Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Last Long Run and a Wicked Awesome Couscous dish

Well folks, today was the last long run of my first half marathon training cycle! woo!

I was not quite as peppy as I was after last week's 11 miler, the fact that it was already 72 at 7am when i started out prooooobably had something to do with it. I mean, that's like 20 degrees warmer than last week! wtf.

Dear Lake Placid,
Please be 55 degrees 2 Sundays from now.

The run was pretty good. I did it at a park in Liverpool, NY - visiting the fam this weekend - so it was pretty flat. But dang with the hot! by mile 7 i was really just wishing it would freaking rain. It did not. In fact, 4 miles later the stupid sun came out. I was hurting by the last mile so I told myself i could do run walk intervals for .1 mile. However, I surprised myself by being able to sprint pretty decently hard during those .1 miles, even after I'd already trudged through 11. the sprint intervals got longer (and faster, what the hell is going on here?) as the mile went on. About half way through that mile my dad passed my on his bike and shouted words of encouragement. He probably thinks i'm wicked fast now, since i was like tearing up the pavement when he saw me. I assured him, when we were both back home, that I am not actually that fast all the time. ;)

12 miles done in 2:29:45. boom! I think I can manage LP's hills as long as it's not this hot. i freaking hate the hot even when I'm not working out. It should only be in the 70s in the afternoon, ever. grrr.

Now, let me share with you the best couscous side dish e.v.e.r. Cranberry couscous.

Before last night I'd never had couscous at all, but it seemed like something I would like - ya know, carbs.

Here's how the magic works on this one boys and girls:

Bring one can of chicken broth and a tablespoon of butter to a boil.

Stir in one box couscous, 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberrys, 3 chopped scallions.

Cover pot and remove from heat.

Let sit for 5 mins, fluff with fork - DEVOUR. 

omg, so freaking good. enjoy suckas!

I'm off to do nothing for a few hours, then shake out my legs by walking to the ice cream shop where my badass lil sister works :)

I'll catch you on the taper, fools! :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

3 Things Thursday - in Pictures

Today's workout was 4 miles. First two were 125 ft decline, second 2 was right back up that betch. Tough, and already 65 degrees at 6 am. did NOT want to get out of bed, but oh so glad I did. WOO!

1. I am an anglophile. Nat happens to be British (confession: that may have something to do with why we are friends, jk jk.) Anyway, her sweetest mom bought me these teas when she heard I'd been laid off (faked off if you'd like, since i was offered my job back at the last second). L.O.V.E. I will probably never drink these teas but will use this package to decorate my desk for the rest of eternity - or until the next time I'm laid off, tee hee.
2. I am in love with Dark Chocolate Dreams Pb. mmmm My coworker gave me this cute little pack - which is good, a jar would involve eating, um, all of it. I'll admit, i did suck the last little bits right out of the package. No shame.

3. This is a picture of most of my new running shoes. I cut off the toes- they are uninteresting. The pink is the fun part. These shoes are really doing it for me. I have had little to no hip pain since I got them, minus the first run in them. woo! Tonight is my adjustment. It's gonna be awesome!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mile Repeats

It has come to my attention that I've been selling myself short. I've got some sort of wall built up around 10 minute miles - as in: I can't possibly run faster than that.

I have on occasion run a mile (or three) at under a 10 minute pace. But I've always considered it a fluke. Today, I intentionally ran mile repeats to prove myself wrong. Uh, ps and btw, mile repeats is a hard workout!

Mile 1: 10:00

Mile 2: 9:55

Mile 3: 9:49

hmm. It appears that I can do such a thing. Imagine that!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Miles of Smiles

My long run this weekend was 11 miles. I usually do long runs on sundays. However, I had to go to a bridal shower today, so I opted for a Saturday long run. It was a nice change of pace - for one, it kept me away from friday happy hour, haha.

If you've been following along the last few weeks, you know that my last few long runs have been tough. first attempt at 10 miles was a mess, I slept very little the night before and was super dehydrated. Second attempt was better, but still had to stop for walk breaks. first attempt at 11 miles was a complete fail. My IT band had been acting up since the first attempt at 10 miles. My leg was on fire and it just was not happening. I left the gym dragging my leg behind me and feeling pretty defeated. But yesterday, oh yesterday.

It was a great day for a run. It was about 55 out in the morning, overcast, but not raining. I had a new cute running outfit from Target (its gonna be my race day outfit!!). I was set to go. I was well rested. Well hydrated. I brought one gu and one pack of sports beans. I set out for my 11 miles and had a smile on from the get go.


