Friday, September 30, 2011

Things that made me run

September was a terrible month for me running wise. It's a month of my lowest mileage since I started running this year. But now October and cool weather are here. I plan on getting my runs in during the middle of the day so there's nothing stopping me. But I did get in one last run of the month today. I got in 4 miles at 9:02 pace.  And now as per the title, here are the things that made me run.

1. New clothes. I am not a big clothes shopper, but new running clothes are the best!
I am pretending to run really awkwardly. You can tell by how my left foot is completely flat on the ground. 
I thought it would be a good idea to break out the winter running pants, since it was slightly chilly. I opted to wear my shorts over the tight running pants, because I am not a big fan of tight clothes around my crotch area. Unfortunately, it was a little too warm during the run.

2. Errands to run.(pun intended)
Nothing calls for a run more than having to go to the post office that's a good half a mile away. 
I ran with a giant white envelope a dollar to go mail my rent check. Although, it was totally unnecessary since I found place that sold stamps 0.1 miles from where I live. But my garmin was on and I couldn't go back after 0.1 miles of running.

3. Apple festival
Picture for this will probably come later. Apple festival is tomorrow. Pumpkin funnel cakes. 'Nuff said.

4. Halloween
While, I've never been the one to dress in a risque costume like my fellow college mates who walk the streets of collegetown, I'd like to keep the option open.
Yes, I even wore an undershirt underneath my respectable doctor costume. 
In my defense, it snowed a little in the morning, so it was freezing.

5. Bread Run
What? I signed up for a half marathon and it's in a week? I really messed up this one. I have no idea how I will complete a half marathon in a week with dismal training. But I will get to add a shiny new medal to my collection if I'm not found dead on the side of some good ol' rolling hills.

Here's to a new month and getting back up to 30+ miles a week! And funnel cakes! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Race Recap

I lost. And even though I expected it, it kind of sucked. Mainly because at this race, by losing, I was dead last. And this race was a huge mental struggle. In fact, I feel that I may have burned more calories from my neurons firing and me doing weird stuff than the actual run itself.

One good thing, some of my friends came to cheer me on.
She was the first to get here. She even wore a pretty dress to cheer me on. Although, she usually dons pretty dresses so maybe it wasn't all for me. This was also the starting line at my school's arts quad. 
And then we took some failed jumping photos of the atheletes. 

I've been the one on the left. If you were confused about my gender. And we spent the better part of last night looking for dorky white head bands and a baton for the boys. 
But then everything went downhill. The first leg guy ran the leg really fast. In the beginning, I sort of kept up with him. And then I saw my pace and realized I needed to slow down. but idiot me kept a fairly consistant fast pace. Let's just say that the first three miles were faster than my goal half marathon pace for a flat race (8:45/mile)  and that was me slowing down.

Then it was time for the second leg and I didn't see the second legger at all. This was the starting point of blisters! (For the record, I did go out and buy specialty running socks). And self doubt. I began to question why I was doing this when i should be logging my required 12 miles with my clif shot blocks to try out before the half and doing it at a consistent long run pace. I got so angry at myself, I didn't know whether to harness it to run faster or just sit down in the middle of the road and cry. I did neither. Then I started hating my bfriend who basically set me up to lose and do it so horrifically with blisters and chafing just because he wanted to run a relay with his friends. Yup, the
chafing started too. And this made me question why I signed up for another half in two weeks when it would just be discouraging and painful. But I kept on chugging along, albeit a lot slower, but my legs were pumping.

I guess misery loves company, cause then my brain went on to all the things I had to do for this weekend and how behind I felt in some of my things. And also how I haven't logged as many miles as i wanted this month. Then sometime, the second leg ended and I tortuously started the third leg, even though all I wanted to do was just turn away from the course and sleep. Third leg was where i really lost time, because I kept on having to stop and dry heave. Maybe it was the temperature or that I only had huge drinks of water every three miles, I started feeling like I actually had to throw up.

I am fairly certain that I went crazy somewhere in the middle. Because I took off my top and started running in my sports bra even though I never do that. I just wanted to cool down and keep on running. I figured it would just look ridiculous to walk in just a sports bra. Yup, told ya I went crazy. But I did finish out the race.

