Sunday, December 29, 2013

Marathon No. 5: Weekly Round-Up (Week 4 and 5)

I'm back from spending a week with my family in Connecticut, where I ate many slices of cake and didn't run as often as I planned.  (As it turns out, when you spend two days "cross training" and eating your weight in holiday leftovers and then try to run, things don't go as well as they should.)  The bright side of not working out too hard while I was home is that I finally got rid of the cold that I developed weeks ago.

I finished this week with Yasso 800s at the gym.  If there's any truth to the workout, I'm in great shape to run a sub-4:30 marathon.  Now, I just need to get myself to the sub-4:00 range.

Here's the plan for Week 6:

Monday: X-train, weights
Tuesday: 6 miles (easy)
Wednesday: X-training, stretching
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 18 miles
Sunday: Rest

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oh, hey, Climate Change, heyyyy!

Let's just take note of this.

It is December 21, 2013 in Washington, DC.

This is what I wore today on my long run:


Don't get me wrong - it was amazing...and terrifying.
But, it was mostly amazing.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Marathon No. 5: Weekly Round-Up (Week 3)

Week 3 didn't go exactly as planned, which is okay.  Although I planned to run 25 miles, I was only able to run 15.  The short story is that I came down with a nasty cold on Monday.  With headaches, a slight fever, and constant coughing, I decided to take it the week off until I felt better.  By Friday, I was strong enough to attempt running but it was way harder than it should have been.  Saturday wasn't any better, but I was able to get in eight miles - slowly - today.  I feel good about it, and I've been trying to figure out what's the best way to move forward with my training plan.

My training plan has a few recovery weeks built in, so i think I may count this weekend's runs as that. For Week 4, I'll try the Week 3 plan again with a few modifications.

Monday - Off
Tuesday - 6 miles (speed work)
Wednesday - 5 miles (holiday fun run)
Thursday - X-training
Friday - Off
Saturday - 15 miles
Sunday -X-training 

Judging by my run today, I should be back to normal health-wise by Monday.  I'm crossing my fingers. Plus, the bright side of being sick was that I was able to give my IT band several rest days, and it didn't bother me at all on my runs this week.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Music to Run By

It's been a while since I've done a music-related post, but I'm starting to get tired of my training playlists.  (First world problem, right?)  So far, I've been running without music during shorter runs, and it's been a welcome change.  When I'm run at the gym, though, or head out for long runs, I like having something other than my inner monologue to keep me going.

I'm building a new playlist (clever name to come) and would love recommendations.  Here's what I'm starting with:

1. "Burn" - Ellie Goulding
2. "We Can't Stop" - Miley Cyrus 

3. "Howl" - Florence + The Machine
4. "Shake It Out" - Florence + The Machine

5. "Can't Hold Us Back" - Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

6. "The Monster" - Eminem (feat. Rihanna)

7. "Some Nights" - Fun.

8. "Run the World (Girls)" - BeyoncĂ© 
9. "Fighter" - Christina Aguilera 
10. "Foundations" - Kate Nash

So, tell me, what are your favorite tunes for running, working out, or singing karaoke into a broom handle while sweeping in your apartment (what, just me)?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Marathon No. 5: Weekly Round-Up (Week 2)

Two weeks down, 14 more to go...

So far, following the more difficult of my training plans has worked out well.  (It's still early, so we'll see if I'm singing the same tune when the mileage starts to increase.)  Having the break between running workouts has really helped me feel more rested.  The one thing that I did learn, though, is that I need at least one more day between my speed workout and my long run.  By the end of my 13-miler on Saturday, I felt more tired than I should have and had to will myself not to hop on public transportation.

This is what things look like for Week 3:

Total miles: 25
Tuesday: 5 miles (easy)
Wednesday: 6 miles (speed workout)
Saturday: 14 miles
(Stretching, cross-training: Monday and Thursday)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Marathon No. 5: Let the Wild Rumpus Begin

One, two, three, four, five - everybody get your shoes
So come on
Let's run on the trails and in the neighborhood...

See what I did there? Har, har har...

I registered for the Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon a few months ago, which will be my fifth marathon.  I figured that since I've run the half three times now, it's time to switch things up and go the full distance. I'm still feeling really good about my performance at the Richmond Half so I actually want to train for this one - hard - to see what I can do.

Stef and I often review our respective performances at the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon. I ran a PR race -- 54 minutes faster than my performance at the 2010 Baltimore Marathon.  (Baltimore was my first race so I expected some improvement in the next marathon but no where near that much.)  We've concluded that part of the reason we both did so well is that we actually trained.  We skipped one long run and only because I spent the first two miles hacking up my lungs. (I had a chest cold).  We raced often.  (We both PR'ed after running to the start -- and we ran more after the race.)  I half-assed my training for Providence and the Marine Corps Marathon, both in 2012, and didn't come close to a PR.

Moral of the story: I should train for this race.

My goal for my next marathon is to PR.  At minimum, I'd like to run faster than Oprah (a 4:29 marathoner), but my goal is to run a 4:00 race.  Both of my training plans estimate that I should be able to finish the race in 3:52 but I would be very happy with a four hour race. I can do it if I put in the work.

So far, I'm off to a good start.

Week 1 of marathon training happened to coincide with my trip home to New Haven (for Yale-Harvard and Thanksgiving).  I don't know what I was thinking when I packed but I could have used more warm running clothes.  Still, I managed to get in a few runs and cross-trained when I decided not to run outside.

For Week 2, I'm going to attempt to follow the "harder" of my two training plans.  This plan has me running just three days each week (one easy run, one speed workout, and one long run).  I'll also spend three days doing some combination of strength training, stretching and foam rolling, or low-impact cardio.

Here's what I have planned for running:

Total mileage: 23 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles (easy)
Thursday: 6 miles (tempo)
Saturday: 12 miles

I'm also going to try to write more this time around.  Publicly declaring my training plan works really well as an accountability tool.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

American Family Fitness Richmond Half-Marathon Race Recap

I've wanted to break two hours in a half-marathon since the 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach half.  At the end of that race, I came in at 2:08:14.  For every half marathon after, I set my time goal of under two hours but never quite managed to get myself over the line in that time.

But, you guys, I finally did it! I'm convinced it's because (1) I've been training, and (2) I went into the AFF Richmond Half-Marathon with the idea that I just wanted to have fun.

Contrary to what weather.com said, it rained for a good portion of the race.  The race started not far from the Virginia Capitol building and ran west toward the convention center, through a few residential neighborhoods, through a beautiful park, more neighborhoods, the VCU campus, and finished up near the riverfront.  There were a few points during the race when I wasn't impressed with the course.  West Broad Street and North Boulevard, for example, weren't the prettiest streets for running, but I did enjoy seeing a few neighborhoods.  The park was beautiful but the path was narrow (and hard to pass) and there wasn't much crowd support until we came out.

