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… 

“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)
“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,, 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.