The whole time. It was so great. I don't care if i looked creepy running around Albany with a huge smile on my face, fist pumping to my jams. I stopped twice (during miles 4 and 8) to stretch my hip as I felt it getting tight. I had only 2 concerns during the run. 1. as i ran away from my apt i realized i had forgotten to put on any vaseline to prevent chafing - it was a new outfit, so I was particularly concerned. 2. briefly during miles 3 and 5 the sun came out - i did not put on sunblock, which is bad news for this casper. However, run was completed with no chafing, no sunburn, no walk breaks, no negative thoughts.

Simply awesome. I even did a dance in the bathroom as I waited for the shower to get warm. It was a slow run, 12:06 average pace. But, hey, i'm not that fast (yet) - so it's cool. Also, thats 30seconds a mile faster than my last long run. so woo!

Next week's long run is 12 miles - I'll be doing it in syracuse, as i'm headed home for the weekend. then - then its taper time. My first taper! Then I will go kill myself on the hills of Lake Placid. Yikes.  3 weeks!

I'm looking forward to the race. I am not sure if i can promise any great times, since i'm so concerned about the hills. There aren't hills like that in albany to train on, so its a bit nerve wracking. But it should be an awesome accomplishment regardless. Also, despite what time i get on this race. I'm still aiming for a 2:15 for the fall half - which is a flat one. so its totally attainable.

Here's to many more weekends of awesome runs!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why Today Rocked Socks Before 730am

Could it be because I ran 6 miles outside? um YES!!!!!!!!!


Honestly, I needed this run. It was NOT fast, but that's ok. My goal was to take it easy, and anytime the pace inched up I pulled myself back. I know I can run 6 miles faster than 1:10. However, if you've seen any of the posts for the last, um, 3 weeks, you will notice a trend of hip/leg/IT band pain that got so bad it sidelined my entire long run just a mere 3 days ago. Priorities involve racing in less than a month, not being a psycho during training.

Things that are awesome include: new running shoes, foam rollers, stretching, listening to your body, not wearing heels to work. All of these things, I believe, have put me back on track. Now, my running has been spotty ish since the pain started. So I've also been frustrated mentally, runs have been harder. but when I over do it and push myself, then the pain comes back. It's a never ending cycle of beating myself up.

Well, this week I decided to change it. Jump out of that ring and do what's right. I laid off the running monday and tuesday. Did a kick ass xtrain workout on monday (kinda looking forward to another one tomorrow, who is this girl?!), backed off yesterday (mostly bc i was in a super foul mood and (because I?) ate like crap :-[ not a real excuse, I'm aware) Today's medium long run was about not beating myself up. I took it SLOW so as to not upset my precious leg, and FINISHED it to get my stupid mind off my ass.

End result. SUCCESS - and compression socks and sneakers at work. tee hee. :)

Happy Hump Day, ya'll!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Workin' on my Fitness

Today = way better than yesterday. I was really down in the dumps about my horrible non-long run/leg situation yesterday. But this morning, ah, this morning was so much better.

I really didn't want to get out of bed, though. Alarm went of at 5:15, I did not get up for an hour! I'm usually at the gym by 6:15 at the latest! I woke up like 3x to pee last night though (yay, hydration?). So, after an hour of semi-conscious super-weird dreams and snuggles with Dinah, I finally hauled my ass out of bed for my elliptical work out.

My left leg was a little tight upon waking. So I foam rolled before leaving for the gym. There's a knot in there folks, half way between my hip and my knee, and that sucker HURTS. But I foam rolled until I cried, and then I felt better :)

My elliptical workout was BALLIN' I know, i know, elliptical is actually *boring* but today I rocked it. First, I was able to maintain a fairly steady pace of 7.5 at level 7 for 50 minutes, which is like 800x better than the last time I did the elliptical (like 3 weeks ago, whoops, xtrain fail). I've thought a bit about posting my elliptical workout stats on here, because, let's be honest - i'm not in that great of shape. I'm not really  an athlete, I'm trying to become one. But, uh, hi - the whole point of this blog is to track my progress, right? And while I haven't been blogging since the first time I stepped on an elliptical however many years ago, I can guarantee you I was not banging out 6 miles in 50 minutes on that thing (yea, i know that's how fast some of you run, I WILL catch you one of these days).

After the workout I was feeling awesome - endorphins going, sweat dripping (like seriously, it looked like I jumped in a pool when I got off that thing. I don't know what it is about the elliptical that makes me sweat so much), and leg....looser? OMG! yay! maybe i've found the secret. I am going to make a more concerted effort to work in more cross training days. Especially if they are going to make my leg feel good! I'm sure my new shoes had something to do with it too. So i'm feeling more positive today. Let's just hope I feel this way after running.

