Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 stats!!!

I'm taking New Years Eve off from running, which means my fitness year is complete!

The stats:
1,113 total running miles
1,428 total miles (includes biking, swimming and walking)
1,861 total total miles, 2010 included!

Miles by the month:

The fastest and the farthest:
And my lifetime stats:

Good year, but 2012 will be better!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Rules of Lifting for Abs: Phase 1 complete

I had stopped strength training for awhile and found that my back was hurting on long runs, so I picked up the book The New Rules of Lifting for Abs.

I just completed phase 1 of the 6-month program, and man, it's brutal, but so effective. I've moved up substantially on all of the exercises, and I feel stronger.

Each of the workouts was completed 8 times over about six weeks.

Here's where I started and where I ended on each:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New York Times on GPS watches

The New York Times has this case against GPS watches.

It talks about discrepancies between the watch and the course.

"That kind of discrepancy, of course, plays havoc with your training. The pace calculated by the watch is much too slow, and the run becomes an exercise in frustration."

I've noticed the inaccuracies before, but it has never bothered me. I knew that the watch wouldn't be perfect, but it has still been a great partner in training.

The best way to get around the inaccuracies is to go by averages. I use average pace per mile instead of current pace. As far as distance inaccuracies, they're never significant enough to make a difference.

I've run two marathons. My Garmin 305 measured the Cleveland Marathon at 26.49 miles and the Columbus Marathon at 26.34. While the added distance may have been the GPS acting up, it could have also been me weaving through other runners or taking curves too widely.

The biggest problem came at the Hocking Hills Indian Run this year, when I didn't know whether I could rightly say I beat a 10 minute pace. The course was supposed to be 12.4 miles -- but my watch only measured 12. 

My GPS isn't perfect. But the positives far outweigh the negatives. Because of the watch, I can veer off course without worrying about getting lost or going too far. I can run longer, because I pace myself better. And I can challenge myself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

1,000 hits in December

I hit 1,000 hits for this month! I had 1,114 when I checked this morning. Thanks for reading, everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2012: The official goals post

As this is auto-posting, I'm getting back into a familiar routine.

While most of the world is sleeping in on Saturday morning, once again I'm up early. Before dawn early. I'm putting on my cold weather gear, packing a bag of warm clothes to change into after, and warming up the Fit.

I'm driving 40 minutes to join the long procession of cars turning into Thomas Worthington High School for the Marathoner in Training program (MIT). Jeff's going to gather all 400 of us in the gym to kick the winter season off. He'll call out "10:30s!!!" then we hit the Olentangy Trail, sun, rain, sleet or snow. We'll yearn for the heat of summer, just as we yearned for the cold of winter in August.

I'm going to stop with the "I must be crazy for doing this" posts. It's a foregone conclusion. We're all crazy in our own little ways. I just choose to blog about it.

All 400 of us share one same personality trait: We're all goal oriented, some to the point of obsession. The magic number is called a PR, a personal record, and each one of us is there because we're determined to beat it.

The PR could be a goal distance, for many first timers it's simply to run as far as you can, to the marathon or half marathon point. That was my ambition my first season of MIT, training for Cleveland

But once you complete that distance, you now have a time to beat. Some simply want to beat their time, others set a new goal time. I ran a 4:32 in Cleveland, and sought to run Columbus in 4:20. That was the number that was burned into my head in my second season of MIT. I smashed through that goal, running Columbus in 4:13.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Because I like statistics

When I started this blog, I honestly didn't think anyone would read it! But every month since May I've had more than 1,000 page views!

Here are the page views by month since I started it:
Sept. 2010: 192
Oct. 2010: 786
Nov. 2010: 1053
Dec. 2010: 774
Jan. 2011: 528
Feb. 2011: 583
Mar. 2011: 648
Apr. 2011: 454
May 2011: 1044
June 2011: 1456
Jul. 2011: 1074
Aug. 2011: 2246
Sept. 2011: 1319
Oct. 2011: 1108
Nov. 2011: 1580
Dec. 2011: 853 (so far!)

Oink, Oink

Update: I finished it!! Race report here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Must read! "Unplug and Then Plug Back In Excited"

Here is just a fantastic article about the importance of rest from Running Times:

"When race day seems an eternity away it is sometimes difficult to rally the mental focus necessary to get back into the swing of things.

"Then upon coming back, who among us hasn’t cursed about an “easy” 4-miler never feeling harder? There are both mental and physical components to address in order to ensure you are fresh, restored, and then ready to rededicate yourself to the upcoming season."
I'm in the second week of two weeks off and I must attest, it is difficult. The worst part was getting an email back from my pace coach advising that my first "long run" should be 4 miles. 4!!

(Ok ok I did cheat a bit. I ran just one mile yesterday. I had 10 minutes to kill before yoga.)

I haven't taken the time completely off, as the article advises. I've been doing a lot of indoor cycling. I have even made two attempts at swimming, which I'm sure were pretty comical to the lifeguard and other people in the pool as I treaded water halfway through my laps gasping for air. I took a kickboxing class.