Aside from not being sure whether I was hot or cold (I wore a long sleeve shirt and shorts since it rained), I felt strong for most of the race.  I've also been having some trouble with my IT bands, but they didn't cause too much trouble until after the race. 
Previous PR: 2:04:31 2012 RnR USA
New PR: 1:57:25
Average Pace: 8:54

The race organizers put on a really great event, and I'm very excited about the swag.
The medal, tech tee, AND a finisher's blanket 
Medal detail
After this finish, I'm actually really excited to train for my next race: the 2014 Rock 'n' Roll USA marathon in March.  (Yup, the full 26.2....gulp.)  Maybe I'll train but then, on race day, convince myself that I don't care about my time -- with my luck, I'll end up qualifying for Boston.

That would be amazing!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

MCM 10K Race Recap

About this time last year, I was on the course of the Marine Corps Marathon, likely cursing myself for signing up for such a ridiculous distance and wishing that it was over.  This year, I ran the Marine Corps 10K and, let me just say, I felt much better at the end of this race than I did at the end of the marathon.

I last ran a 10k in 2011, so I expected to see some improvement in my running.  I'm happy to report a PR, but even happier to report that my dad totally rocked his first 10K with a time of 58:22.

The course starts on the mall, heads east toward the Capitol before looping back down 14th and across the bridge into Crystal City.  From there, it's (mostly) flat to the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington.  The pack was tight for the first mile, which I didn't mind because it forced me to hold back and gradually settle into my race pace.  The weather and crowd support were perfect.

I'm very pleased the the result of this race.  I'd reached a point in my running, that seemed to start early last year, at which I felt like I wasn't making any progress.  I've made a few changes in my diet, workout schedule, and training plans, and I'm definitely seeing progress again.



Previous record: 58:01 Capitol Hill Classic 2011
MCM 10K net time (official) 53:37
Average pace: 8:38

Next up, the Richmond Half!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Army Ten-Miler 2013 Race Round-Up

I last ran the Army 10-Miler back in 2011, and, because of the crowds, I wasn't entirely sure that I'd want to run it again.  (I also say this every year about the Cherry Blossom race and, yet, I seem to keep entering the lottery.)  When the fields are large for races shorter than half-marathons, I sometimes find it hard to get enough running space to settle into a pace that I like and stick with it.  Part of the battle is getting into the right starting corral, which happened this year.

I wanted to give myself plenty of time to get to the Pentagon, drop off my bag, and line up, so I left my apartment this morning at 6:30, caught the trains just right, and got to Pentagon with what I thought was plenty of time to take care of everything.  I was right on schedule until the security checkpoint set up before the corrals.  I don't know how the race organizers managed this, but there was only one entrance and maybe 20,000 runners who needed to get through.  I spent a lot of time standing in one place until they opened up a second checkpoint only moments before my wave was scheduled to start.  I made it up to the start just in time.

The pack was tight for the first few miles of the race, but things thinned just enough after the third mile. Since I'm running a race next weekend, I wanted to push myself just enough to set a PR and not injure myself.  I'm proud of myself for running a consistent race (which I'm, happily, doing much more these days).

Here are the numbers:

Previous 10-Mile Record: 1:33:10 (Army 10-Miler 2011)
Current 10-Mile PR (and course record): 1:32:18
Average pace: 9:04

Next up, I'm running with Marine Corps 10K with my dad.  Then, I'll focus on my training for the Richmond Half in November.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Deadspin: How Far Did Rocky Run?

Oh, Internet!  Ask and ye shall receive!

Over at Deadspin, someone created a route to determine how far Rocky would have run to hit all of the locations in the Rocky II training montage.
What’s always amused me about this scene is how absolutely little sense Rocky’s route makes: South Philly becomes North Philly becomes the Italian Market becomes North Philly again, and so on. Obviously, the montage isn’t meant to be taken seriously as an actual workout; it’s just a few scenes strung together so “Gonna Fly Now” can play and Rocky can finish at the top of the Art Museum steps.
Has the city not figured out that this would make an amazing ultramarathon?


Monday, September 16, 2013

RnR Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Recap

It's been a while -- almost two months -- since I've posted.

I really didn't have it in me to write about my training.  When I'm not racing every weekend, the posts seem to blend together.  I abandoned my SmartCoach plan in July and, on most days, ran as much and as fast as I felt like.  It was the most pleasant training experience I've had.  

On Saturday, Stef and I went up to Philadelphia for the Rock 'n' Roll Half.  I had such a good time the last time I ran a race in Philadelphia (see what I did there?), I was looking forward to running in the city again.  The course was flat, covering the center city area and the Schuylkill River trail.  Before the race, Stef and I completed one of the items on my bucket list: running up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art -- Rocky style.


The view from the top is amazing.


I may not have been in shape to run a sub-2:00 race, but I kept telling myself to run the first half somewhere in the neighborhood of a 9:00 to 9:30 pace and pick it up during the second.  I kept an eye on my watch during the first half and noticed a few times when I was running a sub-9:00 and had to tell myself to pull back.

I started to lose steam in the second half of the race and never really pushed myself faster than I ran the first half of the race.  According to my watch, I hit 13.1 around 2:04.  My official race time is 2:05:07.


I feel good about this.  I registered for the Richmond Half Marathon in November, and I intend to train. (For real.) It should help that fall running is much more pleasant than summer running.  Between now and that half, I have the Army 10 Mile Race and the Marine Corps 10K.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Beating the Heat

So, it's hot.  Although my running hasn't suffered completely, I haven't been getting in as many miles as my SmartCoach plan suggests because of the heat.  The folks over at Yahoo Shine shared some useful tips for safe running in summer heat.  I may have to pair these with tips for getting out of bed before work to get my run in.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ze Frank Illustrates the Average Human Lifespan in Jelly Beans

My blog is three years-old! I still find it hard to believe that I've been running (and writing about it) for that long.  I feel like I should do something to celebrate -- like write a substantial update about my running and my race plan for the fall.  (Also, you guys, I bought a bike! It's beautiful, and I'm so excited to mix in cycling into my workout routine...and maybe sign up for a duathalon.)

I'll get to an update, I promise. 

Until then, here's a colorful reminder to cherish the time we have.  Ze Frank used Jelly Beans to illustrate the average life span and how that time is spent. 

(h/t The Laughing Squid)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Zero Prostate Cancer 4-Miler Race Round-Up

Oh, hey! It's been a while (posts containing YouTube videos and exclamations about fast miles not withstanding)!