One problem I realized today with this week's plan is - I have a bridal shower at noon on sunday. Can I wake up at 6 and get in my 11 miles and make it to the shower? I hope so. Otherwise I am going to have to do some re-tooling, and run long on saturday.

Here's to a better day than yesterday!! :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Long Run Fail

long run it was not. 3.75 miles. FAIL. I'm so frustrated. here's the recap -

It's pouring. I have new shoes. My hip/IT band, basically all of the outside of my left leg from mid shin to tail bone has been uncomfortable, to generalize. I decided to try out the long run on the treadmill. No rain on the treadmills. And i figured the flat consistent surface would be easier on the leg. well, despite my best intentions by mile 3 it hurt. I toughed it out for another .75, and it was on fire. I was so pissed.

What's also really frustrating, is that its not *really* just the IT band. The pain associated with the original injury - hyper extended back when i was 15, though I've never really been clear on what the actual diagnosis was, regardless I was on bed rest for 2 weeks yuck. There's a pinching. about two inches below my tail bone into my left butt area. not good, not good.

My long runs have just not been good lately. But, as Nat pointed out, the last few may've sucked, but I did them. she's right (as always :-p) when I left the gym today (dragging my leg behind me) I felt like a quitter. I was so frustrated with myself. But nat's right- one run incomplete. just one. better to lay off, ice/stretch/foam roll/pay attention to myself, than push through a training run and not be able to walk without pain again for who knows how long and not race.

After some moping about, and a shower. I started some lunch and a pot of tea and decided on a new game plan for this week. honestly, today's outcome, while irritating, should not have come as much of a surprise. It hurt to walk friday and most of yesterday. I was running errands punching myself in the hip/thigh to loosen it up (can you say, red flag, hello).

Workout plan for this week:
Monday - elliptical 45-60mins. This will ensure that I still have some fitness, and it will give me the mental challenge I wasn't able to have today - elliptical is super boring after like 25-30 mins, but i have two issues of RW i haven't finished reading yet.

Tuesday - power yoga. yay!

Wednesday - medium long run 6-7 miles - i need the confidence boost.

Thursday - rest or xtrain (undecided)

Friday - 3-4 miles.

Saturday - rest

Sunday - 11 miles, take 2.

This is all contingent on how the hip is feeling. ice/stretching/foam rolling will be happening. paying attention is the key. and the appointment with the back doctor is on the 26th.

For today - I will spend the day facing a different mental challenge - cleaning the apartment. dun dun dun. won't Q be surprised when she comes home :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

old blogs

I found an old blog of mine today. I kept it up for about a year from the time I graduated college through the year of law school I did. So we're talking 2004-2005 here folks. It was really cool to re read that journey. I only did one year of law school. I did not like it at all. I couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life being a lawyer. It was interesting to reread my journey and recall the extreme level of stress i had during that point in my life. It's nuts really - how did I even make it through!? Not just from the work of law school, but I was so conflicted for much longer than I recall about my decision to leave. I do not regret it one bit. Why I only went for a year comes up in every job interview i've had since then. It.was.boring. I'm totally at peace with my decision. No regrets.

It was also cool to see how much I've grown - I commented on that blog several times about how "gross animals are." which is hilarious. My Dinah was sitting next to me while I was reading it - I volunteered at the humane society last night. Just weird how much I've changed.

No running today. IT band was acting up, so I took it easy so that I can do my long run tomorrow. The rest is helping - it's not nearly as tight. I foam rolled a bunch too - damn that lil sucker hurts!

I GOT NEW SHOES! yay! I'm a nike girl when it comes to running. I use the nike structure triax. I really like them. I think they will help a lot with the leg pain issue. Also, this time they are pink!!! I've always had blue since I started wearing them. I told the dude at fleet feet I didn't care what color they were - so the pink was a plesant surprise.

Tomorrow is 11 miles. Holy cow folks,

I made sauce today - my whole house smells delish. I'm about to have a huge bowl of pasta right now. I love my sauce. I *never* eat jarred tomoato sauce. Sounds snobby, but my shit is gooooood. I make it 10 quarts at a time. It freezes well, so I'll have it for months. This time around I put some meat in it - boneless pork ribs (a staple), and some hot and sweet sausage. mmmmm. I was going to make meatballs, but today got off to kind of a late start, and then i didn't realize how many errands I had to run. I'll make meatballs tomorrow. :)

Water's boiling. Time to cook.

11 miles. 11 miles. breaaaaaaaaaaathe.

Friday, May 13, 2011

One Month and Manipulation

That's all that's left folks. One month till race day.

