Sunday, February 23, 2014

Marathon No. 5: Weekly Round-Up (Week 13)

I must say that I've really lucked out with the weather on my 20-mile runs.  Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous -- about 40 when I started, clear, and eventually reaching 60.  Hopefully, things will be just as lovely on race day.

Of the three 20-mile runs, yesterday's was by far the hardest.  I ran over to the U.S. National Arboretum, which is one of my favorite parts of D.C. It's a little out of the way (great for a long run), but it's beautiful.

History lesson! These columns were part of the original east portico of the Capitol.
Looping back downtown and heading back to my apartment (basically miles 15 through 20), I started to overheat and felt sluggish.  It was a feeling that I really hadn't experienced on the other longer runs that I did.  (Granted, last week's feelings of just wanted to be at home was caused more by the fact that it was freezing and raining more than being actually tired.)  Of course, with this last 20-miler, the hard part of training is over.  At this point, I start my taper and just have to focus on recovery, nutrition, and getting to the start line injury-free.

Here's what the week looks like:

Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: X-Training
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: X-Training
Friday: Off
Saturday: 12 miles 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Marathon No. 5: Weekly Round-Up (Week 12)

Half-way through Week 13 is a great time to write the recap of Week 12, amiright?  

This is it -- the last "hard" week of training.  Honestly, I couldn't be happier because it means that I'm about a month out from race day.  I feel prepared, and I'm excited to see how it goes.  Last week, I don't think I ran nearly as many miles as my training plan says, but I did a few of my runs much faster (and felt good so there's that).  I did my long run on Saturday between binge watching House of Cards. It was a cold, rainy, generally miserable-looking day; around the Capitol, I ran into the Cupid's Undie Run.  Considering that I was wearing far more clothing that a lot of those runners, I figured that things could have been much worse and kicked myself into gear.  

So far this week, I've done a tempo workout and an easy three mile run (outside and in shorts!). Tomorrow, I'll run four miles, and, on Saturday, I'll run my last 20-miler of training.  And, it looks like the weather is going to be perfect this weekend.  Spring feels so close!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Great CSA Adventure: 'Shrooms (Weeks 5)

It's Wednesday again, which means I picked up another batch of fresh veggies and other treats.  This week, Glen's Garden Market prepared the bags so I also got a dozen eggs from a local farm.  I'm a little overwhelmed, but I have a plan: frittatas.  Also, these delicious carrot cake pancakes are happening with all of the carrots that I've picked up over the last two weeks.  (I made these once before after a run, and I assure you that they are amazing.) But, back to recapping the last week's haul.

Week 5 wins for being the week for which I knew what to do with just about everything in the bag:

Stayman apples
Portobello mushrooms
Pea tendrils 
Raw honey
Spiced nuts 

I had mushrooms over left from previous pick-ups and, with the lettuce, I got the brilliant idea to make lettuce wraps for my post-run lunch over the weekend.  In fact, it was such a brilliant idea that there was already a recipe on the internet that included just about everything that I wanted to use.

Some assembly required.  I also learned a very good lesson about how much siracha I should use as a topping. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Marathon No. 5: Weekly Round-Up (Week 11)

Last week, I planned to run 36 miles.

Last week, I ran 20 miles.

And, I'm okay with that.  Because it was so cold this weekend (that, and I'm losing interest in layering up and sticking warmers to my feet and hands), I did my second long Yasso 800 workout: 10 half-mile intervals (with recovery intervals) switching between a 4:10 and 4:20 pace (per 800 meters).  It was challenging, but I felt strong throughout the workout; it's a nice confidence booster to know that, assuming that everything goes well until race day, I can likely finish between 4:10 and 4:20.