What have I been up to?  Officially, the six few weeks have been spent training for the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half in September.  After two tries at Operation Sub-2:00, I figure that the third time has to be the charm.  (Also, I do just want to have fun because Philadelphia is an excellent city for racing.)  I'm using Smart Coach as the basis of my training plan and, so far, it seems to be working.  I'm running a lot, and the work that I've put in so far is definitely paying off.

My dad is in town this weekend for the Zero Prostate Cancer 4-Miler (formerly the Dash 4 Dad 4-Miler).  I wasn't focused on setting a PR, but I did want to run a consistent race. 

We started out together, but it took some time to find running room and settle into a good pace.  A bit into the race, I went ahead but my dad wasn't too far behind for most of the run. All told, I had a really great race (and it will always be humbling to be passed by cancer survivors and parents pushing jogging strollers).  And, bonus, I set a PR! 

Previous record: 36:10 (2012 Dash 4 Dad 4-Miler)
Net time: 35:08
Average pace: 8:47

Dad finished in 38:10, for an average pace of 9:33.  This continues to be my favorite way to spend Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hot Damn!

Either my watch is broken, or I ran my first sub-8:00 minute mile on my run today!

Or...

I dressed appropriately, have been eating balanced meals, have been getting enough sleep, and have followed through on my strength and speed workouts and ran my first sub-8:00 minute mile today.  I could get used to this -- especially the parts that involve treating my body well.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oh well...


On the bright side, I save something in the neighborhood of $250 in race registration fees plus the cost of travel, a hotel in New York City, and other expenses. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Treadmill Dance

I've been working on a post about my goals and training plan for this fall.  I plan to share my ideas with you once I've finalized my schedule, which includes figuring out which marathon I'm going to run.

Until then, here is a man showing off his sweet dance moves...on a treadmill.
Can we talk about how coordinated he is? And how I would likely fall flat on my face if I tried to do anything other than run on a treadmill?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

From CASS: Sugarcoated & Corporate-Sponsored Street Harassment at DC’s Nike Women’s Half Marathon

Ugh.

Just ugh.

Bare Minerals encouraged "DC fraternity boys" (their phrasing) to hold signs during the Nike Women's Half Marathon that read "You look beautiful sweaty” and “Cute running shoes!"  You know, because women only run so that men can compliment us on how we look.

From Collective Action for Safe Spaces:
It’s hard enough for women to feel safe, secure and comfortable running in their own neighborhoods to train for half marathons in the first place. Street harassment is a real and scary part of many women’s daily runs, as well as their commutes to work and trips to the grocery store.  Much of the street harassment that we experience is centered around our looks, especially men’s opinions of them. Women’s bodies are the subjects of public commentary and conversations—both in the media and on the street.

The “Go Bare” campaign signs, held by Bare Escentuals’ very own team of “DC fraternity boys” (their phrasing, not mine) are tools of street harassment.
They’re simply sugarcoating and romanticizing the street harassment with pretty, professionally printed signs and free makeup at the finish line.
It's disappointing that this happened at a women's race designed to empower and provide an encouraging environment to run for women who might not otherwise do so.  It's also disappointing because this visible display of street harassment seems to normalize this kind of behavior.  Hopefully, Bare Minerals will get the message that this is not okay.

Friday, April 26, 2013

MSNBC's Mika Brzenzinski Opens Up About Exercise Bulimia

If you know me, you know that I have a huge girl crush on Mika Brzenzinski.  (Honestly, she's the only reason I watch Morning Joe.  She's brilliant, and I do love when she gives Scarborough the side eye.)

Recently, she opened up about her struggle with exercise bulimia, a compulsion to binge eat food and then overexercise to compensate.  You can check out The Frisky's coverage here and see a bit of the MORE article here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thoughts on Running

Last Monday morning, Thought Catalog posted "17 Things Running Teaches You About Life."  I bookmarked it, hoping to write a post about it later in the day.  I never got around to writing about it -- news broke.  There was so much news last week.  It took me until Thursday to figure out that the best thing to do would be to tune out -- no MSNBC commentary, no Twitter, no Google Reader.  Just silence, a bit of running, and reflection.

I thought a lot about running: how I started 30 lbs heavier than I am today, how I ran a marathon without knowing the first thing about running, how much progress I made within the first year, how happy I am that my dad has caught the running bug, and how I wish the rest of my family would catch on. 

I thought about how insufferable I must come across in my writing, especially when I complain about not PR-ing at a race. I thought about how silly it is to beat myself up because being able to simply finish a race is amazing.  Let's face it, I'm in no way up for any prize money.  It would be cool to win my age group, but, at the end of the day, running does not pay my bills.  It's something that I do because I like to challenge myself (and have fun doing it).  It doesn't matter if I finish 30-seconds slower or 20-minutes slower, as long as I finish.

I thought about how I want to get faster and how I want to be fast enough to run Boston in 2014.  After this year, I feel as though I have to get to the starting line in Hopkinton.  And, as much as I respect charity runners, I want to get there by earning a BQ -- and, for me, for 2014, that'll be a 3:35 marathon. (Oy...) It's not an impossible goal, but it's definitely going to take a lot of time, effort, and running.  And, I'm okay with that.

Monday, April 15, 2013

No Words

My thoughts are with those affected by today's events.

Here's the thing, friends (and forgive me for going all Jack Dawson but it's true): you don't know which hand you're going to get dealt next.  Make each day count.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quoted: The Hunger Games - When Hunger Feels Like Winning (But It’s Really, Really NOT)


Let’s start with a comparison. BEFORE & NOW: My views on feeling hungry… 

BEFORE:
“I’m starving, but if I make it until 7pm I “win”. Gotta get this weight off. I’m in charge of this body, not the other way around. Don’t eat, don’t eat: as long as you’re under 1000 calories for the day, you’re cool. Have some more coffee. (reality: after 7pm, eat everything in sight and feel like an awful person)
NOW:
“If you need me, I’ll be eating the food. I might be able to lose a few pounds, but it’s not a priority. Feeding the bod is. Feeling awesome, but excuse me…nom nom nom.”
It’s been YEARS since I was hungry on purpose, and the thought of spending the day feeling victorious for not eating seems foreign to me. I was an under-the-radar yo-yo dieter and my behaviors were linked entirely to my weight. Up, don’t eat. Down, eat everything. If I’d gained weight, the punishment was not eating or eating very little. The triumph was overcoming my body’s physiological needs and ‘winning’ at not eating for a day. It was pretty addictive.
-From: The Hunger Games via Fit Villains

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Can I get a "whomp whomp"?


Boo - I was really looking forward to this! But, I can see how this race could be a logistical nightmare.

I'm going to wait to see when the race is rescheduled before I make a decision about withdrawing.  (If it's the weekend of the Army 10 Miler or the Marine Corps 10K, I will likely bow out.  That said, if anyone wants to join team "We Don't Sparkle," you've got some time to decide.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

2013 Cherry Blossom 10-Miler Race Round-Up

Earlier today, I finished my third Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run.  Let's start with the numbers first.