And despite everything, I am not dropping out of the half that I'm signed up for. I guess I will have a horrific run and it's better that I get all this out of my system now rather than in three weeks. And I'm proud that despite everything, I didn't stop and cry. I didn't turn around and go home. I didn't give up and just walk the entire thing. And my garmin caught from the beginning! And I guess what makes me a runner is that despite the fact that I sometimes wanna never run again, I do continue. And I do lace up my sneakers and go on the next run. Because not running is way worse than a terrible run. And I will always have friends that cheer me on no matter what.

Besides, that was the worst run possible right? How much horrible can my next half be? Oh, the course wasn't exactly 9 miles, it was more like 8.7 and I ran it in a slightly faster than 10 minute per mile pace thanks to the last leg. But I did round out to a 9.2 miles by running a little more at the end.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Race this weekend

Something shocking happened yesterday at lunch. I was innocently enjoying my five dollar foot long talking about my planned long run of 12 miles for the weekend when two boys challenged me to a race.

They thought they would be able to beat me in a nine miler against me by running it as a relay. Three miles per each boy, nine miles for me. I agreed. They probably could beat me. I mean I've never been a speed demon. I just chug along at an averageish pace and place in the middleish of the pack in age group and overall.

But somehow, I got dragged into agreeing to do my long run as a race. Their biggest seller was that if I lose, no big deal, but if I won, I could lord it over them for the rest of senior year. And thanks to facebook, it's now officially an event on Saturday at noon. There will be spectators and picnic food. And if fb events were good indicators, there will be at least 15 people in attendance.

So here are the athletes!

Challenger #1 Master Debater
He'll be running the first leg. He claims to not have run in a month. But I know that when he did run, he ran the mile sprint a little faster than I did two months ago. He's a policy debater so you know he can out talk anyone. He's also a gifted speed reader. So, if he can run as fast as he can talk, I'm screwed. 
Challenger #2 Adventure Racer
He's running the second leg. He competes in those mud race type events. You know, the kind where you have to run with heavy stuff or climb a wall or all sorts of craziness. Not a regular runner, but he strength trains regularly. I'm guessing just a road race of 3 miles will seem like cake after the races he's done. Look at those long legs. Then look at mine. Clearly running gods favored him more than me. 
Challenger #3 Farm boy
As you can see his childhood of being raised on a farm has resulted in super human strength , which he now uses to curl ducklings. He's been known to go on three mile runs with me about once a week. He's racing the last leg. I know he's super competitive, so he'll definitely won't give it up easily. Look at that game face. 

Person who's challenged (Totally sounds like I'm talking about a disability, but I didn't know what to call myself).
Hopefully, like this picture, I will crush them. Even though I did finish a half marathon like three weeks ago, I've been reduced to running once a week for my long run. I hope to at least get one speed work in this week. And if I do lose, lose with dignity by five minutes at most. 

Wish me luck! And stay tuned for the race this Saturday. As more information is available (as I decide on more race details), I will let you guys know.

And I looked like a total creeper at the library going through all the guys' photos and saving them to put on the blog.

Anyone know any good speed workouts? Or wanna advise me on race strategy? 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What a good runner

I ran 10.3 miles at 9:49/mile pace. Not to shabby for not having run for so long. Unfortunately, my garmin was out for the count again. So I ran about 3.33 miles to the epic gong, where it caught for the rest of the run.

I took lots of pictures of the run with my phone, unfortunately, I can't connect it to my computer. Technology and I aren't friends right now.

But I was a good runner today. I got my long run in. I ran the last three miles faster by having a friend with fresh legs come join me for the last three. I even stretched and foam rolled.

Annnddd. . .
Look! I'm hydrating with water . . at the library. And I was too tired to smile. I am seriously tempted to head home for a nap. 
Hopefully I can get in some weekday runs in this week before my 12 miler next weekend! And I think I definitely might shell out some serious bucks for proper running socks.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thank god for coffee

I'm fairly certain my blood has turned into coffee.
Yup. I'm the nerd who takes photos with coffee at the library. This was last semester. Now, I have my own travel mug, so it holds more coffee. 
That's been my main liquid intake for this past week. Horrible way to hydrate for running, except I haven't ran at all.

