Monthly Archives: February 2010

Long-run Sunday!

My favorite. šŸ™‚

Today, I measured out an 8 mile route in the car, and figured I’d do something between 7 and 8 miles. With the last 1.5 miles of the first half being uphill, it ended up at 7.5. I brought along a Nutri-Grain bar, and it really helped–today’sĀ  7.5 miles were faster than than the 7 miles on Tuesday! AND I resisted having a frozen pizza afterward. šŸ™‚ That’s success in my book.

beginner half marathon week 4

As a result of the messed-up long run schedule, I ran 3 times this week instead of 4, and still ended up with over 19 miles. Next Saturday is my first 5K, and possibly 4-5 miles the next day, so it’ll be two weeks before the next long run Sunday. (I’m sure the race t-shirt will make up for it.)

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Friday!

Oh, how I love Friday. Today is particularly lovely because 1) it’s a much-needed rest day, 2) I have precisely ONE MONTH left of work (four weeks from today–>big celebration), and 3) I just bought my ticket to Colombia! Five weeks from Tuesday, I’m off–nothing I love more than a new country, and this will be my 34th.

Yesterday, I did 4 miles, which were all right. Once again, I was surprised at how much food impacts my runs. I remembered to time my meals yesterday so that I’d run about 1.5 hours after lunch, which seems to work well. Naturally, I was delayed, forgot to have a little snack before the run, and wasn’t as energetic.Ā  Oatmeal or something small and carb-y before a run makes a big difference. Note for next time, I guess. šŸ™‚

Here’s the run graph–I wonder if I should pause the Nike+ during walk breaks?Ā  Someday, I’d like to run a sub-10 minute mile.

half marathon week 4

Have a GORgeous weekend!

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My first 7 mile run!

I ran 7 miles!! (That totally deserves an extra exclamation point.) After the failed attempt on Sunday (damn you, Nike+), I decided to do my long run today. It felt really strange to do on a Tuesday after a long workday–I love my Sunday runs. šŸ™‚ I measured the distance first on MapMyRun and in the car…and then missed the road sign and went .5 miles further before turning around–so I did just over 7 miles total! Not bad, considering I was aiming for 6. And, though I have not touched the calibration, the Nike+ was about .63 off this time, as opposed to the whopping 1.3 on Sunday. The run graph:

half marathon training

This was my first run that was significantly over an hour, and I learned a few things:

1. “They” are not kidding about eating on workouts over an hour. The last two miles were kind of grueling. Scratch that–very grueling. I walked several times and lost the spring in my step, and I’m guessing a snack would have restored some of that energy. By the time I got to the car, my head was spinning (blood sugar issues = exaggerated reactions), and I had a headache before long, which has only just gone away. I ate an apple but couldn’t force down a chicken sandwich. I love the idea of taking real food on runs, as opposed to sport beans or gels (not that I’ve ever tried either), but that will require some experimenting. Do I really have to get a running belt? I could…tape a sandwich baggie to my leg or something. šŸ™‚ Or, buy running clothes with pockets.

Okay, can I pause for a second to mention how exciting it is to be seriously considering refueling during a run? Makes me feel like a real (albeit slooow) runner. šŸ™‚

2. I need longer playlists! My This American Life podcast ran out at the one-hour mark, which left me with a running podcast that only served to draw attention to what my body was doing. The LAST thing I wanted to do was think about my legs, especially when I ran through some unexpectedly thick mud that coated my shoes and made my feet feel about 10 pounds heavier. Just an extra half hour of my beloved NPR would have been a soothing influence. Next up: audiobooks.

3. Running is mental. Seriously. A few hours later, my body feels fine. My legs aren’t sore, I’m not feeling more tired than usual. My body knows it’s been pushed, but it’s funny how the knowledge that I’ve gone farther than normal tricks the mind into thinking that my legs were tired. I mean, I’m sure they were, but certainly not to the point of exhaustion. And on a side note, could I BE prouder of my body?

4. Once again, I adore the post-run shower. Today, I actually exclaimed out loud as I stepped into the shower–so refreshing and comforting.

5. New routes make a big difference. It’s lovely to have new scenery. I’m so, SO excited to be plotting routes in other cities and countries. Salt Lake City in two weeks (my first official 5K!), Flagstaff in a month, Vegas soon after (I wonder if I can run near the Strip?), and then Colombia (where I’ll be running from guerrillas and overzealous Latin men…the curse of blonde hair). And, as I train for the Chicago Marathon, there’s a good chance it’ll be in the Andes. (!!!) More on that later.

For now, a few questions: Have you ever run with audiobooks? What non-running podcasts do you recommend? What do you eat during long runs?