Current 10-Mile PR: 1:33:10, Army 10-Miler (2011)
Current Cherry Blossom Personal Course Record: 1:33:39 (2012)
2013 Net Time: 1:34:14

D:1074, G:3609, O:8186

I didn't PR or set a new personal course record (whomp, whomp), but let's talk about the smaller victories here.  This was the first time that I ran negative splits in a race: 9:31 (average) at the five mile, 9:30 at the 10K, and 9:18 at the finish.

And, I have to say, at least I'm consistent! 


I've run this race three times now, so I think I've got enough experience to offer a decent review of the course and the overall race experience.  To be honest, my experience hasn't changed much, and I still think that this race is too crowded if you're a middle-of-the-pack runner. I would not be sad if the organizer's announced they were going to reduce the field for future races.

You can find the course map here.

Miles 1-2: Out to and across the Memorial Bridge

I imagine that if you're in either the Yellow or Red corrals, the seeding makes it easier to find room to run.  I started with the Orange (I thought I'd successfully climbed into the Blue group -- which is one faster -- but I apparently fail at "sneaking" into corrals).  As in past years, I spent the first mile zig-zagging around other runners.  There were also enough people on the course by the time that I started that there was a slight bottleneck one mile in. Boo.  

At this point, I think all of the major races include a stretch across the Memorial Bridge.  It's fine, and, on nice days, it's actually quite beautiful.  I just don't think it works well as an out-and-back.

Miles 3-4: Ohio Drive and Kennedy Center

By this point in the race, the pack starts to thin a little.  There are a few weird, sharp turns but it's flat and much easier to settle into your pace here.  West-bound Ohio Drive (another out-and-back) is really narrow and there is an ill-placed water stop that leads to more bottle-necking on the course.

Miles 5-6: Independence Avenue to Hains Point

The crowd support is best along these miles.  There's a slight incline once you're closer to 15th Street, but it's nothing terrible.

Miles 7-8: Hains Point

Other than it being flat, Hains Point has very little going for it -- especially when there aren't any blossoms.  It's boring. There, I said it.  It's also mentally challenging because it seems like it takes forever to get to the tip of the peninsula.  This is where I usually try to settle into my 5K pace.  Again, with the crowding, that didn't come easy.

Miles 9-10: To the Washington Monument and Finish

The 10-Miler is one of the most flat races in the city, but there's one "hill" with about 800 meters to go. Luckily, there is where most of the spectators are so there's lots of encouragement to finish strong.

All told, I had a really good race, and I feel very good about running consistent splits.  Will I do this next year?  Maybe, if the lottery works out.  (I wish I had such luck with the New York City Marathon.)  

I'm set to run the Vampire 5K on the 26th (what, you thought I was kidding?) and the Color Run on May 19th.  Both of those are more about having fun than trying to run fast, so I want to find a longer June race to make sure that I'm in top shape for summer training and fall races.  Any ideas?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

From RW: Life After Boston

While my blog is on a "talk about registering for races" kick, this month's issue of Runner's World has an interesting article on opportunities for "intermediate runners," which they define as runner's for whom a BQ is a cake walk but aren't quite fast enough to seed with elite runners.  I've seen this intermediate group during races, and they are, honestly, just as impressive as elite runners.  Plus, they get super cool benefits like heated warm-up tents for their hard work!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Let's Talk about Race Registration

Last week, registration for the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon went live and sold out in 2 hours and 27 minutes.  When I registered last year, I had to refresh my computer for a good 15 minutes before I could get in to the system.  The 2012 race sold on in 2 hours in 41 minutes.  At least last year, there weren't any computer issues. From The Washington Post:

Runners trying to secure one of the 30,000 spots in the 38th running of the marathon next fall reported that they were kicked off during the registration process or received repeated “error” messages. The marathon’s Facebook page was awash in complaints from frustrated runners. 
Michael Murray of Silver Spring said in an interview that he was booted out of the registration process twice and reached a point when the system froze on a third try.

“In the days of cloud computing, in the days of Google and Amazon, who deal with millions” of users, “there just has to be a better solution than this,” he said. Murray said he will try to enter marathons in Richmond or Baltimore instead. 
Race director Rick Nealis said the company that operates the system, Active.com, told him the demand for the $99 spots exceeded its capacity to process the requests. Nealis called the delays “an embarrassment for the Marine Corps Marathon as an organization,” which prides itself on organizational expertise.
There two issues here.

First, after Active's Chicago kerfuffle earlier this year, why on would anyone outsource race registration to Active?  Runners don't really have a choice in the matter, of course, and Go, Tracy, Go has thoughts on why race organizers use the system. Hint, hint: it's much cheaper and easier than managing your own registration system.  Of course, if race organizers did build and manage their own registration systems, I'm sure that we'd see a jump in the price of race registrations.

Second, demand for marathons is increasing -- which is silly because you'd have to be insane to voluntarily run 26.2 miles, right? (And, you'd have to be even more insane and decide that you actually like running that distance enough to do it again.)  With such high demand, I think we've reached a point at which all of the major US marathons are going to either have qualifying standards (e.g., Boston) or lotteries (e.g. New York City).  It makes it harder to plan to run a particular marathon, but it means that everyone has an equal shot at registration.

Thinking about my own running wish list, I'm debating entering the drawing for the 2013 New York City Marathon knowing that there are going to be fewer spots this year; 50 percent of 2012 runners chose to defer to the 2013, 2014, or 2015 race. I've been denied admission twice, so maybe the third time is the charm?  Also, if I'm denied again, I'll be guaranteed entry for 2014.

The thing is, the lottery opens up after April 9th (when the Run Disney Registration opens. It's probably another one of those races that sells out quickly).  The good news is that the Honolulu Marathon seems to have the normal demand for a marathon, so that's always an option if NYC doesn't work out this year.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Vampires Are Cool Again

I may have spent the better part of this weekend reliving the magic that is BtVS seasons six and seven, and I may have picked Nancy Holder's Buffy: The Making of a Slayer

Complete with replicas of props!
I'm a proud member of the Buffy generation -- you know, back when vampires were scary.  Even if a human girl fell in love with one, they could still instill fear.  You know, back before vampires sparkled in the sun and were worried about pre-marital sex.  (Okay. Technically, very bad things happened when Buffy and Angel got intimate.  It's totally bogus that even a show about a kick-ass female superhero was so sex negative.)

I'm rambling again.

So, with lame vampires, zombies became the new trendy Big Bad -- and there are plenty of post-zombie apocalypse, survival-themed races to prove it.  What's a fan of vampires to do?

Why the Vampire 5K, of course!