But now I'm reminded why I took this rest period. I feel recovered now. I don't walk around with something constantly aching. And further, before this little hiatus I was secretly dreading every run, but now I can't be more stoked for Saturday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

First on the First: A PR attempt for the new year

Jan. 1 I'm going to attempt to whittle down my 5K PR of 24:27 at the First on the First in Westerville. I'd love to beat 24:00, but even shaving a few seconds off would make me happy!

To run a 24:26 I'd need to run a 7:51 pace. To run a a 23:59 I'd need to run a 7:43. So I'm going to stick with the old strategy of starting the first half of the race with the 8 minute pacer then kicking it up!

I'm in the middle of a 2-week hiatus that ends with the kickoff of MIT Saturday. Looking forward to training for the Flying Pig!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Race Report: Salt Fork 10-Mile trail challenge 2011

After the Salt-Fork 10-Mile Trail Challenge, I was ready to write about how awesome the race was, how great I felt afterward, how incredibly awesome it was that I was covered with mud, etc...

But there was one small caveat: Indeed I felt awesome after, but I was completely miserable during the entire run.

That's what got me thinking about the mental grit it takes to be "a runner."

This was my second year at the Salt Fork challenge. After thinking about all the miserable factors of the race, it's really got me wondering about the psychology of the sport. How can you be so miserable, yet cross the finish line smiling (and not just because you're happy it's over)?

The race is brutal. You're either going straight uphill, or straight down. Many of the hills are too steep to walk up, let alone run. Immediately after taking any number of descending steps, the thought momentarily pops into your head: "$hit, I hope I don't break my ankle."

The mud this year was intense, from all the rain we've had. Sometimes you'd take a step and feel your whole foot get sucked in. And when I say mud, I just hope it was mud. Part of the race was on horse trails.

I wore my New Balance Minimus shoes. They're great, but I made the wrong choice in socks. The wetness of the course dragged my ankle socks down, so they were cutting into my ankles. At the rest stop at Mile 5.5 I looked down and saw blood. The blisters still make it a bit painful to walk in regular shoes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Race Report: Tough Mudder Indiana 2011

I felt like I had run 10 miles. I was done, defeated. We had jumped into an ice bath, clawed up one too many hills, forced our way over three walls and run through endless mud puddles.

We turned around a corner, walking at this point and saw a little sign that read "Mile 4".

Then there was another sign mocking us: "Don't worry, you only have 6 miles to go!"

The Tough Mudder seemed like a much better idea when we signed up in July. Yet another sign mocked us. "Think it's cold? What did you expect, it's November!"

I'm ready to kill Beth at this point for suggesting this. She looks miserable too. I keep my mouth shut and truck onward.

I did the Tough Mudder Sunday in Attica, Indiana with Beth O., Traci P. and her cousin Katie H. What an experience! I came out alive, something only 60 percent can say (40 percent drop out), and despite the toughness of the event I had so much fun.

It was a 10-mile course with 23 obstacles at an ATV park. We couldn't do all the obstacles but I'm stoked that I was able to do the ones that I could. (These may not be in the right order! I'm going by what the website said which isn't entirely accurate.)

It was also a road trip, so the four hour drive included a trip to WalMart to over-prepare:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MIT Year 2

This weekend I officially registered for Fleet Feet Columbus' Marathoner in Training program for 2012!

I make this case so often in this blog, MIT is a phenomenal program and I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to run a half or a full marathon!

So this means I'm committed to 2 marathons for 2012!

The spring marathon will either be the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati or the Canton Marathon.

Fall marathon is an easy choice: I'm going to run Columbus again! The MIT and crowd support was enough to make me want to do it again.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tough Mudder complete!!

The Tough Mudder is complete! I earned my orange headband!

Look forward to a full race report soonish, but here are some photos. I wore an ugly Christmas sweater :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011 hits the road!!

This crazy elf hat is only the first clue toward the crazy thing I got to wear as my throwaway layer :)

I'm super-stoked! Not only will this be my first time wearing something silly to run in, but it's my first road trip for a race! I'm headed to the Tough Mudder in Attica, Ind. with three other girls.

I'm bringing my laptop with the goal of posting some photos and videos from the road.

It'll be like the Warrior Dash but 10 miles long. I fully expect to look far worse than this when I finish!

Going minimalist

First of two posts today :)

I've had the Zoots for awhile but I'm finally making the jump into a true minimalist shoe.

I'm going to keep the Mizuno Precisions for my longer runs, but I have a new pair of New Balance Minimus' for shorter runs.

I remembered Sara W. at Words to Run By got them and loved them so I decided to go to Fleet Feet Sports today and try them out. I just love the way they feel! Thanks to a sale and a gift card I got them for cheap.

Apparently I'm a toe striker now. Way back when I first got fitted for shoes I was labeled as a heel striker so things have definitely changed after two marathons!!

