Monday, February 27, 2012

I am not the number on my Garmin

This is what I've been telling myself lately, but while easy to say, it's so hard to believe. Thus far in my running career, I've been letting that little pace section of the watch tell me how I should feel.

This is the root of the great internal debate whenever I go on a run. How hard should I push?

Pros of pushing
Looking at faster splits on the garmin and later at home on the computer.
Running races faster (shiny new PRs!)
Teaches me useful stuff in life (you know, like setting goals and accomplishing them etc etc)
PRs are great! Knocking out that sub 2hour half new year's resolution on the 15th of Jan was sweet. 

Cons of pushing
I run because I like it. At some point, trying to meet time goals becomes way too stressful
I don't want to overdo it and injure myself

Additionally, I convinced my bf to run this marathon with me saying that it'll be cool to be able to finish together. I thought that we'd do long runs together, but my inner competitive b-word isn't letting me be satisfied with keeping his 11:00/mile pace. Seeing that number or above freaks me out.

Thus far, I've mostly done my long runs alone. But I feel bad. The whole reason that I convinced him to do this with me was so that we could keep each other company.
Running races together is fun. I actually didn't run the race with him per say, I ran it about 4 minutes faster, but it was fun. 

 I mean, this won't be the first and the last marathon I'd ever run. If I don't get a great time, then no big deal, right? There will definitely be others.

However, I don't want to scrap time goals completely for the marathon. I guess I just don't know how to keep the balance between enjoying the training and also setting a goal and achieving it.

What do you guys think? What should I do? Should I opt for slower long runs with the bf? Or should I go all or nothing and shoot for an ambitious time goal? Do you ever feel like you're the number on your Garmin?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

# Winning

My week was busy and stressful hence the lull in blogging. But at least I have things to do, so I should feel lucky. Right? Also, while my week has been less than stellar in the academic department, there were good things in there too. So here are the things that I won at:

1. Getting my long run in on Friday
I got in 12 miles at 10:44/mile pace with the bf and two others. This left my weekend free to not stress about waking up early. It was cold, rainy, and miserable, but I was so glad to be done. I promptly then went to bed on a Friday night. 

2. Finally breaking 30 miles for the week
I know, it's weird that I never have broken 30 miles for a week throughout my training. I think it's because I never get enough runs in during the week. It's sad that I've never broken 30 miles in the 8 months that I've been running. It's finally happened!
This week, I actually ran out my feelings. And the roads didn't care that I was stressed out and grouchy. 
3. February is so far the second highest mileage month
Despite it being the middle of semester and a shorter month, so far, it's the second highest mileage month with 86 miles. I still have time to get in some more mileage and make it the highest month ever! 

4. Finally remembered to buy trail mix supplies. 
AKA, I bought M&Ms and non brand honey bunches of oats. The granola and the M&Ms are my only favorite parts of a trail mix. 
I've been trying very hard to not just pick out the M&Ms. 
5. Went to Chipotle
Now that I'm graduating, there's a newly built Chipotle near my school. But am totally going to take advantage of it for the next few months. Chicken burrito? Yes please! Unfortunately, the line's about thirty minutes long because everyone and their mother is there. 

6. Nerding out with friends
Everyone putting on glasses and being a nerdy engineer.
Have a great Monday everyone! What was #winning about your week? 

Monday, February 20, 2012

AM Runs are Hard

I missed my weekend long run again. Surprise, surprise! 

It shouldn't be that hard to wake up at 8AM during the weekend, but it's near impossible to do for me. First of all, I usually average about 5-6 hours of sleep during the weekdays. And even during the weekend, I usually don't get to bed until 2AM. With the sleep debt built up during the weekday, I usually end up snoozing the alarm until 11AM. 
This is what I look like when I should be long running. I actually do sleep face down like the cat. 
Then, I frantically get up and head to Olin (chemical engineering basement) basement to work on senior design until dinner time. 

Since I missed my long run of ten miles two weeks ago, I headed out for that 10 miles today. It was hilly and brutal. 
Even though there was a net elevation loss, it definitely did not feel like it. 
I ended up averaging a 9:37/mile with wild splits. 
Look at that last mile, I was definitely glad to be heading home. 
At least I negative split on the last mile. 

