Monday, March 25, 2013

Repeat after me: not the end of the world

Up until this weekend, I was having a really good “training cycle” for my upcoming 10-miler. I think I had literally missed only 1 scheduled run, and it was during a cutback week. I’d miss a cross-training session here or there, but I was getting my weekly runs in, my pace was dropping, and I felt myself getting stronger. (Oh hey, I owe you a post about what my training’s been like/what I’ve been running. Coming up this week!). 

And then my family came to visit two weekends ago, and they both got a cold shortly after leaving. And then Dan succumbed at the beginning of last week. I knew my time was near but kept hoping I could beat it. I ran normally all week, feeling every morning like I was on the brink of sickness (slight ache in the throat, etc.), but nothing too bad. Finally on Friday I started feeling actually sick and woke up Saturday definitely not feeling good. Ignoring logic, I spent some time trying to convince myself I was fine and strapped my sneakers on, ready to bust out my long run. 

I felt like I was running really hard for the first mile or so. “Oh, must be like 10:30 pace at least, let me check my phone to confirm, then I can pull back.” I looked at my phone and saw 11:10. Which is not a bad pace at all--but not one I normally feel like is a “tough” pace these days, especially only a few miles into the run (especially since I had a decent downhill in the first mile!). So I finally admitted I was probably coming down with something and turned around, finishing out only 3 miles as opposed to the 10.5 on the docket. I took yesterday completely off as well, finishing out what was going to be my peak week with 13 miles, instead of the planned 23.5. 

I feel way more panicky about this than I have any right to. I know I can finish the 10-miler (I’ve done two 10 mile runs so far, and a bunch of close-to-10 milers as well). I know it is better that I got sick now two weeks out from the race, as opposed to right before race day. I know that I won’t lose all my endurance in a week and can probably squeeze in one more long run next weekend to give myself a mental boost. And most of all, I know it is just one race and that no matter how the race goes, it doesn't really matter in the scheme of life.

But it still feels like all this training was for naught because I wasn’t able to peak when I needed to peak and that I won’t be in the best condition possible on race day and that I'll embarrass myself in front of everyone when I can't finish. You can say it: I'm nuts.

Luckily, it is only a cold--after the first day or two, it is just more annoying than anything else. I took an OTC decongestant today just to stop my nose from dripping every freaking second and felt well enough to try an easy run tonight. I did 4 miles on the treadmill (DC weather, what is going on??) at a comfortable pace. I didn't feel any worse afterwards, so hopefully this week I can run normally (at slightly reduced paces) and feel good going into the race next week. And even if I don't...going to try to remember that it will be okay!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Running Lately

This was a running blog, not just life goals blog, at some point, yes? Some (disorganized) thoughts on how running has been going lately:

Running longer and consistently is making me faster. Which makes completely perfect sense...yet I still didn’t expect it. I assumed I would get more tired or wouldn’t see significant gains since I’m not doing any hard or consistent speedwork. But it’s there: my paces are getting faster; longer distances are feeling easier. Yay improvement! 

That being said...I feel like I’m at a good place, mileage- and frequency-wise, and will probably hold here around 20-25 miles/week. I can’t imagine running more than four days a week--or rather, I can, but I can’t see it being beneficial for me. I feel like I barely have enough time to squeeze in all of the cross-training I want to/should do now, and I think I’d be starting to invite injury. I don’t really have any desire to do a marathon (ever), so I think this is sufficient mileage to stay at for...a while. I could see getting above 25 miles/week for half-marathon training, but beyond that, I’ll probably chill here!

Speaking of a half-marathon...I’m toying with the idea of doing one after my 10-miler. The 10-miler is in early April, and the half is on June 1. I think it is doable to basically just keep increasing my long run mileage until then. I’m going to hold off on signing up until after the 10-miler, just to see how I’m feeling physically and mentally. I’m inclined to do it because a) I have the mileage base that I’d want for a half currently built up and b) I don’t want to train for a half-marathon in the DC heat of July/August (for a fall half). 

Despite all of my general excitement about getting faster and nice weather, etc., I've been having a little trouble getting motivated to run lately. I always end up getting out the door (with a few helpful "you'll feel better if you do" reminders from Dan!), but I'm dragging my feet not wanting to go. I'm guessing it is related to the fact that I already have done a (spoiler alert!) a ten-miler, but I'm still a month out from my race. I'm mentally ready to start building for the next challenge (half!), but scared physically to move on, fearful that I'll push my body too hard and not be able to finish the 10-miler. So I'm finding myself craving cross-training more, where there are new poses to tackle in yoga and new weights to lift at the gym. Which I suppose is not a bad thing! And ultimately, when I do finally get my butt out the door to run, I do end up feeling great afterwards, and I mostly enjoy it while I'm running too (at least after the first two miles--why do they always feel like death?!).