I really like how it felt. I feel like I was striking really evenly, and the shoes are crazy comfortable. I'll blog again about them a couple runs in!! And it's crazy to feel the difference between them and the Asics Kayanos I started out in way back when!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Race Report: 2011 Buckeye Classic 10K

Run DMC and friends at the Buckeye Classic. 
It took me over an hour to run a 10K, and given all the factors involved I'm still thrilled with my time! Official time was 1:02:36, a 10:06 pace.

Let's just say I woke up this morning a bit dehydrated. Forgot my rule of thumb last night, 1 to 1. I didn't think it would be that bad, but it was.

That and the hills were evil! From here on out it's hill repeats twice a week until Salt Fork, and once a week thereafter!

It was the Buckeye Classic at Highbanks Metroparks in Lewis Center. This is one I decided to do on a whim, using my free race entry from volunteering at Emerald City.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

2 more races for 2011: Buckeye Classic and Salt Fork Trail Challenge

Where did 2011 go!?!?!?

In addition to the Tough Mudder Nov. 20, I've picked out 2 more races to round the year out.

In less than 2 weeks I'm going to do the Buckeye Classic 10K. The goal will be to beat my current PR (I've only done one 10K) of 56:53.

On Dec. 3 I'm planning on running the Salt Fork 10-mile trail challenge. The goal will be to beat last year's time of 1:57:42.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Race Report: Nu Hop Trail Run 2011

I felt like I was running down a mountain, and suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks.

The trees were starting to bare so I could see a good half mile both ahead of me and behind me. And there was no one out there. The path was... kind of clear. I think it's the hiking trail? Come to think of it I haven't seen any of those little flags that told me I was on course in awhile. And are these leaves trodden down like they had been behind me? I really had no idea. In retrospect, it may have been an appropriate time to panic but at that point in time I just shrugged my shoulders and stayed the course with my fingers crossed.

I think I've run about 10 miles at this point, but that's really just a guess too. 

When I got to the bottom of the massive hill I breathed a sigh of relief, stuck in the ground were two white flags and a black flag. I was still on course.

So many told me not to race so soon after the Columbus Marathon. Before the marathon I had delusions of grandeur -- completing the 50K distance, but I came to my senses and signed up for the 13.5 miler instead.

Happy birthday to blog

After seeing a post on another blog, I decided to look up when by blog's birthday was. 

Turns out I've blogging about my running adventures for 1 year and 6 weeks.  I started on Sept. 15, 2010.

It doesn't seem like it's been that long now. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

After reacquainting with my pillow and my TV, here's what's next!

Me and running buddy Karl showing off our
marathon medals at Brews.
I'll do an official photo post soon!! 
I can't get the 30 Rock theme out of my head. Because making it through the end of Season 2 (love the episodes with Edie Falco) and most of Season 3 has been hands down the most productive thing I've done since the 2011 Columbus Marathon. (Tracy Morgan just tried to kill Jimmy Fallon. Very nice.).

**Warning: Pointless, scatterbrained post ahead**

That's outside of work, that is. I did get to cover what will probably be the story of the year, when a bunch of wild animals were set free in Zanesville, Ohio. In between chuckles over the increasing absurdity of the story, I managed to get one of my stories picked up by USA Today, and another by the Cincinnati Enquirer. (Insert shameless plug for professional Facebook page here.) 

"It's like Noah's Ark wrecking here in Zanesville." Jack Hanna

And here's some more news: I'm now a certified Spinning instructor. Starting in November I'll be teaching at the Newark Y, 6 a.m. Wednesdays and 6:30 p.m. Thursday. So if you're in my neck of the woods come see me!

Spinning was the only activity I did last week, so my DailyMile displayed a whopping one workout. I proudly posted this shining accomplishment on Facebook and Kim B. promptly responded: " are supposed to be taking it easy."

Facebook post from Monday 10/24. 
Spinning Thursday was fun but slightly nerve-wracking. Jamie let me be in front of the class with her. Once I'm settled in and on my bike I realize I'm in a 90-minute class. But Jamie ran Columbus too (and we wore our twin shirts that day to prove it), so if she could do it, I had no excuse. I survived the first half no problem. Most of the class left at the break, leaving just a few brave souls. Jamie let me cue some jumps, and I learned that it is not easy to talk and count in my head. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Race Report: 2011 Columbus Marathon

Today was a runner's nightmare. I overslept!!!

But despite the biggest thing that could possibly go wrong on race day going wrong, I beat my Cleveland time by...

Wait for it...

Drumroll please...


I ran the Columbus Marathon in 4:13:12, an average pace of 9:40, beating my Cleveland time of 4:32:50 (average pace 10:24). I am shocked at my time. I can't believe I did that well.

So my morning went like this: Heard the alarm go off at 4 a.m. thought I hit snooze but I didn't! Next thing I knew it was 5:15. 