But now, I have to do the long run this weekend of 10 miles. And since that didn't happen today (Saturday), I slept for 9 hours and then took a two hour nap, I need to do it tomorrow. Well, I was planning on doing it today, but my garmin didn't catch. AGAIN!!

Taken from I <3 to run on fb. Clearly, this won't be a problem for me because my garmin seems bent on keeping me sedentary. But in a weird way, I sort of wish that if I was unable to run and pause my garmin, whoever finds me would pause it. X-)
But the good thing is that because I only ran 3 miles, I had people to run it with. The 3 miler also gave me an excuse to eat three donuts. One for each mile. And we even found a new route along a lake in the campus. Finding new routes are amazing. Well, I think it was there before, but they cleaned it up and made it wider, which made running on it a lot better. Next time, I shall take a photo for everyone.

And Tall Mom gave me a virtual high five, so now I have to do the run tomorrow.

Wish me luck! Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley

Throughout this weekend, I kept on thinking of Burns's poem, "To a Mouse." The title of the blogpost is taken from his poem. "Gang aft agley" apparently means "Go often askew." Well, this weekend, school and finicky garmin are messing with my best laid running plan.
Look at Remy's schemes going awry. This is what came up on bing image search when I looked for mouse.
If you didn't know, he's the main character of Pixar's Ratatouille.  

I wanted to get in a long run of 8 miles this weekend in an effort to build back up to a half marathon distance. So, like a good runner, I went to bed fairly early (1AM ish) instead of going out with rest of the collegetown crew. I even woke up bright and early at 8:45AM, which is pretty early for me during the weekend during academic semester. Unforunately, my garmin just refused to catch the signal. After running with a garmin for two years, I couldn't imagine going blind for a long run. So, I just decided that it wasn't meant to be.

And like a good college student, I went off to the library thinking I'll just get my run during late afternoon and do my work in the morning. Unfortunately, the garmin refused to catch the signal again leading me to head to bed early despite a plethora of other fun things going on. Ah, the things I do for running.

When garmin refused to catch again on Sunday, I just decided to run without it. It also gave me a chance to reflect back on 9/11 and remember all the men and women who are working hard for my country.   And the garmin caught at mile 3 thankfully. I ended up getting in 8.3 miles at what felt like a reasonable pace. One good thing was that I ran a hillier course than I usually do. One notable thing that happened, was that I probably scared everyone who saw me running. In addition to the grimace I apparently also had a huge streak of blood right in the middle of the thigh that I only noticed when the bfriend pointed it out. Don't worry! It was nothing. It was literally a small mosquito bite that had scabbed over that I apparently de-scabbed while running. Who knew a small thing like that could bleed so much. I blame it on my heart vigorously pumping blood to my legs to keep it going. If you were scared by me Sunday morning, sorry!

However now, due to all the things coming up this week like the career fair, project presentation, and other assignments, it looks like I'm going to have to cut out easy milege, and I may not even get in tempo and intervals. It also doesn't help that I live in central New York where weather is fickle.

I admire everyone who balances work and school with running and whatever other passions. Because I hear that life only gets harder after college.

Sorry for the boring post, as you can see, all I've been doing is some running, some work, and majority procrastinating.
 Happy Monday everyone!  How do you guys keep the balance?

Friday, September 9, 2011


I haven't written in a while. Mainly because this is a running blog and in the days following the half until today, I've run a grand total of 0 miles. In the name of laziness recovery, I just kicked back and fueled like a champion. Even though I haven't even looked at my sneakers, I've been eating like the night before the race with platefuls of spaghetti.

In my defense, I've thought about running obsessively. I started having these racing dreams. I've looked at race schedules of all the states closest to me. Most of all, I debated about signing up for that small half marathon that I've talked about in the last post. I know that I really want to race another half marathon, and this one is super cheap, $35 if you're a full time student. And also, I've gotten so many encouraging comments on this blog and on daily mile. But it bothered me that there are lots of hills. As try as I might, I keep on remembering how I crashed on the Oak Tree race course. And I'm of course wary about getting another round of blisters. Although, not so wary to spend $30 on good pair of socks yet. Additionally, it's a small race of about 100 fast people, judging by last year's times. People tell me not to be nervous about a race, and that there's no way I'll be last. However, in this race, I very well could be the last in my age group. Despite the fact that I know that I'm not a super speedy runner, I don't think I could take being last.