Although, I did get my 10 miler in, from now on, I should stick to having my long runs during the weekend. It's just too tiring to run long and then stay up late for projects. 

Maybe I should try for a long run from Friday. So I'll have three days to get it right. Third time (Sunday) is the charm, right? 

Oh, and I totally did not have today off, because academia never sleeps. Also, my school never gives days off. 

Hope your three day weekend was great! I sure am jealous of it. Oh and happy Mardi Gras. I just looked it up, because all the fb status updates turned Mardi Gras related. How do you make sure to wake up for the long run? Any magical tricks (like sleeping with running clothes on, or turning three times and clicking your running shoes) other than going to bed earlier? 
If only starting wasn't so hard. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Adventures in pink

My Friday was wonderful, because it involved lots of running. There were also lots of yummy sushi involved.

After classes, I went for a nice 7.1 mile run at a 9:46/mile pace. It was pretty uneventful. I didn't want to tire my legs out too much before my long run tomorrow, but I wanted to get some quality mileage in. 

Then I finally held  a minute Plank. 
I promise I actually did the plank. I realize that a screenshot of a stopwatch doesn't prove anything. 
I thought that was going to be it for the day. I mean, a minute Plank and a 7 miler is more than I could have hoped to accomplish.

But then the bf said that he was going for a four miler at night. And I couldn't pass up a chance to go for a super easy run of 4 miles at 10:45/mile. So I threw all caution of overtraining to the wind and went running again. 
In a super bright outfit so that cars would see me. 
Even though my legs are sore and I might have to move my long run to Sunday, I'm ecstatic that I went.

We made it sort of an adventure run. 

We jumped some fences to get to a part of a trail along the lake.  * Aside - I think Stefan has a real career in butt modeling*
We soon found out why portion of the trail was closed. It wasn't that the trails weren't maintained, it was that they were working on the steps and it was missing a flight.
Who does that? Why would you take out a section of stairs? 
And because we only had my phone, I got a super weird blurry photo jumping down.
Pink ghost will haunt you if you don't get your run in. 
I hope your Friday was as full of running as mine was! Good luck on your runs during the weekend! Feel free to admonish me for running too much, I sort of deserve it. Do you ever do a workout, knowing that resting will probably do you more good? 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jumping on the bandwagon

You know how some runners start really cool trends with their blogs? Like Ali and her I <3 sweat t-shirts.

That's definitely not me. Today, I seriously considered purchasing an umbrella hat for running for rainy days. How fashionable.
MS paint in all its glory. This is a very badly edited picture of what I might look like with an umbrella hat. 
Totally going to be bigger than hula hoops. Who said umbrella hats were uncool? It probably is really convenient for rain running.

Unfortunately (fortunately?) I didn't have money to spend on such trivial things. Money should be used for important things, like race fees and compression socks. Obviously.

With no umbrella hat and drizzly, gray weather, I ended up skipping my run today. Since I took Wednesday off, I guess I used up my two rest days for the week in one shot. Sigh

But I did finally jump on the bandwagon and created a twitter account, because all the cool kids were doing it. Do I need more distractions? Definitely not. But I wanted to see what the deal was. Not to mention, I was tired of being the only 20 something year old who doesn't know what #blahblah means.
Let's be friends @RunnerinaRena!

I actually wanted Runnerena, but it was taken by someone who's not named Rena and who doesn't run. How odd!

Have a great Friday! I hope your Thursday was more cheerful. Do you guys have twitter? Be honest, is it so yesterday to have a twitter account? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is in the air

I guess love WAS in the air. But I'm going to do a Valentine's day post anyways since it's always been one of my favorite holidays. Thanks to my friend's new found obsession with Parks and Recreation, I'm looking forward to Valentine's Day and a Galentine's Day for next year.

Anyways, instead of thinking about all the things that I love about running, I made a list of all the things that I would to have happen.Then, I did things that would bring me closer to my loves.

1. I would love to be able to run faster. 
I know that goals are supposed to have measurable numbers attached to it, but I just would plain love to run faster. For now, I would like to get my runs under 9 min/mile pace, but I'm sure once I reach that, I'd want to run even faster.