Participants choose one role: citizen or vampire.  Starting at dusk, citizens toward finish line.  Meanwhile, vampires try to convert citizens by taking away flags from their garlic belt.  There's even fog, a red powder zone, and a finish line party!

The DC race is scheduled for April 26th.  Anyone in?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quoted: The Barkley Marathons

Figuring out how to enter the race is an achievement in itself.

 “There is no Web site, and I don’t publish the race date or explain how to enter,” said Cantrell, an accomplished ultrarunner who has never come close to completing his own race. “Anything that makes it more mentally stressful for the runners is good.”

(The start of the race involves a curious tradition in which participants try to refrain from letting Cantrell see them run. They will walk the first few hundred meters, until they turn a bend and begin running once they are out of his sight.)

Because so few participants are allowed, the details of how to apply are a closely guarded secret. The first step is to figure out where and when to send a required essay on why one should be allowed to compete.

“If you send it in five minutes early, he’ll delete it,” said Beverly Abbs, a 48-year-old environmental scientist from Red Bluff, Calif., who completed three loops in last year’s race. “We had to send the application at midnight on Christmas Day in Gary’s time zone, and you have to figure out which one it is on your own.”
From The Barkley Marathons: Few Know How to Enter, Fewer Finish in The New York Times

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Around the Interwebs: Zombie Story

I'm not going to lie: sometimes, I like to think that all of the running that I do is going to prepare me for an impending zombie apocalypse.  After all, zombies hate fast food, amirite

(::crickets::)

Anyway, speaking of zombies, Redditor JimmyLegs50 noticed strange similarities between The Walking Dead and Toy Story.  And, it's amazing.  (Heads up: if you're not a fan of spoilers, you won't want to look at the gallery.) 


The story continues here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Visualizing 2000 Calories

Buzzfeed compiled a video to visualize the daily caloric needs of an average adult, using various types of food.


Mmmm, bacon.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thoughts on Fall Races

I'm done sulking and being hard on myself for not setting a PR at this year's Rock 'n' Roll USA.  In fact, I find it very easy to be done sulking when I know there are dozens of races at which I can set a PR.  Next month, I'll be running the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run and, in May, I'm doing the DC Color Run with a lovely group of people.

Thinking ahead, I want this fall's schedule to be as intense as my running in 2011.  Looking back, I was in amazing shape and ran a lot -- including one week during which I ran a 10-miler and a half-marathon and set personal records at both. This might sound crazy, but I want to train as hard as I did that summer.  I want to see my hard work pay off at races.  I want to update my About Me page with new records.

I've come up with a tentative plan and have one very important marathon decision to make. Registration for most of these races won't open until April or May.  Many of these races are also very popular so it'll take me being on the computer right when registration opens and a lot of page refreshing.

September 15, 2013 - Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon: I've already registered, and Operation Sub-2:00 Round 3 is on!

October 20, 2013 - Army Ten Mile Run, Washington, DC (General registration opens May 15):  I ran this race once before.  It's a little on the crowded side, but the crowd support is spectacular and the course is mostly flat.

October 27, 2013 - Marine Corps 10K, Washington, DC (Registration opens April 17): My dad has expressed interest in running a 10K, and I think this would be a great race for the two of us to run together.  

In November, I'll focus on small, local races and find a Turkey Trot wherever I spend the holidays.  As for marathons, I've got my eye on two.  For budget reasons, I plan to choose one.

Option 1:

December 8, 2013 - Honolulu Marathon (Registration opens in April): I've never been to Hawaii, and this seems like a great winter get-away.  Of course, this is the little matter of this elevation chart.  A hill at Mile 24 sounds...terrible.

(Source)

Or, Option 2:


January 12, 2014 - Walt Disney World Marathon (Registration opens April 9):  When I was a kid, my parents planned a trip to Disney World for my birthday -- except that at some point during the car ride from Connecticut to Florida, I came down with a terrible illness and spent most of my time in our hotel room while my older brother and cousin enjoyed the parks. Tragic, right? I haven't been back to Disney World since, so I owe it to my eight year-old self to plan a trip and have the time of my life.  Plus, I'll finally have a legitimate reason to order this.

Truth be told, I'm leaning toward Disney.  It's an expensive race, but it's probably worth it to run in Disney World!

Daily LOL: Cousin Sal at the L.A. Marathon

Cousin Sal stationed himself at Mile 11 of this year's L.A. Marathon.  Needless to say, hilarity ensued.
 
 
 
Next year, I recommend that Cousin Sal hangs out around Mile 19.  If my marathon experience has taught me anything, that's when laughter (or a jello shot) is needed most.  But, no water pranks. That would not end well.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Daily LOL: Thug Kitchen

I'm giving all of the credit to an amazing sometime chairman for this, the most amazing thing I've seen on the internet today.

Ladies and gentlemen: Thug Kitchen:  (By the way, if you don't like naughty language or are in a place where naughty language is frowned upon, I suggest not clicking the link.)



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll USA Race Recap: 2013

Two words: Womp. Womp.

I didn't reach my time goal, folks.  I've been oscillating between being completely okay with that and being completely disappointed.   I had a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, but I wish that I had it in me to run faster.  (Being sick probably didn't help.) 

I've run this race twice now - once when it was still The National Half-Marathon and last year when Competitor group took over and gave it the Rock 'n' Roll branding.  One of the best things about the race is that it takes runners through DC neighborhoods and, pre-Rock 'n' Roll, residents seemed to come out in full force to cheer.  Last year, people still came out but, with the bands and the designated cheer areas, the race didn't have the same feeling.

This year, instead of starting at RFK, the race started on the Mall, took runners across the Memorial Bridge, before taking Rock Creek Park to Woodley Park.  I felt good during those miles but, to be honest, I missed being able to run from RFK through the neighborhoods east of the Capitol.  And, while I generally don't mind running through Rock Creek Park, there's not much crowd support.

Once through the park (small victory: I made it up Shoreham Drive without stopping), the crowds were much bigger.  This was good news because I probably would have stopped to walk if not for so many people watching.  It took me about half a mile to recover from the trek through the park but once I was in Adams Morgan, I tried to pick up my pace.

I started to cramp up and slow down around Mile 8, and by Mile 9, I knew that a sub-2:00 race was unlikely but I figured that I could at least try for PR. Steve and Ned were out on the course at Mile 10, and it was so wonderful to see friendly faces!

I powered through the last bit of the race and, sort of angrily, turned off my Garmin when it hit 13.1 miles at 2:09 -- about a 10th of a mile before the finish.

My official time for the race was 2:11:38. (Current PR: 2:04:31 - Rock 'n' Roll USA 2012)  Totally fine but I really wish that I could write about how I totally crushed my PR and finally ran a half-marathon in under two hours. Hopefully, I can do it at my next half.