But finally today, I've decided to sign up for it! Thanks to all the blog readers, who commented, and daily mile friends. With the amount of support I have, I am willing to take the chance that I'll take last in my age group. My main goal for this race is going to be to have fun and enjoy the distance.

So, in the spirit of starting training, I rustled up my bfriend and two other friends for a recovery run of 2.94 miles. It turned out to be such a weird number because my garmin died less than a mile in. During my week of inactiveness, I've also forgotten about charging my garmin. But it was a good run. It started terribly. After a mile, the run felt awesome. It was just what I needed! I also got to put in some surges in the second half of the run. It's runs like these that make me feel happy to be a runner and glad to be alive!
Nothing like a jump photo to demonstrate how alive I felt after the run. This was taken at my cousin's wedding. 

Have an awesome weekend!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Oak Tree Half Marathon Recap

I did not run the half in under two hours. My official chip time was 2hours 13 minutes 5 seconds (10:10/mile) for a 176 place out of 275. And 14 out of 21 in my age group. And I also did not run the whole way. I walked. . . a lot.

But that's okay. Because it ended up I was running on these babies.

Yup I'm so hard core. I think the scariest part was not knowing what was underneath the socks. 
I think this started happening after mile 5. Around then, it felt like I was running on fire. The first five miles were a breeze.
When everything was speedy and happy. 
I was running way to fast and tried to slow down, but it felt really good. Then, blisters started forming. I blame the slippery, dusty trail. So I thought I would take my first GU. WORST IDEA EVER! The taste wasn't bad. But it was too sweet and sat in my stomach heavily. And definitely no magical energy surging through my body that I was expecting.

And somehow, I slugged through 5 more miles. I walked up some hills and ran down. The worst part was trying to run on my feet. I completely lost any semblance of form. Normally I am a fore foot striker. Well, during the majority of the race, I was striking heavily on my heels to try to avoid blisters especially on the trail portions with lots of pointy rocks.

Thankfully, near the end, I met this awesome fellow runner, Ali, who also blogs. Her blog is cool but she is even cooler. I ventured to talk to her because she told everyone who passed her good job. Way more gracious than I will ever be. But that made the last 5K bearable.
We were smart. Instead of taking an energy drink which came in disposable cups, we took water and kept the cups. 

She also finished super strong. I tried to keep up with her, but by that point, my feet really hurt. so I took it easier until the last half a mile. I really pushed then, and started passing tired people. At the last 0.1 of a mile, this man tried to pass me. I didn't let him. I finished in a full out sprint and promptly forgot Ali's advice to pump my fist in the air when i finished. Instead I looked something like this
I know, super attractive. 
Blurry sprint to the finish
Even though, I didn't do as well as I liked, I already knew that I lacked training on hills. Unfortunately the whole course was hills. And I know that my training hasn't been a waste. Even though I wasn't running for speed, by the first 5K, I was already faster by a half a minute than my previous 5k. I am certain that if I was running a 5k, I would have blown my PR by a minute or more.

And despite the terrible time I had running and all the pain that I still am in, I can't wait for a redemption race. Currently, I am considering the Fabius Bread for Schools Run. It's a half in a month and just as hilly. Damn you central New York and your hills!!!!

What do you guys think? Should I sign up for another race? 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rookie Mistakes

So, I have less than 12 hours before my first ever half marathon. I feel like the opening line of Dickens's Tale of Two Cities. You know the line that goes along something like it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, etc etc for five lines or so. It's one long sentence full of contradictions. If you've never read the book, you should read it. I've read the first half about a dozen times but never got around to finishing it . I can assure you that the first half is quite good.

And one other thing about this race, I keep on making these rookie mistakes. I do things that every running blog I've ever read keep on warning me against. First of all, I went to the running store and bought a whole bunch of things that I should not be buying for the first time before a race.