Fortunately, I still had time to get there -- gun was at 7:30. Fortunately, Lizzie Dog peed right away. Fortunately, I had packed everything the night before so I was able to just grab my bag and go -- I'm out the door by 5:30. Fortunately, there were no cops on 161!  

I get into Columbus by 6:15 but traffic was snarly. It takes me a half hour to get parked and by the time I get to the Hyatt, where MIT was meeting, it was time to head to the start. "Way to scare everyone by showing up late," says Bill B. as I hand him my bag to put on the truck. I grin. 

We start the procession toward the start and I catch up to some of the 10:30s walking. "JESSICA!!!!!" Kim says, "You had us so worried!!" 

We get to the start and I have to pee big time. The line for the regular port-a-johns is atrocious, so Meredith, also in our pace group start poking into local businesses looking for a ladies' room with no line. In Dunkin' Donuts, someone tells us where there is a port-a-potty with no line. Jackpot!! Actually it had a short line, far more bearable still. We make it to the start just in time. 

There's no hope of finding the pace teams, it's too crowded, too many people!! That's right, I ran the whole thing without a pacer, and pretty consistently too!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm #3713, and here's the plan!

Ok so the race expo was fun, but now I'm a little overwhelmed. Time to take a breather and write everything out.

I'll finish this when I get back from the store :)

Things I need to do tonight:
~Charge iPod
~Sync iPod, equalize volume
~Go to store and buy preserves so I can have my traditional almond butter and jelly bagel for breakfast
~See if Goodwill is still open, get a throwaway

Expo time REDUX!!!


I have just returned from the Columbus Marathon Expo! Fun flashback to the Cleveland Expo.

This is going to be a photo post. I'll do my more serious "Here's the Plan" post next, and then the playlist post!

Fun times at the expo! I spent an hour and a half working with Deb M. at the Bondiband booth, and got three Bondis out of it. One is a prezzy for someone, here are the other two -- not sure which I'm going to wear tomorrow:

Here's the shirt, front and back:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Nervous ramblings as race day approaches


The Columbus Marathon is SUNDAY!

To say I'm nervous would be a vast understatement. This is marathon #2, and what I'm going to write is complete deja vu from what I wrote before Cleveland:
"Here's what killed my confidence... I'm ashamed to say it but I dropped the ball on my training."
So, yea, totally dropped the ball on my training -- and I don't have a move to blame it on this time.

Everything went great through the final 12 (well, 13.1) mile run. Then I went out two days later. And my legs just wouldn't move! I ran with Karl in Granville, he tried to push me to no avail, I gave up after 1.5 miles.

Ok, I needed rest. I took 2 days off. I was visiting my parents and tried to go out for 3 miles that Friday. Part of it was maybe the big dinner, but this time 2.5 miles was too much. Now I'm getting nervous.

The next day was my Spinning certification class, which I'll blog about in a separate post (likely after the marathon). I let two really difficult spin classes take the place of the 8-mile run. I burned almost 800 calories between them, so I didn't feel guilty.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

At the helm of the class: ME??

The wheels started turning when I ran with my friend Jamie last week. I need to find a way to make a little bit of extra cash.

"Jessica, you would make an AWESOME spin instructor," Miss Jamie says as we're trucking it up a hill on Raccoon Valley Road in Granville.

I agree half-heartedly. One of the many crazy ideas I'll end up chickening out on. But then I got to thinking, maybe it could be fun. I got a secret kick out of the day at the Y when the instructor forgot her iPod and borrowed mine.

Ok, so I send a couple emails out to various people floating the idea. They're supportive. I talk to the spin coordinator at the Y. Now I'm really excited about it.

On Oct. 8 I'm going to trek it up to Wadsworth to get the official Spinning certification. The week after I have a short certification process to do at the Y. Then, if I can get hired at the Y or elsewhere, I'll be a spin instructor!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Taper time


The worst part of marathon training is officially over! I did my 22-mile run early Thursday and now I'm in taperville.

Overall it's been a very good season. I'm a lot more confident now. There were some bad days, but I knew I could complete every long run, and I did.

It was strange doing my longest run without MIT. I'm going to watch some friends in the Akron Marathon Saturday so I was up at 3:30 a.m. to do my long run. My friend Jamie came along for the first 16, then I was on my own, but she was kind enough to lend me her iPod since mine was dead.

The run went well. We started in downtown Granville with the plan to split it up into four parts, using our cars as a hydration point in between.

This reinforces the best advice I can give for these long hauls: Break the run up mentally. Just worry about getting to the next hydration point. It will make things so much easier!

First we went east from downtown and onto Raccoon Valley road. This part was kind of rough because of the hills. We did six miles out and back. As usual, for the first three I was achy and mentally overwhelmed because of what lay ahead, but Jamie and I talked the whole way and that really helped get my mind off the task at hand. It was really, really dark out and my headlamp did nothing for the fog.

After the first leg we went on the same sidewalk I've gotten to know really well. I was feeling better for the second leg, and felt strong getting back to the car at the halfway point. The third leg was rough, my legs got heavy and I was mentally and physically exhausted.