Until then, it's time to get ready for my third Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Managing Expectations

Tomorrow's race is going to be a wet one. 
 
Now that I've refreshed the hourly weather projections to the point of insanity, I've come to terms with the forecast of rain -- a 60% chance of showers starting at 7 AM (line up time) and increasing a 70% chance of light rain through the rest of the day.  The projected high? 42 degrees. 
 
Bummer.
 
Okay, actually, tomorrow's weather isn't that bad for running. You wear a hat. You wear gloves. You use Body Glide like it's going out of style.  I've run in the rain before, and it's fine. Of course, the few times that I've run in the rain were training runs so it didn't matter how long it took me to finish.  Tomorrow, I want to finish in 1:55:00.  I've come so close to a sub-2:00 race before and I want tomorrow to be the day that it finally happens.  I've trained hard, you know.  I want to prove to myself that I can do this.
 
But, I might have to be okay with not reaching my time goal tomorrow -- given the conditions.  If the roads are wet, or the rain gets all up in my grill, I will have to adjust my goal pace and plan to run a fast half on another day.
 
Then again, weather forecasts in DC are sometimes completely off. (Snowquester? More like Noquester...wocka wocka wocka!) Who knows? It might turn out to be a beautiful day.
 
 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (10)

The race is this Saturday! Holy cow!

I plan to take things easy this week in preparation for the race: Monday is for cross-training, Tuesday and Wednesday are for easy runs, and then that's it.  With any luck, the weather next Saturday will be as gorgeous as this past weekend.  I'm getting pumped!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (9)

I think I might be ready for something new. 

I never thought that I would say this, but I don't feel the same about running as I used to.  It could just be that I've been doing the majority of my runs on the treadmill and that running on cold, windy days isn't exactly pleasant, but I haven't looked forward to a run in weeks.  Training is starting to feel like something that I have to do not something that I want to do. 

I don't want to stop running.  There are days when all I want to do is run, and running has helped me in so many ways over the last three years.  But, I guess I'm starting to feel...stuck.  Hopefully, my upcoming race will reignite all of the warm fuzzies that I used to have toward running.

(In other words: whine, whine, whine, first world problems, whine, whine.)

So, with the race 11 days away, I guess it's time to taper.  I took yesterday off from running and did a 25-minute hill workout on Tuesday.  Here's the plan for the rest of the week:

Wednesday - 4 miles
Thursday - 4 miles
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 6-8 miles





Saturday, March 2, 2013

Daily LOL: News Anchor Wants to Know if Mo Farah Has Run Before

Mo Farah: you might remember him as the distance runner who won gold medals at both the 2012 Olympic 5K and 10K races.  You probably remember the image of him crossing the finish line (which led to a hilarious meme) or his signature pose.

But, let's say you're a news anchor and your station manager tells you that you're going to cover a race in your city and interview the winner. You would probably learn something about the person you're interviewing and what he did (or at the very least make some poor intern research this for you) before you went on the air, right?

 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Quoted: The Hidden Eating Disorder in the Black Community

One of my favorite bloggers has a piece in the most recent issue of Ebony Magazine about disordered eating in the Black community.  I think The Root's coverage of her essay said it best: "We cannot heal what we refuse to recognize as a wound."
Whenever an article is written about disordered eating behavior in the Black community, it's always written in the context of anorexia or bulimia. It's discussing bingeing in conjunction with purging, or the kind of severe restriction that results in the exceptionally thin, wiry frame attributed to anorexia [even if the alleged sufferer is actually anorexic or not.]

The binary that we create when we discuss eating disorders, coupled with the myth that eating disorders are "White girl problems," harms us more than it helps us. It erases the existence of Black people who binge, and it dismisses the problem before any real attention can be drawn towards it so that people can get help.

But, what's most damaging about the rhetoric surrounding eating disorders, specifically among the Black community, is the inherent denial of the existence of a problem that might require actual psychiatric care in our community. We cannot continue to perpetuate the ideal that psychiatric care cannot and will not help us uncover the tools we need to overcome our battles. This mentality cannot persist.
-The Hidden Eating Disorder in the Black Community by Erika Nicole Kendall

Monday, February 25, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (8)

Three weeks to go, and I'm feelin' good!

On Saturday, I hit the treadmill for a nine-mile speed workout. I wanted to do more, but I figured that I should end the run feeling like I could run more instead of exhausting myself.  On Sunday, I went out for a four-miler. Again, I wanted to run more but thought it would be best to take it easy and avoid injuring myself.

This week will probably be the hardest of this training cycle.  I don't see a need to do a full taper, but I don't want to run much the week before the race.

Here's the plan:

Monday: Stretching. foam rolling
Tuesday: 4 miles (easy)
Wednesday: Tempo Run
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 3 miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 14 miles


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Runner Profile: Fauja Singh

Fauja Singh, whom I wrote about earlier this month, was recently profiled on ESPN's Outside the Lines.  Every time I read about him, I am so amazed and humbled.
Was it pain he felt as he approached the end, just footsteps away from redefining the limits of human endurance? No, this wasn't pain. Fauja knew pain. Pain was death -- you see plenty of that when you live 100 years. Pain was bloody limbs and overtaxed joints -- you get too much of that when you insist on completing every race you ever start. This wasn't pain but exhaustion. And Fauja could handle exhaustion, because exhaustion foreshadowed euphoria. When Fauja got tired, it often meant a record would soon fall.

He'd already broken a few. Fastest to run a marathon (male, over age 90), fastest to run 5,000 meters (male, over age 100), fastest to run 3,000 meters (male, over age 100), and on and on they went. But those records didn't roll off the tongue the way this one would. Oldest person to complete a marathon (male): Fauja Singh. The other feats had earned him recognition from the Masters Federation websites. This one would put him in the Guinness World Records. An official with the company had contacted Fauja's coach, Harmander Singh (no relation) several weeks earlier. Harmander told Fauja that Guinness would send representatives to watch Fauja run in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and as soon as he finished, they would award him the recognition he deserved.
- From "The Runner" by Jordan Conn

 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Meme, Meme: You Ran a Marathon?

A good friend posted this on my Facebook wall:


I can't stop giggling.


FLOTUS Wins; Everyone Can Go Home Now

This is my public declaration of my girl crush on Michelle Obama.

Okay, actually, I routinely tweet about how I wish that she and I could be besties.  We'd hang out, go shopping for cute dresses, share healthy recipes, and talk fitness.  And, I would tell her that - contrary to what some believe - her focus on family and healthy living doesn't make her any less of a feminist.  We would hug, and then the president would come in and tell me that he's appointing me as the next secretary of education...

...a girl can dream, right?

Anyway! Somehow, I managed to watch a bunch of videos this morning of the first lady being amazing.  (I really should have already started chores and gone to the gym by now.)