To achieve this, I decided to do a short tempo run. I haven't done one in a while, so I planned to go for 2 miles at tempo (8:30/mile pace) with the first and the last mile as a warm up and a cool down. I sort of just pulled that pace out of nowhere. It just seemed like a nice number.
2. I would love to be able to run injury free. 
I took an extra care to foam roll all parts of my leg after the run. And no knee pain! (Knock on wood)

I also took a schwaggle opportunity to buy myself a pair of Valentine themed compression socks as a gift to myself. I can be my own Valentine if I want to. 
Unfortunately my legs will not be this skinny when I wear the same socks, but they will be well compressed. 

3. I would love to improve my core strength. 
I hear that there is a thing called a core that can make me speedier. One of my New Year's resolution was actually to do a longer plank. So for the first time in months, I tried to hold a plank. 
This is the sad state of my core. I can't even hold a minute plank. 
I will definitely be working on this.

That's pretty much it for my would love to list. Here's a picture that sums up the rest of my Valentine's Day. 
Somewhere, we lost the memo that it was Valentine's not Halloween.  
Hope you guys had a wonderful Valentine's! Are you guys into planks? If not, what other core workouts do you do? Also, thoughts on compression socks. Do they work? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Slushy Fun

Thank you everyone for offering me suggestions on what could be causing my knee pain. After reading all you comments, I decided:
1. To retire my Brooks
2. To roll my IT band more

To start the week off right, I went for a run despite the slushiness of my route.
It was gorgeous, but super slippery. 
I got in an easy 5 miles at a 9:59/mile pace. For a while, I freaked out, because holding the pace felt hard. But I decided to let it go and just enjoy being outside. Also, I really should be doing my easy runs slowly anyways.

Other than not being able to hold a faster pace, the run itself was good. There was no knee pain. The only bad part was stepping in a huge mud puddle and ruining my sneakers. I then made a series of bad life decisions:

1. Oh no mud! I'm going to wipe it off with snow.
2. I'm going to grab the snow with my bare hands and try to rub it on my sneakers
3. That didn't help. And now my hands are covered in mud.
4. I'm going to break a trail to the lake to break through the ice to wash my hands in it
5. Oh wait, snow's too deep for my sneakers, I'm just going to use fresh patch of snow to wipe my hands off.

All the above resulted in super frozen hands with no gloves.
It was too hard to get down to the bank through the snow. 
Luckily, the day wasn't too cold and my apartment, only a mile away. 

Not that bad. I have no idea why I freaked out and started rubbing snow all over it with bare hands. 
After the fiasco, I conveniently ran into the bf and made him take photos of me fake running. If only I had camera men waiting for me all over my running route. 
Yay! I love running! (What my pose and expression was supposed to convey) Looks more like I'm being blinded and going off the sidewalk. 
On the knee front, it didn't hurt during my run. But about an hour after, while I was lying on the bed, I noticed some pain. Enough to make me feel nervous, but not enough to take drastic measures. I think I will keep on foam rolling and not wearing the worn out shoes and see where I am at the end of the week.

On the training plan front, I am going to make a training plan soon, I swear. My friend who ran a 2:45 Boston told me that he'd virtually coach me. Well, he agreed to give me some advice, which I took to mean, "I'll totally be your coach. Please e-mail me tons of questions about everything."

All in all, life is good. 

Happy Monday! And of course, in addition to my friend, I will be relying heavily on you guys as my training progresses for advice. How are your runs going? 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Blah day

Do you ever wake up in the morning for a long run and just don't feel like leaving the bed? I definitely had one of those morning on Saturday. I knew that I should go on a long run and that it would feel fantastic, but I chose an extra hour in the bed.