Jamie had to leave after Mile 16 so I was all by my lonesome. I was able to speed up but those last six were rough. I went down to the bike trail and ended up having to stop twice, but I did it!

I had the goal at the beginning of the week of running 45 miles. That is clearly not going to happen, but I'm happy I was able to get the long run in. I'm proud of myself for listening to my body on Tuesday. I was going to run six, but after about three steps I knew I had to take the day off and rest so I turned back.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Race Report: Hocking Hills Indian Run 2011 20K

This race has the best medals, made by school kids!
I remember going down to Hocking Hills for the first time for this race last year. Driving in I was freaking out. It was my first 10K and it was going to be crazy hilly.

This year, I was super excited driving up and down the rolling hills headed to Logan. This was my second time doing the Hocking Hills Indian Run. I did the 20K in 2:03:22, finished 7th in my age group of 17, and 104th of 256 overall. Last year I did the 10K in 56:53.

Age group results here. Overall results here. Course map here. Topographic map here.

Nothing went right from the beginning of the day, but all ended well! My iPod was dead and I lost the cable, and as I'm driving off from my apartment my wrist felt kind light. What's missing? Crap, gotta go back for the Garmin.

Driving down I got stuck in traffic twice in Thornville, once for the Hell Run and then for the Backwoods Festival. But all was well, I made it to the Hills, and as I'm picking up my race packet a familiar face waltzes in.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Trail therapy

Today is my second Hocking Hills Indian Run! I'm doing the 20K with Beth O. I ran the 10K last year.

Struggling with the loss of Gigi, I've found trail running to be one of the most therapeutic things around. I've been spending quite a bit of time at the Bioreserve at Denison in Granville and it's just a phenomenal place to run.

I did three trail runs last year and I'm doing at least two of them again this year. I really can't wait! My goal for the run is to do it under an 11:00 pace. We'll see if that happens!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The marathon playlist

Who wants to contribute to my marathon playlist?

As I was driving down to Pike County for an assignment this morning I started thinking about what I'm going to put on the playlist for the Columbus Marathon, one month from today. I'm going to build it on my blog, starting with songs that jog amusing and/or happy thoughts, and songs that remind me of wonderful people. So if you consider yourself a wonderful person suggest a song and I'll add it to the list.

I blogged about my Cleveland Marathon playlist here and here.

  • Creed, "Rain" -- The song I started the Cleveland Marathon to
  • Beatles, "The Long and Winding Road" - The song I finished the Cleveland Marathon to
  • Queen, "Somebody to Love" - During Cleveland somebody ran next to me and said "Thanks for sharing the queen". At that point I realized my iPod was too loud!
  • ??? "Cleveland Rocks" - During Cleveland...
  • Bruce Springsteen, "Rosalita" -- After completing the Cleveland Marathon I was so excited to go back to MIT but my iPod was dead so I made a mix CD for the ride to Worthington my first day back. This was the first track on the CD (which is still in my car).

  • OAR, "Heaven" -- Song that got me through my 18-miler this season, and it reminds me of the day they used my iPod in spin
  • Rilo Kiley, "With Arms Outstretched" - Got me through my first 14-miler of the season
  • Aretha, "RESPECT" - Jess F and I got dragged on stage after the Cinco de Julio race. What a fun night!
  • Melissa Etheridge, "I Run for Life" -- Reminds me of Gigi :(
  • Lady Gaga, "The Edge of Glory" -- Got me through many workouts this year
  • Wilco, "Summerteeth" -- Reminds me of my trip to Florida
  • Dave Matthews Band, "Best of What's Around" -- Reminds me of college
  • Girl Talk, "In Step" -- Don't know why, but reminds me of driving around Maine
  • Better than Ezra, "Desperately Wanting" -- Reminds me of high school cross country
  • Glee, "One" -- My favorite musical performance on Glee
  • Bruce, "Blinded by the Light" -- The song Kelly referenced on The Office while making fun of Glee
  • ???, "Midnight Train to Georgia" -- Reminds me of my favorite scene in 30 Rock when Kenneth tries to leave after realizing he is addicted to **gasp** caffeine!!
  • Tom Petty, "American Girl" -- Song they played in Parks and Recreation when Leslie pulled off the harvest festival. I want to try to download "The Pit"!
  • Beatles, "Strawberry Fields Forever" -- Charlie's tattoo on Lost! 
  • ???, "Hang on Sloopy" -- Well, I'm running the Columbus Marathon
  • New Pornographers, "Adventures in Solitude" -- Driving to Pike County today I got the "low battery" notice on my shuffle. I decided that the song that was playing when it died would make the list. This was it.
  • Death Cab, "Movie Script Ending" -- Reminds me of my summer on the Cape
  • Bruce Springsteen, "The Rising" -- Reminds me of covering politics in Maine in 2008
  • Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling" -- Reminds me of my sisters wedding
  • Black Eyed Peas, "One Tribe" -- Reminds me of endless hours on the elliptical trainer as I was getting back into fitness
  • Kris Allen, "Live Like You're Dying" -- One of the few songs I liked of the god awful songs they always played at Aspen Fitness
  • Offspring, "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" -- Crossfit at Ohio Krav Maga and Fitness