I'm a little nervous to say the least! But, I finally had a good run today. First really good run in a few weeks, so it was a big confidence booster. Also, Fleet Feet called on my lunch break - shoes are in! I'll be picking up those beasts tomorrow :) YAY!

My left leg is still kind of bugging me, but I'm hoping that my new shoes will help that out. Also, I scored an appointment with my back doctor in 2 weeks, and that I KNOW will help. I can feel that my left hip is rotated forward, especially when I lay on my back. My doctor does orthopedic manipulation - similar to chiropractics, but less "violent." you lay on these moist heat pads for, well, long enough to fall asleep usually, haha- whoops. Then she comes in and does these stretches on you where she places her fingers on trigger points along your spine and uses her body weight to loosen up the ligaments and gently push things back into alignment. There is no "neck snapping" like at the chiro. They just gently massage and rotate your head/neck after realigning your spine, and you can feel everything in your neck falls back into place. You can INSTANTLY feel the release, your range of motion increases immediately. There's all sorts of lymphatic fluid that's released from the body after this treatment. So it's important to increase (even more than normal) your fluid intake to flush it all out.

One time I ran a few hours after the treatment - uh no good. lymphatic fluid was not yet flushed from the system and I got cramps in the strangest places - like in my shoulders. Really painful cramps. Best to just hold out till the next morning to do cardio after - in my opinion. Another benefit, besides being more gentle than chiro, to manipulation is it's not focused on forcing the skeleton back into correct form as much as it is focused on muscle recognition for holding your skeleton in it's proper position. people often have to go to the chiro 2-3 times a week when they are out of whack. When I first found this doctor after injuring my back as a teenager, I went every 3 weeks for a few months. Over time, your body learns to hold its posture better and you can go less frequently. I've not been in over a year, and things have just gotten to the point where I need an adjustment. If you have a DO in your area that does orthopedic manipulation, I strongly recommend going - if you have any back/hip/shoulder pain at all. It really is just an excellent release for the muscles!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back at it!

Well the hip seems to be ... ok. It did not bother me at all after sunday's long run. Yesterday I did 3.82 hilly miles outside. Not bad. They were a little more difficult than I hoped they would be, but its ok. I'm doing them.

The IT band was a bit tight after - foam rolling ensued. Also, I was really coughy. damn mucus. Also, as usual with me and afternoon runs, I was *really* crampy toward the end. I hate that! I have been tossing around this really radical challenge - no cheese for a week. I think it will help with afternoon cramps when working out and mucus while running issues. Besides yogurt and cheese (uh, and ice cream) I don't do a whole lot of other dairy intake. But let me tell you I eat a LOT of cheese - like every meal. So, no cheese for a week is going to be difficult. Maybe next week - I need to plan cheese-less meals and grocery shopping is in the future very soon.

Today I did ...........SPEED WORK! 8x400! woo! It was a bit slower than the last time I did speed work, but since it's been 3 weeks, and I was still able to bang out 8 intervals, I'm pleased. Particularly because I wanted to stop at 5 (uh, lame) and then I REALLY wanted to do the last 2 slower (also lame) neither of those things occurred. GO ME!!

There is some leg pain today :-/ I'm not particularly excited about this, but I stretched/foam rolled before and after running. And, genius me, did NOT wear heels to work today - about time. I'll keep up with my stretches and hopefully will have new shoes by next week. I think it'll help a lot.

Here's something totally random/weird/embarassing about myself - on sunday I wore sunblock for my run, since I knew I'd be out there for 2 hours, and it was VERY sunny. I did not, however, put any on my legs because I was wearing capris. When I got in the shower I spent a good 30 seconds trying to scrub the "dirt line" off my ankle. ... oh hey, tan! didn't know you existed!! I'm dumb hahaha.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Long Run and Committment

Today was take two at the double digit long run. Two weeks ago was my first attempt at 10 miles and it was, well, awful. Today was 10.45 miles in 2hrs 10mins and 52seconds. Slow as all hell - but I did it.

I didn't really go in to this run with the most positive attitude. I was really nervous about a repeat of the first 10 mile experience. Also, due to my hip pain I'd really cut back my milage during the last two weeks, and opted not to do a long run last weekend. It hurt to walk, so I'm thinking that was the right decision.

By the 3rd mile i was really irritated with myself. I kept beating myself up for not committing more to running. I later had to give myself a break - i've been in injury prevention mode for 2 weeks. But the truth is, I could commit more. I could commit to more xtrain workouts, since I barely do those. I could commit to eating better since I suck at that. I was getting really mad at myself - what is your problem, jennifer? you said you wanted this, and this is how seriously you take yourself??

