Tuesday, December 29, 2009

bad blogger

i haven't blogged in forever. i also haven't run in forever. i'm a bad run blogger :-(

interview traveling has been pretty crazy and with 4 interviews in a 9 days, during which time i wore spiked heeled boots for 8+ hours at a time, i royally screwed up my left foot. serious posterior tibialis issues. bad scene. no running. ginger walking at best.

sunday was the first day i was able to go to my gym (we're back home for 6 days before heading back out for more interviews) and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my 75 minutes on the elliptical. yesterday i had what seemed like my first good workout in ages. 40 minutes on the arc, 40 minute crazy circuit of chest, back and legs. this morning i went to the Y with james and (after a 3 week long itch to do so) i finally went for a swim. 2000m in 40 minutes. felt awesome. its been years since i swam laps. don't know why i don't do it more often.

ankle is flared up a bit this evening (unfortunately from kicking while swimming i fear). hope it doesn't get any worse.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

year in review?

very little running has gone on this week. i've been "recovering"... well more like i've been hitting the gym for weak-ass workout, complaining, and stressing about interviews/travel. yesterday james and i finally hit the road, drove to boston in the crazy storm, dropped off the girls (kitties) and turned around to drive back down to west haven. right now i'm sitting in a starbucks about a mile from the VA where he is interview this morning. although starbucks NEVER has free internet, conveniently the friendly's next door's signal is reaching in here just enough to allow for some nice blog reading. as i caught up with all of my blog-stalking, i read Mel-Tall Mom's inspirational post. i am not completely decided on my  goals for 2010. but it is good to think about what has happened this year. if i count back to this day last year (rather than 2009 calendar year) there have been many excellent things that i accomplished and that i had the good fortune of happening to me. 1) I got married! - December 14, 2008. I can't believe this Monday will be our anniversary! 2) I shared my favorite place in the whole world with my new husband - Honeymoon - December 15-22 in Sugarbush VT.  3) My first first author paper was published. 4) I completed P90X and was the fittest I have been since high school. 5) I finished collecting my dissertation data. 6) I put in 20 applications for Internship next year and am in the midst of a whirlwind tour of the northeast with my beloved as we interview for more than a dozen of these positions. 6) I took up running and in 12 weeks went from zero running to a 1:52 half-marathon.

After James finishes with his interview in a few hours we are going to try to snag some Pepe's Pizza before heading back to Boston. It gave me a swell of pride (joy?) to think that we, in the next 2 days, will go on a 9 mile run called "3 Ponds", and that I will be able to run the whole thing. Over the summer (the last time we were visiting my parents) we went on this run and, while James was a great sport about it, I had to do way more walking than was cool with me and it took us over an hour and a half to complete.To me, this is the beauty of running. An accomplishment (or progress) is measurable and I am able to give myself some credit for it. This is hard for me in other areas.

Will think on those 2010 goals and get back to you... :-)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Race Day - Nittany Valley Half Marathon

My first half marathon is in the books! Unofficial time was 1:52:00. The snow/ice was only an issue for the first 2.5 miles and then on the steep downhill at 7.5-9 miles. I felt pretty great for the first 10 miles and then slogged for the last 5k. Having told the race "story" to the 3 people in the last 3 hours, I'm a little tired for a full race recap. Here are my splits:
mile 1 - 8:05 - trying not to fall on ice
mile 2 - 8:04 - still trying not to fall (watching others do so)
mile 3 - 8:09 - james handed me water and gushers at mile 2.9. having a support team rocks
mile 4 - 8:24 - this is where the 3 mile long ascent began
mile 5 - 8:45 - still climbing
mile 6 - 8:20 - second wind? still climbing
mile 7 - 8:19 - crested the hill at 6.25 where yuko was there to take my jacket, give me more water and gushers and generally cheer wildly!
mile 8 - 7:55 - steep downhill, trying again not to fall or lose complete control of my legs
mile 9 - 8:05 - actually still feeling pretty good, still going downhill :-)
mile 10 - 9:04 - 3 hills in this mile - legs starting to feel very heavy, just pushing through
mile 11 - 8:47 - a little bit of a flat - legs a little numb, grabbed water at a stop and hands got very cold
mile 12 - 9:06 - just holding on - can't feel legs, can't increase turnover - into the last big hill
mile 13 - 9:42 - all straight up hill - holding on for dear life - vowing not to walk
mile 13.1 - 1:07 (7:27) - could not see finish line so didn't know when to kick, kicked late. oh well.