So here's where I need your help, suggest songs and I'll add you to the list!!
  • Shakira, "Waka Waka" - Reminds me of Jess F!
  • Florence and the Machine, "Dog Days are Over" -- Reminds me of Jamie K (who might join me in my next venture, which I have yet to announce = 0 )
  • Brittany, "3" -- Reminds me of Becky E., we must run together soon!!
  • Linkin Park, "Waiting for the End"; and Beyonce, "Single Ladies" -- Reminds me of that crazy night out with Beth O.! 
  • That song that goes "Bow-chick-a-wow-wow whatcha gonna do" BETH WHAT IS IS??? -- Reminds me of my Warrior Ladies Beth O. and Evelyn H.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm proud of my girl

Crazy Lizzie, the spoiled silly spotted greyhound, ran four miles with me this morning. I'm so proud of her.

Before we were going out for 3 mile runs. At first she completely pooped out the last mile. Then she was strong throughout. Then she wanted to keep going, so today I tried her at four. She didn't complain, she didn't slow, and when she did have to do her, err, dog stuff, she barely stopped to sniff first, just pulled off on the grass then got right back on the sidewalk. I have a good feeling she'll be ready for five.

Lizzie has been beyond brave in dealing with the loss of her sister and my best friend Gigi. I can tell she's depressed, so I'm trying to keep her tired, and running works wonders for both of us. I couldn't help but smile as she lay in the middle of the carpet sound asleep as I was getting ready for work.

This article in Running Times has inspired me to run with her more. The author talks about running with her dog. I agree wholeheartedly, and I'll have to try the interval training thing.
"She's too young to run much; I know I need to give her time to grow and mature. But she gets me out the door, even if it's just for walks. With freedom to choose, I will choose to lie in bed and work--or read novels--all day. Helen reminds me that we both inhabit physical bodies that need exercise and she reminds me, too, that working in spurts is more productive than long slogs.

"We go to a dog park with a half mile dirt track around the perimeter. There I do interval workouts while Helen dashes off to play with her friends. We both end up dog-tired.

"As she ages and is able to go longer, I will push myself to keep up with her. I have found, finally, the perfect companion and training partner."

For Lizzie, my run is a fast walk for her long legs and slender body. It gives me so much joy watching her have so much fun, the wind blowing through her ears and her tail wagging as she takes in all the scents and sights.

Lizzie is 6 years old so I don't know how long she can do this with me, but she'll be my best partner in crime for as long as she's able.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vote for me and Lizzie

"Does this work? Is it working? Is she reaching for the cookies yet"?
Shameless promotion: Offering people prizes to get them to promote you.

Guess what, Fleet Feet, it's working :-P

Fleet Feet is running a contest -- post a photo of your favorite running buddy and get people to like it. The one with the most "likes" wins a prize.

I figure this pathetic look (and I mean that in the most loving way possible) has exploited me enough over the years for treats, walks, and romps with the red ball that usually end with something in my apartment getting knocked over. Now it's my turn to exploit her! Muhahahahaha.


1. Go to Fleet Feet Sports' Facebook page (link:
2. Scroll down until you see Lizzie's begging look.
3. Hit "like"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another 20-miler for the books

The step up to 20 miles, the second longest run of the season, is a rough one.

It's the big 2-0. You're no longer in the teens. You're in the big leagues.

It's funny. I remember this as last season's most miserable run. I remember trying to leg out the last little bit with the 10:30s but feeling so tired that I just wanted to quit.

But my blog from the day says something different.

"Mentally I'm feeling great, race day is approaching very quickly and getting past 20 was a huge confidence-boost for the 26.2...

"...After the water stop at Mile 16 I dropped back with another girl in our group and we fell back to about an 11:30 pace. Two others that started early with us also ended up dropping back and we did our last three miles very slowly. We were all really hurting. It was a struggle to keep conversation going just to pass the time. 
"But that's ok, we got the time on our feet in, we did it, that's all that matters. And, when we got back to the school, there were all kinds of wonderful supportive people there to greet us."
The dynamics of the runs were the same too, in the sense that they came after really, really rough weeks.

But this time, I felt great for the entire run.

The beginning was the same as every other long run. Things were achy and my mind couldn't wrap itself around the fact that my legs had so much more to go. The mental block would have hit if it weren't for the people around me.

And, as usual, I settled in. At the midway point I was feeling strong, and with 6 miles to go I felt like pushing myself a little further. Perfect timing, the 10:00 team was coming in the other direction so I jumped ship. Another 10:30 sped up with me, and since our distances were off from the 10s we ended up doing the last 2 on our own. We kicked it up to a 9:30 pace and ended up with an average of 10:15.