Then, I ran by a woman who was leash training her pit bull.

I, as i'm sure all of you do also, run by people with dogs all the time. Some are good on a leash, some are horrible. But, just a few short years ago, ANY dog - even like a yorkie or something - would send me into a panic. I'd cross the road, i'd freak out, sometimes scream (awesome), heart rate sky rocketing etc. so forget any "scary" looking dog - boxers, dobermans, rotties, pitt bulls etc. I was down right terrified of nearly any living thing.

Today, when I ran by that woman with the white pittie with beautiful blue/grey markings, I stop to pet it. "beautiful dog!" i remarked. And then I realized, in the context of my nearly 29 years of existence - that was freaking remarkable. People that haven't seen me in 5-10 years would have NEVER expected me to act like that, ESPECIALLY toward a pitt bull. I saw that woman and her dog again on my run. And it just reaffirmed my turn in thinking - change takes time. No, i should not use that as an excuse. Yes, I should stop beating myself up for shortening my runs and eating crappy. Recognition of the problem is the first step, right?

I have cut myself the necessary slack on the milage issues because my hip does NOT HURT AT ALL. So I made the right decision there. yes, there are other aspects of training/life that need work - and lots of it. But you know what? 5 months ago I could not run 10 miles. I couldn't even run 7. So my negative thougths can take a flying leap. And I will make a committment to making better decisions more often, and not beating myself up so much when I've made some that are less than stellar - or at least save the beating up for some time other than the middle of a 10 mile run - that's the worst time for it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

3 things thursday

1. I stepped in dog poo this morning - at around 8:15 i'm suspecting. I didn't figure out what that "odd smell" was until about 10:15 - at work. Now its all over my shoe, carpet around my desk, and pants. AWESOME. I can't wait to go home on lunch. grrr.

2. Cool, sunny morning on a non-running day is a cruel joke. It's even worse when I'm trying to take it easy and get rid of this hip pain (which is getting better!) otherwise I would've just snuck in a quick one.

3. I don't really know if there are unwritten rules for three things thursday, but I just am babbling about three random things. Happy cinco de mayo folks - i think i'm makin tacos tonight :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hip pain update!

Today's workout - 3.1 miles @ 10:21 pace.

When I got out of  bed I had 0 pain. This is the first time in a week and a half I've had no pain upon waking. YAY! Once I started moving around a bit I could feel some twinges and aches. But, I foam rolled my IT bands and did some light yoga warm up stretches before heading to the gym.

Since it is MAY, i figured i could ditch the hoodie on the way to the gym, even though it was raining. There's a decision I regret. It was maybe 40 and pouring at 545am. BRRR! I already locked the door though, so I "ran" the whole 5 feet to my car and turned on the heat.

I did my normal warm up and stretches at the gym, pounded out 3.1 miles and *made sure to stretch after* That is where all this nonsense came from, I'm sure of it. Call it busy, or lazy, or whatever. But the last few weeks I have NOT taken the time to stretch or foam roll after running. BAD! I've really only done it after long runs, but hello! all runs need *some* recovery.

At home I did a little more yoga - actually ate breakfast (omg!) and went off to work with only the slightest occasional twinge :) more yoga stretches and foam rolling tonight. Hopefully, I'm putting this issue to bed. I'm still hitting up fleet feet for new shoes on friday though. These suckers have at LEAST 350 miles on them!

I was thinking this morning about how I wish I had more compression ware, and lo-and-behold, Miss Zippy is giving away some compression sleeves! Check it out :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good Riddance

I was flipping through the channels last night when I saw MSNBC had a headline regarding an Obama press conference at 10:30. Weird, I thought. Glad I stuck around for the good news. We've been chasing that sucker for nearly 15 years. 'bout time we got him! See ya, Bin Laden. I hope you like swimmin' with the fishies!

In other good news - I got UNlaid off!!! Can you even believe that? My last day was supposed to be Friday, April 29. Thursday at 3:30 my boss calls me in his office and offers me my job back! Apparently, our agency sponsor realized they couldn't possibily get all the things they wanted from our program without restoring some staffing. So, I'm back, baby! full time! My coworker who was also laid off was offered a part time position. So yay!!! :)

I have had to take a few days off running. My IT band is flaring up. I have a lot of hip and side leg pain. I know my hips are off and I am trying to get an appointment with my doctor. I also need new shoes. I ran today, and it felt OK during. But after it got really sore. I've stretched and foam rolled, and finally just caved and popped a few motrin. I'm really hoping some new shoes will help clear this up quickly. Lake Placid is 6 weeks away! ahhh!