It seemed like a good idea at the time until the day turned into this:
Good bye running in shorts. 
Today, when my alarm rang bright and early (9AM) for me to go on my long run, my body said, "oh, hells no," and refused to budge. There's something about snow days that turn me into a non productive zombie. I just want to go outside and play or snuggle into my blankets. Despite wanting to wear my new hat on the run, I chose to stay in bed longer.
Yes, I am wearing a hat that looks like a giraffe with a reindeer;s antlers and nose. 
As I lay in bed, I knew what lay outside waiting for me  . . . fun (Not!), unshoveled sidewalks. For some reason, the my school thinks that college students don't need shoveled walkways. Case in point:

Main road into campus. I did not want to be running in all the snow. 
Long story short, I knew that I wanted to go run. I also knew that I would feel fantastic after my ten miles. But despite all the facts backing up a decision to go run, I didn't go. Instead, I chose to have a blah day without running. To top it all off, or maybe because of the no run thing, I also felt sort of fat for the rest of the day, which didn't stop me from having a red velvet cupcake that my group member made for us.
Red velvet, definitely my favorite. 
The weekend wasn't all blah though. It had some awesome parts. The bf and I went out for a nice Valentine's Day dinner. I finally solidified my spring break plans (flying back to visit home in Cali!). But there were definitely huge chunks of blahness, largely due to no running. 
I'm sure we looked very cool taking self portraits of ourselves while waiting for a table. 
I hope you guys had better luck with running during the weekend than I did. Do you guys sometimes feel like I felt? How do you combat blah days?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Friday

Making lists are fun. The only problem is that I don't make them nearly often enough. One of my non running related goals are to make more lists and become organized with things that I have to do. Not to mention, all these to-do lists in my head seem way more daunting in my brain. So I am going to try to make a list of all the things that make me happy to get in the mood for the weekend. Sort of like Ali's Thankful things post. And I'm inspired by my non internet friend, Gina, who has lists of her lists. (Hey Gina!)

Here are the things that are making me happy.

1. Double running days. 
Yup, today was the double running day. I went in the morning for a quick 4.1 miler at 9:59/mile pace in between classes. I had originally wanted to get in 5 or 6, but I didn't want to have to rush home at a non-easy pace. Even though it was an easy day and I reminded myself to run slowly, I died slowly inside as I watched the numbers on my garmin go up past 10:00/mile pace. I really need to stop being stupid and get with the program of running my easy runs slowly.

I got over the slower pace, but the less mileage was bumming me out. As a result, when my bf decided to head out on his 6 miler at night, I tagged along. Unfortunately, my knee started hurting (not exactly painful, but uncomfortable) again. It's been happening during my runs lately. I have a few suspects in mind. So I just cut it short and ran 3.3 miles at his 10:28/mile pace.

My suspect number one is my old Brooks. They only have 335 miles on them, but the treads are worn through where I pronate.
Possible suspect? Maybe. Looking at the soles make me happy. It shows me how much hard work I put in pronating and wearing my shoes down unevenly. 

Suspect number 2 is that I've been breaking in a new type of shoes. I wanted to try a different brand, so I am currently breaking in my Asics. Maybe it is the Asics, since the treads on Brooks have been worn down since about mile 250. And I just started breaking in the Asics. 

Suspect number 3 could be increased mileage (although I had a good base from training for the half), or maybe I gained weight. It's hard to tell since I haven't weighed myself in forever. Whatever the reason, I'm taking a rest day tomorrow and coming up with a plan to narrow down the suspects. 

2. My new waterbottle
I have a really hard time drinking water. I just forget my thirst really quickly. With all this running, I know that I have to make hydrating a priority. So I preemptively rewarded myself with a new giant waterbottle. I will bring it to class and hydrate throughout the day. 
It's has obnoxious logo everywhere, but I love it. 
3. The way that light hits the clock tower near sundown. 
I was sadly in the basement working on projects, but then I came outside and saw this gorgeous view. It made me all excited about life and stuff. 
So pretty. I didn't even have to instagram it. 
4. My bf signed up for a marathon with me even even though the longest he's ever run before was 6 miles. 
After months of nagging/begging, he finally agreed to give up his weekend mornings, therefore some of his weekend nights of partying, for a marathon. 
This sadly did not involve any alcohol. We were all sober and he wore my jacket . . . while not being drunk. 
5. Human bonding class
So far, we've watched countless videos of babies interacting with their mothers. It's just one long warm and fuzzy session. 

6. Brownies that I earned from a friend
My friend bet me that if I can teach him to skate without the wall, he'd bake me brownies. I really wanted those brownies. So with threats of skate up his a** if he grabbed the wall, I turned him from this:

He's literally crawling to the wall here. To a person who can skate across the rink without the wall. I know, I'm pretty amazing. Maybe that's my calling. Threatening people so that they learn how to ice skate.