Time and heart rate splits:
Mile 1: 10:47, 164 bpm
Mile 2: 10:41, 154 bpm
Mile 3: 10:40, 152 bpm
Mile 4: 10:42, 160 bpm
Mile 5: 10:21, 155 bpm
Mile 6: 10:07, 155 bpm
Mile 7: 9:46, 158 bpm
Mile 8: 10:19, 158 bpm
Mile 9: 10:23, 157 bpm
Mile 10: 10:25, 156 bpm
Mile 11: 10:29, 156 bpm
Mile 12: 10:15, 160 bpm
Mile 13: 10:10, 164 bpm
Mile 14: 10:18, 167 bpm
Mile 15: 10:15, 164 bpm
Mile 16: 10:06, 166 bpm
Mile 17: 10:12, 169 bpm
Mile 18: 10:26, 167 bpm
Mile 19: 9:29, 171 bpm
Mile 20: 9:03, 175 bpm

Bring it, Columbus!!!

The other side of the fence

Sorry for the lack of updates. I regret to report that I put Gigi down last week. I'm working on a goodbye post but, well, it's hard to write. I have several posts planned, I've been running with Lizzie more and I want to blog about that, and we had our 20-miler Saturday and I want to blog about that run.

But last week I had the awesome experience of volunteering at a race. I'll admit, my motives for doing so were a bit selfish -- you get a free race entry (maybe for another PR at the First on the First!) and a t-shirt. But hey, I figured I'd be at the Emerald City Half and Quarter Marathon a week ago Sunday because I had so many good friends running that I'd be there anyway, so I might as well make myself useful.

Myself, some others from MIT, and other random people worked the water stop at Mile 1 and 11 for the halves and Mile 4 for the quarters.

It. Was. Exhausting.

Setting up in the dark. Kim Villena I stole this from you!
I woke up at 4 a.m. to be there by 5:30. The race started at 7. This was my second time working a water stop -- the time before I did it with a bunch of people who don't run and man, being able to do it with runners made so much of a difference. Setup went like clockwork. One person sets the cups, one person pours, a third organizes. We had time to kill until the runners came.

But, being at Mile 1, when they came, we were slammed. They trickled in slowly then we were hit by the speedy folks concerned about every second. Cups of water were snatched out of my hand before I could get into position, sometimes taking my arm with them. I tried to cheer on Karl, Kim, Shona, Larry, Susanne et al but we were busy running back and forth. The steady flow turned to the slower runners, who tend to slow or walk through the stops. Then the walkers, who took their time to stop and rest.

If there's one thing volunteering has showed me, it's that it is much more fun to be slow! It's the slower runners who were hanging out in groups, talking and laughing. The faster runners were too serious :)

We had a short lull to recover from the rush. We set up the cups again and relaxed. Then the quarters started to trickle back. This wasn't nearly as bad as the first rush! I was actually kind of bored standing at the end of the line! It was nerve-wracking waiting for the halves because two of my good friends were trying to PR and I started to get nervous when it was time for them to show up!

I'll admit to being really bored waiting for the last walkers to come through. But on the other side of the coin, I had more and more admiration for people coming by as time moved forward. The slower the walkers got, you knew that meant the more they overcame to be there.

I thought I'd feel bad for the person in last place, but I didn't. She walked 13.1 miles. Even though she came in last, she did it, and that's all that mattered.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Girl Talk is the BEST workout music

Kim B. was building a playlist for Emerald City tomorrow and needed suggestions. I looked this up for her and figured I'd share with everyone. If you're a runner, and you haven't heard of Girl Talk, well... you really should have!

Best of all, it's a free download here.

Some of the best tracks: (Warning, some explicit language)

"Down for the Count"

"Let it Out"

"In Step" (from his previous album)

Friday, September 2, 2011

August: By the numbers

This will just be a quicky post. The stats for August:
115: Miles running
91: Miles cycling
965: 2011 miles
1,398: Total miles
848: Donuts burned

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Columbus is coming up fast!

Only 3 mega-long runs left til the Columbus Marathon, 52 days from today!

I just registered to run with the 4:30 pace team (which I will say goodbye to after the first half!) And there's a sweet video of the course:

2011 Columbus Marathon Complete Course Overview from dan farkas on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

After 18 miles, total exhaustion

At the beginning of the year, I didn't understand people who told me "I can't train for a marathon, I have kids." What's the big deal? At the worst of it, you're gone for 4 hours on a Saturday morning. With MIT starting so early, you're probably home by the time they wake up.

Then came the first 16-miler. I reeled for a few hours, then crashed. When I woke up, I had some of the worst soreness and exhaustion I had ever experienced. After that run, then my 18, 20, 22 and my race, I was out for the entire weekend. Anything that required the slightest bit of exertion was out of the question.

Parents who train for marathons (or those who have any other obligations on the weekends), how do you do it? Throwing the red ball to my dog takes special effort! Any chore I can't do sitting down can wait!