First up, the first lady and Big Bird (I know, right!?) have great advice on healthy eating:


Then, Big Bird showed the first lady his sweet dance moves:


Speaking of sweet dance moves -- Mom Dancing! This is the most amazing video on the internet.  There, I said it.


Also! Michelle Obama knows how to Dougie! I'm not even that cool!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

From Adios Barbie: Eight Ways the 2013 Miss America Pageant Failed at Equality

Chelsey Anderson at Adios Barbie published an interesting look at the ways that the Miss America pageant - despite giving women opportunities to become nationally-recognized public figures, support causes of their choosing, and finance their college educations - continues to miss the mark when it comes to equality.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (7)

I'm down to the last four weeks of this training cycle.  More and more, I'm starting to feel more confident about being able to reach my time goal.  Still, I have a lot more work to do.

Here's what I have planned for Week 9:

Monday - Hill workout
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Tempo run: 7 miles
Thursday - 6 miles
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 13 miles

In other running news, the New York Times Well Blog published a piece about retiring old running shoes.  I usually go about 400 miles in my shoes or start a new pair after I run a big race.  It's a worthwhile read.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Non-Running Commentary: Never Forget the Victim

The New York Times published a short analysis of the life of Oscar Pistorius, the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Olympics -- who now stands accused of murdering Reeva Steenkamp.

This is tragic, and it's much too early to speculate what might have happened.  But, as the news broke, I couldn't help but see similarities between this event and the death of Kasandra Perkins, another woman who was killed at the hands of a high-profile figure.  As with coverage of Perkins' death, the tweets and headlines simply refer Steenkamp as Pistorius's "girlfriend."  The articles focus on how much Pistorius captivated audiences throughout his running career, his gold medals, his status as South African icon.  He gets an identity. But, what about Reeva Steenkamp?


We know that she was a model and a law student, but where are the articles about her life?
What about Kasandra Perkins?
What about the countless other women who've died at the hands of their partners?

These women have identities separate from their killers.  They had hopes, dreams, and fears.  They cared for the people in their lives, and had others care for them. 

Their lives were stolen from them. The least we can do is not forget who they are.

Creepy OKCupid Messages As Valentines

Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day, y'all!

Courtesy of The Frisky, JESS3 turned creepy OKCupid messages into hilarious valentines.  Clearly, this one is my favorite:


You have to give the person that sent this points for creativity.  (But, really, someone thought this would work?)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Inspiration: Running for Safe Spaces

Fauja Singh is the world's oldest marathoner. 

He also believes that public spaces should be safe for women. 

Via The Huffington Post:
Fauja Singh, who says he’s “older than 101,” will be hanging up his sneakers later this month, but he wouldn’t do so before raising awareness for the rights and security of women, the Hindu reported. The seasoned racer, also fondly known as “Turbaned Tornado,” partook in the “Mini Marathon” in January organized by Punjanbi paper the Rozana Spokesman.

"I am pained to listen that my daughters, grand daughters and great grand daughters are no longer safe,” Singh, a follower of Sikhism, said at the event, according to the Hindu. 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (6)

I'm happy to report that after last week's rough start, my week (and running) improved. 

Here's the plan for Week 8:

Monday: Rest Day, with a focus on stretching and foam rolling
Tuesday: 3 miles, easy, and strength training
Wednesday: Hill intervals (45-minutes)
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 13 miles
Sunday: 4 miles

With just a little more than a month to go until the half, I've started to think about how I can target my last few workouts so that I'm prepared to finish in under two hours.  As always, I will be more than thrilled if I cross the finish line in 1:59:59.

I've run this race twice now (for the inaugural RnR Half and in 2011 when it was the National Half) but, this year, the course is slightly different. Before the run, I want to run the course at a relaxed paced.  I'm obviously familiar with the area, but a trial run could help me plan how best to pace myself during the race.  I'll have to take a look at my training plan and make a few adjustments.  It's time to put in serious work.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (5)

Running is off to rough start this week.  I'm going to avoid coming off as whiny - because, after all, I'm doing this by choice - but I've felt incredibly exhausted.  (Yesterday, I skipped my workout and was in bed by 9 PM.)  I ran three miles this evening, and the workout was much harder than it should have been. Hopefully, I'll be at 100 percent soon.

Here's the plan for Week 7:

Sunday: 3 miles
Monday: X-Training and Strength
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: Speed Workout
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 13 miles


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Non-Running Commentary: A Steakhouse for the Ladies

Word on the street is that STK, a female-oriented steakhouse, is coming to DC.  (Apparently, this is a thing in several other trendy cities.)

Where do I even begin with this?

The commercial? 

Because, let me tell you, when I go out for steak with my lady friends, we suggestively feed each other before cutting into a cut of meat with a chainsaw.  The only thing missing from this is someone spilling the vodka all over their dining companion's white blouse.


This quote from the CEO?
The idea behind STK, said Jonathan Segal, the CEO of the One Group, was to create a steakhouse for women. When he visited several area steakhouses, "the majority were full of men," said Mr. Segal. "If you cater to a female market, men will follow happily and empty their wallets into your tills."  
Oh right -- because we all know that women aren't the real money-making customers.

How about this one?
STK, then, became a place where women wouldn't find crab cakes but "crab salads," Mr. Segal said, and steaks came in small, medium and large cuts.
Women love salads, y'all!  (Also, why would you order a crab at a steakhouse?  Rookie mistake.)

I'm taking bets on how much pink will  be used to decorate this place...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (4)

Did you hear?  It's been cold.  In fact, on Wednesday, it was warmer in Anchorage than in DC.

I managed to get a few runs in, but I didn't run nearly as much as I had planned.  I was able to get in a few short runs during the week. Stef and I ran about eight miles yesterday (when we started, the temperature was around 25 degrees); it felt good, but I think staying out any longer than that would have been miserable.  

The temperatures this week are expected to be much warmer.  Here's the plan this week:

Sunday - X-Training and Strength
Monday - 5 miles
Tuesday - 4 miles
Wednesday - Speed work, 6 miles
Thursday - 4 miles
Saturday - 13 miles

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quoted: Running Friendship

A good friend is a steady companion along the way, no matter what the pilgrimage brings. Elena and I have said many times to each other that we’d happily let go of some of the heartbreak and trials each of us has faced if the great puppeteer of the universe would see fit to pull a couple strings this way or that to make the path a little less bumpy.

Yet as long as we have the road, the ramblings and each other to look forward to, it’s all going to be all right. Bring it on, life — we’re laced up and ready.
-From Running Friendship via Runner's World

Monday, January 21, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (3)

Last weekend's temperatures were perfect for running. I'm not looking forward to the cold snap that is on its way to the region -- unless, of course, it leads to snow.