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Nike+, you’ve done me wrong

As you know, I adore long-run Sunday. Today was particularly exciting because it was to be the first time I’ve gone six consecutive miles–I’ve been excited all week. So this afternoon, hydrated and fortified with oatmeal, I headed out into the cold desert to find a new route. Down a dirt road I drove, through one of those trailer settlements that are so common in the remote parts of the West, past scads of cows, until I reached a nice turnaround point.

It was a glorious run. I had the nicely rolling road to myself, and didn’t stop once to walk. When the Nike+ called out the halfway point, I turned around, terrorized a few cows as I ran behind them for a mile, and reached the car without even a hint of exhaustion.

Suspicious. Then, when good old Nike+ informed me that I’d just run 6 miles at 8:19 per mile, I knew something was up. Sure enough, when I measured the distance in the car, it came out to about 4.7 miles.

I’m so, so disappointed. This was going to be a big milestone, and the worst part is that I could have easily kept going for that extra 1.3 miles. The culprit? Recalibrating the stupid thing on a track on Friday, running with a longer stride than normal. boooo So, I’m going to count today as Tuesday’s run and move the long run to Tuesday.

Here’s the run graph, which I can’t change on the Nike site. I didn’t go 6.27 miles, and I didn’t burn 801 calories.

half marathon training long run

And here’s the week, with the aborted, dead-legs attempt on Wednesday:

higdon half marathon week 3

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Dead legs and nutrition

Has anyone ever had trouble with dead legs?

What a weird feeling. Today, I set out in the lovely afternoon sun for my little two-mile run, convinced that it would be short and sweet in this balmy 45 degree weather we’ve been having. (I’m a northern soul…2 degrees in February would feel more like normal.) But my legs weren’t having it–not even close. It felt like lead below my hips, and was so unpleasant that I turned around and went home. (All is not lost–I’ll try again later.)

I’ve been googling to find out the cause, but can’t find anything definitive. This Runner’s World article blames nutrition, which could well be the cause. I’m hypoclycemic, and my meals today have consisted of a chicken sandwich and Peeps candy. Actually, now that I’ve written that sentence, the culprit seems obvious. šŸ™‚ We’ll see if a good meal helps with the legs.

Have you had experience with dead legs? What helps?

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Tales of a domestic disaster

I’ve been thinking all morning about my struggles with food the past few days, and wondering about the sudden influx of junk food cravings. The reasons:

1. I am a kitchen disaster. Genuinely awful–as in, everything I touch turns to charcoal. In the past, I’ve gotten around this problem with a combination of takeout and frozen/boxed food. Now, when I’m trying to choose healthy foods, it’s a real struggle to find a variety of flavorful options that aren’t terribly difficult to make. Last night, I tried a recipe from Self magazine. It looks beautiful in the photos, and doable even for the domestically challenged…but it was absolutely flavorless. All that work–I even fried the bloody sage leaves, for goodness sake–for a bland bunch of noodles and squash.

This is really, really frustrating for someone who hates to cook in the first place! How easy it is to turn to lovely, salty–and yes, terribly unhealthy–frozen pizza. šŸ™‚ So I need more easy-to-make options! But where to look? How to keep them on hand for easy reference? (I’m not kidding about being cooking-clueless.)

2. I’ve stopped paying attention to calories. After my first successful week or so of healthful eating, I got cocky about my understanding of portion size and “good” foods and stopped keeping track. Bad idea, because it’s certainly possible to eat too much of a good thing. So, I’m back at it again, using the fantastic Lose It! app. Although it’s a pain, watching calories promotes a mindfulness about food and helps me choose healthier options instead of just snacking on whatever is around.

3. Travel. While this isn’t an issue now, it will be in the upcoming months. I travel 100% of the time, and do not maintain a permanent residence.Ā  As a result, I do not have on hand a stock of staples for cooking attempts, and often have to rely on restaurants or foreign grocery stores. Not an issue in developed countries, but Central and South America are another story–meat is often suspect and eggs are out, so I foresee lots of beans and veggies in my future. šŸ™‚

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Running makes me hungry

I have to laugh when people say things like, “I run so I can eat pizza,” because oh, how I get it. If I didn’t have 35 pounds to lose, I’d be all over that. šŸ™‚ But for now, healthy it is. And because I am only down .5lbs from last week (booooo)–and because those blank spots on the Nike+ weekly graph are maddening–I’m going to try to do something physical every day. This is particularly important because my job means sitting on my ass, all day long.

I took advantage of the lovely day and went for a walk, which Nike+ seems to think was a run, because 492 calories seems like an unreasonable burn for a leisurely 4 mile walk. šŸ™‚ Interestingly enough, my pace varies more when walking than it does when running:

Half marathon training walk

Hunger is definitely becoming an issue, though. The day is fine but come nightfall, I’m starving…and craving the junkiest of junk food. What foods do you eat to fuel your runs without piling on empty calories?

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