Since I ended the week with a 10 miler, I'm going to move my 16-miler to this weekend and follow with my last 20-mile run next weekend.  During the week, I'm going to run easy.  I went to the Y this evening to run on the indoor track, which was actually nice.  I mean, it must be one of the tiniest tracks in DC (21 laps on the inside lane for one mile) but it beats running outside.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Around the Interwebs: Where People Run

So, this is cool --

Using aggregated data recorded on RunKeeper (so many running apps!), someone created maps that show the most popular running areas in several major cities.  From Flowing Data:
What about all together? Not only is it fun to see, but it can be useful to the data collectors to plan future workouts or even city planners who make sure citizens have proper bike lanes and running paths. [...] The maps below are what I got, mostly for American cities, but there are a few European cities in there too (alphabetical order). If there's one quick (and expected) takeaway, it's that people like to run by the water and in parks, probably to get away from cars and the scenery. In the smaller inland cities, there seem to be a few high-traffic roads with less running elsewhere.
Thanks to Steve for sharing! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Everything is a Lie: Biomechanics Expert Debunks Treadmill-Running Myths

We've all see this, right?  The incline to which you're supposed to set your treadmill to mimic outdoor running at various paces?  Well, apparently, incline doesn't matter (sort of):
In his famous treadmill study, Jones tested experienced runners at six per-mile paces (9:11, 8:03, 7:09, 6:25, 5:51, and 5:21) while they ran on a treadmill that was either flat or inclined by various amounts. Setting the treadmill at a 1% incline made the effort equivalent to outdoor running only to those running 7:09 pace or faster. Let’s face it: Most of us are slower than that. You’re correct if you believe that treadmill runners don’t encounter the “cost” of moving through the air around them (because they don't move; they stay in one place). But it simply doesn’t add up to anything significant unless you’re running 7:09 pace or faster. What else can Kerrigan teach us about treadmill running? That the biomechanics, contrary to what many believe, are essentially the same as overground running. “We had to do a study on that [here] to convince the National Institutes of Health to fund some of our other work,” she told Runner’s World Newswire. “People have a bias against treadmill running--that real runners don’t do it, or that it changes your leg movements. It’s all garbage. We found some minor changes, but they weren’t the ones people expected, and they don’t affect anyone’s running biomechanics.”
So, the only downside of treadmill running is the monotony! Sweet!

In response to this recent development, Runner's World tackled other treadmill myths, including:
1. If you have sex on a moving treadmill, you can’t get pregnant: MYTH. You can, and probably will. Trust me on this one.  
6. Grasping the bar on the front of your treadmill, making a “revving” motion with your right hand, and saying “Vroom! Vroom!” isn’t cool: MYTH. It’s the coolest.
9. Falling on a treadmill is dangerous: MYTH. Falling on a treadmill ishilarious, as George Jetson and any number of YouTube videos demonstrate. 
So, there you have it.  Everything you learned about treadmills is basically a lie.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Great CSA Adventure: Squash (Weeks 3 & 4)

I didn't anticipate how quickly the CSA pick-ups would arrive each week.  I mean, technically it's a fixed day - every Wednesday - but that means that the Wednesdays are flying by faster than I can eat my share from the previous week.  This means that I should be hosting more dinner parties or making more soup or something...

Week 3 included butternut squash, onions, kale, lettuce, sweet potatoes, radishes, Macintosh apples, and a few bonus goodies (chocolate chip and cherry granola and a chocolate bar with pretzel bits, both locally produced ).  In addition to salads, I added kale to post-workout smoothies (my favorite combination so far is kale, blueberries, bananas, and pomegranate juice).  I wanted to use the butternut squash as a pizza topping, but, instead, I roasted it with shallots and tossed it with pasta.  Quick and delicious.

Week 4's basket included beets, cremini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, spaghetti squash, popping corn, and a cake bite from Cakelove in DC-- which was decadent and a "sometimes food."  

I tackled the squash on Sunday.  I've used spaghetti squash as a taco filling (trust me, it's works) and would have been happy to do that again.  But, courtesy of Bountiful, which is becoming one of my favorite vegetable-focused cookbooks, the squash was served as the "noodle" in a very simple dish with meatballs (but, let's be real here, actual pasta is amazing). 

And, look, I still have kale!
I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Marathon No. 5: Weekly Round-Up (Week 10)

I don't know about you, but, at times, January seemed to slog by.  I love winter, and I love snow, but the bitter cold and short days are starting to get to me.

This weekend, we got a nice break from winter in DC.  I did my second 20-miler with temperatures in the high 40s, and it was amazing to not have to wear layer upon layer to go out running  I'm looking forward to spring -- wearing dresses/skirts with bare legs, rooftop lounging, and ideal running temperatures.

After running my second 20-miler, I feel very good about my progress.  Here's the plan for Week 11:

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles (speed workout)
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: Off
Saturday: 16 miles
Sunday: 6 miles (easy)