Here's my plan for this week:

Sunday: X-Training and Strength
Monday: 4 miles (progression run)
Tuesday: 4 miles (easy)
Wednesday: 6 miles (tempo run)
Thursday: 3 miles (easy)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 13 miles

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Will Run for Chocolate

The February issue of Runner's World has a few nifty tips to satisfy chocolate cravings.  I'm a little skeptical about substituting black beans for butter in brownies, but I'm willing to give it a shot.  I went the easy route this afternoon and picked up a these at the pharmacy:


Also - the cashier looked at the bars and mentioned that everyone that came in today seemed to be buying treats.  I was very tempted to reference Treat Yo' Self Day.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quoted: How to Savor Life

When you savor tea, or chocolate, or a handful of berries … you slow down. You pay close attention — the closer the attention, the more you’ll get out of the savoring. You don’t rush to the next thing, but stop and give some space to the activity. You aren’t worried about what you have to do later, you are fully enjoying the present. 
This is savoring, and it takes practice. You can do it right now, wherever you are: pause and look around you and savor this very moment. Even if it doesn’t seem to be special, because let’s face it you’ve done what you’re doing a thousand times, savor it. Fully appreciate the gift you’ve been given. 
This is a practice you can do several times a day — find a few rituals for savoring, like enjoying your morning tea or coffee (without sugar), or taking a bath, or reading to your child, or having a tea ritual in the mid-afternoon, or snuggling with a loved one. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
From "How to Savor Life" via Zen Habits

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (2)

My SmartCoach plan is working well so far.  Last week, I ran all of my runs as intended (meaning I didn't quit because I was bored or tired, and I even managed to wake up at 6 AM to run before work).

I'm worried, though, about doing so many runs on the treadmill.  It's fine, but it's really not the same as running outside.  This week, I'm thankful that Stef and I are going to meet up after work to run hills.   I'm also curious about the logistics of running during my lunch break.  If I can run and shower in an hour, it might be the way to go during the winter months.

This is the plan for Week 3:

Monday - Rest Day
Tuesday - 5 miles (easy)
Wednesday - Hill workout with Stef
Thursday - X-Training and Strength
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 5 miles
Saturday - 5 miles

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Running Hazards

The next time I complain about running in DC, remind me that I don't have to worry about making friends with an alligator on my run.  (Unless, of course, one escapes from the zoo. ::crossing fingers that all reptiles are accounted for::)

For real: Ask Dr. Daily: Tripping Over Reptiles

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Measure in Love (& Miles)

I've been listening to the Rent soundtrack (the film version, if you're curious) on my walks to work.  So, how do you measure a year? 

This is my year-end training report from DailyMile for 2012:












(The report doesn't account for runs done on December 30th or the 31st, which will be applied to this year's total.) 

My mileage in June isn't surprising at all.  June was a very lazy month for me when it came to running.  I am, however, surprised that I ran as much as I did in December.

If I hope to reach 1,200 miles this year, I'm going to have to average 100 miles each month.  I can do it, especially if I'm smart about post-race recovery.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (1)

2013 is off to a rocky start.  Nothing truly terrible happened (and I'm thankful for that), but I just felt really down and very little seemed to go right.  Yesterday, my toilet decided that it hated me and flooded my bathroom. Twice.  The first time, I did the only thing a mature adult could do: I sat on my floor, cried, and called my dad.  (I also called maintenance.)  When the water finally drained and I dried my floor (and carpet), I thought I was in the clear.

Then, it happened again.  I doubted that maintenance would actually show, so I actually did the only thing a mature adult could do:  I dried my floor, ran to the hardware store, bought tools, and fixed my own damn toilet.  Then, I had a beer. 

Hopefully, next week is better.

I'm happy to report that training seems to be going well so far.  I went out for a 10-mile run with Stef earlier today.  Even though I ran intervals yesterday, I felt good.  After not having run anything farther than 6 miles in a few weeks, this is promising.

This week,  I'm going to adjust my Smart Coach plan to give myself a rest day after this weekend.

Monday  - Stretching, Foam Rolling
Tuesday -  4 miles (easy)
Wednesday - Tempo Run, 6 miles (4 @ 9:16)
Thursday - 3 miles (easy)
Saturday - 13 miles

Ten weeks to go...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Non-Running Commentary: Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite

I came across Paul Arden's Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite on Salty Lyon.  The book is 136 pages of pithy wisdom, teaching readers to alter their way of thinking and taking risks to live the life that you want.  A few statements at the start of the book resonated the most:
"I want means: if I want it bad enough I will get it.  Getting what you want means making the decisions you need to make to get what you want."
"Everything we do we choose.  So what is there to regret?  You are the person you chose to be."
"Dreaming and talking about it won't achieve anything.  There is only one person who can determine the shape of your life. You."
Believe me, I could not be happier with the way that things turned out for me -- I have a job that I love, a roof over my head, a loving family, and several very important people in my life.  But, sometimes, I do wonder what's out there and what experiences I'm missing out on because, let's say,  I'm too busy dreaming about how awesome a trip would be instead of booking airline tickets.

So, I'm going to try something different this year.

I want to try a little harder to get out of my comfort zone and work toward doing all of the wonderful things that I've wanted to do for a long time.  It won't be easy to get out of my comfort zone and make (scary) decisions, but it'll be more than worth it in the end.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Running Round-Up

On January 1, 2012, I set three goals for the year:
  • Run 1,200 miles
  • Run a sub-2:00 half-marathon 
  • Run a sub-4:30 marathon
Things didn't go exactly as expectedBy year's end, I logged 950 miles.  My attempt at a sub-2:00 half marathon started well but was crushed when I hit the finish line at the Rock 'n' Roll USA Half in 2:04:31, just barely a PR.  I ran two marathons this year, but Providence didn't go as well as I'd hoped and, although I ran a consistent race at the Marine Corps Marathon, it took me almost 20 more minutes to finish a marathon as it had in 2011When it came to shorter races, PRs were also hard to come byCompared to the progress that I made between the 2010 Baltimore Marathon and the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon, 2012 was the year of the running slump.

When it comes down to it, I don't think that I pushed myself nearly enoughIf I had put in the extra work, run on the days that "I didn't feel like it," pushed myself during speed workouts, and gave it my all on race day, I could have met my race goals.  I could have met my mileage goals. 

Failure can be very inspiring, though.  I didn't reach my goals last year, and it only makes me want to push myself harder to reach them this year.

So, again, my running goals for this year are to:
  • Run 1,200 miles
  • Run a sub-2:00 half-marathon 
  • Run a sub-4:30 marathon
It's hard to believe that 2012 is overIt was a good year, but I'm going to do everything in my power to make 2013 even better.

Happy new year, folks!