Afterward, huffed and puffed, gave back my timing chip, drank water, then more water, got stiff, stretching, felt faint, then returned home. Felt generally calm afterward but not elated like after Spirit of Pittsburgh. Race could not have gone better. 1:52?!?!?

Here are some pics from the race

race face (according to james)

now this is what i call a race face. a chilly race face...

my butt and ugly stride - at mile 1.5

sucking wind at the finish line (while removing earbuds)...

trying (unsuccessfully) to capture the crazy dried salt on my face and neck.

post-race smiley thumbs up. not quite as attractive, but hey I just ran a HALF-MARATHON!!!

No finisher's medals or bibs for this race but I intend to wear my race t-shirt to work tomorrow as proof of my accomplishment.

Thanks to James and Yuko for being my awesome support team!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

t-minus 12 hours

There was definitely more snow than anticipated today. I'd say at least a few inches. The first 2.5 miles of the course (on a gravel track around a large field) are going to be messy, slushy, and wet. I hope the roads thereafter are better.


With the weather being what it is I'm feeling even less confident in my time goal. But I guess I will put it out there for the record... I would really like to break 2 hours. I know that on a first race my only goal should be to finish (and with these conditions maybe thats a pretty reasonable goal), but I really want to go sub-2:00. On a flat course I think I could go much faster, but these hills intimidate the hell out of me. I basically sat around today eating carbs (soft pretzels, fruit, pasta) and not doing anything physical. So hopefully I'll have lots of glycogen for those hills tomorrow.

Gonna try to relax now and get some sleep. 

26 hours

26 hours until race time and its snowing. Forecast indicates that the snow should end before midnight with a total accumulation of approximately 1 inch. In past years they have been able to get the roads clear before the race with more snow than this so hopefully this shouldn't have too big an impact on race conditions. Most recent hourly forecast says 30 degrees at guntime and 34 degrees by noon. With windchill its only going to feel like 20 degrees at the start and a max of 26 by the end of the race. Winds are going to be between 5 and 10 mph, not the 20+ we've been having this week, but still will be a factor to deal with on the very open 3 mile stretch of the route near the airport.

All this is making me feel a little better about my tentative decision to wear a windbreaker over my tech shirt. Hopefully I won't be too hot. This will be my first run of the season (or at all for that matter) in a jacket. I reserve the right to throw my jacket on the ground and leave it for dead at any point on the race (although hopefully if I need to do away with it I can give it to either James or Yuko when we do fuel handoffs on the course.

Still not sleeping well. Legs feel a little tired this morning but am struggling to stay away from the gym. Foot is nagging me a little. Should stay barefoot as many hours today as possible.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Thanks to everyone (new bloggy buddies) for the well wishes and votes of confidence! My support team is coming together -- thanks James and Yuko -- and I'm starting to feel the pre-race jitters/excitement. I'm glad to have something to distract me from these incoming job interviews. The mix and mingle of good, bad, exciting and frustrating news is so draining. I can't control the outcome of this race but at the very least it isn't an insane drawn out impotence-stress-fest for the next 2 months. And good day or bad, good race or bad, at the end of the day Sunday it will be done and I will have tried (and hopefully accomplished) something new.