Now, tell me about your happy things. And while you're at it, if you can shed some insights or your suspicions about my knees, that would be great! Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Clif Bars

I just discovered an awesome flavor of Clif Bars, white chocolate macadamia nut! If I can't eat a white chocolate macadamia cookie before my run, a Clif Bar will certainly do. A Clif Bar supposedly has more nutritional benefits anyway.I instagramed it to showcase its overpriced awesomeness.

Look at that deliciousness. 
To feel like I deserved that bar, I decided to go for a speed workout. Nothing like intervals to kick off an awesome training season! Granted, I still haven't got a plan, but I'm getting there. I have a general idea of what I want from a plan, and if I can't find it, I will create it . . . soonish.

So I modified the Yasso 800s today to get in some speed work. By modified, I just mean that I reduced the repeats to 4. I think technically, I'm supposed to repeat it more, but I wanted to go back home and eat lunch while watching How I Met Your Mother.

I suited up (in running clothes) and ran a mile to Beebe Lake, an artificial lake, on campus. And proceeded to run laps around it. I also didn't set my watch for an interval workout beforehand and lapped the watch manually. Hence, the weird 0.51miles distance intervals and more than four minutes of rest, when I started zoning out and forgot to start the next lap.
I normally suck at speed intervals, because they stress me out. But I actually got it done! 
The best part was that I was able to keep the speed up, more or less, even though the loop wasn't flat. 
Since the school track is open only during lunch time, I never use it. Instead, I usually run on a flat stretch of road. But today, I just felt like looping on the uneven terrain of the trail next to the lake. 

A rough estimate of where my intervals might have been. The point is, that it wasn't flat. 
Now I'm ready to take a slow easy run tomorrow that I earned. 

What are some of you guy's favorite speed workouts? 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend Revelation

I had an awesome weekend full of plans. There were some partying, a lot of group working, researching, ice skating, and running.

Out of everything I did, the most exciting thing that happend was that I came out of the closet about loving running. 

I always thought that I disliked running. I mean yeah, I have a running blog and I run races, but I never thought that I enjoyed the actual act of training. I mainly ran because I can't swim, and I dislike biking with a passion.

I admit, I do love racing and crossing the finish line, but then again, who doesn't love crossing the finish line?

But this Saturday, as I painstakingly got up at 7AM to do my long run of 8 miles, which in college speak is equivalent to 4AM normal people time, I realized that I was actually enjoying the run. The roads were empty, except a few walk of shamers, and it felt good to just put one foot in front of the other. Gasp! I actually enjoyed getting out on the road and running lots of miles (relatively speaking, I consider 8 miles lots of miles).

 This must be what the Grinch felt after his big revelation,"Christmas perhaps means a little bit more."
I even ran into this Irish wolfhound. The picture's super blurry because she kept on moving. 
Somehow I have turned into one of those runners who doesn't feel right without running. I mean knowing me, I will still always dread waking up early in the morning, but I finally understand what it means to be a runner for life.
I even tried out sparkly running pants at the encouragement of a friend. 
So, how about you guys? When did you realize that you were a runner for life? 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guns help me make decisions

Today was the first actual day of the rifle class. We started learning the basics of the M4, which is a carbine version of M16. Basically, M4 is what they use in urban warfare, like in the middle east. It was surprisingly heavy and disappointing at the same time. Thanks to violent R rated movies, the gun didn't look "real," because I've seen it in movies. (I know that made little sense, but I associate movie things with fake things.)

But despite Hollywood ruining some of the excitement, I still felt really cool. And because I felt so cool and powerful, I decided to bite the bullet and actually sign up for a marathon in May. I threatened my bf with the gun to make him register for the marathon with me. J.K. He agreed before I had to resort to that.
I can't believe I'm actually registered for the marathon! 
Since I can't afford a running coach, I'm going to have to start looking online and asking you guys about tips on training and fueling.

Hopefully we'll still be smiling on May 20th. 
I can't wait to embark on my marathon training journey! Hopefully with you guys's help, I can stay motivated and sane through out the process! 
Now if I can only do a pull up, my life would be complete.