Other random running things 
Um--I don’t fuel or hydrate while running. It only recently occurred to me that this might be an issue, as I’m starting to run double digits and temperatures will increase soon. The blackhole of internet advice seems to recommend “fueling” (aka taking Gu or something else) for a run anywhere from 60 minutes to only on runs upwards of 18 miles, so...totally unhelpful. I think I probably can skip fueling for now though, since I've been running okay without it. Hydration, however, seems to be generally agreed on as “necessary”, no matter the run length. I don’t know--I drink tons of water all day, and then pound water or Nuun* after a run, and I realllyyyy hate carrying water while I run...sooo I’m thinking I’m going to stick with what I know for now. At least until after the race.

I’m going to miss winter running. As pleasant as the nice temperatures have been, there was something so nice about being out there solo in the cold. My usual paths are starting to fill up again as it warms up. Plus, pockets! Man, I really miss my jacket pockets when I don’t need the extra layer. I guess I need to get one of those belt contraptions to carry my phone/keys/etc. in, but my jacket was so much more convenient! [All of this said with the caveat of living in Virginia--where winter running is not real winter running!]

*I was surprised how much I like Nuun. Pleasant tasting but not so sugary/caloric that it makes me feel ill. Basically just tasty electrolyte water--aka perfect for after a longer run. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Oh Hey March

Life Check-In
So I’m done, for real, with all this grad school stuff. I had finished up my applications at the end of 2012, but I finally just finished my financial stuff and fellowship applications, etc. It feels SO GOOD to be done. And even better that: I’ve already been accepted to four schools! I’m waiting for a few more decisions to come in mid-March (and then [hopefully] the $$ offers by early April) before I decide where to go.

It feels SO GOOD not to have any major non-work deadlines or obligations weighing on me. I seriously don’t think I’ve been free from obligations like this since before I started my current job! [job search (because I disliked my old one, not unemployed)-->moving/apartment hunting-->GRE studying-->another move-->school research-->application process-->financial grad school apps]. Life wasn’t particularly bad during those times--I did things mostly slow and steady, so nothing was ever too intense and there were lots of breaks. But I just felt like I constantly had something I should be working on. So it is nice to be free from any major non-work responsibilities for the next few months (and then...GRAD SCHOOL LIFE CHANGES AH). 

So anyway. My main goal for spring is to enjoy myself! Work is getting fairly crazy, so I just want to make it a priority when I’m not at work to relax, have fun, and enjoy time with Dan and my friends. 

That all being said...of course I have some mini-goals for the month. :) I think having a few small things to work on just makes life better! Dorky but true.

Revisiting February Goals
Not too much else to add after my mid-month check-in. I ended up reconnecting (email → video chat) with at least one friend (for the relationships portion), which was fun and not nearly as stressful as I was building it to be in my mind. And hopefully that will stay frequent moving forward. 

Working out in the morning is still hard. I do, at least, feel like I’ve proved to myself that it is possible and not completely painful to do. I can get it done if I need to. But I still definitely prefer to work out at night. I’ll probably keep trying to integrate 1-2 AM workouts into my weekly schedule to accommodate later work hours! 

Reading and 20/10s still going well. So much so that I added the little check boxes (like I had for each task everyday in my planner in February) for March. Checking things off is pleasing, and it is a good daily reminder to do them!

March Goals
Home: Spring cleanout, two-pronged: old magazines and clothes. I always save my old magazines, planning to cut out recipes I like, etc. In February, I got bored one weekend (/procrastinating fellowship acts) and started to make progress on my magazines. I've got a good system set up using Evernote that is allowing me to keep things digitally that I care about and recycle all of the hard copies. Phew! So I want to finish that project up in March, and tackle my clothes. Game plan for that to come.

Body: Use sunscreen daily. Pretty simple. It is such an important task for skin health that I rarely do. I just need to commit! I have a SPF 15 face lotion that I can use for most days, but I need to get something higher for days when I’m running/out a lot. 

Mind: Post twice a week on this blog. I enjoy doing it, and it generally helps keep me accountable to both my life goals and running goals. Plus, with the 10-miler coming up in early April, it will be a big month for running. I want to make sure to document it all!

Relationships: Focus on Dan! Work is getting busy for both of us, and our March weekends are rapidly filling up too. So we are going to try to do 2 date nights during the month (date night = going out for enjoyment, not just sustenance!) and one night of quality time a week at home. We already did a date night this weekend, which was lovely!

Today’s Eats
I made a sweet potato, kale, and goat cheese frittata (recipe from Vegetarian Times Nov. 2012) for dinner tonight. Dan made fun of the fact that pretty much all my dinners are the same, noting that I frequently do some combination of potato/cheese/kale/egg. I suppose this is a fair assessment--but a frittata feels so different than normal! Hah.

The bigger section, since the piece I cut out turned into more of a scramble than frittata.
Also today Dan surprised me with a shamrock shake (McDonald’s annual March thing; they are crack) this afternoon, which deserves public accolades, because shamrock shakes are pretty much the easiest way to this girl’s heart.