I've been ruminating a little bit about goals for race day but am not quite ready to put them down on bloggy paper. I'm going to go hit the gym for some easy elliptical, stretching, and core work and will think more about them. The difficulty I am having is in coming up with fair goals for the hilly course. I know I can run 10+ miles on flat (or gentrly rolling) terrain at an 8:30ish pace but with these hills I could be slowed down a lot. Here is the elevation profile.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

last short run

After getting about 4 hours of sleep last night and then hurdling myself back into the same madness as yesterday, I finally made it out for my last short easy run before this weekend's race. I had hoped to trial my race day outfit but no such luck, its about 20 degrees warmer today than is expected Sunday morning. Oh well. The wind from Tuesday was still in full effect so I got buffeted around for my quick 4.25 miles and tried to keep my pace at 8:30. I have basically avoided hills all this week on my runs which is very nice for confidence but is likely giving me an unrealistic sense of what my 8:15, 8:30, and 8:45 paces feel like. I am hoping that come Sunday the adrenaline (and caffeine) will give me a little boost to help with the crazy hills on the course.

ate some swedish fish on my run (just for kicks, not like i needed the fuel) and they also seem to sit well with my stomach. so swedish fish and gushers will be the fuel of choice for sunday. still gotta figure out the water situation.

run: 36:00min 4.25miles 8:28pace  47degrees, overcast,winds~20mph

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2nd to last run before NVHM

The weather channel has been threatening snow for this morning since Sunday, but when I woke up the sky was merely overcast and the ground was dry. I had sort of been looking forward to a run in the elements. I've only had one snowy (actually it was sleet, in October) run and there was a wild quality to it that I very much enjoyed. But really, I'm not complaining. I have also been meaning to try out my second pair of running tights (reebok play dry tights) but haven't found a day cold enough to do so. A quick check of the weather indicated that today was the perfect day, 35 degrees as I was heading out. I opted for a short sleeve tech t-shirt instead of my normal tank. This seemed to be the perfect combo. In fact, it was quite chilly outside. And the wind was out of control, gusting to well over 20 miles an hour. It took a solid 2 miles for me to feel warm, and break a sweat. Usually after 5 minutes I'm there. I really wanted to run 5 solid miles between 8:15 an 8:30. This is the pace that I would like to aim for on the flats and down hills of the course this weekend and wanted to get a feel for my turnover and stride at that pace. With the wind holding any kind of steady pace was difficult - into the wind it was hard enough to stay upright and moving forward, with the tailwind it was hard not to fly forward much too fast. You can see from my splits (8:19, 7:58, 7:50, 8:18, 8:30) the two miles where I had the glorious tailwind. At mile three I tried out my prospective race fuel, GUSHERS!!! I've never had gushers before, but they had a good mix of pure suger and other carbs, and were cheap and gelatin-free. Turns out they are pretty awesome. No cramps or GI upset after taking them. Easy to down 90 cal package in 2 mouthfuls and the liquid inside each gusher helped with the chewing and swallowing. In fact, I didn't have my handheld with me and had no problem getting them down. Did I mention the delicious candy taste?!? :-) 

Somewhere around mile 3.5 of the tempo run, a girl blew past me (I didn't hear her until then as I had my ipod blaring - Disturbed, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin) and I had to put my ego to the side and just let her go (she looked to be going sub 7:30, and that is simply not me). I planned the tempo section so I finished as I approached the .7 mile hill leading back to my house. Usually I trudge up this hill and watch my last mile split crash and burn. Today I turned the corner onto this hill and that headwind hit me full boar. I shortened up my stride (a lot) and just kept my head down. After cresting the hill, stopping my watch and  grabbing my knees (you know, the usual) for a minute or so I went back around the block at what was supposed to be a 9:30 pace but ended up closer to 9:00 for another 1.3 miles.  Got home and did some stretching. Finally a good run!!! Lots of mixed up variables today - new tights, new fuel, no handheld, unexpected weather conditions. I definitely think tights could be a good idea for race day, I'm surprised to say. Now I'm going to have to do some serious thinking about my handheld. It was awesome not to have that weight to carry. Maybe I'll convince James to bring me water at strategic locations throughout the course. I'll have to look into that.

2 miles warm up
5 miles tempo   8:19, 7:58, 7:50, 8:18, 8:30
2 miles easy   hill .7 mile 6:06 (8:45) into strong headwind, 1.3 miles @ 9:00
15 minutes stretching