Archive for November, 2011

November 29, 2011

Embracing Imperfection

I haven’t been posting much of late, and that was partially due to Thanksgiving its associated house guests, meal-planning, and Paleo pumpkin pie experiments. (For the record, I compromised with a traditional crust, but coconut instead of condensed milk in the custard.)  The more accurate explanation for the lack of activity here, though, is that my running has been abysmal lately.  Despite dropping my mileage to 1/3 of my pre-race level, my hip seems just as sore.  I’m running slow 3-milers, and they’re feeling like a lot of work.  I think about skipping runs a lot, and that is very, very unlike me.  I’ve spent the last month being hard on myself for not running faster, farther, or enjoying it more. (The beatings will continue until morale improves.)  I finally realized tonight that my body is asking for a break.  I spent all summer pushing it to the limit and expecting it to perform on demand, and now, whether it’s physical or mental, it’s clear that I need to take it down a notch.

Shortly after having that revelation, I also realized that I’m angry about the marathon.  I put in 95% of the work to get there, and I got cheated out of all the glory of the finish line.  If I’d run the race, I don’t think I would have felt guilty at all about taking some time off to recuperate and recharge. I would have been basking in the accomplishment and counting every mile I did put in in the weeks after as pure, virtuous gravy.  Instead, I felt like I hadn’t earned any rest time and I immediately set out to fix the IT band and get stronger and leaner to boot. I piled more (albeit different) demands on myself and I’ve been berating myself for not making progress quickly enough. It’s really no wonder it’s been kind of miserable lately.

I started running because it made me feel good.  I love the feeling of effortless motion when running starts to feel more natural than walking.  I love the way it clears my head and reconnects me to my body after a long day at work.  I love that I can rock skinny jeans.  None of those things are dependent on speed, or races, or even distance.  And so I’m challenging myself  to not care how far or how fast I run tomorrow, or this week, or this month.  And if I don’t feel like running sometimes, maybe I won’t.

November 17, 2011

I am Cavewoman, hear me grunt.

News is a little thin as I’ve been sick all week, which means I haven’t been doing much running or cooking.  I’ve been trying to get in a bit of weight training this week, though I still haven’t found a routine that’s really working for me yet.  I finally hit the gym for a run yesterday, and it was good to be back on the treadmill again, albeit a little sluggishly.  Since my mileage has been limited by the IT band trouble, I’ve decided to take the opportunity to shake up my workout routine a bit.  I’d like to start incorporating some more serious strength training into my week, but I’ve been struggling with how to go about it.  Runner’s World has run a continuing series on strength routines for runners, but theirs tend to focus on free weights and isometrics.  The convenience of being able to do my strength training at home is appealing, but I’ve found that it’s just too easy to skip it after I get home from the gym.  The material I find on weight training using the gym machines all seems to be geared toward body building and eschews cardio.  I’d like to have a better understanding of when to do the weight training –before or after running, on rest days, etc.  It’s not such a big deal right now, since my runs are so short, but if I’m going to stick to this long-term it would be helpful to have a plan already in place.  I did come across this site on a Runner’s World forum, which does include running in its program, so that may prove helpful.  I’m a little intimidated by the thought of dead-lifting, and I’m pretty sure my girly runner arms are not up to a single dip.  Still, I’m curious to see if I can unearth more than the suggestion of abs I currently have.

November 10, 2011

New York Recap

I really miss fall...

It’s been an unreasonably long time since I’ve written a real post.  My only excuse is that I think that the jet lag combined with the time change has completely confused my circadian rhythm, and I’ve been wide awake, sleepy, and hungry at all the wrong times for several days now.  It’s also possible that I’m getting sick, but I’m attempting to head that off with vitamin C and extra sleep when the confused circadian allows. I had a great weekend in New York, despite the pangs every time I saw anyone wearing a mylar blanket or trying to get off a curb without bending their knees.  Kudos to all who ran, and truly did not resent how long it was taking you all to make it down the stairs into the subway. 

One interesting opportunity the weekend presented was being able to assess the weather and how the race attire I had been planning to wear would have worked out.  Sunday was absolutely beautiful and exactly the conditions I had been hoping for—sunny with highs in the mid 50’s.  I had envisioned wearing my favorite hot pink sleeveless Road Runner shirt, partly for visibility to my imagined well-wishers in the crowd, and also for the additional pockets it affords.  It’s also pretty low on the chaffing spectrum—always a critical point.  I generally favor running skirts, but I planned to wear compression shorts for the race to avoid bunching issues with fuel belt.  Top it off with compression knee socks and possibly disposable gloves, and I was set.  The part of the plan I hadn’t considered was that this race starts at 11, not pre-dawn, like all my half marathons.  The late start combined with the longer duration means that there is actually quite a temperature swing over the course of the race.  I was surprised to see how many runners opted for full-length tights, and I think I might have been really cold in the shorts, particularly on the bridges. I may also have to break the Runners’ World rule about arm warmers only being appropriate if you’re going to win your age group. It seems that it would also be tremendously helpful to have a few strategically placed friends on the course to collect gear as the temperatures rise. 

I had pulled out before I really gave a lot of consideration to what I would pack in the gear bag, but I also think I would have massively underdressed for the wait on Staten Island.  The logistics of the marathon are so much more complex than the half, and I will definitely devote some thought and research time to this before my next attempt.  Planning nutrition accordingly also seems like an important consideration for this race.  I was used to doing my long runs early in the morning and being done well before lunch time.  In general, I find that I run better later in the day, so the late morning start is a boon in some sense.  It hadn’t really occurred to me that I wouldn’t be done until 3:00 or later, meaning that I would be 2600 calories down on top of having essentially skipped a meal.  Next time around I think I will plan some long runs at race time to figure out when and how much to eat beforehand.

All in all, it was wonderful to be reunited with the Caveboy for a few days, and explore the neighborhood, and soak up some autumn.

November 3, 2011

More New York Skyline.

Our Beekman Tower is the tall wrinkly building on the left in the second shot. It’s still a little odd seeing scenery for which I built models a few years ago.

November 3, 2011

Brooklyn waterfront run