon, and the only way that I can explain it is that I ran three races (two halfs and a 10-miler) before I arrived at the start in Philly.  Is this the plateau that everyone talks about?

Last Sunday feels like it was ages ago.  It was strange not to travel to a marathon and have Saturday completely to myself.  I was in bed early and up in time to take Metro to Pentagon.  Rain and wind threatened the start, but it ended up being a nice day (albeit cloudy and a little windy) for a marathon.  Once the race started, I had to remind myself to hold back.  "You're going too fast for the first mile."  "Don't go faster than 10:00."  "Wait until the half marathon marker to let loose."

I kept thinking about how beautiful the race would have been on a sunny day.  After the start, we headed into Rosslyn and looped back near Spout Run and the GW Parkway before crossing the Key Bridge and following Canal Road to the Georgetown Reservoir.  The leaves were golden.  A sunny day would have made them shine.

I kept a 10:20 pace back through Georgetown, to the Mall, and to Hains Point.  My training and racing experience at Hains Point is that it can be boring and lonely.  But, for some reason, it didn't feel that way during this race.  At this point, I wanted to go faster and I did for a while.

We went back toward the Mall and the Lincoln Memorial, and I kept an even pace.  I looked at my watch around 18.30, and that's when things started to go downhill.  (I wonder if I psyched myself out by looking at my watch then.  Mile 18 has always been the struggle.  Did I actually hit the wall, or was it all in my head?)

The 14th Street Bridge seemed longer as we made our way into Crystal City.  At that point, I really wanted it to be over, but I kept running until we were back near the Pentagon and heading toward the finish at Iwo Jima.

Everyone warns about the "hill" at the end, but it wasn't that bad.  Besides, I'm pretty sure that everything feels like a hill once you've run 26 miles.

When I crossed the finish line, an active duty member of the Marine Corps placed the medal around my neck.  Every runner was given a jacket and a box of chow before heading out of the finish area.

Here are the numbers --
Gun time: 5:12:41
Net time: 4:57:59
PR: Philadelphia Marathon 2011 - 4:39:29

I've started to run again but don't feel completely recovered.  Once I get to 100%, my goal is to run a fast 8K and maybe try to get my 5K time down.  After that, I'll give some thought as to whether I want to run a half-marathon or a full in March..