Yesterday I was scheduled for 16. I, errr, went 18. It was a great run, I felt really strong through the entire thing. Staying on my feet for so long after was probably a bad call. I did some shopping (pair 4 of Mizuno Precisions on their way!). Then I went to the 10TV Health and Fitness expo, which was a huge waste of time.

I had really good splits and my heart rate stayed where it needed to be:

My average pace was 10:20, average HR was 155. Splits:
Mile 1: 10:53, 171 bpm (doubt this is right, monitor was acting up)
Mile 2: 10:26, 164 bpm
Mile 3: 10:27, 152 bpm
Mile 4: 10:20, 152 bpm
Mile 5: 10:29, 149 bpm
Mile 6: 10:28, 150 bpm
Mile 7: 9:09, 149 bpm
Mile 8: 9:37, 154 bpm (potty break and subsequent catch-up)
Mile 9: 10:20, 149 bpm
Mile 10: 10:27, 150 bpm
Mile 11: 10:33, 149 bpm
Mile 12: 10:12, 153 bpm
Mile 13: 10:25, 153 bpm
Mile 14: 10:18, 152 bpm
Mile 15: 10:18, 155 bpm
Mile 16: 10:26, 158 bpm
Mile 17: 10:30, 162 bpm
Mile 18: 10:37, 159 bpm

Anyway, aside from the laundry that I absolutely need to do, my only mission for the rest of the evening is to find out if Jack Bauer can stop the pandemic virus in time! Netflix, I love you.

Song I'm currently obsessed with:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Indian Run registration, and other musings

For the second year in a row I'm going to do the Hocking Hills Indian Run down in Logan. I did the 10K last year and it's a fantastic race. This year I'm signed up for the 20K, that's 12.4 miles. I haven't been running off-road much this year so I think in the next few weeks I'm going to get to Dawes and the Bio to get acclimated to trails again.

I'm also eying the Nu Hop Trail Run again this year at Mohican. It was fun running it last year, though I'm not sure what I can do two weeks after Columbus. 

I've been a bad blogger lately. Really, there's not a lot to report. We're in the heart of the training season, our long runs jump from 14 miles to 16 miles Saturday, and our weekday miles are building rapidly. Providing I complete the long run I will have done 30 miles this week alone. At least the heat has taken a break and I'm back to running a 9:30-10:30 pace weekdays and a 10:30 pace Saturday. The 14-mile long run went great last week, we ran from Ohio Health in Westerville up to Galena and back, beautiful scenery. This week it's back to Worthington High, while I adore MIT I have to admit I'm getting sick of running the same trail every week.

I've been taking Lizzie dog out for my 3 mile runs. We didn't get out this week but in general she's been coming for one run a week. She loves it. We can't do the pet run in Granville Sept. 3 but I'm hoping to find a 5K that I can do with her.

My other dog, Gigi, has lymphoma and hasn't been doing well at all, so that's been an added layer of stress. The poor girl isn't responding to the prednisone, so I'm going to try her on a new med this week.

Overall, running, work and life has left me thoroughly exhausted. Going to rest up tonight to prepare for tomorrow (we have to be in Worthington at 6:30, ick!), I want to check out the 10TV health and fitness expo, but beyond that I plan on taking it real easy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My best buds

To call this a brutal week would be a vast understatement. Myself and my family are all dog people. There are five dogs in my immediate family at the moment, two with me, two with my parents and one with my sister. But the pack is going to shrink. 

I've grown up with Katie Dog. I hated her at first (I was a teenager), because she wasn't Misha, the german shephard we had previously who I loved way back when. 

We don't know how old Katie is, but she's old, at least 12. For the past year every time I said goodbye to her I knew there was a chance I wouldn't see her again. When my dad called last week and told me that her time was very short, it wasn't much of a surprise. 

But then I found out about Gigi. This was a total shock. 

Gigi is the older of my two greyhounds (Lizzie is only 6 months younger). I'd noticed a little bit of swelling in her lymph nodes before, but last week they ballooned, so we went to the vet last Friday. After a few tests they confirmed the worst -- she has lymphoma. I don't know how much longer I have with her now, but I'm trying to make the best of it. 

Gigi was the first dog to be completely mine, she and I have been through so much together. She's been my contant through a lot of moves and life changes in my early adulthood. She's a very sweet, kind, loving girl -- doesn't even bark at the mailman. 

Miss Lizzie is my other hound. I got her a year after I brought Gigi home. Gigi was going a little nuts with my unpredictable work schedule and needed a friend. I fell in love with Lizzie while volunteering at the greyhound kennel up in Maine. 

Lizzie is obnoxious, loud, defiant and bossy and I love her dearly. Somehow, despite Gigi's timid and sensitive personality, they make a good team. She's a lot more independent than Gigi. 

I'm starting to run with her again. We may even compete in the Licking County Pet-A-Palooza 5K in September together. 

Rounding out the pack are Brandy (left) and Mimi (right), the babies of the group. Brandy belongs to my sister, Mimi belongs to my parents.