Exhibit A
For the first time ever, I will be trying out the GUs. I know that I should have tested it out on a long run to make sure that my stomach can handle it, but I opted to be cheap and didn't take any during training runs. Then I realized that i had nothing to carry the GUs with. I briefly considered stuffing them in my sports bra, but then i didn't think the massive chafing would be worth it. So I shelled out some more dollars for a sprint handheld, that I've never tried before. This way, I can take the GUs next to a porta potty as opposed to a water station just in case . . . I decided to also purchase a foam roller. I've heard so many good things, but not so much about it hurting like h**l. But now I can squat without my calf muscles being on fire.

This morning, I also picked up my race packet. My bfriend drove me forty minutes. Then I promptly remembered that I forgot my wallet right in front of the registration area. He was not happy. In a typical Rena fashion, I wanted to cry and turn back home. But he had sense and made me go in and try to register without an ID. It worked. They did not ask.
Yes, that is fertilizer next to the peanut butter. 
The shirt was too big, but slinky and nice. Peanut butter, I will use, probably exclusively once homework gets overwhelming and I can't be bothered to cook. And the fertilizer will be a gift to a lucky person. Probably to my bfriend's dad. Although he owns a farm, so I don't know how much use a tiny bottle of organic fertilizer will do for him.

I've also laid out my clothes for tomorrow and pinned my bib.

Yes. I am wearing the same outfit as in that 5K I ran a month ago. I hope it's lucky since I did better than my goal time then. Don't judge. I promise I washed it since then. I am not the person who believes laundry will wash the good luck off. 
So to  make it suckier for me, I am going to tell all of you my goals for the race. This way, I can't just decide to walk the whole thing. I am more accountable. Also, 80% chance thunder storm tomorrow. I hope everyone drops out and I can take first. :P Actually, being a Californian girl for a good chunk of my life, I've never run with water falling from anywhere other than my sweaty clothes. It will be an experience. 

Goals: 1. To finish under two hours. According to a vdot calculator, with the level of fitness I had at the time of the 5K, I can finish under two hours. I am highly mistrustful. My long run has never been at the half marathon pace. It's always been ran at the prescribed long run pace. and My last long run was three weeks ago, which seems like a long time. Also, I'm doing all the random stuff that I'm not supposed to do. Oh and apparently, the course is HILLY! Hills are my enemy. It's the Lois to my Stewie. (Family Guy reference). And race directors were mean and put a mother of all hills that's a mile long in the last two mile from the end. Clearly, they should have leveled the ground just for the race this year. 

2. To finish the half and run the whole time excluding possible GU potty break and water station mayhem. 

This way if I don't meet goal 1, highly doubtful at this point, I can at least meet goal 2. 

Wish me luck!!

What do you guys do before a stressful event? 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

why you should run!

Sorry that I have been gone from the blogging world. I've just had a lot going on. Right after my last post, I came done with somewhat of a shin splint, which sucked. No running. But I did have lots of time to eat like I was still cranking out 30 miles a week.

I thought a running themed cake would get rid of the guilt. Nothing like a chocolate chiffon cake to make me feel better about not running.

Thankfully, I think the shin splints are gone now and I just did my last run before the half! Instead of boring you with like ten different workouts that happened while i stopped blogging, I'm just going to tell you about my awesome long run during my taper.

This was the run that made me glad I was a runner. 6 miles of awesomeness and last two miles at faster than my tempo pace. Hells yeah! And this is why everyone should run, especially if you're a poor college student like me. Running is a great way to explore your surroundings and do cool things. Gas and car costs money, but running is relatively cheap, if you don't count the shoes and the horrific amounts of food that your body may try to consume. I am seriously probably eating more than my 6ft boyfriend right now even on days when I don't run . . . But running lets you do cool things. On this epic 6 miler, i got to run to my school's arboretum and ring the gong. Yup, my school has a freaking gong in the middle of nowhere. It's really loud and echoes crazily.

Yup. That's the gong. Notice how epic the picture is. Of course, this pic is from a while ago. No. I don't run in jean skirts. Although since I can't afford a running skirt with  my zero salary, maybe I should.

So this is why you should run. It gets you places and to epic gongs in the middle of farms.

By the way, I decided to take Spanish.

So please go explore the eccentricities of your neighborhoods! Or bake a cake. Totally acceptable substitute for running. :)